Dt. 13:3-5 π Prov. 14:12 π Prov. 14:14-15 π Prov. 14:15 π Mt. 4:17 π Mt. 7:9 π Mt. 7:13-29 π Mt. 7:15; 2nd π Mt. 7:21-23 π Mt. 9:17 π Mt. 11:24 π Mt. 11:27 π Mt. 13:37 π Mt. 16:6 π Mt. 16:24 π Mt. 20:28 π Mt. 23:8-10 π Mt. 23:9 π Mt. 23:28; 2nd π Mt. 24:11 π Mk. 3:2 π Mk. 4:24 π Mk. 8:15 π Mk. 12:38-40 π Mk. 13:5 π Lk. 12:1-12 π Lk. 17:21-23 π Jn. 1:14 π Jn. 3:35 π Jn. 4:21-24 π Jn. 7:17 π Jn. 7:18 π Jn. 8:31 π Jn. 8:47 π Jn. 10:2 π Jn. 10:9 π Jn. 10:11-14 π Jn. 10:12; 2nd π Jn. 10:14 π Jn. 10:27 π Jn. 10:28 π Jn. 13:14 π Jn. 13:15 π Jn. 16:13 π Acts 1:8 π Acts 13:2-4 π Acts 20:27 π Acts 26:18 π Rom. 1:25 π 1 Cor. 2:9-13 π 1 Cor. 2:10 π 1 Cor. 2:12-13 π 1 Cor. 3:5-7 π 1 Cor. 4:1-2; 2nd π 1 Cor. 4:8-16 π 1 Cor. 6:9-10 π 1 Cor. 6:18 π 1 Cor. 9:12-19 π 1 Cor. 12:23-25 π 1 Cor. 12:28 π 1 Cor. 13:9-13 π 1 Cor. 14:29 π 2 Cor. 4:2-4 π 2 Cor. 4:18 π 2 Cor. 6:16-18 π 2 Cor. 8:23 π 2 Cor. 11:13 π 2 Cor. 11:15 π 2 Cor. 12:12-15 π Gal. 1:9 π Gal. 5:19-21 π Gal. 5:22-24 π Eph. 1:3 π Eph. 4:11-12 π Eph. 4:11-13 π Eph. 5:5-6 π Phlp. 1:20 π Col. 1:5 π Col. 1:25-26 π Col. 2:8 π 1 Ths. 5:13 π 2 Ths. 2:3-4 π 2 Ths. 2:9 π 2 Ths. 2:9-12 π 2 Ths. 2:10-11 π 2 Ths. 2:13 π 1 Tim. 3:1-13 π 1 Tim. 3:2 π 1 Tim. 3:12 π 1 Tim. 5:17 π 1 Tim. 6:9-10 π 1 Tim. 6:20 π 2 Tim. 2:15 π 2 Tim. 3:5 π Tit. 3:3 π Heb. 1:1-2 π Heb. 3:1 π Heb. 4:15 π Heb. 5:13-14 π Heb. 7:12 π Heb. 13:20 π Jas. 1:22 π 1 Pet. 2:21-25 π 1 Pet. 4:11 π 1 Pet. 5:1-4 π 1 Pet. 5:4 π 2 Pet. 3:18 π 1 Jn. 2:27 π 1 Jn. 4:1 π 1 Jn. 4:4 π 1 Jn. 5:19 π 2 Jn. 9-11 π Jude 3-4 π Rev. 2:2 π Rev. 2:14 π Rev. 2:14-17 π Rev. 2:17 π Rev. 2:20
This article may challenge some of our sincerest beliefs. It’s about setting people free from a religious mindset so we can experience the reality of the New Covenant life in Christ. May we humbly ask you to lay aside preconceived ideas and traditional thinking, and prayerfully consider the message of this article? Its purpose is to help sincere believers toward the highest and best that God has provided in Christ. We pray that it will be the beginning of a spiritual transformation in our lives. We truly appreciate those who have given their lives in service to the Lord and His people and the Bible tells us to “esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.” ( 1 Ths. 5:13 ) The Word of God also tells us that we are to examine their teachings in the light of scripture. Paul the apostle said, “We know in part” and “we see through a glass, darkly.” ( 1 Cor. 13:9-13; top ) however, we must search out a better knowledge of the truth through the Infallible Word of God and we can extend the love of God to one another in the process. Each person must walk with God in the best way they know that is pleasing unto God.
