A Call To Arms

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, his work among them was being ridiculed by “some…who think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.” (2 Cor. 10:2)  Because these people were still walking (living) according to their flesh nature, which Paul wrote elsewhere was “enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7), they could not conceive of any other possible way of living, not even for Paul who had carried on the work of God in their midst for years.  Paul went on to say, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.  We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:3-5)

When we couple this thought with what Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12) and what he had already told the Corinthians, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14), we have a picture of the warfare that God calls us to – a spiritual warfare that consists of wrestling against evil demonic beings and using spiritually discerned truth to bring our own thoughts and the thoughts and beliefs of others into obedience to the truths of Christ.  Because there is no neutral ground, every action we take that is not spiritually oriented in Christ becomes an act of warfare against Christ and God.  This ought to be sobering indeed.

The “church” is built upon carnality.  Nicolaitan overlords and their followers practicing sectarian division, lawlessness (doing what is right in one’s own eyes – Jdgs. 21:25), envy, and self-seeking – all this and more are the building blocks with which the “church” is assembled.  “Theology” is learned and taught, not at the leading of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:26, 16:13), but according to the “theologies” and “doctrines” of men and denominations (heresies – Gal. 5:20) and the tradition of men makes the Word of God, the Spirit of truth (Eph. 6:17) of no effect among the people of God.

Paul wrote, “Love never does a wrong to one’s neighbor; so love is the perfect satisfaction of the law.  And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.  The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand.  Let us therefore lay aside the deeds of darkness, and put on the armor of light.  Let us behave (walk) properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.” (Rom. 13:10-14)

As the battle cry sounds forth, we must know what our weapons are and what they are not.  The one who brings only natural abilities to the battlefield is on the wrong side of the war.  The one who has not endured the training necessary to conduct spiritual warfare is a casualty waiting to happen.  The one who has humbly bowed before the King of truth and allowed Him to mold and shape His warrior is the one who will still be standing when the battle is done.

The Old Testament records this event:

Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control – for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies – then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!”  And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him.  And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’”  So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day.  Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord – for every man has been against his son and against his brother – in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.” (Ex. 32:25-29)

As we seek to apply this – especially in the atmosphere of rampant religious violence perpetrated by zealous fanatics – let us be abundantly clear that no true follower of Christ can physically take up arms against Christians or even non-Christians and rightly claim to have God’s blessings and approval.  Our weapons are not the weapons of this world, our enemies are not human beings and this is not how God spiritually purifies His body!  Jesus commanded His true followers, “I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt. 5:44) and the Revelation warns us, “If anyone leads into captivity, to captivity he goes; if any one kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.  Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.” (Rev. 13:10)  Those who fail to heed the warnings about using this world’s weapons are destined to experience them – from the other end!

Yet we must also remember that Jesus warned His disciples, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword.  For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’” (Mt. 10:34-36)  Make no mistake – as we learn to wield the spiritual weapons of Christ, we will bring about enmity.  As John wrote, “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” (Jn. 3:20)  As our light exposes darkness, some will react with the carnal weapons of this world and will rise up and kill the true followers of Christ thinking they are thereby serving God.  This is the unavoidable nature of the warfare into which we have been plunged.  Anyone who would remain on the Lord’s side throughout the battle must be prepared to stand against the demands of his own flesh and blood even as he refuses to fight against them with the fleshly weapons of this world.

Paul wrote, “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may become blameless and innocent children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life.” (Phlp. 2:14-16)  He also wrote, “The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” (2 Tim. 2:24-26)  And Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (Jn. 10:27)  These are the responsibilities that is upon everyone who intends to be saved when all the warfare is finished.  Since the “church” promotes, intentionally or otherwise, a virtually responsibility-free gospel, the truth is much less popular than is the “church’s” so-called “kingdom of grace” deceptions that scratch and tickle ears.

War in this world is all out, kill or be killed, or, as one observer aptly said, “organized murder.”  And there are applications of this attitude that we could emulate in our war against the evil, spiritual beings who manipulate and mastermind the war of Satan against God.  It is certain that our enemy is much more committed to all-out warfare than are those who call themselves “Christians”!  But overall we do not need to practice any kind of desperate warfare.  In truth, we are not desperate.  We face a foe who has been defeated but who has not yet surrendered (nor will he ever surrender; he must be overcome yet again in the lives of the end time saints – Rev. 12:11 – and then he will be captured and imprisoned – Rev. 20:1-3 – but he will never voluntarily surrender as after having been imprisoned for a thousand years he is released and rises up in war against God again. – Rev. 20:7-8)  But even now we stand in a position of strength and greater resources than our enemy although, if we can only see with our natural eyes, we would seem to be completely outgunned, outclassed, outnumberd and outmatched.  Only when we have spiritual eyes will we see the armies of the Lord that so vastly outnumber and overwhelmingly hold the superior position over the enemy who has already been imprisoned on this planet so as to limit his corruption among the creation and who has already experienced having all of his powers undone at the cross of Christ.

