Faithful Christians that are almost always eager Bible students understand the times we are living in and what lies ahead if not in specific detail, generally. This is because they do not read into Bible prophecy to concoct theories, spiritualize, or reject it, but reverence the Source enough to allow His illumination and instruction (Mark 13:23; 2 Peter 1:19-21). They also understand and accept it as it is written along with all other objectively understood portions of the Bible. Finally, unlike some theologians of history such as Augustine that rendered allegorical what he could not understand, the faithful realize some Bible prophecy would not be opened up by God until now (Daniel 12:4, 8-10)!
Those professed Christians that are selling themselves out to rebellion against God’s program with the world in unbelief do not know what time it is.1 The Lord Jesus and His apostles repeatedly make it clear however, that the faithful--every aspiring strong man and great woman of God as I write in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics--must live fully by faith in Him; enduring to the end to obtain the promised salvation (Matthew 10:16-39, 24:13; Romans 1:16-17, 8:18-25; Hebrews 3:5-19).2 The Lord led me to write this edited 2012 Commentary to encourage aspiring strong men of God to remain faithful as Bible prophecy is fulfilled before our very eyes.
Originally Published April 2012
I stand amazed at our God who has made us both observers of and participants in the times such as are now unfolding. For unknown to the wicked and apparently even many professing Christians, the times we are living in were foretold millennia ago by the prophets of God in the Bible's Old Testament as well as Jesus Christ and His apostles in the New. This is all to the glory of God who reveals the end from the beginning and events long before they occur (Isaiah 44:6-8, 45:20-22, 46:5-10, 48:3-5)! God, the eternally living God who spoke time into existence (Genesis 1:3-5, 14-19) and fulfills His Word at the right time is resolutely ratcheting up this world's troubles (Matthew 24:6-7).
Not since the global flood of Noah's day had the world experienced a paradigm shift of such magnitude as the incarnation of the Son of God in the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, now over 2,000 years ago. Planned from eternity (1 Peter 1:20), preliminarily announced by God in Eden on the day Adam sinned (Genesis 3:15) and fleshed out over time in revelation to His prophets, Jesus came to “save His people from their sins,” (Matthew 1:21, NKJV). In God’s perfect moment, at the right time He arrived to fulfill His mission as the apostle Paul later affirms (Romans 5:6). Interestingly, unlike the flood of Noah’s day, the world did not know He had come except those God revealed Him to.
For thirty years He grew up quietly in the ways of His people--a carpenter’s Son. After this, He engaged in a three and one half-year ministry of preaching, teaching and mighty miracles that authenticated His identity as God’s Anointed One. Then, before the eyes of His disciples, He was arrested and crucified. They did not understand that to save them from their sins, Jesus had to die in their place by divine decree (Romans 5:7-9). They buried Him the same day He died, but on the third day after, He showed Himself to His disciples alive from the dead and explained to them from prophecy all that had happened to Him in fulfillment (Luke 24:1-45).
The Lord then revealed to His still startled disciples that they were witnesses of all that had happened to Him. They would now take on the important responsibility to proclaim what they had seen and heard as well as the resulting good news to the nations in the power of God (Luke 24:46-49)! After leading them out to the appointed spot, the Lord ascended into Heaven with the promise He would be with them (and us) to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20b; Luke 24:50-53). The mission has continued through Christ's disciples in every generation since to this hour and will continue until the last soul known to God is saved; for He has a number in mind (Romans 4:13-18, 11:25-36).
Echoing his Lord, the apostle Peter in his first and second recorded sermons told Jewish hearers that what they had been witnessing in word, power and events concerning Jesus of Nazareth to that time had been foretold by their prophets (Acts 2:14-32, 3:18-24). They were living in a divinely ordained time of prophetic fulfillment with still more to come. It is for this reason that as led by the Lord I assert we have continued all of these years since in a time of prophetic fulfillment and therefore, remain in what should be properly understood as "God's times." This being true, those who walk by faith in His Son and obedience to God have never been out of step with or behind "the times!"
From the first appearance of Christ and His successful mission, “the times” have been “God’s times” in which He is presiding over His eternal plans and superintending His longsuffering work through the faithful to preach the Gospel to all the nations. God’s longsuffering has been of His unrelenting desire in love to save (Matthew 24:14; 2 Peter 3:1-9). While by His providence, men have advanced technologically during the last 20 centuries and exponentially so in the last two, they have made no self-generated improvement spiritually or morally. Indeed, lawlessness has been increasing, love decreasing and evil men grow worse as foretold (Matthew 24:12; 2 Timothy 3:13).
Confirming prophetic fulfillment shows us closer to the end of this present age than we imagined and the next great paradigm shift in God's program: the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ! In step with "God's times," we that love Him see that we are descending like an airplane into the foretold period of severe turbulence our Lord describes as an intensifying "beginning of sorrows” or “birth pains" to include global persecution caused tribulation (Matthew 24:8-9, 15-22, NKJV). However, it leads to a safe landing in His presence (Revelation 7:9-17). Every aspiring strong man of God will be very glad he did not sell the Lord out to be in step with the world's times (Mark 8:34-38). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Read the April 28, 2019 post, God’s Program Matters!, under the category, Call To Repent.