The Truth in the New Testament is primarily God’s revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ. Jesus is full of grace and truth. ( Jn. 1:14 ) Grace and truth comes through Jesus Christ. He is the way and the truth and the life. The gospel is the word of truth. ( Col. 1:5 and 2 Ths. 2:13 ) Romans 1:25 speaks of those who exchange the truth of God for the lies of Satan. At the end times, for those who refuse to love the truth and so be saved ( 2 Ths. 2:10-11 ), God will send a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. Jesus the Truth sets us free. Satan the lie brings us into slavery of deception. Jesus the Truth is redemptive. Satan the lie is destructive. We are called to love the truth Christ Jesus and His word and thereby know the truth that sets us free. ( Jn. 8:31 ) Jesus said, “…if you hold to My teachings…” (This is exactly what the original apostles held to – Christ’s teachings!) Jesus never encouraged His disciples to place confidence in past faith or past experiences. It is only “if you hold to My teachings” that we have confidence in salvation, guaranteed through Jesus Himself and His revelation of truth in scripture. Further revelation of truth by the “super apostles” and “set men” of today’s current “apostolic” move are not needed to complete or make adequate the gospel of Christ. Saving truth is revealed only from God by His Spirit ( 1 Cor. 2:10 ) and most certainly does not originate from any person or humanistic wisdom (the doctrines of men – 1 Cor. 2:12-13 ) The question is: whose teachings do we hold on to? “He who belongs to God hears what God says.” ( Jn. 8:47; top )
Believers who are followers of false doctrines are robbed of their personal relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ in the power of His Holy Spirit. Most often, followers of such false teachings do not realize that the thief has robbed them of their salvation. As the Lord Jesus Christ stated, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in SPIRIT and TRUTH.” (see Jn. 4:21-24 ) To teach us His Truth, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to guide us into ALL Truth. ( Jn. 16:13 ) If we reject the truth, we reject the Spirit of Truth. How will we know what is Truth? If we truly desire God’s truth and ask the Father for truth, He will NEVER give us deception. Our heavenly Father will never “give us a stone when we ask for bread or a poisonous snake when we ask for fish.” ( Mt. 7:9 ) Jesus also promised that DOERS of God’s Will shall know the truth! ( Jn. 7:17 ) The Spirit-Filled Bible renders this verse, “The teachings and claims of Jesus will be accepted by those who are intent on doing God’s will!” From the context of God’s Word it is clear that no one can be deceived unless we are disobedient to God’s contextual Word. Unless we choose to believe the lie. Unless we believe false teaching, refuse to “grow in knowledge and in grace” ( 2 Pet. 3:18 ) and, most importantly, when we submit to false spiritual authority. ( Mt. 7:13-29; top )
Paul explained, “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who PERISH, because they did not receive the LOVE of the truth, that they might be saved…” Followers of these false teachings willfully decide to follow that leader and his system, “and for this reason God sent them STRONG DELUSION, that they should believe the lie.” ( 2 Ths. 2:9-12 ) Make no mistake – these followers are sincere in their beliefs. They are under STRONG delusion. The deceptive maze that Satan has devised for us never ceases to amaze. “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” ( 1 Cor. 2:9-13; top )
The priesthood of Christ has no rank or preference. God did not subject them to human commanders; all His believers are subjected to the Scriptural authority of God alone. Every born again child of God is a spiritual worker in his or her own territory as God allots. Firstly in the home, then among family and friends, then at work and in the secular world. ( Acts 1:8 ) From this spiritual priesthood of Christ, God Himself chooses elders (who still remain ordinary spiritual priests as Jesus Alone is the High Priest and all are priests) to serve in His people, His ekklesia (Greek word poorly translated “church” – 1 Tim. 3:1-13 ; 1 Cor. 4:1-2 ) According to Paul, these elders are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. ( Eph. 4:11-13 ) Five functions, five kinds of servants, all on equal footing. The democratically elected or denominationally ordained, hierarchical clergy of the religious stream are “leaders”; the Theocratically elected elders of Christ are servants with equal non-status. As God’s kingdom is a Theocracy, He Alone chooses only proven, truly Spirit-filled servants and handmaidens who live spiritually clean lives. ( 1 Tim. 3:2 , 12 ; Acts 13:2-4 ) Above all, they should be “doers of the Word” ( Jas. 1:22 ) and disciples who “rightly divide the word of truth.” ( 2 Tim. 2:15; top ) Faithful stewards who understand the truth of the Word contextually and constantly apply its commandments and principles to their lives. ( Renette Vermeulen )
