Women Ministers

Women ministers continue to be impugned by certain male “leaders” in the Body of Christ.

This blog will not delve into the depths of the disinformation being perpetrated on Christ’s Body, nor will it delve into the misinformed who through their misdiagnosis of this issue continue to mistreat a huge portion of Christ’s Body.

I have some questions that I would appreciate the fair minded portion of the faithful to consider:

  • Are female believers priests in the kingdom of God [heaven]?
    • Are female believers included in the royal priesthood?
    • Are female believers included in the ‘us’ found in “He has made us kings and priests to our God and Father”?
    • Is a believing husband the only priest in the marriage if the wife is a believer too?
    • What is the function of a priest?
    • What are the privileges, rights and responsibilities of a priest?
    • If female believers are indeed priests do they have the same privileges, rights and responsibilities of a male priest?
  • If females are not included in the priesthood because they do not have certain body parts then are gentile males excluded from the priesthood because the original priesthood was made up of Jewish males?
  • What does this mean to you?
    • “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
      • Does this mean that to all who are one in Christ there are no ethnic, socio-economic or gender limitations or exclusions?
      • How can we all be one in Christ if female believers in Christ are second class citizens of heaven?
  • What is the difference in unity and uniformity?
  • If female believers are excluded in the royal priesthood does this mean all the male believers are the head and all the female believers make up the rest of the Body?
  • If believing wives are not priests with full authority to represent Christ then why did God give Eve the same commission and authority He gave Adam?
  • Why did Eve get deceived?
    • Eve was one of Adam’s ribs when God commissioned ‘them’ to fully represent Him on the planet.
  • Why is Adam called the man of sin? – “Through one man [Adam] sin entered the world.”
    • What was Adam’s [the male] sin?
    • What if Adam never washed his wife [Eve] with the water of God’s Word to ‘them’ concerning their mutual commission to represent Him on the planet?
    • What if Eve was deceived because she did not have all the information God gave to her husband?
  • Why is it okay for women to teach male children but not male adults?
    • What does it say about male adults who are afraid of a woman teaching them?
  • Do you honestly believe the Last Adam [Jesus the Christ] is making the same mistake the first Adam made?

I would caution any person, male or female, against coming to conclusions concerning the roles women play in the economy of God that do not line up with the whole counsel of God.

For instance, when ‘you’ take one portion of Scripture given to one church in the first century and apply that one text to every church throughout all of church history you might want to consider where you are positioned.

Are you like the Sanhedrin who only temporarily took Gamaliel’s advice in Acts 5 – “38 So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.”

We know from New Testament Scripture and church history the Jewish religious leaders found themselves fighting against God and it appears the modern Pharisees are making the same mistakes their forefathers made!

Help Lord!

Receive and steward God’s passion, power, presence, priority, process, promises, protection, provision, pruning, purging, purity and purpose!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin
A radical spiritual revolutionary

#RevolutionMovement #RM

Prophets, Prophecy, Accuracy, and Accountability

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_207f.jpgThere is not one Godly prophet in the Old or New Testaments, including Jesus, who prophesied something that did not come to pass within a reasonable amount of time, much less that never came to pass.

In the Old Testament when someone spoke in the name of the Lord and what they said was not true, or what they predicted did not come to pass, they died at the hands of God’s people.

This tells me that Isaiah, who prophesied a virgin would be with child eight centuries before Mary conceived Jesus in the Immaculate Conception, either had a special grace and favor with God and man, or in some fashion his predictive word came to pass in his lifetime.

In the New Testament, those who speak in the name of the Lord something that is not true, or that does not come to pass is not killed by God’s people, but their ministry can die because God’s people have the right and responsibility to judge what is said to be from God.

Paul and Silas found out that although the people in Berea were extremely excited for them to come teach them, they did not take what Paul and Silas taught as truth as being true until they searched the Scriptures themselves – daily.

“10 The brethren [in Thessalonica] immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” [Acts 17]

This examining of the Old Testament Scriptures [here Greek / graphe – written word] is a different word Paul used when he commanded the Thessalonicans to examine prophecy and those who prophesy. This word ‘examine’ means to investigate, sift, interrogate, question. It comes from a root word meaning to repeatedly and intensively forensically test. When teaching people how to study the Bible I encourage them to be like a detective walking into a crime scene with no preconceived ideas on what happened. There are six questions the inquisitive inquisitor should ask every text they read. They are: who, what, when, where, why and how.

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As you ask those questions gazing into the text you will begin to see the truths that are contained within it. Like looking at a hologram, it may take some time to see what is in there but when the time is taken to see the student will quickly begin to  learn.

This examination will be encouraged by Paul in his great instruction on judging prophets and prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:29. We will “examine” that text later!

Apparently Paul and Silas were fine with being examined, as well as their teaching being examined by the Thessalonican people. Every legitimate minister is okay with being examined!

In many places nobility is lacking both in those who minister and those they minister to.

Credibility is such a rare commodity in our world today and I am greatly concerned a lack of credibility and accountability has crept into the church Jesus is building as well. Fact checking God’s ministers has been around since the beginning of when people started saying they came [to speak, to teach] in the name of the Lord. Too many “hear from God” and leave when the examination commences.

Even Jesus submitted His ministry to those He ministered to – “37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38 but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” [John 10]

Jesus’ words and His works matched the works of His Father which should have convinced the Jews He was legitimate. What we say is as important as what we do and when they are not congruent people have a right to reject what we say and do, which means they reject us as worthy to minister to them. unless we become vulnerable and accountable to them.

You cannot disconnect what a person says and does from that person! “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” so what we say reveals what is really in our heart.

Nicodemus who was a teacher of the Jews recognized this connection when he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” [John 3:2].

In the Old Testament the punishment was so severe for speaking in God’s name something untrue, or that did not come to pass because God’s people did not have the Holy Spirit inside of them and could easily be led astray. Prophets were accepted as God’s delegated spokesmen.

In the New Testament every true born again believer has the Holy Spirit inside of them and it is their responsibility to test everything to ensure what they are told is true. Also, every born again believer has the right and responsibility to speak for the God that saved them, even moving in the gift of prophecy.