2 The book is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore or in the Strong Man Store.
This is the conclusion of an edited three-part 2013 blog repost that exhorts professing Christians and churches that are guilty to stop resisting and persecuting God’s gifted, called and sent prophets so that our ministries for good might be fulfilled among them. Even so, how glad I am that while sinful men may not honor His prophets, the Lord Jesus does now inwardly and will in days to come, provide sweet vindication to us before the entire world near and at His glorious return to earth!
Originally Posted November 24, 2013
As foretold by His eye witness apostles and confirmed by the Lord, many of the leaders of the churches planted in the first century corrupted themselves and launched a trend that has never been reversed, but only enlarged to this hour (Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 3:13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:12-29). Indeed, as l have already written about many times, after the passing of the Lord’s eye witness apostles, corrupt shepherds along with false prophets and teachers introduced many heresies and brought forth manmade Christianity the religion which has a form of biblical Christianity (1 Corinthians 4:18-20; 2 Corinthians 3:1-6), but is powerlessly far from it (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
It is in the satanically fostered context of human ordained religiosity in churches and related organized ecclesiastical bodies that faithful saints and prophets have been martyred for the faith as by divine unction they cried out against the corruptions they saw standing faithful and true to the Word and causes of Christ--a truth recorded in many reliable sources including Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. These are churches and ecclesiastical entities that have called, sanctioned and sent out their own workers to spread their corrupt, religious doctrines while they willfully murdered those standing in their way falsely claiming divine approval (John 16:1-4).
With that history, what is it today--hundreds of years after the Protestant Reformation that also spawned its own round of violent persecution and martyrdom of godly opposition--if the churches of manmade Christianity the religion purposely persecute perceived opponents and prophets with oppression, mistreatment, ostracism, loveless abandonment to hardship and murder by words? This is done without hesitation by men controlled by the sinful flesh while outwardly decked out in deceitful religious piety as I can testify (Matthew 5:21-22, 27:46-49; Galatians 5:13-15; James 2:14-26; 1 John 3:16-17).
As if to plug up their ears to God’s outcry against their sins by His prophets, some of the scholarly especially have gone so far as to assert prophesying and preaching are synonymous so that to preach is to prophesy and all preachers are prophets. Others of that group in attempting to expose false prophets declare that prophecy and prophets ceased after the first century and surely by the completion of the entire Bible in the 4th century. Both of these views are corrupt since one does not have to necessarily preach to prophesy (2 Samuel 12:1-15; Luke 2:25-35) and may be used by God to prophesy to an individual or many through preaching (Luke 1:67-80, 3:1-20)!
While the completed Bible is our written, living foundation and landmark (Hebrews 4:11-13), it does not mean the living God has muted Himself with no further communication to be made to us at all (John 14:15-26; Acts 22:17-21, 23:10-11, 27:21-26). There has not been a time since the passing of the eye witness apostles to this hour when the Body has been without contemporary need for the eyes, ears and messages of her prophets sent from Christ the risen, living Head even with many false prophets who have existed simultaneously from ancient times (Jeremiah 23:9-32, 27:12-18, 29:1-9; Matthew 28:20b). The Lord’s foretelling of false prophets did not mean there would not be any that were true (Matthew 24:11).
On the contrary, it certifies their existence since Satan raises up the false to subvert the words of the true. The Lord’s prophets are faithful to His Word as it is written; they do not rely on or cite for final authority the opinions of sinful, mortal flesh--no matter how credentialed. And who better suited to accurately interpret God’s already written prophetic Word when He is ready (Daniel 8:15-27; 1 Corinthians 13:2a)? As the evangelist burns to win lost souls, so the prophets of Christ burn for the purity, holiness, righteousness, obedience, fidelity and fruitfulness of His bride (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)!
The Church in its infancy may not have had need for many messages of rebuke and warning--although, what is the apostle Paul with the gift of prophecy doing in most of his New Testament letters to churches? Beyond question, however, the Lord Himself continued that aspect of the work of New Testament prophets with His Revelation to the apostle John given and written down for all professing believers and their churches near the end of the apostolic period (Revelation 1:9-3:22). He has also continued to gift, call and send His prophets to faithfully fulfill every aspect of their ministries in the churches including crying out against sin and warning of divine retribution upon the unrepentant.
As the Lord foretold, His prophets have been so much without honor they are singled out among the martyred faithful saints as recipients of God’s vindication (Revelation 11:15-18, 16:1-7, 17:1-6, 18:1-8, 20, 24-19:3). This is because of their suffering to the end at the hands of unbelievers and those professing to be Christians they were sent to serve especially in the churches of manmade Christianity the religion whose leaders in the West today generally and America in particular through their proud, independent spirit, resent being told they are in sin and resist rebuke as well as warning preferring instead, to cut off the messengers to their own hurt (Jeremiah 2:29-30, 5:1-3, 7:28; Amos 7:10-17; Matthew 23:33-24:2).
