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R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Your evangelical church has elders because evangelicals assume they are reflecting New Testament precedence. It is supposed that evangelicals have a strong allegiance to the Bible. But do they? More important, do you?
Regarding elders, you can easily determine commonality or conflict between evangelicalism and the Bible. Simply type "elder" and "elders" into BibleGateway (or another searchable online Bible) to learn about NT elders; is there similarity between them and the elders of your church?
Paul tells Timothy that an elder must be "able to teach". Can we assume that NT elders were teachers? However, your church elders are not teachers, not primarily. (Have you been taught by church elders?) Their distorted role is to support a salaried pastor and oversee church affairs; this is not conducive to the Bible evangelicals assume they are modelling.
If you type in "board of elders" in the search bar you may be dismayed. There is no such thing; board-of-elders is an evangelical creation. Also, the NT teaches "elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor", and yet only the pastor is financially supported. Also, Peter taught that elders were to "shepherd the flock of God"; your church elders do no such thing. And he said that elders are to "be examples to the flock"; but how can they be examples to the majority of whom they never associate? (Do you associate with them?)
I had participated (I no longer participate) in five evangelical churches over a stretch of 15 years or so, and have had contact with some of the many church elders. Quite rare was the occasion whereby an elder spoke the name of Jesus. When someone speaks Christ I notice (and so do you). Why? As the song says, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, there's just something about that name." Also rare was an occasion whereby a member of a board of elders elder quoted a Scripture verse in conversation. Work, business and church affairs (church-ianity) were, with few exceptions, their consuming concern. There were very few that I could define as a 'man of God' or a disciple of Jesus Christ. All were followers of man. None were followers of Christ.
Nonetheless the Lord Jesus provided me with a true elder brother. Richard first approached me, an unknown, in the foyer of a small pentecostal church. Soon after he was helping me with the construction of concrete walls for a house I was building for my family. Soon after that we were walking along railway tracks and park pathways, and slurping coffee or sharing meals in various restaurants. Richard loved Jesus Christ. Richard loved the Bible. Richard loved his family. His deepest craving was for time.... time to spend in prayer, time to soak in Scripture. Often he would carefully remove a page from his Bible, one particularly precious to him, fold it and carry it in his shirt pocket for easy reference, and later tape it back into his Bible. Richard made for himself a very cramped prayer closet complete with a kneeling pad in his basement. (Jesus: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet."KJV)
Richard the elder, I the young sibling. Richard the chatterer and I the listener. Conversations did not often stray from spiritual matters. We seldom spoke church-ianity. We sometimes disagreed on certain matters but never argued; both wanted truth, both had "ears to hear". Richard has long ago gone to heaven yet I credit his friendship for the fruit forthcoming from my christianity. Richard was a true elder because he was a true disciple of Christ. He led by example. I know he prayed for me though he never said so.
If the reader thinks I am wanting you to suspect the validity of evangelicalism, through this message and many others, you are entirely correct. The sad reality: evangelicalism gets everything wrong. This religion, like every religion, is a compilation of "commandments of men". It has already damaged your relationship with "the Lord of lords and King of kings". (While it is possible for a non-evangelical to attend an evangelical assembly, caution and wisdom are essential.)
Evangelical elders (and pastors) are contrary to the Bible and therefore contrary to Jesus. Nonetheless most reading this posting will continue to feel obligated to invest the bulk of their giving into evangelicalism. This is truly REMARKABLE
and clearly demonstrates the lack of allegiance evangelicals have for God's Bible.
Now what about you? Will you continue to follow the crowd that is, so obviously, going the wrong direction? Or will you commit yourself to God's Bible (as you progressively understand it)? Will you repent and recommit yourself to your fully trustworthy Elder Brother, the Lord Jesus ("the firstborn among many brethren")?
God bless you!
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Many years ago I attended a Jehovah's Witness meeting for the purpose of gathering information for a publication. The congregation was managed much like a kindergarten teacher manages her class. For example, everyone received a sheet of Q's & A's; the questions were simple and the answers plainly written under each question. People enthusiastically raised their hand when one of the printed questions was asked by the man in charge, and the one chosen would read (word by word!) the printed answer.
Evangelicals cannot be compared with such kindergarten mentality. No, no, no.... they have matured, spiritually speaking, to at least a fifth grader. Yes, they are still treated as children, but not as five-year-olds. Question: Why such conformity? Answer: Both the JW and the evangelical are strongly motivated by a need for acceptance; since conformity is required for inclusion, non-conformity is abdicated.
