Still thinking about young 21st century church planters,1 I am not unaware that many do set out with sincere determination to answer God’s call to go, preach the Gospel, make disciples and plant a church. However, some go wrong when they start to believe it depends more on them than God. As a result, they seek to help the Lord and speed up the process of church building with people pleasing compromises of God’s Word and flesh generated ideas. In this edited 2010 Commentary, the Lord leads me to remind all of us that He is concerned about the end and the means. Aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ are to never do evil to bring about His intended good end.
Originally Published September 2010
It used to be a matter of routine morality that people were just as concerned about how an achievement was made as the achievement itself. Apparently, this is no longer true. In the world and among many Christians today, the end is exceedingly more important than the means used to arrive at it. Justifying the means by the end as a philosophy has saturated every fabric of our society. The character and specifically integrity of Christ in the aspiring strong man of God, precludes his compromising what is right in the sight of the Lord to arrive at even the noblest of ends.2 He knows God is just as much concerned about the means to the end as He is the end itself.
Having abandoned a biblical worldview of life and morality, athletes cheat using performance enhancing drugs for fame and bigger paydays. Teachers adjust student test scores to the end of showing progress and keeping their jobs. Activist judges hide behind legalese and formality to advance immoral social agendas in important rulings while lawmakers bribe each other with money deals to pass needed legislation. Corrupt preachers twist God's Word to justify covetous desires while deacons and trustees steal church money to pay themselves for their hard work. Churches tolerate the known immoral lifestyles of choir members and musicians to keep services jumping.
Professed Christians justify disobedience to God's Word to show the world they love them. The Bible's steps to salvation through repentance and faith are altered by the same folk to fill churches with warm, unsaved bodies. After all, the end game is packed out church worship services. Professed Christian mothers murder their children in the womb to justify timing issues and career ambitions. The Lord, they say, "understands my situation." Professed Christian men lie, steal and commit other crimes justifying their deeds by claiming expediency in the need of the moment. Never mind that the Lord they profess to follow taught no such precept or set an endorsing example.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus Christ was given many opportunities to achieve ends by varying means other than what His Father laid out for Him. For example, at the outset of His ministry He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). After He had completed a 40-day food fast, the Lord was very hungry. The devil approached and suggested He turn stones into bread to prove He was the Son of God. But the Lord told him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,'" (Matthew 4:4, NKJV). Interestingly, Jesus had no concern here about being legalistic as He declared God’s Word!
It is also clear the Lord was not going to prove Himself or use His own power to satisfy His need. He would wait and rely on His Father for all of His needs! In the evil thinking of our day, many would be okay with the Lord Jesus taking care of His need for food and showing off His power to boot in order to silence the devil. But the devil would not have been silenced. As the accuser, he would have immediately charged the Lord with acting independent of His Father and sin for he also knew the Scriptures. The means the Lord would have used to the ends of eating and proving His identity was not righteous. He, therefore, chose not to use it!
The other two temptations the devil brought thereafter were likewise designed to get the Lord Jesus to achieve ends by means that were wicked. In those cases too, the Lord refused to do so standing on and honoring God's written Word! Even in the final hours before His suffering when He sought the Father if there might yet be another means to save us, He submitted to His Father's no and went to the cross as the noblest of ends ever in the history of the world (Matthew 26:36-46). Every aspiring strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ must in like manner willfully choose moment by moment to achieve every end by means that will also please our heavenly Father. The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 See the September 9, 2018 post, Old Versus New School Church, under the category, Instruction.
2 Learn more about the character of the aspiring strong man of God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers,
by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
In the aftermath of my August 26, 2018 repost, Worldly Peer Pressure, under the category, Call To Repent, I write with the leading of the Lord to offer some instructional guidance to especially my younger Christian brothers either hearing from Him about planting a new local church or that are already in the process in these latter days. The things I wrote in that post are not a matter of an old school preacher coming against the innovations of a new school of doing church. There is a place for that conversation, but not where it concerns the immutable God, His message to the world in the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ, the transcendent truths, commands and instruction of His Word!
Indeed, the living God speaks to 6th century BC Judah on the cusp of judgment and commanded: ‘“Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls,’“ (Jeremiah 6:16a, NKJV). Through the corruptions of her kings, priests and false prophets Judah had been walking down a road that in many ways had been portrayed as new school and beneficial. They were introduced to all manner of idolatry and pagan practices brought even into God’s house in disobedience to the old school Ten Commandments in their covenant relationship with Him (Exodus 20:1-17; Jeremiah 22:24-30, 23:9-15; Ezekiel 8).
