05. Responding to Apostasy

Posted Oct 07, 2011 by Adrian Ebens in Divine Pattern Original Articles Hits: 2,021

Many have heard of the familiar proverb that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and this is certainly the case when living within the threefold cord of God’s blessing. In our last chapter we spoke about how those who are under authority are blessed when they respect and obey that authority. This then raises the question of what shall we do if a person in authority asks us to do things that are not revealed in God’s Word or if they themselves engage in activities that are not of God.

Praying for Leaders

The first thing we should seek to do is prevent these situations from occurring through our prayers and our submissive spirit towards those in authority. When we have identified who the authority figures are in our lives, we should pray for them that God will bless them and give them wisdom, patience and discernment to properly execute their role. This is the counsel given us in the Bible:

1Tim 2:1-2  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  (2)  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Do we regularly pray for our parents that God will bless them, their health and all they do? Do we pray that our parents will bless us with their words and acts of kindness? Through our prayers we can draw down blessings upon ourselves and our children and this is how our Father in heaven would have it.

Do we faithfully pray for our church leaders, our pastor and the elders in the local church? Do we pray that our Father will give them peace, joy and the love of Christ? What about our local community leaders and government leaders? Do we pray for them? Do we hold them up before the Lord and pray for their families and their protection? These things are the duty of every Christian yet is this duty widely practiced? Not that I have seen.

When leaders grow weary from Satan’s attacks we need men like Aaron and Hur to hold up the arms of our leaders and support them and encourage them. Do we send cards of thanks to our leaders where we can do this? Do we thank them for the good things they are doing? Leaders need encouragement and they need our prayers and all those who follow the divine pattern will remember those in authority over them and will seek to bless them through their acts of kindness and gracious spirit.

This process is important because if a leader should fall, people should ask themselves, have I faithfully prayed for this leader? Have I encouraged this leader? If we can’t answer honestly that we have then we should also repent for our own failure to do the tasks we ought to have done. It is Satan’s studied aim to cause those under authority to cease their prayers for that authority so that he can then tempt that leader to sin and then move the people against the leader with gossip, accusations and contempt.

If we have been faithfully praying for a leader and our hearts have developed affection for them through that process we will be shielded from the spirit of rebellion and discontent when we witness the fall of a leader. Those who are quick to mark the sins of a leader reveal that they have been slow to pray for and uphold that leader in their affections.

When Leaders Fail

Let us now come to the case where a leader had failed. Let us remind ourselves of some of the divine pattern situations where this could apply

Source – Of Whom

Channel – By Whom

References

Father

Son

1 Cor 11:3; Heb 1:1-3

Husband

Wife

Gen 3:16 1 Cor 11:3; Eph 5:25; 1 Pet 3:1

Father

Mother

Ex 20:12; Eph 6:1; Col 3:20

Mother

Children

1 Tim 2:15

Christ

Husband

1 Cor 11:3

Christ

Church

Eph 5:25

Prophet

Priest

Ex 4:16; Ex 32:21

Elders/Pastors

Flock

1 Pet 5:2; Thess 5:12,13

King/Governor

Subjects/Citizens

Rom 13:1-3; 1 Pet 2:13,14

Bible

Spirit of Prophecy

RH Jan 20, 1903 “Lesser Light”

Bible

Pastor/Elder

2 Tim 4:2; 1 Pet 5:2

 

As we noted previously, the “By Whom” person receives a blessing when they respect and obey the “Of Whom” person in authority over them. When we have a situation where an authority figure seeks to compel us by force to do something contrary to the Bible then must respectfully state that we are not able to do this. Here are some Biblical examples

Dan 3:14,16-18  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  … (16)  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  (17)  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  (18)  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Gen 39:7-8  And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me.  (8)  But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand;

Act 4:18-19  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  (19)  But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.

In the above cases, God’s people were asked to go contrary to Scripture which they could not do and all were willing to face the consequences of that decision even as God’s people will face the Sunday Law in the near future.

