II Cor. 5:17-21 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away behold, all things are become new.And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Q. To whom has the ministry of reconciliation been given?
A. All who have been reconciled to God by Christ Jesus. All born again Christians or new creatures in Christ. We are all to be ambassadors for Christ and be reconciled to God.
Reconciliation is the central and most powerful theme of the gospel. We are to be reconciled to God and others. Without reconciliation with each other, we cannot be in right standing with God. Without reconciliation with God through Jesus, we cannot walk uprightly with each other.
The Rev. Desmond Tutu said, “Reconciliation is not cheap, nor is it an easy option….Who said reconciliation excludes confrontation? Who says reconciliation is easy? We must know what we are asking for when we say we must be ministers of reconciliation, because reconciliation cost God the death of his son. True reconciliation, my brothers and-sisters, is costly. It involves confrontation because the cross was a confrontation with evil. The cross showed the evil of evil.
The ministry of reconciliation is the confronting of sin and evil, first within yourself and then with others who sin against you. The primary purpose for the confronting of the sin and evil is so that you will confess the sin, repent and be or continue being reconciled to God the Father, through the blood of Jesus. When you confront the sin of one who has trespassed against you, it is for the same purpose: to have that person repent, confess the sin, and continue being reconciled to God and the person they sinned against. This is all for the purpose of being reconciled to one another and God, not for vindication. This is not judging”. Judging is when you decide that someone will never change, so you have a “what is the use” attitude. Thus you will not confront them to be reconciled.As Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP, while God’s grace is free, it is not cheap. “Costly grace is the only pure grace, which really forgives sins and gives freedom to the sinner. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance.”
Grace which cost God the life of his Son requires obedience. Only those who obey, believe, continues Bonhoeffer. And as Foster explains, the way of discipleship is the way of disciplined grace. It is “grace” because it is free; it is “disciplined” because there is something for us to do.
Some of the major roadblocks to true repentance is that the church and Christians misunderstand the ministry of reconciliation. The church has a “peace at all cost” theology which causes us to avoid conflict and confrontation of sin in ourselves and others. We preach grace as a license to sin instead of the power not to. We do not preach on accountability to God or others. We don’t preach much on the foundational doctrine of eternal judgment for believers either. There is no holy fear or reverence for the Lord. We preach Jesus as Savior and not so much as Lord. We preach salvation and grace without repentance. We believe that being “peacemakers” means to smooth things over or pretend a problem does not exist. We preach forgiveness at no cost! Forgiveness and reconciliation were not extended to us as believers until we first repented. That is why John the Baptist went about preaching repentance telling people to flee the wrath to come. Jesus started His ministry calling people to repentance. We do not receive the grace and forgiveness of the cross and become a new creature in Christ until we first experience the acknowledgment of our sins and repentance for them. When we do that, the grace is extended to us. It is the same in our relationships with each other. Reconciliation with each other is not possible unless we judge ourselves, acknowledge our own sins, repent and seek forgiveness from the one we offended or sinned against. If one has sinned against you, then confront the sin in order to bring that person to a place of repentance so that you can extend forgiveness and be reconciled. There is no forgiveness of sins without repentance. We are to be reconciled to one another before we go to God with our prayers. The ministry of reconciliation is the central theme of the gospel.
You enable a person to continue in their sin by smoothing over, denying the existence of sin or a problem or by offering forgiveness to someone without their repenting or your confronting the sin It is not really true forgiveness or true peace. Smoothing things over, denying the existence of a sin or problem or pretending that everything is just fine should never be confused with the high act of forgiving those who transgress against us. Not only is the “peace at all cost” theology a major roadblock to true repentance, but denial and blame laying are also. All of these enable the sinner to remain in his sinful state. Reconciliation cannot begin until repentance takes place.
Repentance cannot take place until the sin is identified and confronted. Satan cannot be defeated until he is first exposed.
