Besides the history of Israel as biblical precedent, the apostle Paul provides compelling New Testament instruction concerning why God would judge so harshly. Having praised the church at Corinth for remembering him and his teaching as he had presented it, the apostle could not praise them for the “instructions” he now, wrote in their failure to properly reverence “the Lord’s Supper“ when they met together for that purpose (1 Corinthians 11:1-2, 17-22, NKJV). They had ego driven divisions and factions when they met; some were selfishly eating their own food ahead of and not sharing with others leaving a hungry person while another came to the meeting drunk.
Such behavior showed not only contempt for “the church of God,” but Christ who is the holy Object of the memorial supper He instituted (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)! Paul is very clear, “whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” Thus, we are to “examine” ourselves thoroughly for sin to the end of confessing and repenting from it before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We do this to avoid eating the bread representing the Lord’s body and drinking from the cup with His blood “in an unworthy manner” and bringing judgment upon ourselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-29, NKJV).
The guilty may not, but God plainly takes the sacrifice of His Son that has saved us from our sins very seriously (Ephesians 5:1-7)! As a result, the apostle reported in his time that many were “weak,” “sick” and dead from divine judgment for their disrespect of the Lord’s body and blood while practicing sin. And we can be sure this has been the case for every guilty soul until now, because “God shows no partiality,” (Acts 10:34-35, NKJV)! “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” by the Lord who calls us to repentance and chastens to help us avert eternal condemnation “with the world” if we will (Romans 1:18-2:11; 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, NKJV).
“Lest you come together for judgment” is the spiritual reality the apostle Paul sums up his Lord’s Supper instruction with; warning the Corinthian church and every other to this hour if they would pay heed (1 Corinthians 11:33-34, NKJV). The evidence of history is that many churches have not given heed either to the apostle’s warning about proper reverence for the Lord’s Supper or his instruction from Him on the order of their assemblies. Already during and after the first century many local churches became the pride of sinful flesh and manmade religion; their leaders also driven by selfish ambitions to pursue and relishing power and control over them (3 John 9-11).
Furthermore, as foretold, these men (and wickedly now, women too) in sin have purposely drawn away especially the gullible and weak among Christ’s sheep after themselves and made membership in their local church false proof of true salvation (Acts 20:29-30; 2 Timothy 3:6-9; 2 Peter 2:12-22). Something is wrong when like a drug addict people have a need to go to church, take their favorite seat, hear their pastor preach, the music team sing their favorite song or irrespective of gifting, work in their desired humanly invented position. Something is also wrong when pastors need to be up preaching to “their people.” This is textbook co-dependency God never intended!5
As houses of ill-repute, all manner of evil, impropriety, vice, false teaching, dysfunction, torture and murder of enemies in sin to name only a few things have been practiced and tolerated while the Lord’s Supper is featured and regularly taken as their grand display of Christianity in them! Arrogant, defiant and obstinate; those that are guilty in our times reached critical mass in much of the foregoing and practicing disorder in the Lord’s house. For they not only have rejected the Lord’s order of mankind from creation to be practiced by Christian men and women He gives through Paul, but the place, use and order of spiritual gifts in their assemblies as well (1 Corinthians 11:3-16, 12:1-14:40).6
The question is not why God would judge guilty local churches so harshly by shutting them down, but why did He take so long given how widespread the wickedness among them is? Is it not again the longsuffering of our God that in grace waits as long as possible for repentance since He knows when He finally does judge, it will not be a lightweight slap on the wrist (2 Peter 3:9)? As with Israel’s past judgments, He also knows His faithful though not guilty, will nonetheless, be impacted. He waits making the way and opportune time to minimize that impact (Ezekiel 9; Luke 21:20-24). The Lord’s Coronavirus judgment came suddenly and invisibly out of nowhere first in China last fall and then, upon our shores this past January en route to spreading fatally over the inhabited earth.
In the frantic mix of government solutions to fight the spread of the plague, churches along with others that host public gatherings were required to shut down. As the Lord also led me to write previously, the upside for Christians and their local churches that will survive is the fact He has provided opportunity for soul searching and repentance as needed.7 Too, the Lord has graciously given all an advance look at the near future and reality check about just how important the local church really is in His grand scheme of things. In a moment, churches can be no more as happens to our persecuted brethren in many places. Recognizing this, should not leaders be intentional about lining up the churches they can still serve with God’s will, way and Word as it is written?
