The righteous are only ever trouble to religionists when they refuse to indulge selfish motives with them in sin, go along to get along tolerating or covering up evil or corrupting and compromising the clear teaching and truth of God’s Word applied to every situation! In consequence, as I have experienced, religionists will even lie on God’s faithful stewards and misconstrue their words (Amos 7:10-11).3 Already an outsider “for the truth” (2 Corinthians 13:8, NKJV),4 because of such treachery I am an exiled Pastor too! Historically, religionists have also physically assaulted and murdered faithful stewards while deceitfully claiming to serve the same Master (John 16:1-4; Revelation 17:1-6).
Nevertheless, in accord with my calling, gifts and ministry I am not silent; proclaiming God’s will, way and Word as it is written because this is the example of every faithful Old Testament prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ, His apostles and prophets in the New! They did not shrink back from speaking truth to their religious antagonists because it was their stewardship responsibility from God (Luke 11:37-54). Opposition from religionists is not the fault of the righteous that stand up to and cry out against their wickedness. Religionists are at fault since they willfully choose to oppose God who knows their hearts and His plainly written eternally standing Word as the Lord taught (Luke 16:15-18).
Contrary to the convenient misapplication of Scripture actually intended for corrupt religionists concerning what to do with “those who cause divisions,” (Romans 16:17-18, NKJV), God expects His faithful stewards to speak up and out about sin. Paul did so with Peter who did not resist him (Galatians 2:11-21). Yet, loud and prolonged quarreling is not the Lord’s will. If submission to the Word is not forthcoming as is typical with proud religionists (Luke 16:19-31), then, the righteous without giving ground and continuing to faithfully teach gives them over to God if He might bring them to repentance, knowledge of the truth and deliverance from Satan’s control (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
During my Christian journey to date, I have painfully been aware of many men in the churches that with proud religious leaders have not chosen to make the Lord Jesus their Master to serve Him alone. If it is not the love of money that prevents this, it is wife, children, parents, siblings, friends and self invested in personal vanity, job, recreation, hobbies, cars, yards and social clubs to include the local church which is seen and treated as such; differing from those secular only in that it gives a man the outward appearance of being religious and dispatching some duty to God in his attendance, practice of traditions and involvement. To be sure, many of these men are deceived and not saved!
In defiance of Scripture, such men are impossibly attempting to be saved by keeping religious traditions and doing church works (Romans 3:9-31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Religious leadership--many not saved themselves, wickedly insist the men obey them as wise masters in their deadly deceit as they exploit them for their money and labor (Mark 7:1-23).5 A smaller number of other men are saved, but make very little progress in spiritual maturity for lack of instruction in sound doctrine and biblical manhood. They never sell out completely to the Lord as Master of their lives because they do not know it is required of them as religious leadership demands to be served as master instead.
A still smaller number of men in local churches ruled by religionists are more serious about the Lord, but for lack of a made up mind wholly given over to serve Him are torn between two masters. While the other master can be anyone or thing of those already stated, it is typically the local church and the religious requirement of leadership to be more faithful to them in service and doctrine than to the Lord--His will, way and Word as it is written! My heart has gone out to these men over the years many of whom have been dear brothers and personal friends because as others of old, their torn state is filled with fear of their religious leaders and secrecy (John 7:13, 9:13-22, 12:42-43, 19:38-39). They need repentance and courage to serve Him alone from the Lord if they are willing!6
While I too, have had a few moments over the years when fear of religious consequences have caused me to be careful of what I said and to whom I said it, I have sought the Lord for the courage needed to follow His example and that of His apostles as faithful stewards of God. Absent the Holy Spirit leading, controlling and empowering them, the disciples all ran away in fear at first in the face religious men (Mark 14:43-50). After their new birth, however, they became courageous, sold out to and stood firm as apostles and faithful stewards of Jesus Christ, their Master (Acts 4:1-22, 5:17-42). If a man has been truly born again and loves the Lord, he is never to be torn between two masters. He is loyal to Christ as his Master alone and true to His Word (Acts 4:19-20, 5:27-29)!7
3 And no wonder since they lie on God too saying, ‘“The Lord says,’” but He had not spoken (Ezekiel 13:6-7, NKJV)!
4 Truly, how can one that is a faithful born again believer in Jesus Christ and member of His Church universal ever be an “outsider” to any professed Christian local
church where He is really honored as Lord? Sin in all of its forms, unbiblical, cliquish membership requirements and nepotism through Christianity as manmade reli-
gion forces Christ and His faithful stewards to be outsiders (Colossians 2:16-23; 1 Timothy 4:1-5; Hebrews 13:9-13; Revelation 3:20)!
5 How wise really are these men since they reject and refuse to obey God’s Word as it is written? Consequently, His judgment of them is just (Jeremiah 8:8-12)!
