The Next Generation Must Demand Purity From Their Pastors

bffb70226204e89b55b1344b8b390d39Over the past thirty years America has witnessed an unprecedented rise of mega scale churches and in tandem a meteoric explosion of moral failure. An entire generation of church goers are jaded, confused, and desensitized, because the pedestal of the pulpit crashed down. Because I take Galatians 6:1-2 seriously, I’ve elected not to list the names of men who’ve fallen from “grace” and the “ranks” bathmos (1 Tim 3:13) but many of these men were quickly becoming “household” names via their media ministry and book sales. Heartbreaking. So, should local churches demand better? Should the universal body of Christ do a better job of selection? Can we avoid some of these disasters? The answer to each question is a resounding, “Yes!” but in order to do so we must demand our preacher and his pulpit go back to the Bible.

Should local churches demand better? Can we avoid some of these disasters? The answer to each question is a resounding, “Yes!” but in order to do so we must demand our preacher and his pulpit go back to the Bible.

12-carl-lentz-pastor-superJumboThe pulpit is the pastor and the pastor is his pulpit. Our generation of hipster preachers use every trick in the phone to disconnect their person from their pulpit, working hard to appear as “everyday” guys “searching” for answers like the congregation during the week (or via Twitter) but suddenly transformed into thunder and lightning on Sunday. But the Bible doesn’t proffer such a view of pastor and pulpit. It’s never bifurcated. Instead, the Bible places intense emphasis on who the preacher is… the reason for this is that a true preacher isn’t saying what man wants to hear but what God wants said. A pastor’s Sunday pulpit is the genuine overflow of his Monday-Saturday character.

When writing to young Timothy the apostle Paul spent inordinate attention on Timothy’s character qualifications (1 Tim 3). Likewise, Jesus stated that at the final judgment, He wouldn’t base his heavenly entrance requirements on the external works of preachers but on the internal character of preachers (Matt 7:21-23).

Regarding spiritual Christian character the great reformer Martin Luther stressedimages prayerful readiness, “Your first duty is to begin to pray, and to pray to this effect, that if it please God to accomplish something for His glory – not for yours or any other person’s – He may very graciously grant you a true understanding of His words… You must, completely despair of your own industry and ability and rely solely on the inspiration of the Spirit.” John Calvin’s Institutes may have earned him the title “preeminent systematician of the Protestant Reformation” but his concept of piety was unsurpassed and rooted in the knowledge of God. Regarding the pietas behind writing his Institutes Calvin says, “I wrote them to transmit certain rudiments by which those who are touched with any zeal for religion might be shaped to true godliness.” Regarding daily communion with God, 19th century prince of preachers Charles Spurgeon said, “When your soul becomes lean, your hearers, without knowing how or why, will find that your prayers in public have little savor for them; they will feel your barrenness, perhaps, before your perceive it yourself.” The late great 20th century expositor Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones said of preachers:

“What do you look for in a preacher? Well, you remember how in Acts 6, even in the matter of appointing deacons, who were simply to handle a financial problem, a charitable matter of feeding widows, it was insisted upon that they should be men ‘filled with the Spirit’. That is the first and the greatest qualification. You are entitled to look for an unusual degree of spirituality, and this must come first because of the nature of the task. In addition you are entitled to look for a degree of assurance with respect to his knowledge of the Truth and his relationship to it. It is surely clear that if he is a man who is always struggling…influenced by the last book he reads, and ‘carried about by every wind of doctrine’ and every new theological fashion, it is clear that he is ipso facto a man who is not called to the ministry.”

