“Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:35-40 KJV
COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM – Pt. 2
So much of what we have accepted in the way of the Christian life is not endorsed by the Scriptures. Like the Jews who came out of Egypt with Moses, we have taken the New Covenant Commandments of the Lord and added to them until they have become overly burdensome and often self serving. The Christian life was never meant to be a path to gaining the worlds goods, but many of today’s most popular teachings are focused on doing just that.
Many believers are in pursuit of the same things the world is after, yet they they do it in the name of the Lord. In many ways the Church in the West has adapted a business model where the pastor is more like a CEO than a conduit for the Holy Spirit. The vulnerability that is required to lead God’s people in the New Testament model is more than many leaders are willing to commit to.
Over the last several decades we have heard much teaching about the five fold ministry and lines of authority. This is often misused to put too much structure in place resulting in an over predictability and expectation of what God will do when His people come together. This then creates a characteristic that identifies that Church body by it’s self-defined spiritual limitations. When the Holy Spirit is allowed to work in a fluid relational Church family, all of God’s people can operate in at least some level of their gifting as they learn how to minister to the Lord in intimate participation (koinonia) with the brethren.
Without this spiritual intimacy being encouraged and allowed by the leadership the brethren rarely, if ever, come to the place of Kingdom satisfaction. Instead they will tend to seek the things of this world and will use their spiritual gifting to compete with others and pursue things that perish rather than things which are eternal. This may be the result of so much teaching that stresses what God will give you if you are faithful in the Church or to certain ministries. Many even teach a spiritual life that makes God into nothing more than a Divine Paymaster who releases the blessings you have earned based on your faithful participation in the Church or ministry, and obedience to the Leadership.
Over the past few years we have seen many Pastors and Church leaders who have fallen into tragic circumstances where, instead of being corrected by others who probably could have influenced them, they were allowed to continue on until they came to a terrible end. All of their blatant errors were overlooked or ignored in order to protect their ministry. But Shepherds are not called to protect the ministry, they are called to protect the people under their watch. Protecting the ministry can easily be an excuse for protecting their own self-interest.
Believers who are aware that this is being done must have the courage to come out from under those structures that are operating this way. We have two primary obligations as stated in the above passage from Matthew 22. These are the marching orders that come from our Lord which He himself followed in obedience to his Father.
For those who are watching, it is easy to see that we are coming into a time that will test the visions and structures that have been pursued and built in the name of the Lord. Those who are not willing to divest themselves of teachings and methods that endorse worldliness will, I believe, ultimately join the enemy and take sides against the righteous. This will be much like what is happening in our political arena right now. It is normal in the halls of human power, but it is pollution when it happens in the Church.
“Come out from among them and be ye separate and touch not the unclean thing.” Like the Parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 we may soon hear the cry to ‘arise and go’ and many who are not prepared will go out and look for oil from the spiritual vendors selling their wares in the marketplace. But it will be fake oil, much like the false teachings that have been so popular in many of today’s churches and ministries. But it will not suffice, nor will it be acceptable to the Shepherd who keeps watch over the Gate.