There are two requirements (just two!) for a successful, prosperous christianity: 1) abide in Christ (Jesus: "he who abides in Me.... bears MUCH fruit"), and 2) submit to the Holy Spirit ("He will guide you into all truth"). Two requirements NOT emphasized in evangelicalism: 1) abide in Christ, and 2) submit to the Holy Spirit.
The evangelical does not, primarily, abide in Christ. (If he did he would not be an evangelical.) She calls someone other than Jesus "Pastor". He has adopted evangelical "commandments of men" as his own. She is not supervised, primarily, by the Holy Spirit. He entrusts the bulk of his givings to someone other than Jesus. She is a follower of christians, not Christ. He is a fifth grader! Remarkable!
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R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Paul to the Corinthians: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." The AMPC says it this way: "Pattern yourself after me , as I imitate and follow Christ." Question: If the Corinthians were to follow after the example (lifestyle) of Paul whose example should you and I imitate?
If you pattern your christianity after evangelicalism you do not pattern Paul. If Pastor Whoever is your example Paul isn't. You must thoroughly understand that the one you call "Pastor" does not imitate Paul. Repeat: The pastor of your church DOES NOT imitate Paul. And you must thoroughly understand that if you are not imitating Paul you are not imitating Christ Jesus.
Unlike your Pastor Whoever, Paul never attended a seminary.... Paul was not credentialed.... Paul was not titled.... Paul was not salaried..... Paul did not teach "commandments of men".... Paul was not attached to a denomination.... Paul did not live in luxury. And....
And unlike Pastor Whoever, Paul never collected tithes.... Paul never paid tithes.... Paul never instructed others to tithe.... Paul never endorsed tithing.... Paul never passed a collection plate.... Paul never built a building.... Paul never lived in luxury.... Paul never took a vacation.... Paul was "not a burden" to those he ministered to. And....
And unlike salaried pastors, Paul emphasized "Jesus Christ and Him crucified".... Paul's "first love" was Jesus.... Paul's heart was "that I may know Him".... Paul often referenced the Holy Spirit.... Paul was intent on obeying Christ's Great Commission.... Paul did not "seek to please men".... Paul did not "lay up.... treasures on earth".... Paul earned "the crown of righteousness".
Isn't it REMARKABLE (sad) that millions within evangelicalism imitate pastors who are not imitating Jesus?
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Hebrews 13:7 (NKJV): "Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive." A NKJV note gives an alternative to "rule over".... "leads". A better rendition: "Obey those who lead, and be submissive." An obvious question: "Who is my spiritual leader?" There is only one answer: Jesus Christ.
Is Jesus not "head of the church"? (Head: first in rank or position; chief; leading; principal) Is Jesus not the One you call "Lord, Lord"? (Lord: a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler) Didn't the apostles call Jesus, "Master"? (Synonyms: commander, director, manager, ruler) Didn't Peter call Jesus "the Overseer of your souls"? (Overseer: a person who oversees; supervisor; manager) Is Jesus not "that great Shepherd of the sheep"? (Shepherd: a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people)
Yet, REMARKABLY, most evangelicals consider a fellow christian their spiritual leader. That's why they call him "Pastor" (which means shepherd). Some relevant questions: "WHEN did the one you call 'Pastor' become your leader?.... WHEN did Pastor Whoever become your pastor?.... WHEN did this man become your teacher?" Answer: Pastor Whoever became your leader/pastor/teacher the very day you MADE him (enthroned him to be) your leader/pastor/teacher. And....
And on that same day Jesus ceased to be your leader/pastor/teacher. (One cannot have two leaders. One cannot have two shepherds. And Jesus said, "Do not be called teachers; for One is your teacher, the Christ.") So how does one apply Hebrews 13:7?....
Some things must be presumed. The writer of Hebrews assumes that the one "who leads you" is speaking the words of Jesus, the one and only true leader. Amen? Important (very,very very important!): if you have dethroned Jesus as your leader/pastor/teacher, repent (SINCERELY repent) and enthrone Him once again.
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Question: Does your religion, evangelicalism, take Christ's Great Commission seriously? Perhaps the answer to this question can be found in your city's newspapers. Simply buy a daily or weekly paper and scan each page for the precious gospel. Will you find the gospel of Jesus Christ in print?
