It is amazing how the Word of God literally cries out against the way a majority of Christians live today. Old Testament prophets spent much of their time exposing the greed and graft of priests, false prophets and of the masses. With broken heart Isaiah said, "His watchmen are blind: they are ignorant, they are all dumb dogs... sleeping... loving to slumber... yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough... they all look to their own way, every one for his own gain..." (Isaiah 56:10,11).
Certainly not all ministers are like the greedy dogs depicted by the prophet Isaiah. Yet religion then, as now, had become very corrupted, and both priest and parishioner had become self-centered and consumed with covetousness. Jeremiah said, "From the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely" (Jeremiah 6:13). And as if to assure the covetous congregation that the luxury and prosperity would never end, they concocted a most convenient message of peace and shallow religion. (Jeremiah 6:14).
The New Testament prophets and apostles are just as strong in their denunciation of self-centeredness and covetousness. Paul said, "No covetous man..shall inherit the kingdom of Christ..." (Ephesians 5:5), he warned of perilous times coming in which men would become "lovers of themselves... covetous, unholy..." (2 Timothy 3:1,2). Peter forewarned us that false prophets and teachers would arise in the last days who would bring into the church damnable heresies of greed - whose very hearts will be "exercised with covetous practices".
Jesus ministered to a very religious people who had become so inwardly corrupt they could, without a tinge of guilt, turn God's house into a den of thieves and robbers. Jesus soundly denounced the Pharisees and scribes of His day because they were stooping so low as to steal widows' houses in the name of God! (Matthew 23:14). Again and again Jesus warned, "Beware of covetousness" (Luke 12:15)..
Greed has become the god of this age. A wild, driving spirit of covetousness has possessed both the secular and religious world. Personal gain and security have become the goal and motivation of the masses. The greedy Wall Street manipulators and the preachers of success and prosperity all have in common an urgency to "get it all now, while the getting is good!"
But I hear the ominous sounds of a gathering economic storm. Sudden lightning is going to strike Wall Street and wipe out a host of grasping, selfish, money mad investors. What a wailing there will be. Los Angeles, New York, Boston, San Francisco and other major cities will soon be reeling from financial panic. The present economic boom in some of our big cities is a house of cards - and it is all about to collapse. It has been fueled by an insatiable greed and crookedness which God will not much longer endure.
In such a time as this -
the message of the Holy Spirit
is not of getting but of giving.
I believe Satan himself is the perpetrator and guiding force behind the glorification of self which has become so popular in the church today. Because we have drifted so far from the cross of Jesus, we now applaud blind ambition, even in the work of God. Self-esteem and success have replaced humility and daily dying to self and the world. What a stench in God's nostrils it has become.
Yet while multitudes bow to the golden calves of success and materialism - God is raising up a holy people who are obeying His call to self-denial and cross bearing. Jesus Christ is going to return and take to Himself a bride completely emptied of self, ambition, pride and covetousness. The New Jerusalem which is above will be comprised of a remnant body of believers who have learned to pour themselves out to Christ as a drink offering.
Isaiah, the prophet, said of Jesus, "He hath poured but his soul unto death..." (Isaiah 53:12). The prophet was looking back to the drink offerings presented to the Lord in the wilderness tabernacle. Two spotless lambs were slain, laid on the brazen altar and consumed by fire - one in the early morning, and one at night. This was to serve as a continual reminder to Israel that their sins were laid upon the guiltless lamb and presented to God as a sacrifice for reconciliation. It pointed to Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross.
Along with the sacrificial lamb, the offerer brought to the priest a meat (bread) offering, consisting of flour and beaten oil - and three pints of wine as a drink offering. The procedure is simply outlined in the 28th chapter of Numbers. "The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even... and a tenth part of an ephah of flour for a meat offering, mingled with the fourth part of an hin of beaten oil... and the drink offering thereof shall be the fourth part of an hin (three pints) for the one lamb: in the holy place shalt thou cause the strong wine to be poured unto the Lord for a drink offering..." (Numbers 18:1-8).
The Drink Offering Represents
Our Service a.d Ministry Unto the Lord.
"Thou shalt offer the drink offering... as a sweet savor (aroma) unto the Lord..." (Numbers 28:9).
The drink-offering picture was made of pure gold. The wine of the offerer was placed in the golden pitcher, and while the lamb was being consumed on the altar, the priest poured it all out on the ground. The drink offering was not to be consumed by the priest, but rather offered unto the Lord as a sweet aroma.
Very little has been taught about the significance of the drink offering, but I believe it has much to do with our time. In a day of so much self-dealing, self-pampering, self-indulgence - we need to understand what God is saying to us in the drink offering. The Spirit of God is calling for the pouring out of our very lives as a sacrifice to Him. It is an invitation to empty ourselves and be poured out as a living sacrifice to Him - to stop hoarding and grabbing and gathering and getting - to quit squandering all the goodness of God on ourselves to change our selfish ways of stuffing ourselves and sponging in all the blessings. Many have become overfed, overprotected, bloated with materialism, and still lusting for more.