Therefore, in this month of praying for persecuted believers, among them I pray for and honor my brethren, the Lord’s prophets without honor in the churches who are held in contempt and persecuted in various ways by those claiming to be Christians. As for me, I do not seek or require the honor of mortal flesh though I desire for their sakes that God’s people would give proper heed to the words of warning He has put in my mouth in perfect alignment with what is plainly written in His Word (Ezekiel 33:1-9)--woe to the teachers of falsehood who teach believers in Christ face no eternal peril for sinning in willful disobedience without repentance (Jeremiah 28; Galatians 5:19-21, 6:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-19, 10:26-31, 35-39; Jude 1-11)!
I repeat in part what I wrote in my April 17, 2016 blog repost, Disembodied, Pt. 2 under the category, The Faith: “I am deeply honored in the Lord and pleased to the highest degree to serve you as a watchman/prophet and teacher in the footsteps of those faithful servants of Christ from the first century until now...” Glory to His Name!
As I have stated before, many professing American Christians live and their churches carry on as though Jesus--their ostensible Lord--is dead (1 Corinthians 15:12-19)! Dead men cannot lead or govern from Hades and are completely cut off from this life (Psalm 88:10-12). “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep,” (Psalm 16:8-11; 1 Corinthians 15:20, NKJV). So, upon announcing His authority and giving charge to His disciples in all generations (the ones standing before Him would die) He declares, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:18-20, NKJV). As He worked with the first disciples to build His Church, so, those that are His last (Matthew 16:15-18; Mark 16:20; Acts 2:1-41, 47, 4:1-4, 5:12-14).
Christ reigns with all authority over all to include His Church from the throne of God to which He ascended (Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:15-18; Hebrews 1:1-4)! About sixty years or so later He spoke to seven churches of Asia and broadly to all in every generation to follow through His last living apostle, John, with mostly rebuke and warning in what is the last book of Scripture (Revelation 1:9-3:22). Living in believers, He continues His Lordship in real time; giving among other things vision, commands, knowledge, rebuke and warning to those who will hear Him from Scripture (Romans 4:3a) and the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:27-30). As this edited 2012 repost asserts, not without consequences are any professing Christians and churches treating Jesus as dead; doing as they please.
Originally Posted August 5, 2012
A powerful truth in John 15:5 being ignored in many churches today is the Lord instructing, “…for without Me you can do nothing,” (NKJV). I say this after being in and around American churches from coast to coast since childhood where I have seen the unmistakable pattern of religious authority, human strength and works in action that are an artificial imitation of biblical Christianity. The Bible teaches Jesus is the Head over His Church and the Holy Spirit the empowering source of the activity He wills to the glory of God the Father (Ephesians 1:22-23, 3:14-21)!
Perhaps we have misunderstood; the “much fruit” that the Lord refers to in John 15:5 is in accord with His leadership (which presumes abiding in Him and Him in us) in the power of the Holy Spirit who is our Helper (NKJV). It is impossible for this fruit to be produced in the flesh. Therefore, if we kick the Lord Jesus to the curb as our “first love” (Revelation 2:4, NKJV) or in willful disobedience do our own thing in His name, we are doing nothing. This is evident in the very sad, fruitless state of so many churches today with either passive dispassionate or selfishly ambitious, tyrant pastors attempting to make a name for themselves to climb the religious corporate ladder or leave brick and mortar legacies.
There are elders and deacon boards that wickedly conspire to control pastors and churches. Church fights and splits are common along with thefts and sexual immorality. Churches with money in the bank display what they think is spiritual power when they do whatever flesh works seem right to them; offering token prayer petitions for what they intend to do anyway. Other churches steeped in tradition and manmade religion endlessly entertain themselves with annual events to raise money to do little or nothing of what the Lord wills. Is it any wonder that exercising spiritual or grace gifts--another aspect of doing things in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit--is not taken seriously in such churches?
Spiritual gifts are supernatural abilities the triune God gives as a matter of grace to each person that believes on Christ and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit at the new birth (John 1:12-13). So basic to the Christian’s ability to function in God’s program and the Church is the Holy Spirit, one cannot even say from the heart “Jesus is Lord” except with His enablement (1 Corinthians 12:1-3, NKJV). Nothing Christians have been commissioned by Christ to do can be done without the agency of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts--nothing! Now, there are many gifts, callings and ministries members of the Body of Christ have and all flow from the triune God by way of the working of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-11).
No pastor or local church can say to any member, “you or your gifts are not needed here” since it is God who places each member in the Body as He wills by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). No pastor or church can declare as some have that certain of the New Testament gifts are no longer in play since it is the Lord who has established the purpose, function and order of spiritual gifts in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:28-30; Ephesians 4:7-11). Indeed, it is because of the faithless, flesh driven dissertations of especially the guilty religious educated elite devoid of the Spirit that the spiritual bedlam I have seen and experienced in so many churches of various ethnicities and sizes exists today.