The pastor’s pulpit starts with the pastor’s piety! The pulpit is the proclamation of God’s word and God takes His word very seriously so a preacher must practice what he preaches. James 3:1 says, “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” In this text, the original listeners would have connected the title “Teacher” with the Old Testament Jewish concept of Rabbi, a term which eventually became presbuteros, meaning pastor-overseer. The word Elder has a Hebrew origin zaqen, used in Numbers 11:16 and Deuteronomy 27:1, regarding the seventy tribal leaders who assisted Moses. This specifies a special group of men who were bearded (mature) and set apart for leadership. The New Testament Greek word for Elder presbuteros is used approximately seventy times and likewise refers to “aged” “bearded” or, “gray-headed” man of mature age. The word appears with various purposes across the NT including 1 Peter 5:5, 1 Timothy 5:2, Matthew 27:3, Luke 22:52, and Acts 4:8 and would have been widely accepted as meaning mature, fair, wise, men of spiritual integrity. And, because the NT church was originally Jewish it would have been natural for them to adopt the concept of Elder. Elder was the only commonly used Jewish term for leadership that stayed free from connotations of government or monarchy. Thus, it was the churches way of defining leaders while leaving Christ as the head of His church and not designating a special priesthood, as had formerly existed in Israel. The Greek word for Bishop is episkopos. The Greek word for Pastor is poimen. The qualifications for a Bishop, listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and those for an Elder in Titus 1:6-9, are parallel. Titus even uses both terms to refer to the same man (Titus 1:5-7). 1 Peter 5:1-2 brings all three terms together. Peter instructs the elders to be good Bishops as they pastor: “Therefore, I exhort the elders presbuteros among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd pomaino the flock of God among you, exercising oversight episkopeo not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.”

Therefore, it’s clear James is referencing ordained clergy rather than a bible study leader or Sunday school teacher. There are a few items to note about this warning.

First, we must accept there will always be a preponderance of supposed preachers who love the idea of being called teacher but aren’t living out the lifestyle of a Godly teacher. In 1 Timothy 6:3-4 Paul warns, “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness he is conceited, understands nothings; he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language…” A poorly prepared preacher will erode church from the inside. Note Paul describes a church being torn apart from the inside by detrimental teaching. These aren’t outsiders! Churches don’t fall by doctrinal earthquake, they fall by doctrinal erosion, when one tiny falsehood stems into another, and within years a church is overrun. No church wakes up one morning and says, “Gee, today we’ll stop teaching God’s word…” No pastor suddenly exclaims, “Today, I’ll teach heresy…” It’s one small crack in the foundation, one spot of rust, one dent in the armor, until eventual collapse.

Churches don’t fall by doctrinal earthquake, they fall by doctrinal erosion, when one tiny falsehood stems into another…

Next, it’s important for a pastor to analyze his character and his conduct. As mentioned previously, Paul gave Timothy a staggering list of internal qualifications in 1 Timothy 3. Look closely at the list below. These qualifications are written in the present tense demanding that a man currently (and habitually) be living out each principle, else not receive, or be removed, from his post. It is useful to view each qualification as one stair, thus requiring a man climb all seventeen stairs before presuming himself ready to be examined for Pastoral Ministry. It is also helpful for married men to review these with their spouse, requesting on areas of strength and weakness:

