When God Breaks Through, Lies
by Phil West
- Matthew 2:1-12
West African congregation in Providence
No matter what lies powerful people construct, God breaks through with truth... The
lies are exposed, and the liars fall.
Some of most damaging lies in our time have been told by preachers... Do you remember
TV evangelists Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggert?
During 1970s & 1980s they raked in hundreds of millions from devout Christians...
Visiting Anne¹s parents: LETTERS from JIM BAKKER/PTL CLUB. ³Unless we get $100 from you
by next Tuesday, we may have to take this ministry off the air...² Even more
heart-wrenching on the air....
Heritage village in South Carolina: Chrisian resort and condominiums. Vacation, see
program taped... Lavish luxury. Bakker preached a gospel of PROSPERITY. God wants Xians to
May have started with good intentions but somewhere along the way >>>>
BECAME A LIE. BECAME A SWARM OF LIES.
Indicted for a laundry list of Federal crimes... Don't remember all the charges: Among
them mail and wire fraud Eventually went to Federal prison ---
Spent 5 years sitting alone in a prison cell.... Released earlier this year, and has
come out with a book that tells his story...
The first months of prison were devastating. MINISTRY BANKRUPT.... REPUTATION
DESTROYED, NOT ONLY BY FINANCIAL CRIMES BUT ALSO BY WORD OF HIS AFFAIR WITH JESSICA
HAHN... NOBODY TO BLAME >> LIKE CLINTON HE HAD DONE IT TO HIMSELF. FACING A COMBINED
SENTENCE OF 45 YEARS IN PRISON. FRIENDS WERE GONE >> EVERYTHING COLLAPSED IN
DISGRACE... Jim Bakker FOUND HIMSELF WONDERING: Is God gone too? I began to seek God, but
I couldn¹t find him. I even prayed what I call stupid prayers.... (for God to show some
sign) One night I had a dream. I was sitting next to Christ. He reached up into his eye
and took out a sliver of his eye and then put it in my eye. He said, "I want you to
see everything and everyone through my eyes."
WOKE UP WITH SENSE OF CERTAINTY THAT IF HE WANTED TO SEE THROUGH CHRIST¹S EYES HE HAD
TO GO BACK TO THE SCRIPTURES FOR TRUTH...
HE BEGAN TO READ AND WRITE >> IN THE GOSPELS. SUDDENLY FOUND HIMSELF WEEPING FOR
BEING SO WRONG FOR SO LONG.
FIRST LIE TO FALL WAS HIS PROSPERITY PREACHING. I'd always quoted 3 John 2, saying:
"Above all things God wants you to prosper." I had loved that Scripture. It
looks great on a tv screen when you¹re raising funds, and I had interpreted it as God
wants you to be rich...." BUT WHEN HE GOT TO THE WORDS OF JOHN, HE REALIZED HIS
PREACHING DIDN'T MAKE SENSE.
READ THROUGH THE GOSPELS: Jesus called riches "deceitfulness of riches." He
even said, "Woe unto the rich!" He was saying things like, "You can't serve
God and money." Jesus never cast wealth and riches in a good light. How could I have
spent so much time emphasizing financial blessing?
I began to look up all the Scriptures used in prosperity teaching... "Give and it
shall be given unto you." When I put that Scripture back into its context, I found
Christ was teaching on forgiveness, not on money. He was teaching us that by the same
measure that we forgive, we will be forgiven. SECOND LIE: ABOUT SUFFERING. NOTION THAT GOD
WILL NOT LET XIANS SUFFER. BAKKER CAME TO BELIEVE HE HAD BEEN PREACHING A GOSPEL OF
ESCAPISM... And as I studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, I couldn¹t find one
man or woman of God who lived a charmed life. All I could find was fiery furnaces and
lion's dens and deserts and pits. Jesus said John the Baptist was the greatest man to walk
the earth. Not only does John end up in prison, but Jesus lets John get his head cut off!
Well, that just flies in the face of modern prosperity teaching. The whole Bible is built
around knowing Christ and the fellowship of his suffering. Those kinds of things don't
preach very well. But I found that through the fellowship of his suffering, my time in
prison became not a time of loneliness--though it was horribly lonely--but a time of
solitude. It became a time where I walked closer with Christ than I ever had.
Bakker renounced his faith-equals-fortunes message and embraced the Jesus of the poor.
Lives in tough neighborhood of East Los Angeles... These days he DOES PENANCE on the
streets, volunteering with the staff of an inner-city ministry-intensive church...
We may give up on those who lie but God does not...