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The Trickery of Men

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Loyal
Monday, January 23, 2017, 8:52 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Zeal for Your House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 4 (Select vv. NASB).

Walk Worthy (vv. 1-6)

Therefore, I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been called to holiness. To live a holy life means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world, because you are becoming like Jesus. Jesus died for you to set you free from slavery to sin so that you might become a servant of his righteousness, i.e. that you might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, he died that you might no longer live for yourself, but for him who gave his life up for you. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Ro. 6:1-23; 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).

So, we are to walk (in lifestyle) in a manner worthy (commendable) of this calling to holiness and righteousness. If we are truly in Christ Jesus, by faith, we should no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but we should now be walking (conducting our lives) according to the Spirit of God (See: Ro. 8:1-14). And, it should be evident that God’s Spirit is now living within us, transforming us away from lifestyles of sin and selfishness to living for God in obedience to Christ and to his commands (his Word). His fruit should also be apparent in our lives, not that we will immediately be perfect, but it should be obvious that a transformation of heart and mind has taken place, and that we truly are new creatures in Christ Jesus. As well, we should have a change of attitude, purpose and direction toward God.

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within us, so that we are now the temple of the Holy Spirit, where God dwells. Collectively we form one body, which is the church, the body of Christ, yet we will meet in various locations because we are spread out throughout the earth. Yet, if we are baptized as believers in Jesus, no other baptism with water is needed, i.e. we don’t need to be baptized by a particular denomination, for we only need one believer’s baptism. We are also members of the church when we believe in Jesus Christ, so we don’t need additional membership in local fellowships. And, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we are Christians, period. We are not Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al, for all that divides the church.

Deceitful Scheming (vv. 11-16)

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Where God is at work in growing his followers to maturity in Christ, Satan is also at work trying to contradict him, and is trying to get Christ’s followers to disavow him and to follow the ways of the world instead. Although the first six verses of this passage refer to the words tolerance and unity, in the correct context, these same words are used by the enemies of God to try to pull us away from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ.

You see, the kind of tolerance meant here is that of showing patience, understanding, and endurance in our relationships with others, even with other believers, because we are imperfect people, mere clay vessels in the potter’s hands, and we’re going to have times when we rub each other the wrong way, even unintentionally. This is not speaking of tolerating or being lenient about sin, i.e. this is not about accepting sin in others, as though it is ok to sin against God, nor is it about accepting that all religions are viable and/or that we all worship the same God.

And, the unity spoken of here is unity with the Spirit of God, not with human thinking, reasoning, morals and values, and especially not with people of all religions or all walks of life. And, yet, the enemy of our souls is pushing this kind of unity with the world, and this tolerance (acceptance of) of all religions and lifestyles on Christians, and some of this teaching has even infiltrated into the church, and it is destroying the church from within.

The vast majority of the church here in America has become one with the world, and she has turned the church into businesses of men, which are marketed just like any other human-based businesses. “Worship” services have largely become nothing more that big shows to entertain the world so that the people of the world will want to come to these “churches,” i.e. to these businesses. In other words, the church (institutional) is being marketed to the world, so their leaders often pattern their meetings after the flesh of humans in order to appeal to the world so that the world will feel at home in the “church.” Thus, they have also diluted the gospel of Jesus Christ so as not to offend the people of the world, i.e. their customer base, although they don’t mind at all offending, rejecting and ostracizing mature followers of Christ, it would appear, as they are being trained to weed us out and to target the unchurched who they can mold into their image.

The New Self (vv. 17-24)

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Our new self is not to be just like the old self, only cleaned up a little, and now attending institutional church services once a week, and even serving in some kind of function within the “church.” Jesus Christ did not die on a cross just so we could escape hell, if hell is even mentioned at all, and just so we can go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He didn’t just forgive us our sins, but he delivered us out of slavery to sin in order that we might become bond-slaves of his righteousness. “Lord” means “owner-master,” which means we are his bond-slaves. Jesus bought us back for God with his blood, so we are not supposed to live like we did before we believed in Jesus Christ. And, faith in Jesus Christ does not give us the right to follow our Lord according to our own time-schedule and according to what we will agree to do or not do.

