Joseph Herrin (03-12-09)
I received the following in response to the recent post titled No More Peace:
I have to say that I both agree and disagree with you. First, you are right that God has not changed and that judgment begins in the house of God. Indeed, anyone who really walks with God has experienced the personal chastisements of sons which is God judging us in our individual lives.
You are right that we live in a generation that has down played this attribute of God for the prosperity gospel or the gospel of saccharine love. And perhaps the 4 horsemen of Revelations has begun already.
However, there is no reason to assume that the judgment of God on this pastor occurred with his murder. The God who prohibits murder does not commit murder Himself.
We have already witnessed the judgment of God on the famous leaders of the church. Jimmy Swaggart, Jim and Tammy Baker, Robert Tilton all have been judged by God. But the Lord's judgment was not to murder them, but to bring economic ruin and national disgrace upon them.
It is true that Ananais and Saphira died in the book of Acts as a judgment of God, but no human hand was used in their death. How does God get glory using a murderer? Many believed that Hurricane Katrina was God's judgment on New Orleans, but I disagree. But Katrina clearly is not the hand of a human, and if it was God's judgment, people can more easily see that as judgment than a murderer.
I do commend you in stating that which is contrary to popular church opinion. God is still a God of judgment as much as He is a God of love, for His character not only can not change, but it is undivided. But I can agree with you that this man was the judgment of God on this congregation and pastor. More likely this is an attack of a demonic spirit seeking weak prey.
The person writing these comments appears sincere in expressing these thoughts, and his questions deserve a thoughtful reply. The writer has raised a topic that is upon the minds of many. Does God use evil men to discipline His people? Will God give His sons and daughters over into the hands of murderers and despots when they transgress against Him?
Yahweh has raised up both vessels of wrath and vessels of glory. He has formed vessels of honor and vessels of dishonor. He is sovereign over all, and nothing exists outside of His will, and even the evil actions of men and angels are turned to His purposes. We see this truth revealed in the following words.
"Men of Israel, listen to these words: Yahshua the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know - this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”
In these words of Peter, who was speaking by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we find a profound truth revealed. Yahweh uses “godless men” to accomplish His plans. At times the actions of these godless men are exceedingly evil. Yahweh uses vessels of wrath to accomplish those things which He has determined to carry out.
We could get into a discussion of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, but I do not think it is necessary to the resolution of the questions that have been raised. At times, it is sufficient to merely observe that God does indeed work in a certain way, and man must accept that which Yahweh reveals about Himself and His work among mankind.
Consider for a moment the manner in which God repeatedly judged His people Israel. He did not always choose to discipline them with things which all the world would recognize as “acts of God.” He could have done so, even as He destroyed Egypt with the ten plagues. The most common method Yahweh used to judge His people was handing them over to wicked men.
II Kings 8:11-13
And [Elisha] fixed his gaze steadily on him until he was ashamed, and the man of God wept. And Hazael said, "Why does my lord weep?" Then he answered, "Because I know the evil that you will do to the sons of Israel: their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword, and their little ones you will dash in pieces, and their women with child you will rip up." Then Hazael said, "But what is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" And Elisha answered, "Yahweh has shown me that you will be king over Aram."
What is witnessed here reveals once more a sobering truth. God appoints wicked men as His instruments of chastisement and judgment to His people. Yahweh had previously appeared to Elijah and told him to anoint Hazael king of Aram.
I Kings 19:15-16
And Yahweh said to him, "Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.”
In the same moment that Yahweh revealed who Elijah’s successor was to be, He also revealed other appointments He had determined. Elisha was clearly destined to be a vessel of honor. But God does not merely anoint vessels for honor. He also anoints vessels for dishonor.
We should understand clearly what the anointing of God is. The anointing is the power of God to accomplish His will. God signified by pouring oil over the head of an individual that they were being chosen and empowered by Him to accomplish a specific purpose for which they had been created. This purpose often involved great tragedy and suffering, and this was surely the case with Hazael. Hazael was an ungodly man. He was very cruel, yet the sins of the people of God cried out for severe judgment. Therefore, Yahweh gave His people into the hands of those who were cruel.