The opportunity to evangelize, to preach "Jesus Christ and Him crucified", to rescue people from "the god of this age", requires very little effort or imagination or money. Consider: Somebody else publishes the paper.... somebody else delivers the paper house-to-house, store-to-store.... somebody else oversees all the complexities of the newspaper business. The local church only has to invest a minuscule portion of sunday's collection to reach many thousands of perishing people in its own city (or other cities throughout your country).
Nobody has to go door-to-door with gospel tracts or stand on street corners.... no risk of being ridiculed or verbally abused.... daily schedules won't be disturbed. Christ's Great Commission can be obeyed by any congregation (ALMOST EVERY DAY!) at very little inconvenience. Do you think Paul the apostle would have used such a media had it been available? (Hint: "My ambition has been to preach the Gospel, not where Christ has already been known.")
REMARKABLY you probably will not find the gospel message in your city's newspapers. The evangelical religion you regularly finance has minuscule interest in reaching the lost for Christ. (Has that indifference been transferred onto you?) The secular world preaches secularism but institutionalized christianity does not preach Christ. This is beyond REMARKABLE; this is SHAMEFUL.
Jesus said to two fishermen, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Without exception, followers of Christ are "fishers of men". Christians who have lost their passion for rescuing the unsaved are simply not followers of Christ; they are followers of each other. To become, once again, a fisher-of-men you must cease being an evangelical and return to "first love", the Lord Jesus.
Christ's Great Commission is your commission; Christ directed it to you and me and every born-again christian. Don't assume that within your denomination's hierarchy there are salaried employees engaged in the Great Commission on your behalf. Not so. The bulk of the money you entrust to the supervision of church officers is used to finance the salaries of these church officers! Your generosity is spent, mostly, on "treasures on earth", not "treasures in heaven". (Jesus: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth.... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.") Money Jesus intends for the financing of His Great Commission is regularly and systematically being diverted to finance religion and religionists.
My question to every companion, every acquaintance, every Facebook friend and every person who identifies as Christ's devotee: WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE!? Serious malpractice occurs before all to see, yet no one sees. REMARKABLE. Outrage is not ungodly (Jesus "overturned the tables of the money changers"); indifference is ungodly. Heresy hunters, the punctual fleecing of Christ's sheep is an obvious and despicable heresy.... WHERE IS YOUR OUTRAGE!?
You, my brother/sister-in-christ are accountable for you. It isn't necessary to have the calling of an evangelist to evangelize; financing evangelists is evangelizing. All you have to do is redirect your givings from religion and its religionists to Christ's Great Commission. The church building won't deteriorate without your financial support; and if it did, that's not your problem. Pastor Whoever won't be forced to take a pay cut; and if he was that's not your problem.
Hell is real, my brothers and sisters. Hell.... is.... real! Give strong consideration to "the judgement seat of Christ" whereby "we must all appear". Don't you realize you must give an account to your Judge (and Lord and Saviour and King and High Priest and Rabbi) for your response to His Great Commission to reach the lost with His gospel? If He will demand a report from anybody He will demand a report from everybody. Everybody includes you, everybody include me, everybody includes everybody.
God bless you!
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
There is within evangelicalism a hefty percentage of christians that have dedicated themselves to the eradication of false teachings and teachers. These people diligently attempt to convince others they alone have the truth and their audience can safely devote themselves to their perspectives. Their favorite target seems to be 'word-faith' people; charismatic/pentecostal adherents are also on their radar screen.
Motivating these heresy and heretic hunters is, to varying degrees of sincerity, a desire to protect the 'purity of the word' (the Bible). From their perspective every evangelical (and non-evangelical) religion, their own religion excepted, is infected with error, and they are determined to cleanse the body of Christ from their supposed faulty and dangerous perspectives. These spiritual vigilantes have done some good and much harm. The good is exposing error; the bad is undermining legitimate Bible truths while, at the same time, promoting their own faulty mindset.
Though they compare themselves to the "fair-minded" Bereans who dutifully "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (see Acts chapter 17), these (presumably) well-intentioned watchdogs are themselves infected by error, not fully of course. While fully aware of other religions' shortcomings, they are, like all religionists, blind to their own. Seemingly, the bulk of these sentinels seem to be of baptist persuasion, or those having weighty commonality with baptists.