  1. Aspiration. Aspire is from the Greek orego, meaning to, “reach out after or stretch oneself” including the internal and external act. Thus, a man must showcase passionate compulsion to serve Christ in any capacity asked and at any cost to himself. This ambition must be for service, NOT the office, or money, for it to be pure.
  2. Above Reproach. The Greek anepilemptos means, “not able to be held” referencing a man without any obvious sinful defect or blight on his character. Specifically this man won’t have any private, public, sexual, financial, or addictive failure, which another could notice and name.
  3. Husband of One Wife. Greek, “one-woman-man” describes a man devoted in his heart, mind, and practices to the woman who is his wife. He loves, desires, and thinks only of her and maintains sexual purity in both his mind and conduct.
  4. Temperate. Greek, nephalios literally means without wine or unmixed with wine and metaphorically references an alert, watchful, or vigilant man who thinks clearly and is unrestricted by mental or emotional turmoil.
  5. Prudent. Greek, sophrona is literally to avoid the appearance of being a clown, relegating humor to its proper place. The temperate man orders his mind to focus on spiritual things and remains unstained by frivolities, distractions, worldly sarcasms, humors, and mindless vanities.
  6. Respectable. Greek kosmios refers to the orderly behavior, which stems from a temperate and prudent mind. The well-disciplined mind leads to a well-disciplined life, depicting a man who arrives on time, maintains commitments, meets deadlines, accomplishes goals, and is not in fiscal disarray.
  7. Hospitable. Greek philoxenos a compound word from the Greek words, “to love’ and, “strangers” meaning a man who openly loves strangers, willing to meet with those in need, willing to open his house, and not withdrawing from public contact or accountability.
  8. Able to Teach. Greek didaktikos references both the hard work of study and skilled presentation of Holy Scripture. This singular gift/skill separates the Pastor-Elder from the Deacon, and the vocational minister from the bi-vocational, thus standing as a premium qualification in ascertaining whom God has called to particular office.
  9. Not Addicted to Wine. A man must not have a reputation as a drinker, talk freely about alcohol, or be known to frequent places, which associate themselves with alcohol. A man who consistently enjoys alcohol becomes a poor example to those with a weaker conscience and removes himself from consideration for leadership.
  10. Not Pugnacious. Greek me plektes literally means, “not a giver of blows” and eludes to a man who does not strike back with physical violence but settles disputes with a calm and cool demeanor.
  11. Gentle. Greek epieikes describes the man who is considerate, genial, forbearing, and gracious, easily pardoning after being sinned against. He does not keep a list of wrongs and does not hold a grudge.
  12. Uncontentious. Greek amachos references a peaceful and non-quarrelsome man who promotes unity amidst church members and supports the church leaders before any personal agenda.
  13. Not a Money Lover. Greek aphilarguaron is an alpha privative meaning no attention is fixed on monetary reward. It is a perverse corruption of ministry to perform Christ’s work with a goal of monetary gain. Love of money is at the root of all evil and the motivation of all false teaching. A true Pastor-Elder must have a record of giving financially and never intimate that vocational ministry is his primary goal, accepting God’s providence in this matter.
  14. Manages His Household Well. Literally means to, “Preside over each part of the household morally and aesthetically well.” Thus, there will be a practical, fiscal, and moral, leadership order around the Pastor’s home, which allows his wife and children gladly fulfill their biblical roles. This mandates consideration of a man’s wife as it relates to his own pastoral calling.
  15. Children Under Control With Dignity. Greek hupotage is a military term, requiring the family “line up under” his authority. Thus, the man must showcase his home to maintain courtesy, humility, and competence, with children that bring honor to their parents while living underneath his roof.
  16. Not a New Convert. Greek neophutos appears a lot in extra-biblical texts as a newly planted tree, meaning that a young or newly baptized believer should not be elevated to leadership, until a period of tempering and humbling has been provided.
  17. Good Reputation Outside the Church. Reputation translates marturia from which we get martyr, meaning the man has a certifying testimony, and the community at large applauds his character, and is largely accepting of his conduct.

Further, 1 Peter 5:1-4 says, “I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” Note how Peter specifies the internal qualities that motivate a pastor. 1) He accepts the flock is God’s not his own 2) He is passionate that the flock succeed 3) He never dominates the flock 4) He only asks the flock go where he’s first gone. Who wouldn’t want to be led by a man like that?

Before a man attempts to lead a church he should get honest with how he’s leading himself! Is he pure? Is his family in order? Has he proven to be a genuine and Godly motivator for his friends and coworkers? Note Paul’s list of commendations from just the Pastoral Epistles to Timothy:

