Temple Builders Prophetic Web Book: Church Government and 5 Fold Ministry
by John Robert Lucas
 
Prophetic Ministry

Church Government and 5 Fold Ministry Gifts

Chapter 20
Church & The Ministry

The purpose of this chapter is to shake up our thinking concerning ministry. This chapter is not exhaustive, it is simply a challenge. We do not make claims to have all of the pieces to the puzzle concerning ministry of church government. However there is a view of these topics that is not commonly taught and this view can be seen in scripture. When approaching topics like these it should also be said that we see truth in a perfect sense that cannot be applied today as perfectly as we desire. In other words, God has set forth a church government that should operate like the early church, however we must also realize that the church lacks the unity of faith that allows mature church government to work. Since we have never witnessed the zeal, maturity, and love that comprised the early ministry disciples, we cannot expect church government to function like God intends it to – until we do grow up and become unified in the faith.

The New Testament introduces us to two new concepts that the Old Testament generations never experienced. Church government and diverse ministry gifts! Let us look at the five (number of grace) ministry gifts that Jesus gives to the church.

Eph 4:8-15

This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men." It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up, until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of. (NIV)

      What about those who do not have 5-fold ministry gifts?

Keep in mind; there are those who have an exclusive calling to the five-fold “gift ministry” and God calls  them to fulfill a constant role in the context of the gift. However, there is no one in the body that is excluded from being a minister. If you become mature in Jesus Christ – you will be a minister, period. When you open your mouth at work, at home, or school, you are ministering something. Proverbs has much to say about that which we speak, it produces life or death; it produces gold or wood. To see what we are talking about, observe how Paul teaches in Timothy and Titus about the qualifications of bishops (Greek - superintendents) and deacons (ministry servants); in a strict sense these two offices belong to these specific callings and they refer to church government only, however in God’s application we should all receive and walk in these sayings.

For example, even though the book of Titus is called a “pastoral letter” or a letter for those in church government ministry, its application excludes nobody. The entire body should desire to fulfill the walk of integrity that the book of Titus speaks of. Why was it written in a stricter sense to leadership in church government? It is leadership that have the greatest opportunity to be an example to the people, but that does not exclude those not in leadership from learning these spiritual things from their own relationship with God. THIS IS IMPORTANT IN UNDERSTANDING SCRIPTURES; we must interpret with a “stricter or exclusive sense” and also with a “lesser or inclusive sense” to hear what God is saying to us today, for our maturity. If we do not learn to do this, the result is “that particular scripture” will not be profitable in our manner of living – it resides only in our head, which profits little.

When teaching this subject there is overlapping truth. A superintendent (church government) can exhibit a primary gift of being a shepherd (pastor) and a minor role in another gifting such as being a prophet. Sometimes we see the opposite; the superintendent (church government) has a primary gift of a prophet and he has a more minor role as a shepherd (pastor). GOD BLENDS THE GIFTS OF EPHESIANS AS HE WILLS!

True Church Government

Wisdom dictates that in this subject we must not put God in a box and say "this is a pastor" and "this is a prophet" and if one does not match up with the described way of what a prophet is and does, then he must not be a prophet. This type of thinking will keep you in the dark about what God is doing concerning His 5-fold ministry gifts of ministry. To cause you to break out of the mentality that the 5-fold ministry gifts of Ephesians are church government positions – consider this. You can have a gift of a shepherd (pastor) and yet never be called to church government as a superintendent or deacon of a church. In other words you can have this gift and never be what we call in today’s English a pastor/bishop or deacon of a church. If you were to have a shepherd (pastor) gift you could function in that gift through writing, traveling ministry, or any other way of expressing that gift that God calls you to. However, we do have scriptures that say that superintendents (bishops) have a gift of shepherding. Jesus is called in 1 Peter the superintendent (bishop) AND shepherd (pastor) of our heart - thereby linking the two together; BUT THIS IS NOT EXCLUSIVE. The role of feeding the flock and being overseers is given to elders in 1Peter. The elders are church government and I see them as not separate in the scriptures from superintendents and deacons but instead elders are comprised of both superintendents (bishops) and deacons. The church has a lot to learn about true church government and I see things returning to the order that is witnessed in the days when Peter was an elder.

