By: Derrick P. Rodgers

Perverted Honor

Acts 14:11, 14, 15 (NLT) – 11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, “These men are gods in human form!”
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting,
15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them.

Acts 14, 15 (MSG) When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; he makes us and all of this— sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.

Authentic apostles will always renounce any type of worship. They carry a message that persuades people to abandon idol worship and worship of men. Some false apostles and prophets will cleverly receive worship from people by invoking and perverting the principle of honor. They will create all kinds of strange ministry patterns to harness such worship

Many leaders are trending towards the world of false prophets by embracing distorted doctrine and defective ministry patterns. There are some leaders that teach that the senior leader should be compared to Jesus. There is a continual comparison of the senior leader to Jesus, making them equal with Jesus. In other words it is taught that you should see your leader like you see Jesus and act accordingly.

Among this false teaching is a continual innuendo that the leader should be treated like Jesus. They will even go as far to justify their behavior by distorting scripture to articulate their position. This type of teaching is what perverts genuine honor for leaders and generate misplaced loyalty.

No man can sit in the seat of Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, God manifested in the flesh. Men are leaders that lead people to Jesus and not to themselves. Ephesians 5:1 (AMP). Nonetheless because of gifting and the appeared success among some, the roles of some leaders are being confused with God himself. To only ignore this behavior and continue to operate in these patterns of ministry will only lead to ruin.

True apostles understand that they are men, servants or bond slaves of Christ. __ They are not caught up in the glitz and glamour of ministry. They are constantly keeping sober to not pollute themselves with arrogance and pride, instead they are seeking humility which always refuses any forms of worship. Whether its insidious or outright blatant worship, one of the signs of a true apostle and true leadership is humility. This can best be demonstrated in the pattern of ministry our Lord Jesus himself operated in. Jesus the perfect example operated in humility which demonstrated great power which resulted in the will of the Father being fulfilled. Philippians 2:8

It is important to understand the true from the counterfeit. Many false prophets such as Jezebel (Revelations 2:19) has merged themselves within the fabric of the church and because of their charismatic gifting, many cannot distinguish the difference. Many well-intentioned leaders and emerging leaders are adopting some of these patterns of ministry and becoming conditioned to believe this is an accepted form of ministry. To permit this type of activity is harmful to the advancement of the Kingdom and not to mention many are led astray from the paths of righteousness. Micah 3:5

Acts 10:24-26 (NLT) – 24 They arrived in Caesarea the following day. Cornelius was waiting for them and had called together his relatives and close friends. 25 As Peter entered his home, Cornelius fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter pulled him up and said, “Stand up! I’m a human being just like you!”

Acts 10:23-26 (MSG) The next morning he got up and went with them. Some of his friends from Joppa went along. A day later they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had his relatives and close friends waiting with him. The minute Peter came through the door, Cornelius was up on his feet greeting him—and then down on his face worshiping him! Peter pulled him up and said, “None of that—I’m a man and only a man, no different from you.”

Apostle Peter immediately rejected Cornelius worship and told him None of that. In other words worshipping man is unacceptable in the Kingdom only Father God receives worship. Unfortunately today some leaders allow such behavior to take place without rebuking people from worshiping them.

Because of the sensationalism of ministry and the immaturity of some believers, extreme accolades and the demand of notoriety can cause some to cross the line and go from honoring their leader to inadvertently yielding worship to them. It is the responsibility of both the believer and leader to maintain a healthy balance. Any believer who violates these boundaries should be corrected or even rebuked by their leader, providing the leader is an authentic apostle or prophet.

The leader that permits this type of violation to take place unchecked, sets him or herself up to be injected with pride and deception. Also if unchecked, this can lead to the anger of the Lord to arise against the offender.

The Death of Herod Agrippa

Acts 12:20-23 (NLT) – 20 Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they sent a delegation to make peace with him because their cities were dependent upon Herod’s country for food. The delegates won the support of Blastus, Herod’s personal assistant, 21 and an appointment with Herod was granted. When the day arrived, Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them. 22 The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!”
23 Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died.

Accepting worship from people is not just a violation of kingdom principle, it can cause physical sickness to come upon an individual which leads to death. Therefore leaders, we can see clearly that allowing this activity to take place can be very dangerous. To accept and flirt with the extreme accolades that come from people can lead to a more dangerous end.