John wrote this in 1 John 2: “18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. . . . 26 These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

When people run away from the very people they have said they love and are connected to because what they say and do come under scrutiny by those they say they love and are connected, it reveals a heart of corruption that John identifies as the spirit of the antichrist. John said many antichrists were on the scene in his day and those antichrists came from within the church. Keep in mind there was one church per region so it was unlikely those who left a church could become part of another one easily and inconspicuously.

Today, accountability is very difficult because there are multitudes of churches in search of gifted and anointed people. Most church growth is simply people shifting to different churches. Some simple fact checking could go a long way to rooting out the rebellious!

Two thousand years ago John referred to the time he lived in as “the last hour” twice in verse 18. John goes on to exhort the people to trust the anointing [Spirit of truth] that was in them would keep them safe from error. This means God’s people best be in God’s written Word [graphe in the Old and New Testaments] so they have God’s plumb line to line up what is being said or done in the name of the Lord with God’s eternal and established Word.

The anointing inside each believer is there to ensure they are not duped by the anointing of someone presenting themselves a representing God. When the one ministering insists their anointing is so good that those they minister to do not need to verify what they say and do is genuine, they misrepresent the God they claim to represent.

For all those concerned that we are living in the last days take a deep breath and relax, John lived in the last hour.

In fact, John wrote that Jesus spoke of this hour in the fourth chapter of his gospel.

“19 The woman said to Him, ‘Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.’ 21 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.'”

In this text Jesus revealed an hour was coming twice and the second time He referred to it He said, “and now is,” two thousand years ago. John and Jesus were speaking of a contemporary reality that was imminent to that generation. The last hour, which was the hour that was “now is [here]” was the total destruction of Judaism as a life giving system. In fact, by the time John wrote his “last hour” prediction the destruction of Jerusalem and the sacred Jewish temple was fast approaching.

The “hour” was not understood to be a literal sixty minute time span but an imminent time change that was about to take place. I believe that “hour” started ticking down when Jesus died on the Cross and God ripped the veil in the temple from the top to the bottom exposing the Holy of Holies as being void of the Ark of the Covenant.

Now I know that what I just said is considered ridiculous in our pop-culture Christian world but I believe every Book of the New Testament, including The Revelation of Jesus Christ, was completed prior to 70AD.

Paul said this in Hebrews chapter eight verse thirteen, “When He said, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the first obsolete. But whatever is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to disappear.” It is understood that Hebrews was written in or about 67AD meaning within three years or so Judaism died and was burned with fire along with Jerusalem and the temple.

Jesus had predicted prior to His Olivet Discourse and in that Discourse that the generation who heard what He said would see the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. Jesus even referred to His disciples multiple times in His discourse. [See Matthew 23, 24; Mark 13]

The pre-incarnate Christ appeared to Abraham and Sarah revealing, “At this time next year you will have a son.” Here is the text found in Genesis 18 – “9 Then they said to him, ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ 10 He said, ‘I will surely return to you at this time next year; and behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door, which was behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; Sarah was past childbearing. 12 Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?’ 13 And the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ 14 Is anything too difficult for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ 15 Sarah denied it however, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. And He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.'”

Now we could take this predictive prophecy two ways. First, we could say that the Lord was saying Sarah would have an immaculate conception. But we know that is not what was meant because there could only be one immaculate conception and that would not happen for approximately 2,021 years. Second, Abraham and Sarah, although past the age of childbearing and quite possibly the age of engaging in sexual intercourse, went into their tent and had marital relations needed to conceive a child.

The second option seems more likely to me based on what Paul said in Hebrews chapter eleven and Romans chapter four.

Hebrews 11 – “11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.”

Sarah’s faith energized her reproductive organs and quite possibly activated her sexual desire. They had tried for twenty five years to have a child without success. In addition to being too old to have children in the natural [Sarah was ninety and Abraham was one hundred] we can safely assume the desire to try waned over the years too.

Romans 4 – “16 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 [as it is written, ‘A father of many nations have I made you’] in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist. 18 In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, ‘So shall your descendants be.’ 19 Without becoming weak in faith he contemplated his own body, now as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and the deadness of Sarah’s womb; 20 yet, with respect to the promise of God, he did not waver in unbelief but grew strong in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. 22 Therefore It was also credited to him as righteousness.”

‘Perform’ here means he was able to do the necessary work required to produce what the Lord promised them. Abraham took inventory of his natural condition and weighed that against the weight of God’s promise of a son with Sarah. Abraham faced the facts of Sarah’s and his condition but chose to focus on the truth of God’s word. As he considered what he was facing his respect for God far outweighed his history of losing expectation of becoming a father of the son of promise. Abraham’s faith grew stronger as he glorified God. As he became fully assured that what God promised was going to come to pass he was given the ability and desire to perform. His performance was credited to him as righteousness.

Agabus was a recognized prophet in the church in Jerusalem. His prophetic ministry is revealed in Acts 11 and Acts 21. What we find in those texts is Agabus was a predictive prophet because both times he is mentioned he is predicting future events.

It is interesting to me God used a prophet whose name means locust to prophesy a famine, but He did. Maybe Agabus himself was the message to the saints about a future problem in Judea!

“27 Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. 28 One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate [signify] by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. 29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.” [Acts 11]

Luke writes that a plurality of prophets arrived in Antioch from the Jerusalem church. We do not know how many prophets were with Agabus and what the additional prophets did in Antioch. All we are told is Agabus prophesied a famine that would affect the whole world. Now, “whole world” can be interpreted as the whole world, the whole world Rome was ruling over, or the whole land of Judea. My guess is he was predicting a famine throughout Judea because that is where the relief supplies were directed and delivered to the elders – in Jerusalem!

We do not even know if Agabus and his team of prophets were a part of the eldership team in Jerusalem, just the provisions were delivered to them by Barnabas and Saul [Paul].

Did you notice his predictive prophesy came to pass during the reign of Claudius. Luke does not record Agabus placing a time frame on his word from God. Historians put this famine in 45AD. If Agabus prophesied in or about 40AD then his prophecy came to pass within five years.