Our terminology has been confusing concerning church government and ministry. I use the word superintendent instead of the word bishop for good reason. The KJV uses the word “bishop” to describe the church government position that in most churches is called pastor (but pastor is simply a gift not an office). The Greek word for bishop is more closely related to our English word “superintendent”. What is important is what the word means to the general public, the un-churched that we are trying to reach. What does the word bishop mean to them? It is defined by years of what the Catholic Church has showed by example. When they hear the word they think of religious garments and rituals of the organization. Therefore this becomes the current definition instead of the activity of superintending the house of God. What does the word pastor mean to the public? Much of the time it is defined as the head of a church that stands behind a pulpit as though he is the CEO or president of that organization. In reality the word “pastor” is translated shepherd every time except in Ephesians. Pastoring is a gifting and not an office, position, activity or a head of a church. We confuse the world with our titles and terminology. I am not saying to abandon all titles and the terminology of pastor and bishop, though God may require this of you at some time; I am saying we must demonstrate to the world true church government by not intermingling gifts with positions. Let us look at these matters in more detail in our next section.

Acts 14:23

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

We see that the pattern for church government was to establish elders (plural) in every church. We never see the language of one elder or the appointment of one superintendent over a people. Problems occur in our methodology in starting churches; for example, today’s church will sometimes have one man that starts a church and acquires debt by personally guaranteeing the loan. The pressure then exists for the personal guarantee whose “name is on the line”, to make decisions that stem from this pressure. Because of these pressures, we witness the appointment of elders that do not qualify in accordance with scripture. Qualification is indeed a topic in itself.

The concept of a head pastor, associate pastors under him, elders and deacons under them - is not scripturally based. Scriptures only reveal “elders” who comprised the offices of superintendent and deacon. It is always seen as a team of elders and it never possesses the control that is typical in most churches. Who makes the final decisions? The eldership is expected to be a leadership that possesses maturity, totally meeting the qualifications, walking in the unity of the faith, and having learned to hear the voice of the Spirit. Therefore it is through consensus that a church government should operate. What if there are no mature candidates? Then maybe you should not start a church; instead start gatherings whereby you can nurture the saints unto maturity. Out of this “labor” you can ordain a team of elders and either move on to start other gatherings or become a fellow elder with the newly appointed team. What if I have a church already? Then make decisions with the “pattern” in mind, but you cannot be in bondage to previous mistakes or having operated in an old wineskin. In other words, operate as the lead elder, allow the vision God gave you to be duplicated among others - until you can raise up a team of trusted/qualified elders; then appoint them as superintendents and deacons – with you as a co-elder. To accomplish this, it is my personal conviction that the present head elder must not be the personal guarantee on any debts and must not have assets titled to him personally. If filing for non-profit corporate status prevents you from doing this then you should not file. Scriptural church government can place us in the position where the devil has no place in our eldership. But someone has to be the head? Yes and no. When immaturities exist things do not function properly and poor decisions are frequent, thus causing controversy and division. An immature head elder will cause division just as easily as immature elders under him. God does not honor any man making ungodly decisions no matter what his position. We as leaders must grow up and raise up other disciples that will walk in unity with us. Until this maturity occurs as I am teaching it, the head elder must rule imperfectly. In other words he has to make the final decisions. If he does not operate this way then others leaders will rule with a consensus that destroys. On the other hand I believe a head elder is not successful until he can be a co-elder that has a team of elders that rule by consensus – as five fingers in a glove function perfectly in unison.

The counterfeit of “unity in leadership” as I have discussed is seen when a lead elder rules those under him by intimidation. This type of elder/superintendent will find agreement but it is a false agreement. Almost every minister wants an influx of people from a revival harvest to fill the seats of their church, the problem occurs in the church government AFTER they get there. There will be a falling away every time, because the church government is out of God’s order. People tend to be safer in the streets than in many of our churches. God will restore church government and a functioning 5-fold ministry and then we will see a great harvest. I see clearly, that the church as we have seen things, in the past… is passing away and what we will see in its place is a “truly functioning church” demonstrating true unity in the faith. God is restoring co-eldership through unity and in our last chapter called the seven thunders we will see how all of this fits into the pattern of what God is doing. The 7th thunder deals with church government and ministry. The 7th thunder shall be a thunder of setting everything in order.

1 Pet 5:1-3

Therefore, 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. (NAS)

Let us make some observances. Peter was one of the twelve in church government. How did he exercise this authority? AS A FELLOW ELDER! Eldership should rule and oversight through EXAMPLE. Church government does not contain the methodology that world government utilizes. World government “LORDS OVER”. This is not the pattern for God’s church government. All who called themselves pastor must now follow the example of being a “co-elder”. Today’s pastors must relinquish control of their congregations to a team of mature elders that rule by example, with the pastor himself being simply a co-elder. Pulpits must now be shared frequently, the vision and objectives must now be seen equally with a consensus, and the traditions of men must be “disposed of” by the entire eldership. IMPOSSIBLE? Not if God ordains the elders instead of man doing the ordaining, and not if God’s people will exchange the old wineskins with God’s new wineskin. As a head elder we do not worry about someone taking control once we have God’s mature eldership in place. God will rule His eldership and release head elders from the pressures of making the vision happen. God will assemble leaders of His choosing.

