September 19th 2010

Good News Is Free!

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son….”
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)

A televangelist programme on satellite TV was hawking a book about the end of the world. “For a donation of only £15.95,” the announcer gushed, “you can learn to read the signs of the times. Jesus is coming very soon.” The screen displayed the £15.95 suggested donation along with a freephone number. “Our operators are standing by,” the announcer continued.

So one gutsy man dialled the number and asked them to send him the book for free. He was told that they couldn’t do that. The suggested donation was £15.95 and could he simply give them his credit card number?

“But why are you asking for money at all?” he asked. “If you really believe Jesus is coming very soon, then you won’t need any more money. You should be giving the books away.” With that, their operator was no longer ‘standing by’!

So the man changed channel and this time saw another televangelist who was billing himself as a prophet, and even claiming to see and hear what is going on with our deceased loved ones. This time, he channel-surfed on by.

Jesus warned that there would be people who would claim to be speaking in his name, but who would be charlatans, seeking their own ends, not his.

Since Jesus inaugurated the New Covenant, as the scripture quoted above tells us, he is the only one to whom we need pay attention. Anyone who tells you to send them a donation because they have unlocked the secrets of end time prophecy, or because they know for certain that Jesus is about to return, is wrong—pure and simple. Now that Jesus has come, as we have just read, God speaks through him. He doesn’t speak through self-appointed prophets.

We have the written testimony about Jesus, of his words and teachings, and those of the apostles he appointed. We should listen to people who teach faithfully from that written record, not to those who claim they have some new and special message from God.

Don’t be taken in by charlatans. Whatever ministry you support, be sure you are not being asked to pay for the good news, but that you are only giving to participate with Christ to spread the gospel, and doing so without coercion or promises that you will receive some kind of special financial blessing. The gospel is good news, not a money making scheme.

Holy Father, you have always been so honest and straightforward in your message about the Gospel and about the Messenger of the Gospel. Thank you that you deal with us honestly and lovingly, seeking to keep us safe from those who have a vested interest in leading us aside. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach 

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