(Thoroughly grateful to God to remain employed full-time in His service, I will be taking Sunday, September 6th off as my Labor Day rest. Lord willing, my next post will appear on September 13th. Enjoy your Labor Day and if you are looking for work, seek the Lord who is merciful for help.)
5 I write about this tragic spiritually, mentally and emotionally unhealthy reality of local church life which crosses ethnic and cultural lines in a March social media post
that I repeated and added to in the April 5, 2020 post, God Is Speaking, under the category, Call To Repent. We are to absolutely ever need only Christ (Deuteron-
omy 31:6; Psalm 23; Acts 18:9-10, 23:11; 2 Timothy 4:16-18; Hebrews 4:14-16)! Also pastor, you do not own His authentic sheep, they belong to Christ who “pur-
chased” them “with His own blood.” You sir, are a shepherd under Him if He appointed you and steward that must give an account (John 10:11-16, 21:15-17; Acts 20:
28; 1 Peter 5:1-4, NKJV). Consequently, you should fear lest you through wickedness be found the cause of even one of Christ’s sheep being “scattered,” “lost” and
devoured by that spiritual wolf, Satan (Ezekiel 34:1-10; Mark 9:42-48, NKJV)!
6 Contrary to the deceit planted by Satan and slowly cultivated by professed Christians over the past century, God has not changed His order of mankind from creation
as I also maintain in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. A print copy or digital download of the book is available at major internet booksellers such as
Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
7 See God Is Speaking.
As the Lord led last week, I wrote to exhort and encourage His faithful as we go together through this unprecedented time of the Coronavirus pestilence upon the world as judgment from Him. The exhortation was to go to and remain in God’s Word as His foretold days of judgment continue to unfold and escalate; the encouragement to draw comfort and hope from God and through His Word in the process.1 Today, the Lord would rebuke and instruct those who profess to know Him, but are incredulous there is any judgment from Him because it has included their being put out of their churches as supposedly His house. However, this is not the first time God has done this in judgment.
Incredulity that God would ever put professed Christians out of His house should not be among folk that claim to be so in touch with Him and His Word. But this haughtiness arises exactly from the fact some of those who have this false thinking do not actually know God in Christ (Matthew 7:21-23) or His Word (1 Corinthians 15:34). Others know what the Word says on the topic historically, but choose for whatever motives to willfully ignore it. For not only did God evict His ancient people, the Jews (our example in everything) from their meeting places with Him, but He destroyed those places in wrath because of their sins (Jeremiah 7:12-15, 52:12-13; Mark 13:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:1-11)!
So, where do Christians that are guilty of the same kind of sins that led to God forcefully evicting the Jewish people from their designated meeting places with Him get off thinking they are somehow in a better position in His eyes to avoid this? Yes, with them in Christ we have “a better covenant, which was established on better promises,” (Hebrews 8:6, NKJV). But nowhere in the New Covenant or God’s related promises does He take sin off the table as something He will no longer be concerned about. Truly, the Christian has a greater accountability before God for sin because we believed the Gospel of Christ to be saved from it (Luke 12:47-48; Romans 6:1-7; Hebrews 10:26-31)!
Neither the Lord nor His apostles make His Church about physical buildings, but the people who purposely assemble to Him by faith (Matthew 16:13-18)! Whether it was the Lord with His disciples or them after His departure, buildings were only mere tools used to facilitate the purposes and activities involved in meeting together (Mark 14:12-17; Acts 1:9-14, 2:40-47, 18:5-11, 19:1-10). Nowhere in the New Testament is anyone commanded or instructed by Christ to build Him an edifice as part of a sacred, required meeting place with Him for worship or any other purpose since He had taught true worship of God going forward from Him is “in spirit and truth,” (John 4:19-26, NKJV).
Moreover, the overarching eternal reality of the Church Christ builds and Heads with each soul assembled to Him by faith is relational and spiritual (Luke 23:39-43; Ephesians 1:3-14, 22-23). Too, the body of each believer on earth is a temple of God (John 2:19-21, 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20). With those already in Heaven we are at one and the same time as Paul teaches both “the household of God” the Father as spiritual family and a house for His everlasting abode. Not only is each one in Christ both family and a house, but as Peter also instructs, we are together “being built up a spiritual house;” in it serving as a “holy priesthood,” (Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:4-6, NKJV).