We are called to be the salt of the earth. What Jesus was referring to was the fact that the Jewish priests were to put salt on their meat or sacrifices as a preservative. When the meat was burnt up in sacrifice, what was left over went to feed the priest and his family. The more salt that was placed on the meat, the less the meat burned and the more the priest had to eat. When we are called to be salt, we are to sprinkle the truth on those in our relationships in order to preserve them and ourselves. In thus doing, the Lord sees to it that we are fed as well. The more truth and revelation you receive and give out, the more God will give you and take care of you. That is why I write and distribute truth around the world. If you do not give out what the Lord has given you, then He won’t bother giving you anymore. You have lost your savour. As Christians and as a church, we are called to preserve one another in the salt of accountability, washing each other in the truth of the word. The Lord only gives revelation and truth to those who act upon it and obey it. If you are not experiencing the God of the word and if God is not revealing Himself to you in your life, it may be because you don’t obey what He has given you. God will not cast His pearl before swine! You are deceived if you call yourself a believer and you do not obey or walk in the truth God has given you. If you deny it and defend yourself and attack the person who removed the cloak that covers your sin and call the person judgmental and unforgiving, then you are a person who loves darkness rather than light and God will give you what you want: outer darkness where you will be cast! This is serious business folks. The word believers means to obey and I don’t mean in a legalistic way either. If God reveals something to you, obey it and walk in it out of love and holy reverence for God. If you love Jesus, you will keep His word. If you don’t keep Jesus’ revealed word to you, then don’t be deceived into believing that you love Jesus! You are deluded! As Jesus said, “WHY DO YOU CALL ME LORD, LORD AND YOU DO NOT THE THINGS THAT I SAY!” Basically, Jesus isn’t your Lord if you don’t obey and you are again deluded if you call Him Lord and you don’t obey and you don’t love the truth. If you hate the person who exposes the condition of your heart, then you hate the Father and Jesus because it is the Father that sent them. They are only the messenger. It is not the person who turns the light on in the room to reveal the trash in it that is the problem. The problem is that there is trash in the room. If you don’t want to hide it and you want to be clean and pure in heart, then you welcome the light being on. If you love darkness more than light and you would rather keep your trash and you are so prideful and self righteous that you don’t want it exposed because you have an image of yourself that doesn’t line up with reality and you would rather hang onto your stronghold and false image, then you will attack the person who turned on the light or who removed the cloak that covers your sin. This is why they hated Jesus and all the prophets. People who turn on the light will be attacked and called names. They will call you judgmental, unforgiving, etc. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned and these people who defend themselves can’t discern that it is the Father speaking, not you and you are just the messenger. They don’t know the Father and they have no fear of God! If they truly knew the severity of what it was they were doing in rejecting the truth by defending, they wouldn’t do it. You can’t be deceived unless you want to be because Jesus is faithful in giving us the truth.
