Seeing the images from Bible prophecy of faithful born again Christians, the saints of God Almighty in Heaven at the end of last week’s post was deeply encouraging to me and I hope you also if you are a fellow believer.1 They are victorious over the treachery and violence of the most evil man to ever walk the earth and all other haters! How God loves us and cares for our encouragement to present these images to us in advance over nineteen hundred years ago. Indeed, the images convey the tender love God has for all who believe in and follow Christ very powerfully displayed to His eleven disciples as He prepared to make His departure back to Heaven in the Gospel of John.
Under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration, this episode I am permitted to title, “The Lord’s Long Goodbye,” begins at John 13:1, the apostle writing: “Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end,” (NKJV). From that launch point, the final Passover meal and evening together with what began as His twelve apostles proceeded with Him washing their feet and identifying Judas Iscariot as His betrayer he left to fulfill. Alone fully grasping the moment’s significance, the Lord began to declare His and the Father’s glory in it (John 13:2-32)!
Then, the Lord makes a shocking announcement saying, “‘“Little children, I shall be with you a little while longer. You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, “‘Where I am going, you cannot come,’” so now I say to you,”’” (John 13:33, NKJV.) From here there is His “new commandment” (John 13:34-35, NKJV), instruction, dialogue with the disciples and prayer to the Father that ends His long goodbye at John 17:26. All of what is said during this time hangs on and is tied to the announcement of His impending departure which is my focus in this post. As such, speaking from the heart “Simon Peter said to Him,” ‘“Lord, where are You going,’” (John 13:36a, NKJV)?
Peter’s question had all of the astonishment, emotion, disappointment, fear of loss, change and the future we all have when confronted with the sudden news someone we care deeply about is leaving for whatever reason. The Lord already knows every one of the other ten men feel the same way as Peter and answers him: ‘“Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward,’” (John 13:36b, NKJV).2 Not satisfied, Peter in all sincerity is insistent. He wants to know “why” he cannot “follow” Him “now” and asserts his willingness to die for the Lord which He rebukes; revealing Peter will in fact “deny” Him “three times” before sunrise (John 13:37-38, NKJV).
With great empathy the Lord Jesus begins to comfort the hearts of His eleven that have become deeply saddened by the announcement of His departure. First, He encourages their faith in Him to be on par with their faith in God the Father (John 14:1). Second, He assures, “In my Father’s house are many mansions” or rooms and He goes “to prepare a place for” them (John 14:2, NKJV). Preparing a place has to do with paving the way and readying the rooms where they will live with Him in the “heavenly Jerusalem” though, final fulfillment awaits the New Jerusalem constructed in Heaven and brought down on “a new earth” by God (Hebrews 12:18-24, 13:14; Revelation 21, NKJV).
Final future fulfillment in the New Jerusalem is made all the more sure by what the Lord says in John 14:3a. If He is going to go to the trouble to prepare a place for His disciples, He will “come again and receive” them to Himself (NKJV). What they did not grasp at the time was that the Lord’s departure and return had two parts. His departure from them initially would be by way of death near to being carried out by crucifixion, but He would return on the third day after through resurrection in God’s plan for their eternal redemption (John 14:15-18, 16:16-22)!3 After this initial brief, but all important departure and following instructions He gives making plain why they could not go with Him, the Lord would ascend to Heaven and the Father before their eyes then, come again (Acts 1:4-11).
Third and last, telling about the Lord’s love for His disciples in His long goodbye are the words, “that where I am, there you may be also,” (John 14:3b, NKJV). This is clearly very important to Him for He petitions His Father for the disciples’ union as and with Their Own plus reunion with Him (John 17:20-24). As He taught, His disciples knew where He was going and the way and were enabled to follow Him to the Father (John 14:4-6).4 Once more, this was so they could be with Him there and wherever He was to be thereafter; never to be separated again! This is why in His coming again to earth He brings with Him the spirits of His disciples to resurrect and gather them with the living to Himself as His first priority act (Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:9-16).5
1 Read the October 23, 2022 post, Revenge Of Those Without God’s Mark, under the category, Bible Prophecy.
2 With this statement, the Lord assures He was only leading out first. His eleven would follow after Him to where He was going at a later time as millions have done until now,
3 The Lord’s resurrection after securing the eternal redemption of His followers made possible the reality of Him, the Father and Holy Spirit taking up residence in them so that
even though physically He would return to Heaven, He could still be with them as He explained (John 14:19-24). Later, the apostle Paul celebrates being used of God to re-
veal “the riches of the glory of this mystery…which is Christ in” us who believe, “the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:24-27, NKJV).