There is no room in a team of elders for legalism, iron fisted rule, and the IMPOSING OF ONE’S WILL ON OTHERS. Because we have deviated from the pattern – we see great affliction and controversies within our churches. Many churches have become soap operas that have allowed the world’s influence to pollute God’s government. God is putting to death all these ways of man in order to establish His way that shall remain for eternity. Intellect and great planning cannot accomplish this church government. This way for God’s government is established through men who have learned to die to their ways and exchange them for God’s ways. These leaders will have the mind of Christ for God’s methods of superintending, and these leaders will learn to find God’s wisdom through consensus. Their maturity is the ingredient that causes unity, and the examples they set - are blameless before God’s people. They are men that stand for God’s ways and God’s character.

As far as church government ABOVE the local (city) eldership – THIS IS NOT SCRIPTURAL IN ANY SENSE. There is no “Jerusalem type” church government outside of the local eldership - in today’s church. These unscriptural activities have allowed unqualified elders to rule and have thus damage the sheep of God. However, the local eldership can decide on matters within a local congregation and gain wisdom for their decisions from other ministry gifts in the church abroad. Even Paul did not exercise eldership at anytime - though he birthed a particular church and continued to be a father to them. He exercised his gift - NOT a governmental POSITION. Church government outside of the local church will cause unneeded burdens and bondages on the local church government. These ties should be broken if they exist. Unfortunately this eliminates most denominations because they are based on these unscriptural hierarchies. Now, if there is a “counsel” that is simply centralized to serve the local eldership and they do not possess “decision making authority” or pressure – it is considered in line with the pattern as long as directed by the Spirit. In these cases, the “counsel” should not be receiving guarantees of financial gain - less their motives become corrupt.

Some in ministry take the view that we should mimic the early church – verbatim. God’s pattern does not change but the methods He uses will change with the wind (Spirit). For instance, the early church in Jerusalem was seen as making “all things common”. There is a principle of God there, but we should never mimic that exact method unless directly exactly to do so by the Spirit. In the early church, not all churches mimic that method of provision. Another example; I believe in home churches as patterned in the New Testament, but that does not mean that all “non-home churches” are against the pattern. This is where we learn to be sober in understanding what God is teaching in scriptures. In all of these things, there is only one thing God puts His stamp of approval on – His Own Son Jesus. Church growth, manifestations of the spirit, signs & wonders, and great altar calls are not an indicator that God puts His stamp of approval on the vision of a certain leadership. Our vision must reflect Jesus’ vision and Jesus’ vision always looks like the PATTERN. These things I speak will lay out a pattern of church government that I perceive will bring life from the dead. It will create a functioning government that Jesus will be manifested as Lord. This church government is a temporal government for the purpose of edification unto the day of Christ. It is a government that will continue only until the King of kings returns to rule and reign with PERFECTION. This new wineskin is not the final wineskin, it points to that perfect government that is eternal, which shall come. Our end hope is for that final government, and yet God wants us to first fulfill the perfecting of this present governmentso that it will be a testimony to the lost and an edification to the found. AMEN

Prophetic Forerunners

Eph 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner {stone} in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (NAS)

In an exclusive sense, those who are called to be an apostle or prophet should be a role model and become a foundation for others to follow. Remember these are not church government offices as many teach. The word office is never presented in relationship with these gifts except when KJV mistranslates the word “office” in Romans. The apostle and prophet is a gift that God gives to minister to the church with a “quality of building with special skills”. These special skills or endowments are best observed in God’s example of building the tabernacle of Moses. Let us observe these special qualities and skills that are observed.

Apostles and prophets are forerunners. They are forerunners of seeing and doing God’s plan so others can see a demonstration of what pleases God. These forerunners include all those we see in the Bible that followed and became God’s exhibition, God’s blueprint, all of which Jesus Himself fulfilled and demonstrated. The forerunners also include those today that reveal and demonstrate God’s plan in purity and maturity. We might get the idea then that apostles and prophets are an elite bunch. Not at all, they are simply forerunners for those that come afterwards – a people who see the model of Jesus portrayed and follow Jesus because of what they have seen portrayed. Jesus was the Apostle and Prophet that the “gift of the apostle and prophet” will exhibit. That is what makes them a firm foundation, upon which you are built on.