  1. Correct false doctrine, call them to purity, good conscience (1 Tim 1:3-5)
  2. Fight for truth and God’s purpose, keeping faith (1 Tim 1:18-19)
  3. Pray for the lost and lead the men of the church to do the same (1 Tim 2:1-8)
  4. Call women in the church to fulfill their God-given roles (1 Tim 2:9-15)
  5. Carefully select leaders on the basis of giftedness and godliness (1 Tim 3:1-13)
  6. Recognize error and point these things out to the church (1 Tim 4:1-6)
  7. Be nourished on Scripture, avoiding myths and false doctrine (1 Tim 4:6)
  8. Discipline himself for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim 4:7-11)
  9. Boldly command and teach the truth of God’s Word (1 Tim 4:12)
  10. Be a model of spiritual virtue that all can follow (1 Tim 4:12)
  11. Be progressing toward Christ-likeness in his own life (1 Tim 4:15-16)
  12. Be gracious and gentle in confronting the sin of his people (1 Tim 5:1-2)
  13. Give special consideration and care to those who are widows (1 Tim 5:3-16)
  14. Choose church leaders with great care, seeing they are proven (1 Tim 5:22)
  15. Take care of his physical condition so that he is strong to serve (1 Tim 5:23)
  16. Teach and preach godliness, helping people discern hypocrisy (1 Tim 5:24-6:6)
  17. Flee the love of money (1 Tim 6:7-11)
  18. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance (1 Tim 6:11)
  19. Fight for the faith against all enemies and all attacks (1 Tim 6:12)
  20. Instruct the rich to do good, to be rich in good, and generous (1 Tim 6:17-19)
  21. Guard the Word of God as a sacred trust and a treasure (1 Tim 6:20-21)
  22. Keep the gift of God in him fresh and useful (2 Tim 1:6)
  23. Not be timid but powerful (2 Tim 1:7)
  24. Never be ashamed of Christ or anyone who serves Christ (2 Tim 1:8-11)
  25. Hold tightly to the truth and guard it (2 Tim 1:12-14)
  26. Be strong in character (2 Tim 2:1)
  27. Be a teacher of truth reproducing himself in faithful men (2 Tim 2:2)
  28. Suffer difficulty willingly making maximum effort (2 Tim 2:3-7)
  29. Keep his eyes on Christ at all times (2 Tim 2:8-13)
  30. Lead with authority (2 Tim 2:14)
  31. Interpret and apply Scripture accurately (2 Tim 2:15)
  32. Avoid useless conversation that leads only to ungodliness (2 Tim 2:16)
  33. Be an instrument of honor, set apart from sin (2 Tim 2:20-21)
  34. Flee youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, and love (2 Tim 2:22)
  35. Refuse to be drawn into philosophical and theological wrangling (2 Tim 2:23)
  36. Not argue, kind, teachable, gentle, patient even when wronged (2 Tim 2:24-26)
  37. Face dangerous times with a knowledge of the Word of God (2 Tim 3:1-15)
  38. Understand Scripture is the basis of all legitimate ministry (2 Tim 3:16-17)
  39. Preach the Word, reproving, rebuking, exhorting with patience (2 Tim 4:1-2)
  40. Be sober in all things (2 Tim 4:5)
  41. Endure hardship (2 Tim 4:5)
  42. Do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim 4:5)

If you take these 42 commendations for pastoral ministry and condense them down to three categories they are 1) Teach truth 2) Defend from error 3) Live a holy life. Too many pastors forget the third one! The profession of preaching doesn’t bring honor to the man, the man must bring honor to the profession of preaching… A man should walk to the pulpit only after he’s been proven spiritual, faithful, and capable.

The profession of preaching doesn’t bring honor to the man, the man must bring honor to the profession of preaching.

James continues, providing a warning to potential ministers, “Let not many become…” The Greek carries the weight of presumption, an over-assumption, the passive imperative could make our modern vernacular, “Don’t get caught up in this teaching idea!” or, “Don’t let the limelight overrun your good sense!” Evidently, when James wrote this there was a group of young Jewish-Christian rabbi’s enraptured with the idea of authority. James says, “Slow down!”

Former president of Dallas Theological Seminary John Walvoord once looked at a class of graduating students and said, “I’m afraid for this year’s class. You have a great number of beliefs but not enough conviction!” Walvoord’s point should be contemplated by every man daring to enter a life in ministry because the pulpit may seem at first to be a special glory but in reality it is a very special pain. The pulpit weekly beckons the preacher like the sea calls a sailor, waves that must be traveled, but incessantly battering him at the helm. The mighty Scottish reformer John Knox said, “To really preach is to die naked a little at a time and know each time you do, you must get up and do it again.”

Finally, James explains why men should accept the call thoughtfully describing the impending judgment of the post. “We shall incur a stricter judgment” means exactly what it says. I’ve heard scholars attempt to work around this phrase but it’s just not possible. James, himself the half-brother of Christ and leader of the Jerusalem church, even includes himself. Recall Christ’s words in Luke 12:41-48,  

“Peter said, ‘Lord, are you addressing this parable to us, or to everyone as well?’ And the Lord said, ‘Who then is the faithful and sensible steward, whom his master will put in charge of his servants, to give them their rations at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possession. But if that slave says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and begins to beat the slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk; the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the unbelievers. And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”

To whom much is given much is required! Note, there was a dutiful servant, a defiant servant, a distracted servant, and a daydreaming servant. The greatest discipline was retained for the servant who knew the most but did the least! Based on this teaching, Paul analyzed himself accordingly in Acts 20:25, “I know that all of you who I went about preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God.”