Condemnation comes from rejecting Jesus, THE TRUTH, and to reject Jesus means condemnation even though you give mental accent or have head knowledge of Jesus. To reject the instruction, washing and truth in your life is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and that sin will never be forgiven you and you bring God’s judgment on you. If you don’t allow Jesus to wash you, you have no part with Him and you can defend yourself and be deceived all you want to by believing the messenger is judgmental and unforgiving so that you can remain in your sin and deception. You will be willfully deceived. You are deceived because you want to be, pure and simple, and you can justify and rationalize it any way you like to make yourself feel better so that you don’t have to listen, take responsibility for your sin and continue to be washed and walk in obedience to the Lord. You can remain in your false sense of security and peace, but it is only short lived, just as your lives are! You will have to face the truth sometime. When you face it and by whose choice makes a difference in where you spend eternity. Call me judgmental and unforgiving if you like, but let me tell you, I am watching out for your souls even though it means I suffer persecution by the religious who love darkness rather than light and who would rather take the wide path that leads to destruction instead of the narrow path. I love you and anybody who truly loves you and sees the direction you are heading in that is full of destruction and eternal damnation and judgment will tell you. People go to hell and suffer condemnation for rejecting Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You don’t think they would do this knowingly do you? You don’t think they would knowingly want to go to hell do you? Of course not! They have to be deceived and Jesus, being faithful and being the Truth, will set a watchman on the wall of your life to blow the trumpet to let you know you are in trouble. If you are deceived and you want to remain in your deception and darkness, you will reject the Truth and the warning and you will defend yourself and attack the watchman, but your blood will be on your own head and you will be deceived and receive condemnation for rejecting Jesus because you wanted to be deceived. Just because you don’t believe something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Think long and hard about defending yourself, justifying, rationalizing, minimizing and blame laying, etc. when your sin or heart condition is exposed. To attack the person who removed the cloak that covers your sin is blame laying. You are showing the condition of your heart in so doing. If you knew the Father and Jesus and you knew the severity of what it was you are doing in defending, then you wouldn’t do it. You would have a holy reverence and fear of God! Behold the kindness and severity of God! As Jesus said, “Take heed that you be not deceived.” Don’t let the traditions of man make the word of God of none effect. My bible says, “Whoa to them that call evil good and good evil”. How do we do that? We call evil good by justifying, rationalizing, minimizing, explaining, defending and blame laying. How do we call good evil? By attacking the messenger, watchman or family member in your life who is obeying and walking in obedience to the word of God by being salt and by rebuking you for trespassing against them. You call good evil by calling the messenger of God, judgmental and unforgiving. You are rejecting God, not the person. As the Lord has told me so many times, “Joanne, it is not you they are rejecting. It is me!”
If you are worried about committing the unpardonable sin that is not forgiven after you have known Christ then don’t be. Those that are worried about it will receive the Truth and be washed. Those who are Jesus’ will hear His voice and the voice of another they will not follow. It is those that are not worried about it and who don’t believe in it that are in danger of committing the unpardonable sin that leads to condemnation. They are unteachable, unyielding and unsubmissive to the Lord. They are not willing to give up their false image of God as He reveals Himself as He truly is. They are not willing to give up their false image they have of themselves as God reveals to them the true condition of their heart and removes the cloak that covers their sin. These people are in denial and they have their strongholds that they do not want to give up. They would rather remain in their deception and false sense of peace and security, rather than go through the painful cleansing, chastening and humbling that are a part of the Christian experience. Only those who deny self and become as a grain of wheat and fall into the ground and die, will go on with Christ. These are the true wheat. The rest are just tares that believe they are wheat! Self denial is the submitting of ourselves, will, strongholds, ideas, methods and ways all to the Lord. Don’t be deceived into thinking you are a Christian if you do not do this. Only those who are obeyers or doers of the word are founded on the Rock of Jesus Christ when the winds and storms come in life. All else is built on sand and will not stand. The book of James states that if you have faith without the accompanying works (not religious/legalistic works) then you don’t have the faith that saves you. That is not saving faith. You are deceived. If a person believes something in his heart, he will act upon it. If he does not, he won’t. There are many professing Christians who do not have the accompanying works in their life. As the song goes, “It is about as useless as a screen door on a submarine. Faith without works just ain’t happening.”
