Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Invitation

Joseph Herrin (08-28-2011)


























The Father is showing me that a pattern is being played out among the body of Christ. If you were among those who attended any of the meetings the Father sent me out to speak at during the summer of 2010 as I traveled across America, I ask you to pay special attention. If you have listened to any of the audio messages from those meetings, or have been reading what the Father has been inviting His sons and daughters to enter into, then I ask you to please attend to what is declared here.

When I was sent to jail the first time in November of 2009, the Father began to speak to me of those things He would have me to do when I was released. He spoke to me two things in particular. Yahweh shared with me that He wanted me to put together a series of Bible Studies in newsletter format to share with men and women in prison. The second thing He spoke to me was that He was going to send me out across the nation to teach.

Yahweh fulfilled both of these things after my release. After I had spent a couple months working on the newsletters, the Father turned my attention to getting my van ready to take me across the nation. I removed the back seats and built a desk and a cabinet to hold a microwave. I replaced the old carpet, and did some mechanical work on the van to get it ready. I also began preparing computer presentations to use as a basis for teaching when I went across the country. About 5-6 months after I had been released from jail, the Father told me it was time to go.

Randy Simmons and I spent 4 months traveling. I taught at 15 different locations. Most of the meetings ran for three days. The meetings were mostly held in homes, and a message was proclaimed of the afflicted path that leads to life. The invitation was given to the saints to answer Christ’s call to yield their lives entirely to Him. Those in attendance were urged to surrender to go wherever Christ would lead them, and to do whatever He would ask them to do.

In one of the early meetings, the Spirit of Christ directed me to illustrate this invitation with the use of a decorated box that was in the home of our hosts. I took up this box and shared the following:

Yahweh has appointed to every child of His a specific life path that they must walk if they are to attain to the image of Christ, coming to spiritual maturity. If we would be “perfect” as our heavenly Father desires us to be, then we must yield our lives, and the path we would choose for ourselves, and we must accept that invitation He has given to us to follow Christ wherever He would lead.

Matthew 10:38-39
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it.”

As I held the small decorative box before those gathered in this home in Tennessee, I shared that inside the box was the life God had chosen for each individual. I emphasized that none of us were ever told what exactly was in the box, but we were given general guidelines to know what may be inside. Christ told those who would be His disciples to count the cost before committing to follow Him, and He outlined the things required of them.

Luke 14:33
“So therefore, no one of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.”

Luke 14:26-27
"If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”

I shared with those before me that in the box was the life God had chosen for them. This life would require the surrender of all things. All material possessions of this world must be surrendered to God, and every earthly relationship as well. I told the people that back in 1999 God had brought me to consider the cost of accepting His invitation to follow Him wherever He would lead. I wrestled with the invitation for weeks, but eventually yielded. The path has indeed been costly, but the grace of God has been abundant.

As I stood in front of each person gathered in that home, I asked them, “Will you accept the life and path God has chosen for you? Will you yield your life to take up your cross and follow Christ WHEREVER He would lead?” The presence of the Spirit was powerful at that moment, and there was weeping, and deep consideration among those gathered. This invitation became a part of the meetings at the subsequent places the Father led me to visit.

Yesterday, as I wrote the blog that was posted, the Spirit began testifying something to me. He directed me to share the following passage of Scripture.

Luke 14:16-23
But He said to him, "A certain man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited,' Come; for everything is ready now.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.' And another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.' And another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.' And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the slave said, 'Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

Yahweh showed me that the invitation He had me present in those meetings was identical to that which Christ describes above. The church today has been deceived in thinking that the invitation Christ gives is simply to believe certain things about Him. Christ’s invitation is far more costly. Christ’s invitation is to lay aside our earthly lives, those paths we have chosen for ourselves, that we might accept His invitation to come to the great marriage supper of the Lamb. None can enter in, but those who have been prepared. We can only be prepared as we follow the Lamb wherever He would lead us.

Matthew 22:11-14
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are called, but few are chosen."

