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You Become Like What You Look At!

Is it any surprise then that the gospel has become industrialised, as men in prominent positions observe intently the systems that make the world as we know it turn around? Is it any surprise that we have fallen into the trap of celebrity and merchandising through a long gaze at the exploits of a capitalist society? The church has suffered from "mission drift" by gazing too long at the worlds' concepts of success, prosperity and growth.
Somewhere in the workshop of creating new bait to reach a new generation, we replaced Spirit driven conviction with a marketing ploy, the message to repent and turn from sin with some line about how you can be better off in this world if follow certain aspects of Jesus' teachings. Meanwhile we cherry-pick which parts of the message to share to put Jesus in the "best light"- as if being hated is not one of the promises that he left us.
Matthew 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
The problem with trying to attract "seekers", what was once called "sinners" or "unbelievers", is that the law of attraction requires there to be an appeal to something intrinsic to the individual. If that individual is in sin, then the appeal needs to surpass the intellectual, rational and cultural sentiments, and reach into spirit that craves to know its Father. I have been in a music shop and read the sign "if you like a certain secular artist you will like this Christian artist". What is wrong with this picture? An appeal is being made to the unregenerated man to participate in more of the same.
The Holy Spirit can speak directly to the hearts of individuals; He can discern thoughts and intentions and cut right to heart (Hebrews 4:12). On the day of Pentecost the onlookers were pricked to the heart. Christ is the centrepiece of our faith. If you have a problem with him you have a problem with the fabric of what it means to be a follower of Christ.
A Prime Example of the worldly patterns we should not follow
The music industry thrives not merely because of the kind of music produced, but because they do their best to make consumers fans of the artist(s). It is what drives the reality TV model of promotion. People are drawn into a narrative, made to part with their money and opinions before a so-called star is even born. Through the process of the show they have grown a ripe fan-base on which to launch the artist.
Gospel artists pose on albums as if we should fall in love with them. They partially uncover themselves, show cleavage, and paint themselves in line with the descriptions of harlotry in the book of Proverbs 7, Ezekiel 23:40, 2 Kings 9:30. Some of the men look like women, and most of the women look like the world we were told not to love (1 John 2:15). They wear what they want, eat what they want but want us to respect them or consider them beyond reproach because they hold to the name of Jesus (Isaiah 4:1). It is surely that they do not eat of Christ, the living bread, the divine nature, and chose to wear their own righteousness but not the character of Christ.

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I wonder who these gospel artists have been looking at? One can only assume that 

 Deuteronomy, Proverbs, the writings of Paul and Peter do not feature in the Bibles that these people read. Or is the truth that an industry has exploited their flesh- that part of us that we are to kill daily. The Bible says we should hate the garments spotted by the flesh (Jude 23): garments speak of character. This could be us, if we allowed the flesh, the old man, our own nature to reign. Some savvy business person picks up a camera and says "why don't you just...", or "you'd look great in this!" They may well be victims, but like the rest of us, they have a Bible.

Maybe they missed the following:
1 Corinthians 11:14
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
1 Timothy 2:9
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Modesty? Surely this is subjective? Can anyone in the world argue that the women in the pictures above are a picture of modesty?
Let me check out this word on
mod·es·ty -    [mod-uh-stee] noun, plural -ties.
1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity,boastfulness, etc.
2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. simplicity; moderation.
Freedom from vanity? This can't be – the industry is built on vanity – why they were decked from a vanity case before they took the pictures! Something must be wrong here, maybe they read another translation?
1 Timothy 2:9
American Standard Version (ASV)
9 In like manner, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel,
Ok so we can't blame the American Standard Version (does this version actually know the American Standard?) Something is wrong here...
Perhaps it was the amplified version, maybe it blew things out of proportion...
1 Timothy 2:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
9Also [I desire] that women should adorn themselves modestly and appropriately and sensibly in seemly apparel, not with [elaborate] hair arrangement or gold or pearls or expensive clothing,
No expensive clothing! This version is distracting me... Let me check another... Maybe it's the fault of the Good News Translation – it's everywhere, in hotels etc and I just can't take it- it is so watered down...
1 Timothy 2:9
Good News Translation (GNT)
9 I also want the women to be modest and sensible about their clothes and to dress properly; not with fancy hair styles or with gold ornaments or pearls or expensive dresses,

