Recently I’ve been watching the mega snow catastrophe in Atlanta. No one saw it coming. No one that is, except the National Weather Service, which issued the proper warning in plenty of time to avert a crisis. But instead, the city went about it’s normal functions choosing to ignore the impossible was not only possible but probable. In the end, the prophets of weather were ignored; their voice too familiar and the sounding alarm meaningless. Until it was too late! Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes”.
It’s important to understand, prophets of the Old Testament who summoned the Nation of Israel back to God are alive and well in today’s church; calling the church back to Biblical obedience and Spirit filled living. They sound the warning…the alarm of coming persecution. God will deal with dissension and disunity in His Church. And trust me, it won’t be pretty!
It would be easy to think the prophets would call out this sinful and lost culture. We assume the darkest and most depraved world in which will live would be the target. We would be very wrong. The Spirit has given the prophets for the church…for that is where the darkest most vile, reprehensible and sickening sin festers. Clothed, all the while, in garments of light. It is by far the most dangerous and destructive. And be warned…it will be the target of God’s justice and wrath.
Throughout the scriptures, God purges and cleans His people through the vehicle of persecution. He reveals His sheep and scatters the goats. It’s Jesus who prunes and cast aside all that does not bear fruit:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” John 15
Today’s western church is amassed in self spiritual pride and heresy. She is garnished with hypocrites who think nothing of chasing fame, wealth, and sexual immorality. But even more dangerous, are those who clothe themselves as spiritual giants. Hidden is their true nature of condemnation and divisiveness. They bring disunity to the Body and manufacture gossip with great talent and amazing deceit. They cloak their poisonous gossip in spiritual banter with appearances of wisdom and concern. They turn on their leaders and Pastors with pious spirituality; all the while in direct and resolute defiance of God’s Word. They are tried and true Pharisees. They are vipers! Paul warns us in Titus 3:
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”
There is a storm gathering. But this storm is heaven sent for the purging and cleansing of His Church. It’s time we stop discarding the warning of His prophets and begin to return to full obedience of His Word and wrap ourselves in the joy and love of His Spirit. The dead branches will be cut and discarded. And when it happens rejoice! For new growth will follow.
Stay tuned for the next posting as we explore the signs and symptoms of the pharisees among us. We’ll explore 5 Biblical signs of a pharisee within the church and the prophets who call their bluff.