Not satisfied to expose error, these vigilantes, from their platforms provided by social media and tv programs, often publicly denounce the carriers of perceived error, fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. The tactic of some is to ruthlessly misalign the messenger so people will shun their messages. Although Paul wrote: "Let two or three prophets speak, and the others judge", they don't want christians to judge for themselves; they will evaluate on their behalf. (Religionists always treat its people like children; that's why evangelicals are so spiritually immature.) Many hours are spent probing the suspect's past teachings until they (gleefully?) come across something contrary to their own convictions.
REMARKABLY, in many ways they contradict the Bible they suppose they are defending. Within their ranks are a number of 'cessationists'. (Cessation: a temporary or complete stopping; a discontinuance.) They believe Jesus ceased doing the supernatural with the passing of the early apostles. They do not believe that Christ the Healer is still Christ the Healer. Their misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God has caused (not thousands but) millions to suffer needlessly and die prematurely. If you were to tell them Jesus miraculously healed you of a life-threatening ailment, they simply wouldn't believe you. They do not believe in spiritual dreams and visions and prophecies; if you said the Lord Jesus gave you a vision of heaven or of the upcoming judgement seat of Christ or some future happening, they would not believe you. They do not believe in "praying in the Holy Spirit"; if you told them you daily pray in tongues (as I do) they might suspect demonic influence.
Not all in the ranks of heresy hunters are cessationists.... but those who aren't may as well be. Almost never do their gatherings experience healings or deliverances or "signs and wonders" or the manifested gifts of the Holy Spirit. They may give mental assent to "speaking with tongues" but in fact none speak in tongues, not in church gatherings and not in private prayer at home.
It seems the Jesus they serve is a FARAWAY Jesus, relationally speaking. Evidence of this is in their rebuttals to (perceived) false teachings; they rarely speak of Jesus. Their goal is not to draw others from religion to Christ but from other religions to their (supposedly) superior religion. They do not speak "IN Christ", "THROUGH Christ", "WITH Christ", "BY Christ" (as did Paul); an indication intimacy is lacking. Seemingly, their god is the Bible, not the Bible's Author.
Often these vigilantes are schooled in psychology and heavily lean on the intellect for understanding God's ways rather than the Holy Spirit who, Jesus said, "will guide you into all truth". Seemingly, they have no propensity to "walk in the Spirit" and highly suspect the perspectives of those who do. This could be a simple explanation why baptists clash with pentecostals/charismatics.
REMARKABLY the baptist religionists actually have much in common with the 'word-faith' religionists they vehemently denounce. Both religions (like every religion) are seriously corrupted. Neither religion has similarity to New Testament precedence. Both have a distinctive list of "commandments of men" that they impose upon their trusting congregations. Religionists of both camps have little in common with Paul and other writers of the New Testament. Both parties have been severed into two parts, laymen and ministerial, the special and not-so-special. Both promote non-Biblical church membership. ("Is Christ divided?") Both have non-Biblical salaried pastors. Both have non-Biblical board-of-elders. Both coerce their naive congregations to place ten percent of their salaries under their supervision and discretion.
I detect these vigilant vigilantes have made inroads into the christianity of my Facebook friends, including some whose Bible savvy surpasses mine. Sad. Harmful. REMARKABLE.
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
Imagination time. Try to imagine what 'Pastor Average' - in our country and that of our southern neighbours, the United States - looks like. For example, what would you guess the average age of 'Pastor Average' to be? I know you don't know and I certainly don't know, but let's make him 45 years old. Okay? That's probably close. Now what would you guess the size of his congregation to be? (What is the average size evangelical congregation?) 100? 500? 1000? Let's imagine a congregation of 400 adults. Okay?
So far our imagination has produced a 45 year old evangelical pastor preaching to a congregation of 400 evangelicals. Now one more thing.... his wages. This is difficult because pastors prefer concealment. I am going to surmise that Pastor Average's monthly salary is somewhere between $4-8,000. Let's guess-timate $5,000. Sound fair?
Now that we have created, in our imagination, Pastor Average and his congregation of 400, I want to share some insights, admittedly only conjectures, that I have formulated over fifty years of christianity. You might think I am playing a game, but I'm not. Shrinking the vast world of evangelicalism into a solitary person and a solitary congregation makes it easier to comprehend this powerful religion that encompasses the bulk of born-again christians. Consider: the condition of this religion determines the condition of Christ's church-on-earth (again, because most of His church-on-earth are attached to an evangelical religion). So here we go....