Completely different from that of the worldly “church” hierarchy, which is a democratically-elected or denominationally-dominated, top-heavy structure, Biblical elders function from beneath the people where all the elders (spiritually) “wash the feet,” or humbly serve their fellow believers in conjunction with one another. ( Jn. 13:14 ; 1 Cor. 4:1-2 ) This is so because the kingdom of God is a spiritual THEOCRACY where Jesus reigns as High Priest and King. Paul explained this principle, saying, “We, [the servant-elders], are looked upon as fools on account of Christ, but you, [the glitzy religious clergy], are supposedly so amazingly wise and prudent in Christ! We, [the servant-elders], are weak, but you, [the religious hierarchy], are so strong! You are highly esteemed, but we are in disrepute and contempt! [While you are being kept in luxury through your abuse of the Law], to this hour… we still toil unto weariness for our living, working hard with our own hands…” ( 1 Cor. 4:8-16; top )
The “set man” principle - is it still applicable to New Covenant believers today? Let us look at scripture in its entirety and what is revealed to us sincere believers through the Holy Spirit who will lead, guide and teach us into all Truth, Christ Jesus.
This idea is based on the fact that when God does something in the earth He moves through men He has “set” in place. These “set men” are the ones who have been called by God and put into position to accomplish His purpose. This is a truth that is most evident in the Old Covenant but is completely non-existent in the New. Was there a change? Yes. “For the priesthood being changed [from Aaron and Levi to Melchizedek], of necessity there is also a change of the law.” ( Heb. 7:12 ) Why would there be a change? The Old was incapable of accomplishing what only the New could do. God does not mix new wine in old wineskins. And we all know very well what happens when you mix new wine in old wineskins! ( Mt. 9:17 ) “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” ( Heb. 1:1-2 ) God now speaks to us by Jesus who has received of the Father the promise of the Spirit and has poured forth the Holy Spirit into every sincere believer in the earth. Jesus now speaks to us and directs us by the Spirit. That is how He functions as the Head of the man. There is a direct connection or relationship through the Spirit. Yes, He still speaks and directs through men; but, it is not just one person but many that the Lord might use to speak to us by the Spirit. The primary Scripture that is used to justify the “set man” concept is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. “And God has appointed these in the ekklesia: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers…” ( 1 Cor. 12:28 NKJV; top)
In the Old Covenant the anointing rested on the Prophets. An example of this was Elijah and Elisha. Elijah had the anointing, and Elisha did not. If Elisha wants the anointing, he must receive it through and from Elijah, just like a person receives literal life from a father. Therefore, if separated from the father, the individual could not receive what the father had, just like without a father, you could not receive life. This is simply not applicable to New Testament believers in Christ today. The New Covenant operates differently. Jesus is the Apostle and High Priest. ( Heb. 3:1; top ) Under the old covenant Moses was the apostle, i.e. the one sent by God with His authority and Aaron the high priest of God’s people. In the New Covenant, the anointing has been released on the day of Pentecost and this opens heaven to us. Christ the anointed! There are no other mediating agents of the anointing. Everyone in Christ has received, and is anointed. The “set man” of the Old Covenant is no longer applicable to today’s New Testament sincere believers in Christ. We are all “in Christ.” Christ brings the church into Him. We cannot live outside of Christ. We are bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. The Will of God is in us. Christ “THE WILL” is in us. His will is made manifest in us! We function in Christ in us the hope of Glory. We have received directly from The Father, through His Son. Christ In, set man out! The anointing rests on the Body. The necessity of relating to an Elijah-Elisha of the Old has become the necessity of relating to the ekklesia, a Body being part of Christ, in the New Covenant.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling and not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” ( Jn. 10:11-14 ) This scripture hits the mark like an arrow to the bull’s eye! The mark of Christ as the good shepherd is His willingness to die for His sheep. This emphasizes the uniqueness of Christ the shepherd - i.e., His death on the cross that saves His sheep. In these verses, Christ is called the good shepherd, (also “the great shepherd” in Heb. 13:20 and “the Chief Shepherd” in 1 Pet. 5:4 ) “I am the good shepherd” Who laid down His life for all of mankind. Ministers who serve merely to earn a living or to gain honor to themselves are the “hired hand.” “...the hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep…” (verse 12 ) True shepherds, like the Chief Shepherd Christ Jesus, care for the sheep whilst false shepherds think first of themselves and the titles they hold. “…so when he sees the wolf coming he abandons the sheep.” (verse 12 ) “I know My sheep.” (verse 14; top ) God’s knowledge of and love for His Children involves personal affection, faithfulness and constant providential care. The Father, who is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, has engraved us His sons into the palms of His hands! We are never out of God’s mind and He alone is our one and only Spiritual Father, for He watches over us daily, constantly, for our good! He is most definitely not an absentee father. We need not have to make an appointment with Him. Through the cross we have direct access to Him 24/7/365. Instantaneous! He is Father of all and in all! If this doesn’t make you want to shout “Hallelujah!” you need to check your pulse!
