Without a doubt, Peter has Isaiah 53:4-9 in mind as the Holy Spirit inspired his writing of 1 Peter 2:21-25 since he quotes verse 9 and alludes to the rest. In 1 Peter 2:24-25, Peter writes of the spiritual outcomes that Christ’s sacrifice brings to believers in that having died to our sins in coming to Him through faith, we now live for righteousness since our painful separation from God has been healed. Truly, we were as sheep “going astray,” but now through faith “have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer” of our souls (NKJV). Such are the rich and joyful realities the apostle writes of in a context in which he is encouraging us to follow Christ’s example when we suffer.
However, in these latter days, apostolic instruction like Peter’s is being ignored and many of those that claim to love the Lord are rebelling against Him as the Shepherd of God’s flock to include men who supposedly have been called by Christ to serve in the ministry of shepherding under Him (John 14:21-24, 31, 15:9-10, 21:15-17). The Lord Jesus is the “great” and “Chief Shepherd” of God’s sheep that purchased them with His own blood and it is His will that is to be implemented in pleasing Him among them (Hebrews 13:20-21; 1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV)! But the guilty in rebellion are sheep going astray all over again after having already returned to God through Christ our Shepherd.
In the meantime, many of the guilty are running around calling for “revival in the land” because our nation is steadily losing its collective mind in approving social policies that God condemns. How can professing Christians call unsaved rebels to repentance and they as rebels need to repent themselves? The Lord had me to write about this sham cry for revival back in 2012 and nothing has happened since then to make a liar out of me. We desperately need heartfelt revival in the land alright, but we need it in God’s house among His sheep first and of the drastic variety seen under Judah’s king Josiah before God’s severe judgment fell (2 Chronicles 34-35:19). Only after will we appreciate as fully as we ought, the divine imperative to restore men.
Originally Posted October 28, 2012
It has been nice lately hearing all of the cries for revival in our nation. Unfortunately, as I have previously written and the Lord in righteous indignation impressed heavily upon my heart on Friday, October 19th, without heartfelt repentance on the part of professing Christians, authentic revival is not coming--right at this moment anyway. Why? Many of these folk calling for revival are still standing knee deep in rebellion while they quote 2 Chronicles 7:14. This is not a game and my God is not stupid.
You do not think He knows a deeply repentant and broken heart from one that is merely superficially acknowledging a few general acts of common sin? How could it be that women as pastors and those that endorse their clear break with Bible instruction would actually believe God is moved by their ostensible display of humble petition for revival? Hypocrites! God is not pleased and rather than revival, prepare for His remedial judgment as also happened to ancient Israel for trying the same thing (Jeremiah 6; Revelation 2:18-23, 3:19).
God’s people from ancient times only ever got in trouble with Him after departing from His Word. In God’s words to Solomon by night after the Temple dedication ceremonies, He is concerned in verse 13 first to have him understand judgment would come upon His people for their sins. Drought, devouring locusts and pestilence are sent by God upon His people not for doing well, but for their wicked ways. It is deeply offensive to God holy, righteous and true that His people not only willfully sin against Him, but corrupt His Word to His face to even justify their wicked ways. Israel would do this and many professing Christians across America are now doing it (Matthew 15:1-9).
So many professing Christians treat God as a marshmallow who only cares that they have some level of acknowledgement of Him in their lives. While confessing that all of the bad stuff the sinners in America are doing is the source of our nation’s troubles, I hear nothing about how we, God’s people, have sinned against Him in disobedience not to some obscure passages of Scripture, but very clear instruction.
This is instruction from Christ on adultery and divorce for example in Matthew 5:27-32 and 19:1-9. As well, it is anointed apostolic instruction on the headship of men in the home and churches along with greed such as is found in 1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 6:6-11. Christ says “not to resist an evil person,” (Matthew 5:38-42); we say, “Whoever takes from me will pay” and justify keeping deadly weapons for protection. Christ says “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:43-48); we say, “This is impossible” and justify racial prejudice. On and on this goes ad nauseam and we are guiltless?
God is telling Solomon in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that on the condition His people would earnestly petition Him in repentance from their sinful and wicked ways that has brought judgment upon them, then He would “hear” (which plainly asserts until that point He is not listening), “forgive their sin and heal their land;” that is, restore the land devastated by the judgment represented in drought, devouring locusts and pestilence. Before Holy Ghost fired revival will come to American Christians and churches there must be deep and bitter repentance from the sin, worldly compromises and corruptions of His Word we have made. Apparently, the travails of our nation to date have not yet been severe or painful enough to bring us to this.
