Allegiance; Which Law Shall We Follow?

Freedom
FREEDOM!

Is there such a thing as the providence of God? Is every open door God leading us and every closed door telling us not to go that way?

Are we in rebellion against God when we don’t follow the pastor’s suggestions or sometimes even orders? What about the civil laws? Are we disobedient children or are we actually following the Holy Spirit?

Years ago the Holy Spirit took me on a journey which started with a question from my husband. He asked me one day: “Why do you keep submitting yourself up under pastors who are less mature than you are?”

This question really shook me up. At the time I was struggling with some of the things our current pastor in the church was preaching. But more importantly Holy Spirit was teaching me the difference between man’s authority and His authority. I could not answer his question, except to say this was what I was taught to do.

At that time in my life, we were attending a nondenominational, charismatic church. I had come to that church while my husband, who was an Episcopal priest, was doing what I call Renta-priest, supply work for pastors on the weekends, since he was currently looking for a home church. I had in my mind that I had gone to a real free church, a church with lots of freedom, we were able to flow in the gifts of the Holy Spirit openly. But did I?

Not only was I mistaken, thinking that I was living in true freedom, but Holy Spirit was giving me the strangest dreams, dreams of Esther Williams in water ballets and the shallowness of our church trying to be seeker friendly. We were told there would be no wildfire in the church. And I was told, as most women were in the late 20th century, that if you do not obey your authority and you have a prophetic gift that makes you a witch. Seriously, they would call us witches.

Also during the season of my life the Lord brought a serious revelation about Rethinking the Wine Skin a book I read byFrank Viola, which only confirmed all that Holy Spirit had been telling me in the secret place. That blind obedience to man’s authority was not obedience to God’s.

I was actually afraid. We had been doing church like this since Constantine into 232 AD. I felt the Holy Spirit was sneaking up on me to teach this message to the body of Christ and I knew, that I knew, that I knew, that this would bring with it great persecution. If there’s one thing the enemy of our souls does not like, it is freedom in the Holy Spirit. I learned that what I now call, the established church, can be cruel and mean and actually participate with the enemy of our souls. At that time I was naïve and truly believed in the Word of God, passionate obedience to authority, and that the Lord was the one leading the congregations in the earth.

Let me make myself perfectly clear today, I am not against all established churches. I am speaking out against falseness & hypocrisy, false authority, and selfish religion. The problem is, that only the Lord Jesus Christ is truly able to judge which is harsh and which is Holy. You must seek Him in your heart and you must follow His advice in the word of God which teaches us you will know these false prophets and false teachers by their fruits. 

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 1:15-20

Fruit takes time to grow. In the natural order of things, when growing fruit trees, from root to shoot it takes 1-3 years, from shoot to fruit it takes about 3-5 years. My point being, that when you judge by the fruit you cannot judge by the situation. You must allow time to be your ally and wait to see the fruit in a person’s life. People make mistakes along their journey but that does not make them all false prophets and teachers.

And let me take a minute to say the judging is not discernment. God wants us to discern between right and wrong and the scripture is clear in this area. He does not want us to be ignorant about what is correct and what is not correct, about what is righteous and about what is not righteous. But when it comes to judgment He leaves that to Himself, pronouncing sentence is something only the Lord Jesus Christ should be honored to do. Only He knows the truth and the path that brought us where we have come, only He judges in righteousness for He sees the heart.

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7:1-6

So where does that leave us? I, like most faithful and loyal people in the body of Christ, seek to bring peace and seek to follow God to the best of my abilities. God will use every circumstance in our lives to produce character and maturity as we grow in even the harshest of situations. When the wind blows against the tree trunk it creates a strength in the trunk that prevents it from future storms. So it is with us, if we can keep our hearts pure, and not hardened from bitterness and un-forgiveness, we too can be made strong by the cold winter winds.

Let’s look at the first century church in the book of acts. 

Were not the disciples preaching on the steps of the synagogue when they were arrested and thrown into jail? 

So were they out of the will of God by preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, on the very synagogue steps, of the established church? Was that a closed door?

I suggest to you that they were in the center of the perfect will of God for their lives at that moment in time. I suggest to you that the authority of the day, at that synagogue, who were not Christian believers, to whom the disciples had come to preach the Gospel and Bring freedom and love, did not receive it.

I ask you to take another look at the scripture. Persecution, was promised by our Lord Jesus. He said to us:

16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 

17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 

18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 

19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 

20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you. 

21 Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 

22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 

23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. 

24 A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 

25 It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household! 

26 Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 

27 “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 

28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10 16-23

I think the body of Christ has things confused. 

Jesus never promised us that every open door or opportunity would be His leading and that all closed doors were Him telling us not to go that way. 

This teaching leads us down the wrong path, yes, a path of safety and security and lack of risk, but also leads us down the path of immaturity and lack of courage. To truly walk following the Holy Spirit we must culture the fruit of courage in our lives. We must seek Holy Spirit’s leading in the secret place of prayer and follow Him in trust and perfect obedience at all cost to our flesh, our character, our reputation, our feelings, and our understanding sometimes.

This is why the most important thing in the life of a believer is spending time with Holy Spirit in the secret place of prayer. Seeking Him and learning to hear His voice is the most important thing in life. As we behold Him we are transformed from glory to glory. 

This is how we build character and courage and confidence in following the Lord. This is how we know when another believer is also following the Lord and we can trust their advice and opinions. But we must never blindly follow someone else in leadership without asking Holy Spirit or else we are in serious error of putting man’s leadership over God’s.

Here is another example. And one which is very controversial. 

Should we bring Bibles to nations that have outlawed the word of God? 

I suggest to you that it is mandatory in the heart of every true believer who is seeking to follow the great commission. And yes, we should disobey the civil law for the higher law of the kingdom of God. 

Will we get arrested? Maybe? 

Will we be shunned by those who still believe that disobeying civil and national laws is rebellion against God? Most certainly. 

Are you willing to look like a fool, to be yelled at, to be mocked, and shunned, to take up your cross daily for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Gospel that He has commissioned us to spread around the world? 

Are you? 

Can you do it in love? 

Can you be yelled at and mocked and accused wrongly and still pray for those people in forgiveness with no bitterness in your heart? 

Are you allowing Holy Spirit to produce the sweet fruit of the persecuted church ~ the sweet fragrance of complete and total surrender to His leadership in trust obedience and in love-sickness for His Heart? 

You will ravish His heart if you do.

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