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By the declaration of God ancient Judah was a called nation that refused to obey the Lord after hundreds of years of His longsuffering appeals through His prophets and remedial judgments. So put out with disobedient Judah was the Lord that as the time of His wrath approached, He forbid Jeremiah the prophet to intercede with Him on their behalf (Jeremiah 7:16-28). Without repentance, divine disgust with the corruptions, compromises and defiant disobedience of many professing Christians, their leaders and churches are bringing them to a similar moment in history; a moment in which religious devotion--no matter how impassioned--and activities are clearly seen as no substitute for obedience (Zechariah 7). Yet, the Church will stand obedient to God’s glorious end in Christ! Consider carefully this fourth repost the Lord gave me from my 2013 blog series on obedience.
Originally Posted August 18, 2013
“Are you teaching that all pastors and church leaders that willfully disobey the clear commands of God and corrupt His Word are weak Christians?” If they are Christians at all and do so without repentance, yes, since aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are characterized by steadfast obedience in pleasing God out of love. As is typical historically, this is also a reason neither I nor my book are welcome in assemblies led by such persons. They are sinning against the Lord and will not have someone come in to confirm that fact by teaching God’s Word in truth.
They scoff at and are cynical toward anyone that teaches the way of love motivated obedience in Christ because they have corrupted themselves. And while they may even have large congregations and all of the outward display of worldly admired success, they are failing before God and in grave danger of sudden judgment as all others that willfully sin without repentance. The end does not justify the means especially when the end is big churches with the attending worldly admired success and the means is refusing to obey any part of God’s Word (Matthew 4:8-10, 16:24-27)!
It is amazing how these proud leaders attempt to escape guilt by accusing those who cry out against their sin as “not being smarter than everybody else” that outnumbers them. This is true as it concerns mortal men (2 Chronicles 18:1-13). However, praise God for His omniscience and infinite wisdom (2 Chronicles 18:14-34)! Indeed, for the times of tribulation He foretold through His prophets, Christ and His apostles are rapidly descending on this world (Isaiah 51:17-23; Jeremiah 25:29-33; Mark 13:3-13; 2 Timothy 3:1-5).
God is clear in His Word that these times leading to even great tribulation are testing and exposing the true character of every heart in and outside of the churches (Mark 13:14-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Revelation 3:7-10). Therefore, all of the leaders and people among the selectively and partially obedient as well as willfully disobedient who also shout down the message of those sent by God to turn their hearts back to Him as “gloom and doom,” face the humiliating full exposure of their spiritual weakness and the counterfeit nature of Christianity the religion in the churches going forward. For the times of tribulation are also the beginning of the final judgment God brings upon His own house (Proverbs 16:5, 18; 1 Peter 4:17-18).
Truly, only the strong in the strength God supplies His faithful and steadfastly obedient ones will persevere through the times of tribulation ahead to salvation and eternal glory (2 Thessalonians 2:13-17)! It is for this reason that like an air bomber flying through persistent flak to reach its target, I also press faithfully in Christ through the opposition of faithless and disobedient professing Christians and their leaders to deliver His unchanging call to repentance and faithful discipleship rooted in the strong man of God message (Luke 9:57-62, 14:25-35).
With the heart of Christ my heart is deeply grieved over the foretold disgraceful carnage and spiritual damage done to this hour (and yet to be done) to His cause on earth by the many churches filled with disobedient and weak leaders and members in compromise that practice manmade Christianity the religion. Nevertheless, I am joyfully encouraged that Scripture also foretells the victory of Christ’s Church (Matthew 16:18). This is the eternally enduring house being built by God in Christ for His indwelling who also serve as priests under Christ that through the Spirit offer up spiritual sacrifices of steadfast obedience and service through times of tribulation (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 3:4-6, 10:19-25; 1 Peter 2:1-10, 3:13-17).
Such persons make up the universal assembly of Christians, the true Church on earth; aspiring strong men and great women of God that faithfully, accurately and honorably represent Christ in their obedience to the death; to the last ones standing triumphantly as a tiny remnant at His glorious appearing (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 12:10-11). This Church is not confined to buildings made with human hands that can be destroyed as has occurred in history (though we have assembled together locally in such structures since the 1st century--see, for example, Acts 1:12-14, 2:1-2, 44-47 and Romans 16:3-5) and will be the case in the time of the Antichrist with divine permission as judgment on Christianity the religion’s houses of confusion (Revelation 14:8, 17:1-18:24). This is the only Church that will be left standing after the divine judgments upon the whole world that are leading to wrath and the complete destruction of the evil kingdom that now governs it at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ with the Kingdom of God (Revelation 19:4-6)!