We must be sober in our thinking concerning a calling and gift. If any are called to perform any ministry function, by itself, it means nothing. Only heeding the call and pursuing Jesus and thereby becoming a blueprint of Love and Wisdom in the Power of God will we amount to anything. Just as there are immature shepherds (pastors), there will be immature apostles and prophets in this age. Therefore we have the scriptures, to give us the means by which we can examine these role models to see if they “match up”. If they match up we can therefore be fitted together, built together, because our role models were fitted with the cornerstone. How do I know who these apostles & prophets are? Because you will see that they fit; that is as long as you are hungry for Truth and have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Spirit is revealing to you. How do I know if I am a forerunner? You will see this plan with CLEAR VISION and have grace to become a demonstration of this plan to others.

We have preset concepts of what an apostle and prophet are. The first problem is you must see them as ministry gifts instead of church government. Then we must see them as "forerunners" - that is why they are the foundation. A shepherd (pastor), teacher, and evangelist can become an apostle or prophet IF they see the blueprint clearly and demonstrate it in COMPLETION as a foundation for others. To clarify what I just said; it is not that you are being promoted to a higher position – it is a gifting and therefore God is blending gifts as He wills. No matter what our role is today, if we are seeing with “clear vision” and demonstrate it – you may be called to be an apostle or prophet. “I do not quite see with “clear vision”, what about me?” That is fine, be content in your role, and be content in being built into the foundation. Desire not to be anything that you are not equipped to do; in the book of Romans it calls that “questioning the potter”. As you mature in Jesus, you will have ample opportunities to minister – no matter what your calling and blend of gifts are!

The equipping of the apostle and prophet have little to do with mere activities, they are simply equipped to blaze a trail for those that will follow - that is their gift. Because of the forerunner nature of the apostle and prophet, you will see them minister concerning the foundation we are laying more than what we are building on that foundation. The role of an apostle is different than that of a prophet in the type of foundational work is being brought forth. The apostle will be more of a father role in the foundation whereas the prophet will be more of an emphasis on the voice and message of the foundation to make sure it is lead in a fashion that affects the building to come afterwards. Paul was called an apostle and prophet. He had more gifts besides these as well. I know that I have received the gift of a prophet that has resulted in my zeal for the house of God concerning truth. However, in being a prophet I have received truth in the past and instead of maturely building the foundation to the temple of God, I hurt the foundation because of immaturity. I saw correctly, I heard correctly but I communicated that truth incorrectly. Responses are important as well. Because of zeal for truth you are intolerant of the false. My past responses to false doctrine may have been more damaging then the false doctrine itself. Therefore the gift of a prophet in an immature or impure vessel is not unto edification many times. We minister a mixture that hurts the foundation if we do not properly handle the Word of truth and our attitudes towards the church.

We think an apostle is the starter of many churches. The role of an apostle may include this activity, but the apostle may simply be called to blaze a trail in his current sphere of influence. For example, if I had the opportunity to see an individual that lived a life as a store clerk and yet lived according to the complete plan that is revealed, he would have become a forerunner in the maturity that we speak of in this book – LIKE PAUL. He would be leading others to Jesus, because he has become a light to the world. He would invest time and labor in maturing others and revealing to them God’s ways, because he would be compelled to do so by the Spirit. Both compassion and gifts would be demonstrated to fellow workers, customers and all that he comes into contact with, because maturity will always overflow in gifts and love towards others. And finally we would see the sufferings of Christ in abundance, endured with grace. So why would you call him an apostle or prophet? It is because he would be a forerunner, and because we have yet to see the maturity of Paul in this generation. This particular example would demonstrate this passage in Ephesians concerning the apostle and prophet more than one who has started a thousand churches. My emphasis to you is that, he that builds with gold, silver, and precious stones is him who builds with what God values.

As you observe the life of Paul throughout this book, wouldn’t you agree that there are few examples on planet Earth today that have reached this maturity level? However this maturity level WILL be entered into in these last days. The believer that reaches a maturity level beyond the maturity of the typical minister could be called a forerunner. Therefore what I am saying is that the maturity level equal to the "early church apostles and prophets" will be reached first by forerunners, these forerunners are called "today's apostles and prophets". They become a foundation that looks like Jesus on the Earth. But they do not look and they do not act like we have imagined. They will be seen in many different activities that are not typical of what WE HAVE SAID they would be doing. Their activities might be the activities we see in Paul’s life, or they may be simply the activities we portrayed in the life of the store clerk. They will not be as “glorified” or “immortal” as some teach that they are. They may live in prisons as Paul, boiled in oil as John, and in hiding as prophets of old.

We say an apostle is this and a prophet is that. God says that an apostle and prophet is him who is a forerunner that is fitted to Jesus and builds ONLY according to the blueprint. What I am talking about here is - a ministering to others that is God’s “MORE EXCELLENT WAY”. This I see clearly, those that follow Jesus with their whole heart at this reading will either become or shall see with their own eyes, God’s forerunners – in this generation. God is at present preparing His forerunners, they may be store clerks and not predominant ministers or in church government, on the other hand they may be laboring on the mission field or in Christian media, I do not know, but I do know that they will suffer much in blazing the way. Of course many of them are already forerunning. I am prophesying about forerunners that will attain to the maturity level seen in Paul's life.