The church today believes that Christ is inviting them to believe and confess certain things about Him. In truth, He is inviting them to something far greater, more demanding, and costly. He would have them come to His great supper, but all who come must first obtain garments worthy of attending. These garments are obtained ONLY as the saints lay down their lives and accept that life God has appointed for them. They must yield to follow wherever He leads, and do whatever He requires of them.

You can well understand now the excuses of those men whom Christ spoke of in this parable. Some men are engaged in business and a pursuit of the things of this world. They say, “I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.” Another states, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.” There are also those who have entered into relationships that hinder them from accepting Christ’s invitation to follow Him. These relationships can be as dear and close as that between a man and his wife. “And another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.'”

In 2010, Yahweh sent me around to visit with many people, and to describe to them the cost of discipleship. The invitation was given to accept Christ’s invitation. Some who heard, balked immediately. The words were barely spoken when the excuses began rolling forth. Others expressed a desire to follow Christ, but some of these have yet to follow-up on their stated intent. Others have halted between two opinions, unwilling to surrender their lives to Christ, yet afraid to refuse His invitation.

The Spirit has been speaking to me since yesterday that the hour is at hand when the invitation must now be given to others. It was expedient to give the invitation first to those who own possessions, who have intact relationships, and who hold some esteem in this world. Yet, when those answering the call of God proved to be too few to fill His banquet room, He has now turned to those whom the world and a worldly church have despised.

Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the slave said, 'Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.”

I am in correspondence with a number of men and women in this hour who are being brought into circumstances where they are having to choose whether they will yield to follow Christ fully, or to turn back. For all of them, going forward with Christ will prove very costly. Many are at this moment facing the loss of all worldly possessions, and the loss of relationship with those closest and most precious to them. Very few will embrace the cost. All will prove by their decisions whether they love their own lives more than they love Yahweh.

Matthew 16:25-28
"For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds. Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom."

I have taught previously that the words of Christ in the last sentence above are almost universally misunderstood by the church today. The prevailing teaching is that some of Christ’s disciples would not physically die until they saw Christ in His glory. Some erroneously proclaim that this was fulfilled when Christ appeared with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Such teaching fails to discern the “death” that Christ said His disciples must “taste.” The true understanding of Christ’s words is found in the context of this passage.

Matthew 16:24-26
Then Yahshua said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it.”

This is the death of which Christ speaks. It is the death of a disciple who accepts Christ’s invitation to take up the cross and follow Him. It is far easier to surrender one’s life once as a martyr, than to die daily out of a desire to follow Christ.

It was with sorrow and lamentation that Christ uttered the words, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who shall not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” Some would wait until it was too late. They would seek to save their lives, holding on to possessions and worldly relations, until the opportunity had passed them by to accept the invitation of the King to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb.

Many will be those who show up at the marriage supper saying, “I received an invitation,” but the Master of the house will say, “How did you come in here without a wedding garment? Bind him hand and foot and cast him into outer darkness. There will be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.”

I shared the invitation to surrender one’s life to groups of saints all across the nation last year. Precious few have accepted the call. The invitation was given to those with spiritual eyes to see, and with feet capable of accepting the invitation to follow Christ. Yet most of these would not come. Now, Yahweh is calling the blind and the lame. The invitation was given to men and women with worldly possessions, but their possessions stood in the way of them following Christ. Now He will turn to those who are the poor of the world, the homeless and destitute. He will search the highways and the byways, and He will fill his house.

I urge you, if you have been hearing the voice of the Spirit inviting you, do not hesitate any longer. The door is closing. The anger of the Lord is arising because His servants have gone out with the invitation and it has been spurned. The children of God have placed their earthly lives, possessions, and relationships above a desire to answer His call.

The Spirit would have you to walk in understanding of the hour in which you live. The Son of Man is soon to return. He is coming for a bride that has made herself ready, a bride that has been cleansed. This cleansing comes at a great cost. The white robes of righteousness must be purchased by laying down our lives daily, placing obedience to God over a desire to preserve the life our soul desires.

Revelation 7:13-17
And one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and from where have they come?" And I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes."