We are the living stones – if we are part of the body of Christ. We are all members of one body where CHRIST is the Head. If Christ is the Head, we submit to Christ and His teachings. The five-fold servants are part of the body of Christ, five more mature servants, who are still servants on equal footing with the rest of the saints, functioning in the body of Christ to enable the rest of the body of Christ to do the work of the ministry. ( Eph. 4:11-12 ) The role model for all is Christ alone. The Christian life and walk should be characterized by the virtues taught in the Word of God such as were in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ during His tenure on this earth. He embodied and exemplified the love of God, and by His own example, facing the same difficulties of life which we face (yet to a far more intense degree – Heb. 4:15 ), He gave us a pattern to model ourselves by, footsteps by which if we should only follow them, we would be led by the straight road to a virtuous life, well-pleasing to God. ( 1 Pet. 2:21-25 , Mt. 16:24 and Jn. 13:15 ) “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.” ( 1 Pet. 4:11; top ) The Bible is speaking of sincere believers in Christ. It does not specify certain individuals only. It clearly says “if anyone” – this includes you and me! That is, as long as we live for God and in submission to Him, Christ Jesus.
Peter wrote, “To the Elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ’s sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed. Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing as God wants you to be, not greedy for money [love of mammon, imposters that fleece God’s flock for all they can swindle], but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to you [Nicolaitians] but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” ( 1 Pet. 5:1-4 ) And Paul wrote, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” ( Col. 2:8 ) Yes, God works through us, the Body of Christ, but the false teachers insist on complete loyalty and honor to themselves and insist that they are the “true representatives” of Christ. In this way they are able to exercise control over the ministry and the people and thereby completely transform into a form of worship which in turn fosters an impotent form of godliness. ( 2 Tim. 3:5 ) These are the deeds of the Nicolaitians! ( Rev. 2:14-17; top ) By manipulation, these Nicolaitans subdue and conquer the “laity” by substituting the Only True Spiritual Father and the Leadership of the Spirit of God among the people for their own “doctrine,” organized programs of man and a system that craftily created a hierarchy and a counterfeit Levitical priesthood.
“Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world...” ( 1 Jn. 4:4 ) “...test the spirits…” ( 1 Jn. 4:1 ) The reason for testing every spirit is that many false prophets and false teachers will deceive the people. False teachers are those who have come, not through the door Christ Jesus ( Jn. 10:2 , 9 ), but rather have climbed the ladder of religious success by virtue of their own eloquence and charisma. This is especially true as tolerance for error and unbiblical doctrines increases towards the end of the age. ( Mt. 24:11 ) All teachings must be tested against the revelation of God’s truth in Scriptures. Read Gal. 1:9 . (top) Sincere believers are dependent on the words, message and faith of the first apostles as recorded in the book of Acts and the inspired New Testament writings. Later generations – that includes “us” - have the task and responsibility of being obedient to God’s revelation and bearing witness to His Truth. The gospel given to the original New Testament apostles - not today’s current “super apostles,” “patriarchs” and “set men” - but the gospel given through the Holy Spirit is the enduring source of life, truth and direction for the people of Christ. So if we reject the original New Testament apostles’ revelations and follow the teachings of false apostles and false prophets, we reject Christ Himself.
