As we make our way through our tour of duty on planet Earth, should we think God is satisfied with our level of “Christian” participation? I think it could be safely said that God is not yet satisfied.
What I understand from God’s written message regarding His followers is that there have been, in the past, and are presently, many more supposed followers exiting from service (through various means), or stalling-out, in their service to God, than there are those eagerly enlisting and volunteering for what the Bible suitably portrays as hazardous duty. To be more explicit, no sooner has a man gotten a glimpse of some genuine truth than he is off on some rabbit trail of his own reasoning looking for justification to validate his own conclusions, and surrounding, and protecting his discovery with a whole troop of toy soldiers, believing he has soundly thought through his faith, and is safe in his own little citadel. Many others have deliberately thrown in with the enemy on a promise of security, and others are snared and held comfortably captive in the world of “Vanity Fair.” We are especially warned to NOT be deceived in these last days. Even we in the “watchman” camp have to be careful and continually re-examine our position as new light is revealed. Now that the “Church” has come under a microscope through current events, we simply cannot assume that old traditions and creeds will suffice; only the Bible is able to unravel the web of confusion that the Church has gotten into. It is easy to get mired down in external events: politics, heresies, statistics, organizations, and structures, and lose focus of God’s workings to effect the inner man.
The Preciousness of the Bride
The seemingly new discovery and realization that the Bride of Christ is much more precious than previously thought, due to the nearness of the Groom, has motivated some to come to the defense of her honor. What we must do now is come to the conclusion, God’s conclusion, that there is much more truth to be learned concerning the Church, and that God is not satisfied with a single discovery, or to prop-up old Church traditions and organizations, regardless that men hold them to be sacred. To fight a battle on a single front or a single issue does not constitute a war, or to believe that our Father wishes us to re-fight the battle of the Reformation and stop there is wrong; the Church must be more precious than even Luther or Calvin realized. To return to the Reformation, when you have been commanded to “do your first works over again,” is to stop short of understanding and complete victory. We are not told to return to the revivals of Wesley, Edwards, or Finney. We are not told to re-play the Reformation, or re-examine the “creeds” or the ecumenical councils of Constantine. We are not told to stop abortion, or build hospitals, or universities, or march on Washington, or to focus on the family, but we are told to be holy even as the Father is Holy, and to come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing. We are not to stop short of returning to the very foundation of our faith, which is the Prophets, and the Apostles, and Jesus Christ as the chief Corner Stone. To stop the advance of the Church, by getting involved in the battles of this world, is to be disobedient to Christ’s command and to fall short of true glory and the victory He intended. To re-discover the true preciousness of the Bride is to discover a foundation that has been covered over with many false structures and unsafe buildings that spell doom for them who depend too much on their offer of shelter. All these structures must be cleared from the foundation and a new Spiritual structure erected. The structure may be small and not have the outward glory remembered by the elders, but it will be the building that God builds and approves. Many things must go that we cling to for safety, thinking they will suffice in a day of severe trial, but only one thing is required, a return to the foundation and a rebuilding as per God’s instructions. The Bride is precious in God’s sight and she must be purified and the spots that spoil her appearance removed. Those spots are all the adornments with which she has clothed herself through the centuries, (creeds, councils, colleges, churches, and choirs) all the administrations of men and not the Lord.
What we have really discovered, concerning the Church, as the result of those who have paraded the Bride around as a prostitute, are obvious things that have served as a wake-up call to the Elect; it has only just gotten our attention. The truth that the Church is precious has been forced to the surface and demands a spiritual response. This present conflict should serve as a test of our resolve to fully finish our Lord’s desire of having His Church in a pure state and un-spotted by the world of men and Satan, and ready for His soon return. This foundational truth is a basic principal, which for the most part has laid dormant, but now is demanding that there be a forward movement into greater depths of Spiritual awareness. Purification has always come through crisis and it will be no different now.
The Threshing Floor
This initial conflict can be viewed as just the beginning of a threshing floor experience. Like David and the threshing floor of Ornan, the ground on which the Temple was to be erected, came at great cost, and would not be had for nothing. David well knew the cost and the lessons of the threshing floor, at the hand of God Himself. Mount Moriah forever symbolizes the place of testing. Is it a coincident that the Temple of Solomon (a picture of Christ) was to be built on a threshing floor? David would provide the raw material of which the Temple would be built. David was not the builder of the Temple, and could not be, he was a bloody man, proven and proven and proven again, over, and over, till the dross was driven from him, and made fit for the Masters use, as a living stone in the Temple of Christ. You see, this present process is but the beginning, there is much of man and the flesh that pollutes the Church, and it must be driven out. God is not satisfied with the Church yet, there is more threshing to come, more separating to take place, more chaff to be removed; it is the cleansing of the Bride.
It is no coincident that Solomon’s Temple was constructed on the threshing floor of Ornan. When David made the declaration to Ornan the Jebusite that he would not present something to God that has cost him nothing, he was speaking, not only of his immediate circumstance, but also to you and I, that the cost involved in the preparation of the materials must be paid at the threshing floor. What we see in the life of David is a picture of the Church, which is the building material that is tested repeatedly, and proven by many trials of faith and loyalty in God’s ability to purify and keep him. Our Father is calling out the Church, and this calling has much to do with purging, that is part and parcel of what goes on at the threshing floor. And so, we understand the calling of the Church to persevere, to maintain vigilance, and to not only start the race, but to finish.