However, get ready; God who knows how to humble the proud will bring His people, professing Christians and this nation to our knees in a disciplinary judgment that will not be easily dismissed as “natural” in any way. Then, there will be serious repentance and genuine, fresh surrender to Jesus as Lord as well as commitment to obey even the whole Word of God as He requires His people. In that hour very near too, there will be no more clever skating around obedience in the deceitful and convenient dismissal of God’s Word as rules so as to avoid “rule keeping,” (Psalm 119).
(ODCM Publishing Division is pleased to invite readers of the Strong Man Of God Blog to visit a new Facebook Page, The Strong Man Of God Resources that debuted today with a post from Robert Kelley and featuring a You Tube link to the Strong Man Of God Book Trailer video.)
From my 1977 Resurrection Sunday birth into the faith until now, I have encountered a steady parade of pastors, elders and leaders in the churches that without shame or thought of repentance ambitiously pursue the earthly rewards of authority, recognition, money and success. No doubt, a few have even approached God the Father with tearful prayers as the young man in Christ’s parable to ask for those things as their share in the family inheritance. They go to any number of schools eager to help them get the credentials needed to realize their dreams. In His all knowing, wisdom and permissive will, God has allowed a great number of these men to have their way (Luke 15:11-12).
Mind you, the biblically taught motives for serving the Lord are love, pleasing Him in doing His will and eternal rewards as Christ, the Strong Man of God gave us example (John 8:29, 14:31; Hebrews 12:1-2). In accord with His requirement to be His disciple and example, we do not come to Jesus in order to have God fulfill our dreams, but to line up behind the Lord to do His will to the point of death if called upon (Luke 9:23). Now, it just so happens as aspiring strong men in the image of Christ have discovered, God equips us with spiritual gifts, a corresponding calling and ministry that in satisfaction far exceeds any dream we may have had for ourselves though great suffering attend it.
It is to the praise of God that the divine will to any extent is able to still be accomplished through any of us as redeemed sinners, but especially those sons as pastors, elders and leaders that operate out of their own selfish motives and agenda. Many men that realize God has gifted and called them into the ministry of teaching and preaching as pastors, elders and leaders quickly shed their biblically taught motives and instead, embrace the worldly rooted motives for authority, recognition, money and success they see are displayed in their role models and peers. These carnal motives in their leaders are widely accepted by and entrenched in the culture of the churches today.
Ministry with carnal motives leads quickly to the “far country” of compromise and corruption of God’s Word, rebellion against the divine will in arrogant self-exaltation, pride and sinful living whether publically seen or not (Luke 15:13, NKJV). Such men clamor after titles--to be called “Bishop” for example, which was corrupted historically by manmade Christianity the religion, but in the New Testament continues to simply refer to one that is an elder or pastor of a local church--and insist on sitting in the chief seats to exercise authority and be recognized contrary to our Lord’s instruction (Matthew 20:20-28, 23:1-12). They turn men away from following Christ to themselves (Acts 20:30).
These men under pastors, elders and leaders in the far country are used not to build up God’s Kingdom, but theirs. This is another great reason men in large numbers are missing from the churches. They recognize that for all of the religious talk, the bottom line is the leadership wants to use them for their own purposes not the Lord’s. For the record, sir, saved men do not belong to you nor does God send them to you to help fulfill your visions of grandeur. They belong to Christ who died for them and gifts and calls them to do the Kingdom work of building His Church (Matthew 4:18-22, 16:13-20, 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11; Ephesians 4:7-16), not yours!
If in the far country--to include Preachers In LA--you realize all of the worldly and selfish motives of your heart for serving and never repent, then the Lord declares that you with all other outwardly religious folk have your reward and inheritance in full (Matthew 6:1-6). If however, at the end of your dreams fulfilled in the far country you wake up in the pig pen of emptiness, disillusionment and despair, the Lord longsuffering, gracious and merciful awaits your return to Him in repentance with forgiveness, a warm welcome home and rejoicing (Luke 15:14-24). You have rightly understood your pig pen as the Lord’s chastening and responded accordingly (Psalm 32:1-5, 86:15; Ezekiel 18:30-32; 1 Corinthians 11:31-32).
Rather than being jealous and envious of you that have come to your senses and returned to God, Christ and we with Him as the other, faithful son of the Father’s house in the Lord’s parable celebrate (Luke 15:25-32)! Truly, sent by God out of His love to warn of His fiery judgment near at hand (1 Corinthians 3:5-17; Revelation 18:1-8), I have longed with His heart for the repentance of my fellow pastors, elders and leaders in the churches that from impure motives and sin have gone off to the far country. Are you not also among the men our God seeks to restore through our strong man of God cause and message? Therefore, I exhort the guilty to repent now returning home to faithfully serve God with proper motives and await His full, glorious eternal reward and inheritance in Christ!
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