Pastor Average has the appearance of being spiritually developed - wise, competent, trustworthy - and has captured the trust and commitment of his congregation. But there is SOMETHING missing. It is imperative that you discern and acknowledge that certain SOMETHING that, seemingly, nobody discerns and acknowledges. Why? Because that missing component in Pastor Average's spiritual makeup is the reason the 400 live a (to be charitable) mediocre christianity. He is their most potent influence.
What is that missing something? That missing something is JOHN, CHAPTER FIFTEEN, VERSE FIVE. And because John 15:5 is (not absent but) seriously deficient in Pastor Average's christianity, and because he is the congregation's chief influence, that verse (the truths contained in that verse) is also seriously deficient in the 400 people.
John 15:5: "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing." Let's amplify that....
"I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, bears much fruit ; for without Me you can do nothing ."
Can you see that the quality and quantity of the fruit that each of the 400 bear (401, actually) is relative to the quality of relationship with Lord Jesus? (The branch firmly attached to the vine bears more fruit than the branch loosely connected.) Just as none in that congregation are equally wealthy (financially) – though most are close to average – none have the same degree of devotion to Jesus – though most may be close to average.
Most reading this assume that the pastor is way above average in his fervency for Lord Jesus. But that's not so. Pastor Average is actually the most religious person (the person most firmly connected to a religion) in that congregation. As such, he is strongly subservient to his denominational lords. His $5,000 monthly salary - just as precious to him as every paid employee - keeps his loyalty from straying from denominational policy. The harsh truth: should he shun his religion's numerous "commandments of men" and embrace New Testament teaching and precedence he would soon be unemployed. Remarkable, remarkable, remarkable!
And the loss of the pastor's salary would not be his only adversity; he would also suffer loss of dominance. Pastor Average is by far the most powerful man in the congregation. His influence blankets the 400, not only on sunday mornings but also extending into their homes and workplaces throughout the week. He is often their first thought in the morning and their last thought at night. It was the pulpit that granted him this dominance he so much enjoys. Nonetheless....
Nonetheless Pastor Average is not happy.... not fulfilled.... not at peace. (Nor is any christian deficient of John 15:5.) He is a bondservant to a list of "commandments of men" peculiar to the denomination that consigned him to his beloved pulpit. He certainly could never declare, as did Paul, "I am free from all men". Rarely does he mention "the name which is above every name" in conversation (and seldom from the pulpit). Why? Speaking Christ draws one closer to Christ and with Christ comes conviction of wrongdoing. Speaking Christ jeopardizes his salary.
Pastor Average cannot convey what he doesn't possess.... John 15:5. But he successfully conveys the religion to which he has long ago given himself over. Success is a congregation that walks his walk, talks his talk, emulates his loyalty to his lords. (Every congregation is, to varying degrees, a reflection of its pastor.) That is why the 400 rarely speak Christ; they are emulating Pastor Average, walking his walk and talking his talk. These 400 'branches' ("you are the branches") are not intimately attached to the true Vine ("I am the vine").
Sadly but understandingly, at least 90% of the 400 have long ago left their "first love". (Jesus to the Ephesians: "I have this against you, that you have left your first love.") Like the one they call "Pastor", they have almost zero interest in Christ's Great Commission to reach the world with His gospel. Pastor Average's long list of "commandments of men" is now their list. Most of these decrees have been passed on non-verbally. (Most of what we have learned about anything and everything has been assimilated non-verbally.) They are taught by what the man says and also by what he doesn't say. (Bonhoeffer: "To not speak is to speak.")
The 400 correctly discern Pastor Average does not want them preaching "Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (this evidenced by, for example, their lack of preaching on social media platforms), does not want them led individually by the most Holy Spirit (his mantra: "we can do more together"), does not want their generosity distributed elsewhere (thus the awful evangelical tithe). To be quite frank, the 400 as a team and individually bear LITTLE fruit, not MUCH fruit. ("By this My Father is glorified, that you bear MUCH fruit.")