If we truly are in Christ Jesus, by faith, and we have been born anew of the Spirit of God, then we have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, to be lived in the power of the Spirit within us, and to be lived to Christ’s holiness and righteousness. This means that we have willingly laid aside our old self, that we have chosen to no longer live for sin and self, that we have been radically and drastically transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we have put on our new self in Christ, which is created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So, we no longer live to please our sinful flesh, right? For if we do, the Bible says we will die in our sins, and it says we are liars if we claim to have fellowship with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).

So, don’t get caught up in the lies of those who would lead you astray with their deceitful scheming, and who would tell you that being a Christian does not require repentance, obedience and submission to God/Jesus Christ. Do not trust their words when they try to get you to tolerate sin and to unite with the ungodly in order to bring “peace” to the world, either. And, do not join in with those who tolerate (allow for) the wicked, who worship false gods (idols of men), who have turned the church upside down, and who promote the flesh of humans as a way to “reach” the people of the world. The church is not a business, nor a corporation under the federal government, nor is it a building or an organization of human origin, but it is Christ’s body, his holy people, who listen to him and who follow (obey) him.

Zeal for Your House
An Original Work / August 1, 2016

Based off Jn. 2:17; Ps. 69:9

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
Lord, I love my times with You.
I love to worship You and sing Your praises.
Time in Your Word brings me closer to You,
List’ning to You speaking to me,
Gently guiding me in truth.

Lord, You are my life’s example,
Showing me how I should live.
I love to walk with You where’er You lead me.
No greater joy have I when serving You.
Loving, giving, resting in Your strength,
I’m yielding to Your will.

Zeal for Your house, it consumes me.
See the church turned upside down:
Marketing ventures taking place of worship,
Men of the gospel turning into clowns.
Gospel message made appealing,
So the world will feel at home.

Lord, we need a great revival.
Turn their hearts, Lord, back to You.
Open the blind eyes, turn them all from darkness,
Lord, to the light. May they return to You,
Turn from their sin, forsake idols,
Be restored to God again.

 
Moderator
Staff Member
And, if we truly believe in Jesus Christ, we are Christians, period. We are not Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, et al, for all that divides the church.
Amen! God doesn't call us to a denomination, but to Him!

even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
As each has their place in the Body of Christ, so I see your writings here as the part given to sounding the clarion to those who would call Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. That they heed what the Word of God says to them is a must if they are to persevere! The need to assess themselves/ourselves on where we stand, sit, and walk in the Lord daily is needed. In these latter days it is imperative that we be of even greater awareness of the darkness of the world before the Return of our Lord that we longingly await for and the pitfalls all around us. Not as ones with our heads in the sand singing kumbaya, but as Servants of the Most High, going about the tasks He has set before us to do. In such a way that none may doubt the Love we have for Him, and that no cost is too great, even as we ourselves war against the very nature that would stop us.

Thank-you sister for your Spirit filled words calling all to "Righteousness", "Purity", "Holiness", "Perseverance", "Discernment" and most especially as a "Warning" that the race is not finished and obstacles will still mark the path we are on. The enemy will attempt to impede our progress, but we must remember that in faithfulness we are victorious in Christ Jesus though there be tears in every step we take!! In the end there will be rejoicing and rest in the Words we all long to hear "Well done good and faithful servant"!!!

Blessings with prayers to you dear sister and to your family as well!

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
 
Loyal
Amen! God doesn't call us to a denomination, but to Him!



As each has their place in the Body of Christ, so I see your writings here as the part given to sounding the clarion to those who would call Jesus Christ their Lord and Savior. That they heed what the Word of God says to them is a must if they are to persevere! The need to assess themselves/ourselves on where we stand, sit, and walk in the Lord daily is needed. In these latter days it is imperative that we be of even greater awareness of the darkness of the world before the Return of our Lord that we longingly await for and the pitfalls all around us. Not as ones with our heads in the sand singing kumbaya, but as Servants of the Most High, going about the tasks He has set before us to do. In such a way that none may doubt the Love we have for Him, and that no cost is too great, even as we ourselves war against the very nature that would stop us.

Thank-you sister for your Spirit filled words calling all to "Righteousness", "Purity", "Holiness", "Perseverance", "Discernment" and most especially as a "Warning" that the race is not finished and obstacles will still mark the path we are on. The enemy will attempt to impede our progress, but we must remember that in faithfulness we are victorious in Christ Jesus though there be tears in every step we take!! In the end there will be rejoicing and rest in the Words we all long to hear "Well done good and faithful servant"!!!

Blessings with prayers to you dear sister and to your family as well!