A rebellious man seeks only evil, so a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Thus says Yahweh, "Behold, a people is coming from the north land, and a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth. They seize bow and spear; they are cruel and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, arrayed as a man for the battle against you, O daughter of Zion!"
Yahweh has been testifying that the horsemen are coming. Yahweh is very patient with His people, but He will not be mocked. Those who are often disciplined and harden their necks against Him will be suddenly cut off, and there will be no remedy. The churches of God have been such stubborn children. The ministers have acted wickedly. They have led the sheep of Christ’s flock astray. They have led them beside polluted waters to drink. They have not protected them from the savage wolves that would come in among them to devour the flock. Indeed, many of these ministers have been wolves in sheep’s clothing.
"I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”
The news reported that Fred Winters became head minister of FBC Maryville in 1987 with less than 40 members in attendance. Twenty-two years later the church had a membership of 1200 and was conducting three services every Sunday morning in its sanctuary that seated a thousand people. Fred Winters clearly had drawn many disciples after him. Was he leading people to an intimate relationship with Christ, or was he speaking perverse things, leaving men and women in bondage to the flesh, even encouraging an endless pursuit of selfish activity, pleasure and feasting? The calendar of events at the church reveals the answer, as does the appointment of a Minister of Recreation, the construction of a myriad of sport and entertainment venues, and the mixing of pleasure with every so-called Christian activity.
A sister in Christ pointed out to me that the last name of this minister is equally prophetic. Winter is a barren and fruitless season, and this church that boasted of how mightily God had prospered and blessed them was devoid of fruit that pleases the Father. Where was a focus on crucifying the flesh? Where was evidence of a life overcoming sin, Satan and the world? Where was a burden for the lost, the perishing, the homeless, the widow and the orphan? The church had scheduled feasting rather than fasting. They were focused upon satiating their own appetite for amusement and entertainment rather than satisfying God’s desire to have mature sons and daughters in His image, the image of Christ who is called the suffering servant. It is He who laid down His life for others, and He declared that all who would be His disciples must hate their own lives.
The churches today do not proclaim a message of seeking the will and pleasure of the Father above all things. They are seeker-sensitive. They are politically correct. They pander to the flesh in order to boost attendance, and as a result they leave men and women in bondage to the flesh. Yesterday Michael Boldea wrote a very insightful piece on his blog, which I will quote:
Imagine if you will, feeling unwell and going to your doctor who promptly offers you a haircut. Imagine if you will, being hungry and walking into a restaurant only to find that they served no food, but rather only sold doorknobs. Would you ever go back to that doctor or that restaurant?
How is it that the church today is advertising Christ by its very existence, but only offering entertainment, workshops on financial planning, or lessons on self-esteem? Can the church, as we know it today survive? Should it survive?
One can only go to a certain place for a certain thing so many times and leave empty handed before he or she is disillusioned, distraught, and in frustration throws their hands up in defeat. When will we realize that what has become of the modern day church is a mockery, not even a shadow of what it ought to be? When will we realize that God will call us to account for our wasted potential, for our skirting of responsibility, for the absence of accountability, and our callous willingness to merely watch countless souls marching toward eternal perdition?
Last week my wife sent me to the store to get some chicken breast. I decided to drive the extra couple miles and shop at the local super bulk warehouse where you can get a twenty-pound can of corn, or a thirty-pound bag of pinto beans. I began walking down the endless isles, pushing a squeaky cart, and started seeing a lot of items I never knew I needed. The first thing to draw my attention was an oddly inviting pair of mustard colored overalls, quickly followed by an industrial paper shredder, something called a Magic Bullet, and the list goes on. I didn’t buy everything I listed above, but I am embarrassed to admit I am now the not so proud owner of a brand spanking new pair of mustard colored overalls.
It took me a little longer than I anticipated to finish my shopping, and as I arrived home with two bags of stuff I didn’t know I needed, and quite honestly didn’t really need, at least in hindsight, my wife simply asks, ‘where’s my chicken?’