Those of the 400 that surrender 10% (or any percentage) of their income to the supervision of Pastor Average have also surrendered a percentage of their soul (heart). Jesus taught, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Giving as the Spirit directs is giving to Jesus. Giving in obedience to "commandments of men" is giving to "flesh and blood"; giving to "flesh and blood" causes one to become disciples of "flesh and blood".
Most of the 400 are disciples of christians, never preach "Jesus Christ and Him crucified", do not submit to the governance of the Holy Spirit, do not bear "much fruit", accumulate an abundance of "treasures on earth" and scant "treasures in heaven", rarely mention that "name which is above every name" and will be severely distressed at the "judgement seat of Christ". Remarkable, remarkable, remarkable!
In the last few years there has been an onslaught of perversion, corruption and brutality in their city. The 401 do not (because they cannot) defend their city "against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness." Why so little power? The answer is found in John 15:5: "Without Me you can do nothing." Jesus is talking relationship. No relationship, no power. Feeble relationship, feeble power. The 401 have frail power because Jesus is no longer "first love". Paul to the Corinthians (NLT): "I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted." Corrupted devotion to our Lord Jesus Christ has dwindled the power of the 401 to about 10-20% of their potential.
Understandably you may balk at, even dismiss, my portrayal of the spirituality of the average pastor within evangelicalism. And you may be offended by my perspective of the average pew-person (so called layperson, parishioner). NEVER have you heard or read such an overview of the religion you have so thoroughly adopted. So many can't be wrong!
In fact so many can be wrong. Every evolutionist is wrong, every atheist is wrong, every catholic and every mormon and every Jehovah's witness is wrong. The pharisees were wrong. Assuming that christians are immune from mass error is a trespass against New Testament writings and against reason. The Galatians (evangelicals) were all "bewitched". The church of Ephesus (evangelicals) left their "first love". The church at Pergamus (evangelicals) taught "the doctrines of Balaam". The church of Thyatira (evangelicals) allowed "that woman Jezebel" to seduce the congregation. The split within evangelicalism between pentecostals and baptists, and between Calvinists and Arminians are a few examples that establish that so many can be mistaken.
It is good to be cautious. I want you to challenge every sentence, every statement, every conclusion I have made. More important, JESUS wants you to evaluate my teaching (and every teaching). It was your trust in feeble men that has crippled your effectiveness as God's servant, and has cost you eternal rewards, "treasures in heaven". So PLEASE take the time to compare this message with New Testament writings. You are responsible for you. Amen?
Now let's look at the big picture, Canada and the USA. As the 401 could not defend their city against the mentioned "principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness", the total population of evangelicals within our two countries are powerless to combat the mentioned "onslaught of perversion, corruption and brutality" that is at this very time sweeping over our nations. UNDER OUR WATCH, the hateful enemy has already made inroads at such a fast pace that even many in secular society are amazed. Why, oh why, is this happening? The answer is simple....
Missing in evangelical christianity (that enfolds most born-again christians) is John 15:5. John 15:5 is lacking in evangelical congregations because John 15:5 is lacking in evangelical leadership. Pastor Average portrays Pastor Typical and the 401 portrays typical congregations, from miniature to mega. Evidence that love of salary and love of dominance has gripped evangelical leadership is obvious to anyone daring to compare them with Paul and his writings.
I believe the outcry of Christ's heart to evangelical pastors and denominations is the same decree God spoke to the mighty pharaoh through Moses: "Let My people go, THAT THEY MAY SERVE ME."
If you think Jesus, through this teaching and that of others, is wanting to bring reformation to your evangelical religion you are mistaking; He wants to set you free from institutional churches. Jesus wants you. Again, Jesus.... wants.... you! Jesus wants you to embrace John 15:5 and never let go. Jesus is calling you to deep, serious repentance; you have abandoned "first love" and Jesus is extending an invitation to return.
So what's it going to be, YES, JESUS or NO, JESUS?
NOTE: Ask Lord Jesus (Jesus IS your Lord, right?) if He wants you to visit my library of books, articles and videos at www.larryjones.ca God bless!!
R E M A R K A B L E ! !
This message is directed to Facebook friends who, I sense, have been adversely affected by cessationists. Briefly, a 'cessationist' is one who believes healing miracles, "signs and wonders", speaking in tongues and other Holy Spirit manifestations CEASED with the death of the early apostles. Please consider the following questions:
*** Should cessationists who criticize healing ministers and healing ministries identify themselves as cessationists?
*** Should ministries that expose corruption in nationwide ministries reveal how much they benefit financially from their disclosures?
