Monday, January 2, 2017

Take Charge of Your Faith

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He is faithful that promised; (Hebrews 10:23 KJV).

Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward (2 John 1:8 NKJV).

As a Ministry we would like to extend our warm and Peaceful New Year Greetings to all our fellow brethren and visitors to this website. We are looking forward to continue sharing the unadulterated Word of the Lord with you. There are some exciting messages to look forward to, and we hope to share a 2009 end time vision the Lord gave Brother Glenn which we may share publicly.

Our article for this week, we are reposting an earlier article and we pray that it be a blessing to you, as we prepare to serve you fully in the course of this year. Now, we often hear people saying, "I am going to my husband’s (or wife’s) church in order to keep the peace at home." How noble this sounds! The question we should ask in return is this: How genuine is your faith and relationship with God? Do you have the kind of faith that is flexible in order to tolerate and accommodate everyone’s feelings or wishes, without regard for God’s ways? (Colossians 1:10). If we genuinely examine ourselves in regard to our faith, and in the light of the Scriptures, our response should lead us to recommit ourselves to the Lord (2 Corinthians 13:5). It is true that quite often, pressure from our peers and others may lead us to compromise willingly in exchange for receiving favor and acceptance. However, when we compromise, do we consider how far we drive God from us? Do we please Him? A truly mature, Bible-reading and Bible-practicing Christian would always regard Scriptural guidance and purity of faith as areas of no compromise against the wishes of people. Wouldn't you rather disobey man in order to please God? (Acts 5:29). Otherwise, isn't obeying man at the expense of our relationship with God an act of living a compromised faith, a useless faith that will result in us losing "those things we worked for" (2 John 1:8), which is eternal life? (Romans 2:7).

Controlling the Faith of Others is Displeasing to Christ

The Lord has repeatedly warned a sister in our ministry not to follow the ungodly guidance of her husband. Let us be honest about this: an unsaved and worldly husband or wife cannot provide spiritual guidance or dictate matters of faith to a born-again and Holy Spirit-led Christian. The sword of the Lord, which brings conflict and division between light and darkness, between the followers of Christ and the followers of Satan, can also bring conflict between members of the same family, and it will prevail in favor of our righteousness, faith, conviction and commitment to the Lord (Matthew 10:34-38). We should, therefore, be prepared to embrace hostility, opposition, and abuse because of our union with Christ (Matthew 10:22). The Bible encourages us that it is better to suffer as a consequence of our faith than for wrong living (1 Peter 4:16).

We’ve had a strong-willed sister in our ministry who was in the habit of controlling the weaker and new babes in Christ. She would provide some of these new Christians with unscriptural guidance which affected their faith and life in the Lord. This situation became very displeasing to the Lord and this led Him to issue strong rebukes to both the new Christian brethren and the controlling sister. In these rebukes, the Lord freed the weaker Christians from the influence of the stronger Christian who used her knowledge of the Scriptures to cause the new Christians to stumble. In other words, the Lord’s rebuke focused on helping the new Christian sisters look to Scriptural guidance more than following the lead and bad example of the more seasoned but corrupt Christian.

I would like to point out from a Scriptural position that no one, not even a pastor, prophet or an apostle, has been given ‘power’ over the faith or life of another Christian. We find no such authority given in the Bible! Instead, what we are given is the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit to influence and empower us to teach, rebuke and correct ourselves and others while allowing them to live by their convictions as they grow in the grace of Christ (1 Timothy 3:16; Galatians 5:16-18).

Furthermore, the Bible also clearly warns not to lord ourselves over the flock (1 Peter 5:2), but to willingly serve (Luke 22:25-26). We are encouraged to preach, teach and lead by example in accordance with our blameless convictions (2 Timothy 4:2). As we know, a minister of the gospel is only anointed and clothed with authority to speak the Word of God in the name of the Lord and to exercise authority over demons (Luke 10:1-23; Jeremiah 1:9). Therefore, as we speak the Word of God, people may respond to God in submission and obedience (Jeremiah 42:6).

Should we Obey our Leaders in Christ?

The Bible says, Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17 KJV). As we shared in our message on The Love of Money, the Lord taught us that this does not give a minister of the gospel a lifetime authority over our salvation; it is only “… until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature…” (Ephesians 4:12-13). We do not remain infants forever, but we must keep learning God’s ways to avoid error and start bearing fruit (Ephesians 4:14-16; 1 Peter 2:2).