Again, the only remedy God provides for this is revival if proud and withering men will see their wicked ways and seek Him for it in all confession, repentance and heartfelt petition before it is too late. Otherwise, the aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ accepts his gift(s), calling and ministry as part of accepting his assigned roles from God. Specifically, he will yearn with love and zeal to serve the divine purposes as a son of God, disciple of Christ and servant through the spiritual gifts, calling and ministry he has been given by the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 20:7-9; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13)! There are no exceptions; every believer has at least one spiritual gift to serve God with.1 The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 In 1992 a Fort Worth, Texas church first allowed me to present instruction on the Lord’s spiritual gifts out of the teaching gift I have been given. I have continued to in-
struct on this very important subject as a pastor and welcome any opportunities to do so now through our Strong Man Institute. I am also now in the process of devel-
oping Strong Man Of God resources on the topic to help Kingdom minded pastors and seeking Christians. Let me know of your interest by answering a single survey
question on the Feedback Page of our Web Site. In the meantime, as the Lord has led, I have laid a foundational introduction to the service of aspiring strong men of
God in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. I urge every Christian reading this that seeks even a basic, biblical introduction to what serving God in the
Church is supposed to look like to get a copy of the book.
Consistent with His Word, the Lord would know who authorized corrupt and abominable worship in His house including the leadership of sexually perverted men and out of order women? It certainly was not Him! But it has been men seduced by the coaxing and teaching of lying spirits as well as the self seeking and exaltation, arrogance, wickedness and selfish ambition for worldly success borne of the sinful flesh that have lied on God concerning His will while usurping His authority in defiant disobedience; unrepentant men God rejects who have fed off of and copied each other’s errors (Jeremiah 23:30-32; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; James 3:13-18; 2 Peter 2:1-3, 12-22; Jude 3-19).
No one can claim ignorance of what God wants in worship since what He has required for His worship is plainly and thoroughly presented in the Bible. Rebel hearts, of course, disdain the word, “required” because they wrongly believe they have freedom under grace to do as they please; the corrupt shepherds among them even acting as lords over God’s house in place of Jesus who is Lord! Also, the experience of ancient Israel is again our example in all things not to do in displeasing God when Christians assemble to worship. Both the Lord’s instruction from His Word on worship and the outcome of Israel’s failure to heed it are summarized in this second part of my 2013 blog post.
Originally Posted September 15, 2013
True Christian worship does not spring from external stimulus such as singing and music, but internally from connection to and relationship with God through the Spirit! Out of love for Him arises in the inmost being the desire to glorify God the Father in admiring praise and worship for who He uniquely is as do the hosts of Heaven (Psalm 100; Revelation 4); to thank Him for all of His benefits not the least of which is His seemly inexhaustible riches of grace and mercy as did the saints of old (Psalm 103).
Spontaneous worship of God wells up in the spirits of the faithful as do geysers from the earth leading to vocal expression as demonstrated by our Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:21-24). And when the saints assemble together as drunk men, yet, not drunk on wine but filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit, we express the joy of our hearts “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody” in our hearts together to the Lord not as a performance, but loving devotion (Ephesians 5:18-20, NKJV). From such hearts flows the sold out dedication of our lives to God in obedience with immediate confession and repentance when we sin.
If our bodies and lives thereby are to be offered as of first importance as a continual “living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God” as our rational service of worship (Romans 12:1, NKJV), then it stands to common sense reason that willful disobedience of any kind in sin including ignoring how God has expressed He is to be worshipped pollutes such worship and in accord with the written Word, rather than pleasing, offends Him leading to His rejection of it!
Notice that for similar reasons the Lord Jesus--who should be considered by all as the highest authority on worship that pleases God--tells the woman at the well Samaritan worship was not accepted by God: ‘“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews,”’ (John 4:22, NKJV). The net result historically and for us today is that untold numbers of individual professing Christians privately and their churches assembled for it at whatever time, offer worship to God without His attending presence or acceptance because of willful disobedience manifested in many ways.
It does not matter what style or how excellent, energetic, emotional or sincere the singing and music or animated the worship leader in fleshy performance, worship polluted by sin is rejected by God. Quick, outward and falsely humble prayers of confession and repentance preceding what is to be served up as worship does not change the result either since God sees into the heart (Psalm 139:1-4; Jeremiah 17:9-10; Luke 16:14-15). The Lord already knows what sins we are clinging to including unforgiveness and bitterness toward along with even ongoing persecution and mistreatment of our brethren as if He is not serious about His command that we love and forgive each other (Matthew 5:21-24, 6:12, 14-15; John 15:12; 1 John 4:20-21).
Then there are the seminary trained pastors who were rightly taught that worship songs should support the preached word, but who take it upon themselves in the flesh to see to it; tightly controlling the song style and selection without any real consultation with the God to be worshipped for His guidance or reliance upon Him. Not only does God reject the outcome, but those that are His genuine worshippers in spirit and truth--aspiring strong men and great women of God in the image of Christ--recognize the divine offense and lack of attendance as well as consequential spiritual deadness in these so-called “worship services.”