4 This truth taught by the Lord is why no aspiring strong man or great woman of God in His image is found among the religious seeking to connect to the Father through any
manmade religious means! As the Lord leads I write about essential relationship with Him in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics. Get it along with the com-
panion Strong Man Of God Men’s Group Study and Great Woman Of God Women’s Group Study for the equipping of the saints in the home and churches in the
Strong Man Store, at your favorite internet bookseller or brick and mortar bookstore.
5 The Second Coming of Christ for the saints then, is not about rescue from tribulation as much as it is the union of Christ with His bride and their final reunion as eternally
living, glorified immortals (1 Corinthians 15:20-23, 50-57)!
Joe Biden was sworn in this past Wednesday, January 20th as the forty-sixth President of the United States. This reality happened despite weeks of disputing the election results and widely declared pre- and post-election prophetic assurances supposedly from the Lord through professed Christian prophets, prophetesses and well known evangelical personalities that Donald Trump would remain in office. The voices making these prophetic declarations obviously all got it wrong. Clearly too, they all uttered their prophecies at cross-purposes with God. So, how did they get it wrong and what should the biblical response of the Body of Christ be to these false prophets?
As it turns out, this is a final post in a series the Lord has led me to write concerning especially professed Christian conservatives praying and teaching at cross-purposes with Him.1 This situation hits home and hard for me. This is because of the struggle I have had since surrendering to Christ in February 1979 first with ignorance as a babe about serving Him in the prophetic ministry He began to quicken in me with the foundational burden for His Church (Ezekiel 8; Revelation 1:9-3:22).2 After that, it was trying to understand the burden, gifting and ministry in the context of Baptist churches that did not recognize the biblical calling and a seminary education that falsely rendered it obsolete.
I have written several posts over the years chronicling my mostly negative experiences among the churches and giving biblical instruction on the gift of prophecy along with the prophetic ministry Heaven will not retire until the Lord Jesus returns!3 I know well the temptation to speak what God has not spoken to me. My saving grace to date has been a healthy fear of God and being wrong with a number of close calls (fulfillment is not always immediate) since according to the standard He gave for those He uses in the prophetic ministry, proof the words they speak have come from Him is their consistent accuracy (Deuteronomy 18:9-22; Matthew 26:31-35, 47-56, 69-75; Acts 11:27-30).
The temptation to prophesy what is not from the Lord arises from two related desires: to please people in telling them what they want to hear and self to the same end. The Lord led me to write about our desires as the core means Satan uses to tempt and deceive any gullible or unguarded Christian into sin no matter how far along in the faith.4 False prophets telling the people what they wanted to hear and out of their own hearts as a living in ancient Israel was condemned by God through His faithful prophets (Jeremiah 14:10-16, 23:9-15). While the false prophets cried “peace,” God’s faithful warned of judgment and charged the people to repent (Jeremiah 23:16-22, NKJV)!
Being on the king’s payroll gave financial incentive to tell him only what the false prophets knew he wanted to hear. It took faith in God, a genuine calling complete with divine encounter, courage and fortitude in suffering to stand often alone 450 to 1 to speak God’s prophetic Word as did Elijah (1 Kings 17:1-7, 18:1-46) and Micaiah who was outnumbered 400 to 1(1 Kings 22:1-18).5 The false prophets prophesied lies out of their own hearts to please the king. Indeed, as Micaiah revealed in his situation, God had even permitted “a lying spirit” to come to and help the false prophets along in their utterance; bringing about the downfall of the king as God willed (1 King 22:19-40, NKJV).
This latter thing has happened before our very eyes within professing Christianity here in America during the just passed Presidential election and interim transition to the next President. Men and women among the ranks of professed Christians that are politically conservative and purportedly operate in the prophetic and word of knowledge gifting were so intent on a Trump second term, they were captured on video in various settings prophesying to and over him supposedly from God with that aim. Aware of the biblical lying spirit incident, one of the prophets is quoted acknowledging this as the only way they could be wrong.6 Pleasing like-minded donors and absorbed with them in the idolatrous delusion of American perpetuity and rabid patriotism seems to have been the major drivers.