We are God’s house! Even so, God in His wisdom provided the means for His redeemed to temporarily meet together while on earth at the Jewish Temple, in homes, previously constructed buildings and those built for that purpose to this day. Christians have also met outdoors and because of persecution, literally underground!2 The buildings were and are His house too, because He owns everything and to the extent real Christians assemble in them to carry out the biblically commanded mission of Christ. The buildings are all temporary because the existence of and Christ’s mission for mortal Christians in this present age before His return are (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).
Indeed, as the Lord led me to launch this year writing, only the individual Christians in local churches with ears that heard what the Spirit said to seven first century churches of Asia will be found standing in immortal glory at His return!3 None of those seven churches of Asia with many others of history remain, underscoring the reality of their temporary nature. And while persecution has had much to do with why local churches have disappeared from existence in their times, when His biblically rooted purposes are no longer primary through disobedience, corruption, wickedness and apostasy, the Lord Himself will shut them down as I am a witness and even destroy the buildings as foretold among the ways He judges (Revelation 2:1-7, 17:15-18:8, 19:1-4).4
1 Read the August 16, 2020 post, To The Word Of God!, under the category, Encouragement.
2 Most of the preaching and ministry along with teaching and training of His disciples by the Lord Jesus was done outdoors. Mountains, forests, fields, caves, waterways,
deserts, prisons, the catacombs of Rome--you name it beyond buildings, faithful Christians have assembled there in the Spirit, with the Lord to this hour and will do so
until the end!
3 See the two-part post beginning January 5, 2020, Revelation’s Seven Churches In Time, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
4 Read the August 23, 2015 post, Babylon Is Falling!, under the category, Bible Prophecy. Also, read the reposts of my own experience with the judgment of God upon
local churches and prophecy He gave me concerning them beginning on August 30, 2015 with When Strong Men Of God Weep, followed by Death Of A Church--One
Year Later and Praise For The Lord God Almighty! These were all posted under the category, Glory To God!
As the Lord leads, I launch the New Year with a word of sober prophetic warning to the churches and individuals making them up that claim connection to Jesus Christ of the Bible (Ezekiel 33:1-9). The warning is rooted in the last book of the Bible declared to be His “Revelation” in which He participates in the delivery and oversees the composition of its prophetic content that pronounces the reader and obedient hearer “blessed” (Revelation 1:1-3, NKJV). The Lord’s participation includes His own recorded words in glorious appearance to His chosen vessel and prophet, the apostle John, who is to write down and deliver the prophecy to seven churches in Asia (Revelation 1:4-20).
Before going any further, let me give the first part of the Lord’s warning to all of the churches that have entered this third decade of the 21st century and at breakneck speed, approach the second millennia anniversary of His death, burial, resurrection and ascension: He has not changed (Hebrews 13:8)! What He said to the churches in Asia at the end of the 1st century A.D., He stands by and says to all that exist at this hour and until the end. Those who by deceitful corruption of the Bible insist otherwise are deluding themselves and deceiving you that believe them! The Lord’s prophecy to the seven churches in Asia was for them, all others of the time and all that would exist after them.
The latter statement is consistent with the commentary of many biblically conservative interpreters that understand the apostle John in obedience to the Lord’s command was to deliver the entire “Revelation” to the literal seven named churches of Asia (Revelation 1:9-11, 19).1 Again, very importantly in the process the Lord’s specific messages to each one of those seven churches was to also speak to their contemporary sister churches and those of similar circumstance in the future. Some believe each church of the seven represented a season of the long epoch of Church history on earth thus far. However, this conclusion is not borne out by actual history.