Let me also clarify and say that just because a person has works (religious/legalistic) doesn’t mean they have saving faith. If you substitute works, ceremonies, sacraments, carrying burdens or anything else for the blood of Jesus, then you are an unbeliever. For instance, believing that belonging to the Catholic church will get you to heaven is unbelief. Believing that your works will get you to heaven is unbelief. Even believing that the act of baptism will get you to heaven is unbelief. It completely leaves out the blood of Jesus that was shed for our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sin and when He said “It is finished”, He meant it. Jesus is the way and the destination is the Father. When the curtains parted to the Holy of Holies at Jesus’ death, this meant that access to the Father for everyone was made available to all man through the blood of Jesus and only through the blood of Jesus. Baptism is the act that symbolizes what was to have already taken place in your heart. It is nothing but a proclamation to God and man of what has already transpired in your heart. It symbolizes that you will die to self and be dead to your sins, which is the submersion part, and live unto righteousness, which is the coming up out of the water part. That old man is buried in the water and the new man allows Jesus to not just declare him as righteous, but to make him righteous as well by being submitted to the Lord in obedience. To be baptized without this transpiring in your heart does absolutely nothing but make you wet and you are deceived if you believe it does. Jesus works from the inside out and when the Lord exposes something, it will be in regards to the inside man. Only those who are deceived and in denial will get the cloak removed that covers your sin and you will be rebuked and have someone sent to you because all your rationalizing and justifying has caused you to harden your heart to the voice of the Holy Spirit. You have closed your heart to the convicting power of the Holy Ghost and you have become blinded to and hardened to your sin and heart condition. To the others, God gets to the root of the problem. He heals the wound and the sin goes away. He ministers life and the sin goes away! That is how Jesus operates and that is how His disciples will operate.
There are those that believe that they are called of God to correct. Remember, satan counterfeits everything God does. If the real were of no value, then satan would not counterfeit it. Many times these people need to be delivered of a lying, critical, opinionated spirit. These people focus on the externals and are worried about how things look and how things “should be” according to their strongholds of wrong thinking and the doctrines they were brought up with in their dysfunctional homes and churches that didn’t accept people’s feelings, needs, etc. Denial is the name of the game. They are so focused on how people and things “should be” that they never stop to find out why things are the way they are. They don’t minister life to the cause behind the sin. All they do is fingerpoint and create a Laodecian, lukewarm church of wounded people. They scatter people, they do not gather. They shut up the kingdom of heaven to these people. They are not for God, they are against Him and they think they are doing God a favor. I read a newsletter from a minister who was writing a sermon rebuking the depressed people in his church. He was going to compare them to the people in Bosnia and Africa and show them their suffering, thus shaming them for their depression and minimizing it by comparing. He was all fired up about this sermon he thought was of God, but it was really from a lying, religious spirit that accuses the brethren and creates a Laodecian, lukewarm church. Next week he’d probably be all fired up about the lukewarm, wounded in his church and attack and shame them if God hadn’t gotten a hold of him and let him be stricken that very same night with a severe depression. This preacher would have rebuked them and never realized that he was part of the problem as to why they were lukewarm, wounded and depressed. God wouldn’t deliver him of this severe depression either and he couldn’t rebuke it. Be careful not to judge, lest the thing you judge others for comes upon you. You are judging when you determine how a person “should be”, in regards to their feelings, etc. Another pastor had an associate pastor whose teenage daughter became pregnant. The pastor made the associate pastor stand before the congregation and tell them, confessing all the little gory details of the girls life, and devastating his family in the process. Within less than a year, the pastor’s teenage daughter became pregnant.