While the Lord was unflinching in declaring to the Samaritan woman that the worship of the Jews as prescribed in the Law at Jerusalem’s temple was more to God’s approval than what the Samaritans were doing, nevertheless, His declaration of something “coming” that transcended what had been historically done by the Jews suggested it was superior and ultimately what God wanted--what is supposedly now to be seen in Christians!
Israel had co-opted what God had given them as His worship program and made it a thing of cold, dead, empty ritual and manmade religion in spite of the constant rebuke of her prophets. The Lord quoted Isaiah from seven hundred years earlier in a rebuke of Israel’s religious establishment that should painfully resonate within professing Christianity at this hour: ‘“These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men,’” (Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8-9, NKJV). Connection to Him in obedience was more important to God than the sacrifices and rituals of worship as the Lord Jesus Christ--our example in all things--showed (1 Samuel 15:22; Psalm 40:6-8, 51:16-17; Proverbs 21:3, 27; Micah 6:6-8; Hebrews 10:5-7).
God’s primary concern was always with Israel’s collective heart and conduct. But the people in willful disobedience turned away from authentic worship of God to practice their own corrupt, outward form of religion. Through the prophet Isaiah God had protested their duplicity by declaring His displeasure with their phony worship and demanded to know who had required them to “trample My courts,” (Isaiah 1:10-12, NKJV)? Rather than reverence, the sacred ground of the temple was treated by the people with a disregard similar to untrained animals in a clean space that do not distinguish between the holy and the profane for they practiced all manner of perversions then assembled for worship.
Thoroughly disgusted with this endless desecration of His house and disrespect of His Person, God had had enough and told Israel ‘“Bring no more futile sacrifices…I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; they are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them,’” (Isaiah 1:13-14, NKJV). Then God says He will not hear their prayers nor accept their worship because of their disobedience (Isaiah 1:15; Jeremiah 6:20). Without repentance (which God invited), He would and did judge Israel for their sins including corrupt worship in 586BC and again in 70AD (Isaiah 1:16-20; Jeremiah 7:1-27; Matthew 23:37-24:2).
In this positional chronology on April 27, 2014, the Lord led me to repost The Spiritual Gift Of Faith, under the category, The Faith as the first of what was a related sequence of four 2012 blogs. I urge the reader to read that April repost as a prelude to this post and what will be the other three 2012 reposts that follow. The primary theme in all of them is the necessary real time involvement of Christ as Lord and the Holy Spirit as Participants in the life and work of the Church on earth (Mark 16:19-20; Acts 13:1-3). This thematic reality is the desperate need of many professing American Christians and churches as well as an urgent purpose in the Lord’s call to repentance and revival.
Did any of the regular readers notice in my blog of August 21, 2016, Christianity The Religion Of Men, Pt. 1 under the category, Instruction, that two older women were the only instrumental mortals to my coming to the immortal Christ on Easter 1977 and providing godly counsel during the first three years of my life in Him? When in churches and around Christians of both genders during those days, I was clearly moving in another stream of experience apart from the religious operation of most due to being on white-hot Holy Spirit fire! Oh, as is typical of babes in Christ (I later learned), I stumbled and fumbled in struggle against my old sin nature and suffered many shameful defeats.
However, no seasoned professing Christian man to include leaders put an arm around me to provide knowing, purposeful and continuing guidance to help me develop in Christ.1 Instead, I was hurt by the evil and exploitive ways I was handled by churchmen that were resigned to an inferior practice of Christianity which as a religion of men, it is. I saw very few godly male role models among my age peers either, but only those like me in need of help beyond showing up to Sunday school and church as the traditional counsel obviously not working for those that offered it. In fairness, some older men did empathize with my situation, but were not prepared to engage anyone about it.
I was uncomfortable with the religious status quo since the Bible was already understood by me to be the authoritative Word of God. Hard for me too, was bearing with duplicity, hypocrisy and apathy in these churches because in that same Bible God kept rebuking and judging this type of behavior. Indeed, like a bee to a fragrant flower, I was especially drawn to the heavy heart of God for the repeated unfaithfulness of Israel in the Old Testament and its display in the passionate exhortations of the apostle Paul in the New as he rebuked sin in the churches. The Lord had first introduced me to His heavy heart twenty-two months into my salvation during a seven day fast without food or drink He commanded.
While I now know the Lord was then beginning to make His gifting and calling known to me, I had no idea as a babe what was happening. I had no Ananias to provide even a basic understanding since also unknown to me at the time, many churches did not (and to this day, do not) embrace the supernatural character of biblical Christianity or instruction on spiritual gifts (Acts 9:6-19). Though in the summer of 1979 the Lord spoke specifically to my heart that I was to serve Him in broadcasting, even after coming to the Emmanuel Baptist Church, San Jose, CA in the fourth year of my salvation where I finally met some godly, dedicated men, I remained in ignorance about spiritual gifts.
