NOT long ago, the Lord showed me the state and standing (before God) of majority of people in the Church, including the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement — the place He has put His name, Word, Spirit and Power; the place which He has declared ‘a model’ and ‘holy ground’; the place He has also declared the headquarters of His Spirit in these last days.
The situation that He used to portray the said state and standing of many is that of the farmlands of Israel after the devastation of palmer-worms, locusts, cankerworms and caterpillars, as was prophesied by Prophet Joel (Joel 1:4; 2:4,3). Before the invasion of these devastating insects, the said farmlands were like the Garden of Eden, but after their visit, they became a desolate wilderness (Joel 2: 3; cp. Zech. 7:14).
By this the Lord is asserting that many in the Church right now are in serious lack of the essentials or cardinal things of Christianity, compared to what the state of the people was in those formative days. This is due to the invasion (of late) of spiritual palmerworms, locusts, cankerworms and caterpillars.
Nonetheless, the Lord, because of His abiding interest in the Church, will not allow anything to destroy His proposed goal with it. Consequently, He has decided to highlight the dross of the people, purge them of same (as they repent in dust and ashes) and then make them begin to drink of the river of His pleasures.
Dross means “the waste product or impurities formed on the surface of molten (melted) metal during smelting (melting)”. It also means “worthless stuff as opposed to valuables”. Below is an outline of the dross (in other words, the palmerworms, the locusts, the cankerworms and the caterpillars) the Lord has observed among His people, which must be taken away. ( see Prov. 25:4-5; Isaiah 1:22,25; Ezekiel 22:18,19)
*Putting The Cart Before The Horse
In the use of carts and horses for the transportation of goods, the traditional, reasonable and workable arrangement is, “putting the horse before the cart”, so that the former could pull the latter. To do otherwise is to stall the desired movement.
But this is exactly what many in the Church are now doing, in that they are now putting the things that accompany salvation (e.g. healing, deliverance and other diverse miracles) first and foremost, and almost forgetting salvation itself.
These days, because of the manifestation of the Spirit and power of God in our midst, knocking off (on continual basis) those terrible health, economic and spiritual situations in the people’s lives, the majority of the people – the pastors, their flocks and the rest have thrown overboard the golden rule –“seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). The people no more realise that God allows these painful situations in their lives as one means of drawing them to Himself ( cp John 6:44 ,65 ).
As they are drawn to Him, He removes their predicaments, so as to work out in them repentance from sin (Romans 2:4 ; Luke 5:5-8 ); faith in Him (cp. Exodus 14:21 ); love for Him ( cons. Luke 8:2 with Jn. 20:1,11 ); continuity in His Word (Lk. 8:35) and service to Him ( Jn. 9:1,6-7, 17,24-33 ).
Unfortunately what we see today is, multitudes of people coming, receiving and going back to their sins, and to their religious norms that could not yield them anything hitherto.
On the part of Church workers and leaders, it is obvious that not much premium is attached to the salvation of the souls of these ‘coming-receiving-and-leaving’ folks, as is attached to their healing, deliverance and other needs of their lives. This is the reason underlying the lack of result – oriented follow-up work on the people (cp John 5:5-9,14 ; 9:1-7,35-38 ).
The question is: how many people among the multitudes are sure of going to heaven if they should drop dead today, having been genuinely born-again and living for Christ who died for them? (cp. 2 Cor. 5:14-15).
All that have been faulted in this matter must repent and those who need to seek salvation first must seek it (see Matthew 6:33).
*Lack Of Consistent Early Morning And Late Evening Devotion
This is another dross that has been observed among many in the Church. Nonetheless, looking back at the earthly life of our Master Jesus, we see consistent morning and evening devotion to God. Mark 1: 35 says this about Jesus: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (See also Luke 6:12; John 8:1 compare Psalm 5:3; 55:17; 57:8; 119:147; Daniel 6:10).
We have been told before that the lifestyle of Jesus is “the model lifestyle” which all well-meaning believers must emulate (Matthew 11:29; John 13:15; Romans 15:5; 2 Corinthians 10:1; Philippians 2:5; Colossians 3:13; Hebrews 3:1; 12:2).