Searching out their own motives and publicly confessing the sin with contrition and repentance is what I pray each saved one who uttered false prophesy on now, former President Trump’s behalf will do, since you have given the Lord’s enemies cause to mock, misled His flock and brought shame on the prophetic ministry. The faithful should restore such ones with mercy though having come short of the Lord’s standard, never again receive a prophecy from them!7 For the rest who have made a career out of trafficking in false prophecy and refuse to repent, the Lord calls you ‘“foolish’” and declares, ‘“I am indeed against you.’” You will suffer His judgment on earth and eternally for prophesying falsehood at cross-purposes with God (Ezekiel 13; 2 Peter 2:1-17; Jude 10-13, NKJV).
Seeing then, that false prophets are and will remain among us until the end as forewarned by our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, the faithful must be vigilant in discernment to recognize and deal with them (Matthew 7:15-23, 24:11, 23-28; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22; 1 John 4:1-6; Revelation 13:11-18, 16:13, 19:19-21). Finally also, as a wrap up to this series receive the Word the Lord gave me back on September 6, 2020 for our times. In reply to and firm rebuke of my prayer offered in frustration from a long wait on His guidance for my life circumstances, the Lord sent me to hear Him from Jeremiah 45. I was humbled, repentant and good! The next day the globally heard about fierce winds and firestorms descended upon our Northwest region that brought choking smoke for weeks.8
1 Read the January 10, 2021 post, Praying At Cross-Purposes With God, under the category, Bible Prophecy and the one following on January 17th entitled, Teaching At
Cross-Purposes With God, under the category, Instruction.
2 See the October 2, 2016 post, Gifted With A Prophet’s Heart, under the category, Call To Repent.
3 Read the October 30, 2016 post, No One Speaks For God?, under the category, Instruction. Also, the three-part repost beginning November 13, 2016, Without Honor
In The Churches, under the category, Glory To God!
4 Read the November 8, 2020 post, Why So Easily Deceived?, under the category, Instruction.
5 This is beyond incredible in this land of majority rule! For this cause all of the Lord’s faithful prophets and prophetesses in the Bible fulfill the definition of the aspiring
strong man and great woman of God I write about respectively in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics published by Open Door Communication Minis-
tries, Inc. It is available in print or digital formats at major internet booksellers. You can also purchase a print copy in the Strong Man Store.
6 View the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) produced Christian World News story, Prophets Say They Did Not Get It Wrong: ‘It’s Not Over’ that aired the day after
the election, November 5, 2020 and includes the supposed word from the Lord to CBN founder, Pat Robertson, Trump would win re-election. They were all deceived!
To the credit and integrity of CBN News, though it puts their founder in a bad light, they have left the story intact and available to view.
7 1 Corinthians 14:29-32. It is situations like this that the Lord shows His amazing grace and another of His tough standards: love (2 Corinthians 2:1-11). For here He
has me calling for the faithful to show mercy to largely guilty whites that repent from sin (imperfection does not give Christians a pass from sin guilt that must be con-
fessed and repented of to be forgiven by God) knowing that if it were me as a black man, it would not be as readily forthcoming. As a matter of fact, though the Lord
has caused me to accurately declare His written prophetic Word as well as that which has been extemporaneous, I have been treated as if I have been a guilty false
prophet especially by many whites that consider me inferior because of my black skin, but not to exclude the many who share my skin color out of pride and the psy-
chological legacy of self-hate (removable in Christ) from our American experience to date that will not allow us to easily regard one another.
8 It turns out the multi-year wait for the Lord’s guidance from Jeremiah 45 had been before me all along. I was just not willing to receive it. What about you?
My mother used to steadfastly resist my beggarly appeals to go do what the other kids were doing with, “If all the kids go jump off a cliff, are you going to do it too?” Of course, I said “no.” However, for all of the sinful things I did do following after the crowd as a youth, I may as well have said yes. Similarly, many pastors, elders, church leaders and professing Christians as members shamefully follow after each other’s breaks with God’s Word and worldly compromises in sin. Like the carnal Corinthians of old, contemporary professing Christians have even divided themselves up with short hand labels (1 Corinthians 1:10-13, 3:1-4).
