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"I Don't Like Your Method!"
I RECENTLY HAD a phone conversation with my youngest sister. We hadn't talked or seen each other in 25 years! She had since become a Christian (I thank God) and we talked about the ministry which the Lord has entrusted to me. After reading some of our ACMTC tracts and booklets, she let me know, in no uncertain terms, that she did not like my method of ministering. "I DON'T LIKE YOUR METHOD!" she argued. I asked her if I was in error or taught false doctrine. She stated again that she thought the way I executed the Gospel was wrong.
What really bothered her was the AGGRESSIVE way that I (and all of us here at ACMTC) preach and teach. The uniforms also bothered her. My explanation about different callings and different styles of delivery didn't matter to her. I never did find out which church she attends, but it seems, at least according to her statements, that her church's program is the only safe way to present the Gospel.
I did remind my dear sister that sitting in church where all is well is not the same as ministering to the raw and wild world. By the leading of God, I have been to almost fifty countries (some 6 times each) and have been in the presence of militant Communists, Muslims, homosexuals, New Agers, Hindus, drug-crazed drug dealers, and more--who all carry lethal weapons; yet I myself have remained unarmed (but I have the Holy Ghost!). That is quite different than hearing a nice church sermon, in a nice church, in a nice Kentucky city, by a nice church pastor, once or twice a week. I've been there, done that, and it's nothing like being a true aggressive witness for Christ.
Just what kind of METHOD is "church approved"? And who approves it? Who sets the standards for evangelizing and missionary work? How did Jesus go about His Gospel work? Was He merely "passive," as my sister adamantly exclaimed, or was He also "AGGRESSIVE"? How does the Holy Bible portray Him to be? Did Jesus let the religious men run over Him or did He stand up and aggressively contend for the faith? Did He aggressively rebuke sin? Did He aggressively attack the strongholds of both religion and worldliness? Did He aggressively cast out demons or did He let demons torment the poor defenseless souls of His day? Did He aggressively preach and teach in the streets or just remain comfortable by preaching and teaching in the synagogues every sabbath? Face it, people--JESUS WAS DEFINITELY AGGRESSIVE!!
As Jesus preached His AGGRESSIVE MESSAGE, He lived a holy life. Did Jesus preach righteousness to the crowds and then go about visiting the bars (pubs) and the houses of ill repute (whorehouses), gluttonizing with the profane and rebellious? Or did He separate Himself from their sins? Sure He moved among the sinners of His day, but we can trust that both His message and His methods were Godly.
Did you know that when churches get filled with THE HOLY GHOST AND FIRE, it is CERTAIN to manifest itself through field and street preaching. Amen! I'll bear witness, my dear readers. The fire will jump the line; the river of blessings will overflow its banks. The souls drowning in the sea of iniquity will scream for help and the dying and dead will be raised up. Praise God!!
So flamed the first-century Apostles. I reminded my dear sister that the early Christians--Holy Ghost filled Christians --conquered the Roman Empire entirely; not by physical force, but by Spirit Force. They were not content to "play church." NO! They went out into the streets, fields, towns, cities, nations...in the Holy name of Jesus Christ the Lord, and they won converts. You know the Scriptures. The early Christians were severely persecuted, but they kept on the offensive. It was the dull "religious" men who hid out in buildings (churches) to maintain an air of supposed respectability. Not so with the true holy soldiers of Christ!
Did you know that at one time, it was against the law of the land in Europe to preach outside a church? Have we now forgotten what John Huss, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Bunyan, John Wesley and others did in their generations? Read-up on their lives. They were persecuted for obeying Jesus. John Bunyan, for example, spent years in prison for street preaching without a license. A license? When did Jesus ever say anything about a man-approved license?
Life is not easy for the Christian who obeys God. Have we soon forgotten that Jesus, the greatest field and street preacher, said, "I came not to send peace on earth, but a sword." A "sword," General Jim? Yes, a double-edged sword that cuts asunder. And have we also forgotten these words of Jesus: "I am come to send fire on the earth..." Fire? Yes, dull churchgoer. "HEAVEN'S FIRE WILL BURN THE HELL OUT OF YOU!!"
My God, my dear God, this holy boldness and fire is WANTING in the pulpits all across the earth! The smell of fire and brimstone have been replaced with the seemingly sweet perfume of compromise and worldliness. The Holy Ghost FIRE is missing in both prayer and praise. We need God's fire. Indeed, God's fire would finally do away with the system of church that man has so foolishly made. For how could a soul remain churchified and spiritually stale if they are "on fire for God" in spirit and truth?
When souls obtain the uncontainable blessing of Heaven's fire, they go forth to seek for souls to share this blessing with, and they cannot be restrained. Wherever a lost soul is found, they go--whether in the field or street, hedge or highway; whether in the marketplace or in dens of iniquity. The burden is upon the Spirit-filled Christian, and the message of redemption must be delivered to the land of the damned. Spirit-filled Christians go straightforward to make sure the work gets done.