Another verse says, “And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves” (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV).

Now, as we can see in the preceding Bible verses, their authority is their work for God, which is the preaching of the Word. In other words, the guidance we should expect from them should be in accordance with the Word of God, and thus, we must submit. Some Church leaders and those who idolize them often invoke and misinterpret Bible verses such as "touch not my anointed..." (1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalm 105:15) in order to exert their influence on the flock. The Word of God teaches us that we must also study the Bible and seek the Lord on our own and discern if the teachings we are receiving are consistent with what the Bible says (Matthew 6:6; Acts 17:11).

Therefore, if leaders want to use their authority to control us to their advantage and mislead us, we are Scripturally empowered to resist and follow Scriptural counsel (Acts 5:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). In addition, when we submit to church leadership, we are showing respect and this is a proper Christian attitude (Romans 13:7). However, a Christian leader is not allowed to dictate and control the lives of those under his authority (1 Peter 5:2).

Ministry Workers are Ordained and Appointed by Christ

No Christian leader, no matter how famous and well anointed he/she appears or claims, is allowed to discourage others from witnessing as an individual or in a group. The call to do ministry work is from God and not from men (Acts 13:2; Galatians 1:15; Luke 4:18). I do know of pastors who discourages some of their flock from witnessing as individuals. The Lord did not teach us that way, instead He encouraged me and others never to neglect witnessing as individual's to our friends, people in general, our colleagues and our family members daily.  As it is, the gospel message is urgent, because people are dying so it must happen daily (2 Timothy 4:2; 2 Corinthians 6:2). In August 2014, the Lord sharply rebuked a brother for following the unscriptural lead of a sister in the Lord who deceived him by saying that the Lord said he had done enough for the Lord and he should not witness. In a shocking vision to serve as a warning to the brother, the Lord exposed the lies the sister lived and spoke in His name (for details, refer to the Lying in Jesus’ Name article). Also, a few years ago when the Lord called me and my wife into the ministry, our former pastor wanted to let us know that he has the authority to appoint church leaders for ministry work. However, the Lord said church leaders are only allowed to Scripturally counsel and pray for the flock, but He alone calls, appoints and ordains leaders for ministry work in His body (1 Corinthians 12:5; Matthew 4:18-22).

There are many people who are unable to recognize the calling of God upon their lives. I have had people asking me how you know God has called you for ministry work, some even had us ask the Lord for them, and sadly, the Lord rebuked many of them for their lack of faith. Some of these people have a genuine desire to do the work of the Lord, but they are lazy to pray and fast. Additionally, when the Lord commanded many of them to witness to their own families, friends, and colleagues, they felt our message was not from God and that they were called into the formal offices like pastors, teachers, evangelist, etc. These position seekers fail to recall that no New or Old Testament prophet or apostle of the Lord ever regarded ministry work as an indoor affair. In fact, God sent them to public places and into the streets where the masses of people were (Matthew 22:9). The current perception that the work of sharing the gospel should only be carried out from the pulpit or by "professional" Christians (those who have been formally trained/anointed/ordained/appointed) coupled with the institutionalization of the church have blinded and hindered the zeal of some Christians to win souls. As an encouragement to you, when I was formally employed, the Lord told me to take tracts with me to work and give to people that I met. I would hand out tracts to people on my way to and from work, including sharing with my colleagues. Our ministry members also do this whenever they are out grocery shopping, at the park, the post office, at the museum, or whatever errands they may be running, and we strongly encourage you to do the same (Acts 8:4). The gospel message, which is being rejected and despised by the world, still has relevance. It is our duty as Christians to preach the Word and make it attractive to others through our godly living.

In conclusion, have you been wrongly controlling other's faith or allowing yourself to be controlled by others while following unBiblical teachings of leaders? Do you want to be a minister of the gospel? If so, then Go to the streets (Matthew 22:10). It is where we and many of the apostles of old started and you will witness how God will elevate you and your work for Him. Have you been lazy to pray and ask the Lord to give you peace and clarity about His will for you regarding what He called you to do?  If so, please repent and take ownership of your faith and keep working on it.

To accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please pray this Prayer of Sincere Repentance. For any questions or comments about this article or our ministry, please contact us.

Blessed grace in faithful service to Christ,

Brother Glenn and Preparing for the Kingdom Ministry Team.