We must, as believers, be made aware that there may be “ministers” of God’s Word who are of the same spirit and life as the corrupt teachers of the law in Jesus’ day. ( 2 Cor. 11:13 ) These ministers will on the outside “appear” to people as righteous. ( Mt. 23:28 ) They come in sheep’s clothing. ( Mt. 7:15 ) They may read their messages directly from the Bible and proclaim high righteous standards. They may appear sincerely concerned for God’s work and kingdom and show great interest in salvation of the lost while professing love for all people. They may appear to be great ministers of God, commendable “spiritual leaders” and even seem powerfully “anointed” by the Holy Spirit. They may perform miracles and have great success and multitudes may follow them. ( 2 Ths. 2:9 ; Mt. 7:21-23 ) Nevertheless they have the wrong spiritual foundations, following the doctrines of men and Satan instead of being Disciples of Christ alone, and are of the same kindred spirit with the false prophets of the Old Testament. ( Dt. 13:3-5 ) The same applied to the Pharisees in the New Testament. Away from the crowds, they were given over to greed and self-indulgence, full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean, full of hypocrisy and wickedness. ( Mt. 23:28; top ) Their lives behind closed doors involved such things as lust, immorality, adultery, greed and self-centered indulgence.
These imposters gain a place of influence in two ways:
- They began their ministries in sincerity, purity, truth and genuine faith in Christ but then, because of their pride and their own immoral desires, their personal commitment to and love for Christ gradually dies. Consequently, they are severed from God’s kingdom. ( 1 Cor. 6:9-10 ; Gal. 5:19-21 ; Eph. 5:5-6 ) They become instruments of Satan while disguising themselves as ministers of “righteousness.” ( 2 Cor. 11:15 ) And,
- Other false teachers have never been genuine believers in Christ. Satan has planted them among the people (remember the parable of the wheat and tares.) ( Mt. 13:37 ) In the explanation of parable, Christ declares that He Himself is the sower. He spreads His redeemed seed, true believers, in the field of the world. Through His grace, these Christians bear the fruit of the Spirit. ( Gal. 5:22-24 ) Their presence on earth is the reason the “kingdom of heaven” is next to the field, which Jesus said was the world. When Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand” ( Mt. 4:17 ; Mk. 3:2 ), He meant the spiritual realm which exists on earth side by side with the realm of the evil one. ( 1 Jn. 5:19; top ) When the kingdom of heaven comes to its fruition, heaven will be a reality and there will no longer be “weeds” among the “wheat.” But for now, both good and bad seeds mature in the world.
Satan uses both of these leaders’ ability and charisma, particularly training or skills acquired apart from Christ, and he aids in their success. His strategy is to place them in influential positions so that they can undermine the genuine work of Christ. If they are discovered or exposed, Satan knows that great damage will come to the gospel and that the name of Christ will be put to open shame because of these false teachers. (See how Satan uses them as pawns and then discards them!) Therefore Jesus warns us as His disciples 14 times in the Gospels to watch out for leaders who would mislead sincere believers in Christ. ( Mt. 7:15 ; 16:6 ; 11:24 ; Mk. 4:24 ; 8:15 ; 12:38-40 ; 13:5 ; Lk. 12:1-12 ; 17:21-23; top ) But we are not to follow such people in an effort to destroy them. For one thing, we don’t know if immature and innocent believers might be injured by our efforts. For another, if we simply live the genuine life of Christ, the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees will come looking for us quite soon enough – and then they will seek to kill us.
