This article is a bit long – but worth the time.
At the start of the 2022 Russian-Ukraine war, Franklin Graham wrote: “Pray for President Putin today.”
He continues, “This may sound like a strange request, and I might get some angry comments, but we need to pray that God would work in his heart so that war—and the loss of thousands of lives—could be avoided at all cost….
“May God give wisdom to the leaders involved in these talks and negotiations, as well as those advising them. Our prayers might make the difference between life and death.”
Twitter exploded with sharp responses. Here are a few unedited replies:
“See, as a Reverend myself, I would start this prayer for our nation’s leaders first. Then for the peoples most directly impacted. For Europe. Then a prayer for the enemies to open their hearts and to seek humility. But I see you. And your way. It speaks volumes.”
“Graham is praying for Putin? Maybe he should move to Moscow. He can take Trump with him.”
“Franklin Graham, Putin poodle, religious hypocrite and American traitor”
“Putin was a member of the KGB, he has been involved in murders, openly asking to pray for Putin first is inexcusable!”
“Putin is kgb. He doesn’t care about God. His “negotiations” are fake. He does not care about the humanity or the cost of war. Praying for Putin is a joke. Pray for yourself to wise up and pray for our leaders instead. Putin will do whatever he wants to do and God is no factor.”
and finally, a much more sensible comment, “Putin will do what he wants to do. Evil follows Evil. We pray for our enemies but we cannot stop them. Only Our Heavenly Father can stop Putin and his will will be done.”
“Putin is a man of God. America does need to pray for peace. Nothing good will come out of this and I do not see Russia backing down. The power of prayer is needed now more than ever!” (The Golden Eagle)
These responses are supposed to be coming from believers. A people that say they believe in the Bible and follow Jesus Christ. Now, let us see what the Lord says:
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” [Matthew 5:44]
“Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:28]
There is a huge contrast in the words of Jesus Christ in comparison with most of the comments by people above. Don’t you just wonder if these commenters are also God’s saints?
The first parable of Jesus has such depth that it may take an eternity to fully comprehend that seemingly simple parable – the Parable of the Sower.
When you begin to reflect on its interpretation as given by the Master Himself, you would see that it is full of wisdom that extends beyond this age. But, in the meantime, let us see what we can glean for this moment in history.
We are informed in the Book of Revelation about what is happening to the Church at this very moment. The future that was revealed to Apostle John is coming to pass right before our very eyes.
“And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.” [Revelation 11:1-2]
“Don’t measure the court just outside the Temple”. If you don’t understand the layout of Moses’ Tabernacle then you will not understand the real meaning of this statement. As you may remember, the Tabernacle of Moses was divided into three sections – the Outer Court (or the “court without the temple”), the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.
The Church is filled with six different groups of people. Three are occupying the Outer Court of the Temple, and the other three are inside the Temple.
The three other groups of people occupy the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The majority of these three groups occupy the Holy Place. If you are sitting with ease in this Holy Place, you will still try to learn from the pastors and ministers in the Outer Court.
This is dangerous because you will soon find yourself in that Outer Court. You will soon discover that those pastors are not sent by God and are not filled with His Spirit but soothsaying spirits. This is why you need to know exactly where you stand.
It may surprise you that one of the major topics mostly preached in the Outer Court is the GRACE message.
“I am saved by grace”. And with that certificate, sin is not a problem. The people don’t have any issue with living like the people who hate God. They do not have problems with living in sin, and if a pregnancy shows up they send the foetus into oblivion, saying, “it is not yet a human being, it is covered by grace”. Worse still, since they do not see anything wrong, they learn nothing and repeat the process.
All these are now rife in the Outer Court while God is watching afar off. The spirit of religion is now king of this once holy platform.
Yes, you are born again and in the Temple of God, but where exactly are you right now? You need to be sincere and honest with yourself as to where exactly you are. Let me assume that you are born again, I mean, you have asked Jesus Christ to save you from your sinfulness, and you now know that God is now your Father.
Are you always forgetting what you learned at the fellowship? Okay, what did you learn from your last Bible meeting? Can’t remember? I pray that through this article, you will be able to answer the question and make sure of where you stand.