Friends, all of this points back to Paul’s intensity towards Timothy when he wrote things like, “I remember you in my prayers day and night.” Paul knew that Christ had called His preachers to be watchmen on the walls and they weren’t allowed to leave their post nor altar the task they’d been given.

A true gospel preacher will be literally constrained by his calling. He’ll cleanse anything from his mind or life that could limit his effectiveness. There can be no alternate agendas, no ladder to climb, no circuit to travel, no beer with the buds, no private fantasies, no love for new fashions, no glory and greed. Day and night he thinks only of God and the people, his beloved city, walking the walls to protect the sheep and keep out the wolves. All in the city look toward his example and have hope, for as long as the watchman is standing on the gate, the besieged city cannot fall. Logan Brengle well said:

“Leadership is not won by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confessions of sin, and much heart-searching and humbling before God; by self-surrender, a courageous sacrifice of every idol, a bold, deathless, uncompromising and uncomplaining embracing of the cross, and by an eternal, unfaltering looking unto Jesus crucified. It is not gained by seeking great things for ourselves, but by counting those things that are gain to us as loss for Christ.”

[1] Books foundational to a minister’s calling may include Lectures to My Students by Charles Spurgeon, Preachers & Preaching by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, and Pastoral Ministry by John MacArthur.

10 thoughts on “The Next Generation Must Demand Purity From Their Pastors

  1. Not that I disagree with you, because I do not – but how do we get there from here? If you are stating that demand produce self-efforts rather than the fruit of obedience to God which is by faith in Jesus Christ – then we disagree from the purity and truth of the Gospel where Jesus states that He is the vine and we are the branch and we can do nothing without Him – including minister to the church at any level of service. If you mean by demand that the church – the body of Christ have the wisdom of God through Christ Jesus to discern a faithful teacher from a malicious deceiver – then we agree. What we know is that the church is currently filled with tares as well as wheat. Matthew 13:24-30: Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn. So we know that nonbelievers, rejectors of Christ Jesus sit with us in church day in and day out and in some churches this includes the shepherd. Should the shepherd of the church have those qualities that you listed above – yes – but out of self works? – no. Those qualities are from the fruit of the relationship with God through the sacrifice, Jesus Christ. Through the knowledge and wisdom of God, through faith and relationship can those fundamental tributes be realized in a person who wants to tend and feed the flock of Jesus – no other way is possible. And if you recall – every one who Jesus called into ministry in the bible was approached by Jesus – even so was Paul of Tarsus. Does this mean that each was perfect before they were called into ministry? Hardly – Look at Peter as a prime example of the imperfect man being entrusted to feed the sheep of Jesus. Moses was subject to his anger and disobeyed God on several occasions. Aaron, as soon as Moses left for the summit of Mt. Sinai was convinced to make a golden idol, Paul was a murderer of Jews who eventually professed faith in Jesus. Jews ran from Paul after he was converted by Christ. Lets go back even further – the Nation of Israel was founded on a liar that conned an inheritance from his father and Abraham lied about his wife Sarah to King Abimelech – yet God through HIS wisdom and mercy created a nation of beloved children who He would later refer to as lost sheep. Then, during the conference of Yavneh in AD 90 the priests after being scattered in AD 70 (Romans destroyed the temple after the Jews continued to offer animal sacrifices in blasphemy of the sacrifice His Son made to reconcile man back to God) came up with the Rabbinical Judaism practiced today based on liturgy and tradition. The Jewish Nation has no sacrifice before God today. Where as, you and I, have the perfect sacrifice which makes intercession for us continuously. My point is – were these people any better than us? No – and we are no better than they – the difference – none if you have faith in Jesus – the great I Am. The sad part of our world – the part that should make a believer rejoice is this: We start out with Matthew 18:19-20 Where Jesus tells us where two or three are gathered in agreement, He is in the midst. This means that the Minister/Shepard is not alone in this but it also means that in the beginning of the church Jesus was in the midst of the church – and will remain there for those who have faith in Him. But the tares will be bundled for the fire. The other sad truth about our church system (not the body of Christ – the church) is that eventually Jesus will not be in the midst but will be standing outside the church knocking. Revelation 3:20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. Eventually, the church system will become so bad (anti-christian – anti-Christ) that Jesus will not be in the midst of the church system and will stand outside knocking on the door. For those few who answer the knock, our Lord and Savior through His mercy and grace will come in and eat with them just as He did with the harlots and tax collectors. How many upstanding leaders of the church eat with prostitutes and drug dealers today? Not many – but our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ did.
    And this I completely disagree with – “Leadership is not won by promotion, but by many prayers and tears. It is attained by confessions of sin” – It is not your sin that stands between you and God – you were reconciled to Him by the One who bore your sins and faced the full wrath of God at the cross. Blessed are the ones who transgressions are forgiven. God created an new covenant and their sins He remembered no more! This isnt from sin to sin – are you saying that the blood of Jesus – the Word made flesh – the Creator of the Universe – El Shaddai – Yaweh – Yeshua is only good from sin to sin? Even the blood of bulls and goats atoned for a year! What separates us from God is self-righteousness under the law which is a curse. Once you are a believer through faith in Jesus Christ, God counts you as righteous, holy, pure, perfect, complete, obedient apart from your works. Your confession is not about your sin – your confession even in your darkest moment – your worst sin – is “I am the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus, and by His finished works, I am made whole, reconciled to God, and heir to the throne of the Kingdom of God”. This and only this is your confession as a believer in Jesus. You may yet sin the verb, but once you have Jesus you are no longer a sinner the noun. To teach such a thing or to believe such a thing is contrary to the Gospel for the church. Humility is knowing you need a Savior because you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Once saved you are perfect in the eyes of God because you exist in the body of Christ and each time God looks upon you He sees His beloved Son.
    So, for those of faith in the church (the body of Christ) pray for your pastor/shepard that they obtain the qualities that Paul described, not through demand, but through the fruit of good works out of relationship with Jesus. Only those in relationship will understand what the sheep need from the shepherd.

