My last few blogs have come from a dream the Lord gave me toward the end of last year concerning Jesus not only being our Savior but also our Judge. In the dream I emphatically spoke these words: “There are not enough judges in the Church.” This revelation and insight has evolved into a greater understanding of the necessity of the Church learning of God’s judgments and the effect they have on our character and growth, both individually and collectively as a Church.
Long ago God gave Israel judges, so that the nation would not do what was right in their own eyes and live independently of God’s will.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes“ (Judges 17:6).
“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes“ (Judges 21:25).
By deliberately serving idols and foreign gods and doing what was right in their own eyes, Israel broke their covenant with God. Then the Lord would raise up judges to deliver them from their oppressors when they would cry out to Him. Does this not accurately describe the day we are living in?
The Church is in need of judges. All ministry gifts in the body of Christ are to exercise judgment. Prophets, especially, have grace from the Lord to judge all things.
“Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge” (1 Cor. 14:29).
There have always been true prophets and false prophets. Personally, I believe the false prophets outnumber the true ones today. This has been true throughout Israel and the Church’s history. For example, in the days of Ezekiel false prophets exercised great influence over Israel, similar to what we see happening today in many churches. Only today we don’t just have false prophets, but we also have false apostles, teachers, and shepherds, who are primarily responsible for creating the counterfeit Christianity that is so prevalent in our time, and not preparing, equipping, and building God’s people for the storm that is coming.
The following verses typify the work of false prophets.
DON’T BUILD WITH UNTEMPERED MORTAR
“Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace—and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar—say to those who plaster it with untempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, ‘Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?’” Therefore thus says the Lord God: “I will cause a stormy wind to break forth in My fury; and there shall be a flooding rain in My anger, and great hailstones in fury to consume it. So I will break down the wall you have plastered with untempered mortar, and bring it down to the ground, so that its foundation will be uncovered; it will fall, and you shall be consumed in the midst of it. Then you shall know that I am the Lord” (Ez. 13:10-14).
The Hebrew word for untempered is “taphel” and my studies indicate this probably refers to mortar made with clay instead of slaked lime. In some Middle Eastern countries today walls are still commonly built of small stones or mud bricks, and then smeared over with clay mortar. The surface is rubbed smooth and is attractive in appearance. This coating prolongs the life of the wall but requires yearly attention if the wall is to stand.
Ezekiel uses this practice to typify the work of false prophets. They build up stories and make them plausible by an outward semblance to truth, while, in fact, they are flimsy, unreliable prophecies, resembling the walls described above, which can be broken down by a push or a heavy rain storm (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). The same could be applied to false teachers and those who major on ear-ticking messages and neglect the full counsel of the word of God.
THOSE WHO TEACH THE WORD WILL BE JUDGED MORE STRICTLY
Ministers have a great responsibility before God to build His house correctly according to God’s pattern. The house of God are His people with Jesus as the cornerstone who holds it all together.
“You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple” (1 Pt. 2:5).
“But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house” (Heb. 3:6).
Under the new covenant, building God’s house means building God’s people. This was the apostle Paul’s passion and life purpose:
“So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ” (Col. 1:28).
The way we build people is not only through teaching sound doctrine, but also through relationship and our life example enveloped in the whole counsel of God.
“You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house…” (Acts 20:18-20).
“And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (v. 25-26).
“Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears” (v. 30-31).
Oh, can you hear the heart of Christ in this great apostle? Nothing was more important to him than building up the people of God and presenting them perfect in Christ Jesus. He was constantly evaluating, judging, admonishing, and warning the churches, leaders, and all the saints. He did not want them to be deceived and devoured by grievous wolves (false apostles, prophets, teachers etc.), and drawn away by even those among them who would twist the Scriptures and speak perverse things. Paul tearfully warned them over the course of three years concerning these things. He saw something in the Spirit; he saw what was coming, even though it didn’t seem that way at the moment he shared these things with them. Where are these men today who warn us as Paul did? Why do so many Christians today see warnings and judgment as such a negative thing when it is one of the great keys of possessing the wisdom of God?
What should be the mood of Christians in these perilous and dark times at the end of this age? Yes, we are to possess a strong inner joy and an unshakeable peace, but also be sober, watchful, and prayerful. The Holy Spirit has many moods and He manifests them all in various ways and at different times. If we are living in the days of Noah as Jesus foresaw it would be (Mt. 24:37-39), why is there such a hip-hip hooray attitude and such an irreverence in the Church today? Why is there so little weeping and travail for the lost and the state of so many churches? Imagine what it was like in the days of Noah when he was building the Ark. Would it be appropriate if Noah wiggled his hips from the platform of the Ark and pointed his finger at the mocking, unbelieving, and deceived crowds of people below, proclaiming how God was going to bless them, and bring them happiness and prosperity and make all their dreams come true? Please understand me; I am not opposed to any of God’s blessings (for He does bless and prosper His people abundantly), but I am only using this example to contrast the lightness, casualness, and sometimes inappropriate mood of today with the soberness and reverence that ought to be?
“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer” (1 Pt. 4:7).
Here are a couple of more truths concerning judgment:
First of all, judgment begins in the house of God.
“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” (1 Pt. 4:17)
Secondly, ministers/teachers will be judged more strictly.
“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly” (Jam. 3:1).
Because of this principle of judgment, the Lord will judge national ministries, then the local pulpits, then the pews of entire congregations, and then the world. All that can be shaken will be shaken. We have a responsibility to judge ourselves and get things right. As we do, the Church will grow in holy character, in great power, and in godly influence.
In our next blog we will see why this truth of judgment is one of the most neglected themes of our day and yet one of the most important. Don’t miss it. It will shake you to the core.
To be continued…
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