THE GLORY HAS DEPARTED: CLEANSING AND CONSECRATION IS THE DOORWAY TO RESTORATION

This is another excerpt from my new book, Cleansing The Temple, Restoring The Glory. It is a prophetic and present hour word for the Church today. Pre-orders will be offered soon.  

The reason there’s no glory in the modern Church has nothing to do with bigger and more attractive buildings, the appeal of outward appearance, the color effects, the decorative staging, the fancy lights, the cool bands, or the skinny jeans, big screens, and fog machines. Nor does it have to do with the kind of music or worship style we have. Nor does it have to do with whether you meet in a home, a building, or another venue, or whatever part of the city or town. Neither has it anything to do with compensation and lack of financial resources or whether you have paid staff or volunteer help.

The glory has departed because we have sinned. Our ministry leaders have sinned.

It was because of the sins in the priesthood that the glory departed from Israel in the days of Eli and his two wicked sons (1 Sam. 4:22). In fact, Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli, didn’t even know the Lord, and they were priests (1 Sam. 2:12). I find that there are many in the ministry today that do not know the Lord. I don’t necessarily mean that they are not born again. I don’t mean that they are not engaged in the work of God, but they are carnal and motivated by pride and popularity. What I mean is that they don’t really know the heart and the ways of the Lord.

Hophni and Phinehas had no passion for the presence and glory of God, were not bold and valiant for the truth, had no love or consideration for people, and no honor and respect for the holy things of God. They were in the ministry for themselves, immoral men who sought only to satisfy their carnal appetites. They also mishandled and demanded offerings from the people (1 Sam. 2:16-17), which is so common today.

God blamed Eli for the wickedness and corruption of the priesthood. Not only that, but the iniquity of his house was so great that God said it could not be atoned by sacrifice or offering forever (1 Sam. 3:13-14). Think about that. God rebuked Eli for honoring his sons more than he honored the Lord — by allowing his sons to be fattened with the offerings of God’s people (1 Sam. 2:29). Eli knew the evil dealings of his sons but refused to judge the situation and the fact that they made God’s people to transgress (1 Sam. 2:22-25). We are having similar issues today, when no judgment is ever made on sinning ministers and sinning “saints.” There are hardly any constraints, restrictions, accountability, and no enforced disciplines for those who practice sin. A minister falls into adultery, and the next week or month, he’s back in the pulpit preaching. How sad.

Where is the glory of God today? Why has it departed? One big reason is that we refuse to judge the true condition of the Church and the body of Christ. We actually do the opposite and hold up our thou-shalt-not-judge card when we address sin and judge wrongdoing.

CLOAKS OF CHRISTIANITY

The truth is that such a great percentage of Christian ministry today is characterized by jealousy, envy, play-acting, self-promoting, self-justifying, and self-focused behavior — all of which are hidden under 101 highly choreographed religious cloaks.

Churches are filled with ministries who are wonderfully trained to perform “the liturgical functions” but who are sadly lacking in true spiritual maturity. And our assemblies are consequently full of professing believers who have no eye to discern and differentiate between true spiritual maturity and maintaining a disciplined outward appearance.

In this “Quid pro Quo,” “I’ll scratch your back — you scratch mine,” “I’ll promote your preeminence — you promote mine,” “good-ole-boys club” system, churches and ministries work together very diligently to keep God’s people from seeing the little men behind the curtains. We need to draw open the veil revealing that which many ministers and pastors know about one another and work so earnestly to keep the public from seeing. We have a soulish, carnal ministry cleverly cloaked over by a multitude of religious fig-leaves.

The real maturing of the saints (Ephesians 4:11-12) has been abandoned long ago by many and replaced by the drive to expand our ministerial piece of the pie with a guild of salaried professionals.

As the following author so succinctly says it: we must stop protecting our own projects.

“As we turn to the evangelical leadership of this country in the last decades, unhappily, we must come to the conclusion that often it has not been much help. It has shown the mark of a platonic, overly spiritualized Christianity all too often. Spirituality to the evangelical leadership often has not included the Lordship of Christ over the whole spectrum of life. Spirituality has often been shut up to a very narrow area. And also very often, among many evangelicals, including many evangelical leaders, it seems that the final end is to protect their own projects. I am again asking the question, ‘Why have we let ourselves go so far down the road?’” — Francis Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto

How can the church be delivered from further generations of soul dominance and energized flesh? Only by walking straight into the bright spotlight of the Holy Spirit, instead of maintaining a strategic business-as-usual distance from it.

This new book will serve as a plumb line to help restore the glory of God to the Church today. Purity, prayer, and power is the pathway to restoring the glory. Cleansing and consecration is the doorway into it. 

