“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20
As you may very well know, when we set out to communicate the truth - all of it – without apology, He promised that we will be ousted by those professing to know Christ, namely those in positions of leadership. Jesus was! Paul was! The Jewish prophets were! Anyone who embarks upon going all the way with the LORD will be rejected and falsely accused, attacked and cut off (financially) by the antichrist spirit operating in the organized church world (See Matt. 10:22; Jn. 16:1-3; Matt. 5:10-12, 1 Kings 18:4, etc.).
Always remember that “ALL” authority has been given unto our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ and He only gives it to those who obey Him (Matt. 28:18-20; Jn. 14:21,23; 2 Cor. 10:6; etc.). The unchanging Son of God, in whom “ALL” authority is vested, never grants His divine authority to any person who holds a position of leadership in a corporate setting – unless that individual is abiding fully in Him.
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” Matthew 28:18
How much power/authority has been given to the Son of God? “ALL power.” What/Where is the sphere of this power specifically? “Heaven and in earth.” Where do you live? On you on “earth?” Are you living in fervent obedience to the Master of the Universe in Whom all authority abides? How much of His power is entrusted into your life at this time?
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Ephesians 3:20
While on earth, Jesus walked a life flawlessly committed to His Father and purposely did not commit Himself to mere men. Unlimited authority was invested in Him (Jn. 2:24-25; 3:34; 5:30, etc.).
“For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” John 3:34-35
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38
The early believers met in houses as well as at times in the Jewish temple (Acts 2:42-47; 5:42; Philemon 1:3, etc.). When those who held the positions of leadership refused to purge themselves of unbelief, wrong beliefs-false doctrine, sin, and rebelled against the Word, Paul “departed from them, and separated the disciples.” (Acts 19:9) Church splits can be a blessing! Beloved, we need not be so naïve as to believe that those who have the positions (hirelings in most cases) are necessarily in the right – correct. When we view life from a Scriptural perspective, we find that throughout Old and New Testament history, in the vast majority of cases, those who held offices in organized religion, were the greatest enemies of Christ – antichrist (Is. 56:10-12; Jer. 23; Ezek. 34; Matt. 23; Phil. 3:17-20, etc.). Is anything different in our day? No.
Jesus spoke a more piercing, furious, potent, and lambasting rebuke to religious authorities than any other class of men (read Matt. 23). It was men who held leadership positions in organized religion who called for the death of Jesus Christ – they did this all while believing they were serving God, deceived and not knowing that they had been turned over to a demonic, deluding spirit because they did not love and obey divine truth (Matt. 27:12,18; 2 Thess. 2:9-12).
When looking at history we find that it was when the church (called out remnant) was removed from homes in the 4th century that men were able to begin to come in and mislead, distort, deceive, separate, polarize, and bring blindness to people’s lives. The purity of worship was lost in most cases. The Holy Ghost foretold us that this was coming. This is exactly one aspect of what the Holy Spirit was prophetically foretelling and revealing to the apostle Paul when he told the Ephesian elders: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30)
It should be no surprise that the Roman Catholic Church, which an antichrist system, began about that time. No one system has corrupted the Gospel of the grace of God through Christ more than this system which Jesus Christ defined and told us He will destroy in “one hour (Rev. 17-18). This they were able to do in separating the gatherings to their own buildings, separating people from intimate fellowship in the Word, Holy Spirit, and among themselves. Compare Acts 2:42-47.
“And he went into the synagogue (man-organized church), and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 10And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. 11And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:8-12
We see that these believers began to gather “in the school of one Tyrannus.” The whole point of gathering is to worship the LORD Jesus Christ – when this is lost, no matter the physical locale, all is lost. A separate gathering place is not sinful. It only becomes sinful when men rule in lieu of Christ, the Supreme Ruler and Head of His body (Col. 1-2).
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:11
“Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” Revelation 5:12
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3:16-17
His saints are to diligently and joyfully worship Him alone who is “the Almighty”, the One in Whom “all authority” resides – The Eternal Word, Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:8). Of the divine Person of Jesus Christ, the Book of Revelation states:
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8
Note in the text we visited above (Acts 19:8-12) that:
- V8 – Paul the apostle is an incredible gift to all believers under the New Covenant. He determined to know nothing except Christ and Him crucified (Gal. 6:14; 1 Cor. 2:2). No matter where he was, the apostle Paul spoke “boldly … concerning the kingdom of God.”
- In Paul’s ministry, it was all about King Jesus and the “things concerning the kingdom of God”, not men and their religious notions, fame, organizations, denominations, building and curriculum programs and projects.
V9 – In this arena of organized religion, the leaders were “hardened, and believed not, but spoke evil of that way before the multitude”, so Paul pulled the true believers out of that house of rebellion (Ichabod) and began gathering and teaching in an atmosphere of pure faith in Jesus. Nothing has changed: It is all-too-common for organized religious leaders today to speak evil of the LORD’s truth and those who are messengers of it.
V10 – For two years the apostle Paul taught and the Word of God reverberated to Asia.
V11 – As He promised, His power followed the preaching of the pure Word - “the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mk. 16:15-20)
V12 – Notice in this verse that there was the power of the LORD Jesus present to bless people as Paul and the other disciples walked unwaveringly in the Spirit and in divine truth. This is the remnant.