I had moved in that summer of 1980 to study broadcasting at San Jose State University. At Emmanuel, Rev. Jay Wells taught the first new member orientation I had ever had. Seeing my eager participation in his Sunday school class and unbridled fire of the Holy Spirit in me, Rev. Tom Kelly (now with the Lord) took me under his wing and allowed me to teach. At his recommendation, I was invited to take over his class with amazing Spirit empowered results! After this came seminary at Southwestern Baptist. The best it and the Southern Baptist machine could do was confirm I had a calling; a calling that led to one recognized thing: a black church pastorate.2
After graduating from seminary in December 1984 with no real prospects to serve in what it seemed the Lord had in mind, I was ordained and licensed to the ministry by Emmanuel in June 1985 and founded Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc. later in August. As I have shared on other occasions, when the Ministry did not garner any serious initial support, I sought the Lord about what was wrong in the spring of 1986. He made known to me from Ezekiel 33:1-9 that I was gifted and called to serve Him as a watchman/prophet among the churches (Luke 4:24). Finally, by His instruction I understood that the heavy heart in me for the holiness, righteousness and faithfulness of His Church was the way He wired the prophet’s heart to reflect His own (Ephesians 4:7-16, 5:25-27).
I know from experience the tragedy of Christianity the religion of men in the churches. With no male spiritual mentors to help me develop as a babe and man in Christ, I floundered in the faith far longer than necessary. And because such churches reject the critical Lordship of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit in Church existence and function, it took nine years to learn about and accept all of my spiritual gifts and calling plainly taught in Scripture. This is unacceptable and sin! Therefore, without repentance and revival, these churches are worthless to the Lord and will be dealt with accordingly (Matthew 5:13). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Many predominantly black American churches have traditional and largely honorary “mother boards” to help younger women, but nothing for even the pretense
of mentoring men in the faith and biblical manhood. Seeing this grave error repeated in many churches to this hour, I call for pastors in repentance to return to
the biblical model and purposely equip seasoned men to be spiritual fathers to younger men in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.
2 I share more details of my experience with racism among professing white Christians and their entities in the booklet, The Scourge Of Racism available in
the FSTVEP Resource Store.
This is the second of a three-part edited blog repost celebrating the results of Billy Graham’s ongoing “My Hope America” campaign and more broadly, God’s glorious design of the Church to function through the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. To my great joy also in this installment, I am led by the Spirit to focus on and give instruction about the demonstrated service of the prophet in the New Testament. So, pastors, elders and others that have tried to figure out what my angle is and who do I think I am (1 Corinthians 1:26-31), I invite you to open your Bible and learn as I had to if you will, what it teaches. Too, of course, I hope you will repent from rejecting God’s Word in favor of leaning on your own understanding up until now if guilty (Proverbs 3:5). Have a great Thanksgiving!
Originally Posted November 17, 2013
How often over the years have I heard the hypocritical call even by what are otherwise serious Christian leaders for God to raise up prophetic voices among the churches to cry out against the unfaithful drift, willful compromise and increasing wickedness of professing Christians in the supposed hope that repentance and revival will break forth? Yet, when such voices as my own cry out from God against the evil in His house, these same men are among the first to resist, reject and renounce us as uncalled critics and troublemakers. As is typical of proud, independent religionists, they want to listen only to those they choose and deem fit (Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:22-28, 33-35, 51).
As the Old Testament prophets before and Christ as “the Prophet” in one of His multiple assigned roles by the Father, so, He commented sadly and warned those He would gift and call to follow Him in similar service that they would be without honor among their own countrymen and families; those they were sent to serve who professed to be God’s people (Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Ezekiel 3:1-7; Matthew 13:53-58; John 7:1-5). He spoke the truth! Even so, New Testament prophets are an integral and continuing part of the leadership gifts Christ places in His Body from the first century.
In fact, through the apostle Paul, God ranks the ministry of prophets only behind apostles in functional importance to the Body (1 Corinthians 12:27-30, 14:1-6, 20-25; Ephesians 4:11). In general, the multi-gifted eye witness apostles (and missionaries today as their descendants) preach the Gospel, make disciples and establish churches in areas where Christ has not been named and after a season, move on to another locale (Acts 13:4-14:25). Evangelists, as we saw with Billy Graham, are consumed with preaching the Gospel to whomever, wherever the Spirit leads to make disciples. Pastor/teachers and elders lead and teach an established local assembly of disciples.
Prophets privately or corporately prophesy, teach, preach and/or exhort to reveal, instruct, encourage and build up through revelation, knowledge and wisdom as well as when directed by the Lord, rebuke and warn seeking the repentance of any professed disciples of Christ that are sinning regardless of their position in the Body. If “the righteous are bold as a lion,” the prophets the more so and are all most assuredly aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ (Proverbs 28:1, NKJV)! They serve as the eyes, ears and mouth of Christ, the Head of His Body (1 Samuel 3:1-18, 9:6-19; Proverbs 29:18; Isaiah 29:9-10; Jeremiah 1:4-19; Ezekiel 3:8-27; Amos 3:7-8) and govern themselves under Him (2 Kings 2:1-18; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33).
