Mal 3:1-6
1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.
6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

In verse five, the Lord says that He would be a swift witness against the false swearers. This term simply means to lie, to deceive, to be injurious in one’s testimony against another (false accusers), to give a false oath, or to engage in falsehood in general. David uses the same word translated as “false” here in a prayer he prayed to the Lord in Psalm 120:2, where the word is translated as “lying”.

Ps 120:2
2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue.

Simply put, the Lord Jesus Christ taught His followers not to swear at all, but to be honest enough to let their yea be yea and their nay nay. A Christian must be a man or woman of their word.

Matt 5:33-37
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (KJV)

Jesus said that in the simplicity of the Christian walk, our words must be our bond. A Christian’s standards must be higher in all ways than the standards that the world holds. He said that if we have to swear concerning an issue, we are removing ourselves from the simplicity of the Truth that is in Jesus Christ. There shouldn’t be a need for a Christian to differentiate between what is true or what is not true. Every word the Christian speaks should be spoken in truth. People should be able to say “If brother so and so or sister such and such said it, it must be true.”

We are to be a light to the world. We are to be peculiarly different than the rest of the world is. We have so much of the leaven of the world in us that we often reflect the world in our walk with the Lord. We tell “white lies” to one another in jest, and mislead each other as we joke with one another, and we think that we are just having fun. We don’t mean any harm in what we are doing, and are largely ignorant of the damage we do to our credibility with one another.

I personally know some brothers and sisters who I have to question a couple of times to find out if they are telling the truth or if they are “Just kidding”. I don’t think any less of them than I do anyone else. I am just stating a fact. And often, when I am around them, I find myself getting involved in the same type of levity.
I AM NOT THROWING STONES, BECAUSE I HAVE BEEN GUILTY OF THE SAME THING FAR TOO OFTEN. The Word of God tells us of the fruit such jesting produces:

Prov 26:18-19
18 Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death,
19 Is the man who deceives his neighbor, and says, "I was only joking!"

We see it every day…The point is, a Christian should be a person whose word is his or her bond. Our reputation should be that if we said it, we can be believed.

The Lord says that He would be a swift witness against the false swearers in His Temple.

The pulpits of America are filled with comedians and entertainers, because they want to “reach the people”.

The mentality in the church is that if it works in the world, it can work in the church. We need to do things that will catch the people’s interest. The entertainer that stands in the pulpit will tell the church to lighten up. He will tell them not to be so serious. He will tell a few jokes in a way that the people will know it is a joke only after the punch line is delivered. His motive is that everyone will be put at ease, and will be more “receptive” to the truth that is being delivered.

Levity has invaded the church. Compromise has been the result of this levity.

Preachers may argue: “We have to show the world that it is fun being a Christian” to justify the levity that they promote. But if a Christian is filled with the fruit of the Spirit, Joy will manifest itself in the Christian’s life, regardless of the present circumstance.

Happiness is being peddled in the church as a substitute for Joy.

Christians flock to the entertainer’s churches, and are thrilled with the show from the pulpit, and become “happy” at the service. Happiness is only a temporary state of mind, and most often manifests itself through meeting fleshly desires.

I am not saying it is wrong to be happy. The Greek word translated as “Blessed” can also be translated as “happy”. Jesus says that when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, we are blessed, or “happy”.

The reason we can be happy during those times, is because we know we are on the right track, and in good company, because the prophets and the men of God in the past were also persecuted in the same manner.
It makes a true child of God happy when he or she gives of their substance to meet another person’s need.

When we are walking in the Spirit, and not after the flesh, we can be happy, and that happiness, accompanied with our joy in the Spirit is a powerful combination in a Christian’s life. But happiness that satisfies the desires of the flesh is a temporary state of mind, and it is a poor substitute for the abiding Blessedness a child of God can know if he or she remains in Christ.

When those desires of the flesh are not being fulfilled, happiness is replaced with some other work of the flesh, like anger, sadness, hatred or frustration. Joy is an abiding characteristic of the Christian’s life, regardless of the outward

The flesh is at enmity with the Spirit of God. I don’t believe God anoints people to lie (even with “harmless” jokes) in such a way as to lead sinners to the Lord. What is not Truth is a lie.