Money Grubbing Preachers

2 Corinthians 11:7-13 (NLT) Was I wrong when I humbled myself and honored you by preaching God’s Good News to you without expecting anything in return? 8 I “robbed” other churches by accepting their contributions so I could serve you at no cost. 9 And when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on, I did not become a financial burden to anyone. For the brothers who came from Macedonia brought me all that I needed. I have never been a burden to you, and I never will be. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, no one in all of Greece[a] will ever stop me from boasting about this. 11 Why? Because I don’t love you? God knows that I do.
12 But I will continue doing what I have always done. This will undercut those who are looking for an opportunity to boast that their work is just like ours. 13 These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:7-13 (AMP) -7 But did I perhaps make a mistake and do you a wrong in debasing and cheapening myself so that you might be exalted and enriched in dignity and honor and happiness by preaching God’s Gospel without expense to you?
8 Other churches I have robbed by accepting [more than their share of] support for my ministry [from them in order] to serve you.
9And when I was with you and ran short financially, I did not burden any [of you], for what I lacked was abundantly made up by the brethren who came from Macedonia. So I kept myself from being burdensome to you in any way, and will continue to keep [myself from being so].
10As the truth of Christ is in me, this my boast [of independence] shall not be debarred (silenced or checked) in the regions of Achaia (most of Greece).
11And why? Because I do not love you [do not have a preference for you, wish you well, and regard your welfare]? God perceives and knows that I do!
12But what I do, I will continue to do, [for I am determined to maintain this independence] in order to cut off the claim of those who would like [to find an occasion and incentive] to claim that in their boasted [mission] they work on the same terms that we do.
13For such men are false apostles [spurious, counterfeits], deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles (special messengers) of Christ (the Messiah).

2 Corinthians 11:7-15 (MSG) I wonder, did I make a bad mistake in proclaiming God’s Message to you without asking for something in return, serving you free of charge so that you wouldn’t be inconvenienced by me? It turns out that the other churches paid my way so that you could have a free ride. Not once during the time I lived among you did anyone have to lift a finger to help me out. My needs were always supplied by the believers from Macedonia province. I was careful never to be a burden to you, and I never will be, you can count on it. With Christ as my witness, it’s a point of honor with me, and I’m not going to keep it quiet just to protect you from what the neighbors will think. It’s not that I don’t love you; God knows I do. I’m just trying to keep things open and honest between us.
12 -15And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing “preachers,” vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core. And no wonder! Satan does it all the time, dressing up as a beautiful angel of light. So it shouldn’t surprise us when his servants masquerade as servants of God. But they’re not getting by with anything. They’ll pay for it in the end.

We can clearly see; Apostle Paul was very concern with separating false apostles from authentic apostles. In-fact Paul was determined to not participate in any of their patterns of ministry. He refused to burden people financially and use witchcraft tactics (deceitful workers) to obtain finances. Apostle Paul knew it was important to expose or undercut those who were looking for an opportunity to boast that their work or patterns of ministry were the same as approved authentic apostles.

With today’s perception among some circles in the body of Christ the apostle Paul would be considered unsuccessful in ministry because of the statement he made in verse 9: “when I was with you and didn’t have enough to live on” (NLT) “when I was with you and ran short financially” (AMP) This type of statement made today would disqualify you as a leader in the sight of some men. To have financial challenges as a leader some how has become a sign of failure or the authenticity of their leadership becomes suspect because of a lack of finances.

Many have become materialistic in nature. The material accumulation is the gauge whereby success is measured. Unfortunately, this false model for measuring success has influenced too many leaders and saints in the body of Christ. The pursuit to satisfy the demands of such a model of gaining material possession to qualify Godly success is false.

Luke 12:15 (NLT) – Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.”

So let’s take a look at some of the patterns of ministry today vs. approved apostolic patterns in scripture. How are tithes and offerings received? Do they always talk about giving money? Is every message that’s preached tied to you giving money or sowing a seed to benefit from what’s just been preached? Do you feel financially drained and burdened to constantly make extreme financial sacrifices? If you don’t sow that special seed the ministry will end?

These are some of the questions you might want to ask yourself to determine false apostles. Most if not all false apostles are in it for the money. Some will tell you if the money isn’t coming in as desired they will soon enough quit God and go back into secular society to work where they are sure to make some money.

Don’t get me wrong, I ‘m not against people giving and sowing into leaders and financially supporting the ministry, but like apostle Paul the way to separate the true from the false is to examine the administration of their financial giving structures and patterns of ministry. Apostle Paul knew one way to cut off false apostles, people who were claiming to be apostles who were not; is to remove the emphasis on finances and the need for people to pay him for his service.

Neither did, Paul say it was something wrong with saints sowing into him to help advance the ministry, in-fact he stated he took more of the share from the Macedonia province to provide for the church in which he was presently ministering to. Paul chose this pattern of ministry to clearly show a sharp contrast between the true and the false. Paul refused to be identified with money-grubbing preachers. One of the signature signs of false apostles and prophets; is a relentless pursuit of money and the volition to become rich off religion. (1 Timothy 6:5, 9). True apostolic leaders are careful to never be a burden to the people financially. Where as false apostles and prophets will burden and enslave people financially, while claiming authority of apostleship.

What’s amazing to me is that churches and ministries say they are a non-profit organization; however some have crossed over to the pursuit of making a profit and measuring their success based on the accumulation of profits. Again, I’m not so naïve to understand there is costs involved in ministry, I get it. Nonetheless to market your services to produce profit is not the intention of God and a violation of the non-profit status. Authentic apostles value integrity and will seek to provide ministry without placing financial burdens upon people in order to develop them in Christ.