Thus, no local church leadership controlled or ruled over the Lord’s prophets as the earliest kings of Israel never did even when they were on the payroll except when persecuting them (2 Samuel 24:10-14; Jeremiah 37:6-21). As those of the Old with godly kings, so, the first century New Testament prophets gladly submitted to the authority of the original eye witness apostles, elders and brethren of the Jerusalem church who even sent them on missions (Acts 15:22-23, 30-35). Clearly, righteous rulers of the churches as again, the kings of Israel had nothing to fear from the Lord’s prophets and welcomed them; the prophets for their part honored and worked cooperatively with godly leadership in the churches which would also be true of me.
The Lord’s original eye witness apostles served to initially fulfill His prophecy that He would send prophets to Israel’s religious establishment since they claimed to have such reverence for them and they would reject, persecute and murder them--though Stephen was actually the first prophet murdered (Matthew 23:29-36; Luke 11:46-51; Acts 3:1-4:22, 5:12-42, 6:1-7:2a, 52-60). After the persecution that scattered the church from Jerusalem, they made disciples of Jews and Gentiles as they traveled and churches formed in places such as Antioch in Syria where Barnabas--a named prophet and teacher--was sent by the Lord and the Jerusalem church to help (Acts 8:1, 11:19-26).
It is at Antioch that we are first shown the service of New Testament prophets beyond the Jewish context at Jerusalem; men that were not pastors or preachers only and whose service was consistent with Old Testament prophets not only as forth tellers, but foretellers of things revealed to them by God and speaking to inform the disciples so that they might respond accordingly (Acts 11:27-30, 21:10-14). These gifted first century prophets were accepted into the churches and their authenticity through their lifestyle and messages, judged by all in accord with already established Old Testament criteria, the instruction of Christ and His eye witness apostles (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Matthew 7:15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).1
Godly women that prophesied did so in honor of God’s order (1 Corinthians 11:2-16, 14:34-40; 1 Timothy 2:11-15). Moved by the Holy Spirit who would never lead them (or any of us) into sin, they exercised their gift primarily with women (Exodus 15:20-21), individuals or in a small group of inquiring or passing individuals with no commanding proclamation involved, but simply, faithfully repeating a word of prophecy, knowledge, wisdom or instruction from the Lord (2 Kings 22:12-20; Luke 1:39-45, 2:36-38; Acts 21:8-9). The prophetess Christ names “Jezebel” and rebukes with the church pastor was clearly out of order and false (Revelation 2:18-29, NKJV). Deborah was exceptional in an exceptional time for Israel unfaithful to God as King and with men of great spiritual weakness (Judges 4:1-10).
1 See the October 30, 2016 repost, No One Speaks For God? under the category, Instruction.
God destroyed all of the former places He set apart to meet with Israel assembled to worship. Surely, someone will say, “That cannot happen to the churches since God treats them differently than He did Israel.” Does He? As the corrupt religious leaders of Israel did to no avail, so, those that practice Christianity the religion of men have also concocted doctrines that falsely guarantee them and their religious structures protection from divine judgment (Jeremiah 7:4). Another will ask, “If God is all that put out about it, why has He not been judging the churches guilty of practicing corrupt worship?” Hasn’t He though? His destroying judgment among the churches has gone forth through the centuries and intensifies going forward as I write about in this concluding, edited 2013 post.
Originally Posted September 22, 2013
It is of the most insidious heresies of Christianity in the midst of the dominating influence of Gentiles from the end of the first century until now; the teaching that somehow God treats the sins ancient Israel committed differently from Christians guilty of the same sins because the cross of Christ has removed believers from the place of judgment. Such a thing would be showing partiality which the Scriptures teach is sin and not found at all in God (Deuteronomy 10:17; Acts 10:34-35). This wrongheaded, arrogant, patently anti-Semitic attitude persists in spite of the fact Christians are warned in the New Testament not to go where Israel went since Israel’s sins and God’s response are purposely written as warnings to help us avoid making their mistakes to the end also of avoiding their consequences.
In their case, an elect remnant will recover from the consequences of disobedience and behold at last, the returning Christ Jesus who will bring them into the riches of the New Covenant to include worship of God in spirit and truth (Isaiah 1:7-9, 10:20-23, 59:20; Romans 11:23-26). In our case, the consequences of disobedience that there is no recovery from without repentance now are more severe because we have the written warnings, the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, His instruction on worship, greater responsibility for obedience and no excuse since the Holy Spirit lives in us (Luke 12:47-48; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11; Hebrews 3:7-19, 10:14-18, 26-31,12:12-17)!
Tragically, it is apparent that God’s response of judgment upon polluted worship in Israel in the Old or of Christians in the New Testaments respectively has not borne its purposeful fruit to instruct and warn since I and others continue to cry out against the widespread scandal called “worship” in the churches to this day. For as He did in the Old Testament by making a perpetual example of Aaron’s two sons with their “profane fire” in the early days of Israel, so, in the early days of the Church the Lord made an example of Ananias and Sapphira putting them to death for the sin of lying about their gift only He knew about or do not most pastors to this hour teach “giving is an act of worship,” (Acts 5:1-11)? Again, is it not written our Lord taught, “true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth,” (John 4:23, NKJV)?