Yet most situations with leadership do not involve a direct command to violate ones conscience but rather the leaders own failure to fulfil their role faithfully. In such cases here are some Biblical examples.

“Of Whom”

“By Whom”

Example

Potiphar

Joseph

Served Faithfully

Eli

Hannah

Prayer in the Temple

Saul

David

Not touch the Lord’s Anointed

Elijah

Ahab

Ran Before Chariot

Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar

Food test/Telling the Dream

 

Joseph served his pagan master faithfully and did his best to bring blessing to his home. In the case of Hannah, Eli rebuked her for being drunk and she meekly replied “No my lord” and explained her situation. She did not turn and rebuke the priest for being lax with his sons and causing difficulties with the sacrifices. Even though David was anointed by Samuel to replace Saul, David would not raise his hand to remove Saul. He would not touch the Lord’s anointed. Even though Elijah was a Prophet and in some respects above Ahab, he still showed respect for the King of Israel by running before his chariot through the driving rain. In the case of Daniel, he showed discretion regarding the food test by asking to be put to the test and in regard to the dream in Daniel 4 we see the real concern of Daniel for his king.

Dan 4:19  Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

The king knew that Daniel cared for him and as a result trusted him. Even though this was the man who destroyed his home and took him captive, he still served him faithfully with a submissive spirit and was blessed as a result. They key in all these situations can be expressed through this counsel to one example of the divine pattern:

1 Pet 3:1-4  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;  (2)  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.  (3)  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;  (4)  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

In the case of a wife who has an unbelieving husband, she is to serve him faithfully seeking every way possible to bless and honour her husband. Through this process, the heart of the husband will hopefully soften and he will be impressed by the honour of his wife and he will give his heart to the Lord. Peter also gives counsel to other situations:

1Pe 2:13-16  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  (14)  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.  (15)  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  (16)  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

The Bible counsels us that we are to have a submissive spirit that honours those in leadership and through this process we can put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

This process of submission to a leader is a gentle means of showing them that they are a leader and that it is the duty of leaders to bless. The person in submission will also be praying for that leader and asking for a blessing through them. Our God in heaven who holds the kings heart in his hand can turn it and convict it to grant a blessing. The spirit of submission by its very nature draws down a blessing whereas the spirit of rebuke sends the leader a message that “I am equal to you or in fact superior to you because my assessment of the situation is superior to yours” This is why the Bible says:

1 Tim 5:1  Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;

It is a violation of the divine pattern for a person under authority to rebuke that authority. Only one equal to or above that authority figure can administer a direct rebuke. If we see a minister or elder teaching something that we believe is not Biblical, we must follow the divine pattern and approach them in a spirit of submission and gently appeal to them to consider what the Bible teaches. It is not our calling or duty to prove them wrong or expose them in front of a congregation. Satan is keen for members to elevate themselves to the level of the authority figure over them and to speak to them as if they were the authority. This destroys the channel of blessing and exposes people to Satan’s attacks.

When a person directly challenges an authority over them, they are disrespecting that authority and disrespect for authority brings a curse upon the person doing the rebuking. Remember what God told Abraham:

Gen 12:3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

We need to be very careful about how we speak about those in authority. Speaking badly of authority figures brings a curse upon us and our families. As Jude says:

Jude 1:8  Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

When we despise dominion and speak evil of dignities we break the divine pattern and bring a tide of curse upon ourselves and those under our care. As those under our authority behold how we treat those in authority over us, they will become fuelled by the same spirit and start to treat us in a similar manner. Once this spirit enters into a community, that community will burst apart at some point fracturing along personality lines. This is the curse of those who speak evil of dignities and those in authority over them.

These principles are vitally important for us to consider in our current church situation. Many of us are under deep conviction that our leadership has turned away from the God of the Bible. How we respond to this sad situation needs to be carefully considered. Are we following the divine pattern in dealing with these things? At this point the question is often raised  “ What is the church?” It is this subject that we want to turn to next.