Remember this – we are all called to be temple builders, to be the five-fold ministry, to be servers, in at least some extent – you are not excluded in God’s plan concerning ministry. These ministry gifts are given to all of us as He wills, in the measure that He wills, and in the blend that He wills. These ministry gifts are never taught in scripture to be reserved for those that hold church government positions. These ministry gifts are never taught in scripture to be reserved for those that conduct full time activities of ministry. Do what you have been equipped to do and whatever that is, build it with GOLD instead of with WOOD! You might say, “How can I be compared to a Pastor "? A Pastor is a gift of an under-shepherd of Jesus that feeds and cares for the sheep of God; if you disciple a believer then are you not exercising the gift of an under shepherd in the same manner as a full time pastor/superintendent of a local congregation? Therefore we must all learn to feed God’s sheep and be a pattern to the believers, not just Timothy, Titus, and our superintendent (bishop/pastor/overseer).

I do not wish to detract from the full time role that some might “partake in” concerning these ministry gifts; they do have certain great measures of equipping, they build a certain “skilled” way, but God wants to emphasize inclusion to you instead of exclusion concerning ministry gifts. In other words we have already had much teaching on the importance of the five-fold ministry – it has been quite emphasized, even to the extreme but it excluded anyone that is not a full time minister. Therefore God’s emphasis here is one of balance to “fit the whole body”.

Prophet Misconceptions

God wants pre-conceived ideas about His ministry - to come to a halt! For example, to show an extreme teaching of the gift of a prophet, it is taught that the role of the prophet is like certain Old Testament prophets who “tell it like it is”. In other words a prophet becomes unpopular and even offensive but will declare judgment in truth. The teaching will even give permission to be rude and contentious for the sake of truth. It is never the wisdom of God to categorize what a prophet will say or how he may say it. The gift of a prophet is very simple; he is simply a forerunner of standing in the counsel of God concerning certain truth and is then equipped and responsible to speak forth this counsel. Soon as you say that it has to be spoken a certain way or it has to be a certain truth – you are missing it. The true prophet will only tell what he hears in the counsel of God that is revealed IN SCRIPTURE.

The "teller" of dreams and visions does not indicate that one is called to be a prophet. Yet when one is called to be a prophet, they still have the same decisions to make that everyone must make. They must choose Life or death with every decision. They can choose to fulfill their call or not. They can choose to "run ahead" and are equipped to do so. They can choose the safe ground of "not running ahead" and avoid the rejection that comes to all that do run ahead. The prophet can seek God in scripture and their gift can unveil to them the mysteries that have been hidden since the foundations of the world. All prophets have this gift but few will pay the price for it. The price of a forerunner is tremendous. That price is not so much the tremendous amount of studying, praying, etc. The price that I am referring to is the price to hear what the Spirit is saying in scripture and after this “unveiling” you are willing to preach it even though everyone in your sphere of influence believes something different. The prophet must pave the way for that truth knowing that the carnal and religious will reject it.

The true prophet fears God and trembles every time he handles the scriptures and yet speaks as an oracle of God with authority. Since there is NO OFFICE OF PROPHET, only a gift of prophet, there is no office authority. There is not church government concerning a prophet. However there is authority for prophets concerning the authority of the message being presented. A prophet in itself is a gift with no authority but when you speak what God has said then all of heaven stands behind that word. That is why a prophet speaks with authority when God commissions him. The false prophet will be cocky and that is the perversion of authority. The false prophet speaks what he hasn’t heard and exerts authority not given to him. Paul had authority because of the apostolic word that was with him not because of a position of authority. Scripturally examine how Paul talked with churches that he fathered in the faith such as the Corinthian Church. He did not come to correct them as a boss, he corrected them with pleadings of the truth. This truth can make one tremble because it contains Jesus’ authority but for those that do not accept truth it has no authority to change. Examine how Paul exercised the authority of the gift and yet he possessed no church government office. Church government in the early church yielded to the authority of the gift by producing fruit of repentance.

A mature prophet will rarely tell you of their supernatural experiences. For example, if they went to heaven, you will know little of it. Why? The fear of God in them cannot afford to bring attention to anyone other than Jesus. The prophet knows the revelation of Jesus and His words are the subject matter. The prophet knows that telling the people of their great visitation can manipulate. The mature prophet simply fears God in these areas. Many of today's prophets know little of this type of fear and humility. They are not forerunners until they do.