There is a difference between discernment and judgment. Judgment is shaming and hurting the person you feel “should be” another way as you esteem yourself better than they are. It is not an attitude of restoration and reconciliation because you see the destiny, physically and eternally, if that person continues in their sin. Judgment shames, blames and accuses and walks away. Discernment knows or sees the inward heart and seeks to restore and reconcile that person to God and himself. Judgment focuses on the outside and ministers death. Discernment sees the inward heart and ministers life to the cause behind the sin and does not even mention the sin unless the person does not see it or they are in denial. Then a discerner will rebuke, reprove and instruct unto righteousness and it may seem angry and hurtful, but this is love. Judgment does not extend hope, acceptance, love, forgiveness, reconciliation or repentance. A discerner does. A discerner speaks of accepting responsibility for your sinful state and heart condition. Be honest about your heart, is their message, so that it can be changed by the power of God. Acknowledge the condition of your heart and acknowledge that you are powerless to change it, because it has to be exposed, acknowledged and you have to change your mind about it and walk the other way (definition of repent) in order to receive God’s grace, power and forgiveness for it. The purpose of discernment is so that the person can experience the grace, power, forgiveness and all God has to offer in the state they are in. The problem is that it is not accepted. People do not accept a gift they don’t feel they need. Judgment shuts up the kingdom of God to people so they can’t receive anything from God. The basic message behind judgment is “I don’t accept you”. The basic message behind discernment is one of removing the cloak that covers their sin so that they can be gathered together under a wing as a mother hen gathers her chicks. The basic message behind discernment is one of setting a captive free so that they do not suffer the consequence of their sinful, hidden, heart condition. If you see the path of destruction a person is taking and they do not see it, a person who loves them will shout a warning. This is not judgment and unforgiveness. How can you possibly hate and be unforgiving toward someone who is about to plunge to their death as they walk along happily eating an ice cream cone. They are all focused on the cone, happily licking it’s delicious cream, absolutely oblivious to the cliff that lies before them and they do not want to be distracted from their delicious cone that brings them so much pleasure. They will get angry with you for diverting their attention away from their cone as you yell your warnings which they don’t believe. They think you are jealous and you just want their cone and they ignore and attack you and continue to walk their merry, delicious, cone licking way until they finally reach their ultimate destination of destruction that could of been prevented if they could get their eyes off their own pleasures and self long enough to look ahead through God’s spiritual eyes of discernment to see their ultimate destination. So you see, satan wants to give you ice cream cones of pleasure and a false sense of security and keep you focused on you and the things of the world and tell you they are okay, so that you don’t hear, see and accept the warning, Truth, and message God is bringing into your life. A person who defends himself is focused on himself, not on the other person he has hurt. He is worried more with what you think about him than he is about you and how you feel. He is worried more about maintaining his false image he has of himself than looking at the painful reality of how he reality is. He does not want to change his direction. He wants you to change yours. He does not want to change his behavior, he wants to change your feelings regarding his behavior so that he can continue in his deception with all the false sense of peace and security it brings. His focus is on himself. Is that love? Is that denial of self?
Denial and Blame Laying Techniques
Adam was the first of fallen man to lay the blame on someone else. Adam first blamed Eve and then God. He said, “The woman You gave me.” Adam was not accepting responsibility for his sin.
Aaron did the same in Exodus 33:24. While Moses was delayed on the Mount, Aaron was pressured by the people to make a golden calf to worship. When Moses later confronted Aaron on the golden calf, Aaron’s explanation was, “I cast it (the gold) into the fire, and this calf came out” Aaron was a wonderful goldsmith by trade. His ridiculous explanation was that he threw in the gold and out pops the calf and he had absolutely no idea how it happened. Aaron, also, was not accepting his responsibility for his sin.
Eve also laid the blame on satan. She would not accept responsibility for her sin. She said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”
Self defensive techniques that enable people to continue in their sin and not accept responsibility for them are as follows:
- Denying the existence of problems
- Rationalizing them away.
- Justifying why they did what they did and they will always have what they think are good reasons.
- Blaming others. The person who confronts will be attacked and called names for stating that there is a problem, with comments like, “You are too sensitive.”
These self defensive techniques enable the sinner to deny the existence of their sin. They never repent and, therefore, never experience forgiveness for their sins and are not reconciled to God or fellow man. Their heart or conscience becomes seared to their sin and their heart becomes hard. Iniquity will, therefore, abound and the love of many will wax cold.
Iniquity is abounding within the church and within our families and relationships because we are not being ambassadors for Christ and being ministers of reconciliation. We are not being made the righteousness of God in Him. The church is not walking in love toward one another. We are hardened to our own sins, hurts and sorrows and we will not be able to minister to others in theirs.