With the Love of Christ Jesus.
YBIC
Nick
<><
Glory to God! Nick, Thank you so much for sharing these encouraging words. I appreciate all your input here. Well said. Be blessed, Sue
 
Loyal
@Sue J Love
Indeed as the verses of your OP [Eph. 4:1-6] make clear we are to be one in body, in Spirit, in our hope, in our Lord, in faith, in baptism, in our God, in order to be in the "unity" [verse 13] which God desires for us. The importance of the proper ministry [Eph 4:11] and the purpose of that ministry is emphasized [Eph 4:12-13], but without such a ministry it is not unexpected for us to still be "...children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" Eph 4:14

Ministers are a necessary part of our walk, but false ministers or ministers who themselves are misdirected will lead us into a ditch:

"Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matt 15:14

What are we to do? We are to recognize His voice so that we are not misled:

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:" John 10:27

Are we His sheep recognizing and hearing and obeying His voice as He speaks to us through ministers or are we blindly following someone into a ditch?
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

may I refine your words amadeus2?

make clear we are to be one in body, in Spirit, in our hope, in our Lord, in faith, in baptism, in our God, in order to be in the "unity" [verse 13] which God desires for us.
we are to be one in body - we are one in body
in order to be in the "unity" - in unity,

Another point to consider, you, me and all of us, is this whole concept of 'ministers'.
What or who, if we don't add or take, does Scripture say regarding 'ministers'? Perhaps our thinking needs to be brought back in to line according to that which our Lord has and does order?

Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal
Greetings,

may I refine your words amadeus2?



we are to be one in body - we are one in body
in order to be in the "unity" - in unity,

Another point to consider, you, me and all of us, is this whole concept of 'ministers'.
What or who, if we don't add or take, does Scripture say regarding 'ministers'? Perhaps our thinking needs to be brought back in to line according to that which our Lord has and does order?

Grace and Peace in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Bless you ....><>
I am sorry if I was unclear in my earlier post:

Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

To me this means that we need ministers in order to every attain what God has offered us. The problem for us is simply too quickly accepting one that a person is a minister called by God to one or more of those five offices [as per Eph 4:11]or to some other office and two that if the person has been called is the person working in that calling, God's work or the person's own work. This is why each person, each believer, needs to recognize the Lord's voice from among any other voices that may be speaking to us. For this reason I also cited John 10:27.

Are we His sheep? If we are then we recognize His voice. If we are not recognizing His voice [properly discerning] then perhaps we are not His sheep. In that case what can we do to become His sheep?

Does this help to clarify my meaning? If not do not hesitate to ask. I do not know all of the answers, but God does. Sometimes His gives them to me... but sometimes He does not.
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

thank you @amadeus2 .
What is your understanding from Scripture of the proportion of ministers to those ministered to?

Another way of putting that is ,
Do ministers make up a small leadership proportion of the church ... or?

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal
Greetings,

thank you @amadeus2 .
What is your understanding from Scripture of the proportion of ministers to those ministered to?

Another way of putting that is ,
Do ministers make up a small leadership proportion of the church ... or?

Bless you ....><>
I wouldn't want state a number or a ratio for that.

Everyone who is a believer at times will be involved in a measure in the five majors ministries of Eph 4:11 even if they are not called to work primarily for God in one of those. The word "minister" simply means "servant". All us of need to serve others. People who say they are ministers [meaning leadership of some kind] and are not serving people as God wants them to serve have a problem. [We should we careful about pointing our finger at someone we see as failing to lead properly or in missing their calling.]

We do need to follow those God has provided to lead us, but we should never follow blindly. We need to stay in touch with God all of the time... that is, we need to do the seemingly impossible, but is it impossible if God is allowed to work in us? What is impossible for God?
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings,

thank you amadeus2.

From what I understand, in Scripture, we are all ministers. Correct me if I am wrong, please.
If that is the case, all being ministers, then what is happening in congregations where it is only a few.

I don't see in Scripture it telling us that God gave some as ministers (pastor, prophet, etc.) but the rest he decided that they are mere recipients who financially support the leadership and of course, keep the pews warm. Or in other words , validate the leadership ministers, who need others to minister to/lead.

So, is there some sort of trickery of men going on ?
Because I observed the rain falling does not imply that I judge the rain nor Him Who sends it .

Bless you ....><>
 
Unworthy Servant
Staff Member
Greetings again @amadeus2

Please understand that I am not arguing with you but discussing.
It is good that iron sharpens iron.