“When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. THIS IS HE which received seed by the way side.” [Matthew 13:19]
“But HE THAT RECEIVED the seed into stony places, THE SAME IS HE that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” [Matthew 13:20-21]
“HE ALSO THAT RECEIVED seed among the thorns IS HE THAT HEARETH the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” [Matthew 13:23]
Another version says it like this, “And that which was dropped among the thorns, THIS IS HE who has the word; and the cares of this life, and the deceits of wealth, put a stop to the growth of the word and it gives no fruit.” [Bible in Basic English, BBE]
As you can clearly see, these three groups are not the seed, but the land receiving it. It is not the seed that has the problem, but the one who received it. The land is the one processing the seed.
The mystery of God unfolds because the land is capable of processing the seed. It processes it by refusing to accept and keep the seed, allowing the seed to remain for a period and then not being bothered by what happens thereafter, or simply being completely distracted and leaving the plant germinated through seed to wither and die.
The issue causing the productivity problems of the seed is not the seed, but the ground or the place where the seed was received.
The place receiving the seed in us is the soul. Remember, the soul processes every word that enters into it in its four compartments before it gets either negatively or positively productive. These four are the intellect, the mind, the emotion, and the will. Let us take a look at the mystery of the soul.
The intellect is like the main entrance to the soul. Before you can process anything you hear, you have to be open or listen to what is or has been said. So, you open up and receive.
Your mind then picks up the knowledge and works on what was seen or heard (or not heard such as body language), picks on what it wants and throws out what it counts as the waste. This processing is usually based on the database of previous knowledge influenced by “what is in this for me”.
If your mind can’t see any benefit, it dumps it, no matter how good or attractive. This is the way God has made it to work but the enemy took advantage of this powerful concept. The mind then creates the “beneficial data” and sends it to the other compartment of the soul. All these things can happen in the twinkling of an eye. I mean, within seconds!
The emotion receives the beneficial data and engages with intent, negatively or positively. Then it instructs the will to act. The will is like the powerful servant of the soul. It does not decide on issues but just carries out activities as instructed.
Nothing works in the soul without emotion. “Faith works by love”. How many times has the Bible revealed that Jesus was moved by compassion? Pride, anger, jealousy, hatred, are all negative emotions. Then you have joy, desire, love, peace, humility, etc, called the fruit of the Spirit, which are the positive emotions.
Jesus said, “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,…” [Matthew 7:21]
For example, David sees an undressed or attractive Bathsheba, he takes in the view and sends a message to his mind. His mind processes the statistics of the woman and sends the same to the emotions, and feelings start to run wild. The uncontrolled feelings then give instructions to the will to do something about it.
Joseph must have seen a similarly undressed Mrs Potiphar, as the intellect takes in the view and sends the information to the mind. But, because his mind is occupied by the word of God, the data is trashed and replaced with a response for the will to act.
“There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” [Genesis 39:9]
The will usually use every tool it can access to fulfil the goal of its master, the emotions. It may collaborate with the mind on the best way forward to actualise the next step.
This is why the body cannot be blamed for the sinfulness of the soul. It was just following or acting out the instructions of the soul. What people refer to as the flesh is actually human nature and not the body. Otherwise, Jesus would not be without sin because He lived in a body. You need to stop punishing your body unjustly.
So, when you hear someone sold his soul to the devil, it is this process that he sold to be controlled by devils. Or when you hear people refusing to take responsibility for their actions, it is usually because they don’t want to acknowledge that this process took place in their own soul.
With the understanding of how the soul processes the knowledge that it receives, we can go back to our main discourse. The soul of the wayside. The soul of the stony ground. The soul of the thorny ground.
These Groups Have Ministers
These groups have all the ministers – singers, pastors and motivational speakers just as those on the good ground, but unfortunately, those on the good ground believe they are in the same company as those on the other grounds.
Just recently, a pastor was caught smuggling drugs. Where was he going? He was travelling from one African country to another for a crusade. He had the drugs tied around his waist. And if you see him. A couple of years ago, another pastor who deliberately handled venomous snakes was bitten to death by one of the snakes he handled as he preached.
A couple of years ago, a popular rapper claimed he was now a born again believer, then he started leading a church, which thousands flocked. Recently, he released a music video confessing, “I was lying”. How do you justify these things? But there are countless similar examples of what is going on in the Outer Court right now.
A good number of those on the Good Ground see the groups on the other lands as “brethren”. They fellowship together to maintain the “unity of faith” (Ephesians 4:13), but the Lord says, “Separate yourselves”. Leave the Outer Court alone.