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FALSE VIEWS OF LOVE AND HOLINESS DILUTING THE CHURCH’S POWER

Years ago I was preaching a series of strong holiness messages in a particular church. After one of the meetings the pastor said something to me that I’ve never forgotten. “The Lord has dealt with me about preaching more on love than holiness,” he said.

That statement didn’t sit well with me. I knew it was not accurate. Yet back then I didn’t know why. I pondered that pastor’s statement with my own thoughts that raced through my head. Is love more important than holiness? Are they different, or are they virtually the same? They have to be different, or we’d have a lot of redundancy in the Bible, I thought. But how are they different? Although I knew the pastor’s statement came from a lack of understanding true holiness, at that time I couldn’t thoroughly explain the difference.

This pastor’s statement put an emphasis on love, which is of primary importance, while de-emphasizing holiness, which is not only God’s greatest attribute, but foundational to understanding man’s relationship to God. I walked away from that conversation knowing that this pastor’s view of holiness was not becoming or beautiful. I thought of how his view was probably shared by a multitude of believers, who have formed erroneous ideas and notions of holiness, due probably to their own negative experiences—like the cat who is afraid of water because of one negative experience of getting scalded by boiling water. Or of those who may have come from a background of legalism where do’s and don’ts were associated with holiness. These are among the reasons holiness has gotten a bad rap and is looked upon with a sort of disdain, as being primitive, outdated and just not culturally relevant. We need to realize, however, that negative experiences or unsound teaching does not nullify the real meaning, necessity, and beauty of God’s holiness.

WHAT IS TRUE HOLINESS

What then is the real meaning of holiness? Holiness is the likeness of God. It is the total summation of all His attributes. One of my favorite definitions of holiness as it applies to believers is that it is a moral dedication and a life committed to purity of thought, word, motive and deed. At the center of that definition is the fact of being set apart or consecrated to God’s purposes. Just as God is otherworldly, we as His chosen people are to be distinct and set apart from this world. In other words, we are not to be conformed to its ideals, patterns, or standards. Holiness is conformity to God’s nature and will.

But even more importantly, holiness has more to do with to whom we belong. To whom do we give our loyalty, love, and allegiance to? To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and is set apart for His purposes. It means that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed by God.

Personally, I believe that restoring the beauty of biblical holiness in the church is a critical ingredient to healing the moral confusion in our culture. As the church goes, so goes the world. Our disproportionate view of holiness is one of the big reasons there is so much of the spirit of the world in the church. A distorted view of holiness, or simply the ignorance of it, is clouding our understanding of God’s true love. When God is seen as a loving, nondemanding pushover whose love overrides His holiness, then people will live in accordance with that belief. Permissiveness and promiscuity will be prevalent.

For example, if a person believes that God is so loving that He would never manifest His judgment or wrath or send anyone to hell for their sin, then their conduct will reflect that belief, and much of their life will be lived with that awful presumption. Popular false concepts of God such as these are spreading rampantly in much of the Western culture. A vision and revelation of God’s holiness will alter any of these false perceptions and will serve to greatly strengthen the church.

Any understanding of sin must begin with an understanding of true biblical holiness. In Canaan the temple prostitute was considered a holy woman, and a homosexual priest was considered a holy man. However, what was accepted among the Canaanites and the other nations was an abomination to God (Deut. 23:17-18). And Israel, as God’s chosen nation, a type of the New Testament church, was forbidden to practice these things. The people of Canaan didn’t understand God’s holiness so they couldn’t possibly understand the gravity of their sin.

A person defines sin by his own concept of God. This is the reason we now have books being written that one can be a gay Christian; and now we also have the spread of universalism and the emergent church that teaches that in the end all will be saved, because God will not allow any human being to go to hell. Many do not understand God’s love because they are not seeing it through His holiness.

Our understanding of God’s holiness determines our estimation of sin. God defines Himself through His holiness. His holiness is the standard by which we judge what sin is and what sin is not. Righteousness and justice, which are vital aspects of God’s holiness, are the foundation of His throne (Ps 89:14). All God’s dealings with us are based on the foundation of holiness. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim 2:19).

It is wrong to elevate what we think is love at the expense of holiness. In fact, God’s true love manifests within holiness. Just as water flows through a pipe the love of God flows through His holiness. Moreover, it is God’s love that keeps Him from overlooking His holiness. After all, it was His holiness which made the atonement necessary. His holiness demanded the cost of God’s own Son, for He cannot excuse, acquit or clear the guilty (Ex 34:7). And what His holiness demanded His love provided on the cross of Calvary.