In my 34+ years in Christ's service, I've seen and heard about many methods for spreading the Gospel. Here is my Bible-based conclusion: WITHOUT GOD'S SPIRIT, ALL METHODS ARE WORTHLESS.
Most church methods have to do with "fellowship" functions or church gatherings. Yes, Christians should gather regularly for fellowship to learn the Word of God. However, they need Spirit-filled pastors, not an entertainer, a humanist, a salesman, or a pervert. And they need to do more than just "gather" and sit around in churches or auditoriums. Christians need to combine their efforts and aggressively spread the Word of God to a lost world. (Ask for our new booklet, Ekklesia Living, to learn about the most effective way for Christians to live.)
The disciples of Jesus, along with their disciples, and their disciples, and so on, adopted ways that may have seemed unusual according to the status quo (the norm). And though their methods were not necessarily "approved," they reached souls with the warning about Hell and the invitation to salvation and Holy Ghost baptism. Amen.
I just love the way that General William Booth and his wife (and children) formed up the Salvation Army in the 1880's. They had a method that got the job done. Many, many dear saints of God thru the centuries used methods that met the needs of the day. I have a shelf full of biographies on such Christian men and women who did the world a great service by their particular Spirit-led method of spreading the Gospel message. It was the Holy Ghost fire of God that kept them on fire and made them firebrands that drove demons and devils to tremble and run. God gave them "the sword that cuts and the fire that burns"--cutting, burning, yet saving to the uttermost. No stuffy church-fluff here. NO! Let there be none! The whole world is perishing for want of HOLY FIRE.
My dear readers, most churches today are not concerned with the lost, the sick, the diseased, or the demonically oppressed. Most churches in America sit idle and empty during the week while sinners die all around them. Pastors are the problem. Dead in formalities, sickly sentimental, hypocritical, half-hearted, wretched, time-serving (worshipers of their schedules)--these describe today's pastors. Some pastors make it to stardom to become mega-Church gurus who live like kings and queens in the shadows of the damned. Some just live average lives. All in Churchland live without the fulness of God's Spirit and the true aggressive motivation for saving souls.
Read the accounts of the Acts of the Apostles. FIRE beckoned both sinner and saint--the former to his knees; the latter to a closer walk with God. No dry bones in Christ's early rag-tag army. No sir! The Pentecostal FIRE was too HOT for anyone to remain like a lifeless skeleton in the sand. God's fire ignites men to ACTION!
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My dear sister scoffed the idea of the printed page, the cassette and video, but I must say that God has raised up many effective ministries through such tools of evangelism and missions work. The publication of tracts, booklets, periodicals, books, etc.; the distribution of tapes, CD's, videos, DVD's, etc.; and preaching on radio--all these are fantastic practical and economical methods for getting the Gospel message out around the world.
When I was in church years ago, we had revivals quite often, because the "saints" needed to be revived. So much time, energy, and money went into the endless cycle of revival after revival, all to make the "saints" regain their fire for God once again, and again, and to hopefully make a crowded church full of attentive hearers (and faithful tithes payers, of course). True, we saw the fire burn--and fire usually attracts lots of people--but in a matter of months the "saints'" fire had gone down to a smoldering coal. Cold death once again gripped the church. People used to tell me and my wife that our fire would eventually go out, like theirs; it was just a matter of time. Well, that time has never come upon us! Our fire, His fire, still burns in our bones.
The denomination called "Methodist" was born out of John and Charles Wesley's "method" of ministry. There are plenty of books available about the "method" of the "Methodists." They were real Christian soldiers at that time. In fact, during the early days of America, there was a classic saying about the circuit riders (Methodist missionaries). It was said that on terrible, treacherous, miserable days of bad weather, on days of dreadful rain or snow, that one could only find two living beings outside: the crow, and the Methodist preacher on horseback (who traveled through any difficulty to spread the Gospel). Methodists once had FIRE! I guess I received some of that fire, for after all, I gave my heart to Jesus in a Methodist church when I was sixteen. That church was not on fire for God (that was in 1961, mind you), but the Spirit of God did compel me to get saved (God literally drew me down to the altar). I got the Holy Ghost Pentecostal baptism in fire 10 years later. I had been backslidden but I returned to the Lord and re-dedicated my life to Jesus in 1971 in Montana (not Kentucky). Anyway, the Methodist Church of today certainly needs the fire of God to burn within it.
Friends, if the Word of God is not burning within your hearts, then memorizing Scriptures or perfecting your style of composition is meaningless. All your religious activities mean nothing without the fire of God. The Bible said of Jesus that never a man spake like Him. His Words came from His heart, not His head. He had the FIRE.
The New Testament writers wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. They did not earn a Ph.D. or even a Master's degree. They did not go by the approval of man but by the approval of God. They simply had the FIRE. They had the approval of God.
Christians must be aggressive living epistles. I reminded my sister that neither Jesus, nor His disciples, nor the early Christians owned a New Testament (and very few had direct access to what we call the Old Testament). They made the New Testament. They lived the New Testament. Just what was their method? They were living epistles, full of fire; they were pure, virtuous, AGGRESSIVE for the truth and eager to spread the Gospel. They were not content to stay in the assemblies, even though they had house gatherings and bases of operation. The early Christians took the offensive, with the Word bursting forth from their lips and letters (TRACTS!) as they evangelized, missionized, baptized...all in the name of Jesus Christ the Lord.