The next time we find Agabus prophesying is in Acts 21 where he prophesied in Caesarea that Paul would be arrested in Jerusalem. Luke writes that Paul was arrested in the temple during that trip to Jerusalem.

Do you see that predictive prophets cannot claim they speak for God when what they predict does not come to pass in a reasonable amount of time? Jesus predicted the destruction of Jerusalem within a generation [forty years – 30AD – 70AD] so the people had every right to expect that within forty years His prediction would come true. And it did!

Agabus did not put a time frame on either one of his predictive prophesies although it could have been, and very well may have been, understood Paul would be arrested on that trip into Jerusalem. And he was indeed arrested on that trip to Jerusalem.

There is no evidence that God ever releases a prophetic word that does not have a shelf life of a reasonable amount of time. And when a prophet gives a specific time frame, just as Jesus did in His Olivet Discourse, that prophet is on the hook for what they predicted to come to pass.

How else could God’s people “examine [test] everything carefully” and “hold onto that which is good” as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5, if they must continue to hang on forever waiting on the word to come true?

“19 Do not quench the Spirit; 20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22 abstain from every form of evil.

Paul first said, “Do not quench the Holy Spirit.” Many have interpreted that to mean “do not despise prophesies” but that is not what the Holy Spirit meant when He had Paul write it before “do not despise prophecies.” Quenching the Holy Spirit first and foremost means to not allow Him to function in His primary calling to comfort and convict, as well as to lead people into all the truth [God’s written Word].

Jesus first reveals the Holy Spirit as ‘Helper.” Then as the “Spirit of truth.” Then as the One who “will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” [John 14]

Helper means One called to come alongside for the purpose of providing aid, to advocate, assist, counsel, console, and intercede for.

.Then he said, “Do not despise prophesies” which means it is possible for God’s people to despise prophecy. We know that many church cultures refuse to allow prophets and the gift of prophecy to operate in their environments. Apparently prophecy is despised in some places today and I believe the reason is because of all the “words from God” that never come to pass.

Then he said, “Hold onto that which is good” meaning not to hold onto anything or anyone that is not good.

Lastly he said, “abstain from every form of evil.” ‘Abstain’ literally means: To prevent, to keep your distance from, and to not receive [have] anything evil [harmful, perverted, diseased, impoverished, and not productive].

What did Paul mean when he wrote, “examine everything carefully”? Paul uses language that those who tested metals and currency for purity and authenticity understood. Paul wanted the saints at Thessalonica to test by fire and by pressure what was offered to them, and those who offered it. Paul had written something similar to the saints in Corinth. “each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work [and words]” [1 Corinthians 3:13].

Paul was instructing the Thessalonican saints not to be credulous but to examine everything and everyone with great care. Where Luke wrote these same people poured through the Scriptures [Old Testament] carefully to compare what they were being taught as truth with the Truth, Paul wrote they were to examine everything and everyone with heated discourse, applying pressure in private, just like a smelter of silver and gold and the person tasked with ensuring the currency was not counterfeit, to discover what was in the heart of the people presenting themselves as legitimate ministers.

One great tool for the initial examination is the gift of the Spirit known as discerning of spirits. This gift is given by the Holy Spirit to alert us to what kind of spirit is operating in any given situation, individual or group setting. This gift discerns [distinguishes and identifies] whether it is the Holy Spirit, human spirit, angel or demonic spirit operating in our midst. The Holy Spirit is the first line of defense when we are hearing anyone speak for God. Being sensitive to the Spirit is vitally important and we must learn to recognize what He is saying inside of us. Then we must allow the Spirit to lead and guide us into all truth as found in the Scripture [graphe].

I believe this gift was used by Paul when he confronted the slave girl operating in divination [false prophecy] in Philippi [Ats 16]. “16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, ‘These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.’ 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!’ And it came out at that very moment.”

Here we see it is possible to have an accurate word come from a person with a demonic spirit. Divination is obtaining unknown knowledge through a spiritual source other than God, thus the slave girl had a spirit of divination. She had given herself over to it because it gave her the ability to profit monetarily.

This spirit is a counterfeit to the gifts of the Holy Spirit called words of knowledge and words of wisdom, which often work in tandem with prophecy. The Greek word used is Pýthōn. Isn’t it interesting how that serpent is always looking for an opportunity to slip into our midst to deceive us? How did Paul know she was not a legitimate prophetic person? The Holy Spirit’s gift of the discerning of spirits is what I believe he used to recognize she was a fortune teller.

Paul cast that spirit out of her and that caused a riot and eventually a revival church to be birthed! In between there was pain, prison and then greater manifest Presence! That is usually God’s process to revival in an individual or a region!

In Philippi Paul and his team met a lady from Thyatira named Lydia. Lydia was an entrepreneur who sold purple fabrics. Lydia means travail and Thyatira means the odor of affliction. Lydia was a worshiper of God whose heart God opened to receive Paul, his team and their ministry. Lydia provided a temporary base of operations in Philippi for the advancement of the gospel of the kingdom to proceed into Europe.

I encourage you to read the resurrected Jesus’ words to the church at Thyatira found in Revelation 2:18-29. He begins with [verse 18] – “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:” In the middle of His word to Thyatira Jesus says in verse 23, “and all the churches will know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts; and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.” Do you notice a pattern?

We saw above what John wrote in 1 John 2 about the Holy Spirit [anointing] protecting us from being deceived in. He also wrote this in 1 John 5 [KJV] – “6 And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

Jesus, before he came as a human was known in eternity past as the Word [John 1:1]. John wrote the Word became flesh [1:14]. Now, since He ascended to the throne next to His Father He is known as the only Mediator between God and man, “the Man Christ Jesus,” Now in eternity present and future He is known as the Man who Mediates.

This is in and of itself a huge subject but suffice it to say the Father, the Word that still remains in heaven now that Jesus came to earth and returned as a resurrected Man, and the Spirit all bear witness in earth to that which is accepted in heaven for use in the earth.

Look at what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12 – “29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. 30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets; 33 for God is not a God of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

Paul did not allow for prophecy to go without being judged and neither did he allow for prophets to escape judgment. Lets examine carefully Paul’s instructions on how to steward prophets and prophetic ministry.