*** Should ministries that expose corruption in other religions be equally vigilant to expose corruption within their own religion?
*** Is it reasonable to "test the spirits" of public ministries but not "test the spirits" within their own local assemblies?
*** Does corruption so evident in some (many? most?) 'word faith' ministries negate God's Bible truths regarding healing?
*** Is there one (!) Scripture that suggests that Jesus ceased healing?
*** Since God often healed old covenant people, shouldn't New Covenant people, having "a BETTER covenant", expect at least equal favour?
*** Have you noticed the "name above every name" is rarely mentioned even in their lengthy anti-healing presentations?
*** Are YOU included in the promise of Jesus, "These signs will follow THOSE WHO BELIEVE : .... they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover"?
*** What did Isaiah mean by his prophetic words, "SURELY He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows"?
*** Is there something wrong with assemblies - even those that begrudgingly agree that Jesus occasionally heals today - that rarely witness the miraculous in their gatherings and in their individual lives?
*** Is collection of (what I call awful evangelical) tithes less abhorrent than, for example, promising healing to those who donate money to their ministry?
*** How can we imitate Paul ("Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ") without imitating his "demonstration of the Spirit and of power"?
*** Why do ministries that achieve "demonstration of the Spirit and of power" arouse suspicion and ministries void of such demonstrations do not?
*** Does faith say, "I believe God CAN heal me" or "I believe God WILL heal me"?
*** Regarding your healing and health, does Jesus say to you, as He did to two blind men, "According to your faith, let it be to you"?
Regarding manifestations of the Holy Spirit....
*** Are YOU included in the promise of Jesus, "These signs will follow THOSE WHO BELIEVE: .... They will speak with new tongues"?
*** How can we imitate Paul ("imitate me, as I also imitate Christ") if we do not, as did Paul, "pray with the spirit" and "sing with the spirit"?
*** Are the multi-millions of (so-classified) charismatics and (so-classified) pentecostal christians who (throughout the entire world!) pray in the spirit every day deceived and speaking gibberish?
*** What did Paul mean when he said, "He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself"?
*** If the (so-classified) charismatic movement really was initiated by the Holy Spirit, are cessationists actually castigating the Holy Spirit?
The powerful army of confused spiritual militants come from a variety of evangelical religions and are bonded by a common goal to convince you that your religion and all other religions have been infected with untruths, false doctrines and heresies. They are not redirecting you from your religion (your peculiar "commandments of men") to intimacy with Jesus, but rather to their religion (their peculiar "commandments of men").
This company consists of cessationists and not-too-distant spiritual cousins that do not identify themselves as cessationists but whose confidence in NT writings and precedents is almost equally weak. I agree wholeheartedly that your religion (and all religions) really are, to quote myself, "infected with untruths, false doctrines and heresies". But at least equally diseased are the various religions within this determined army.
This army of doctrine-cops within the body of Christ is powerful, well-funded, professional and driven. Relationally speaking, they serve a FARAWAY Jesus, not a NEARBY Jesus. (Mat.26:73: "Your speech betrays you.") They reject One-to-one guidance of the Holy Spirit. Their guides are god-intellect and God-reason, and these pernicious guides have given them permission to delete NT precedents and replace them with an assortment of "commandments of men".
As God's police force, they decree what the Holy Spirit can and cannot do. If evangelical 'services' are not boring they must be errant. Don't those pentecostals and charismatics understand that the Holy Spirit no longer does what He once did? Azusa Street, Welsh Revival, the Great Awakening, the charismatic movement and many etceteras are all suspect.
A few hours ago someone posted on Facebook a quotation from an acclaimed cessationist/calvinist: "Being Spirit filled begins with being scripture saturated." Nonsense! The reverse is true: "Being scripture saturated should begin with being Spirit-filled." Being "scripture saturated" without the Holy Spirit has produced Jehovah witnesses, mormons, catholic hierarchy, baptists, pentecostals, mennonites, CESSATIONISTS, calvinists, and many etceteras. Adversely, Spirit-saturated students of the word are transformed into competent disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I was "born of the Spirit" in 1972. My conversion to Jesus was a fruit of a mighty visitation of the Holy Spirit that christians have since labelled the "catholic charismatic movement". I was the first in my parish to discover Christ and many were to follow, including my wife. Since then, nothing in my 50 plus years of christianity matched the wonder and beauty of those gatherings of born-again catholics. And yet....