    J Arnn
    Jewish Studies for Christians

  2. Amen ! God bless you John Arnn. I have learned so much over the last 2 days by reading your comments.

    A sister-n-Christ

    1. Kat,

      Thank you, but I promise you this wisdom is completely God’s revelation through Christ Jesus and is in your Gospel just like it is in mine. After years of reading and studying the bible it was my son, who is 29 now, came to our family and told us we had it all wrong – meaning our interpretation of the Gospel was incorrect – that our salvation was completely reliant upon faith and not our works. I have spent the last 5 years relearning what I have been taught since I was a young boy about the law, about repentance, about God’s division of the bible, and about the customs and traditions of the Jews which will bring them no close to salvation. Many non-believers are quick to state that the bible contradicts itself and many believers are confused about perceived contradictions in the bible when they are taught incorrectly – those things in the bible which do not pertain to them. I am not speaking about cult religions such as Scientology, Catholicism, Mormonism, or Jehovah Witness just to name a few – I am speaking about the church system which ministers to the body of Christ, the Church. Why so much confusion? In all instances the Gospel has not been rightly divided by the teacher. How can you teach that you must ask for forgiveness of your trespasses and forgive those who trespass against you then reconcile that with all your trespasses have been forgiven you? You can’t because you have not correctly divided the word. Some churches will profess that you are saved through Grace and Mercy by the sacrifice of Christ Jesus at the cross – but then they also state – but it is good and relevant to keep the law. How do we reconcile that when Jesus clearly stated no new wine in old wine skins? When God promised a new covenant and that the old would pass away? You cant – and this mixture is the root of confusion and frustration in the church. This can’t be of the Holy Spirit because confusion and frustration are not qualities of the Holy Spirit – therefore – since we know what is not of faith is sin – we know this confusion and frustration is of satan. If a church system is teaching self works through the Mosaic covenant of the law – then they are reaching back into a past truth that is not a relevant truth or a truth for the church since we know the law was fulfilled by Jesus and God has promised that the old covenant – the Mosaic covenant – has passed away. Unlike the Jews under the Mosaic covenant – we are blessed because sin is no longer imputed to us when we sin – it no longer separates us from God. On the other hand, many church systems teach kingdom teaching – that we must make the world a better place – that we need to look at our character or reform our character before Jesus can bring His kingdom back to earth – that somehow we must prepare for this. Although I am for a better world, I know through scripture this just isn’t going to happen. The world is not going to get better despite our best efforts until Jesus returns – then the world will be a better place and only then – after He destroys the 10 Gentile kingdoms and takes the throne of David. Until then we are under the wisdom of the Gentile Nations – which is not Godly wisdom. So these churches are teaching the body of Christ Kingdom living and Kingdom preparation before the King has returned. This is also in error because those teachers are teaching something that has yet to come. The body of Christ, the church, needs to be taught what is meant for them in this present age – that they are under the day of salvation in the age of Gentiles – because they are in the day of salvation through faith in Jesus – the believer has protection in this present age. You may see strife all around you – but it will not touch you – and if it does it is not because your character isnt right, or you didnt attend church enough, or read your bible enough, or asked for forgiveness you already have, or sinned – it is because you forgot that you were completely forgiven and purified and made Holy a long time ago at the cross when Jesus died for you. Remember, He did this for the world – but only those who see, hear and then have faith may partake of this free gift. So salvation is for everyone whom He loves – He may hate sin – but He loves the sinner.

