For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure [Grk. metron] of faith (Romans 12:3).
I have observed that a great many of the saints of the Lord are finding themselves rejected by the leaders in Christendom and it is out of concern for these precious ones that I have written this piece.
In the institutions of men that are drunk on power there are very few sober thoughts. Sober thinking is thinking with the mind of Christ who took on the form of a servant and lived a life and died a death for the benefit of all. The problem with institutions is that they have the life of Christ organized out to them and take on a life that is against the life which Christ desires to manifest in His saints, giving each member of His body a measure of the Spirit by which to serve one another. The mindset of that system is that the person at the top (pastor, apostle, evangelist, bishop, C.E.O., etc.) has every ability to do everything that needs to be done and that other people exist to augment those abilities. The trouble is that this is exactly what has been going on in the visible church for almost 1900 years and a disease called, “give us a king” (see 1 Samuel ch. 8: 4-7) has settled into the minds of the faithful who populate the church system and they “love to have it so.” Thus the prophesy is fulfilled spoken by Jeremiah almost 3000 years ago…
An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction [by their own power]; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes? (Jer. 5:30-31 RSVA)
I believe that we are seeing “the end” of the visible church that is now laced with false teachers and false prophets and pastors and leaders who rule by their own fleshly charisma drawing away disciples after themselves. Paul saw this coming as well and spoke to the elders of the Ephesian church about it and it brought him to tears to see it coming (see Acts 20: 29-31).
How opposite this is from how the Spirit moves among us with HIS measures of grace given to each member to function not according to the dictates of an office holder, but rather to function according to the will of Jesus where all that is done is done in a mindset of pure servant-hood and laying down our lives for one another.
These delusional leaders which are so common in this system, might have a metron in which they are gifted by God and as a result gain much attention because of this gifting. But the mindset of the systems of the world soon has them trying to minister outside their metron and they fail every time. Not only that, but they take over in an area that God has given to other members of Christ’s body in their metrons and now the body is robbed many times over. Like all diseases, this infection soon becomes exponential and it is not long until the whole body is functionally dead and enveloped in dead works generated by man, simply because each member is not answering to the Head who is Christ but rather the will of an over bearing human with a title.
What happens to the dear saint that is caught in that system who desires to be obedient to the Spirit of God dwelling within them? They end up suffering much confusion because the Spirit is telling them to do one thing while the management is demanding that they do “the program” it has generated. Eventually, the poor saint that seeks to obey the Spirit leaves that system (or is driven out, branded as a “rebel”) and finds himself fulfilling another scripture as they follow their Lord…
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with foods [strange doctrines], which have not profited them that have been observing them. We have an altar [filled with spiritual food], of which they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp,bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Heb 13:8-14 KJ2000 – emphasis added)
If they had “strange doctrines” circulating through the church in 55 A.D. when this was written, how much more it is true almost 2000 years later? As we obey the Spirit and our high callings to be conformed to the very image of Christ we will find that we must go “outside the camp” of Christendom because the spiritual atmosphere there is too stifling under all that man-made control which conflicts with what the Spirit is asking us to do. Just as Jesus was rejected and persecuted by the chief priests and elders of Judaism, so it will be with those who follow Him (see Mark 8:31 and John 15:20).
Jesus Christ is the same now as He was when the Book of Hebrews was written under His inspiration. The further one gets from eating the doctrines of men, the more he will find that God has a table set for Him with the wonderful truth of the true gospel of Christ. Yes, there is a reproach associated with following Jesus outside the camp whether it be the Baptist camp, the high church camp, the Pentecostal camp (or any one of 33,000 different denominations and Christian sects we have today), but going outside the gate unto Him and the call of HIS voice is worth it.
Remember that these saints of old mentioned in Hebrews chapter eleven never found an earthly city that they could call theirs, either, but they sought that kingdom that comes not with outward observation, a heavenly city with a heavenly temple made of living stones where Christ has been made the Corner Stone of all that is built upon Him. Just as that Precious Stone laid in Zion was rejected by the builders 2000 years ago, so it is with today’s church builders, so don’t be surprised that as you are laid upon Him by God, you will be rejected as well.
