Psalm 51:1-13; 24:3,4; 2 Timothy 2:15; Jeremiah 6:14; 8:7-9,11; 48:10; Ezekiel 13:17,18,22,23; Isaiah 5:20,23; 2 Samuel 1:6-16; 4:10
The Lord wants believers to grow in understanding of Scripture and spiritual experiences. A close examination of the life of David shows he possessed genuine salvation and sanctification experiences, and a heart that truly followed after God. His prayer in Psalm 51 reveals that he had a proper understanding of salvation and how to obtain the experience. Like David, we must not minimize sin by calling it error, mistake or human weakness as we preach or reach out to sinners with the gospel. We should reveal their depraved spiritual state and helplessness from the word of God and make them understand that without inward and outward transformation, no one can claim to be genuinely converted.
As soon as David sinned against God, he came under conviction, sorrow, internal turmoil and suffering. Also, when he got the news of Saul’s death, he did not rejoice over it, though he persecuted and wanted him dead. It is not God’s will for any soul to perish; therefore, prayers that centre on the death of enemies or persecutors reveal the spiritual condition of the heart of the petitioner. If we desire to get to heaven, we must have “clean hands” and “a pure heart.” And our dispositions, motives and actions must be guided by God’s word. Outward religion without inward righteousness is vain.
The word of God is given to prepare us for life, ministry, heaven and our eternal rewards. Therefore, every passage of the Scripture should contribute to our spiritual growth and progress. We must be faithful to every aspect of God’s word. The Lord wants us to respond appropriately to passages of the Scripture that bring conviction, make us sad or give us comfort and encouragement. We cannot entertain our hearers when the Word threatens them; and we cannot overlook words of warnings, caution and judgment in God’s word. Those who make light of the word of God by modifying or misinterpreting it to suit their selfish interests and that of others are not faithful to the Word. Shying away from or hiding the truth from sinners and backsliders in order not to make them fearful, hurting and sorrowful is deceit.
“Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood”. The word of God should be preached to convince every category of sinners and make them run to the Arms of the Saviour. Ezekiel was commanded to “set [his] face against the daughters of [his] people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them…”. The Lord wants us to preach His word faithfully, fervently and forcefully. But those who seek recognition, promotion, praise or appreciation at the expense of His word will suffer endless agony.
1. THE SUDDEN DEATH OF AN AMALEKITE DECEIVER
2 Samuel 1:14,15; Psalm 55:17,23
The world and the church of the end-time have no respect for the anointing on leadership. The people of the world criticize, destroy, impeach and conspire to unseat their leaders; they write, dramatize and demonstrate to destroy them. Sadly, the church does the same thing. Once a faithful minister speaks against an Herod, a Jezebel who are kill at will or a Zacchaeus who defrauds other people in the church; if he speaks against fornication and adultery without fear or favour, people who do not care about anointing on leadership will try to defame and get rid of him. David’s question to the Amalekite applies to every one of us today: “How wast thou not afraid to stretch forth thine hand to destroy the LORD’S anointed?” Sinners or so-called believers who have no respect for God and His anointed servants will incur divine wrath. And those who threaten to destroy leadership with modern technology like the internet or social media should know that God is greater than everyone. He will not allow anyone to destroy His church because “…upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Although we might be more lettered or expose than leaders in our country, company, community or church, we must respect them because they are anointed, called and commissioned. People who conspire against leadership and try to destroy the church will experience sudden death, like the Amalekite, if they fail to repent because the Church is precious in God’s sight.
God has raised leaders, evangelists, pastors and preachers in every nation for the salvation of souls. But strangers whose mission is to deceive, distract, defile and destroy them should know that God, the righteous Judge, is still on the throne. He “shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction: bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days”. Seeking the praise of men without transformed character, watchfulness, honesty and focus on heaven is dangerous. We must ponder on the possible consequences on our life, family and future. The Amalekite praise-seeker expected a reward but got death; he was looking for promotion but got perdition. He was looking for praise but got punishment; he was looking for monetary reward but got misery. He was looking for riches but got the wrath of God; he was looking for dignity but got damnation; He was looking for benefit and favour but got brimstone and fire; he was looking for exceeding support but got eternal suffering. To avoid a similar fate, we must avoid the company of people who backbite against leadership to serve their own selfish interests.
2. THE SPIRITUAL DEADNESS OF AMBITIOUS DECEIVERS
Ephesians 5:14; 1 Timothy 5:6; Jude 12; Revelation 3:1
Ambitious and deceitful praise seekers are not conscious of proper decorum. When a king, leader or an exalted man of God dies, those who are spiritually dead have no feeling or good thoughts. So, they shamefully pursue their sinful ambition until they meet their doom. Ambitious praise-seekers are dead in their spirit, soul and understanding. Anyone who lives in pleasure or labours with ulterior motive, wanting the praise of men is reckoned dead while he still lives. “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” So, any ambition that is contrary to heaven, holiness or purity of heart and total transformation must be rejected by believers. Judgment awaits sinners and backsliders who take God’s warnings for granted and seek to be conspicuous in the church for pecuniary motives without transformation of heart. In order not to hinder the progress of God’s work and the salvation of souls, we must be truly converted. As the Lord is opening doors of opportunities for His church in these last days, we should not allow ambitious deceivers who do not understand the cross, the gospel, holiness and heaven to hinder us from faithfully serving the Lord.
3. THE SECOND DEATH OF APOSTATE DECEIVERS
2 Timothy 3:13; Psalm 9:5,17; Revelation 14:10,11; 19:20; 20:10,14,15; 21:8
Apostates who seek to secretly destroy the church or the Lord’s anointed with conspiracy are strangers to God’s kingdom because their names are not written in the book of life. They shall be “turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” Adamant, chronic, unrepentant and determined praise-seekers degenerate to become apostates. The Pharisees sought men’s praise at all cost, even at the expense of their own salvation. Many end-time miracle-workers seek to have men’s admiration at the expense of their souls and those of millions of other people. Seeking man’s praise and loosing God’s praise is foolishness; and it is the major cause of eternal damnation. Why would anyone seek the praise of men and lose his soul? Why will anyone seek to destroy a man or woman, a ministry or a church and lose his soul through a long, unending eternity? Repent and turn to the Lord today while the door of mercy is still open and the voice of the Spirit still calls.