The Word of God says that we need to have the same type of mindset that Jesus had (Phillippians 2:5). It tells us that those of us who are in Christ need to walk as He walked (1 John 2:6).

We need to ask ourselves; “was the culture so much different when Jesus walked among mankind, that if He was “in the flesh today, we can be assured that He would be a joker, or an entertainer?” We need to be careful not to make God into our own image.

The Preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes assures us that there is nothing new under the sun.
We can see that there were people who partook in foolish talking well before Jesus came on the scene:

Prov 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.

Prophets spoke lies to appease the people, and the priests leaned on their own understanding to entertain the people, and to keep the people content with remaining under their ministry before Jesus came in the flesh:

Jer 5:30-31
30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (KJV)

There is no new thing under the sun, the Preacher said.

America’s pulpits are filled with prophets who prophesy falsely, with "evangelists" who are adept at telling lies to entertain, teachers who parrot the errors of others, instead of leaning on the instruction of the Holy Spirit, self proclaimed apostles who love their titles, and pastors who lean on their own understanding to “make things work”.

The spirit of Hollywood has invaded the church through its entertainment mentality. Make the people laugh, make them at ease, and they will come back.

Finances, and how to generate them, are an issue with most ministries today.
Many ministries in America are businesses today. The “evangelist” is invited to speak at a church, and he lays out his wares in the foyer for people to buy after he is done entertaining them with his words. I wonder: Would Jesus have overturned the tables in the churches today?

Jokes and blatant lies have been spoken from the pulpits in order to “keep the congregation interested”, and the standard of Righteousness has taken a backseat in the church in America today.

Messengers who have a Laodocean mentality plague the church in America. Lukewarm Christianity is being encouraged and embraced from the pulpits.

The Preacher said there is no new thing under the sun.

The Lord can pour out His Spirit of Revival and Renewal in His Church. The Lord can heal our land of it’s wickedness. But the Hollywood mentality that has pervaded the minds and the hearts of the preachers today (whether they are evangelists, apostles, prophets, teachers or pastors) has resulted in a leadership that is given to compromise and condoning of sin.

When the Church in America should be seeking God like never before because of the recent terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, two months later, we are pursuing after our own things again.

We who profess to be Christians would do well to read the Lord’s complaint against Israel, and understand that The LORD is the same today as He was then:

Isa 59:1-4
1 Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.
4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

We who are ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ cannot afford to compromise any longer with the Truth. Just as God hated lies before Jesus Christ came on the scene, He hates lies today, as well.

Prov 6:16-19
16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.(KJV)

We Christians who are made kings and priests through the covenant of Jesus Christ need to settle the words of Proverbs 17:7 in our hearts.

Prov 17:7
7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince. (KJV)

Again, it would do well for us to consider the Word of the Lord to Israel:

Isa 9:12-18
12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day.
15 The ancient and honourable, he is the head; and the prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail.
16 For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.
17 Therefore the Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither shall have mercy on their fatherless and widows: for every one is an hypocrite and an evildoer, and every mouth speaketh folly. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
18 For wickedness burneth as the fire: it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.

God is a Righteous Judge. He can discern between the foolishness that happens at the altar, and the one who speaks the Truth without compromise. It is the TRUTH that sets men free. Not compromising of the Word of God.

If the preacher gets results by emulating the ways of the world, the seed he plants will be on the ground of carnality, which will most generally result in seed that springs up among the thorns of life. It will become choked off by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of temporal worldly possessions and ungodly lusts (Matt 13:7, Mark 4:18, Lk 8:14).

I see so many Christians struggling in these areas, and because they are struggling with their problems, they are unable to effectively minister the Grace of God and the Victory that overcomes the world through their Faith in God.

The preacher says: "That's the way it works in the world…"

But yet Romans 12:1-2 instructs us that our reasonable service is to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable unto God. We are told that we are not to be conformed to this world, but TRANSFORMED by the renewing of our minds…we are not to have a worldly mindset any longer. The Christian walk is a serious walk. It is a walk in which those who profess to be Christians are engaged in a spiritual warfare with the enemy of our soul.

