We are in a season of spiritual separation. It’s not a separation of the church from the world as much as it is a separation of the true church from the false one. The Lord is calling forth the remnant to be a light in the earth, shining a clear and discernible path to salvation, and we need to be prepared for how He accomplishes this. Christendom is full voices, but not all of them speak according to heart of God. The church is full of ministers, but not all are serving the will of the Lord.
They went out from us…
1 John 2:18-19
18Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
In the last days, scripture declares the inevitability of this exodus, and speaks of the necessity for those who are “not of us” to be made manifest as so. But, how do we know who is not of us? How will those in search of truth discover those who carry from among the multitude perpetrators?
Our Daily Bread…
When Jesus arrived on the scene, Satan attempted to entice Him using the same methods that had been successful in drawing Israel’s other leaders away. These areas of entanglement befell the prideful and religious elitists of Jesus’ day, and they broadly represent the same temptations that cause ministers many to fall away today. From Matthew 4:1-11
1Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Let’s observe how the specific temptations of Satan compare to those believers face today:
- To Jesus, the devil says, “Command that these stones be made bread” That means, prophesy according to your belly (aka flesh), and declare futures that satisfy and appeal to the carnal nature of yourself and others.
- Satan’s next temptation says, “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” In other words, follow your religious pride. Abuse the spiritual position & privileges, given you by grace, in a vain attempt to establish your own self-righteousness. Act unwisely, and call it crazy faith.
- Finally, “the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Through this act, Satan’s suggestion is to Preach and/or accept the false gospel which declares that we deserve to rule and reign supreme in the kingdoms of this world, even in their current fallen state. This is one of the trickiest of the devil’s deceptions, since God has established that believers will, one day, reign in the earth. The critical point to remember is that it will happen in the Father’s timing, not our own, and we are exalted through Him rather than our own devices. When the time comes for kingdom citizens to reign, it will be by the power of God, under the authority of Christ and in the timing appointed them. (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
These are the temptations which overtake several religious leaders, but Jesus conquered them all. These are the issues that ultimately separate those who “of us” from those who aren’t, and our lives are a reflection of whose will we obey—the devil’s or our heavenly Father.
Again, it is important to recognize how these intentions are drawn out. Note that Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit which is a key detail.
Therefore, in times of distress, we need to know what and how to pray. Without realizing, we could be praying to be removed from a test that God is using to reveal His faithfulness to us and His power to someone else. Sometimes, our most important prayer is that God give us the strength to endure what He has already ordained. Give us the fortitude to surrender to the will of the Lord, whatever it may entail. Jesus taught this to His disciples.
When teaching them—and therefore us—to pray, Jesus began by building a contrast with the prayers of hypocrites, and this stands as helpful guidance for who and what to avoid. He continues by voicing a surrender and alignment with the will of the Father “on earth, as it is in heaven.” Then He says, “give us this day our daily bread,” indicating that the prayers of the righteous are focused on the necessities of saints, and their endurance in ministry.
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
As demonstrated by Jesus, our prayers must not be repetitious and religious for the sake of sounding poetic, but they must be in alignment with the will of Father. Beware for those who insist that the treasures of this world and accepted prominence within its systems are apropos to all children of God. Though craftily worded, their messages will steer listeners toward carnality and materialistic hopes, and their prayers will bend towards the lusts of the flesh. Rather, understand that those who belong to the Lord preach Jesus and the crucifixion of the flesh, and their prayers will prioritize the necessities of the saints above earthly riches.
Observe, closely, the content and context of Jesus Ministry…
Upon Jesus arrival, His mission was to “set at variance” those in the same house. His goal was to draw out the chosen from among the called and separate the remnant from among the multitude.
34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
Such declarations by a man proclaiming to be the Son of God seem out of place, but they are not.
Human peace fails to account for the condition of men’s hearts. So, people often unite and join together without awareness of their differences of motive and intention. But God sees what we can’t, and before He administers judgment, He establishes authentic peace by removing those who secretly work against it. Yet again, we must be aware of the ways He accomplishes this and how we play a part in it.
Now take note of the verses prior to Jesus’ declaration of His earthly purpose.
Jesus sent the disciples forth in a very specific way.
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
There are a few things to extract from this passage:
- Sending the disciples out two by two was an internal affair. This was about finding those among the elect house of Israel who would accept the call to be chosen for ministry. This is an example of how judgment begins in the house of God and how those who are given spiritual responsibility are dealt with first.
- They took nothing with them. The message was/is not that they should BE poor, but rather they should not lead with materialistic distractions. The purity and simplicity of the message needs to be received without interferences. Going with extra stuff clouds the message, suggesting that the Gospel of the kingdom is about more than Jesus.
- Jesus sent them forth as “sheep amidst wolves,” signifying that the disciples, in the humility of their ministry, would test the motives and intentions of the audience, thus exposing the wolves.
- Finally, to be delivered up to councils, scourged in synagogues, brought before governors and delivered up to death by a brother is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who would endure those exact things.
There is a separation coming to the body of Christ.
In the story of the wheat and the tares, notice the tares were planted in the garden of the Lord, which is explained by Jesus later on in the chapter. There are imposters and deceivers planted, by Satan, in the church, and the Lord is sending rain
Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 King James Version (KJV)
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn …. 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The Lord has chosen His vessels to perform His work in the earth, and Satan has also chosen his own vessels to thwart the efforts of the righteous. But the children of God will prevail. To be among the victorious, we must prepare now. We are told who is the enemy, and they are no different than the type of enemies Jesus encountered.
54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
Jesus was viewed as if his pedigree should not have allowed Him to work with such power and speak with great revelation. After all, He was just a carpenter’s boy from around the way, not one born to the tribe of Levi and groomed to be fine priest. The same faulty religious standards set by the Pharisees of Jesus’ day are the same one’s that exist in religious circles today. Make no mistake about it, classism exists in Christendom, and those who have achieved high status associate themselves in circles they believe will benefit and protect their Christian brand. To them, a Christian’s righteousness is proven through earthly exaltation, and believer’s spiritual value is related to the heights of their recognized status in this world. For those who don’t look the part, sound the part or play the role, there is little room for you. Anyone who doesn’t cater to the palatable narrative of pleasant Christianity is in danger of being shut up, shut out and ultimately persecuted. But these are those that God is looking for, and these are the ones who the Lord will use as the day of the Lord draws near.
A Word from the Lord: The Lord is calling forth servants whose message is pure and effective for the salvation of souls rather than the exaltation of flesh. The will be small town pastors, street ministers, next door neighbors and a collection of meek and humble servants. These are the poor in spirit, spoken of by Jesus in the sermon on the mount, who will inherit the kingdom of heaven. They are the “unknowns” who refuse and reject celebrity of self and glorify the image of their heavenly father. As the return of Jesus draws near, these are those who will be called forth to preach the true Gospel of the kingdom. Rise up in your families, workplaces and schools and declare the glory that belongs to the Lord. Persecution will come, particularly at the hands of the imposter, deceivers and the wicked whose god is their belly and mind earthly things.
Addition scriptures for encouragement:
17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18(For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
3Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.