Absolutely consistent with actual history though, the Bible and Revelation’s use of the number seven to indicate completeness (Genesis 2:1-3; Joshua 6:1-5; Luke 8:1-2), each of the seven churches in their conduct represent the continuing state of churches existing then together and at all times after until they are no more at an end prophetically and repeatedly alluded to by the Lord in His messages to them. As the Lord has had me declare in many previous posts, the approaching global end of local churches as open, corporate displays of Christianity regardless of form or authenticity comes from the world’s persecutions and His judgment.2
The foregoing is the reason I break here with the popular teaching that churches are not mentioned from Revelation 4 onward because Christians have been removed from the earth by “the rapture.” Actually, “the churches” are again mentioned in Revelation 22:16. Individual believers as “His servants” and “saints” on earth and in Heaven are spoken of throughout the prophecy while “the angels (messengers) of the seven churches” are uniquely addressed (Revelation 1:1, 20, 5:8-10, NKJV). Indeed, among the many common characteristics of the Lord’s messages to the churches in Revelation 2-3 are His repeated words, “He who has an ear...” spoken to individuals within them!
I will return to individuals as the ultimate target audience of the Lord even as He initially speaks to them in local churches momentarily. First though, the Lord would have me briefly speak more to the common characteristics of His messages to the seven churches of Asia. In what should certainly be the most alarming common characteristic of the Lord’s messages to the seven churches is the reality that He walked among them. This is how He knew their works as another commonality and knows ours too! An additional common characteristic is the Lord held the messengers of these churches in His right hand which suggests not only honor and responsibility, but also control.3
The Lord commended the good, but voiced what He had against the messengers and the seven churches they led as still another commonality; calling the guilty to repentance to avoid temporal punishment and eternal loss. Yet, this did not seem to have long alarmed guilty leaders and congregants or deter them from brazen disobedience to His Word and committing all manner of evil to this hour!4 In spite of the Lord’s command for all to “hear what the Spirit says to the churches,” their history is replete with the corrupt conduct He condemned. The seven churches of Asia passed from the scene as have countless others since and all are shortly about to. Even so, a remnant of Christians from among the two churches Christ commended has stood and will stand to the end!
1 See for example, Revelation by George Ladd, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, p 36.
2 Read the August 23, 2015 post, Babylon Is Falling, under the category, Bible Prophecy and Praise For The Lord God Almighty!, posted September 13, 2015 under the
category, Glory To God as samples. So much for “thriving religious enterprises of human pride, achievement and enduring legacy” I wrote is all the rage during these
latter days in the introduction of my December 8, 2019 repost, Restoring Men, under the category, The Cause!
3 Messengers clearly refer to the men called by Christ to shepherd and feed His sheep with His messages (John 21:15-17; Acts 20:26-28; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Therefore, no
pastor/teacher is to understand himself as the sovereign head over a local church and free to teach whatever is right in his own eyes. The Lord Jesus is and remains
forever, Lord, under whom a pastor and any elders serve and are held accountable by Him. The Lord has mercifully chosen for His purposes and our testing to be
longsuffering in the main during this mortal Church era (Luke 13:6-9; 2 Peter 3:9). It is because of this that guilty pastors doing what is right in their own eyes as if
there is no King or Chief Shepherd (Judges 17:6; Acts 20:29-30) have enjoyed extended stays and on their account such resulting ungodly confusion exists among
the churches (2 Peter 2:18-19). But there is a King and Christ is He! Without repentance, His eventual judgment is assured (Matthew 18:6-9) as He made clear to the
guilty messengers and churches of Asia. See my February 9, 2014 post, Is There No King Among Us?, under the category, Call To Repent.
4 As a contemporary example, since the 1960s many male pastors have followed the lead of Thyatira’s messenger to “allow” the rise of guilty women as Jezebels to
teach and take authority over His "servants" in His house in defiance of plain apostolic doctrine (1 Timothy 2:11-14; Revelation 2:20, NKJV). Read my May 27 and
June 3, 2018 two-part post, Feminism’s Entry Into The Churches, under the categories Call To Repent and God’s Creatures. At this hour too, United Methodists are
splitting over the issue of whether same sex relationships biblically condemned are to be tolerated among its members and leaders.
While the Lord Jesus most assuredly initially speaks to the seven messengers and the corporate assemblies of Asia they lead, He concludes every message speaking to the individuals that make them up. The proof of this beyond His repeated use of the phrase “He who has an ear...” in Revelation 2-3 I have already referenced is another like it: “To him” or “He who overcomes.” The Lord unmistakably addresses Himself to any individual within the particular church He is speaking to that will give heed to His words. This is not unusual since His Church is made up of individuals that have believed on Him as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Matthew 16:13-18, NKJV)!