      Kind regards,
      J Arnn
      Jewish studies for Christians

  3. I just wanted to make another comment. This is addressed to John Arrn. Keep on posting because I’m understanding so much about God’s Word as never before. I’ve been confused over some scriptures and your comments are so edifying. I am truly enjoying your writings.

    God bless you
    A sister-n-Christ

    1. Kat,

      Thank you, but again this wisdom is right at your fingertips when you read and study your bible. Approach it as the truth – the true word of God concerning faith in Jesus – never look at it as an instruction manual – a teaching guide – a self help book – a book of ethics – a book of obedience – a book of repentance – or a confessional – it is none of these things. It is a book that glorifies Jesus from the very first word until the last, and for us, the church – it is about faith in Jesus. The rest are fruits of that faith. Then know how to rightly divide the word so that you know what is for you in this present age – We know that the OT is of a past age – however – their are things in the OT that depict that which was to come – types and shadows of Jesus – prophecy that has been fulfilled and prophecy which is yet to be fulfilled – statements about the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven. Some pastors will tell you that these are one and the same – however, that is not what scripture says – and we, as believers – our first act of faith is believing in the truth of the Gospel – The order is – we hear or we see and hear the word – we believe that the word is true – we understand that the word became flesh and died for our sins – then we trust in Jesus who is our faith and that is our faith – it is not a thing it is a person just as grace is not a thing but a person – Grace and Truth are Jesus. Here are some scriptures to help you:
      What is God’s present purpose? We find this first in Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. Here we see that it is God’s power to get you wealth in order to establish His covenant (The covenant of Grace) which He swore to your fathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) We know this is the covenant of Grace because Moses wasn’t a father of Israel – to Moses the law was given. The promise of Israel was given to Abraham – Isaac – and Jacob. Now, through faith we are partakers or the covenant made with Israel – the covenant of Grace which is the present purpose of God.
      Is the Kingdom of Heaven the same as the Kingdom of God? Lets see:
      Psalms 10:16 The LORD is King forever and ever; This speaks to eternity and the Kingdom (a King has a Kingdom) which is eternal – Kingdom of God.
      Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Here, although the Kingdom is eternal, the scripture speaks about a Kingdom which will be (key) not has been in existence forever (key) – setup in the days of these kings. So God’s Kingdom is eternal – forever but the Kingdom of Heaven will be set up in a specific time period – this is the Kingdom of Heaven.
      Psalms 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in heaven, And His kingdom rules over all. So here we see that the LORD (God) has already set up His kingdom in heaven and rules over all already – this is Kingdom of God – the Kingdom of Heaven will be setup on earth in a specific time period.
      Isaiah 24:23 For the LORD of hosts (Jesus) will reign On Mount Zion (Israel) and in Jerusalem (Throne of David) And before His elders, gloriously. Wait just a second – now The LORD God has already set up His kingdom in heaven so how can this be the same as the Kingdom of Heaven where Jesus will rule from Jerusalem? Its not the same – it is two very distinct Kingdoms – one which is the Kingdom of God that already exists and rules over all and the Kingdom of Heaven which will exist in a future point in time where Jesus will rule the earth from Jerusalem but that Kingdom is yet to be on earth.
      Psalm 59:13 And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. This is the Kingdom of God because it shows relationship to the fathers.
      Psalms 29:10 The LORD sat enthroned at the Flood, And the LORD sits as King forever. Jesus has yet to establish His kingdom on earth so this refers to the Kingdom of God.
      Psalms 2:4-6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion (Israel).” This is when Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom in Israel – Kingdom of Heaven.
      Zechariah 14:9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be “The LORD is one,” And His name one. In that day is the key – In that day the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem – this is a future truth and therefore it speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven to come – Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven two very distinct Kingdoms one existing forever and ever and one from a distinct period of time forever and ever. Not one in the same – you can’t mix these or their messages.