The church has got to repent of it’s self defensive, blame laying techniques that keep them in a state of denial over their sins. By preaching forgiveness without repentance, cheap grace, peace at all costs and smoothing things over, we enable Christians to continue in their sins, become hardened to them and thus iniquity will abound and the love within the church will cease.
You cannot sin without it affecting someone else. If you deny your sin and blame others and become self defensive, you will frustrate God’s grace toward you. You will frustrate and anger those with whom you have a relationship with or you will open them up to a Spirit of Bondage which brings oppression, despair, bitterness, anger and unforgiveness. It is important that we confront sin and the sinner accept responsibility and repent of his sin. This is in order that he can be forgiven and reconciled both to God and the one sinned against and so that your loved ones do not become angry and sin, or get in Bondage.
I am not talking here about fixing or controlling those within our churches regarding their religious performance. That is of a lying spirit and it is legalistic. I am talking about those in our circle of relationships that wound, hurt or harm us. I am talking about sin as defined by scripture, not someone’s religious performance.
Many times, we are taught in our churches that anger is a sin. If that were true than we would have to admit that Jesus sinned. Jesus was angry many times throughout the scriptures. God expresses His anger and wrath many times throughout the bible, yet He is without sin. Jesus always focused His anger on the religious people who thought they were doing just great and they saw no need to repent. They could not, or would not see their sin and therefore would not repent. They never received the grace of God. They were measuring themselves by their own standards and by each other’s, not God’s. Those who were “performing” a little better and looked real good on the outside, thought they could stone those who weren’t. When the woman who was caught in adultery was brought before Jesus by the religious leaders so that they could stone her, it wasn’t the adulterous woman Jesus rebuked. She already knew she sinned. There was no need to rebuke her. It was the self righteous religious leaders who were rebuked because of their blindness to their own sin. Jesus came for the sinner and the physician comes for the sick, not for those that are healthy. Jesus told the religious leaders, “Let you who is without sin, cast the first stone.” This was given to Jesus to say by the Father as the Holy Spirit went about the religious leaders exposing to them their own hearts and convicting them and I would probably dare say reminding them of how many times they had looked upon this same woman with lust in their own hearts. Jesus, who was without sin, could have cast a stone, but He didn’t. He offered forgiveness to the woman who knew of her sinful state. The white-washed religious leaders were rebuked. If they had stayed around and not left the scene and confessed their sin, they too, would have received forgiveness. Anger, when expressed in the confronting of sin in someone who continually denies or blame lays and will not accept responsibility for his sin is to be expected by both God and the one whom you’ve sinned against. This is not sinful and can even be good when it is causing one to see the guilt of his sin. Conviction and guilt concern sin and being responsible for your sin. Shame involves the belittling of the person. Shame is about the person, not the sin. To shame a person is sinful, but to confront the sin and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them and bring a recognition of guilt is not sinful. It is part of our ministry of reconciliation. Make sure it is about the sin, not the person. Anger, when it is in response to being convicted or confronted with your own sin, stems from pride and it should be a sign to that person that they should go at once and humble themselves before the Lord. This kind of anger is sin. Be in touch with your emotions and let them be a guide to you that something is taking place in your spirit or something is in your spirit that needs to be dealt with and removed or healed. We are not to deny our emotions either. But more on that later.
What would cause a person to deny and blame lay and be self defensive.
- Pride and self righteousness which comes from measuring yourself by everyone else, not by God’s standards.II Cor. 10:12 says: “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves; but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
(In the margin of my bible for “are not wise” it states: “are without understanding”).
