Today, when we face the problems of the gospel organizations and the church, while we sigh for the lukewarm believers, we must understand that those problems have a very close relationship with the life and characters of preachers/ministers and religious workers. The Lord Jesus expected that the disciples he called should learn from him and become a good shepherd who is humble and self-denying; don’t become a hired worker, let alone become a false preacher (thief). Here we use the familiar Chinese Zodiac signs as a metaphor to briefly analyze the characters and mistakes of the false preachers and hired workers; and hope that the majority of believers and preachers can use this as a lesson, in order to carry the cross to follow the Lord Jesus, not only to renew lives, but also to lead the herding sheep to pursue a rich life in Jesus.
Rat: The impression is sneaky. As a false preacher or a hired worker, although they do not steal properties of others, they may steal the time of the kingdom of God. Such things are: not sincerely pray to God, not use enough time to study the Bible carefully, not prepare Sunday sermons with the pursuit of their own new life, not strive to serve faithfully in the gospel institutions. In addition, they use the gospel organizations or church to get their own interests directly or indirectly. This kind of things is also a cunning behavior of theft.
Cow: Although they are simple-minded workers, but can’t understand the sound of the piano, which means that they are indifferent to the work and moving of the Holy Spirit. As an employee of secular companies, hardworking is the right thing; but for God’s servants, it is necessary for servants to obey the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If they just work for a work, it is not pleasing to God; it is better to go to secular companies for hardworking.
Tiger: Its character shows strong and arrogant. They do not allow others to make different opinions; and by criticizing so called splits or hinders the ministry, they often suppress the co-workers and believers who dare to tell the truth. Such false preachers regard the work of the Kingdom of God as a job occupation, and fear of losing their jobs caused by others’ option and actions. Therefore, they adopt an arrogant approach to remove those who are disobedient and troublesome away from the gospel organizations or churches.
Rabbit: As the saying goes, a smart rabbit usually has three holes/homes, because the rabbit is timid and has to prepare several runaway places. Such a hired hand cannot be brave enough to open up the situation; but instead, they always fear challenges and stay behind. For the timid hired hand, the core of their minds is to keep their own jobs safety.
Dragon: It is the totem or authority symbol of the Chinese emperor. When false preachers like personal authority and pursue glory for themselves; they are evil servants hatred by God. However, the skills of such false preachers have some talents and become famous, which can also attract some believers who like to follow them for getting favor from their leadership. So, when they feel successful, and then they may use their authority to get money and to fall into sexual scandals.
Snake: The Lord Jesus told the disciples to be as shrewd as serpents when preaching the gospel; but this shrewd is not for his own benefit, but for the purpose of spreading the gospel and training disciples. If the preacher is acting for his own interests, it is not shrewd but cunning. In addition, the snake also refers to Satan, because the Bible has recorded that Satan had used the words of the Bible to test the Lord Jesus. In the same way, the false preacher often misinterprets the teachings of God, or make use of “God’s will” to influence the ministry and seek personal gain for himself. Especially inside the gospel organizations led by the Americans, some of the false preachers or hired hands who are Chinese may cheat and fool their supervisors who can’t understand Chinese by means of counterfeiting data and report of their Chinese ministry. The deceitful means and eloquence of the false preachers are superb; that was well documented in the Old Testament books of the Bible, but their regime led to the ruin of the Israel kingdom.
Horse: Makes people think of the racecourse, because the horse’s ability is to run. And some false preachers also like to compete with other churches, pulling each other and causing disharmony between the churches. The hired hands want to get more church members for personal success and more income.
Sheep: Sheep need to lead, because it is easy to get lost; at the same time, sheep cannot distinguish fake sheep. Preachers should feed the flock of God; and Preachers themselves are also the sheep of God, both should receive the teaching of the Word of God. But goats (false preachers) are not sheep of God, and even a wolf in sheep’s clothing. (Mt.7:15) However, at the Gospel organizations in USA, since leaders who do not understand Chinese language, they may easily be deceived by a false preacher or a hired hand who are smart with emotional and fascinating expression. Therefore, when such a false preacher or a hired hand holds the leadership position at the department of Chinese ministry, the flock of God is not only not fed, but some weak sheep will be swallowed by the false preacher (wolf/thief in sheep’s clothing).
Monkey: Love to imitate people. Such false preachers do not ask for the teachings and challenges of the truth from God; but instead, they copy the sermons of other preachers; or violate the copyright to publish the plagiarized articles on the webpage of their own gospel ministry for promoting their own achievements. Man-made things can be imitated, but people can’t perform the work of the Holy Spirit. In the end, just as use bamboo baskets to fetch water in vain, they may waste the lives of some believers.
Chicken: Crow in morning or when laying eggs. Some hired hands or false preachers like to receive more recognition from people, and they may use some activities and vain numbers to express themselves and get the satisfaction of their superiors. But if you look at the true state of their gospel ministry, you will find that there is less wheat and more scorpion and weeds in this field.
Dog: It is regarded as the most human-like pet, and there is an idiom saying that the dog acts bully on the strength of its master’s power. Such false preachers of some gospel organizations try to get the trust and favor from their supervisors by flattering them; or they like to please people who have status and wealth in society by asking them to be deacons or elders in the church. Thus, they become puppet of others and preach as well as do church administration according to human desires.
Pig: The are okay if there is food available. Some hired hands and false preachers have no heart and no skills for doing ministries, but they like to have easy jobs at the Gospel organizations and churches for their living. They just do a job with an attitude of dawdler. If a church or gospel institution dismiss them, they will look for the similar easy job for physical needs, because some churches have no pastors and look for pastors; therefore, they may work here for years and there for years.
It is not surprising if someone has one or two genera among the Twelve genera. But if someone has six or seven genera, we have to ask: does this person have a new life of rebirth? In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus warned those who shouted “Lord! Lord!” but did not follow the Father’s will (Matthew 7:21-23). From the Word of God, we know that some false preachers are included among such evildoers. If you open the Bible and look at verses 15 through 20 of the chapter 7, you know that the Lord Jesus described the false preachers (the Old Testament as false prophets) as cruel wolves; their end is the judgment of God’s wrath. So how do we identify false preachers? How can the clergy who are engaged in missionary work in the gospel institutions and churches abandon the genera of the hired workers and learn how to be the good shepherd required by the Lord Jesus?
We can follow the testimony of the apostle Paul’s life; he also asked the believer to follow him, because he had followed the Lord Jesus and was a living witness in the eyes of believers. Today, we can see from Paul’s letter that he crucified with the Lord Jesus and let the new life given by the Lord Jesus live in his life (Galatians 2:20). So, we can say that when a minister lets the Lord Jesus live in him to rule everything, that person is the good shepherd who belongs to the Lord Jesus. On the contrary, if the preacher’s old selfishness is in the center of his / her life, he / she is a false preacher or hired worker belonging to the world. Thus, the spiritual battle between the false preacher / hired worker and the good shepherd is a lifelong fight. In short, a minister who is willing to be a good shepherd must take up the cross every day, follow the Lord Jesus and learn His style. Only then can they crucify their own evils and desires, and crucify the twelve genera of the false preachers and hired workers on the cross (Gal. 5:24, 6:14) in order to shepherd the sheep of God, and lead the gospel institutions and churches heading for revival.
Moses Sun wrote this article. The third edition in Chinese was published on August 4, 2019. The edition of translation was published on September 15, 2019.
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