Modern Preachers Confuse Success with Victory
Calvary was not a success; it was a victory.
And Jesus knew the difference!
Success is a cheap human and mundane word not in heaven’s vocabulary, in fact it is used as an earthly substitute often pitted against the divine plan of victory.
Success is a business word; it is understood as achieved when quantity, money, or a celebrity status is achieved.
Victory is a battle word! The Kingdom of God never was and never shall be a big business.
In business, morality is sacrificed for unity and gain.
In the spiritual warfare, unity must often be sacrificed for the laurels of victory.
No, He was not a success, but He was victorious!
The cross proves the failure of Jesus. He failed at being a success but that same cross proves to God and man He was victorious and triumphed over sin. The cross is a symbol of victory – not success!
He failed to sway the depravity of man to thinking God’s way.
Rather than compromise the ultimatums of obedience, He resigned to His failure; He resigned Himself to the death of the cross as the only means possible to restore man to fellowship with God on God’s terms.
Oh, He had the crowd; in the very beginning everyone…especially those what moved into the sphere of His personal presence … sensed His divinity. But they wanted to make Him king; they wanted Him to yield to their terms; they were thinking of the success of Israel – nationalism.
He was their ticket to political ambition hoping to throw off the Roman occupation. “But He gave Himself not unto them because He knew what was in man.” (John 2:24)
The materialistic world today filled with taste, color, speed and technology have twisted the thinking of many preachers.
This high tech mentality has crowded pure doctrine out of the minds of God’s ministers. We have built a whole new concept of Christianity on the premise of success … in business, in material wealth, with our skills and talents. It is the Laodicean era of the super pastor and the super church and no one dares to challenge it. They are drunk on numbers, We are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing – nothing material but in need of a lot spiritually! Super success has been equated with being a super Christian.
Most of the “achievements” that we are attributing to the Holy Spirit these days is a story of success and not victory.
Pharaoh’s daughter invited Moses to be legally adopted, placing him in the position where he might possibly be sitting on the Pharaoh’s throne over all of Egypt. But Moses saw the tribute of Israel as a moral principle that could not be compromised. He refused the offer of unity with the Egyptians … he failed at unity but today the name of Moses is second only to that of Jesus. He chose to suffer (failure) afflictions with the people of God rather than to have status and success as an Egyptian- as a member of Egyptian royalty. Don’t be rattled, brethren. The greatest achievement of a child of God is to accomplish the supernatural morality of Christ in your life – and that means a thousand battles, a thousand scars, perhaps even a thousand failures, and very little success.
Businessmen succeed, but we haven’t been called to be businessmen. We have been called to be “good soldiers” and to put up a “good fight” and win. If you are a businessman you will want to keep in mind what you are first, a good soldier taking the hardships of consecration in stride.
The Bible doesn’t say, “We can succeed in all things through Christ, our executive director.” It says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
BUSINESS AND VICTORY – JUDAS
Judas was a good businessman. He said to the Pharisees, “What will you give me if I turn Him over to you?” Judas was a man who dealt on the basis of business principles rather than spiritual victory. He succeeded in his business … he gained 30 pieces of silver. But he failed miserably at achieving the victory! So, while Judas succeeded in his business venture, he suffered total spiritual defeat! The spirit of Judas is the spirit of making gain through the gospel ministry.
Building supernatural moral character, scripturally moral lives, is the “business” of the church!
Divine character cannot be achieved by the following of the standards of the business world. They may assist by carefully being kept subject to the spiritual goals of the church as a servant of the church in the world. But we must not allow the feeling or the philosophy that financial success is equal to spiritual victory. It can actually keep us from being victorious! Financial blessing may come as we pursue spiritual goals and building a doctrinally pure church – but never is it a spiritual victory.
SUCCESS: THE AFFECT OF THE WORLD ON MINISTERS
There used to be a conflict of understanding- “IT IS GOD WHO GIVETH THE INCREASE.” Sometimes men with God-given ministries try to improve the productive progress- processes or enlargement of one’s ministry by adopting man made methods of self-promotion, gimmicks, incentives and too frequently, dishonesty.
There seems to be some kind of strange relationship between a productive ministry assuming or taking on dishonesty presenting justifying evil means it may use if it reaches more people; or to appeal for money affectively; or to create an aura around a personality. These are all the cheap tricks of success but there is not a stitch of victory or biblical principles in any such methods. It is the success that image makers use and not the victory of a pure hearted child of God.
We must base our judgment regarding the success philosophy on the great ministries recorded in scripture and NOT on men of high visibility around us. The greatest achievements and the greatest men to be honored in the kingdom and at the judgment seat of Christ will be unknown men. There will never be a brass band to march through the streets for them. The flags will never fly at half mast at their death. Their image will never be impressed upon a coin, nor will their bust appear on a postage stamp. They will be virtually unknown until we enter into the presence of God and there men are judged. Fame does not make a ministry productive but spiritual power may give you fame as in the case of Jesus and the prophets.
