As I write this, the Biden administration has just announced its intentions to force all public schools to recognize transgender athletes.
What has happened to us?
John 10:12 (ESV) He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, … sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them.
Acts 20:29-30 (ESV) I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30 and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
When shepherds become distracted by the personal convenience of avoiding controversy (wolf attacks), they actually become cowardly wolves themselves. God did not call elders into a position of authority so they would guard their nostalgic priorities, He called them to a position of inconvenient servanthood to guard His flock.
Nowhere can the dereliction of duty be seen more clearly than in the neglect of the Christian home. From abandoning our children to the PUBLIC school system, to shaming full-time homemakers by championing those who reject the COMMAND of Titus 2:4-5, wolving shepherds have put the convenience of culture’s priorities ahead of their assignment to protect the flock. It’s time for shepherds to either repent and grow a backbone, or be forced to remove their fangs from the throats of the flock.
Step One: Weep
We must fall on our faces and repent of what the church has become on our watch - unqualified elders, untrained heads of the home, epidemic loss of children when they graduate from high school, rarely used materialistic structures, spectator religious venues, etc.
Step Two: Train
We must begin NOW to train young men and women to aspire to their God-given roles within the home (Titus 2:1-6). Shepherds MUST give young people the tools to establish their own home church context instead of selfishly viewing home church as a threat to their own authority.
Step Three: Downsize
It’s time to sell those buildings which trap God’s money in a structure which sits empty for the majority of the week. Imagine the good that could come if we, like the church leaders of Acts 6, invested God’s money in the needs of His people. How many seeds of revival could we plant if we found a way to reinvest God’s money into the lives of young couples who are struggling to establish and maintain their own holy homesteading?
Step Four: Upsize
Organize the church into the New Testament design of home churches (Acts 2:42-47, 5:42, 10:24-48, 12:12, 16:15, 31-34, 40, 18:7, 26, 20:20, 28:30; Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1:2, etc.)
Consider this, in Acts 2:41, we learn that the Jerusalem church had over 3,000 members. In Acts 2:46, we discover that those 3,000 members were meeting daily in homes. Conclusion: Since we know that a single house could not host all 3,000, we must conclude that there were multiple home churches meeting throughout Jerusalem. When Scripture refers to the elders of Jerusalem (Acts 15:4), it surely must be referring to qualified men from each of the many home churches meeting within the city.
Note: In spite of the early church leaders being prolific fundraisers, there is not a single New Testament inference that they ever raised money for a building. On the other hand, there are repeated references to them raising money to meet the financial needs of the people. What if we sold our vanity buildings and reinvested the money into young couples who are struggling to establish a holy homestead?
Step Five: Man Up!
When shepherds are cowards, the flock becomes cowardly.
In Ezra 10, God’s people took the very difficult, very controversial step of separating themselves from the conveniences of cultural norms. They renounced their connections to the world around them, and courageously accepted the challenge to sacrificially become the called out.
The church desperately needs another Ezra moment!
Your second block of text...