  • In a particular service only two to three prophets should speak
    • I believe this is because every matter is to be established out of the mouths of two to three witnesses which means the two to three prophets prophesying should prophesy things that are in harmony with each other and God’s eternal Word
    • 2 Peter 1 – “19 So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
      • Scripture, all of it, is to be how we judge any prophet or prophetic ministry
      • If someone prophesies anything contrary to Scripture it is to be rejected and if the person prophesying refuses to admit what they have prophesied is not in line with Scripture they are to be rejected because they are self interpreting and judging their own prophecies and prophetic ministry
  • As each prophet speaks “the others” pass judgment
    • Is Paul referring to the other prophets or the others in the hearing of the prophets
      • I believe the answer is yes, both the other prophets and the others in the hearing of the prophecies are to judge what is prophesied and those who prophesy
      • What does “pass judgment” mean
        • Pick it apart
        • To separate by straining through a strainer
        • To render a judicial decision based on every aspect of what is said and or done
  • The purpose of judging prophets and their prophecies is so:
    • All may learn
    • All may be encouraged
      • Who are the “all” who may learn and be encouraged
      • I believe all is all inclusive meaning all the prophets and all those exposed to their prophetic ministry
        • Prophets, just like apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers are to equip the saints for the work of ministry, so their primary function is training everyone in prophetic ministry
    • Each prophet is to steward his own spirit by keeping it clean and pure and submitted to the other prophets and prophetic people who have learned and are being encouraged in their prophetic ministry
    • A prophet who refuses to pass through the judgment is to be judged as false
    • Encouragement is one of the three legs the gift of prophecy stands on [v3]
  • God is not confused and He does not spread or allow the spread of confusion in any of the churches of the saints

Again, to judge prophecy is to judge the person prophesying, whether that person is a prophet or not.

The New Testament warns about these false people and ministers:

  • False apostles [2 Corinthians 11:13; Revelation 2:2]
  • False prophets [Matthew 24:11,24; Mark 13:22; Acts 13:6; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Revelation 16:13; 19:20; 20:10]
  • False Christs [saviors] [Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22]
  • False teachers [2 Peter 2:1]
  • False brethren [2 Corinthians 11:26; Galatians 2:4]
  • False witness [Matthew 15:19; 19:18]
  • False circumcision [Philippians 3:2]

A cursory reading of church history reveals within the generation that was alive when Jesus was walking the planet all of the above were contemporary concerns for the genuine Christian, Christian leader and church community. And in the two thousand years since they are still a concern for leaders of the churches of the saints.

James tells us in chapter 3 verse 1 – “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

“Stricter judgment” means a greater, larger, louder and stronger condemnation of wrong. This means the decisions made carry more weight and will travel farther than the judgments [decisions] of those who do not teach God’s people. This phrase comes from a Greek word that means: To separate for the purpose of approving or disapproving, determining what is right or wrong, and what is safe or unsafe. What is intended is to determine whether the one teaching is worthy of being trusted as a teacher.

That is why James uses the word “become” a teacher. Teachers are gifts of Christ who He calls to be[come] teachers. This means anyone called better know that it is a holy calling and not to be taken lightly. ‘Become’ means: To arise into the position, and onto the public stage you were called to take.

Paul reveals that teachers are third in line of importance in the church Jesus is building [the churches of the saints]. “And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers.” [1 Corinthians 12:28]

So, if teachers who are third in line come under a “stricter judgment” what kind of judgment do apostles and prophets come under?

This is where accuracy and accountability intersect. If a person who teaches or prophesies speaks something that is not true or does not come to pass within a reasonable amount of time, then that person must be willing to give an account of what they said to those they said it to. Not only that, but they must root out the root problem[s] that caused them to speak in the name of the Lord something the Lord was not saying. It is not enough to say, “I’m sorry!” The person must understand and articulate why they said what they said.

If they refuse to make themselves and their ministry accountable then they are to be judged as false ministers because their heart is not holy.

The only way for a person judged as false can be reinstated in good standing is by repenting and submitting to the delegated authorities in the church of the saints they worship in.

Receive and steward God’s passion, power, presence, priority, process, promises, protection, provision, pruning, purging, purity and purpose!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

A spiritual revolutionary

 

The Blood or the Boondoggle

There is a move afoot within certain segments of Christianity that gives intellectual, emotional and material support to something that is very grievous to God. This move is a counterfeit move to genuine moves of God.

That move is the reconstitution of the Law, Levitical priesthood and the animal sacrifices associated with it.

Christians who offer support for this move on any level are in danger of trampling underfoot the blood of Jesus. Christians need to take a serious look at their loyalty to the One who shed His blood to redeem them from sin, and a senseless religious culture that has no life in it.

Hebrews 10

“1 For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. 5 Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me; 6 In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have taken no pleasure. 7 “Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.’ ” 8 After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you have not desired, nor have you taken pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the Law), 9 then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second. 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

This text is just one of many in the New Testament that prove that the only blood that has ever counted in the court room of God’s Department of Justice is the blood of Jesus. Notice what Jesus is quoted as saying.

  • “Sacrifice and offering [of animals] You [Father] have not desired”
  • “A [human] body You [Father] have prepared for Me”
  • “You [Father] have taken no pleasure in whole burnt offerings and [animal] sacrifices for sin”
  • “You [Father] have not desired or taken pleasure in the Law’s requirement to sacrifice animals”
  • “[Father] I have come to do Your will”

The writer of Hebrews makes these stark statements:

  • “The Law was only a shadow”
  • “The Law was not the good things to come [future of when the Law was given]”
  • “The Law is not the form [image, likeness] of things [to come]”
  • “The Law can never make something or someone perfect”
    • Which infers what, or who was to come would make things perfect
  • “The Law kept the worshiper conscious of sin”
  • “The Law reminds the worshiper they are a sinner”
  • “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins”
  • “Therefore when He comes into the world”
    • Inferring a Perfect One was coming into the world
  • “He [the Perfect One coming into the world] would take away the first [lifeless Law] in order to establish [set in permanently] the second”
    • The second is the sacrifice of Jesus’s body [blood] once for all

Jesus is called the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. When He came into the world it was to bring into time that which was instituted in eternity past. The “once for all” statement is referring to the eternal aspect of His bodily sacrifice that manifested in time nearly 2,000 years ago. This truth tells us that the Law, the Levitical priesthood and all the animal sacrifices point people to an eternal past, present and future reality.

