Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Leashing Your Inner Televangelist

By Allen White 

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ Matthew 7:21-23

I began ministry around the fall of the great televangelists in the late 80’s. Personally, I believe in the separation of church and television, but I know that God has used TV to influence many lives.

What I saw from these TV preachers was a great dichotomy in their lives. Their public, televised lives were flawless. They advocated lofty truths. They had great expectations of financial acknowledgement for their teaching. And, supposed we would be richly blessed in return. (I never gave, so I’ll never know – but I have my suspicions). Their private lives, however, were much worse than any of their God-fearing followers.

These were Christian celebrities who adopted a celebrity lifestyle. Did they deserve more than the local pastor who actually cares about you?

The deception came when these televangelists saw results in their ministries despite the fact that there was so much rot in their lives. Was God overlooking their bad behavior because they did so much good?

Now, I’m not going to judge whether these TV preachers are actually saved or not. Only God has the ability to determine that. The big question here is for you and me – are we sure that God has saved us?

We can give our time, talent and treasure to God and yet, if we haven’t given Him our lives, then He will say, “I never knew you.” We could encourage others and do a lot of good works, but unless our names are written in the book (Daniel 12:1; Revelation 3:5), we’re not in. There are a lot of well-meaning churchgoers who are actually far from God, yet they think they’re close.

Salvation is more than getting goose bumps over doing good works. You can get a TV show and do that. If you are saved, then God is first in your life. If you do good things, even if God answers your prayers, unless you’ve committed your heart and life to Jesus Christ (Romans 10:8-10), you’re not saved.

Doing good can be a God-thing, but doing good can also become a god. When we depend on other’s approval at what a great job we’re doing serving others, then ministry has become idolatry. Serving the church should never come ahead of serving God.

Where is your heart today? Do you believe that God cares more about you than what you can do for Him? God desires a relationship with you. He doesn’t really need your help. While your relationship with God will lead to God using you to help others, being used is not necessarily a sign of salvation. As one pastor put it, “Jesus plus nothing equals freedom.”

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