Paul the apostle is a great example to follow here. He preached the Gospel free of charge, depending on God as his source so that his reward was from above. ( 1 Cor. 9:12-19 ) Paul made himself a slave to everyone else. Paul uses himself as an example of the principle of self-denial for the sake of others. He renounces his rights out of consideration for others in order not to hinder the Gospel. Humanistic wisdom is a poor basis for determining what is true or false, right or wrong, worthy or unworthy. God’s written word and revelation is the only infallible source for determining the right part of life. The human way has in it the seed of death; God’s way leads to eternal life. ( Prov. 14:12 ) The faithless are those who have turned their hearts away from God to go their own selfish way (apostasy). It must be understood that in spite of all that faithful believers do in evaluating a person’s life and message, there will be false teachers within the assemblies who, with Satan’s help, remain undetected until God determines to expose those persons for what they are. ( Prov. 14:14-15 ) Those who remain prudent to God will reap the rewards of righteousness both in this life and in the next. We as sincere believers must also defend and guard the truth against distortion or alteration. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” ( Jude 3-4 ) “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” ( Heb. 5:13-14 ) The original apostolic revelation found in the New Testament can never be replaced or nullified by later revelation, testimony or prophecy. ( Acts 20:27 ; 1 Tim. 6:20; top )
Jesus is the only way and the TRUE light. He removes darkness and deception by illuminating the right way to God our only Spiritual Father ( Mt. 23:9 ) who gives salvation to us. If we are still walking in darkness, then we are certainly not walking and following Christ who is the illuminator who redeems us from sin, the world and Satan. “...that I might fully declare God’s Word, that sacred mystery which up till now has been hidden in every age and every generation, but which is now as clear as daylight to those who love God.” ( Col. 1:25-26 ) “We speak the plain truth and so commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. If our gospel is ‘veiled,’ the veil must be in the minds of those who are spiritually dying. The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, and prevents the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, the image of God, from shining on them... For we are looking all the time not at the visible things but at the invisible. The visible things are transitory: it is the invisible things that are permanent.” ( 2 Cor. 4:2-4 , 18; top )
True Christian leaders will seek to:
- Honor Christ - not preach honor to themselves. ( 2 Cor. 8:23 ; Phlp. 1:20 )
- Lead the people of Christ into sanctification and true holiness. ( Acts 26:18 ; 1 Cor. 6:18 ; 2 Cor. 6:16-18 )
- Save the lost and proclaim and defend the Gospel of Christ.
- Be committed totally on all of God’s Word; they believe and teach Christ’s and the original Apostle’s teachings and the original writings of both New Testament and Old Testament as fully inspired by God. ( 2 Jn. 9-11 )
- Have integrity with the Lord’s money. They refuse to take large amounts of monies for themselves; handle all finances with integrity and responsibility; and seek to promote Gods work in ways consistent with New Testament standards for leaders. ( Tit. 3:3 ; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; top )
When one looks at the abominable list of legalisms by which the people are supposed to honor the “set man” that comes from principles such as laid down by Dr. S.Y. Govender and Ralph Ellaya (Eternal Principle of Honour, 2010) and when compared to the doctrines of Christ, we recognize that these dogmas of men come from a very different spiritual source. The Word of God tells us, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” ( Jn. 7:18 ) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” ( Mt. 20:28 ) The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps. ( Prov. 14:15 ) There is nothing wrong with giving honor to whom honor is due as long as it is in a community of mutuality, where the least honorable are given the greater honor! We are to honor everyone, not just the “pastor” of the “church” or the “apostolic source” or “set man” and his family only. The apostolic move today places a lot of emphasis on giving double honor to leaders: e.g. pastors, apostles, spiritual fathers, set men, etc., twisting and distorting such as 1 Tim. 5:17 to do so.) However, we have never heard a single practical message preached on honoring the least honorable ( 1 Cor. 12:23-25; top ), nor seen principles and practices of honor implemented to emphasize those verses with the same sense of conviction with which honor to the set man is preached.
In teachings of how to honor the “set man” there are only two positions - master and slave, teacher and pupil, over and under. In the body of Christ, there are two positions – the body and the Head. The latter is already filled and will never be available to mere men. Those who insist on being in the Head will simply have to find themselves a body other than the Body of Christ! And this is precisely what they do. Jesus further said, “But you are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and He is in heaven. And do not be called leaders (teachers); for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.” ( Mt. 23:8-10; top ) We are to be neither master nor teacher for we are all brothers with only one Father who is in heaven. How simple it is when we hear the truth from the only Master’s lips! But these “set man” teachings still makes these two classifications - clergy and laity, teacher and pupil, master and slave, superior and inferior, all different names for the same distinction. One who is not a slave must be a master and teacher just as one who is not a master must be a slave and pupil. There simply is no place in the slave mentality for the idea of brother standing next to brother as equals in a commonly-held truth ready to battle a common foe. This is what these “set man teachings” have programmed into us by forcing us to sit at the feet of the supposedly superior, eloquent, ear-scratching Nicolaitian masters in the pulpit.
