Yesterday we learned of the certainty of the coming of false prophets who sneak into our midst. They will “follow their own ungodly desires.” “These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19 )
Today, we look at the inevitable fate of those who are false pretenders in our Christian churches.
I love when God points to history from the Old Testament! We go to Numbers Chapter 14 and 15 to see the judgment of these false prophets who traveled amongst the Israelites out of Egypt.
Here we learn of the false prophets among the Israelites who have “ridden the wave of blessing” as they are amongst a people or group of people God has chosen to bless but in a day of reckoning, God “subsequently destroyed those who did not believe.” (Jude 1:5)
Numbers 14:18 “The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished…”
Numbers 14:20-23 “The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you [Moses] asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of the men who saw my glory and the miraculous signs I performed in Egypt and in the desert but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times – not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath the their forefathers. No one who treated me with contempt will ever see it.”
The false teachers can be forgiven, but they will be punished. We see in Numbers 16:1-4 that some of these leaders “became insolent” and “with them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron.” They refused to acknowledge their authority asking “Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
These were Levites — priests — church leaders — community leaders! Numbers 16:32 shows us their judgment “and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them.” This is a perfect analogy for Jude because he goes on to characterize these false prophets in Jude 8:1 as those who “reject authority.”
We must remember that the priests were rejecting God’s authority. Moses and Aaron had not placed themselves as the leaders of Israel — God had. Moses didn’t even want the job! We must pray for discernment and remember that our ultimate allegiance is to God and our Savior Jesus Christ. When leaders begin to act immorally or subject themselves to another authority other than Christ — even the church itself — they have gone into the realm of false prophet as we learned in Jude 1:4 .
There are those among us who receive God’s blessing because they are part of a group of people God has chosen to bless (eg. America,) we may be angry because they are receiving a blessing — “the rain falls on the just and the unjust alike” (Matthew 5:45)– however — we see throughout the Bible that God’s judgment is always imminent, definite, and permanent.
Again, we must “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jude 1:3
Ultimately to discern false prophets and their teaching, we must go back to the authority of Scripture and know the Bible for ourselves…we will look at the early church tomorrow to see how they discerned the truth. We must make sure we know and teach correctly or we ourselves will be subject to judgment for our errors.
Today, I’ve scrapped plans to pray overseas and today I am asking for prayer for LT. GORDON JAMES KLINGENSCHMITT, CHAPLAIN and particularly our military chaplains. This man is on a hunger strike because the Navy will not renew his contract because he insists on praying in Jesus’ name in public. Until today, most mainstream media has ignored the story. Lt. Kingenschmitt is an evangelical Episcopal priest.
I want to stay in the Navy and I want to pray publicly in Jesus‘ name, but on Friday, admirals in the Pentagon, claiming to speak for the president of the United States, stripped me of my uniform for all public appearances. They said, “You can‘t pray in Jesus‘ name in public, unless you‘re wearing civilian clothes.” And so that‘s when I had enough. I began this hunger fast, and I‘m asking the president of the United States to sign an executive order, protecting all of our military chaplains‘ right to pray according to their diverse faiths.”
I will pray for him taking this courageous stand. When asking why the President hadn’t signed an executive order, he said “because there hadn’t been enough public outcry.” By sacrificing himself, he is making this a public issue! Notice, this is not just for Christians to be able to pray publicly but for all religions. No more neutral prayers. I agree — Jesus says either “be cold or hot” but that he despises “lukewarm.” (Rev 3:16 ) The namby pamby neutral praying that the military has asked to be done is lukewarm and powerless.
How can we help? #1 Pray #2 He asks us to “call the White House tonight, at 202-456-1414, and just ask the president of the United States to sign an executive order, allowing military chaplains to pray according to their diverse faiths. ” This was posted on December 22nd. (You can also e-mail your representative as I have done. ) The Navy is no stranger to such allegations, in May, the Baptist Press carried an article about a similar discrimination issue. The Christian Newswire profiled Klingenschmitt today in a press release about the tenth day of his hunger strike. Although his contract has been renewed, he is continuing his strike until he can “pray publicly in Jesus name.”
Lord, please let us as Christians be willing to stand up for Jesus Christ no matter the cost. Let us follow Jesus and forsake our very lives. Please let President Bush make the correct and wise decision. I pray for you to speak with him today. Encourage Lt. Klingenschmitt and let him do all things to the glory of Christ. Speak with him and give him discernment so that he knows what to say and what to do that most honors Jesus Christ. Let him not seek any honor for himself but only to aid the spread of the power and glory to Jesus Christ’s name. I love you, my Jesus. Forgive me when I do not understand issues such as this — there seem to be so many sides to stories and implications that we cannot fathom this side of eternity. I ask you to hold our country in your hands and guide our leaders. Let us Christians not be manipulated by false prophets greedy for gain but only bring honor and glory to Jesus Christ. Forgive us where we fail you. Please give us discernment in these days! In Jesus name. Amen.