There is a passage of Scripture found in the New Testament that every single pastor, preacher, evangelist, or any other member of the five-fold ministry office needs to etch upon their hearts in these last days. The truths contained within this admonition will not only fortify us fellow ministers against failure, but they will also help guarantee us hearing the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
King James Bible
It goes without saying that we minister in a day of corrupted ministries. All around us we see the results of vain pursuits, selfish motives, and man-centered dreams. Whenever a minister’s primary emphasis is placed upon a method rather than the message, the consequences are sure to be disastrous. Preachers that allow their conduct to be dictated by the desires of the people they are speaking to, rather than the call of the One Who has sent them, invite corruption into their ministries. The offspring of this modern-day “secular gospel” is a church that focuses much on entertainment, money, and celebrity.
The definition of entertainment is, “an amusement or diversion provided especially by performers. Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show.” I’ve often wondered what the Apostle Paul would say if he cast his eyes upon the pulpits of so many of today’s churches. What would he think of the show that regularly takes place there, in the holy pulpit of God? How would Paul comment on the spectacle, the performance, and the extravaganza? These are questions we need to be asking ourselves.
In this late hour of humanity, when darkness is covering the Earth and gross darkness is covering the people, many churches are jostling for position on this very cursed Earth. Success in ministry is now judged by the size of our dramas and the grandeur of our spectacles. Jesus once endearingly referred to us as a “little flock,” but churchgrowth publications now regularly publicize a yearly ranking of the “fastest growing churches.” Pastors are told to project all the Scriptures on the screen, because it takes too long for everyone to turn to them in their Bible. It’s revolving door ministry; get ‘em in and get ‘em out, like cattle. All the while, carnal churchgoers want motivational speakers instead of prophets, coffee houses instead of prayer rooms, and props instead of pulpits. If you can’t preach without a prop, maybe you shouldn’t be preaching.
Becoming more and more sensationalistic is the goal of a whole lot of ministers. Sensationalism is defined as “the use of strongly emotional subject matter, or wildly dramatic style, language, or artistic expression, that is intended to thrill or excite.” It is also the “preoccupation with or exploitation of what is sensational. The ethical doctrine that feeling is the only criterion of good.” Was not a warning issued to us in regard to these things:
1 John 2:16
16 Practically everything that goes on in the world — wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important — has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him.
The Message Bible
1 John 2:16
16 Here is what people who belong to this world do. They try to satisfy what their sinful natures want to do. They long for what their sinful eyes look at. They brag about what they have and what they do. All of this comes from the world. It doesn’t come from the Father.
New International Reader’s Version
We all know that money is needed for ministry. It is a necessary tool that, when coupled together with Godly wisdom, has the potential to produce great expansion for the Kingdom of Heaven. On the other hand, the quest for and the chasing after money has probably been the single greatest destructive element to many a preacher’s ministries. It is particularly amazing to me that such a large number of today’s pastors and preachers have run unchecked and unbridled in this crucial area. There is a reason a large majority of our spirit-filled, Word of Faith churches have been labeled with such descriptions as money hungry, greedy, and extravagant. The reason is because it’s true.
In a money-centered ministry, preachers have distorted and altered solid Bible doctrine in order to get their hands on more and more money. A large part of this practice amounts to nothing more than the worldly tradition of “indulgences.” During the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church claimed the power to excuse or release people from all or part of their suffering through the selling of indulgences. The scandal of the selling of indulgences was a primary factor in the bringing about of the Protestant Reformation. Yet we find ourselves here today with many Word of Faith preachers advocating and practicing the exact same thing. “Send in your money to get healed,” they say. “Give to get someone saved. Give so that your debt may be miraculously cancelled. Get in on the hundred-fold return. Sow your seed toward your need.” It is absolute, unconditional heresy rooted in greed.
18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
King James Bible
Peter told Simon that his money would perish with him because he thought he could exchange money for the things of God. I can’t remember the last time I heard any mainstream preacher even mention this passage of Scripture. Perhaps the reason for this is that their ministry would implode financially if they actually trusted the Lord for their survival instead of the almighty greenback. Was not a warning issued to us in regard to these things:
1 John 2:16
16 For all these worldly things, these evil desires — the craze for sex, the ambition to buy everything that appeals to you, and the pride that comes from wealth and importance — these are not from God. They are from this evil world itself.
The Living Bible
1 John 2:16
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
New Living Translation
Celebrity is defined as, “a famous or celebrated person. An individual of great renown, fame, or wide recognition; a well-publicized person.” A celebrity is someone who gets media attention and who is famously recognized in a society. Unfortunately, this has become the ambition of many today. Some churches even host secular singing groups while their pastors gallivant around with business tycoons and politicians. Tune in to any major religious network, if you can stand it, and witness the anemic lack of true anointed preaching. The programming line-up of today now consists of talk shows, cooking classes, rock videos, and nutrition experts amongst an endless parade of gaudy jewelry and moneychangers in the temple. How it must grieve the heart of the Holy Ghost when he looks upon the dreadful conditions so prevalent today.
3 John 9 states, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” The Amplified Bibles says that Diotrephes liked to take the lead among them, and to put himself first. John also wrote that Diotrephes also would not recognize church authority and that he refused to accept suggestions or listen to others. This dangerous way of thinking has been around the church for a long time, and ministers are still falling victim to it today. John said that the only way to deal with this type of minister is to call attention to what they are doing, and to warn the people.
Entertainment ministry, money ministry, and celebrity ministry. These are three crucial areas that the remnant church must speak to today. We cannot stay silent or hold our peace when it comes to these potentially devastating topics, even though most ministers consider them to be hot button topics. Was not a warning issued to us in regard to these things:
1 John 2:15-17
15-17 Stop considering the world precious with the result that you love it, and the things in the world. If anyone as a habit of life is considering the world precious and is therefore loving it, there does not exist the Father’s love [i.e., the love possessed by the Father] in him. Because everything which is in the world, the passionate desire of the flesh [the totally depraved nature], and the passionate desire of the eyes, and the insolent and empty assurance which trusts in the things that serve the creature life, is not from the Father as a source but is from the world as a source. And the world is being caused to pass away, and its passionate desire. But the one who keeps on habitually doing the will of God abides forever
Wuest Expanded New Testament
In closing, there is a verse found in Psalms 11:3 that serves as an appropriate capstone to all that has been set forth in this article as well as helping to fortify the remnant preacher: “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”