Fear and self preservation will keep someone in a state of denial. If it is more important to you what others think of you than what God thinks of you, you will deny or cover your sin. Fear casts out love, just as love casts out fear. A person in fear will not walk in love because they can’t. A person in fear will continually be focused on themselves, not others. Their own best interests will come first, not that of others. Fear is the opposite of faith and a person with a spirit of Fear will be faithless. They fear man and man’s opinion. A person with fear feels inferior, rejected and inadequate so any confrontation that makes them feel all the more inferior or inadequate will cause them to deny, blame lay and belittle or shame the person confronting them on their sin. A person with a spirit of Fear is told many times that they have a critical or judging spirit. He finds people unbearable. He may be a perfectionist and will not be able to accept imperfection in anyone or anything. Thus he is critical beyond reason, over-exact and over-rigid. Fear causes one to deny because they are afraid to see the truth. A person who grew up with parents who continually shamed them will usually take on a spirit of Fear. Shaming comes from a lying spirit and fear as well. The sins of the fathers are passed down to the children. This person becomes numb and hardened to the shaming messages they received from their parents and because their hearts are hard to it, they expect others to be numb and hard as well. When you confront them on something hurtful they said or did, they call you “too sensitive” or immature”. Out of the numbness and hardness of their own hearts, they in turn, not feeling anyone else’s pain, will send pain your way. They equate hard heartedness with maturity. They consider confrontation of a sin as not being from God because it reminds them of their own painful, shaming past and their feelings of being inadequate and inferior. It is precisely because of those feelings that they became over-achievers and perfectionists. They also perceive anyone satan would send to pat their flesh and lift them in pride as being from God, also because of their past. They see this as edification and love. This allows and enables them to remain in sin and darkness. Because iniquity has abounded in this person’s heart, it has hardened and their love has waxed cold. When we allow iniquity to abound in the church and in our families by smoothing things over, having a peace at all cost, forgive without repenting theology, we enable sinners to continue in their sin believing all the while that they have God’s true grace and forgiveness and that of others. By not confronting the sin, we allow iniquity to abound all the more and the end fruit of it is a cold church void of love. Sin and lawlessness is running rampant within the church and our Christian homes. We have hard hearted, numb Christians void of God’s love. These people need to be delivered of fear and have the wounds of their past healed. They need to see that their denial, blame laying and self defensiveness is sin and that they need to accept responsibility for their sin, experience repentance and then be extended forgiveness and reconciliation to God and one another. We need to ask God to give us a new heart. A heart that is tender and feels other people’s pain.
Ezek. 36:26-31 “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws….I will save you from all your uncleanness….Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices.”
There are many reasons for iniquity abounding in our homes and churches. False doctrine which produces bad fruit in the body of Christ is one. Shepherds over the flock who “heal the wounds of my people slightly” or very little. People who are wounded and hurt cannot walk in a righteous path no matter how much they desire to. They need to be restored and healed of their emotional wounds first. When we teach people to stuff or deny their feelings or emotions and don’t bind them up or minister to them, they remain immature, carnal, sinful Christians. People must be allowed to recognize their pain and emotions and have the Lord heal them. We don’t expect much from someone who is physically wounded and in critical condition in the hospital, yet we have people who are emotionally wounded and in critical condition as well. The same is true of their spiritual state. We expect emotionally/spiritually critically ill people to be able to do things they cannot. They must be healed and restored first and they must not be allowed to be abused while healing. You can’t repeatedly keep stabbing someone in physically critical condition and expect them to live even after having the best surgeon in the world operate on them. They must be isolated in the protection, safety and security of the intensive care unit in order to heal. In our relationships, if we do not separate ourselves from those who keep wounding us when we are in critical condition emotionally or spiritually, then we will never heal as well. Wounded people need to have a safe place to go in order to heal. Unfortunately, the church has been more an instrument of pain and judging than one of healing and ministering life.
