"..Yet in My Flesh I Will See GOD" [Job. 19.26]

Monday, July 5, 2010

Rejected Authority at Work

How does a God-rejected authority still work today? Can it still work? Can it still be successful? You're in for a big surprise--churches or ministries can still work and be successful even if they are already rejected by God!

Success in people's eyes is not a measure of true success. Jesus' ministry looked doomed by every human standard--he was executed, was deserted by his disciples, scorned by the crowds, scorned by spiritual and bible-based leaders of his time, thought insane by his own family, and ended up dead. Later, all his disciples were executed, and the Acts church was wiped out, replaced by a Babylon church. Yet, in God's eyes, there was no man more successful than Jesus.

Saul had been rejected by God. Samuel said, "You acted foolishly...now your kingdom will not endure. If you had obeyed, God would've established your kingship forever!" (1 Sam.13). 

Did Saul's kingship collapse there and then? It didn't. In fact, they had lots of overwhelming victories against their enemies. First, Jonathan (Saul's son) and his armor bearer easily killed some 20 well-armed Philistines single-handedly. Second, panic struck the whole Philistine army so that they began slicing each other with their swords. And the Word says it was a panic "sent by God," (14.15). The ground even shook! Wow! What a sign and wonder from God! Saul must have thought, he was still favored! Just imagine such miracle! Samuel probably heard wrong from God. But the truth was, God had rejected Saul. And yet God helped them decisively! Third, the Israelites sent their enemies on the run that day, and all because "The Lord rescued Israel that day."

Moreover, Saul "fought the enemies on every side...wherever he turned he inflicted punishment on them," and among them the Amalekites, which he defeated (14.47-48). All these despite the fact that in those days only Saul and Jonathan had swords. The rest were ill armed. Can rejected authority still perform well and have successes and be anointed? It's obvious here, isn't it?

Yet the fact remained---Saul was rejected, and God had sought someone else to replace Saul. His kingship days were terribly numbered. And this ought to serve as a warning to churches and ministries today---success is not always a proof of God's favor. Sometimes, it's a sure sign of God's rejection. 

Remember how Jesus described it? There were those who performed signs and wonders in His Name and preached the Gospel in the streets. WOW! What a church activity! What accomplishments! But Jesus said, "I do not know you!" 

So, how does rejected authority still work?

Look at what happened to Saul's army. The star rebel here was his own son, Jonathan. Jonathan was the sort who just did what he saw fit with gross insubordination. He never submitted to his father, Saul. He attacked the Philistines without telling his father (14.1). Then, Jonathan opposed his father's ideas (14.29). He opined that his dad was nothing but problem for Israel, "trouble for the whole country." Imagine that?

When there's insubordination and people tell the pastor what he should do, that church may be on the way to rejection. When church people look down on their pastor--huh! God has rejected it and has withdrawn support. Can it still be successful? Oh yeah!

Another thing, Israel was without weapons except for Saul's and Jonathan's swords. And what makeshift weapons they had, they had them sharpened by the enemy (13.16-21). See that? They were sharpening with the enemy! That's a bad sign. These were telltale signs of an upcoming collapse. God was gradually preparing Saul and Israel to perdition! God did this style of punishment many times in the Old Testament. Some collapse were immediate, some were gradual. 

If your church lacks spiritual weapons, especially the Sword (which is the Word of God), it's a danger sign. If your church is so weak in the Word--cannot get deep revelations straight from the mouth of God when they study the bible--the church is dying, if not already dead. Your days are numbered, though you seem to have successes, even awesome ones at that!

Worse, if your church sharpens with the enemy--they look so excited and worshipful because they bring in new trends from the world--trends in music, stage performance, instrumentals, and styles--your church is a sitting duck, quite unfit for spiritual warfare.

And this is the most important: Rejected authority is always concerned about the membership. It is concerned about how many are attending the church, or if the members are happy and satisfied about the program or how the pastor performs, or what the members' needs are or what they are looking for. A church that is members oriented is a dying church, though it looks full-packed and growing and alive and rich. 

When Saul disobeyed God and God's anointed, Samuel, his reason was that "When I saw the men scattering...I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering," (13.11). His basis of ministry was the people's needs, not what God required. He was in a habit of counting his men (13.15). Pastors today are like that. Satan easily scares them with losing membership if they really obeyed God. So they just go along with what people want---playing church seriously.

Finally, a rejected authority is surrounded by people "quaking in fear" for the enemy (13.7). They hid in caves, thickets, rocks, pits, and cisterns. Hihi! Yet they acted brave and loved to occupy positions, like David's brothers were who were in Saul's army and who scorned David the shepherd boy. Yet, they were all scared  of Goliath like frightened dogs. 

I once pastored a denominational church where the people were mad about occupying positions and crazy about being seen performing on stage with special numbers and worship leading. It was a moneyed church, full-packed each Sunday, and we had lots of outreaches and bible studies and ministries. It was among the biggest Manila churches of that denomination. I received a high salary and lots of benefits. In short, it was a "successful" church, and many pastors envied me.

One day, I received a request to see a young woman possessed by a powerful demon. I arranged the meeting to be at night. I asked the elders and those with position to assist me, if they could. They were there in church for a while, but when the possessed woman arrived, they all went home and left me and my wife to deal with the devil. Praise God the woman was freed.