When honor flows only in one direction, it is unbiblical and is a poor attempt at honor, it misses the mark. There is simply not a single example in the New Testament of any of the original apostles or even our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ using such examples like the list “set out” by S.Y. Govender and Ralph Ellaya of how this honor is shown and is “supposed” to be practiced by the people that are under their influence. The apostolic prohibition against identifying with any individual apostle giving him a title of “set man” or “spiritual father” is crystal clear. We are the spiritual seed of Christ, not man, yet we embrace the same practice in our own apostolic circles and call it “new” revelation but it is the same as the Roman Catholic practice of entitling their clergy as “Father So-And-So.” Any loyalty other than loyalty to Christ is misdirected loyalty. Now, loyalty to Christ is meant to work out in a communion of love and service that benefits all members of the community, not just for the benefit of the “set man,” “spiritual father” and his own biological family only.
The slave mentality is all about who will be on top or at least look like it - even for the slave this is all it is about – and the fact that the enemy is moving in for an all-out kill is completely ignored. The over/under part of “lording over” is just as repugnant and despised by the Lord as the lording (authoritarian) part. The warrior mentality looks for brothers and sisters who can “fly by the seat of the spirit” (walk by faith and the leading of the Spirit of God and not by sight), whose highest priority is the will of God (whatever that may be and however much it might cost), who love the truth more than they love their own lives and reputations and whose connections with this world are light and almost non-existent. Spiritually speaking, anyone who walks by sight (planning every detail), who scoffs at the notion of seeking God’s will on everything, whose love for his own opinions is stronger than his love for the truth (especially opinions about himself but also his “convictions” and “beliefs” about general spiritual truths), whose worldly possessions are anchored to him like a ball and chain, this one does not have a warrior’s heart but rather has a slave’s mindset. Can we see which side of this equation we belong to? We desperately need to ask the Lord to search our hearts and show us the truth of this matter.
Let’s look at the example of Christ washing the disciple’s feet! This act of washing the feet that Jesus did was on the last night of Jesus’ life on earth. The reason Jesus did this was to demonstrate to His disciples how much He loved them. Secondly, it was the foreshadow of His self-sacrifice on the cross and also to convey the truth in calling His disciples to serve one another in humility. Christ wanted them to see that the desire to be first, to be superior and honored above fellow believers, is contrary to the spirit of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unlike Jesus’ teachings, today’s self-appointed “apostles” - wolves in sheep’s clothing - teach a different gospel. These hirelings (set men) now teach how they should be honored. We beg you to read these teachings in its entire context and you will see what ravenous wolves they really are. We all, each one of us, are the sheep that must listen to the Good Shepherd’s voice. Those who are true sheep of Christ obey His voice and follow Him. Those who follow the Good Shepherd receive eternal life. ( Jn. 10:27 ) Those sheep who stray from the Good Shepherd and refuse to listen to Him are not His sheep. There is indeed safety and security for even the weakest sheep who follows and listens to the Good Shepherd. No one can snatch even a single sheep from His hand ( Jn. 10:28 ) – the real danger to a sheep is to those who negligently and persistently wander off after other things. Our Heavenly Father has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus and anointed us by The Holy Spirit with an anointing that abides in us. ( Eph. 1:3 , 1 Jn. 2:27 ) The Father gives to Christ all manner of blessing. The blessings first come to Christ, and from Him they come to us. “The Father loved the Son and has given all things into His hand.” ( Jn. 3:35 ) We must go to Christ for everything. Christ says, “All things are delivered unto Me by My Father.” ( Mt. 11:27; top ) Christ alone is the DOOR.