Nevertheless, an elementary truth Christ knows, but many religionists especially fail to grasp is that not everyone assembled together in a local church is truly a born again believer in Him (John 3:1-8). There are “false brethren,” “impostors” and de facto apostates in many ostensibly “Christian” churches that even hold titles of authority (Galatians 2:1-5; 2 Timothy 3:13; Titus 1:10-16, NKJV). This is due to a number of reasons to include the lowered, unbiblical standards of membership many have tied to the practice of Christianity as a religious invention of men and the purposeful infiltration of Satan’s emissaries (2 Corinthians 11:10-15; Jude 3-4). Thus, a local church anywhere on the planet is not necessarily the Church in miniature!5
As a consequence, membership in a local church is not tantamount to membership in the Church of Jesus Christ either. So-called “opening the doors of the church” to invite non-members “to join” without ascertaining their actual spiritual status or presenting the biblical Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) with the requirement to repent and believe it is traditional in many religion bound Protestant churches desperate to fill empty pews.6 However, it is not membership with benefits as in a worldly social club affiliation that the writer of Hebrews advocates in his exhortation, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NKJV).7
His advocacy is for the regular gathering together of the Lord’s faithful as individuals to Him in any number and kind of settings to include jails and homes (Acts 1:12-14, 2:40-47, 12:1-12, 16:23-25; Romans 16:5). The well intended and wicked religionists that have made membership, regular attendance and participation in local, corporate brick and mortar churches alone the standard and core of the Christian experience rather than relationship with Christ and the New Testament understanding of assembling together as His Church have set the unknowing, biblically illiterate and weak among them up for spiritual disaster in these latter days. Truly, what will these folk do when they can’t “go to church” anymore as is the case for our persecuted brethren in many places?
The Lord Jesus also speaks to the individuals that make up the seven churches of Asia because His standards of Church membership and discipleship are high. This is the second part of His prophetic warning. Contrary to popular manmade Christianity, people are not just going to get into Heaven and receive immortal glory “any old how.” Repeatedly the Lord declares it is “him” or “he that overcomes.” The two churches of Asia He commends in full are composed of saints that have endured persecution driven “tribulation,” “poverty,” “prison” and testing; persevering as our Lord “Faithful and True” to the death in faithfulness (Revelation 2:8-11, 3:7-14, NKJV). These faithful saints keep His “works until the end,” (Revelation 2:26, NKJV).8
That the end for persevering faithful saints on earth includes going through “the great tribulation” is bound up in the unfolding prophetic content the apostle John is to write concerning “the things which will take place after this;” that is, prophetic reality contemporary with the seven churches of Asia, but also beyond them (Revelation 1:19, NKJV). Revelation 5:1-10 shows Christ as the “Root of David” and “the Lamb” along with “the saints” and His Church to that moment already in Heaven (NKJV). In the overview prophetic sweep of earth activity up to Christ’s Second Coming embodied in the seals of Revelation 6, the fifth seal (vs. 9-11) makes clear martyrdom in suffering among His saints on earth will be God’s permitted norm--something they are prepared for (Romans 8:31-39).
Revelation 7:9-17 indisputably shows individual saints from “all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues” “come out of the great tribulation” which along with what God does in the heavens and upon the earth, involves all manner of suffering and martyrdom in the all out war finally prosecuted against us by the Antichrist (think Hitler’s “final solution”) as other parts of Bible prophecy and Revelation corroborates (Daniel 7:15-25, 8:15-25; Matthew 24:9-22; Revelation 12:7-13:18, 14:6-13, NKJV). God will also permit the Antichrist to destroy brick and mortar church buildings as is already occurring in many places amidst all of his destructive acts; eliciting a cry from Heaven for God’s people to exit she that is “The Mother Of Harlots” and owns treasured property (Revelation 17:1-18:8, NKJV).
Nevertheless, at the end of the three and a half years of the great tribulation and before the full outpour of God’s wrath, as He promised, the Lord will suddenly appear in clouds of glory. With His thunderous shout, the commanding voice of an archangel and blast of God’s trumpet, the Lord will gather all of His saints to Himself in the sky. The dead in Christ will be raised first and take flight to Him, while the remnant of faithful saints still alive will bypass death, be translated and follow after them (Matthew 24:29-31; Mark 13:24-27; 1 Corinthians 15:50-57; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12; Revelation 14:14-16, 16:15, 19:6-16)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
5 It is the universal Church made up of His faithful followers that Christ builds “and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, NKJV) not every
single local church calling itself Christian (2 Timothy 2:19-21).