The Law, Levitical priesthood and all the animal sacrifices were a sign to a past decision that was going to manifest in a future time in the fulness of time. When the fulness of time came, as per God’s timing, Jesus entered the world as a human being to lay down His life as the life giving Lamb of God.

To reinstitute the Law, Levitical priesthood and the animal sacrifices associated with them is an affront to God the Father, the Cross and blood of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit by which Christ was sanctified to God. You cannot hold onto the resurrected Christ and hold onto a dead religious system. You must choose Christ or Judaism!

Hebrews 9

“11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; 12 and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

The writer of Hebrews states in this text:

  • Jesus appears as a high priest
    • In other texts this is explained in more detail
  • Jesus entered through a greater and more perfect tabernacle
    • This tabernacle was not made with human hands
      • This speaks both of the heavenly tabernacle that was the model for the tabernacle of Moses and the temple David wanted to build
      • It also speaks of the human body [temple] that God used to tabernacle with man through Jesus
        • Man did not build either of those tabernacles
    • This tabernacle is not of this [natural] creation
  • The blood of animals and the ashes of heifers are inferior to the blood of Christ
  • Those can never cleanse the conscience from dead works
  • Jesus shed His own blood to sanctify believers
  • Jesus offered Himself without blemish through the eternal Spirit
    • This qualified Him to be the Lamb slain to pay for all sin
    • Jesus’ offering is the only offering to clean a conscience from dead [worthless and lifeless] works
    • Jesus’ offering is the only offering where we can serve the living God

Why on earth are Christians supporting this failed religious system? They are either deceived or they have deserted Christ. Neither of those options are good.

With all the compassion I have I warn you to stay away from anyone who is providing support for the heresy of Jewish religious worship. There is no life in it and it will disqualify you from the life that is in Christ Jesus.

The Book of Hebrews was written to exalt Christ and dethrone Jewish worship. I encourage you to take the time to read this great Book. Read it slowly and pay attention to the warnings along with the exaltation of Jesus Christ.

Look at the early warning statements given by the writer of Hebrews.

  • 2:1 – “we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard”
  • 2:1 – “so that we do not drift away from it”
  • 2:3 – “how will we escape”
  • 2:3 – “if we neglect so great a salvation”
  • 3:6 – “whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end”
  • 3:8 – “Do not harden your hearts”
  • 3:12 – “Take care, brethren”
  • 3:12 – “that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God”

The writer of Hebrews continues throughout his epistle giving warning to his readers to remain loyal to Christ and run from those who were trying to draw them back under the boondoggle of Judaism.

And now those of you who read this blog are warned. Is it Christ or compromise?

Keep HIS Faith! Keep HIS Passion! Keep HIS Purpose!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin

A Hisstorymaker

 

 

 

 

False Ministers #2

In my last blog I talked about Jesus’ warning to BE [a]ware of – not BE afraid of – false ministers! In this blog I want to keep going down that road to reality, that path to protection, and that lane that leads to liberty!

