This is an excerpt from the Preface of my new book, Cleansing The Temple.
I was watching a YouTube video recently in which the late Kenneth E. Hagin, whom I reference a few times in this book, shared about how God told him to preach and carry the message of faith to the Church nearly a century ago. Through many hardships, he obeyed that call and eventually prospered in it. Because of His obedience to God’s mandate on his life and ministry, millions of people worldwide have been blessed by his life, example, and teachings. He preached and taught on many other topics, but faith in God’s Word was his primary message for much of his life.
What most of the general public doesn’t know about Kenneth Hagin Sr., also affectionately known as “Dad” Hagin by those taught and fathered by him, is that he never desired a large ministry or the attention of the limelight — indeed a rarity today. In fact, this outstanding quality so moved me as a young student in his school that I have kept one of my favorite quotes of his tucked away in my Bible for years to remind me of it.
“I could care less if God used me. I wish He’d take me off the platform. I’d be perfectly happy in a prayer room, never being seen or heard. If you want to be seen or heard, you shouldn’t be on any plat- form. The people don’t need to see or hear you but Jesus, anyway.”
This quote will become increasingly significant throughout the pages of this book, so you may want to remind yourself of it now and then. The polar opposite of this statement is the modern-day scourge in the Church today, where self-aggrandizement is king. Hagin’s quote is the anchor of truth, representing the posture of true humility and prayer that will keep you from what you will come to know in a later chapter as the mystery of iniquity.
One time, someone asked “Dad” Hagin how it was that his ministry just seemed to spring up out of nowhere and then propelled to national and international prominence. In other words, what was the secret to his success? Very humbly, he replied: “All I’ve ever done is obey the written Word of God and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in my life.”
What Hagin said reflects a simple yet profound wisdom that, due to the prayerless spirit of the age, many have veered greatly from. If we follow Brother Hagin’s stellar example and Biblical principle, we will also fulfill God’s plan and purpose for our lives, which should be a priority for every believer and minister. But this is nearly impossible to do without pure motives. This is one of the emphases of the book you now hold in your hands and one of the chief themes in some of my other writings. The fact that you’re browsing through it or have begun reading it is proof to me that the Spirit of God is drawing you to what we believe is a critical word from the Lord to the Church in this hour.
HOW THIS BOOK WAS BIRTHED
In prayer one day, while my wife Carolyn and I were praying in the Spirit, three scriptures flashed before her that instantly bore witness with both of us. The first one was Acts 5, with Ananias and Sapphira; the second was Acts 8, with Simon the sorcerer; the third was Acts 19, with the burning of the magic books at Ephesus. Immediately we discerned the message from the Lord, and we sensed a burden and a commissioning to write a book on the impurities and iniquities that are prevalent in the church world today and how judgment and cleansing must come before the glory can be restored. He highlighted to us His desire to burn up the greed and covetousness for money, position, and power that rules so many.
This revelation led me to read the various gospel accounts of Jesus cleansing the temple. As I meditated on this cleansing, I became acutely aware that this is a work God endeavors to do in every generation, but it will be most intense in the days prior to His return. One of God’s primary works has always been to move the Church from being a house of merchandise and even a den of thieves to a true house of prayer. This is another one of the emphases of this book.
“And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (Jn. 2:14- 16).
“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (Lk. 19:45-46).
Whenever the Lord speaks to His churches as He did, for example, to the churches of Revelation, we read this phrase: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev. 2- 3).” This phrase is always preceded or followed by some kind of promise to the overcomer. Although this book contains strong truths and many warnings, it also promises a reward to all who overcome. It is our assignment from the Lord to trumpet these things now, for too many have followed the love of money and the pride and esteem of an honored reputation among men and inordinate desire for public ministry — instead of serving the Lord with the purest of motives and following the Spirit of God through prayer and communion with Him.
This book touches on a few other topics, but these two issues are the heart of the book.
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