Oftentimes fame can actually be counter-productive, for instance, in the case of Gideon, God made him productive and then he made a monument to himself- Solomon was anointed and was productive and then he began to violate the laws of God. He began to build a kingdom by and through alliances that were forbidden. In the end he destroyed the kingdom he built by the corruptions he introduced to Israel.
God gives to men a ministry with a special place and calling and then man thinks to improve on that which God has ordained him to, that productivity by making “alliances with forces and powers of the world.”
Solomon so garnished the temple he built that topological meaning was lost. He completely humanized the tabernacle. This tenancy to elaborate on what God requires is a sure sign of an departure that ultimately comes from departing from our original God given character when we were first saved. He tried to glorify God with a show of gold and glitter that was not required.
Is it not true that man often reverts to increasing his praise of God as he departs from what God requires morally in the commandment. There is something in man that reasons he can be excused for his disobedience so long as he extolls and honors God. Man seems to think that so long as he praises God he will not be required to obey God. This is a common form of self deception.
Any departure from divine revelation of truth will carry those fooled by it to a state of apostasy. The moral law cannot be improved upon. Grace cannot be modified to mean anything other than Scripture reveals it. Any attempt to humanly improve what has been divinely given is the impossible dream of lame brains. These people are the prisoners of their own vain thoughts and don’t know it.
Gold is the glory of man but not so with God. The only value it has with God are the qualities it illustrates in the topologies of Scripture. It is a type of divine nature, it’s beauty guild’s the homely and dull surface of wood and iron, it is a thermal bond when used on metal and has many other qualities such as being impervious to the elements, needs cleaning to retain it’s beauty and luster and heat only purifies it! but the fire never diminishes gold or destroys it! (1 Peter 1:7)
Solomon attempted to glorify God with showy extravagant showering of material abundance, political alliances and massive military might. But God had given three very emphatic commandments to the kings of Israel; (1) They were NOT to multiply gold to themselves, (2) they were NOT to multiply horses to themselves and (3) they were NOT to multiply wives to themselves. Here are the three forms of power which ruin the character of men and nations. Solomon violated all three of the commandments given by God to Israel when they set up their king. GOLD: Represents monetary power. Wealth robs man of compassion toward others. If there is one great infamous characteristic of wealth it is how it affects the character of man to become self centered and compassionless toward others at the same time. I have met many professing Christian men and women who had monetary power – few of them – very few had not had their character affected or blighted by the power of their wealth. It is not merely a matter of remaining humble but rather a matter of distributing and sharing the wealth with those in need and in Kingdom work. Of all the people I know, I can only think of one man and his wife who have not allowed their money to affect their character or their faith.
HORSES: Today represent power and status. Money is power. A high position is power. Horses in Solomon’s day represented military power. Parallels any power that intimidates others by the force of influence including fame. Men who gain the strength of advantage over others too often use it to their undoing and in the end come under the judgement of God.
WIVES: Today this represents the wrong use of intimacy between a man and women. It is called adultery and fornication in Scripture. In Solomon’s day it represented manipulative power of a woman. He married these daughters of powerful nations to create political alliances. But there are other things that this one single commitment drags along with it in such a relationship we may tolerate; commitment to Anti-Christ forces, exposure to Anti-Christ beliefs and a very close and intimate relationship with a person with Anti-Christ religion.
Eve manipulated Adam.
Jezebel manipulated Ahab.
Samson was manipulated by Delilah.
Solomon’s wives manipulated him and caused him to make groves for their gods which ultimately brought his moral collapse. How many preachers of the cross were the manipulated and influenced by a wife? Many!
Success is too often on the minds of men who preach the name of Jesus But success is not a spiritual goal – only a servant to spiritual goals. We are called to the victory of the cross to achieve the likeness of our Lord who teaches to be victorious!
Take an honest look at the ministry of Jesus. As far as super crowds, he was a failure. He was not a success when it came to massing the people. Every time He got a crowd, He would come out with some startling and offensive statement that would scatter them in every direction, mumbling to themselves. For three and a half years of earthly ministry He stunned Israel with miracles of the greatest magnitude. No, Jesus was not a success, but He was victorious. By death He had conquered His greatest enemies; subtle Satanic influence; celebrity loving crowds that wanted to make Him king; and perhaps above all the ego of His own human nature.
The bottom line!
He did not succeed at riches or celebrity status. He could not hold a crowd because He was continually offending them. He failed to sway Israel toward God. They turned on Him and tortured Him to death on a Roman cross, But on that cross He dealt a final blow that shook the very foundations of hell! He died the victor over death, hell and the grave! I love Him for showing us the way of victory