Let’s take a look at what Jude had to say to the first century believers that we would do well to pay careful attention to today!

~~~ Our text is from the Book Of Jude ~~~

“1 Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:”

Identifies the author and the audience. Jude is writing to those who are THE called. In my last blog we talked about those who were called. I mentioned Jesus calls people and people call themselves. These called ones are the ones accepted by God into the Beloved, and are kept FOR Jesus Christ by God the Father.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:1 – “I . . . . implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called.” His inference is this, this particular calling is from the Lord. He then goes into the fruit of the Lord’s calling in the next few verses.

“2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

Let’s take a quick look at these verses. I hope you will notice the “spirit” or “fruit” of the one legitimately walking in the Lord’s call as compared to the fruit of the false minister and ministry that we detailed in the last blog and will detail later in this one too.

“Humility” is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. It is God-focused not self-focused. It is God-reliant not self-reliant.

“Gentleness” is our strength [areas of strength] in submission to the Lord and His delegated authorities. I ‘restrain’ my strengths for the common good. It is a picture of a stallion yielded to his trainer.

“Patience” is planning for the long haul, not plowing ahead against the wishes of those you are supposed to be related to, and relating to.

“Showing tolerance” is respect for the connections and relationships with those your are supposed to be in relationship with.

“Love” here is God’s love which is sacrificial not self-absorbed. It puts others before self.

“Be diligent to preserve” is being dedicated to be cognizant of the effect you are having and can have on the community. Be one who preserves not perverts.

“THE unity of the Spirit” is the Spirit’s unity, or what the Spirit is trying to accomplish in your community. Again the focus is on the Lord – not on you.

In verses 4 – 6 Paul then reminds his audience that we all should be in harmony with the Godhead, who exemplifies community [common unity], respect and focus.

“2 May mercy and peace and love be multiplied to you.” Jude releases the typical blessing that the New Testament writers begin their letters with.

“3 Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.”

Jude speaks of a common [shared among all believers] salvation, and the necessity for the saved community to contend earnestly for THE [only] faith handed down [from Jesus who authored it] to the saints.

“4 For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

How did they get “in” “unnoticed”? They masqueraded as sheep [saints]! This means they must have  adopted the outward appearance and like-minded lingo [language] of the saints, to deceive the saints.

This should not be a surprise to the wise. Satan himself will appear AS an angel of light.

Jude reveals they fooled the church people but they did not fool the One who’s idea the church was and is and will always be.

These imposter’s were from long ago marked out for condemnation which means they certainly did not have a personal relationship with Jesus.

Their ungodliness manifested in the form and fashion of the course of the world.

They turned, twisted God’s grace and made it after their twisted image. Their grace is called hyper-grace that allows for all kinds of illegitimate [licentious] behavior because “God has already forgiven them ALL their trespasses.” They believe they can do what they want, to whom they want, with whom they want, for as long as they want. They are not punishable. Just ask them!

Oh what an amazing grace!

They added insult to injury by denying the Only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

They did not deny His existence. They simply made Him effeminate, powerless, and unwilling to stop their illegitimate behavior. They said, “No, Jesus!” They denied His Lordship over their lives.

“5 Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things once for all, that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.”

Do NOT think that the work of the Cross is God’s payment for you to keep sinning!

And –

Do NOT think that God’s gift of grace is a get out of hell free card!

Jude is reminding his audience that God is the same yesterday, today and forever and no one should put the Lord God to a foolish test. “There IS a way that seems right to man, but it ends in death.”

“6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, 7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”

Again, Jude is giving a history lesson on the dangers of tempting God. Rebellion against God will never work out well for the rebellious, whether they be men or angels.

“8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties.”

Jude is now connecting the dots between those who in past times mocked God by their behavior and the contemporary rebels. He identifies them by these characteristics:

They are dreamers – This means they live in a parallel universe than everyone else. Their reality is real to them but it is not real. It is their virtual world from which they get their virtual worldview. Metaphorically speaking, according to Thayer’s Dictionary of NT Words, this means to be beguiled with sensual images and carried away to an impious course of conduct.

They defile the flesh – Means they disguise their flesh as a person would change the color of a garment with dye. “Wolves in sheep’s clothing”. It also means to defile with sinfulness.

Reject authority – Means they are their own authority. They are the captains of their own ship. They are masters of their own ministry. If they are “under authority” it is either a facade or they have aligned themselves with people who will not confront them.

Revile majesties – The word angel is NOT in the original text. These false brethren mock, blaspheme, speak evil of and reproach leaders who God puts in their life to bring them to repentance. Majesties speak of the God-head and God ordained authorities who they expect their people to be accountable to.

9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, he did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Here Jude is revealing that when Michael the archangel confronted the devil and argued with him over the body of Moses, did not approach him in his own name and in his own strength. He came “IN the name of The Lord.” Let this be a warning to anyone and everyone who would attempt to do God’s work in their own strength.

10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.

These impostors step into realms they were not called to or prepared for. They operated out of natural instincts instead of Spirit anointing, and ended up being destroyed.

11 Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

Bummer! “For they have gone” – this means they made this determination at some point in their past. They plotted and planned to carry out their agenda. Nothing was going to prevent them from having their own way.

Have gone the way of Cain – Cain was the first human murderer who refused to deal with his issue. Like Lucifer, who was a murderer from the beginning, Cain chose to eliminate his competition instead of dealing with his issues. God’s rejection of his offering [ministry], and his own disappointment drove him to do what he harbored in his heart. Cain was selfish, self centered, self absorbed and self inflated. He hated his brother just like the devil hates God and anything and anyone associated with God.

Have rushed headlong into the way of Balaam – Baalam was a prophet who could hear from God, and who could deliver accurate words from God. Balaam could also be bought for a price. In other words, he was not submitted to the Lordship of Jesus and money and prestige were his gods. Balaam was for sale. Balaam would also twist the word of God to fit his agenda. He was a prophet looking for profit!

Perished [past tense although it had not yet happened] in the rebellion of Korah – Korah gathered a group and led them in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, God’s delegated authorities. The earth opened up and swallowed them alive. They did not die and then go to hell. They went to hell while alive!

Someone once said something like this, “The only people who start at the top dig holes for a living.” These perverse men never learned the first rule of holes, “When you find you are in a hole, quit digging.”

“12 These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has been reserved forever.”

Hidden reefs in your love feasts – Means they disguise their true intentions. They are shallow and dangerous. They are close to the body and close to attempting to shipwreck those who are deep drafted vessels of God.

Feast with you without fear – Means they believe they will never be exposed.

Caring for themselves – Means they are there for what they can get not what they have to offer. They come to be served not to serve and when they do serve it is not out of pure motives. They are posturing for position and power.

Clouds without water – They do not truly refresh the environment. They provide shade which is temporary relief. What they offer does not permanently change the terrain, because they carry no rain.

Carried along by winds – Means they are every changing. They cannot be satisfied. They are always chasing the latest fads and “moves of God”. There is no real stability in their lives.

They are unhappy, unsatisfied and unhinged – Paul references these in Ephesians 4 when he talks about “we are NO LONGER to be children, tossed to and fro by EVERY wind of doctrine.”

This doctrine is not sound Biblical doctrine. It is the latest “contemporary and relevant” marketing method of doing ministry.

Winds here are a counterfeit move of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said the Holy Spirit moved like the wind [John 3].

Autumn trees without fruit – Means they are like the fig tree Jesus cursed when He looked for fruit and found none. Jesus looks for specific fruit and as we saw in the last blog He will shut the door and remove from Himself those who bear unacceptable fruit. These trees do not produce the fruit Jesus looks for.

Doubly dead – Means they are destined for both physical and spiritual death, or eternal separation form God.

Uprooted – Means they are not rooted and or grounded in true love and they are not rooted and grounded in the Word of God, or the true house of God. They do NOT put down real roots.

Wild waves of the sea – Means they are unruly, unprincipled, undisciplined and under no authority. They are wild and restless. They are always stirring up trouble. [See Isaiah 57:20]

Cast up their own shame like foam – Means they have fluff but no substance. Their ministry is shallow and temporal. Their shame speaks of the eventuality they will be found out.

Wandering stars – Means they, like the angels who followed Lucifer in the rebellion against God, will not keep their place. This is a reiteration of verse 6. These ministers are not dependable as they cannot be “pinned down” as that would be considered “legalistic” and “religious” to expect them to be consistent. Again, this is another way to say they will not submit to legitimate authority.

For whom the black darkness has been reserved forever – This is a troubling statement because darkness is black, but Jude describes it as “black darkness”. This is a reference to what happened in Egypt when God struck them with a darkness so dark they could feel it, and could not see their hand if they put it right in front of their eyes. This darkness represents life without God, who is Light.

“14 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15 to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

Jude, as he has throughout this short letter, refers to history when legitimate ministry is conducted by legitimate ministers. The Lord may take a while to get around to dealing with illegitimate ministry and ministers, but make no mistake about it, He will get around to it!

“16 These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.”

These foolish people just do not know when to leave their masquerade party. Jude now shifts to a new set of perverse characteristics that give them away. They ~

Are grumblers – Murmurers, complainers, agitators. They speak just loud enough for those close to them to hear. They are the “grape [gossip] vine” in the church. Sometimes they join the intercessors so they can pray for others, especially the leadership, because the leaders just don’t get it, or them.

Find fault – Means they look for all that is wrong and fixate on that. They are great at seeing problems and have no problem making sure someone in the church knows they know what is wrong. They rarely have solutions so they rarely offer any. They are discontented and lay the blame at the feet of everyone or anyone but themselves.