In the context of God’s declaration of judgment on His people for deliberate and flagrant disobedience, the prophet Isaiah cries out: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter,” (Isaiah 5:20, NKJV)! So, now, in these latter days many pastors, elders and leaders believe God has gone sappy and no longer regards obedience as good, light and sweet. Instead of repentance from it, they call the evil, darkness and bitter of disobedience to His Word good, light and sweet. The Word of the Lord through Zechariah to the returned Jewish captives shows Isaiah’s “woe” was justified then (Zechariah 1:1-6) and is now as I cry out to irrationally deaf hears in this third repost from my 2013 blog series.
Originally Posted August 11, 2013
Like the women in the spaghetti sauce commercials that after tasting the brand better than their own wonder what other bad choices they have made in life, so, we have to soberly consider what other acts of disobedience our guilty pastors and churches are committing if they can willfully disobey God’s clear commands about the exclusive service of men as leaders in the governance, worship assemblies and ministries where men are involved in His house?
One of the universal truths about sin is that once you start giving place to it in one area, it becomes easier to yield to its influence in others. As an expert sinner, I can also testify that the biblical analogy of sin as yeast that spreads from one small point to infiltrate the whole lump of dough is true (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Therefore, it causes me great concern when I see leaders willfully disobey any command of God and especially when they attempt to justify it by corrupting His Word.
For example, as I write about in The Strong Man Of God, to excuse putting women into men’s leadership roles and responsibilities by declaring the apostle Paul as “not perfect” or a “captive of his historical-cultural milieu” is over the top arrogance toward the Lord’s eyewitness apostle (1 Corinthians 15:1-11) and wickedly questions whether God is truly the sovereign inspiration and Superintendent of all Scripture (Genesis 3:1; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:14-16).
Truly, if any part of what Luke wrote in Acts about Paul and the thirteen books which make up half of the New Testament that he wrote is not expressly of the Lord (except where Paul himself says “I, not the Lord,” see 1 Corinthians 7:10-12, NKJV), then we are all fools and should immediately abandon the faith because Christianity is of fallen, sinful mortal men not the eternal God! It would be better though still bad for you, sir, to just tell the truth: you (for whatever reasons rooted in the flesh) do not want to obey the Word of God as it is plainly written. Given the deteriorating devotion to God we see in the churches today and what is coming, you probably would not lose very many members (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
Hear the Word of the Lord Jesus Christ to the 1st century Jewish disciples that sat before Him and those that would come thereafter: ‘“If you love Me, keep My commandments,’” (John 14:15, NKJV). Love for God the Father and Christ is and should be the uppermost motive for the obedience of professing Christians (John 14:21-24). I remind our readers again the love Christ speaks of is not the inferior, conditional love typical of us sinful humans, but the unique, unconditional love of God that flows to and through us by the Holy Spirit who lives in every born again Christian (Romans 5:5).
We love God back and each other with the divine love that is first lavished on and supplied to us! This is certainly the love that fills the heart of every faithful Christian who is also an aspiring strong man as well as great woman of God in the image of Christ. As Christ obeyed His Father’s commandments out of love for Him, so, we obey Christ out of divine love for Him (John 14:31, 15:10)! God does not lower the standard for us as saints under grace. Selective, partial and willful disobedience is sin in the sight of God and punishable by death (Romans 6:15-23).
Just because we are incapable of perfect obedience due to sin, does not mean that we are not to strive with eager, determined hearts to please God and do His will through steadfast obedience. Indeed, motivated by love and helped by the fear of the Lord (fear fills in when our divine love is momentarily diminished for whatever reason), obedience is developed in the aspiring strong man and great woman of God in the image of Christ by Him as a basic and distinctive character trait. Progression toward perfection is accomplished in us by the Holy Spirit through many failures, discipline and time spent in the crucible of painful life experiences.
God is a patient Father and Craftsman; shaping, molding and yes, hammering obedience into our new natures in Christ over time. He is also perfectly fair and does not expect the same level of steadfast obedience from babes in Christ as those that are mature. Those that are maturing as aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ are like the apostle Paul and display a dogged determination to be pleasing in steadfast obedience to Him (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
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