Hans Christian Anderson wrote a child's story, "The Emperor's New Clothes," about a prideful emperor who loved to buy expensive new clothes.
One day a pair of thieves came to town and convinced him they would make him the finest outfit in the world but that it would be invisible to those unfit for their jobs or the simple of character.
Feeling highly superior and confident, the emperor ordered them made. During the process, he sent two representatives to see how the clothes were coming. The tailors pretended to be weaving and the men did not want to appear stupid or unfit, so they praised the work to the emperor. Finally, the emperor's new suit was ready.
He could see nothing, but he, too, did not want to appear stupid. So he paraded down the street for all to see the new clothes. Of course all saw only a naked emperor, but no one admitted it for fear of being thought stupid.
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That is, until a child cried out: "But the emperor has nothing on at all!" Soon all realized he was naked -- except the emperor, who continued to believe he was richly clothed.
Out in Christiandom today, we have a lot of naked emperors demanding admiration, homage and money from their hoard of adoring, deceived supporters. They present themselves in many ways, but all have something in common -- they don't have the goods they are trying to sell the sheep. They are naked.
But the sheep refuse to believe it and mindlessly baa, baa, baa after these emperors, giving them their last cent to receive the promised healings, prophesies, multiplied finances, or feel-good experiences.
Arenas full of hopeful, hurting people are falling to the floor laughing like hyenas, braying like donkeys and barking likedogs.
When the emperor shouts "fire," herds of miracle-seeking sheep dutifully fall over en masse, screaming and shaking on the floor, believing they have been touched by God and/or are now healed.
Sheep scramble for a personal touch from the emperor who smacks them in the head. They empty their pockets and use their credit cards to help their beloved emperor continue his/her "very important anointed work."
Of course their guru needs his/her airplaneand $5-10K per night rooms as they travel to spread the Gospel. Of course they need their multimillion dollar mansions -- it's a sign God is with them!
Of course if we give them our money we will be under the same blessed financial anointing! Why, that's what the emperors tell us, so it must be true, right?
Saints, wake up! Don't believe that emperor is wearing a suit of anointed clothes from God Almighty. He/she is as spiritually naked as a jaybird! Stop giving the charlatans your time, homage and money.
Paul warned the early church in 2 Corinthians 11 that already many Christians were departing from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ and following "another Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel."
In Acts 20:28-33, Paul exhorts the pastors at Ephesus to guard the flock because after his departure savage wolves will arise from outside and inside the church, fleecing the flock and drawing disciples to themselves (not to Jesus).
Paul warns the early believers in 2 Corinthians 11:13-2 that false apostles would come disguising themselves as apostles of Christ and that the people would gladly tolerate it when these emperors enslave them (spiritually), devour them (take their money), take advantage of them (emotionally), exalt themselves and even hit you in the face! (v20).
Saints, they are here now. But you don't have to fear or follow them. These emperors truly have no clothes.
The Rev. Anne Barber, is pastor of My Father's House, 7215 U.S. 301 N., Ellenton. For more information, visit www.myfathershouseinc.com.