Bless you ....><>
 
Loyal
Greetings,

thank you amadeus2.

From what I understand, in Scripture, we are all ministers. Correct me if I am wrong, please.
If that is the case, all being ministers, then what is happening in congregations where it is only a few.

I don't see in Scripture it telling us that God gave some as ministers (pastor, prophet, etc.) but the rest he decided that they are mere recipients who financially support the leadership and of course, keep the pews warm. Or in other words , validate the leadership ministers, who need others to minister to/lead.

So, is there some sort of trickery of men going on ?
Because I observed the rain falling does not imply that I judge the rain nor Him Who sends it .

Bless you ....><>
Indeed there is some "trickery" involved and some of it may be done even in ignorance, but someone who serves the wrong master in ignorance probably did something along his way that was not done in ignorance. Then that person became a tool in or of the left hand of God [we might name this satan or the devil]. Those on the other hand who are working to build the Body of Christ according to God's will would be tools in or of the right hand of God. This latter is where we should all want to be...

Where I attend services outside of Internet forums on a regular basis, while we do have a pastor, we strive to work and serve and surrender and worship in "open" services. By open, I mean that anyone may stand and testify or sing a song or play a musical instrument or preach a message without having been given a slot in a man's program beforehand. A person when felt led by the Holy Ghost to do so does what he/she is led to do. We are supposed follow the lead of our Head, which should be Jesus rather than any man including any one or more designated as ministers with various assigned titles.

Sometimes things don't go as we might believe that they should, but much of the time, I believe, God is in this way and works through it. Unfortunately, as in any situation where men are involved there are problems. In my many years of serving God in a number of different denominations or church groups, I have not seen a place where God is working better.
 
Loyal
Heb 5:12; For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.
Heb 5:13; For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
Heb 5:14; But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Even though some "should" be teachers. They are not able yet. Those who haven't trained their senses to discern
good and evil are not ready to become teachers yet.

Acts 13:1; says only some in that church were teachers.

Rom 2:20-21; says you have to practice what you preach in order to be a teacher.
If you tell others not to steal, but you are stealing.. you aren't worthy to be a teacher.

Rom 12:6-8; says we have different gifts.
Some prophecy, some have faith, some have serving, SOME (not all) are teachers. Some are exhorters, some are givers,
some are leaders, and some show mercy.

1 Cor 12:27-30; also lists "offices" and gifts of the Spirit. It says.. all are not teachers are they? v29. (the obvious answer is "no")

James 3:1; says "don't let many among you become teachers"... because they have a stricter judgment.

There does not to be shepherds over the flock.
 
Loyal
Thanks everyone for your participation in this discussion. The past few weeks, we were out of town visiting with 3 of our 4 kids (+4) and 12 of our 13 grandchildren. We were gone 12 days, and we just got home last night, so I am just catching up on the discussions. I got sick shortly after we arrived in SC and I got very sick this past Thursday thru Sunday (fever, headache, cough, ear pain, etc.), and then we traveled 500 miles yesterday (Mon) through the mountains, which didn't do my ears much good, but it feels good to be home. We didn't get to see one of our grandchildren and one son and his wife because that was during the time when I had the fever, so I feel badly we missed them, but I had no control over that situation. Anyway, it looks like you have the discussion well in hand, so I am not going to enter in at this time. Lots to do, and still not completely well yet. But, praise the Lord, he delivered me from that fever/headache/ear pain which was so bad, so I am most thankful.
 
Loyal
Even though some "should" be teachers. They are not able yet. Those who haven't trained their senses to discern
good and evil are not ready to become teachers yet.
That some jump into an office when they were not called or before it is the proper time is something that happens. This is why we need to properly perceive God's message to us as for instance: Do I follow this person in this thing or not? Sometimes God has provided a leader for you or for me for His purpose and while the person works in that purpose we don't really have a choice. If, however, a person works outside of God's purpose, it would behoove us to hear and see what God has for us for the occasion of the person's error .

Acts 13:1; says only some in that church were teachers.
Only some may be primary or first-line teachers, but almost any member... and sometimes even non-members... may be used by God to teach us something.

There does not seem to be shepherds over the flock.
But as per I Cor 4:11 there are "pastors" which would be understood to be "shepherds". A better way to express it might be as "under-shepherds" since the Chief Shepherd certainly is Jesus...
 
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