6 When unbelievers “join” they are by default impostors, false brethren, devils and tools of Satan as are willful or de facto apostates whether they realize it or not. Is
it any wonder the inevitable historic real life carnal church drama created is making for great film and television drama in these latter days while simultaneously
bringing shame to Christ?
7 Temporal membership in a local brick and mortar church certainly does have its benefits, but they do not exceed the greater benefits of membership in the univer-
sal Church of Jesus Christ! As a result, the value of membership in a local church apart from authentic relationship with Christ and membership in His Church is
exalted well beyond its value and over sold. Moreover, churches that use joining as a test of loyalty to them especially when they are unfaithfully sinning against
Christ are hypocritical and wicked (Matthew 23:15)! Even so, a local brick and mortar church that faithfully preaches the biblical Gospel for salvation, teaches and
diligently strives to model obedience to God’s Word as it is written, equips the saints for and facilitates them in biblical ministry and mission as a priority is well
pleasing to the Lord and useful in His Kingdom causes during the time that is left to operate openly. See the July 23, 2017 post, Churchmen In The Two Minute
Drill, under the category, The Cause. Also read the timely essay, What Hath The Church Fathers To Do With Your Local Church by Stephen Presley, in the Fall
2019 edition of Southwestern News, P. 54-57, to see that even in scholarly circles there is an appreciation of the consequential increase in hostility of Western cul-
tures including our own toward Christianity and discussion of the right response among the churches.
8 Such is every aspiring strong man and great woman of God I write and instruct about from God’s Word in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. If
you want to learn the foundational biblical expectations of Christ for His followers and be equipped to faithfully live them out to the end, get a print copy or digital
download of my book at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get a print copy
of the book in the Strong Man Store. If you would like a foretaste of what is taught in the book, read my two-part 2019 post that begins August 18, Lined Up Be-
hind Jesus, under the category, Instruction.
It could be no plainer as written: “God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints,” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NKJV). In accord with the will of Christ the Holy Spirit imparts spiritual gifts to all genuinely born again believers and does so adhering to the divine order of mankind to be honored by the saints in every church and generation until the Lord returns. Too, women are not oppressed and no glass ceiling exists in the churches. Jesus as Lord is the infinitely stronger than iron authority over them! Thus, though a woman may be gifted to prophesy, preach or teach, she does so in line with God’s order of mankind (1 Corinthians 14:34-37; 1 Timothy 2:11-15).3
As a pastor, I was always on the lookout for sisters in Christ gifted to teach His Word both within our assembly and beyond to help me spiritually build up the women I served. Nationally, in those days I came to regard the teaching ministry of Beth Moore. I was saddened recently, though, after reading a blog she wrote to her brothers. I was certainly moved for her (and all other gifted female Bible teachers that have had or are having her experience) to learn that she has been treated as inferior and with the same contempt I have as a black man among not a few white conservative professed Christian males. According to her testimony up to now, she has handled this admirably.4
Nevertheless, while mistreating a fellow believer on the basis of gender or race is sin that should be rebuked, I urge us all affected not to appeal for acceptance and respect of our person as much as for God and His Word! In doing this, we must strive to be accurate which in a righteous attempt to uphold the Lord’s valuing of women, my sister was not when she labeled Mary Magdalene as the “first evangelist” based on Jesus’ command to carry His personal message to His “brethren” (John 20:17-18, NKJV). This is a common interpretive mistake among my sisters reacting defensively to justify and validate their existence in ministry and legitimize their ministries.5
Spiritual gifts are given by the Lord for the service of His house and Kingdom causes not our personal ambitions to achieve or be recognized for the sake of ego (Mark 8:34, 10:35-45; John 13:14-17)! Christian women gifted to prophesy, preach or teach that insist on being treated with the same deference in position as the men show they are after ego gratification, forgetting God’s order of mankind that always has the men in His house at the higher rank (Romans 13:1-2; 1 Corinthians 11:3).6 Feminism of the world in the churches insists this is not fair, but we in Christ are not of the world! Because this is true, Christian men and women are to interact with the proper attitudes while respecting rank (Romans 12:16; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Timothy 5:1-2).
