Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Leaven of the Pharisees

I posted the following comment over at Mike Ratliff's Possessing the Treasure blog in response to his article entitled The Lord is the Strength of His People.


I'm not a particularly emotional man, and like you my general character, flawed as it may be, is strikingly similar to that of my grandfather on my mother's side. Grandpa was a hard man who lived through the Great Depression and fought nobly in WWII. He was certainly made of the stuff that defined "the greatest generation" and while I'd dare not reproach his memory by claiming that I meet the measure of a man he represented, I can say in truth that he was my childhood hero and the man whom I most tried to emulate.

Sadly for all his hardy craft and manly attributes grandpa didn't live the Christian life. I witnessed to him in his waning years and he'd speak of "the Man upstairs" and would assure me that he had gotten things in order with his Maker. I certainly hope this was true.

If I learned anything from grandpa it was about how to stand tall in the midst of tribulation and to maintain a sense of proper perspective in even in the direst of circumstances.

I've said all this to say that one thing I've learned in the Lord it is to not lean unto my own understanding. His thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways are higher than my ways. When the assaults of the enemy arrive - and if you are a true Christian they always will - we are to lift up our eyes to heaven in prayer and know they hated Him before they hated us. True Christians are strangers in a strange land, sojourners passing through hostile enemy territory moving inexorably toward an eternal abode not built with hands.

When persecution comes - and if you are a true Christian it always will - we are to remember they persecuted Him before they persecuted us. Yet it is especially painful when those who seem to possess the sharpest and most venomous tongues are also those who claim to be our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Sadly the professing church is filled to the brim with the deceived. They are false converts who said a few words, did some "churchy" things, which go on mission trips, and sing songs about a God they've never known and a heaven they'll never see. These are they who will hear those awful words "depart from me, ye who work iniquity, I never knew ye!"

Oh, the terror, the horror, the shame! Oh, that these blind followers of the blind might hearken to the truth of the One True Living God and be saved! How will they escape the wrath to come?

As I said at the beginning of this comment, Mike; I'm not a particularly emotional man, but my eyes well up and my heart throbs in my chest when I consider the untold myriads of sheep who have hearkened to the voice of a different shepherd and as a result are being led astray! This is perhaps the greatest tragedy; that so many wolves in sheep's clothing have been allowed to slither into the church and lead vast swaths of the flock into gross error. The most sneering atheist with his scientific "facts" - so called - and worldly intellectualism is not nearly so deadly an enemy as one false teacher from within! A little leaven leavens the whole loaf!

In addition to the anguish I feel for those deceived souls there is also a righteous anger and holy wrath that wells up in my spirit when the deceivers twist scripture like a wax nose as a means to justify their ends. These spiritual harlots dare to come at the Word with the sole intent of taking verses out of context in order to bolster their humanistic agendas as opposed to humbly and prayerfully preaching the whole counsel of God within its intended context, and leaving the Holy Spirit to do His work!

This isn't a simple matter of doctrinal purity or preferences regarding non-essentials of the faith, but rather it's nothing less than the life and death struggle for the eternal souls of men! The apostates are militant. The apostates have a satanically inspired vision. The apostates are evangelizing at an astonishing rate. The apostates are on the move and when they make a convert they make him twice the son of hell than themselves!

In the final analysis our God is sovereign and He is unfolding the scroll of history in precisely the manner He wills. But may we who are called by His name never use that truth as an excuse to stand idly by as the devourer rends Christ's little flock with his perverse message of self-esteem and a false temporal unity. Let those who are called by His name stand bold as a lion and harmless as a dove ever pointing to the cross of Christ and the immutable, absolute truth of the Holy Writ.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)