As a Christian in ministry for over 30 years I have become an astute observer of human nature and behavior. The older and more mature I become, the more I understand the scripture in John 2:23-25:
The way of life we are called to live in order to live a life Jesus can bless
The Sermon on the Mount of Jesus (Matthew 5:1-12) is perhaps the greatest exposition ever written regarding godly character and attitude. In this section of scripture, Jesus is seen as the new Moses, speaking from a mountain after going through the waters of baptism (a type of the Red Sea) and being in the wilderness. He is presenting a new way of kingdom life; with this sermon many scholars believe Jesus is giving the real interpretation of the law of God (Exodus 20). Often the ten attributes mentioned here are overlooked because, in our performance-based culture, inward holiness is not as important as outward fruit. However, being transformed into the image and character of Christ is a prerequisite before we can walk in the ministry and power of Christ.
I heard a great prophetic teacher (Thamo Naidoo from South Africa) mention in his message that there is a difference between apostles of churches and apostles of Christ. He said that while there were many apostles of churches, there were only very few true apostles of Christ on the earth today. That one statement exploded on the inside of me and gave me much illumination. I had never heard anyone make this delineation before, but it makes a lot of sense to me. The following is what I have unpacked in the scriptures since Thamo made this statement.
Scripture teaches us that in the days of Paul the Apostle there were teachers who taught the people what they wanted to hear, turning them away from the truth. In the Book of Revelation, Jesus commended the Ephesian church for testing those who claimed to be apostles but were not and found them to be liars (Rev. 2:2). Jesus even called some congregations synagogues of Satan (Rev. 2:9)!
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
As a believer with a Pentecostal experience since 1978, I have seen many genuine moves of God as well as many counterfeit works of the flesh. Unfortunately, many believers lack the discernment to tell the difference between what is of God and what originates with man.
In the past several decades we have seen massive church growth. Church attendance in the world is at an all-time high. Yet, in most places of the world, cultural decline keeps accelerating at an alarming rate.
One of the greatest needs in the Body of Christ is to release the spirit of sonship (Read Romans 8:15). Since both the nation of Israel and the church were modeled after the biblical family structure its leaders were supposed to function more as spiritual parents than corporate executives. The apostle Paul said that we only have few fathers even though we have numerous teachers (1 Corinthians 4) those who have not been properly “fathered” in the natural can tend to walk with an “orphan spirit”. Unfortunately, many leaders in the church and marketplace still function emotionally with an orphan spirit even though they have been adopted as sons into the family of Father/God. Leaders with orphan spirits are limited in their capacity to make disciples and maximize their Kingdom purpose.
The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that we have many teachers but not many fathers in the church. During this Father’s Day season it is important to remember the significant role fathers play in the formation of both their spiritual and biological children. I speak as a person who functions in and understands both roles.
(In most situations when I am speaking outside of my local church I function as a teacher; with pastors and leaders to whom I am assigned I function more as a father with a teaching anointing.)
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