You guessed it; looking through the warehouse full of stuff I forgot the reason I was there in the first place. I forgot to buy the chicken.
I relay the preceding story to make a point. Many people today go to church, they sit through the service, the hear the choir sing and the pastor preach, and only when they are alone, away from the excitement of it all do they begin to realize that they are missing something. More and more people today are beginning to ask the question, ‘where’s Jesus?’ It was Jesus I was going to church for, it was Jesus I wanted to meet, to know, to fellowship with and to build a relationship with, but here I am two hours later, with a head full of stuff I didn’t really need, and lacking the one thing that I can’t do without.
I say the following as frankly and forthrightly as I am able, already knowing that some will perceive it wrongfully, and accuse me of being unloving, unmerciful, unkind and ungracious. If the church does not get back on message, if the church does not return to it’s foundation which is Christ and Christ alone, it will not only fall apart from within, but will have no one to blame but itself for not having the strength and boldness to stand for truth when it will count. We are not merely asleep, we are dying, every strength every spark of life leeching out of us with every compromise, with every deviance from the truth, and with every omission of the name Jesus for fear of offending those hearing. Not only will we suffer the fury of the godless in this nation, but we will suffer the wrath and judgment of God, for judgment begins in His house, and with His children first and foremost.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
Yahweh will hold the shepherds responsible for the manner in which they have shepherded His people. Yahweh was so intent on destroying the works of Satan and delivering mankind from their bondage to the sinful flesh that He sent His own beloved Son to endure suffering and experience death on a Roman cross. How do you suppose He views ministers who have turned the good news of Christ into an opportunity for the flesh? Is He not justified in bringing swift and severe judgment to those who are speaking perverse things, who are trampling upon the blood of Christ, and treating with contempt the Holy Spirit who is earnestly desiring to see the burden of Christ formed in the hearts of God’s children?
Listen to the words of Paul:
II Corinthians 5:10-11
For we must all appear and be revealed as we are before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive [his pay] according to what he has done in the body, whether good or evil [considering what his purpose and motive have been, and what he has achieved, been busy with, and given himself and his attention to accomplishing]. Therefore, being conscious of fearing the Lord with respect and reverence, we seek to win people over [to persuade them]. But what sort of persons we are is plainly recognized and thoroughly understood by God...
James also expressed a similar intense focus upon the burden of Christ.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith; praying in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Yahshua Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting; save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.
The early church was filled with ministers who were sober minded. They were willing to endure suffering as a good soldier of Christ. They willing embraced hardship and deprivation. They expected suffering to be a part of life that they might be qualified to partake of unspeakable glory in the age to come.
I Peter 4:13
But rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
Yahweh perceives that the ministers of ease and comfort, the preachers of perverse things that are leading His people to an endless pursuit of pleasure, are robbing His sons and daughters of that glory that would have been theirs. By leading them to a life of ease now, they are forfeiting a future glory that is simply staggering to comprehend. Crowns are being cast away on frivolity. The people of God are trading an imperishable inheritance for a bowl of pottage, and regarding those who make such trades we have the testimony of God.
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
God is truly justified to judge severely those ministers who have led His people astray. Judgment is at the door. It will come as swiftly as it did Sunday morning at FBC Maryville. An unsuspecting people will be shattered as they observe Yahweh executing swift judgment before their eyes. They will jump out of their comfortable pews in horror, and their festive mood will be turned to sorrow and mourning.
Yahweh has ever used evil men to judge His people. What will be observed in this hour is that the hedge of protection is removed. Satan will be given a free hand to enter into evil men even as he entered into Judas on the night the Lord was betrayed. Terrible things will be observed, for the people of God and their appointed ministers have not loved the truth. God has therefore given many over to delusion that they might believe a lie.
Let me close this writing by inviting you to consider the following words of God.
“Shall I not punish these people?” declares Yahweh, “On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself? An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule on their own authority; and My people love it so! But what will you do at the end of it?”
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