And yet very few departed from catholicism. Many continued to pray the rosary and venerate the saints. Everyone continued to call the priests "Father". A cessationist would immediately declare that these aberrations were proof that the "catholic charismatic movement" could not have been of God. But they would be quite mistaken. Please hear me....
Why didn't those born-again catholics turn away from the catholic church? Answer: Because they were foolish. Why did leadership of our large prayer group place themselves under the authority of the catholic bishop? Answer: Because they were foolish. Why did it take me five years (!) to remove my family from catholicism? Same answer.
I learned a long time ago that foolishness is an impairment that was and is spread throughout Christ's church-on-earth. The Galatians were foolish. ("Who has bewitched you?") The Corinthians were foolish. ("There is sexual immorality among you.") The Ephesians were foolish. ("You have left your first love.") Peter was foolish. (Paul: "I withstood him to his face.") Evangelicals are foolish. (Having given themselves over to "commandments of men.") Cessationists are foolish. ("Being Spirit filled begins with being scripture saturated.") The fellow behind the pulpit is foolish. (Jesus: "You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.") Pew-people are foolish. ("Like people, like priest.")
Just what is foolishness? Lord Jesus defines foolishness (Mat.7:26): "Everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man." Foolishness is disobedience to the "sayings" of Jesus. Since "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God", foolishness is disobedience to the Bible. While all evangelicals can be defined as foolish (all bowing to one of many lists of "commandments of men"), cessationists, seemingly, are the most foolish. I have no idea how a cessationist can consider himself a student of his Bible and a disciple of Christ.
If the cessationist were to blot out with a felt pen all the verses in the NT that he considers obsolete (including "signs and wonders", speaking in tongues, gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit, healing miracles, God's many promises, etcetera) his Bible would have little resemblance to your Bible. The book of Acts would be a smudged wreckage. How ironic that foolish cessasionists consider themselves qualified to bring correction to foolish charismatics and foolish pentecostals and foolish whoever.
If the Holy Spirit abandoned the foolish and disobedient, every evangelical would be forsaken. But the Holy Spirit has the heart of our Christ Jesus who said, "I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." How opposite is the heart of the the pharisees, "How is it He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?" And how opposite the heart of cessationists, "The Holy Spirit would NEVER manifest himself to charismatics!"
My Facebook siblings-in-Christ, it is obvious to me they ('they' being cessationists) have made inroads into your christianity. Their cause has become your cause. They have established within you a beachhead whereby they reach your loved ones and acquaintances with their strange gospel. They want you to ignore the very "Spirit of truth" and adopt their idols – god intellect and god reason – as your trusted guides.
It has been said that we have as much truth as we want. Credit your desire for truth for the truth you have accumulated. And blame your shortage of desire for truth not attained. More truth is always available. How? Jesus: "Ask, and you will receive." If you want more truth ask Jesus for more truth. Do you want the truth about evangelicalism? "Ask, and you will receive." About (the awful evangelical) tithe? "Ask, and you will receive."
Do you want to know truth regarding cessationism? Simply ask "the way, the TRUTH and the life" for that truth. Hardened cessationists won't ask because they don't want to know. (James 4:2: "You do not have because you do not ask.") Their first love is their twisted religion.
I end this posting with a few more questions for your consideration....
*** Do you agree that most christians misunderstand the sovereignty of God?
*** Do you believe that as "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" He likewise "bears witness" to ALL truth?
*** When you stand before Jesus, "to whom we must give account", will you be able to claim ignorance for untruths you relayed to others?
*** Do you believe "the Spirit of truth" will actually "guide you into ALL truth"?
*** If you asked "the way, the truth, and the life" to exchange untruth for truth would He comply?
*** Regarding healing, if you asked "the way, the truth, and the life" for understanding, would He comply?
*** Regarding "praying in the Spirit" (tongues), if you asked "the way, the truth, and the life" for understanding, would He comply?
*** Regarding cessationism and cessationists, if you asked "the way, the truth, and the life" for understanding, would He comply?
*** To the spiritually mature: Will you solemnly sign the last page of your Bible.... in (the awareness of) the presence of the Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.... as a declaration of your resolve to always choose Scripture over "commandments of men"?
I wish you well! (I really do.)