      Romans 5:17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. In this present age we reign in life through Jesus and we receive the gift – the gift of righteousness – you do not work for a gift – if it is a gift it is free.
      Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now notice the difference for the church in the age to come when we are raptured to become the bride of Christ. We no longer reign in life through Him we will reign WITH Him as His bride – as Priests of God and Christ. Therefore, if you reign with Jesus you cannot be His servant although we are subject to Him as a wife is subject to her husband – this is an equal role not a subservient role. Think about this – God did not take a bone from Adam’s head – therefore woman does not rule wiser than man – God did not take a bone from the foot of man – therefore man does not trample woman – God took a rib from the middle – because woman is the equal partner of man – a helper is a co-worker – an equal not a servant.
      Revelation 11:15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever! So here is the promise of God through the 7th Angel that Jesus will rule and we will be with Him because we were part of the first resurrection through faith in Jesus.
      Here is the OT link through the type and shadow of David. 2 Samuel 2: 1-3 It happened after this that David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?” And the LORD said to him, “Go up.” David said, “Where shall I go up?” And He said, “To Hebron.” So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite. And David brought up the men who were with him, every man with his household. So they dwelt in the cities of Hebron. So look – the men that came to David in the caves were taken with David when He took the throne – So when Jesus takes the throne of David in Jerusalem – we the church who are with Him now will go with Jesus when He establishes His kingdom just as the men were taken with David – see the type and shadow?
      Lastly know that we are being prepared for a wedding by the Holy Spirit to be wed to the Bridegroom Jesus – see this in Genesis 24:1-4 Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things. So Abraham said to the oldest servant of his house, who ruled over all that he had, “Please, put your hand under my thigh (the symbol of an intimate Hebrew oath), “and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell; “but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac.” Here the servant who rules over all he has is a reference to the Holy Spirit – it is the Holy Spirit who seeks the bride for Jesus and it was the type and shadow of the Holy Spirit who sought a wife for Isaac.
      Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. So we see that God is over all and we know that God – Jesus – and the Holy Spirit are one God in three distinct purposes of God – therefore we can now see the revelation that the servant who rules over all he has is the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit who glorifies Jesus is searching for the bride for the Bridegroom and we are the bride.

      Kind regards,
      J Arnn
      Jewish Studies for Christians

  4. I think you are spot on in this article. A large swath of pastors and church leaders I’ve seen are just awful! That awfulness ends up leaking into the congregation one way or another. I remember attending a mega church where the pastor thought this one piano player was great, but the piano player was in an adulterous relationship. People begged that she go…but the pastor was like “no i like the way she plays, she is staying.” Later the worship leaders who brought it up got canned! In another instance, a person on the worship team was sending naked pics of himself to girls in the church and no one did anything about removing the guy. This kind of thing was common.. It shouldn’t be at all! Pastors, teachers, and other people in the church need to be good examples. Here in Southern California most want to be a celebrity pastor and not preach the word of God. They want to be liked and make people feel good on Sunday and not feel the need to repent. It makes me sad because the people in their churches are dying.

    1. another blog entry. ripping apart people of the body. costi read your blogs. you are not only causing more confusion but causing anger, strife and unnecessary argument between the body.

      costi i’m not sure how you dont see how your blogs and you’re judgements towards the body is dangerous grounds for you to be judged by Jesus. have you considered what you are doing to yourself and the harm you are causing the body

  5. Once saved you are perfect in the eyes of God because you exist in the body of Christ and each time God looks upon you He sees His beloved Son.

    Say what? So God doesnt see your sin….

  6. John Arnn could you please let me know if you have a website or publication that I could read as I found your comments really very interesting!

    Many thanks

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