How else would someone draw God’s countenance and protection for oneself, put on sound mind and inspiration for the day’s work, if not through consistent early morning devotion to God – ministering to the Lord in songs and hymns; reading, interpreting and meditating on His Word, as well as praying the Word? (Psalm 1:1-3; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).
Similarly, how else would we cover ourselves with the fire/glory of the Lord against Satan’s night manouvres, if we do not tarry before the Lord before bedtime, adorning ourselves with the defensive weapons of reading and praying His Word and ministering to Him with thanksgiving and protective songs and hymns?
*Absence Of Standard Christian Family Life
Before delving into the details of this dross, it is imperative that we know that the families are the small-small units that make up the Church. If these small units are healthy, the entire Church is healthy. If on the other hand they are sick, the entire Church is sick.
Now, the Lord is intimating that there is a very scaring dross in the form of absence of standard Christian family life in the Church, the size of which is very large. Now that this has been said, all the families in the Church ought to check themselves with the following characteristics of a standard Christian family.
In a standard Christian family life, the following are prevalent:
*The husband loves his wife continually and will not allow anything whatsoever to cause him disaffection for, or lack of interest in her ( Eph. 5:25; Col. 3:19 ). The same rule goes for the wife toward her husband, hence honouring and being submissive to him, as the Church is to Christ Jesus ( Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18).
*The husband’s parents or relatives are not preferred to the wife, either by action, inaction or words; neither are the children preferred to their mother. Similarly, the wife’s parents or relatives are not preferred to the husband, either by action, inaction or words; neither are the children preferred to their father.
*The parents love their children, hence they pray for them; provide for their secular education; their needs, guiding them into the knowledge and service of the Lord (Col. 3:21; 4:2. Eph. 6:4. Prov. 22:6).
*In a standard Christian family life, there is no secret account operated by either husband or wife; no secret expenditures. There are no selfish manouvres whereby the man is only seeking the welfare and pleasure of his parents/relatives, without caring about his wife’s concerns. The same rule applies to the wife and is kept by her too.
Besides, while parents should be requited for their care (I Tim. 5:4), and relatives helped if they are able, these are not allowed to intrude into the affairs of the marriage and family to cause disaffection or breakage, seeing the man and the woman have ‘left’ father and mother to cleave to each other as one flesh (Gen. 2:24. Matt. 19:4-6).
*Apart from the foregoing, in a standard Christian family life, children should love and honour their parents, seek their pleasure, pray for them and help them in anyway they are able (Eph. 6:1-2. I Tim. 5:4. Col. 3:20). The children should also love one another, not preferring one to the other and avoiding everything that makes for disaffection or hatred. On their part, parents do not prefer one child to the other (cp. Gen. 25:27-28; 37:3-4).
*A standard Christian family prays together, eats together and shares together.
*The rule at work in a standard Christian family is the rule of love and forgiveness, seeing they are humans. Remember, the above is not exhaustive.
*Robbing The Lord (Malachi 3:8-9):
This is one of the aspects of the dross in the Church that has caused so much hindrance to the people themselves and the progress of God’s work without many realizing it. It is the issue of people who see God daily in action in their midst deliberately withholding from Him what belongs to Him, that is, a tenth of their income or profit (as the case may be), as well as their offerings.
For the avoidance of misconstruction, the dictionary meaning of robbing is, “stealing money or property from a person, bank, etc”. From this definition, it follows that all those who have been withholding the payment of a tenth of their income/profit month-by-month or week-by-week (as the case may be) are thieves.
If such people chance to die in this condition, surely they will be lost, since no whoremonger, adulterer, thief, etc. will enter into the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:10). Someone has said that “some of the people who were buried with rejoicing that they had gone to heaven actually went to hell,” and some did go to hell because of stealing from the Lord.
The issue of tithes dates back to the time of Abraham, before the Law of Moses (Gen. 14:20; 28:22). It was sanctioned by the law (Lev. 27:30; Num. 18:21; Deut. 12:6; 14:28; 26:12; 2 Chron. 31:5; Neh. 10:38; 12:44; 13:12; Mal. 3:10) , and approved by the Lord Jesus (Matt. 23:23; Luke. 18:12).