It is the Holy Ghost that leads God's ministers into certain methods for who they are and what they are called to do. Our methods must be Spirit-led. It is literally frightening today with the immense lack of Spirit-anointing upon most of the printed materials I receive. MOST materials are religious, cold, dead, and even have a business-like style. They're fancy, but empty. Money does not equal favor with God. Those who sit in the editorial chairs probably wouldn't recognize the Holy Spirit if He was to appear in Person right in front of their faces.
So much being passed off as prophetic and apostolic is merely dead religion. God, send the fire! Is all this "dead letter" due to a lack of Biblical knowledge? No. One problem is that many Christians believe that ALL this "SWORD AND FIRE" stuff that I write about has passed away. It ended at the close of the first century, they say. THAT'S THEIR PROBLEM! The Spirit of God is still sending His FIRE and SWORD today, every day, to those who will believe and receive.
Others may not think that it has all passed away, but they still don't live in the fire of God's Spirit. They live in dull comfort. They're HELLBOUND too, especially since they know better.
Do not all these religious speakers and all these religious writings show a lack of holy inspiration and holy living? All this dazzling eloquence in the pulpit and in the editorial offices does not convict the sinner of his/her sins but pleases the flesh. IT'S TIME FOR REVOLUTION! Thank God, we have seen God lead dozens and dozens of church folks into revolution. They were Christless while going to church, and now they have come into the marvelous light of God's Spirit.
Years ago I did a series of teachings on "The Other Side of Jesus," contrasting His two natures--His passive side and His aggressive side. Most church folks like to point only to His passive side and neglect His aggressive side. Please read the Gospels slowly without bias and see if you do not discover that BOTH sides are His LOVE sides.
I realize that God calls certain men and women into the ministry. We find this in Ephesians 4: "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers" (v. 11). But did you know that the word "pastor" is found only ONE time in the entire New Testament? Yet everyone feels like the role of "pastor" is the all-in-all! The word "pastor" literally means "shepherd." May I ask how many "pastors" live with their sheep like the shepherds in Jesus' day? Why do you think He is called the True Shepherd? Because He lives constantly with His lambs and sheep! The natural shepherds of Jesus' day were always with their sheep, spending long periods of time with them in the field and in the sheepfold (enclosures).
For some reason, the churches look at the missionaries as weird, second-class Christians. True prophets are not counted for anything either. Somehow, prophets have passed away. Meanwhile, evangelists are glorified money-raisers!--for the pastors, of course.
Street preaching is looked down upon with disdain, and field work, as stated already, is second place to home/church work. Aren't souls important to God ALL OVER THE WORLD? Why insist that "church" is the answer to all of life's problems? The church system is NOT God's system. Besides, most church folk are lazy and just too fat to witness for Christ.
In Proverbs 11:30 we read, "He (or she) who wins souls is wise." Soul-wining is an honor, not a shame! We are merely the witnessing instruments to share God's "Good News," but the Holy Ghost does the convicting, and hopefully, if the soul is willing, the miraculous converting. We sow the seeds of truth and the Holy Spirit brings forth the desired results.
Making converts is a wonderful Christ-inspired task, but making disciples is equally important. I said DISCIPLES, not just churchgoers. We've got plenty of churchgoers. Too many. But do we see real Holy Ghost filled and Holy Ghost led disciples? Only a few! Very few!
Churches spend too much time on INTENSIVE ministry--getting converts to pay tithes to the church and be faithful to all church functions (which are usually silly and fruitless!). Churches do not spend enough time on EXTENSIVE ministry--getting the Word of God out around the world. I am aware that "saints" need encouraging and exhorting, sometimes on a one-to-one basis. However, precious souls all around the world are basically neglected while men and women play "church." When was the last time (or even the FIRST time) that your pastor went out and did street preaching or street witnessing? When was the last time he passed out tracts or participated in some similar type of ministering?
Our methods should be the outflow of our lives in the Spirit of God. E.M. Bounds once said, "Men are God's method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men...what the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use!" Amen, brother Bounds! The Church is filled with DEAD MATTER called converts while God is short of firebrands (read Ezekiel 22:30). If we are led by the Spirit, if we are abiding in the Spirit as living epistles, then our methods will be the natural outgrowth of God's AGGRESSIVE message within us.
One writer once stated, "Our bookstores are full of books on HOW to do things--but people don't know WHAT they should be doing." People are confused. And the Church, for the most part, is blind to the needs of souls. The Church needs "bifocal lenses": Christians need a vision for both the near (their immediate surroundings) and the distant (the rest of the world). God cares for the individual; yet He has a "world vision" too (John 3:16). Individuals make up the world. Let us be AGGRESSIVE Christian soldiers, standing boldly for the truth, taking Jesus to ALL the world. Amen.
~General James Green
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