Walk In Love!
Isn't it about time for God's people to start giving more of themselves and what they have? Will this mindless quest for success and prosperity never end in God's house? Will millions of charismatic Christians go into eternity parroting a single scripture verse, "I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health..." (3 John 2)? Will they ever get enough? Does the wine stay in the pitcher - or will it be poured out unto the Lord?
How unlike Christ we have become - taking so much for ourselves when He gave His all for us. He took so little of the things of this earth - actually only what he needed to sustain life. Paul wrote, "Walk in love; as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering of a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor..." (Ephesians 5:2). Jesus really gave Himself to the Father as a sacrifice, and because of giving Himself to the Father, He also gave to us. So it is with us! It is in giving ourselves wholly to the Lord Jesus that we best give ourselves to others. We are not called to serve mankind - we are called to pour out our lives as a drink offering to the Lord, and in that sacrifice to Him, our service to mankind will come forth.
The Old Testament offerings and sacrifices gave God no pleasure because it was but a heartless ritual to the Israelites. It was Jesus who brought joy and pleasure to the Father when he poured out His life as a drink offering. This was not a shadow, but the very substance of what God had always wanted. He wanted those who, from the heart, would do His will in all things. Paul wrote, "In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure... then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God..." (Hebrews 10:6-9). Jesus established the pattern for all of us - a poured out life of service to God, in doing only His will.
To the Philippians Paul said, "But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all..." (Philippians 2:17,18,NAS). At the close of his ministry just prior to his home going, he could say, "I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand..." (2 Timothy 4:6 NAS).
Paul, the apostle of sacrifice and self-denial, stood before his Lord in the closing days of his ministry as an empty vessel. When he speaks of having fought a good fight and having kept the faith, he is actually saying, "I've been poured out to my Lord!" Paul had give up the world and all its meaningless things - counting it all as manure - so he could set his affections on things above.
Paul could say to the Corinthians, "I will not be a burden to you... I don't want what you have... I want you and will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved..." (2 Corinthians 12:14,15).
I look back over my ministry and my heart breaks. I cry out, "O Lord, I have wasted so much time and money on myself. I have spent so little of my time in being poured out before You as a living sacrifice. I've been too concerned about my own security - too wrapped up in my own pursuits and needs - too lazy and unconcerned to give my all to you." I grieve that is has taken me so long to know in a personal way that you find yourself only by losing yourself - in His will.
We Have Been Drinking His Wine.
Wine is a type of happiness, human joy and gladness. "...wine that maketh glad the heart of man..." (Psalm 104:15). Jesus, though full of divine joy and pleasure, renounced the joys and pleasures of this world. So did Paul and all the apostles of our Lord. Their joy consisted in doing the will of God.
Malachi the prophet asked, "Will a man rob God?... but ye have robbed me in tithes and offerings..." (Malachi 3:8)). We are robbing God of his drink offering. Rather than pouring out our lives to Him, and in turn to others, we consume it on our own lusts. Even our praying has become selfish. A large charismatic church advertises on the radio, "Prayer has produced this nation's largest churches. Prayer has made us one of the fastest growing churches in America. Come, see what prayer can do for you." That is robbing God of his drink offering.
The present day addiction to ease and luxury is drinking His drink offering. We rob God of time - we sit in front of a TV idol for hours on end, and neglect Him day after day. We hear of millions of homeless in this nation, sleeping in the streets, yet we put it out of mind - still hustling after things. Millions are dying around the world and going to hell because the burden for missions is dying - yet a fat, overstuffed Christianity is satisfied to sit in church and rejoice in its security. We are drinking his wine.
Well-meaning shepherds can be guilty of stealing God's wine more than all others. Building, visiting the sick, engaging in church activities - staying very busy - that in itself is not being "poured out to the Lord." The drink offering can be poured out only in the secret closet of prayer, where the heart is emptied of all self and earthly ambition, and the soul of the man of God is laid bare before His holy eyes. It should be only a "poured out" man who stands behind the sacred pulpit - one so unobstructed, so willing to spend himself for God and the flock, he becomes a vessel flowing with a constant supply of new wine.
The prophet Habakkuk speaks of transgression by wine. He warns of those who not only spend everything on themselves, but who put the bottle to their neighbors lips. "Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine... who enlargeth his desire as hell... he cannot be satisfied... he gathers... .and heaps to himself... woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness... woe to him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also..." (Habakkuk 2:5,9,15).
Without any ill will and without being facetious, I say to those who preach the message of prosperity and self-esteem - "Why must you put your bottle to the mouth of your neighbor?" If you choose to live in luxury, accumulating wealth and promoting success and self-achievement, accepting man's applause, just do it. Why must you create a doctrine to justify it? Why make others drink your wine? Will you make others drunken with success? How many of God's people must wallow in a drunken stupor of self-centeredness before the truth dawns that God is being robbed of His drink offering?