6 The Lord calls you to repent from fear of sinful men, unwillingness to stand on the truth of His Word as it is written not as it is corrupted to accommodate religious a-
gendas or suffer as He and all of the saints before and around us! Too, He would have you repent from divided loyalties and double mindedness (James 1:5-8, 4:
7-10). If the Lord is Lord, then serve Him as Master remembering religious leaders did not die for nor do they have a Heaven or Hell to put you in. If to you Jesus is
not Lord, why torment yourself trying futilely as He taught to serve two masters? Understand though, that rejection of Jesus as Master leads to no good end now or
in the day of accountability (Matthew 7:21-23, 10:16-39, 12:30).
7 This is the heart of every aspiring strong man and great woman of God I write about in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get a print copy or digi-
tal download of the book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy
in the Strong Man Store.
The Lord Jesus Christ is just as plain as He can be in His teaching declaring: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While mammon represents money in applying this passage, the other master besides God can be anyone or anything! In this post as the Lord leads, I write to remind myself and other men that He “ain’t playing” about His requirement that those that would follow Him be exclusively devoted to faithfully serving Him as Master of our lives contrary to what is seen in many churches today.
Contextually, the Lord’s principle of faithfulness to one Master comes near the end of His teaching targeting the issues of the cold hearted Pharisees and scribes that had mingled with the tax collectors and sinners drawn close to hear Him beginning in Luke 15. These religious men could not understand why Jesus representing God would be concerned about sinners and were purposely seeking for an opportunity to discredit Him. So, as He said He would, He taught them in parables about God’s love for sinners (Matthew 13:10-17). Then, directly to His disciples, but with the religious leaders still listening in the Lord begins to teach on stewardship in Luke 16.
In His parable of the unjust steward, the Lord rebukes the Pharisees and scribes in their failure as stewards while warning His disciples at the same time about the requirement of God that His stewards be completely faithful to Him (1 Corinthian 4:2). Every man beginning with his life, in his home and into God’s house has a stewardship responsibility He holds them accountable for (Matthew 12:36-37; Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11). In their love of money (not to mention position, power and recognition among other selfish motives), Israel’s religious leaders were unjust as stewards before God their Master just as the man in the Lord’s parable was to his (Luke 16:1-2).
As in the parable, Israel’s religious leaders had mismanaged what God had entrusted to them due to having a greater devotion to money than to Him. Blinded by their devotion to money and hearts made hard through the deceit of sin intrinsic to manmade religion, they did not even have enough fear of God in them to try to do something about their failure, day of impending accountability with and certain judgment by God (Luke 16:3-9). The Lord further teaches that if a man will be faithful with a little to manage, he will also be in more; unjust in minor matters, also those great. Proven unfaithful, such a man disqualifies himself from bigger stewardship responsibilities (Luke 16:10-11).
Moreover, if a man is unfaithful in managing another man’s affairs, the Lord would know “who will give you what is your own” to manage (Luke 16:12, NKJV)? This brings us to the famous dilemma of the one who would serve two masters. No one can successfully serve two masters at once because again the Lord concludes, “either he will hate the one and love the other or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other,” (Luke 16:13, NKJV). While they may not have fully understood all of what the Lord was teaching up to this point, the religious leaders present got the message about the unjust steward and forthwith ridiculed Him (Luke 16:14).
Israel’s religious leaders hated, despised and persecuted the Lord Jesus because in contrast to them as unfaithful stewards, He was completely faithful! He was gathering sinners to Himself, preaching the Gospel to, teaching and serving them through mighty miracles because that was His stewardship assignment from God. And God made it known He was pleased with His stewardship to include His death on the cross (Luke 3:21-22; John 8:28-29, 11:38-44, 19:28-30, 20:11-18)! Now, that unfaithful religious stewards persecute the faithful is from the beginning (Genesis 4:1-8), why the Lord was persecuted and any of us too who will be faithful to our Master (2 Timothy 3:12). Indeed, for this reason I have been persecuted by those of manmade Christianity from my infancy in Christ!
As Joshua’s charge and the Lord’s sober instruction on being His authentic disciple have echoed down through the centuries, I heard them and made my choice to serve Him alone in the day of my wholehearted surrender (Joshua 24:14-15; Luke 9:18-26, 14:25-35).1 Since those days in 1979 until now, I have been repeatedly told in word and deed by leaders in churches divergent in geography, ethnicity and size that God’s will, way and Word does not apply in every situation. Also, religious traditions and activities are necessary to be in effect, an “opiate” to “the people.”2 Finally, I was warned not to challenge disobedient leadership or the wicked status quo or be considered what one dear Southern Baptist sister once playfully called me, but others consider true, “trouble.”
1 Read the February 17, 2019 post, Surrendering All To Jesus, under the category, Glory To God!
2 19th century Communist thinker, Karl Marx, wrote in an article: “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Biblical Christianity is far removed from such a notion being as it
is the salvation, eternal way, life and Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ and every one of His genuine “born again” followers in relationship with Him (John 3:1-8, NKJV)!
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