But the appropriate response of fear in the Jerusalem church did not last long or spread far. Men went on to practice all manner of sin and sought to hypocritically pretend devotion to God which He also judged during the apostolic period and continues to judge or where are the churches of Asia Minor (1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 10:14-22; 11:17-34; Colossians 2:16-23; James 2:1-13; 2 Peter 2:1-3; Revelation 2:1-6,12-16, 18-23, 3:1-3, 14-20)?
With the rise of manmade Christianity the religion after the passing of the apostles and among predominantly Gentiles, all manner of corruptions such as the worship of relics, images and persons (alive on earth and deceased) other than the Lord were introduced in rank idolatry. As well, sinful flesh driven programmed and packaged worship services complete with incense, the formal service of male priests, expensively ornate pageantry, invented traditions and rituals not commanded in the New Testament were also introduced into what became the Catholic Church headquartered at Rome by the 4th century. An Eastern offshoot called itself Orthodox but retained all of the outward religious formality of Western Catholicism as did other traditions in North and East Africa for example, along with many Protestant churches after the failed 16th century Reformation attempt by disaffected Catholic priest, Martin Luther.
All of the major branches of Christianity the religion of men have their hands stained with the blood of God’s prophets, faithful saints and many people through murderous worldly intrigue and biblically unsanctioned wars to add to their countless wicked and perverted deeds in similitude to Israel. These Christian religionists to this hour supposedly offer what they want all to believe is worship accepted by God; worship that has initially among Protestants the last fifty years included a growing number of women as leaders--a corruption ancient Israel was never guilty of.
Before there was a formal religious organization in Israel, no woman is recorded in the Bible leading the family worship and conducting sacrifices to God, only men (Genesis 4:3-5, 8:20, 12:7, 26:24-25, 33:18-20). When Israel worshipped God appropriately the men as His chosen leaders always led; no women were ever priests in accord with divine decree (Exodus 29:9). And though she as the sister of Moses and a prophetess held leadership rank, Moses led the worship of God by the whole nation assembled after the Red Sea miracle while Miriam led only the women (Exodus 15:1-18, 20-21). Women sang in the choirs of Israel, but none ever served as the worship leaders--a job reserved exclusively for the Levite men (1 Chronicles 9:33-34, 15:1-28; 25:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29:20-30; Nehemiah 7:4-7, 39-67, 11:22-23).
The Lord Jesus nor His apostles changed what is clearly God’s will and pattern from creation that men lead the family and corporate worship out of their leadership role and responsibilities before Him (Genesis 2:7, 21-23, 3:16b; 1 Timothy 2:12-14). Even Christianity the religion of men in all of its manifestations around the earth and many corruptions honored the will of God that men only stand before Him as the leaders of worship until the 20th century. What changed? Not God! But many male pastors have changed for whatever all of the unbiblical reasons and women in disobedience lead the worship of God without God as the result in their churches.
Therefore, the God who shows no partiality and severely judged Israel for her sins before the whole world so that even the wicked at sane moments have marveled at their millennia long travail, has begun the foretold latter day terminal judgment within professing Christianity in like manner over what will be a much shorter time frame--you do not really believe He has forgotten about or overlooked the sins and bloody hands of Christianity the religion of men do you?
Within sixty years as time is reckoned both in a twenty-four and sixteen hour day (Revelation 8:12), the Lord will complete the total destruction of Christianity the religion of men on the earth and recovery of elect Israel which was scattered in 70AD in accord with His written prophetic Word plainly displayed (Psalm 90:4; Hosea 5:14-6:3; 2 Peter 3:8). Thus, those with eyes to see already see the holy contempt for the corrupt practices and worship of long standing traditions of Christianity the religion of men manifest itself in the steady deaths of Western churches as well as in the Middle East, North and East Africa with those called Christians being scattered and the destruction of their places of worship that will never be permanently rebuilt.
Yes, this is also persecution of the righteous remnant in the midst who are on the Lord’s side through obedience to His Word and warned to expect this in these latter days (Matthew 10:22-25). As were the conditions for the first through the third century believers who offered a pure worship under the persecution of Rome (Acts 16:16-25), so it will be again and worse for the righteous remnant globally until the Lord appears (Revelation 13, 14:9-13, 16:15, 19:11-20:6). We do pray for the strength of our faithful brethren.
However, there comes a certain point also in the face of known divine displeasure and coming judgment when the righteous are warned to depart from among the evildoers--Jewish Christians fled Jerusalem in droves as the Lord directed when the Roman army advanced to lay siege to it (Jeremiah 50:8-10, 51:1-10, 45-48; Luke 21:20-24; Revelation 18:1-8). Such is presently the case as the Lord in earnest carries out the foretold judgment on His house which will eventually come to all of the churches on the earth and finally “The Mother Of Harlots,” the seat of Christianity the religion of men at Rome (1 Peter 4:17-18; Revelation 14:8, 16:17-19, 17:1-19:4, NKJV).
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