Paul warned, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit..." (Ephesians 5:18). In other words - don't drink the wine offering - be poured out, and poured out upon by the Holy Spirit. This wine is service, ministry. Don't serve yourself. Don't get drunk on ministering to your own needs - your own selfish desires. Just as in the days of Lot, with judgment at the door, multitudes "eat and drink" without alarm. They are drinking His drink offering - squandering everything on self.
Some Are Pouring His Drink Offering To Idols.
Jeremiah prophesied against the Jewish exiles in Egypt who were "pouring out a drink offering unto the queen of heaven..." (Jeremiah 44:17). Because of their wickedness God had destroyed Judah and laid Jerusalem in ruins. Now back in Egypt, bearing the curse and reproach of divine judgment - they sought a way to regain prosperity and plenty. Rather than turn to the Lord in repentance and humility - self was exalted. They turned their hearts to idolatry, totally rejecting the words of the prophet. "A great multitude, even all the people who dwelt in the land of Egypt... answered Jeremiah... as for the word you have spoken to us in the name of the Lord, we will not harken unto you... but we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth... to pour out drink offerings unto the queen of heaven... since we stopped pouring out drink offerings to her... we have not prospered..." (Jeremiah 44:17-19).
This is one of the most vivid examples of stubbornness among God's people in all the Bible. It proves that not even the severest of divine judgments can shake people loose from their bondage to the doctrine of self will. You would think that people of God who were stripped of everything and put under the rod of punishment would wake up to their need of dependence on the Lord. They had wasted and flaunted all that God had given them, and He took it away. In their poverty and despair, do they open, their hearts and ears to the words and warnings of holy prophets? No! They flatly, arrogantly turn away from God's true servants and invent their own gospel of convenience. They end up giving all their time and energy to idolatry - to a form of godliness without power or holiness.
There is a similar reaction today against prophetic messages among those in the church who lust after success and prosperity. To them, prophets are but a nuisance - doomsayers whose warnings about repentance and impending judgment are not in keeping with New Testament mercy and grace. When the prophetic voice is rejected, idolatry becomes rampant. Man-centered preaching then takes center stage. Under this kind of preaching Christians become absorbed with self-need, self-fulfillment and self-love. It ends in a stubborn rejection of Christ's gospel of suffering and self-denial.
Who is this queen of heaven to whom so many are giving themselves over - to whom the drink offering is being poured out? her name is self-indulgence. Her spirit has captivated our modern society and she is now determined to set up her throne in God's house. She has a multitude of followers already: cold-in-their-love-for-Jesus Christians who now live only for themselves. Their hearts have been captured by the pleasures, the lusts and luxuries and the pride of this world. They minister to their idols - and they will give to God and human need only when the all consuming needs of their own idolatry are satisfied. There is little left to be poured out to God because it has already been sacrificed to some idol.
We Are Now In A Time Of Last Opportunities.
The closing curtain is about to fall and the church is getting its final call to repent, forsake its selfish ways, get back to the holy place and be poured out as a sacrifice. A remnant is even now being deeply stirred by the Spirit of God.
God has called me back to New York City to be a drink offering there to His glory. My one great prayer now is, "O God - let me give myself wholly to You - let me be poured out in tears, in brokenness, in supplication and intercession for the lost and hopeless. Accept all my time, all my energy, all my love, all my will - as a living sacrifice. Let me see the emptiness and nothingness of all earthly things. Let me renounce all self-ambition and self-love. Let the ministry You have given me be poured out as wine to You, Lord - and let me stand one day before Your Judgment Seat, emptied - completely poured out!"
This I know is my last opportunity to be a drink offering - a sweet smelling aroma to Him. Is the Spirit calling you too? Are you being weaned from this world? Do you feel His magnetic pull toward giving all to Him? Then present your body wholly to Him as a living sacrifice - be poured out - it is our reasonable service to Him
Jonah built a little booth,
A shelter from the heat.
A gourd-vine grew,
protection from the wind that on him beat.
Jonah rejoiced, exceeding glad
For this convenient gourd-
Espec'lly since this comfort was
Provided by the Lord!
"I thank Thee, Lord, Thou hast been good
To my dear wife and me;
We're glad we're in a peaceful land of great prosperity.
It makes us feel so good-
This little bungalow-
The kitchenette, the living room,
The rug, so soft you know.
We love our children, every one;
We keep them home for God:
The homeland needs them just as much
As mission fields abroad.
And fundamentalists are we,
My children, wife and I-
So thankful that we're saved by grace
Secure until we die!
What didst Thou say?
Well, that's another thing.
Right now we want to praise our God
We're sheltered 'neath His wing!"
Thus fundamental Jonahs to
The Lord their praises tell.
They'll sing "We're saved and satisfied,
Till Nineveh goes to hell!
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2002 by World Challenge, Lindale, Texas, USA.
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This material is solely for personal use and is not to be posted publicly on other web pages. The Lorain County Free-Net Chapel holds exclusive rights from World Challenge, Inc. to publicly post these messages on its web page. You are free to download, copy, print and distribute this material, so long as you do not post it on a different Internet site. You may, however, link this site to reference these messages.
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North Central Ohio, U.S.A.
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This page was last updated May 24, 2002.