Follow after their own lusts – Means they are led by their physical appetites not by the Spirit of God. Their motivations are worldly, not heavenly. Remember, they are in it for what they can get out of it. They give to get and when they believe they will not benefit any more they stop giving.

Speak arrogantly – Means they have an inflated sense of their own importance and have no problem talking about how great they are. They are the smartest people in the room. They are the most gifted in the room. Just ask them! These people elevate themselves by demoting others in their heart and with their talk.

Flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage – Means they are masters at manipulation. They are cool customers. They are smooth operators. They make you believe they are building you up but the whole time they are posturing for promotion  – at the leader’s expense!

Jude continues by reminding the legitimate disciples and ministers what the 12 apostles of the Lamb, those authorized personally by Jesus to carry on His work His way, had to say,

“17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,”

We are to call to mind what the apostles of the Lamb wrote and said.

18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”

From their day to the last Day these false believers will be hanging around the real community of believers.

“19 These are the ones who cause divisions, worldly-minded, devoid of the Spirit.”

Jude, in reiterating the fruit to be aware of says this about the counterfeit Christian:

They cause division – They attempt to bring a different vision into the house than the one God has placed in the house. When they don’t get their way they work to separate others by enlisting those who will follow them and their vision.

They are worldly-minded – This means they operate out of a mindset that is inferior to heaven’s.

This mindset is carnal and corrupt!

They are devoid of the Holy Spirit – They can produce signs and wonders that appear on the surface to be legitimate but as we have seen God honors the name of His Son, not necessarily the person using His name.

“20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit,”

Jude points his finger at the ones kept for Jesus and says,

Be personally responsible for your spirituality [your own edification, your own holy faith] by praying in the Holy Spirit [being led by the Spirit in your daily devotion to God], and by –

“21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.”

Keeping yourself in the love of God. This means keeping your focus on God, not self. And keep your focus on how you can serve others in His name [character] and not be self-serving.

Jude continues by saying,

“22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.”

Have mercy on some – Not all? No! On who? On those who are doubting, not those who are rebelling. Show compassion for the ones who became trapped by the seduction of the seducers, if they are repentant.

Save others, snatching them out of the fire – Do all that is possible to rescue the ones that can be rescued, or who want to be rescued, before destruction comes.

On some have mercy with fear – Try to appeal to them on the basis of what their future looks like if they do not turn from their evil way. Appeal to these people warning them that God may be slow to judge but judge He eventually will.

Hating even the garment polluted by the flesh – Remind them that to God all of our own efforts are as filthy rags. These rags were the menstrual cloths the women used in that day. The pollution of the flesh was the old blood mixed with dead cells. This is a graphic picture of what God thinks of doing His work our way, or without Him.

Then we find Jude’s benediction.

“24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever . Amen!”

Keep THE Faith! Keep THE Passion!

Our hunger and thirst for God escorts us into deep satisfaction in God! Dr. Kevin M. Drury, DMin A Hisstorymaker!

What Were They Thinking?

Ananias and Sapphira found out the hard way what it is like to walk into the glory of God with corruption in their heart.

Acts 5:1-16

1 But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2 and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? 4 “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5 And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it. 6 The young men got up and covered him up, and after carrying him out, they buried him.

7 Now there elapsed an interval of about three hours, and his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 And Peter responded to her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for such and such a price?” And she said, “Yes, that was the price.” 9 Then Peter said to her, “Why is it that you have agreed together to put the Spirit of the Lord to the test? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out as well.” 10 And immediately she fell at his feet and breathed her last, and the young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 And great fear came over the whole church, and over all who heard of these things.

12 At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico. 13 But none of the rest dared to associate with them; however, the people held them in high esteem. 14 And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and pallets, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on any one of them. 16 Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.”

All those who have been praying for a return to a 1st century church better understand what you are actually praying for because God is not returning to, or for, a 1st century church. God is developing a 21st century church, and maybe even a 22nd century church where the “glory of the latter house will be greater than the glory of the former house.”

It is God’s mercy that has kept our prayers for the glory of God to increase from being fully realized. When it comes in its fullness [the 1st century was a down payment] there very well may be more than a “couple” fall down dead in His presence.

This IS the New Testament friends!

God has never tolerated sin – NEVER!

The sons of Aaron found out what it was like to enter God’s presence incorrectly. Fire from the altar killed them. Why? They offered “strange [unauthorized, unacceptable and unwelcome] fire”.

Isaiah 4 tells us “before the glory” there is a “spirit of burning and judgment” to “purify the daughters of Jerusalem [the Church].”

I don’t know about you but I want to continually step into the spirit of burning and judgment so I will be purified in order to handle the glory.

The Bible says, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” [1 Peter 4:17]

Many see this as God punishing people. I see this as God redeeming people. God will judge His people so His people will be able to represent Him [Holy] to the world.

“What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” They will repent or die! At least they will get the opportunity to repent. Ananias and Sapphira did not get that opportunity. They should have lived repentant lives.

God did not kill Ananias nor Sapphira. Their sin killed them. “The wages of sin IS death.”

What “hidden sin” do you carry in your heart that you carry into your church services?

What guarantee do you have that God will not withdraw His hand of restraint and unload His glory in your church service Wednesday night, or Sunday morning, or some other time when you walk into your “sanctuary”?

Instead of offering some strange fire why don’t you locate His fire and step into it until it purifies you to the point that when He pours His glory out you can not only stand it, or stand up under it, but you can transfer it to other people.

Re-read the story of Ananias and Sapphira again. You will find some interesting information.

1. There was no memorial or funeral service
2. There was no eulogy
3. There was a removal of the dead bodies and a burial – period
4. There was a holy respect for the Christian community
5. There were no “seekers” “checking” “church” out
6. There were real Christians added to the church
7. Then there was an increase in God’s power being released through the apostles
8. Peter, the one who delivered the judgment of God to Ananias and Sapphira, especially operated in increased power. The glory was so strong on him that as far as his shadow extended people were healed and delivered
9. Surrounding cities and their citizens were impacted as well by those who demonstrated a healthy respect [honor, awe] of the Holy God that allowed 2 church member’s membership to expire.

Friends, God is not just interested in you, your church, or your city.

God is interested in you impacting cities around you!

The church my wife Donna and I pastor in beautiful Brunswick and the glorious Golden Isles of Georgia, USA [Bethel Church] have always had people from a minimum of 6 counties, and at times as many as 9 counties, attend our services.

Currently there are people attending who drive between 1 – 1 1/2 hours one way to be in the Presence of God. Some are members,  and even leaders, and some are here because they see us a “city” of refuge.

Wise men [people] still travel to find and get it on what God is doing in the earth! There will also always be people who are not interested or aware of what God is doing in their city or region. And then there will always be those who will criticize or attempt to kill what God is doing.

What are you doing with what God is doing?

What Were They Thinking?

Wouldn’t you like to ask Ananias & Sapphira, “What were you thinking?” We don’t really know what they were thinking because the text in Acts 5 does not tell us.

Peter asked them both some questions but Luke, who wrote Acts, does not say what they said, if they said anything at all in defense of their defenseless deception.

V5 says this about Ananias, “As he heard these words [questions] He fell down and breathed his last.”

I believe before Ananias fell down dead, he fell down. He chose deception and in that choice he chose death.

Verse 8 says, “Peter responded to her” which indicates Sapphira may have asked him, “”Where is Ananias?”

Sapphira did answer the first question Peter asked her. Then she fell down dead as well. Luke uses the word “immediately” to describe how swift she lost her life.

This word ‘immediately’ is the same word used in the Gospels to describe how quickly the disciples Jesus chose, chose to follow him and dropped everything to follow Him.

There is a false perception [which is a deception] that under grace Christians can get away with sin. Grace is not a get out of jail free card folks. Read carefully 1 John 2:1-6 and notice John writes to “little children”.

“1 My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”

“Little children” is “paidion” and is the 3rd level of maturity in the first level of 4 levels of maturity. Little children can understand they do not have permission to [may not] sin.

John goes on to say, “If” not “when” we sin. Sin should not be an issue if we are growing up in Christ Jesus.  I can hear those saying, “Kevin, you are crazy. No one will ever live a sinless life.”

Jesus did!

Jesus was tempted in every way that you and I are but He did not send. This means He chose right over wrong! It means He chose eternity over the temporary! It means He chose to be faithful to who He was and what He came to accomplish over what others wanted Him to be and to do!

So did Joseph and Mary! At least they were sexually sinless.

There are so called “believers” today that think it is archaic to remain sexually pure. It is only impossible to those who believe it is impossible, or to those who really do not care to remain pure because they believe “God will understand.”

Anything we see as impossible, is!  If we believe we can’t, we won’t!  If we believe it will not work, it won’t!  Deal with it!  “According to your faith will it be done.”

Your faith is not showing!

Those who know [have an intimate relationship with] the Father through Jesus the Christ, will keep His commandments. If you read chapter 2 you see the commandments have to do with love, not LAW.

Love supersedes LAW because it is based on the person’s heart that we love, not their rules! In fact, Paul says in Galatians 5 that those who live according to the Spirit are above the LAW.

If we do not keep His commandments we are liars and the truth is not IN us.

“We ought to walk as Jesus the Christ walked”. Jesus is our role model for all life and ministry.

Grace is God’s ability that lifts us up, not lets us down.

Grace is God’s enablement that causes our commitment to live godly in this perverse generation to grow more concrete.

Titus 2:11-14

“11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

Grace has appeared to ~

1. Bring salvation to all men – does not mean all men are saved or will be saved
2. Instruct us to DENY ungodliness [this means to say “no” to it not deny that it exists]
3. Instruct us to deny worldly desires [carnality, immaturity]
4. Instruct us to live sensibly, righteously and godly [be like God [Jesus]]