No true child of God can submit to these “hirelings,” which Jesus Himself described in John 10. They do not even enter by the Door, (the True Jesus,) but climb into the stable via their false doctrines and false “authority,” (another gospel,) and THEY are the ones Jesus warned about, the thief, that do not come except to steal (the blood-bought souls of Jesus,) kill, and destroy, not following the TRUE Christ, Who came to “bring life and life in abundance.” ( Renette Vermeulen )
God is the ultimate builder, the One who guarantees a harvest. Neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is significant. ( 1 Cor. 3:5-7; top ) We need better insight into the Apostolic Reformation Movement. Stephen Crosby in his book Authority, Accountability, and the Apostolic Movement answers many questions and provides an appropriate and balanced contrast to prevailing “apostolic” philosophies. This kind of biblical approach is what the Church needs. It provides the understanding and ability to close the gap that has existed between “us” and “them,” the leadership and the laity, those who submit and those to whom others submit, the apostle and the Christian “everyman.”
An apostolic master builder is someone supernaturally graced to see the foundation of Jesus Christ built into every believer and every local church. All tasks must serve the goal of the revelation of Christ within people, not become the goal. Apostolic building is a spiritual quality that results in the increase of Christ and His kingdom in the earth, not necessarily the increase of a network or a mere mortal that sees himself “set” in place. Paul’s apostolic mandate was to make Christ known in a foundational way. The call of an apostle is to be gladly spent and used up by others ( 2 Cor. 12:12-15; top ), not build up a great network or a cleverly disguised Pyramid scheme to swindle God’s flock for the “first fruits, tithes and offerings.” The building systems of the emergent apostolic movement are theologically unsound, methodologically flawed, and ethically tainted. Rather than celebrating their emergence in a spirit of restoration and reformation, we should be mourning that so many are being defrauded by another gospel, another kingdom, and another king. (Extract from Authority, Accountability, and the Apostolic Movement by Stephen Crosby )
The book of The Revelation is addressed to the seven churches that reflect and represent the churches of this age. The primary purpose of this book is to reveal the triumph of God’s kingdom on earth (the New Jerusalem not created by human hands but the King of kings and Lord of lords) and the end time events surrounding Christ’s coming. One of the major concerns of Christ in His final message to the seven churches was that they not fall away (apostasy) by tolerating false teachers, prophets or apostles who were distorting His Word or weakening its power and authority. Those who claim to be apostles but in reality are not ( Rev. 2:2 ), we can discover their true nature by testing the life, doctrines and claims of leaders. But we as sincere believers must remain loyal to Christ and His unadulterated Word. If we are not so committed, we can be affected by false, wicked and unfaithful people. The Gospel, i.e. the original message of Christ and the original apostle’s teachings of the New Testament, is the ultimate authority by which to measure truth and falsehood. Jesus warns believers of the teaching of Balaam who was a false prophet. ( Rev. 2:14; top ) It therefore refers to corrupt teachers and preachers who were leading believers into fatal compromise with immorality, worldliness, false ideologies all for the sake of personal advancement or monetary gain (love of mammon). Blessed is the one who reads – and heeds – the words of this prophecy!
We must heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit or we will reap the consequences of our negligence. ( Rev. 2:17 ) “You tolerate that women Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess” ( Rev. 2:20 ), the spirit of manipulation and control. Just like in the church of Thyratia, believers today tolerate and submit to a spiritual Jezebel, who exhibits great charisma, along with manipulative and seductive control and influence. We must reject ministers who put their own words above Biblical revelation. Some in the church will tolerate such false teachings because of fear of confrontation. God says that He will judge such leaders and punish all those who do not repent. One submits to leadership that is true to Christ alone. Read 1 Corinthians 14:29 in context. Churches are subordinate not only to Christ as Lord and Head, but also to the Holy Spirit. They must listen, hear and respond to the voice of the Spirit and to His Words. It is the Holy Spirit that Represents Christ’s presence and Lordship over His Church. The Spirit and His Word is the ultimate authority of Christ. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. The man of lawlessness will demonstrate through Satan’s power great signs wonders and miracles in order to propagate error ( 2 Ths. 2:3-4; top ), performing counterfeit miracles and supernatural miracles that deceive people into accepting a lie. When the time comes, Christ will return and destroy the antichrist, his armies and all who disobey the Gospel of Christ. Thereupon Christ will bind Satan and establish His Kingdom on earth, the New Earth, not this one that the lawless control and have defiled and destroyed.
Brothers and sisters, we beg you to allow the Lord to search your hearts and lead you into all truth.
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