Moreover, local churches or related parachurch entities are not the places we go to find significance in working nor to show up to show out in again, gratifying the ego (Romans 12:3-13; 1 Peter 4:7-11).7 But we should learn before we ever do anything that we have significance having already been accepted relationally “in the Beloved” by grace through faith; who gave Himself for us to redeem us back to God (Romans 5:6-11; Galatians 1:1-5; Ephesians 1:3-14; Titus 2:11-14, NKJV). Therefore, it is not nearly as important as we think it is that any of us in ministry be accepted or respected by peers as it is being faithful to the God who called us and His Word (1 Corinthians 4:2)!
To these ends, I hope Beth Moore keeps reaching and teaching women as gifted by the Holy Spirit, called by Christ and affirmed in Scripture as her sole mission; not allowing herself for the sake of greater success or respect to purposely include men as a target audience in sin. For though she cannot control that men come to her women’s events and rightly does not eject them (if not surveying her doctrine or from evil motives, the men are obviously searching for something they are not getting from male pastors and teachers), knowingly accepting invitations to teach in settings of disobedience as I have seen her in passing doing on Christian television is willful sin (James 4:17). Once more, the Holy Spirit will never lead us away from or into disobedience to God’s Word.
There is clearly enough personal, pastoral and corporate sin over just feminism in His house for the Lord not to be pleased with His people and churches that are guilty at this hour. We all know there are so many other strongholds of deceit in God’s house as well. Therefore, I cry out yet again with the Lord’s appeal to all of the guilty to repent now! For if there are natural consequences for disobeying the Lord Jesus’ words, then, in all consistency with His acts toward disobedient Israel of old, judgment is about to dramatically intensify upon professed Christian individuals, leaders and churches guilty of constructing and maintaining strongholds of deceit in His house (Luke 6:46-49). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
3 See the May 20, 2018 post, The Value Of Women To Jesus Christ, under the category, God’s Creatures. Also, get my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics
in the Strong Man Store for instruction on the great woman of God who lives on purpose to please Him and do His will in all submission.
4 Read Beth Moore’s blog. Also, read one of the many posts the Lord has given me to make rebuking racism, Moral Pressure Rightly Applied, under the category, Call
5 An evangelist preaches the Gospel to the lost in which case, Scripture does not tell us who the female is that holds the distinction of being first to do so among women.
The unwitting woman at the well certainly qualifies in action to be considered an evangelist since she went and told lost men to ‘“Come, see a Man...’” (John 4:25-30,
NKJV), but she was not gifted and called to do so. Surely, though, she was a witness of Christ as all Christians are supposed to be (Acts 1:8)!
6 Respecting rank applies to men immediately under Christ also. While He calls us “friends,” “one” with Himself and the Father and “brethren,” (John 15:13-15, 17:20-23,
20:17, NKJV), we never get in the Lord’s face insisting that we be regarded the same as He in rank (Revelation 17:14). We never see Christ attempting to equal His
Father in rank either, though, He is equal to Him in every other way (John 14:28-31; Philippians 2:5-7)! Such respect for rank is everywhere seen in the created spiritual
dominions of angels too and the natural order of the earth except in these latter days among fallen humanity as women under the influence of demons, rebel through
feminism to challenge God’s order of mankind. Truly, even with all of her business activity and acumen the Proverbs 31 woman never sought to stand with her husband
in rank at home or “in the gates,” the place of community governance by men as elders (Proverbs 31:23, NKJV)!
7 Seeing activity in the church as performance is another reason many churches of manmade religion especially have capitulated to and allowed feminism and its central
tenet of worldly defined gender equality to enter. Women are seen as equally as capable as the men to perform in any positions of the church and they are. Even so,
God calls His servants to serve Him and His causes in His house to please Him and do His will. This means among other things as the apostle John teaches, in love
obeying the divine order of mankind in all that is done (1 John 5:2-3). Evidently, the apostles did not consider faithful obedience to God’s Word “legalism” as many pro-
fessed Christians under demonic influence and in rebellion accuse us of today who delight in it!
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!
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.
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