Friday, April 3, 2020

My Testimony

Some years ago, I went out at dusk to pray before that night’s prayer meeting.  I walked along the railroad tracks that ran behind large warehouses near my home, and as I prayed, the holy Spirit came upon me and began to speak through me in an indignant tone.  It was as if the millions of pieces of gravel along the tracks were the people of earth, and God was speaking to them through me.  This is some of what the Spirit, with intense scorn, said: “What difference does it make, what men say about anything? [The Spirit spoke the word “men” with supreme contempt.]  If men call a man a prophet, does that make him a prophet?  If men call a man a pastor, does that make him a pastor?  What difference does it make, what men say about anything!”  And finally this, “Am I confused by your delusions!”
Even though God was demanding an answer, not a single stone along the tracks could render one.  They were, of course, completely insensible to my voice.  But then, unless God touches our hearts, we humans are as dead to Him as those railroad stones were to me.
Then the Spirit began to laugh through me – powerfully laugh – but without the first hint of joy.  It was a terrifying, threatening laughter which echoed off the long tin roofs of the warehouses along the tracks.  I literally staggered under its power.  God’s fury burned through my eyes as His laughter roared from my throat.  The laughter consumed me, and I could not speak, but my heart was begging God, “Please, God, don’t ever let me hear you laugh at me like this!”
While that was happening, I could hear the Spirit speaking the words that it spoke through David long ago, as a warning to proud children of God (Prov. 1:24–26): “Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel and would none of my reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity.  I will mock when your fear cometh.”  I was terrified.
When my twilight prayer ended, I was left standing alone on the tracks, marveling at what I had experienced.  How worthless are our thoughts and ways, and how desperately we need to think God’s thoughts and know His ways!  God is not confused by our delusions; we only confuse each other with our vain ideas about God and how to serve Him.
I tell this story to emphasize a critical point.  God being the Creator means that whatever He says, is, but as for us, we make nothing true by speaking it.  Men claim many things, but nothing is truly possessed unless God has given it.  There is nothing human about God!  He cannot die, and He cannot lie.  Even if the entire world were to join hands and proclaim a thing to be true, God would not be moved or confused by it, for He knows that nothing is true unless He says it.  None of the claims or pompous pronouncements of men carry any weight whatsoever in heaven, and God knows that.  But do we?
My friends, only the man God calls a pastor is a pastor.  Only the man God calls a prophet is a prophet.  Only the man God anoints is anointed.  And only the man God says is born again is born again.  Finally, you should know that God recognizes no assembly of worshippers as being an Assembly of His unless He created that Assembly by His Spirit, and it is not wise to participate in the worship of any assembly where the Spirit is not welcome and the people are not free to be moved by it.
Pastor John

Government in the Assembly of God, Part 4

The Authority of Rulers in the Assembly of God

This is the last of four parts of a Bible study that I did some years ago.  Instead of writing out all my thoughts, I have decided to provide you only with my old notes and let you and the Lord fill in the gaps.  Enjoy the time with Jesus.

1. Hebrews 13:17:
There is a spiritual gift of ruling among the saints (Rom. 12:6–8).  Some examples of God’s anointed servants exercising authority among the saints are:

Acts 4:32–35 and 1Timothy 5:8–11:
authority to make decisions concerning the money brought to the Lord by the saints

Acts 6:1–6:
authority to appoint certain people to certain jobs for the welfare of the saints

1Corinthians 9:1–15 and Philippians 4:10–18:
authority to live, or to refuse to live, from the financial support of the saints, whatever is best for the Assembly

(1) Tithes and offerings are a person’s confession that there is government in the Assembly of God, that there are rulers among God’s people.  It is a confession much like Abraham’s, when he met and rendered tithes to Melchizedek (Heb. 7:6–7).

(2) It is unreasonable to bring God’s money to a man who is unable to bless you.  It is unreasonable to bring tithes and offerings to a man whose displeasure you do not fear or whose commandments you would not obey.

(3) A ruler in the Assembly has authority to give commandments to God’s people.

(4) The servants of God have authority to deal with troublemakers:

2Thess. 3:4–16: forbidding them to eat at the expense of the saints

1Tim. 1:20: turning them over to Satan

1Cor. 5:9–13: sending them away from the Assembly

(5) Rulers over the saints are free to do WHATEVER is in the best interest of the Assembly.  That is the reason they exist.

When God Has to Judge:

The rulers among the saints are a shelter for them from the wrath of God.  Where there is no one with an anointing to judge among the saints, Jesus steps in.

1Cor. 11:31; Rev. 2:13–23; 3:1–6