Serpents and Doves

“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 ESV)

These words of advice from Jesus, first spoken to His Apostles two thousand years ago, are now proving to be extremely timely for us today, especially in America. Battle lines are being drawn all over, not only in the secular world, but in the church world as well. According to where we are in the prophetic timeline, there is no going back. The battles will be more and more intense. What Jesus states as fact, further in Matthew Chapter 10, is ever so true, even though it is not preached upon anymore:

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.  For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.  And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household.  Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:34‭-‬38 ESV)

Just because this is not preached upon anymore, doesn’t mean that it is not ever so timely and fitting, because it most certainly is! That is why we must exert wisdom with innocence like never before. Bear with me as I explain. You may not like what I say, but I will stick with Scripture to back me up.

You have a political party in America that has totally adopted the sins of Romans Chapter 1 (murder of the unborn, homosexuality and God hating at the forefront) as its platform. It’s not that the opposing party is perfect, but they are at least trying  to stay in-line with Romans 13:3 where it says, For rulers are not to be a terror to good conduct, but to bad.”  Notice that a ruler is not defined as one who has to be a Christian. A ruler is defined as one who upholds justice and the law, even though his personal life may be greatly flawed. Years ago, the two political parties were mainly different in their economic views. That is no longer true. With the Democratic party fully embracing what God abhors, it is not possible for a true Christian to align themselves with that party anymore.

You not only have a political party that has adopted the sins of Romans 1, you have Christian denominations that have done much the same. But, it doesn’t stop there. Within many denominations and also nondenominational churches, they refuse to rightly divide the Word of God. They even love to twist the Word of God. First, they allow women to hold positions over men in a church. Second, they restore ministers who grossly sinned in office and are no longer above reproach. Third, they preach another gospel that is warped and leaves out the cross. Forth, they turn the church into a financial institution rather than preparing it as a bride for Christ on His return.

The following scriptures shed light on these four areas of contention:

“Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor.” (1 Timothy 2:11‭-‬14 ESV)

Notice how it has nothing to do with culture. Paul goes all the way back to creation and the Garden of Eden.

“So a church leader must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the devil’s trap.” (1 Timothy 3:2‭, ‬7 NLT)

Notice, forgiveness is not the issue when a church leader grossly falls. Of course we are to forgive and restore them to fellowship when they repent. But, we are definitely not to restore them to leadership, which makes a mockery of Jesus Christ to the secular world. Why do we restore them in disobedience to God’s Word? Usually because of the exceptional human talent that allowed them to rise in the first place. But keep in mind that obedience is first place with God (see 1 Samuel 15:22).

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:2‭-‬5 ESV)

“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Galatians 6:14 ESV)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV)

Joel Osteen never mentions the cross in any of his books. Instead, everything centers around the person (you). Benny Hinn and Kenneth Copeland are more worried about their private jets and funding them than the cross. Bill Johnson and Bethel church pedal a Christianity mixed with Eastern Mysticism that centers around a man based revival, rather than the cross of Jesus Christ. Their  mission statement says, “Bethel Leaders Network (BLN) is Bethel Church’s relational network of revival leaders. It exists to connect and encourage revivalists everywhere in every type of career or vocation to see the Kingdom of God advance. Through relationship with others passionate about bringing heaven to earth, we aim to resource leaders in churches, ministries, organizations, spheres of influence and geographical regions to see transformation and experience worldwide revival.”

When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:15‭-‬16 NKJV)

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” (Matthew 21:12‭-‬13 NKJV)

When I first became a born again Christian, there were three powerhouses in the Christian limelight (Jimmy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell) that contended against each other. Scandal ripped at all three. The latest scandal being Jerry Falwell Jr which makes the Church a laughing stock to the world.

The only answer is the Word of God. We must devour it. Jesus is the Word of God and the Word of God is the Bible:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1‭, ‬14 NKJV)

As we read further into John’s gospel, there was a point in Jesus’ ministry many turned away from following Him when He declared that they must devour Him. It is normally interpreted that He was referring to what took place at the Last Supper. But it also goes much deeper than that. We must devour the Word of God, the Bible:

“I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”  The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. (John 6:48‭-‬52‭, ‬66 ESV)

We are called to be unified as Christians:

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV)

But because of the days we are living in, this is not always possible because many preach another gospel. Notice how Paul puts a double emphasis that they be accursed:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:6‭-‬9 ESV)

The Apostle John reiterates what Paul has stated:

“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2 John 1:9‭-‬11 NKJV)

It all comes down to the fact that we need to be as wise as serpents, and as innocent as doves like never before. There will be times to speak out, and times to be silent. There will be times to offend, and times not to offend:

And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” Peter said to Him, “From strangers.” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.  Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” (Matthew 17:25‭-‬27 NKJV)

Oh Lord, give us the wisdom and innocence to reach people in these End Times! The cross is the only answer to a dying world. Devouring the Word of God and being obedient to it is the only answer to a divided Church.

If you disagree with what I have written and think people like me are actually the problem, I will leave you with one thought to think about—–>We know that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father waiting for His return in judgment. During His First Coming, He had cleansed the Temple twice, once at the beginning of His earthly ministry and once at end of it. Imagine if He stepped down for a brief visit to His churches before His Second Coming! I wonder how many tables would be overturned and people driven out?

About annointing

Defender of the Christian Faith
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