The prophet is responsible to become a life’s demonstration in maturity. The prophet is not to be offensive; his humility is as such that only Jesus must be the “Offensive One” and not himself. The same is true for misunderstandings; you must present Jesus to the world without misunderstanding, your personality must not be misunderstood, and a stumbling block or offensive – the Jesus that you present to others must be the only One that is misunderstood or a stumbling block. For example, if I have an area of my life that has remained undealt with by the Spirit, such as an arrogance that seems to flavor what I am speaking, it will present a version of Jesus that will flavor Him with this same arrogance. Therefore in preaching Jesus I become the stumbling block instead of Jesus. Paul did not forbid those that preached the Gospel as such, praise God that Jesus is being preached, but there is a “more excellent way”.

Are these sayings true only of the prophet? Not at all, it is true of every minister, even to the example of the “store clerk apostle”. So what is the difference between the apostles/prophets and the other ministry gifts? They are forerunners and they are specially equipped to be a forerunner. The New Testament apostles and prophets were forerunners that produced a maturity that resulted in the early church, but we will yet see it again - in the last day’s church. In Jesus’ ministry He ministered differently, He was a forerunner of that which was to come, what was the response of the people?

Matt 7:28-29

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law. (NIV)

      Forerunners speak in a manner that causes amazement because the people have yet to hear anything similar.

      Are today’s apostles and prophets teaching similar?

Offensive Prophets

Sometimes Jesus will seem rude or contentious to some, but the prophet himself should not be rude or contentious. Paul was a prophet and then became an apostle; he learned to be all things to all men. He was a Jew to the Jews and a Gentile to the Gentiles. He yielded on many occasions that which was true, to win them to Christ. If it was meat sacrificed to idols, he yielded the eating even though he knew that the meat had no power over him and could not harm him; the eating of meat could harm the weak – therefore maturity does not eat for the sake of others. In church customs he would yield to their particular custom, no matter if it was Paul’s custom or not. Do you see rudeness or contention in Paul? On the contrary there was no offense in him except those that refused the truth that comes from heaven in the Person of Jesus Christ. The bottom line is, God is raising up a church that will have their lives so dealt with by fire, and they are so out of the way - that they are no longer an offense.

1 Cor 10:32-33

Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the {profit} of the many, that they may be saved. (NAS)

 Does this mean that a prophet does not prophesy judgment? The prophet does speak forth judgment but only when God initiates it and only in the character of Love and humility. It cannot be tainted with opinion and the zeal of man. Remember that all ministers must have a shepherd’s heart - Jesus only has one heart. Finally, if you are not called to be an apostle or prophet then you have the privilege of eating from the fruit of the lips of these trail blazers, they suffered certain hardships so that you do not have to, because of the love that they possess for the sheep of God. For the last day’s apostles and prophets will be characterized by one thing above all other things – that they lay down their lives for the sheep of God.

Acts 15:6

And the apostles and elders came together to consider of this matter.

I see scriptures like this becoming common place in this church generation. Gifts and government converging to restore order and to restore the wisdom of God – to the church. They will not be meetings of pride, power struggles, and debates. They will be meetings of consensus among God’s leadership that will give an example of unity. There will be no unified church if God’s government and God’s gifts cannot find agreement. Strong opinions and agendas have no place if we desire to reach a consensus among mature leaders. The first step is to abandon the old wineskin of traditional church government and the misconceptions of 5-fold ministry.

HAY House Building:

1 Cor 3:12

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Hay is not the same hay that we store up in this passage. Hay in ancient times referred to grass. Sometimes it is mown grass, sometimes it means cereal grain. All of these found themselves into the house of man. Grass grew on the housetops of the houses and because it could not stand up to the heat and contained no root, would wither and die. Just as the silver overlaid stone in the temple, grass overlays the house of man. Cereal grain would be the counterpart of the silver vessels, both of which were stored up in the house; one for the glory of God and one for the feeding of the flesh.

Teaching with hay would be giving those in the church the food that their natural man will enjoy. The result is the soul part of you will be fed and will get stronger. What does that mean? Your soul is your mind, will and emotions. When we say that your soul man gets stronger, what we mean is that your thoughts are distracted away from that which is Eternal. Your will becomes harder to the point that the gentle prompting of the Holy Spirit will be ignored. Your emotions are no longer manifested in His Holiness. The bottom line is that you are no longer subjected to His Lordship. Your ears were tickled by a clever message given with excitement, that inspired your mind to thinking, and your emotions are stirred up, with shouts of hallelujahs ringing, but it fed your natural man, and it bore no fruit. If you have no fruit in your life, check your diet, it may consist of hay. Being stirred up in your spirit man is what matters and only the anointing on our words can do that. Being stirred up may not bring as many amens, but it yields eternal fruit.