God obviously does not share the view that old school as it concerns Himself, His will, way and written Word is something that can be regarded with respect as working for “back then,” but which has no continuing place and should in fact give way to a new school. He is the never changing God and His Son “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8, NKJV). Perfection needs no change! Thus, God commands Judah standing at the crossroads to see His good way in the old paths of holiness, righteousness, faithfulness and obedience to His Word in order to walk in it and avert disaster. But they defiantly refused to obey or hear (Jeremiah 6:16b-17).
Devastating, nation destroying judgment fell upon Judah in which they never fully recovered though, a remnant as foretold came back from captivity after seventy years. Their descendants some 500 years later experienced the first coming of the promised Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, but rejected and put Him to death on the cross. He was buried, but after three days rose again and commanded that God’s message of sin forgiveness through repentance and faith in Him should be proclaimed to the ends of the earth! He then ascended and beginning with His apostles has labored with those who became disciples in every generation since to make and teach other disciples until He returns.
Nearly 2,000 years later, the return of Jesus Christ is drawing near as is clearly being understood by those of His disciples watching the prophetic signs He and His apostles left us. His disciples today are expected to remain faithful to His now ancient, old school message and commanded assignment in proclaiming it that includes reaching men as a priority1 though He gives leadership to employ new school means such as communication technology to do so. Or don’t you know when God created radio waves, He intended for them to be used for His causes first and foremost? Still, as new means to communicate are discovered, God’s message in the cross preached remains His primary method for saving sinners (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)!
As 21st century church planters go forth to proclaim the uncompromised Gospel of Jesus Christ to make disciples and establish new churches, teaching His Word as commanded by Him and through His apostles, there should be no old versus new school debate on these. Nor should any new school involve building on personalities, personal views or worldly light flash and bang of music irreverently labeled “worship.” It is as the Lord led me to write in a recent Facebook post: “If a church cannot be built and hold together on the foundation of Christ, the preached Gospel about Him and the Word of God as it is written, then, no attempt should be made to build it!”2 A supposed Christian church built on any other foundation is not His and will be destroyed (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)!
And since these latter days are increasingly as the early days of the Church in terms of worldly hostility and persecution, let the church planters understand God’s house is wherever any number of believers assemble together.3 “Come as you are” should surely apply to unbelievers who visit, but never baptized believers who are all supposed to be taught the holy God they draw near to worship has set them apart as holy to Himself (Ephesians 1:3-6; Hebrews 2:10-12). Clothing that is overly revealing, sexually provocative, profane, purposely dirty and even new school raggedy in mockery of those who truly have no better clothes is offensive to our God who loves the poor (Proverbs 17:5). In exemplary holiness of body, clothes and heart we worship (Exodus 19:9-11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1).
Concerning generational style preferences in music, worshipping God in “spirit and truth” is not a license to disrespect and offend His holiness (Leviticus 9:22-10:3; John 4:19-26; Acts 4:32-5:11; Revelation 4:2-11, NKJV).4 While the church planting target audience and turn out should hold a little weight, respect for elders (who love the youth, right?) upheld by God and His holiness ought to always be the final, decisive factors (Leviticus 19:32; 1 Corinthians 10:23-24, 11:17-34). Nevertheless, those born into this time of worldly political correctness and tolerance must realize everything of the world cannot be baptized “Christian” and brought into God’s house--remember ancient Judah! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 God’s priority of reaching men as His chosen leaders in the home, churches and larger society (if it were still accepted) is the spiritual impetus behind our cause to
restore men at Strong Man Ministries and in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your fa-
vorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
2 See the August 30, 2018 on the Strong Of God Facebook Resource Page.
3 As has been the increasing norm in non-western nations, homes and other “underground” settings for the assembling of Christians will become so here in America
and the West too as foretold hostility and persecution intensifies (Matthew 10:16-23). Truly, the days of the stadium sized “mega” and building centered churches
are coming to an end (Revelation 17:16-18:8)!
4 This disrespect and offending of the holiness of God most assuredly includes any kind of willful disobedience to Him, but in these latter days, that which is also de-
ceitfully involved in men covering their heads before Christ, their Head during and women leading worship at all (even with their husband’s permission--Jeremiah
44:15-30) when the whole church is assembled (1 Corinthians 11:3-4, 14:20-40). Read my January 2015 Blog Series, Worshipping God Without God, under the
category, Call To Repent.
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