The Lord’s call to take His side in these latter days has nothing to do with the carnal divisions and labels of sinful human invention--or is the Lord to be blamed for this evil as some would have us believe by the fanatical loyalties they display to their political, social and theological factions? No, but it is the Lord Jesus who dogmatically declared, “…every city or house divided against itself will not stand,” (Matthew 12:25, NKJV). Clearly, the many in the divided house of American churches have decided an apparently dead Jesus was wrong on this point though the evidence of collapse to the contrary is all around us. In this blog, the Lord leads me to briefly talk about what His side looks like.
Originally Published January 2011
In these days of tolerance and avoiding even the appearance of being divisive, calling for Christians to take the Lord's side sounds extreme. However, those who think this act as if the Lord Jesus is dead. Such persons show their willful disregard of Bible truth and the reality that if Christ is proclaimed as risen from the dead, He is in fact, alive right now! This is exactly the truth and reality that is intended to be communicated in the post-resurrection and ascension descriptions of encounters the apostles had with the Lord (Acts 9:1-6, 10:9-16, 18:9-10, 23:11; Revelation 1:9-20).
If the Lord Jesus is alive as Scripture testifies and every truly born again believer knows from personal experience, then He knows the contemporary condition of His churches. If the Lord knows the contemporary condition of His churches, then He as Lord would speak to and deal with them in perfect consistency with the whole counsel of God found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. This is what He is shown to be doing in Revelation 2:1-3:22 among seven churches of Asia Minor. As He did not speak to those churches in terms of worldly political labels such as conservative and liberal, so He does not speak to us this way either.
The Lord has His own side that stands in judgment of our sin driven divisions in and among the churches. Indeed, as the Strong Man of God, Jesus Christ perfectly models the divine heart plainly laid out in Scripture which those bent on corruption distort to their shame and destruction (2 Peter 3:14-16)! He is neither politically conservative nor liberal. He is however, biblically conservative in preserving God's Word as it is written and therefore, simultaneously liberal in love. His biblical worldview colors every aspect of His dealings with this world. He calls every aspiring strong man of God to embrace His example as those taking His side.
The Lord made it clear to even the strictest of Pharisees shackled by legalism and manmade religion, He did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17-20). In preserving God’s will in His written Word for example, the Lord Jesus (our Creator in the flesh) is completely opposed to murder. Human life is sacred and so it is written in the Ten Commandments, '''You shall not murder,'" (Exodus 20:13, NKJV). By His design human life begins at conception (Psalm 139:13-16). Therefore, to forcibly terminate a human life in the womb after conception is murder in the eyes of the Lord. Professing Christians that support abortion for any reason are not on the Lord's side.
The Lord Jesus taught and put the love of God on display through forgiveness, a myriad of healing works and His death on the cross for our sins. Tragically, Satan has deceived many that call themselves liberal Christians into believing that the Lord's acts of love were done outside of the Law. They were not. The love displayed by the Lord Jesus was in concert with and fulfilled the Law as He had declared (Mark 12:28-34; Romans 13:8-10). Consequently, those calling themselves conservative Christians that tell a man to get a job, but then with cold hearts block his way through racial discrimination are not on the Lord's side.1
The scribes and Pharisees of Israel were meticulous observers of the Law and yet, were called hypocrites by the Lord because they pursued minor elements such as tithing, but neglected the weightier provisions of justice, mercy and faith. Jesus said they should have done both (Matthew 23:23). Many conservative Christians in like manner fail to display God's love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) while upholding His Word. Many liberals with fallen human love fail to uphold God's Word (1 Corinthians 13:4-6). Sin is never downplayed in the Bible at the expense of being loving or socially concerned (Isaiah 1:16-17; John 8:2-12). The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 See my booklet, The Scourge Of Racism, (Portland, OR: Open Door Communication Ministries, Inc., Publishing Division, 2005), p 57. Purchase the booklet on the
Resources Page, www.fromslaverytovictory.org.
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.
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.
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).