There is a path of tears to be walked, a trail of tribulation, but those who accept it will receive the wedding garments needed to stand in the presence of God. I am sensing the voice of the Spirit declaring to me, to Randy, and others at this hour that it is time to turn aside from those who were first invited, for the invitation has been given, and few received it. Now the blind and the crippled, the homeless and the prisoners, must be invited. Indeed, they must be compelled to come in that Yahweh’s banqueting house might be filled.


Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws    

Parables Blog: www.parablesblog.blogspot.com    

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herri
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

6 comments:

Roni said...

Although I never got the pleasure of attending one of your meetings, I have listened to some of the audio files.

I want to accept the invitation but I guess I am not sure (despite all that you have said here in the blog and on your audios) what that looks like for my life.

The Father will still allow 'who soever will' to accept the invitation, don't you believe? Even if they are not people from the 'highways and hedges'?

Are you able to give some general examples of how these people have responded whom you say have not followed through on embracing the invitation? Why do you believe they have not responded, or at least have not responded in an 'appropriate' manner? How should acceptance of the invitation look?

For a married woman with young children and aged parents that must be cared for, I feel that I 'AM' laying down my life to see to the needs of others but maybe I am not understanding what 'losing my life' means.(?)

Not everyone will be called to leave their homes and travel the streets will they?

Forgive my spiritual slowness but I need you to speak on this some more and give some more concrete explanation of what you are saying.

As one who has not been following your ministry from the beginning, it sounds like you are saying that the Father is saying, 'oh well, I've spoken to the believers through Joseph's ministry; they didn't listen so now the door is closed'. Is that what you are saying?

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear Roni,

Christ Himself gave many examples of those who struggled with, or refused the invitation. The rich young ruler is one. Then there is the Scribe to whom Christ said, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Another came to Christ and said, "First let me go and bury my father." Christ's response was to let the dead bury the dead. Another wished to go and say good-bye to his father and mother. Yahshua told him, "No one
after putting his hand to the plow and looking back , is fit for the kingdom of God."

Such examples as these appear very harsh to the mind of man, particularly in this hour where the cost of discipleship has all but disappeared from the teaching of the church.

The cost of discipleship is universal. There are not some who are called to surrender all, and others who are not. This cost will come to each person through different circumstances and decisions, and at various times. One thing that is consistent is that it will always come.

I cannot tell you what the cost of following Christ will look like in your life, other than in the general sense spoken of by Christ. Each person must wrestle with the cost of complete surrender in their own heart.

Christ said that His sheep would hear His voice. He will make known to each one what is required of them. Even as He gave an invitation to the rich young ruler, He will come to all who are attentive to His voice and speak to them about that path they must walk.

The Scriptures declare that God will not strive with man forever. We are exhorted to respond to the voice of the Spirit when He is dealing with us. We have no guarantee that the invitation to follow will be present tomorrow.

Consider the Israelites in the wilderness. After continually rebuffing the Father when He asked them to obey, He declared that they would die in the wilderness. Hearing this, they repented and sought to do what He had formerly asked them to do by going into the land of promise and facing the enemies in the land. But the opportunity had passed. Yahweh said He would not go with them, and they were unable to enter.

It is always folly to think that we can choose the moment when we will give our lives fully to God. The time to obey is always when He is speaking to us.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Roni said...

Thank you for the reply.

A question along the same lines would be, 'how do you know that those who have heard the invitation haven't received it and aren't walking in/into it?

You said: 'The invitation was given to those with spiritual eyes to see, and with feet capable of accepting the invitation to follow Christ. Yet most of these would not come'

What have they done or not done that would make you think that?

Of course I'm not asking for anything that will obviously point to a certain family or brother/sister but can you give your understanding of why you feel that way about certain ones whom you know have been given the invitation.

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear Roni,

If you were to observe the response of the rich young ruler when Christ told him that he must sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor, then take up his cross and follow Him, you would have no trouble discerning whether he accepted, or rejected the invitation. Similarly, the Spirit of Christ is bringing men and women to confront the cost of discipleship today, and many are spurning His invitation.