We must not allow ourselves the liberty of imaging that this present argument or disagreement is the war to end all wars. As bad as it may appear, and as eager as we are to respond, it may be nothing more than the wiles of Satan to draw the saints of God into the open and appeal to their flesh in retaliation; a temptation to resort to our minds and our muscle, and to fight a battle of the Devil’s choosing and on his terms.
We must not allow ourselves the liberty to imagine that this present battle is the main focus of God. It is important, without question, but don’t entertain the thought that it is about the battle. It is not the battle that matters, the victory is already decided, it is about the Church and separation, and testing, and purification. God will have His victory, with or without us. The true Church must look and see the falseness of what is happening, and know that the Spirit is winnowing out the chaff, that a separation and narrowing is taking place, a refining and purification process of the Bride of Christ. If we look too hard at the battle and allow the battle to become a thing in and of itself, and not a process of preparation, we will miss something priceless. It is not about the battle or the circumstances in which we find ourselves; it is about the Church, the Body and Bride of Christ, and about understanding spiritual things. Personal and corporate holiness is the chief aim now, as it was with David. Maintaining faith in a loving God while being prepared, sometimes harshly, and being found worthy to supply the raw, living material, for the construction of a Tabernacle, a dwelling place for God, fit to be called the inheritance of the Father, is no minor calling.
This present battle can easily be used by the enemy as a diversion, and used by men for self-promotion. We have discovered some faults, discrepancies, and flaws already in the Church, and we must not stop looking. The process of separation and sanctification must continue. The Church is still not prepared, and, I do believe that the threshing has begun in earnest. Many in the organized Church who profess to be watchman must do the hard work of self-examination then continue with the exposing of error and falsehood in the body. The Church needs to look inward and find other battles to wage, and in faith, allow God to destroy those idols that hinder the Church from moving in all of its glory, as magnified by a relentless belief in the sufficiency of Him who calls us. It is the Church that supplies the raw materials, as exemplified by David himself. It is Christ who builds the Temple, as exemplified by Solomon in all his glory of unlimited riches, wisdom, and grace. David was the warrior covered in blood, representing the many battles he waged, but in all of his obedience, purging, and purifying he was not adequate for the task of building a Dwelling place for God, that had to be left to another, even Christ.
The Real War is in the Heavenlies
The Church is re-discovering the real necessity of spiritual warfare, it is no longer an imagined thing or hypothetical, it is real, and it is a “clear and present danger” to those who do not understand Scripture. If the Church stalls-out here, which it appears to be doing, there will be many casualties. Not all watchman or followers will survive the coming conflicts. When Moses and Joshua led the people into battle sometimes there were few loses, sometimes there were many, but when fighters went out to battle the timid and weak, and those who had conflicts of loyalty, like newly married men, or those who had doubts or divisions in their own or other’s abilities were better left in the camp. And, so it is with the saints of God today; a lack of faith and trust, through improper understanding and preparation, spells casualties for those who think this is a war against flesh and blood. To speak of true Biblical holiness and separation will put you at odds with those who profess a more limited separation and still hold to traditional man-made Church values and organizational hierarchies. “Deep calls unto deep” in these matters and God is always, in all ways, calling His Church to greater measures of faith and into waters that require absolute trust and loyalty; this too is the threshing floor. Our preparation does not stop at the “new birth,” and sanctification does not stop with regeneration, but is a continually advancing experience of deeper trust in God. What we see going on in the Blogosphere is saber rattling; it is a faceless conflict of words, and at best is but a training ground for something more real, at a real time in the future, when our real adversary will bring real men, face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball, and test our resolve of loyalty. The war is not about Rick Warren, Brian McLaren, or Todd Bentley, it is about purging, preparation, and purification of the Temple building materials, it is about a bride fully awake, it is about the Church of the Living God, the Body of Christ.
If our desire is to dominate our enemy then we are deceived and no better off than the one we fight, because their goal is also to dominate the earth. Dominion on the other hand is spiritual. Dominion is the province of God, an area in which one has special knowledge, interest, or responsibility, and a wholly different way to govern. The dominion of God operates as usual, and is still in operation for the Christian by complete and total trust through faith. Our adversary wants nothing more than to wage war on his terms. If we expose error for the sole purpose of making our enemy angry, or as an insult to gain some advantage in the flesh we are failing the test and not serving Christ. To have dominion on the other hand is to present the truth boldly, for the benefit of the saints; to reach out to those who the Spirit of God has called, and to make their paths straight. When the conflict comes, and it will come, it is to NOT respond in like manner as our adversary, or to throw our hands up in defense, but to lower our arms and our tone, and turn the other cheek, and to portray Jesus all over again, and fill-up in ourselves what is lacking. There is no defense against dominion. Having dominion is God’s way of ruling, and purifying the Bride.