“And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.” Mark 1:22
Praise the LORD: Take a look at this snapshot of the blessed power from on high that was present in our LORD’s ministry:
“And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about. And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon’s house. And Simon’s wife’s mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her. And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever; and it left her: and immediately she arose and ministered unto them. Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ. And when it was day, he departed and went into a desert place: and the people sought him, and came unto him, and stayed him, that he should not depart from them. And he said unto them, I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also: for therefore am I sent. And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.” Luke 4:31-44
When we are submitted under the “mighty hand of God” and not the religious props of mere men posing as His authority (wolves in sheep’s clothing), we can be assured that the blessing of His presence and healing power will be present in the midst of the pure worship of His holy saints (1 Pet. 5:6). Jesus is all-powerful. Jesus still heals broken hearts, broken lives, and broken bodies!
“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
“O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.” Psalms 96:9
When men and women obey the LORD in sincerity and in truth, He promises to purely manifest His power to bless and meet all needs in the midst.
“Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.” Psalms 24:3-6
To find or enjoy an environment of pure worship, there has to first be a cleansing of our own temples – first our own lives, then the gatherings. This ocurrs when we sincerely humble ourselves before the LORD our God our Maker and rend our hearts – tear them open and bare before His holiness (Joel 2:13).
“Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.” 1 Corinthians 7:23
It is a diabolical lie to believe that one is right with God while serving mere men. Pleasing God and pleasing men can be two totally different things – and usually is. So many today vainly believe they are in rightstanding with God while they serve the religions of sinful men.
We are only to submit to men inasmuch as they follow the LORD – according to His Holy Word.
“Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation…Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:7,17
We are only to “submit” to God-fearing leaders who speak “unto you the word of God” and “they watch for your souls” in the fear of God and “warn” you to “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Heb. 13:7,17; Col. 2:8)
Those leaders who are true and not false, “watch for your souls.” They oversee the people of the LORD by “preaching”, “warning” and “teaching.” This is according to the apostolic pattern (Col. 1:28; 2:8).
So many leaders today want people to submit to them (including giving tithes and offerings) and yet they are not doing what the LORD told them to do. These men do not fear Him nor feed and protect the sheep of His pasture. Incredible! And most people in their audiences do not know the Word of God enough to discern that these men are smiling, charismatic wolves posing as sheep (Matt. 7:15-23). This accounts for much of the devouring doctrines which are rampant in parts of the church world.
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.” Proverbs 27:23
Isn’t it time that we cease from propping up false authority and begin putting the LORD’s money into true works of Christ that align with the New Testament revelation?
Any leader who does not diligently watch over and protect with truth the saints of the LORD, is clearly identified as false authority according to Holy Scripture. Delivering a nice little sermon and shaking the hands of the people on Sunday morning, does not constitute the biblical model of God-fearing, obedient leadership.
Jeremiah 23 is a landmark chapter dedicated to the exposure of false shepherds among the people of God. This is how it begins:
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.” Jeremiah 23:1-2
Make no mistake: The LORD is “against” these “pastors” who have “scattered” His “flock” and “driven them away, and have not visited them.” He promised to judge these wolves in sheep’s clothing.
False leaders have time and energy to collect tithes and offerings, yet they conveniently find little or no time to dwell among the people and visit them. Amazing! Any leader who is too busy for people, the people Christ came and died for, is too busy and totally deluded.
How long shall we fund the ministries of these wolves?
The LORD is angry with these men who usurp and intercept His worship, but it is only when people support these deceivers that they are able to continue beguiling and ravaging the sheep of His pasture.
Jesus Christ bought us with His very own precious blood – so we could know and worship Him and the Father (Jn. 17:3). Satan’s emissaries, wearing sheep’s clothing, are in our midst, diverting pure worship to themselves or something else other than the LORD – entrenching the affections of men deeper into this fleeting world by building greater and greater buildings, involving them in programs and fostering their allegiance to an organization of mere men. This is idolatry and spiritual adultery. Men are not to usurp, subvert, and intercept the authority invested in and granted by Jesus – “All power.” When such occurs, there is the quenching of His Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30; 1 Thess. 5:19).
God is calling us to repent and be broken before Him before it is too late. He loves us. He loves you, and here is the proof of His love:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” Revelation 3:19
Let’s look at the divine prescription for getting right with the LORD and upholding Christ as the Supreme Authority of our lives and His body. At the beginning and end of His ministry on earth, Jesus cleansed the temple. In doing such He established a memorial of the zeal of God for holiness among His people, namely in having undiluted, unpolluted, pure worship:
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out (purged, cleansed) all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” Matthew 21:12-17
Note what we see in this important text:
Purging – “cast out (purged, cleansed) all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves” (v12)
Prayer – “My house shall be called the house of prayer” (v13)
Power (to heal) – “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them” (v14)
Persecution from Pitiful Pharisees – “And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased” (v15)
Praise – “And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” (v16)
Peace – “And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” (v17)
We see from this biblical model that when there is first purging and prayer, there will then be power, persecution, praise (to God), and divine peace. First we must assure that the LORD Jesus Christ is truly the “Head” of our lives – exalted as the Supreme Authority and not subtly replaced by mere men (Col. 2:8-10, 18-19).
Ready or not – Jesus is Coming.
PRAYER of Consecration: LORD Jesus, I need Your holy grace in submitting fully to Your Lordship. I want to truly and genuinely love and serve You Jesus and be Your unspotted sheep – kept from the lure of the evil one and his false leadership that poses as Your true authority. Thank You my LORD for dying for me and rising again from the dead. Cleanse this temple – my heart, mind and body afresh with Your holy blood. I know You are coming soon LORD and I want to be fully pleasing to You in all things. Right this moment, I ask You to please take over my life completely. Reign upon the throne of my heart. Into Thine hands I commend my spirit. Wash and fill me my Savior. I love You supremely Jesus. Amen.
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