The celebration of Halloween a few days away is the eve of All Saints’ Day. It is supposed to be a night of scary fun for children of all ages to be followed the next day by veneration of the relatively small number of persons forms of Christianity the religion of men have traditionally determined meets their criteria for what a saint is. Never mind Holy Scripture clearly defines the saints as all of those God declares righteous by faith (not works) and sets apart to Himself (Psalm 34:8-9; 1 Corinthians 1:2). Be that as it may, the idea of a night engaged in cultivating fear, fright and terror that precedes a day supposedly devoted to religious solemnity is diabolically bizarre.1
Fear, fright and terror from demonic and manmade sources are all too real in this world and not fun. Maladies from fear dominate the mental health profession and are a boon to pharmaceutical companies. Whole nations such as Israel must live under the constant duress of terror violence in and from outside of it. But since mankind in these latter days loves fear, fright and terror so much, the Lord in warning judgments is about to take them to never before known proportions complete with hideous looking creatures in hope some might repent (Revelation 8-9)! There is only one righteous and eternally beneficial fear; the fear of the Lord as He leads me to write in this edited 2012 repost.
Originally Posted November 18, 2012
Some men now foolishly teach God’s people not to fear Him. They say the cross of Jesus once and for all delivers believers from any concern about judgment from God. While this is true as it concerns the faithful and Hell (John 5:24), the unfaithful will stand in terror among all before Christ to receive for their deeds (Luke 12:35-48; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11)! The fear of the Lord is an important component of our walk with Him. Yes, we fear God in reverence and awe of His majestic greatness (Psalm 33:8-9)! But we also fear Him in the many painful ways He as our Father has to chasten His disobedient, sinning children (Deuteronomy 28:58-59; 1 Corinthians 11:27-32).
Finally, there is too, the fear of the Lord in the consequences the Bible teaches awaits any unfaithful, stubbornly rebellious, unrepentant professed Christian and the apostate (Ezekiel 18:24-26; Hebrews 10:26-39). Since Scripture teaches the latter scenario, we are not to come along lately and arrogantly to refute it through sinful human systems of thinking (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25). The apostle John teaches it is a complete love for God involving obedience and faithfulness alone that cancels out the fear of judgment in chastening or eternal condemnation, not simply knowledge of what Christ accomplished on the cross. Such knowledge should inspire loving obedience (1 John 4:7-19)!
This same principle of obedience to keep away fear of consequences holds true whether it is the rules of our parents or life in a world of laws. Obedience under normal circumstances cancels out the fear of consequences (Romans 13:1-4)! Some say, “You cannot both love and fear God at the same time.” We feared our earthly parents without any diminishment of our love for them. In fact, in a strange way, our love for our parents that loved us enough to set boundaries and consequences for crossing them intensified our love for them. How much more then, God our Father who even disciplines us as sons for our eternal good as the writer of Hebrews points out (Hebrews 12:3-11)?
The aspiring strong man of God in the image of Christ operates and delights in the fear of the Lord as He does (Isaiah 11:1-3a)!2 The fear of the Lord is wisdom and knowledge (Job 28:28; Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 1:7, 9:10). The fear of the Lord is without spot and endures forever (Psalm 19:9). The fear of the Lord is “strong confidence” in Him (Proverbs 14:26, NKJV). The fear of the Lord is health and long life (Psalm 34:11-14; Proverbs 3:7-8, 10:27, 14:27). The fear of the Lord is eternal life satisfying the soul (Proverbs 19:23). The Lord Jesus taught we ought to fear God above all (Matthew 10:27-31) and the early Church experienced it both as a warning and blessing (Acts 5:1-11, 9:31).
Of the many things I am grateful to the Lord for it is the fear of Him that has taught me humble submission to Him, kept me in the way of obedience and when I have failed, led me to quickly confess and repent to obtain His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). I love and fear my God in all of the ways the Bible teaches and reap the harvest of benefits and blessings it promises! Do not listen to sinful men no matter how well intended who teach God should not be feared. Fear of the Lord is your salvation according to His written Word which trumps anything men may think or say (Proverbs 16:6)! The risen, living Christ continues His cry among American churches, "Who is on the Lord's side?"
1 Google All Saints Day to learn more about its history and practice.
2 Get my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics to learn more. It is available at all major internet booksellers, by order at your favorite brick and mortar bookstore
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