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

The Word of God, which IS relevant for today, says that a tongue that speaks words for the sake of healing the hearers is a TREE OF LIFE, but distortion in the words that are spoken is a breach in the spirit (the flesh is at enmity with God.)

Some may justify their jesting and entertainment mentality by declaring that they don’t want to offend people or to drive them away, so they are just incorporating some of the world’s things into the preaching so the people will be able to relate better. But if we hold this mentality, we are only fooling ourselves. The fact of the matter is that many will reject the Truth, because foolishness is bound up in the hearts of those who pursue the things of the world.

Proverbs 15:5 says:
5 A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.

Maybe a preacher’s mentality is that if he doesn’t bring some entertainment into the church, his church will dry up, and people won’t contribute to his ministry. Their eyes are either knowingly or unknowingly on the offering (revenue) that this type of “Christian” entertainment will generate.

But Proverbs 15:8 says this:
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

The entertainers from the pulpit, the comedians, and the story tellers, and the eloquent orators, and the Christian Rock stars are justifying their methods because of the numbers that they generate at their meetings (Remember how God viewed David’s numbering of the people).

In the meantime, this worldly imitation mindset is compromising the Truth of God. Jesus never incorporated the world’s ways into His ministry. He simply spoke the Truth, and the Truth promised to set the people who were caught in the world free from their bondage.

Proverbs 15:9 says:
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.

We who are ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ should not imitate the way of the world to reach the lost. The problem is that we have fallen so far into compromise that we see things “working”, and we embrace the worldly mindset without thinking it out. We want to be “successful”, and we confuse a worldly gauge of success as “success in ministry”. The Truth has been compromised from the pulpit, and we need to get back to the basic Truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There is a simplicity in the Christian walk that is missing in the world, and that simplicity is fast becoming a rare commodity in the Church, as well.

Foolish jesting and imitation of the world’s ways from the pulpit is not the light that Jesus Christ intended His church to display.
When the People of God decide to live their lives according to the Will of God, the world will see what they are missing, and they will want to come to Jesus Christ. We don’t need to compromise our walk to win souls for the Kingdom of God.

Eph 5:1-13
1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;
4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.
7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them.
8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. (KJV)

The Word "followers" in verse one above actually means "imitators".
In these days of turmoil and wars and rumors of wars, we need to hold a standard of God’s Righteousness high for the world to see. Our attire should be modest. Our conversation should be pure. Our behavior should reflect God’s Presence in our lives. We need to be sober minded, because the days are evil.

If we need to ask someone what "modest attire" is, I don't believe we have truly recieved the Holy Spirit who was promised to teach us all things, but we are still influenced by the spirit of the world, and we love it that way.

We need to show the world our Joy that remains even in a crisis.

We need to pursue after the Holiness of the Lord, and not after the things of the world.

We need to forsake our own self-righteousness, and pursue after the Righteousness of our Lord.

We need to learn to decrease so that He will increase, and will be manifested in our lives.

We need to CHOOSE to put the Lord first in our lives.

Matt 12:33-37
33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

I myself have been guilty of this foolish jesting, but the Word says that this type of thing is not profitable.

We have seen how the foolish talking and jesting and the entertainment mentality of the men and women who serve from the pulpit, has resulted in diluting the Truth in the church. As Jesus said, our Yea should be our yea. And our Nay should be our nay.

People should have no problem believing our words. If we have to preface or append our statements with “this is really true”, or “I am not joking, man, I am serious,” the fact of the matter is we have compromised our standards beyond what we should have. Jesus said whatever is more than yea or nay is the result of evil.

In America, a Christian’s words can’t be trusted anymore. We need to repent and begin to lift the Standard of Christianity high once more, so the world can see a difference. The Word of God says that He will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, the adulterers, and the false swearers among those who are His people.

1 Pet 4:17-19
17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.(KJV)

Christians in America have become desensitized to the Truth of God. We need to seek the Lord and His Will in our Lives to effect a change in our Nation.
The Lord will cleanse His Temple.
We are the temple of the Lord.
Get ready for some serious purging...JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

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