There are parts of the body of Christ that teach only what they know the people want to hear and others that will only hear what they want to hear. When Jesus told the disciples that they “must eat His flesh and drink His blood, ye shall have no life in you”, they were offended. As the Passover Lamb we must eat from ALL and Every Word of God in its entirety for the life of God to be in you.

      At Passover time they were required to eat the WHOLE lamb.

      You must eat of the gifts and the fruit of the Spirit!

      You must eat of the prosperity and the sufferings!

      You must eat of the liberty of grace that is free from the law, and eat as well, from the discipline of the walk of the Spirit, which sets you apart from the deeds of the flesh!

John 6:53-58

Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

John 6:61-66

When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Many went back! Not a few, but MANY. How sad that Jesus offends many. Jesus could have kept this saying to Himself and all would have been well, He would have still had a great following. But the purpose of God is that He unveils Himself to us in fullness, in entirety, and we eat of Him.

      We can no longer pick our diet.

      We can no longer pick and choose, when God unveils Himself, we must eat His flesh and drink His Blood as HE SAID.

      He knows those who will betray Him.

      Could it be that the great falling away will come after a great revealing of Who Jesus is?

Dividing Words

Hay building is always easy, but the hard sayings divide, and the True Word Spoken from Heaven will sooner or later DIVIDE, even as Light shone into the darkness will divide the light from the dark.

Heb 4:12-13

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

We must allow the true Word from God's mouth to divide our heart so that we will be separated unto Him. The word "holy" means separated unto God. The Word of God is what makes you holy and it is that which will bring you to the Holy of Holies.

In the Old Testament there was a brook outside of Jerusalem called "Kidron". This is the brook that was used to discard the idols whenever a righteous king was in office. It was also set as a boundary marker by King David to confine Shimei as part of his sentence for doing evil to God's anointed. Everything on the Jerusalem side represents the kingdom of God's Son, the kingdom of Light. Everything on the other side is darkness that is full of idols. The word Kidron means, "dusk". Dusk is where light ends and darkness begins. Shimei did not heed the sentence and died. We must rid our life of idols and clean up our own Jerusalem - we are eternal Jerusalem and Kidron is the dividing line! Kidron is the dividing line where we DEAL WITH these idols in our heart. Josiah the king of Judah was the ONLY king of Israel that TOTALLY ridded Jerusalem of idols. There was not an area in Jerusalem that was not touched including simple luck charms in the houses of the people. God is after EVERY area of your heart that is not His and God will set forth the dividing line to have it dealt with. It is at this time when you must do as Josiah did, cast it forth, grind it to powder, and burn it to nothing. Josiah went to EXTREMES to rid Jerusalem of its idols and went as far as defiling every altar that was made to a false god - to destroy FUTURE false worshipping.

Idols are plentiful in today’s church but the ministry of the Spirit of God is starting to move like Josiah, to the extreme of “ridding in our Jerusalem” – that is in our own heart. The idols of money and things must go, the idols of conceit and self-worship must go, the idols of “doing evil to others" must go and the “time wasting” idols of vanity must go. Idols of vanity represent anything that takes your time away from the feet of Jesus Christ. This includes certain television programming. REMEMBER THIS, it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit to reveal which idol that He says, “it needs to go”, then you will have grace from heaven to put it away. If you take it upon yourself to start ridding your life of idols, then it will become a product of self-will, and self-will is itself an idol, therefore you will have just replaced one idol with another. The Holy Spirit shows you and deals with you at Kidron and gives grace to deliver you from that idol for eternity.

Stubble House Building:

1 Cor 3:12

Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

Stubble represents the building material used for bricks. Without stubble, the bricks would break apart. Stubble is blown around quite easily and would represent that which is blown with every wind of doctrine and that which burns. The walls are going up, but they are temporal. Your house will never stand against the fire of God. A people ministering with stubble will have no long residence.

Titus 1:10-11

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.

Stubble symbolizes “worthless” or “vain”. There are those who teach others in the body of Christ and they do so with VAIN conversations. Let us look at some other scriptures on vain.

1 Tim 6:20

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly {and} empty chatter {and} the opposing arguments of what is falsely called "knowledge"--

Many will come to you with knowledge apart from God and use scriptures to do it. Eve took from the tree of knowledge apart from God. Satan tempted Jesus with scripture apart from God. It is falsely called knowledge.

2 Tim 2:15-16

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Why do we study? To give ability to recognize teaching that increases unto more ungodliness. Remember they use scripture to do it, but also remember 1 John says it is for that purpose you have been given an anointing on the inside of you - for you to discern. That anointing works as you study and are diligent in the Word of God.