The trumpets are sounding – the cry to advance the cause of the Lord is going forth.  Let us shake off every tradition of men and teaching of demon that would hinder us from being on the Lord’s side and taking up His armor and weapons of light, love, truth and righteousness.  “Let us purify ourselves of every filth of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (2 Cor. 7:1)  Let us rise up with holy fervor and pray mightily against the spiritual forces of deception and darkness which plague our world.  Let us serve our fellow human beings with love and compassion as we speak the truth that Christ alone is the solution to our world’s problems.

This is the call to arms that is ringing out.  This is our battle cry!

Let he who has ears hear.

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Why Do We Meet

In one of the few places where the KJV actually uses the word “assembly” (instead of “church”) to translate the Greek word ekklesia [1577], Luke records, “Some [of those who had rushed into the theater] therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly (ekklesia) was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.” (Acts 19:32)  Demetrius the silversmith had stirred up the people and gathered the assembly to discuss what to do with Paul and the Christians (Acts 19:24-29) and the assembly was so confused that most of them did not even know why they had gathered.  This is a perfect picture of the modern “church.”  Few, if any, seem to remember or even know what the mission of the genuine ekklesia is.

Put simply, the ekklesia is to be spiritually able and equipped to attend to the issues and affairs of Christ’s kingdom of light.  Thus, when we come together, the key item on the agenda is not to have a time of worship or to hold a Bible study or to hear a “sermon” that titillates our ears (2 Tim. 4:3-4) but rather to, in some real way, further the kingdom of God in our midst.  In practical terms, the ekklesia then should be focusing on:

 

  • Hearing and doing the wishes and commands of the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. (Eph. 1:22, etc.)  The kingdom of God comes into our midst when we obey Christ and God through the leading of His Spirit. (Mt. 6:10, Rom. 8:14, etc.)  Until the Lord is truly the Lord over any assembly, there is no possibility of furthering the kingdom of God.  As valuable as corporate worship, Bible studies and spiritual messages may be, if they replace the headship of Christ over the assembly, they are out of order.  He alone is to be the Administrator (Greek leitourgos [3011] director, “liturgy”) of the work performed in the sanctuary that is His people. (Heb. 8:2)

 

  • Producing viable citizens for Christ’s kingdom. Discipleship is virtually a lost art in today’s apostate environment but it is a requirement for any kingdom that its citizens be taught to practice good citizenship according to its laws and ways.  In Christ’s kingdom, the primary characteristics are called “the fruit of the Spirit” and they violate the law of no man’s land. (Gal. 5:22-23)  These are produced, not by adherence to any list of do-s and don’t-s, but by learning to individually hear and obey the Lord.  “My sheep hear My voice,” the Lord said, “and I know them, and they follow Me.” (Jn. 10:27)  Those who do not hear His voice and do not follow and obey Him have no right to claim Him as either Lord or Savior!

 

  • Meeting the needs of the people of Christ’s kingdom and even of this world. As any assembly practices the headship of Christ Jesus over their activities and as citizens of His kingdom are better equipped and prepared to shine light in their dark worlds, the needs of the people of the assembly and those they interact with will need to be addressed.

 

Peter wrote, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.  If anyone serves, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” (1 Pet. 4:10-11)  There are two kinds of gifting in view here – speaking and serving – and they are both vitally necessary for a healthy expression of the way of following Christ and God.  Yet, the “church” meeting format caters almost exclusively to the speakers and virtually excludes the operation of those who are gifted primarily to serve.  Service (actual work, productivity) in the kingdom of God is almost impossible to do at a meeting and it is in this light that meetings can rob the people and divert them from their mission to hear and obey God, disciple others and meet real needs.

These three things are the lost mission of the ekklesia.  Too many think or act as if the whole purpose of assembling is to sing songs or to talk about the Bible or even just to have meetings so that we may know who each other are.  Even the world’s business community knows that having too many meetings is counter-productive to actually getting any work done and that when meetings over-shadow productivity, the business is headed toward a disastrous end.  The “church” is in its present straits because it has forsaken the true Head and has settled into a tradition of holding dead meetings that produce nothing of the spiritual life of Christ and which meet no real needs of the people who attend the meetings.  What little of Christ is experienced in most “church” meetings is not a function of the “church’s” methodology but a testimony of the transcendence of God who will meet anyone who sincerely and diligently seeks Him in whatever environment he or she is in.