No fancy hairstyles! This is gospel music hello! And dressing properly, well that's subjective as well isn't it- only Mary Mary don't seem to want us to believe that they might be wearing any in that shot!
Okay so I can't blame the translations, not even my "least favourite" but we are in a New Century, perhaps the New Century Bible has a more relevant explanation...
1 Timothy 2:9
New Century Version (NCV)
9 Also, women should wear proper clothes that show respect and self-control, not using braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
Show respect? To whom? So this modesty thing is a respect issue? Self-control? Dressing is a matter of self-control – isn't that a fruit of the Spirit?
I think the point has been laboured enough. But perhaps this is a doctrine of Paul, as many critics like to point out. Well what did Peter say on the matter.
1 Peter 3:3-6
King James Version (KJV)
3Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
You mean we are meant to take examples from "old time holy women"? No wonder we look like the world – we stopped looking at Sara, we stopped looking on the holiness mothers that formed the holiness movements that sparked every major 20 Century revival. Men have created an industry that congratulates itself with Stella's and Grammys while flouting the counsel given by the men whom Christ left to bring his doctrine to the world.
Looking unto Jesus – our "unique selling point"
The greatest asset that any disciple of Jesus Christ has is the love of God. Christ said according John 13:35: 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another'. Churches ought to focus on making their current crop of believers behave more like Christ to each other if they want to see real growth. Analyse this: Christ said people will come to a conclusion about whom you are following based on how the followers treat each other. Paul instructs us to do good and especially to those of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10). Moses when recounting the journey of the children of Israel stated that the nations would look upon them in astonishment about how they govern themselves based on God-given commandments judgements and statutes (Deuteronomy 4:6).
We would see Jesus...
It perhaps goes without saying that the Lord expects his followers to have a different view of him that people who observe from a distance. He asked two questions to his disciples at one point to see what they understood: "Whom do men say that I the son of man am?"; and then "whom do you say that I am". Christ's response to Peter also indicated that even though they had walked with him, he did not expect that they could have come up with an answer based on mere observation but through revelation.
Why is it that we are faced with the dichotomy of preachers who don't care about being like the world, and Pharisee type Christians who feign love for people when really they are sick with pre-existing religious conditions: e.g. natural disciplinarians who given the chance would have been a police officer, referee, school teacher – or some kind of authoritarian figure in whatever field they landed. The narrow way does not suffer the worldliness of the broad way, neither does it suffer the hypocrisy found on religious highways where men bleeding to death are passed by. It does however afford freedom from condemnation to those walk after the Spirit and not after the flesh (Romans 8:1). Important here is the trajectory of the believers life – it is designed to go from glory to glory, not glory to shame. People need to see the Lord Jesus Christ.
So how do we journey from the general to the particular, subjective to objective? How do we arrive at certainties? The key is to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus until revelation takes place. You see the organ-induced hype, the whooping of the preacher does not make a sinner feel like a sinner. The reason you can't tell someone to stop being so worldly is because God is not present enough to do it for you. The reason why "God didn't tell me that" is because he rebukes sons and not bastards, he chastens the one's he loves. A church that can't be blessed without music is not the church. A church that needs a man to perform to get excited is not the church. A church where women of today don't take examples from women of old is not the Church. A church that looks more like a prosperity fashion show is not the Church.
Elijah said to Elisha, if you see me when the Lord takes me, you can have the double portion. We learn something great while we gaze upon what we are meant to gaze upon. We are transformed from our natural state into the glorious state of that which we have been instructed to fix our gaze. The beauty that we have comes from the glory of God, not the make-up of men. The ability to be content, generous, humble and not wasteful, is a by-product of looking at the saviour, who took upon him the form of a servant...who being found in fashion as a man, humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross' (Philippians 2:7,8).

Various warnings: Appendix

Christs' warning
Matthew 6:19-21
King James Version (KJV)
19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
20But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
21For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Apostle John's warning
1 John 2:15-16
King James Version (KJV)
15Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The Apostle Pauls' warning
1 Timothy 6:3-6
King James Version (KJV)
3If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
6But godliness with contentment is great gain.
The Apostle Peters' warning
1 Peter 5:1-3
King James Version (KJV)
1 Peter 5
1The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock.
Jude's warning
Jude 1:11-12
Today's New International Version (TNIV)
11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam's error; they have been destroyed in Korah's rebellion.
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

Location & Opening hours

50 Church road, Harlesden, London | Sunday Service from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm and most days during the week

Other Church Locations

Harrow  |  Luton  |  Bedford  |  International

Leadership & Contact

Apostle GT Mullings | Pastor J Mullings