This dross has colossally hindered the people (and many chose not to know), as well as the advancement of God’s programme with the Church. Many of our ministers with great potentials cannot develop because they must engage in one secular thing or the other to provide for themselves food, transportation facilities, education for their children, etc.
This is because many have refused to diligently calculate their tithes every month-end or week-end, let alone paying them into the treasury of the Lord. Besides, the Church cannot engage in building befitting fellowship centres here and there to retain the multitudes that are coming because the people will not give. As they refuse to give, the Lord refuses to give and the vicious cycle continues (cons Malachi 3:8-9). What an unfortunate situation!
But the Lord is calling for a permanent break of this vicious cycle. Hear Him, “bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of host. And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:10-12).
*Spurning God’s Invaluable Word
This is yet another dross that must be removed from the lives of the members of the Church today, so that both the people and the Church can excel. This evil has been noticed for a very long time now, but must now be outrightly killed.
Many in the Church today — ministers, workers and flocks alike — have traded reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God (the Bible) for newspaper/Christian literature/secular literature reading; attendance of Weekly Bible Study sessions for business/work/overtime on such days; studying (learning) to show themselves approved unto God for leisure, sleep, unprofitable conversation, shopping expeditions and round-the clock pursuit of the mundane. They have also traded listening to the Bible in cassettes, audio and video cassettes of the word for watching worldly television programmes and the like (unfortunately).
But consider these injunctions and assertions of the infallible Word of God – In John 6:35 “…Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst…” In verses 51-56, 63, Jesus lays more emphasis on His assertions. See equally John 8:31-32; Colossians 3:16; 2 Timothy 2:15; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:1-3. What a great damage or hindrance they have hitherto done or caused themselves!
How then would one build in faith, assurance of salvation, forgiveness of confessed sins, if not by reading, meditating and working the written or spoken Word regularly into the fabric of ones mind (heart)? Consider Psalm 1:1-3; Romans 10:17.
How would prayer be as effective as it should be, if it does not contain the ingredient of God’s Word, and how would that Word be part of that prayer if the Word is not known? (Consider 2 Corinthians 10:3-4; Ephesians 6:17; Matthew 4:1-11).
How else can one grow in grace, having one’s mind sharpened to be of immense use to God, if one does not hallow and eat what God hallows and uses? (cons. Psalm 138:2; Jer. 15:16; Ezekiel 2:8; Joshua 1:8).
*Insufficient Lively /Aggressive Witness To The Truth
WITNESS in this context means, testifying to what one has seen, experienced or known, with the view to making the hearer benefit or take advantage of the testifier’s testimony (e.g. Luke 1:1-4; John 5:32,33,35; Acts 1:7-8; 4:19-20; 1 John 4:1-40).
Insufficient lively/aggressive witness to the truth therefore means that the many Christians are yet to massively and lively testify of what they have known or experienced about Jesus, the Bible, repentance and forgiveness, the times in which we live, etc. They are also yet to massively testify to what they have seen or experienced which the Lord is doing today. And this is indeed dross.
But we find that massive and aggressive witness is part of the instruments the Lord uses to make His will known and bring about whatever programme He has drawn, hence this verse in one of the famous songs of David; “the Lord gave the word: great was the company that published it” (Psalm 68:11).
When of old He concluded to destroy the world of Noah’s time and informed Noah, the man went ahead to inform all and sundry (Genesis 6:5-17 and 2 Peter 2:5). When He decided to visit Sodom and Gomorrah of old, He informed Lot and Lot informed his relatives (as He bade him) (Genesis 19:12-14).
When Israel was to be liberated from Egyptian bondage, the Lord informed Moses and made him tell his fellow Jews and the king of Egypt (Exodus 3:9-10; Exodus 4:21-23, 29-30; Exodus. 5:1-3). When His people were to be taken captives by the Babylonians for their sins, He made the prophets to know and announce it to the people, peradventure they repented to avoid the catastrophe and the prophets did as they were bidden.