As it is written, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense: and whosoever believes on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom 9:33 KJ2000)
Jesus said unto them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same has become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? Therefore I say unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. (Mat 21:42-43 KJ2000)
It is evident that the church has gone full circle in the last 1900 years and its visible form is being rejected by God and once again “given to a nation” that will bring forth the fruits of God’s kingdom in His love. Listen to the voice of the Spirit and seek to operate inside your God given metron, building up the body of Christ in His selfless love as the Bride makes herself ready.
It seems that you had to write this for me!! Yes, my brother, we will have to choose whom we will follow; the strange, high-sounding teachings of men, or our Lord Jesus. There is not much of a choice.
I relate so well with your words where you say that the further we get from the false man-made doctrines, the closer we come to the heart of our Pappa.
Did you perhaps read the Hebrew series of James Fowler? I will forever be grateful for his exposition of the book of Hebrews. An excellent study!
Blessings to you and Dorothy
I am glad you were blessed. No, I have not read Fowler’s writings on the Book of Hebrews. I bet it is good. He has great maturity in the things he writes.
Thanks for this. How it is in line with what, I believe, the Spirit is saying to those who will listen. You said;
“I believe that we are seeing “the end” of the visible church that is now laced with false teachers and false prophets and pastors and leaders who rule by their own fleshly charisma drawing away disciples after themselves”.
More and more I believe this is one of the messages the Lord would bring forth for this time. The Son is arrising, this gross darkness can not withstand the brightness of His comming.
Good to hear from you again, Keith. Thanks for your comment. “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isa 60:1-3 KJV). We know that this Light shown brightly through Jesus, but it also shines through those who abide IN Him. He is the Light that lightens every man and His glory shall be seen upon us as we abide IN Him.
Paul wrote, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not see the end of the fading splendor… Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2Co 3:12-18 RSVA)
What a precious promise, to have faces that shine as we behold His glory. Keep seeking His face, my brother.
Thank you for this encouraging post Michael every word rings true in my spirit. Thank you also for taking the time to read my story which really is only a little glimpse. The comment you posted about it was an answer to prayer. I have posted certain things on facebook regarding answering the Lord’s call to follow Him and for the most part it has not been well received. I believe the Lord is saying to me just to leave it alone. He wants me to really understand resting in Him, which I’m starting to live out more, day by day by His grace. It is wonderful to be away from the confusion of it all. God bless you!
You are doing well to put entering into God’s rest (read Hebrews ch. 4) as your number one priority. In the church system generated by the flesh of men there is no rest for it is totally driven by the arm of the flesh and its task masters cry out, “More bricks! More bricks! Get your own straw.” But learning to abide IN Christ we come into a place that the branch has IN the Vine… we simply abide in Him and HE makes the fruit happen. In rest the fruit of the Spirit is ours and we produce spiritual fruit worthy of His kingdom as HE wills and when HE wills, but all this comes while we rest IN Him as the Father’s sons and daughters. Jesus made it clear that He could only do what He saw His Father doing and spoke only what He heard His Father saying then He said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Rest is the key, always rest.
Reblogged this on TheLeMMons3.
First to Johanna, welcome to the wilderness! It’s a little lonely out here yes, but frankly most of the wild animals have taken up residence where we once resided so it’s a little safer here these days.
One of the blessings I’ve had the privilege of experiencing “outside” is seeing from the vantage point of others who are part of His family. Yes, “inside” there were some spiritual people but due to the mixture and confusing directions none of my actions or leanings ever received any solid confirmation. I was always wondering and wandering from day to day, constantly looking for that “place” where I fit. Needless to say, I never found it.
Since the day I made listening to Him a priority, I’ve not only been more grounded overall, but the few friends I have are very much in line with one another as to what they believe. It’s not even always the same doctrinal perspective- it’s something more, a unity of the Spirit behind what is seen. Due to this, several people over the years have been able to speak to me, I’ve heard God’s heart through them and have moved forward with confidence and at times found myself doing the same for them.