      The definition of VAIN or STUBBLE is FRUITLESS.

Peter says that false teachers are as wandering stars. What is a wandering star? A star that is under no rule - They do not orbit. They are not attached to the body in Love. They speak words of isolation. They ultimately isolate the hearers away from God even as they themselves are isolated. Watch for doctrines that find fault with the entire body; they sever a limb wherever they can. See the church of our Lord with His eyes. The eyes of Jesus will see a bride without spot or blemish.

      Constantly dwelling on the evil (darkness) will separate you from God.

      What if a certain denomination or movement is the great Babylon of Revelation?

Yes there will be the great whore and Babylon of Revelation, but unless the Holy Spirit told you personally who comprises this body of people, then you do not know. You may have listened to someone that says they know, but they are probably wrong. SPECULATION IS VAIN- IT IS STUBBLE!

      The whore and Babylon are a people that murder the saints!

      Be careful who you would want to identify with her.

Stubble is “vain speaking” that leads others to increase their ungodliness. We tend to think that if it is vain “what can it hurt” but God says that fruitless speaking will hurt others.

2 Tim 2:16-18

But avoid worldly {and} empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, {men} who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and thus they upset the faith of some. (NAS)

      There is a definite trap in conversations that are unprofitable and fail to preach Jesus and Him crucified.

The End Result

1Cor 3:13-16

each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is {to be} revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and {that} the Spirit of God dwells in you?

The main thought here is not deeds but of ministry of the Word. This is not just a day after we die and go to be with the Lord. When it refers to the day, it means the last days, that day which is the culmination of all the plans and purposes of God. In the last days the fire of God will reveal that which looks like Jesus and it will reveal that which is not Jesus, it will reveal the True Temple of God and all other temples will be nothing but a counterfeits. Rewards are given out only if the quality of what you built in the lives of others is gold, silver and precious stones. If you have edified another in Christ then you will have BUILT A TEMPLE that shall remain forever. You have been a temple builder even as you have allowed THE TEMPLE BUILDER build through your life. It does not matter if flocks of people received you as being a prophet from God or the “authority on the scriptures” – what matters is what stands up to FIRE!

1Cor 3:17

If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

The word “destroy” here means defile or corrupt. Again keep the thought of what the Spirit of God is talking about - teaching. It is a serious thing with God to make yourself a god over His word - instead of subjecting yourself to the Word. It is this conceit concerning scriptures that defiles many temples. There is a last days “temple defiling ministry” going forth as never before but we shall see God destroy them.

These have made themselves authority over the scriptures. They decide their messages, they decide the method, and they have decided where and who will receive the messages. They pervert the pattern example that the apostles demonstrated in Love. They then defile God's temple - YOU!

As an example of this perverting, scriptures teach prosperity, but the Bible teaches sufferings in Christ as well. If you examine Paul's ministry, He preached and boasted in the sufferings, which he endured for Jesus' Namesake. Observe Paul's pattern example and then observe ministers of the prosperity message.

      Do they leave out the passages about ALL the sufferings in His Name?

      Do they lay a foundation of subjection to the authority of Jesus?

      After they minister, do you see people transformed into His likeness?

You can use a truth and never see Him Who is Truth. If you are not taught to be content in whatever state you are in, than you are open targets for covetous instead of true prosperity. The state, God might call you to, could be an abundance of earthly riches, but be content if the steps you follow in Christ put you in a state of owning nothing. Owning things or owning nothing, does not make you spiritual or of faith or of a lack of faith. Walking in His steps in communion with Him and obtaining the character of Jesus in your life producing fruit to be eaten of all men, should be what you bend every effort around.

1Cor 3:18-23

Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "{He is} the one who catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows the reasonings of the wise, that they are useless." So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God. (NAS)

The ministry gifts are just that, they are gifts to you for your edification. Find a minister that will edify you and be as a bondslave as Paul was, in Love.

1 Cor 4:1-2

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

In the last days God is raising up ministers like unto Paul. They have the anointing of the masterbuilder to lay the foundation of Jesus. Others will build on it Gold, Silver and Precious stones. They will speak like Jesus, not on their own authority. As they have heard shall they declare. They will be faithful stewards that handle the Word without deceit. They will suffer much for the sake of the Gospel - That is the PATTERN to build the temple. As the house of man is built and a natural man resides in it, so shall God's House be built and the Glory of God shall fill the Temple.

IKing 8:11

So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Hag 2:7-9

And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts…. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the LORD of hosts.

Jesus Christ is the desire of all nations that will first manifest through His people to be a testimony to the heathen and then bodily manifest to be a judge to the heathen, but FIRST he will FILL US WITH GLORY!

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