Who will tell you that you are not brethren? You are not the same. Paul says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” [2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV]
You must know that there is one common trait of the people on the other grounds is that they have abandoned the seed, either deliberately or otherwise. They just would not have anything to do with the seed, they only have the facade that they have an association with the seed.
They may profess to be born again but are not interested nor excited by the seed (the word of God). To them, it is a bore or an inconvenience. These are not weary of watching the repeat series of TV shows or movies that last several hours, but just a thirty-minute real Bible teaching is a huge task for them.
Proverbs 28:9 tells us, “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” These people do not have the same respect that you have for the Word of God, but you want to sit at prayer meetings with them and think God will be excited that His “people” are praying in “unity”?
Are you saying, “My soul is like the Good Ground”?
Praise the Lord! How much of what the Lord has been saying or revealing to you are you being obedient to? In fact, are you not treating the Word lackadaisically? Not as something that is so precious – more precious than your money in the bank or your delicious meal waiting for you in your plate?
Psalm 19 verse 10 says of God’s Word, “They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb.”
There are different kinds of gold, and the word translated “pure gold” is a word that speaks of the finest, most purified gold of all. Today we measure gold in carats. 9-carat gold is 37.5% pure gold and is the most affordable kind of jewellery. 18-carat gold has twice the gold content – 75% gold and much more expensive. 22-carat gold gets you up to 91.6% gold and then, of course, 24-carat gold is the purest and most expensive of all at 99.9% gold. That’s as high as the scale goes, and that’s what this word “pure gold” means – 24 carats, 100% pure gold.
The seed, God’s word, is even more precious.
The Scripture says of God’s Word, “She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her…. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.” [Proverbs 3:15,18]
Some people were willing to give up everything for gold. What are you willing to give up for God’s word? How precious is God’s word to you? How desirable? There are people who have given up their lives for God’s word. William Tyndale was burned at the stake for his commitment to translating the Bible into the language of the people.
It is not enough to receive the Word of God, but two things MUST follow, which are to diligently keep and obey it. “In keeping them there is great reward.” (Psalm 19:11b)
In keeping them there is great reward.”
There is nothing more valuable than knowing and keeping God’s word. Once again, the value does not come simply from knowing it. Hebrews 4:2 tells us: “The message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith.” (Hebrews 4:2) The message had great value, but it had no value to them because they did not combine it with faith.
Solomon tells us in Proverbs 11:16, “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.”
If you are already growing on the good ground, don’t seek to leave that place of honour, the wayside, the stony and the thorny ground may look attractive and nice, but the end of them would be ugly.
You must progress. The goal God has set for you is to fellowship with you. He wants to share His Throne and speak with you face-to-face from His Throne (also known as the Mercy Seat). His Throne can only be found in the Most Holy Place.
In Hebrews 4:16, believers are urged: “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Unfortunately, not everyone can enter this place without meeting certain criteria. The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother that he must not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil (the Holy of Holies), before the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die, for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.”
The one who would enter to sit with God on His Throne must be sanctified.
You won’t find the sanctified wasting his life away with the mundane things of this world in the Outer Court. You won’t find him thinking I have arrived in that place that is devoid of God’s Throne. He won’t feel complete without the expected fruitfulness of life.
The ministers and preachers of the Outer Court have hijacked the place with sweeties and activities. The souls of the people who sit under them have been held in bondage. Sadly, when the Church is attacked, they are usually casualties because they are not under the covering of the glory of God’s Temple. Ignorance is their fall (Hosea 4:6).
How Should You Respond?
If you see ANY of the traits mentioned below by Paul the Apostle some two thousand years ago in your life, start calling upon the Lord to deliver and save you.
“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy. Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” [2Timothy 3:1-9]
Saint, you must progress. You have to progress and sit with God on His Throne.
Now, don’t miss the second part of this article: Why the Thirties, Sixtoes, and Hundreds?
Thanks to all the image photo copyright owners
First, thank you for writing this article. I hope to read you other articles as well. This article truly reveals the dire state of the church today. All sorts have been brought into the church and permitted to go on almost unchallenged.
Second, I believe the Lord will always keep his own and watch over them. But, do you have any insight about what those who fear the Lord should be doing or looking for in the middle of the worldwide chaos?
I am looking forward to the part 2 of this article. thank you.
Thank you Brother John for taking this up. I believe you were led to. I thank God for voices like yours sharpening members in the body of Christ to flee from evil Now and not later. I look forward to more in Jesus name. Thank you.