This spurning of Christ's invitation to take up the cross and follow Him takes many forms today. There are few who will ever come right out and say, "I found what Christ was asking of me to be too costly, so I refused His invitation." Instead, they will often hide behind some subterfuge.

One of the most common deceits is to deny that Christ has called the saints to surrender all to Him. Multitudes of Christians have embraced a prosperity gospel that is devoid of a personal cross. They are wholly birthed into Christianity through a distorted invitation that appeals to human selfishness. For example, one popular tract says, "God has a wonderful plan for your life." Indeed, it is wonderful in the end, but if the person is not told about the cross they must bare, and the suffering they must endure, then they have been deceived.

The majority of Christians today have embraced such distorted views of Christian discipleship. Having begun with a selfish appeal, they are then fed a continued diet that appeals to the flesh. They are delivered a prosperity gospel that is self-centered. Joel Osteen's book "Your Best Life Now" is typical of the distortion Christians are feeding upon.

How easy it is for such ones to simply ignore the fact that they are called to "hate their life" that they might gain life. Failing to surrender their lives wholly to live for the will of the Father, they assuage their conscience by saying, "I am rich, increased with goods, and in need of nothing." They equate material prosperity with spiritual success.

Sister, one of the most common responses among Christians who hear a message of surrender and the cross, is to walk away and forget about it. They return to their self-focused life, giving God a token confession of their love and devotion, yet all the while refusing to let Him take over the full direction of their lives.

Joseph Herrin said...

Continued...

The most important thing is for YOU to hear and respond to Christ's invitation to follow in His footsteps. Have YOU counted the cost of giving every aspect of your life into His hands? Is there anything you are unwilling to surrender to Him; your possessions, your time, your job, your friends, your family? Will you go wherever He asks you to go, and do whatever He asks you to do?

These are the things Christ tells those who would be His disciples to consider. It will require patient and probing contemplation on your part. If you are like me, many fears will raise their head. Great arguments and obstacles will present themselves in your soul. Yet, the cost must be considered and accepted. Those who do not yield all to Christ cannot be His disciple.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

njartist said...

I am 62 years old:
1. I have no relationships that bind me accept for caring for my elderly mother; I am not close to my brothers for I was an outcast in my own family and they have gone their own ways;
2. I have no status or esteem among men: I sat down at a table of acquaintances this morning, all of them are propertied and did well in the world (I joined them because I am likeable and can hold a conversation); it dawned on me that I really have nothing in common with them or anyone such as them; though I am well liked by those who know me including my fellow artists, they do not invite me to their homes socially;
3. I have no property: I do not own the house I live in; it is my mother's house and ownership is divided amongst my brothers; my household goods from my apartment days are stored in the attic unused; my books are for the most part in boxes; and I have no real job for my mother cannot be left alone for long periods each day;
4. Despite the fact I am an artist and had two fine mentors in college and grad school, I have had no success; my work does not sell though it is praised; nor am I monomaniacal about it that I driven to spend hours doing it; nor does time, money and opportunity coincide to allow me to do it regularly;
5. I am injured in that from my youth I have had poor dental care and for several decades put up with missing teeth obvious to anyone who looked; also from a young age I have had built in diarrhea because an operation took out four feet of intestines;
6. I never fit in a church as I was not socially or economically their peers; and I did not wish to remain in false churches; 6 years ago I finally vowed to never attend church again unless I was married: the church finally demonstrated that is was incapable to the point of being unwilling to generate a suitable helpmate ( it was only later that I came across recent prophets who were calling for those who believe on Christ to come out of the Babylonian churches;)
7. I was baptized at age age 14, the day before my confirmation into the Episcopal church: only my mother and eldest brother attended: my father refused with the excuse it was only wine; my brother stood in for my aunt and uncle who were named as godparents.

I believe I was sent on this path years ago in my youth and have been kept on it by God's grace; yet though I see darkly and do not fully understand; and knowing it will be even more painful; I reaffirm that I accept the invitation.