HOLINESS AND LOVE ARE NOT OPPOSITES

Holiness and love are not at odds with each other. Holiness is not in opposition to love or separated from it. The Bible tells us that love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13) and any word, motivation or act void of love is as nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). But at the same time, love is not separated from holiness. Rather, it is constrained by holiness.

For example, if a church will not draw a sharp distinction between sin and righteousness, or will not practice church discipline among its members as taught in the Word (Mat. 18:15-17, Rom. 16:17, 1 Cor. 5, Tit. 3:10, 2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15, and such) because in their minds, it doesn’t seem loving, has probably been deceived into a false view of love absorbed from the pop culture. On the other hand, a church that emphasizes holiness, yet fails to do so in the motivation and service of love is a church that does not understand God’s holiness.

The true love of God is fixed on God’s holiness. If a church does not abide in holiness, it does not abide in true love. Conversely, if it does not abide in true love, it does not abide in holiness.

A holy church is in the world but not of it. They abstain from sin while dwelling among sinners—both are characteristics of true holiness. The problem has been that some churches have swerved too far in one direction or too far in the other, waffling between a false view of holiness and a false view of love.

The same Bible that tells me to pursue love (1 Cor 14:1) tells me to pursue holiness (Heb 12:14). Without love we are nothing. Without holiness we will never see the Lord.

But here is my warning:

A holy church is in the world but not of it. They abstain from sin while dwelling among sinners – both are characteristics of true holiness. The problem has been that some churches have swerved too far in one direction or too far in the other, waffling between a false view of holiness and a false view of love.

It’s time for the modern day church to get that right and walk in that light.

This is an excerpt taken from The Real Jesus, a compelling piece of a tetralogy of books (The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Spirit of Revival)

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.

A CLARION CALL TO HOLINESS

During our recent Holy Ghost Forum the spirit of prophecy was prominent. The following utterance released the fear of the Lord. Please watch it. He that has an ear let him hear.

A clarion call to holiness 

“Pursue … holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled” (Heb. 12:14-15).

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7:1).

The subject of holiness has taken a bad rap. It has almost become a dirty word, an outdated and primitive theme in many Christian circles. Nowadays Christians equate it with living by rules and dos and don’ts. Many equate it to legalism, salvation by works, or attempting to earn God’s approval from a system of works. But what does the Bible say about true holiness?

First of all, holiness is not salvation. Holiness is not something you pursue in order to obtain salvation; it is something you are set apart for after salvation. It is what true converts pursue and perfect in their new life and walk with God.

Holiness is the likeness of God. It is the total summation of all His attributes. It is to be as Jesus is. He is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His Person, and so we are to be conformed to His image.

What many Christians fail to realize is that holiness, like a lively flowing stream that cuts through a dense forest, is the theme that runs through all the epistles. It is to be our post-salvation and post-Pentecost life and walk with God. It is what one Pentecostal scholar called “Pentecostal Pedestrianism” or “rule of the road”. It is the walk in the Spirit so that we will not fulfill the desires of the flesh (Gal. 5:16) (Rom. 8:13), and the pursuit of God and sanctification that we are to walk in for the rest of our lives, especially as the Lord’s coming draws near (1 Thes. 5:23).

We affirm again that indeed holiness and sanctification are the supreme themes of the apostolic letters to the churches. The emphasis being on the gracious sufficiency of every saint to live a life of victory over the flesh, the world, and the devil in every area of life – whether it be at home with family, at work with employers and employees, or within the church and community. The epistles are full, full, full of such instructions while many churches today are nearly empty of any.

The overall body of teaching in the New Testament epistles implicitly implies that believers who had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit still needed to “put off the old man and put on the new man”, “be doers of the Word and not hearers only”, “be diligent to make your calling and election sure”, “contend for the faith”, and “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”. There was no automatic rule that once they had started well they were certain to go on well and finish well. The very opposite was true – their going on was dependent upon a constant appropriation of sanctifying grace and power through a continually renewed fullness of the Spirit, and faithful obedience to the Word.

It was also the regular care of the ministers of Christ in the early Church to remind and exhort the believers in the various local assemblies to “not receive the grace of God in vain”, to “not be deceived”, “to not drift away”, “to stir one another to love and good works”, and to “be rich in good works”. Even in Christian churches that were throbbing with the supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit it was the habit of its ministers to expound on sound doctrine and teach and exhort the saints with all authority on living an exemplary life of holiness lest their testimony spoil their witness.

Beware of those who make light of holiness and water down the necessity of it with greasy grace, lollipop love, and mushy mercy that are void of the spirit of truth.

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. 

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.