2 Sam. 12:7 π Acts 8:14 π 1 Cor. 1:12 π 1 Cor. 3:4 π 1 Cor. 14:3 π Gal. 5:17 π Heb. 11:6 π 2 Pet. 3:9
When one commits one's life to Christ, a certain number of options fall away. First and foremost is that of self-will and self-direction. The questions a genuine Christian needs to ask himself are these:
- Does my way of living match that which is commanded in the Bible? If it does not, am I willing to allow God to change me so that my life does line up with God's word - or do I expect God to change His purpose for my life?
- Am I actively and diligently pursuing that which I know God wants me to be and do? Am I committed to obeying God's will as soon as I find out what it is - or do I want to know what God's will is so that I can then decide whether I want to do it or not?
If you, the reader, must truthfully answer "no" to either or both of these question, what confusion must you be under to believe that you are truly a follower of the Lord Jesus bound for eternal life with Him?
Much grief is heaped upon the heads of those who are called to be prophets because they so often have such "negative" things to say about this "ministry" or that "church" practice. The leaders of these "ministries" and "churches," those who go so far as to even admit that a New Testament prophet is a valid gifting, will often resort to Paul's description of one who prophesies as a means to demonstrate that one who speaks negatively cannot possibly be a prophet from God.
Paul wrote, "But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men." ( 1 Cor. 14:3; top ) "There it is," they say. "This is what a prophet speaks - and there's not a negative word to be found in that list."
Such a defense completely ignores the dual nature of human life. Either one lives by the Spirit, being controlled by God, or one lives by the flesh and is controlled by the sinful nature. There is no neutral ground in this all-out war between the Spirit and the flesh. (see Gal. 5:17; top )
A word of spiritual comfort to the man undergoing a trial, encouraging him to stand firm for the Lord in the midst of that trial, is an extremely unwelcome word to the flesh nature. An exhortation to cease from sinning is a very negative statement when made to one who is quite comfortable in their sin. And a word of edification - that is, a word which builds up the spiritual nature of the believer - would be looked upon as sheer destructive blasphemy by those who have built up their own empires in the same place where this word of edification would establish something of God's kingdom.
Prophets are usually not considered exceptionally annoying when they point these things out about people or "churches" in general. But when the prophet, like Nathan confronting David the king with a very personal, "You are the man." (see 2 Sam. 12:7; top ), the prophet is either immediately well-loved or much-hated - all dependant upon the spiritual condition of the one to - and of - whom he speaks.
The modern idea of missions is quite different than that which is found in the New Testament. For instance, the word "missionary" is not even to be found in the New Testament, nor is the notion that a "missionary" is one who is supported by various "churches" and sent to various regions to propagate yet another branch of that "church's" particular brand of divisiveness. These are simply not concepts which can be found anywhere in the New Testament. Oh, to be sure, there are elements of truth in the above practices, but the elements have become so beggardly as to be virtually non-existent.
The New Testament does speak of evangelists and apostles who did travel to unreached areas with the gospel. In the book of Acts, our only divinely approved example of true church planting, the evangelists proclaimed the gospel and, when people had repented and were forming into groups to be discipled, the apostles were brought in to bring order. (see Acts 8:14 ) But the order they brought was not to be "churches" who followed after some man's ministry. Paul castigated the Corinthians for that practice (see 1 Cor. 1:12 , 3:4; top ) and today would add such names as the Pope, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, and Chuck Smith to his list. The denominational model of Christianity is a model derived from the notion that division is acceptable within the body of Christ. This is a notion spawned only in the hellish mind of the spirit of anti-christ.
The epitome of being unclear on the concept has been reached (or at least I pray that it has) by a company who produces a game entitled "Missionary Conquest." The game board is similar to that of Risk in that it is a map of the whole world which is to be evangelized. The method by which this evangelization is to occur is through making sound investments and wise decisions. The manufacturer boasts that playing this game requires no Bible knowledge. I know of no other statement which so accurately states the truth about this game.
Where is the need for the Holy Spirit? Where is His direction? Where is the room for Him to call a Philip away from the ongoing successful outreach in Samaria to go speak to one Ethiopian man and then to transport him in the Spirit to a distant city? Where is space given for the Spirit to give Paul a dream of a Macedonian man crying out for help? How will these gamesters, programmed in the ways of the carnal nature, ever hear the Holy Spirit warning them that going to Jerusalem will put them in bonds and in prison - but that they are to go anyway?!?
If the "church" is as deceived as this company as to the methods of taking the gospel to unreached lands - and it is - then we can only hope to see a proliferation of the apostate, divisive denominations in these new lands. Fortunately for those who hunger and thirst after the real God and who are never satisfied with the watered-down "church" version of Jesus Christ, God still exists and is still a rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him. ( Heb. 11:6; top ) Those who hunger for His truth shall find Him when they set aside their own agendas and truly make God's agenda for their own life their highest priority.
Those who are quite content to play "church," who have no love for God's truth, and who only give lip service to God will remain in their apostasy - no matter how heart-breaking that is for those who are in God's remnant - and they will spend their eternity in hell along with all the other unbelievers, hypocrites, liars and evil men - no matter how heart-breaking that is for the God who is not willing that any should perish. ( 2 Pet. 3:9; top )
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