~~~ The result of us being taught to live like God is ~~~

We will look for the appearing of the blessed hope and glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ [in us not for us]. In other words, Jesus becomes more prominent in our lives [lifestyle].

Some of us are praying faithfully and with great fervor for God’s glory to invade our lives and areas of responsibility. As I wrote above if we are serious about God increasing His glory we best be serious about being prepared to host and handle it.

Jesus [the glory of God in earth in a man [John 1:14]] lived His life as an example of giving Himself to God’s purposes in order to redeem us from –

EVERY lawless deed [including using His name without having a real relationship with Him [Luke 13:23-28]]

And to ~

Purify for Himself, for His own possession, a people who will be zealous for GOOD deeds.

Or, a people who are possessed by God!

So, I believe it is possible that Ananias & Sapphira thought that they could get away with sin. After all, they most probably had said a prayer, possibly even were baptized in water, and therefore, thought because “in Christ God had reconciled the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them” – they were good to go!

Whatever they were thinking did not work out the way they thought, or they would have not approached God [His delegated authority – Peter], trying to get away with lying.

We see how “that worked out for them.”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death” [Proverbs 14:12; 16:25].

1 Timothy 1:5-11

5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 6 from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm. 8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”

The law was never intended for the righteous person! It was for those who violate God’s heart!

Galatians 3:19-25

19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

” 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were [past tense] some of you. But you were [past tense] washed, but you were [past tense] sanctified, but you were [past tense] justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

God has a standard! God’s standard is very high! God does not have a bell curve where he rounds everybody’s  “score” up. God calls every body up to His standard!

Jesus the Christ IS God’s standard!

Keep the faith! Keep the passion!

Our hunger and thirst for God is our escort into our deep satisfaction in God!

Dr. Kevin M. Drury
A Hisstoymaker