When the whole of Nineveh was either to be spoilt or spared (whichever they would choose), the Lord informed prophet Jonah and forced him to tell it to the Ninevites (Jonah 1:1-3:4 ). After Jesus had died vicariously on the cross and risen from the dead for the remission of the sins and justification of all who will repent and believe, He commanded his disciples to go and witness to this truth all over the world, and they did (Acts 1:7-8; 4:33; 8:4).
How on earth is it that many Christians, especially, those in the Watchman Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement, sit with their hands crossed and their months shut, yet they know of the time now in heaven; that judgment is determined; that God has placed His name, word, Spirit and power in their midst, as well as His 3-fold end-time objective/project of (i) raising a great army of believers for an imminent great harvest of souls; (ii) bringing about a great revival in the entire Church and (iii) preparing the body of Christ for the rapture? What a hindering cankerworm this is, which must be repented of and cast away !
*Not Taking Time To Be Holy
Centuries ago, a song-writer, William D. Longstaff, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit penned down the song/hymn titled, “Take Time To Be Holy”, detailing a number of actions involved in living holily. We know that there is no believer who will live holily, who does not take time to do so, even if the one has been sanctified and baptized with the Holy Spirit. It is hereby recommended that all watchmen sing this song daily, pondering the message in each line of the song.
Today, it has been observed that many in the Movement are far away from living holily, because they will not take time to do so. This is yet another form of dross that has hindered the people’s progress or favour from the Lord.
How can they live holily, who do not take time to be influenced by the countenance of the Lord through tarrying in His presence and beholding regularly the mirror of His word? (cp. 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:17,19).
How can they be holy, who will not take time to review their actions, inactions, reactions, words, thoughts, behaviour, at the end of every incident? (cp Lam. 3:40; Matt. 7:5; 1 Cor. 11:28; 2 Cor. 13:5 ). How can they live holily, who will not take time to avoid bad companies? (cp. 1 Corinthians 15:33; Exodus 34:12; Psalm 1:1; 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14).
How can they be holy, who will not take time to remember that they are Christians in every given situation—during business transactions; in the course of their work for their employers; in the course of their relationship with their employees; while they are relating with their wives, husbands, children, parents, relations, friends, neighbours and colleagues, so as to guard against sin?
How can they live holily, who will not take their time to pull their eyes away from seductive sights? (cp Job 31:1 ). How can they be holy, who are ashamed of Jesus and will not testify to their sinner-relatives, friends or neighbours that they are now Christ’s? ( Luke 9:26; Romans 1:16 ).
How will they be holy, who will not take time to repent and confess obvious sins and reconcile with wives, husbands, children, parents, masters, servants, relations, neighbours or colleagues, whom they have offended? (cp 1 John 1:9 cp. Acts 23:1-5). How can they live holily, who do not take time to be challenged by the lives of Godly men and women around them? ( Phil. 4:9; Jn. 13:12-17 ).
How can they be holy, who do not care about what people say about them among believers and among those outside the kingdom? (cp 1 Tim. 3:7; 3 Jn. 12 ). How can they be holy who do not take time to ensure that they do not love money? (cp 1 Tim. 6:10-11 ).
How can they be holy, who do not bother about exaggerations, small lies and much talking? ( Prov. 10:19). How can they live holily, who will not take time to carry out the outstanding restitutions, including marriage restitutions, though they know that they themselves or their partners have been married before? (cp Gen. 20:6-7; Matt. 19:1-9 ). How can they be holy, who will not take time to seek counsel on these matters, though they are aware that “where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors, there is safety? (Proverb 11:14; 24:6).
How can they be holy, who now take great delight in decorating their homes with television sets and home video equipment from which they daily decorate their own hearts and those of their children, servants and relatives with all the polluting and hellish programmes and films of this sin-filled world?
- ALL THEY, WHO WILL NOT TAKE TIME TO BE HOLY ARE PERMANENTLY BARRING THEMSELVES FROM THE KINGDOM OF GOD (cp Hebrews 12:14; Matthew 5:20).