"Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised Monday to defy President-elect Donald Trump's deportation orders and vowed that the city will always be a so-called sanctuary city.
Chicago laws prohibit government workers and police officers from asking the locals about their immigration status, according to the Chicago Tribune. Emanuel reaffirmed that the policy will continue."
Much like the American problem of government officials who circumvent the law, the church is also suffering from ivory tower elitists. In spite of the clearly defined identifying marks of a true Christian, these self-servants circumvent God's law in order to build their own popularity and increase their own power. Illegal aliens remain among us and God's blessing is compromised.
For centuries, the flock of God has been coerced away from the pure water of biblical authority and pulled toward the murky swamp of human doctrine. Christians have blindly followed religious leaders who have the most human accolades. We have allowed ourselves to be poisoned by false teachers and led to assume spiritual health when, in fact, we are rotting from the inside out. If judgement is to begin at the house of the Lord (1 Peter 4:17), then the house of the Lord needs to rise up and throw off those who are poisoning the water. In order to communicate with Heaven that we have learned our lesson and we appreciate this momentary reprieve, false teachers must be exposed and removed. It's time to drain the swamp!
There are two major types of false teachers:
Those who legitimately do not know better.Those who intentionally exploit their position to mislead.
Q: How do we deal with these two groups?
A: In very different ways!
The first group should be dealt with according to the example of Acts 18:24-26 (NIV). Notice that Apollos was a "learned man, with a thorough knowledge of Scripture." He was much like many church leaders of today who boast seminary experiences and lofty Bible degrees. Apollos presented what he knew and there is no indication from Scripture that he should have done otherwise. However, when the "way of God" was explained to him "more adequately," he became accountable for a change in message. It was his responsibility to immediately begin speaking more accurately.
Important Note: James 3:1 gives a very stiff warning against those who are ill prepared to teach. The salvation process is the absolute most important teaching of all. It was the topic of Christ's final assignment (Matthew 28:18-19, Mark 16:15-16). It was the lifelong passion of Christ's closest friends and the central theme of the church in the book of Acts. With it, we elevate the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ or we detract from it (Romans 6:3-4). Application: ALL THOSE who are allowed to stand before the church in a teaching role MUST be expected to teach the subject of salvation accurately!
The second group, those who intentionally exploit their position to mislead, must be dealt with swiftly and firmly.
While no one wants to think of themselves or their preacher as being part of this group, the fact of the matter is this, authority is everything! When Scriptural authority is watered down by ongoing quotes from uninspired religious leaders and deference is given to church councils or creeds, it is time for the preacher, the pastor, or the pope to be called on the carpet. They stand in direct conflict with the authority of God and, by tolerating their sin in our camp, we are impeding the blessing of God. It is time for a call to arms (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12, 1 John 4:1). It is time to purge the church of self-serving false teachers!
Many men have gone out into the world claiming to have been commissioned by God, but their end clearly proves they were little more than impostors. So how is one to know who is a true messenger of God?
Consider the two following guidelines:
First, you must never judge the worth of the messenger by the value that the world places on him. Remember Joseph. He was a slave and a prisoner, yet he saved an entire nation and preserved the bloodline of Christ.
The proof is not in a worldly position. Moses was a slave child. Rahab was a harlot. Peter worked the fishing boats. Look for someone whose inheritance is in Heaven.
The proof is not in earthly titles. For too long, the church has blindly followed college Bible professors with worldly degrees and accepted all that "educated" men would suggest. The church must look beyond the diplomas and worldly accolades. Look for someone who seeks only the praises of Heaven.
The proof of a genuine servant of God does not come from this world. The proof is in the working of God in his life.
Consider the words of 1 John 4:1, 5 (NIV), "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world... They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them."
In this revealing passage, the Holy Spirit of God gives us three important ways to "Test the spirits" of "false prophets."
"They are from the world" - Messengers who have never divorced themselves from the priorities of the world are not the messengers of God. (Examples: Television evangelists who beg for money yet wear expensive jewelry, cake their faces with make-up, and display elaborate backdrops for their viewing audience. Church leaders who spend more on their lavished buildings than they do on evangelism.)
"They... speak from the viewpoint of the world"- In 1 Corinthians 2:13-14, Paul says this about the true messenger of God, "...we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." Messengers who attract an audience with a worldly viewpoint are not the messengers of God. (Example: Those who would teach the politically correct view that "We are all going to Heaven just by different routes.")
"...the world listens to them." - Perhaps the greatest evidence of a true messenger of God is the crowd that gathers around him. Does he gather to himself deeply passionate, spiritual students of Christ or is he surrounded by the spiritually superficial who are devoted to religious performances? As was said in 1 Corinthians 2:14, "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him." Spiritual truths are not often popular with the world.
Spiritual truths are not always accepted within the church either. Many of the "spiritually superficial" are the false teachers who hide behind religious titles and positions even within the church. They are the ones who would bind human laws as if they were divinely given. They are the ones who would strain at a legalism and swallow a false doctrine that promotes perfect performance over passionate surrender. Yes, false teachers can even be found within the church. The legalist likes to point to the liberal and the liberal does the same for the legalist. But, in truth, they are both impostors of the messenger of God.
So, who is the true messenger of God?
Find the person who struggles, but never gives up. Find the one who speaks with a powerful tongue, but loves with the heart of a servant. Find the one whose life journey demonstrates a God-given purpose. Find the one who always puts the undiluted Word of God ahead of their own opinion or worldly comforts. Find the one who inspires repentance, change, and spiritual growth. Find that person and you will have found a messenger of God.
For far too long, the church has suffered under the heavy hand of the leaders who deflect the blessing of God by pursuing their own self-serving agendas. They have poisoned the water with self-fulfilling doctrines and have given millions of listeners false hope with their half truths about the salvation process. In order to communicate with Heaven that we have learned our lesson and we appreciate this momentary reprieve, we must drain the swamp.
Missed the first lesson in this study? Check it out!
The Best Thing We Can Do for America is Cleanse the Church!: "Illegal Aliens Among the Church"
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