Without question, we must be careful to reside within the framework of how He is leading us and no matter how tempting not to exceed that. Strangely, I do not have those overriding pressures to conform anymore and am more content with who I am today than I’ve ever been. I can honestly say I don’t have to be anyone today and yet my Father is using me in ways I little would have considered even a short while ago.
Thank You for your wisdom Michael and the metron He’s given you. I pray for you, and ask that despite how we each glean the truth from your writings, that our Father would expand your outreach even more as the day draws near.
Thank you, Among the forgotten. Yes, lonely, it can be. I find that this has been my main experience in life even before His calling me out into the wilderness to follow Him. The Lord has delivered me from things that I could never quite explain to anyone in regards to the darkness of my upbringing and how it shattered my soul which He is mending and healing, one day at a time. Praise His Name! I have at times cried out to Him if there might be someone, a human friend, to confide in, but He always has comforted me with the truth that He is really the only one who can truly know my soul and its sufferings completely. The Lord is truly my closest companion in every way but I know that the comfort that He has given me is not just for me but is meant to be shared.
And I agree with the being grounded part. It seemed like when I was in the church system I could not get grounded in my soul. It felt like I was on constant panic mode and was constantly feeling like I was prey about to pounced on or devoured. I can’t quite explain it but I would see it in the leaderships eyes, like they wanted to devour me and in some persons, even those who seemed to my brothers and sisters I would see this hatred in their eyes. It was only glimpses here and there but it would always put me on high alert and I never felt safe. Since being called out I no longer feel like prey but its like I’m tucked under the Lord’s wing. Sometimes i look out from under His wing and get a little bit anxious and I feel Him gently direct my eyes away from the storm and to Him. I Love the Lord so much. He has delivered me from such deep darkness and I’m so glad to be His. God Bless you!
Michael, I say a big AMEN to these wonderful sharings…agape to my siblings in the wilderness of hope 🙂 The question still remains that “…shall we obey men or God?” ….I will ALWAYS chose the latter…for I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the GLORY that is awaiting us!!! HALLELUJAH!
Michael,..Thank you for this post. You are a great encourager. I am ever grateful to God to be breathing the air of true freedom. I read this quote from Mr. Sparks this morning, an wanted to share it with everyone,.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Galatians 5:1 NIV)
There is another word, which just means that which has escaped from slavery and is breathing free air. That is a fine picture, a fine portrait for Overcomers – that which has escaped from slavery and is breathing free air. I dare not stay to interpret that. Some of us, even in our Christian lives and histories, know what it is to escape from slavery. Oh, the old bondage of the Christian system and order, expectation and demand, all the old rota and legality! – to be free of it all! Not only to be raised with Christ, but to have the grave clothes taken off and to be breathing the free air of the spiritually emancipated! That is what this word calls a “remnant,” and that is not something extra to Christianity. It is exactly what you find at the beginning with the Church.
The Lord had cried in the midst of a burdened, tyrannized, religious nation – “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). What is the old yoke, the old burden, which has harassed and worn these people so that they are weary to death, drawing out His compassionate appeal – “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest”? It is the old yoke and burden of legalistic religion, ‘thou shalt’ and ‘thou shalt not’: ‘you must’ and ‘you must not’ – the whole system built up like that; a great burden. “They bind heavy burdens,” He said, “and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves will not move them with their finger” (Matt. 23:4). And this word for “remnant” means such as have escaped slavery and are breathing the free air. You find them in the beginning of the book of the Acts. Overcomers are those who go back to the beginning in experience. They do not take up something further which is deeper teaching or fuller light. It is the primal freshness and fullness of Christ that Overcomers represent – unfortunately, in contrast to the general situation.”
By T. Austin-Sparks from: Overcomer Testimony – Chapter 2
This fits right in with what the Lord has been saying to us about our freedom in Christ as His NEW Creation. Thanks for sharing it.
Blessings to you as well,