The Bus

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It seems there was once an evangelist who decided to buy himself a bus and take his message on the road. He equipped it with loudspeakers and painted it with religious images and inspiring passages of scripture. He bought a big tent and some folding chairs, hired a small choir and off they went. One day as they are traveling from one city to another for a new crusade the evangelist spies a homeless encampment in an abandoned parking lot. He directs his driver to pull over and set up for an impromptu service. As a small group gathers to figure out what’s going on the preacher grabs the microphone and yells out in his most pious baritone “Who wants to go to heaven”? The crowd just shuffles their feet and continues to mill about saying nothing in reply. Again he yells out “who wants to go to heaven”? Again no reply. A third time he yells out “who here wants to go to heaven when you die”? That time an obviously somewhat drunk fellow stumbles forward and says “Oh, you mean when we die. We thought you were getting up a load to go now preacher”.

If you have over tried to preach, teach or write about Christianity you’ve probably been misunderstood and/or had your motives questioned. People are naturally suspicious of people that take spiritual matters seriously. I suppose it’s because of all the warnings in the Bible about being led astray by false apostles false prophets and false teachers, ravening wolves that come to you in sheep’s clothing. Jesus warned us about them several times. He warned us in Matthew chapter 13 that very soon after the good seed (children of the kingdom) were sown into the world (the kingdom) that the enemy (the devil) would sow his own evil seed into the kingdom and that they would grow together until the time of the harvest (the end of the world). That is a dire and scary prophetic prediction. But, I suppose we all already know that everyone that claims to know Jesus doesn’t. We also know that everyone that preaches or teaches doesn’t have a pure motive or a true revelation from God. There is nothing new or surprising here.

Do you want to know a good way to judge if a person is a true child of the kingdom and is preaching correct doctrine? It’s actually not hard to do. Ask yourself, do their teachings align exactly with the words that Jesus spoke or are they teaching doctrine that came from the words or writings of someone else. If they say they have some new revelation, even (especially) if they say it was a private revelation directly from Jesus but, it’s not something Jesus taught when he was on earth, run! Jesus taught the Apostles. He prepared them for the work he was going to assign them to. Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came close to them and said, “All the authority of the universe has been given to me. 19 Now go and make disciples of all nations, 20 And teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you. And never forget that I am with you every day, even to the completion of this age.” The yardstick that we are to use to judge preachers is that they are teaching people to faithfully follow all that Jesus commanded us to do. what did he command? Matthew 19:17 But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

As a slight side note – The twelve Apostles including Matthias who was chosen as Judas replacement (see acts 1:20-26, Matthias had been a follower of Jesus since the beginning of his ministry) were commissioned and authorized by Jesus for the work of his ministry. As a further proof of the important role of the twelve Apostles, Revelation says in 21:10 He carried me away in the realm of the Spirit to the top of a great, high mountain. There he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. 11 It was infused with the glory of God, and its radiance was like that of a very rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a massive, high wall with twelve gates, and each gate had an angel. Each gate had written upon it a name of one of the twelve tribes of Israel— 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 14 The city wall had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (Not thirteen, fourteen or a hundred, as you can read here in Revelation there were no further additions. No Muhammad, no Joseph Smith or any other person who claimed to have a private revelation).

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