When we learn again to “minister to the Lord” (Acts 13:2, etc.) in the sanctuary of His people (and not in the abominable “sanctuary” of the “church” building that is patterned after the judgment halls, “basilicas,” of the Roman empire), then we will see the kingdom of God flourishing in our midst.  Until such time, we will continue to witness and experience the apostasy, the great falling away from the faith that must be called churchianity. (2 Ths. 2:3, Mt. 24:10)  Those who would “shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Mt. 13:43) must be true sons of the kingdom intent upon furthering their Father’s kingdom and cannot be mere “church”-ites confused as to why they have gathered together, thinking they have assembled to satisfy some purpose or agenda of their own.  To further the kingdom of God in our midst is the real mission of the genuine ekklesia – all else is simply some man’s or some demon’s deceptive “church.”  The time to choose which entity – the kingdom of God or this world – to which we will belong, is now.

Let he who has ears hear.

God’s Order

Paul wrote, “God is not a God of disorder but of order.” (1 Cor. 14:33)  From this truth some have drawn the conclusion that anyone who promotes disorder speaks a word from the devil and the demonic.  As an example of God’s order, these will point to creation, such as a tree, and emphasize how it grows, how it is ordered and structured out to its furthest limb, twig and leaf.  These then go on to infer that anyone who speaks against the “church” structure, with its buildings, clergy, religious practices, doctrines and theologies is therefore promoting disorder and may be summarily dismissed as one speaking only a word from the devil and the demonic.

Yet this example comes up very short from the reality of the “church.”  Men have seen God’s “tree,” lopped off branches and replaced them with boards, pipes, wires, car parts or any other man-made or even demonic thing.  They have dug around the roots to give them air and watered the tree with sugar water or bleach, depending on their own peculiar bent and tastes in life.  And then men call this “God’s order” for His people.  Along comes someone who speaks against the boards, pipes, wires and all the other man-made or demonically-invented abominations and, for his efforts, gets labeled as one promoting disorder.  The truth is that anyone who places any man-made or demonic addition onto God’s “tree” is the one who is promoting and practicing disorder.  But since God’s order is only visible to the spiritually mature and since one who is called to speak about such things faces tremendous challenges and great opposition, this fact remains unavailable to the immature, carnal, abominable, apostate “church” even as every heart that truly seeks Christ knows these things to be true.

God is a God of order.  His order is that He has placed Christ as Head (King, Absolute Monarch and Ruler) over all things for His ekklesia – His people called out of this world’s darkness to be citizens and even family who attend to the issues and affairs of His kingdom of light, love, truth and goodness. (Eph. 1:22)  Anyone who does not have Christ as his or her true and literal King but instead follows man-made or demonically-induced doctrines or “theology,” who takes upon him or herself labels that seem to come from the Bible but in reality come from the authority structures that men have created in the name of Christ and God – no matter how much that one seems to operate and move in the Spirit of God – is impure and not entirely working for the kingdom of Christ and God.  In truth, he may work more for the kingdoms of darkness, death and deception than he does for the kingdom of God.  Anyone who clings to the manmade additions will find in the day when God removes these things from His “tree” that they have a very serious choice to make.

The presence of the dual streams of power (divine and demonic) that operate in the lives of so many who claim to follow Christ has long been overlooked because the “church” provides a place where the “pastor” can hide behind the pulpit and project forth an aura of infallibility and spiritual expertise that is not the reality of his or her life.  And the people sit quietly in their pews or chairs listening to a Bible lecture (“sermon” or “study”), briefly rub shoulders with one another and call that “fellowship,” never demonstrating the desperate and often demonized realities of their life to one another.  This modern aberration called “church” – especially the mega-“church” – is not God’s order but is instead a conglomeration of man-made traditions and demonic teachings grafted onto the way of following Christ and God.

The man or woman who, like Christ, is careful to speak against the human traditions (Mt. 15:3) and the demonic teachings (1 Tim. 4:1) while simultaneously cultivating the original structure and way of Christ under the leading of His Spirit of truth and holiness is not speaking from the demonic anymore than Christ was.  Any leader who labels the one who is being led by God’s Spirit to speak against man’s order of things as demonized is coming perilously close to the sin that Jesus said would not be forgiven, the blasphemy against the Spirit of God. (Mk. 3:29-30)  We have looked upon the grotesque additions of men to the things of God without spiritual understanding for so long that we, like the Pharisees of old, have powerful positions to protect and maintain and we will do so at the expense of even the lives of the sheep of God.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.  For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap death, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” (Gal. 6:7)  This – one’s life genuinely lived in and by His Spirit, both individually and corporately, with Christ as the literal and true King – is God’s order.  Anything else is mere deception, fraud and counterfeit of the true way of following Christ and God.

The word of the Lord especially for this time and season is:  “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” (Rev. 22:11)  God knows those who are His (2 Tim. 2:19) and may we not grow weary in our fight and work in His kingdom of light, love, truth and goodness. (Gal. 6:9)  Because of the precious promises God has given us, let us indeed purify ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord! (2 Cor. 7:1)

Let he who has ears hear.