The Lord told me to “guard your heart because out of your heart flows the issues of life.” I was critically wounded emotionally and spiritually because of abusive, controlling relationships. I told the Lord that I didn’t know how to do that. I asked Him to show me. Later that night, I was ironing and watching a man preach on TV. The man was preaching on why God doesn’t reveal Himself to some people and why He doesn’t manifest Himself to some people. The man quoted the scripture about casting your pearls before swine and that God doesn’t reveal Himself to someone who will take that information and turn on you and use it against you and trample on it by discounting and negating it. I realized that if God didn’t reveal Himself to these kinds of people, then I shouldn’t either. God didn’t want me to reveal the contents of my heart to pigs. The contents of my heart are my pearls. A pig will take your pearls and trash them. Your pearls are your thoughts, needs, wants, desires and feelings. Don’t reveal these things to people who are not safe and will negate and discount and shame you for them. If you are a pig and you negate and discount people, you need to repent. See things through God’s eyes! He sees you as a pig! Content to remain in the mud through your denial, loving darkness more than light.
They must be allowed to experience them and work through them. As the emotions and pain are brought out and they resurface, the Lord then heals them. We must not take lightly the binding up of the broken hearted and ministering to the wounded in our midst. God was against the shepherds who healed the wounds of His people slightly”.
How can we feel what other people feel and experience their pain in order to minister to them if we aren’t in touch with our own? We have division in our churches and homes because we are respecters of persons. Men are taught to be “heads of their households” so right away there is division. There is an attitude of I’m greater than and the wife and children are less than. The husband and wife are not considered “equal to” or “one flesh” as God intended. Wifely submission is preached by men and the submission of the husband is neglected. True Christian marriage would have a husband submitting to the wife and the wife submitting to the husband, each trying to serve and help the other. When you have an “I’m greater than and you are less than” false theology than there is division in your household and a house divided against itself will not stand. Nowhere in the bible is the term “head of the household” used. I was reading recently on the creation of Adam and Eve and something struck me for the very first time. Men have this attitude that women need them and can’t live without them and that women are weak. Physically, women are weaker, but not in other respects. As a result, men do not show or acknowledge their feelings so as not to “appear” weak. Men somehow think they are not supposed to have any. They stuff and deny their feelings. They are not in touch with what is going on inside them in regards to their heart or spirit. As I was reading about the creation of Adam and Eve, I was seriously struck by the fact that Eve was created because Adam was the one who needed a help mate, not vice versa. Adam was the one who was needy. Ever since then, man has sought to dominate and “rule” the woman out of his own inferiority instead of viewing her as the gift she is, given by a loving God, in order to help man in his need. Instead of being grateful for the gift of woman as a “help mate” and viewing her as a gift and provision from God for which he is to be thankful, man has sought to oppress, dominate, rule and treat woman or the wife as so much property that they own and can do with as they wish, regardless of the woman’s feelings. This is not Christian doctrine or the way God intended for it to be. In Christian homes, the male is to do the same for the wife as Christ did for the church. Christ gave His life to see that the needs of His bride were met. Wifely submission is preached so that a husband can lord some kind of ungodly authority and rule over the wife as she is viewed as so much property of “belonging to him”. This was not God’s intent. I believe that Eve was created as a help mate for Adam because women are more in touch with things of the heart. They are more tenderhearted and this particularly is the area where men need help. Men have not been given permission in our society to be in touch with their feelings and emotions. It is only in experiencing your own pain and working through it that you can then experience other’s and minister in the power of the spirit to them. Jesus was tender-hearted. He had a heart of flesh and felt what others felt. How can you feel what others feel if you are hardened to your own feelings and hurts and have been taught to deny them. You will turn around and teach others to deny their feelings also. No one gets to experience the ministry of Jesus as the one who bore our sorrows and griefs. Only by being comforted by His spirit can you in turn comfort others with the same comfort.
Your emotions are to be noticed because they are a sign, or warning shall we say, that something is going on in your spirit. Many times when we experience a hurt or wound, we don’t notice it right away. I know I don’t always perceive it. If the hurt emotion goes unchecked, usually anger is the next emotion to arise. Most people usually notice anger within them. This should be your signal to go and confront the one who transgressed against you. Unless of course, you are experiencing the anger because of pride, and because you have been confronted with your sin. Then you need to confess it and humble yourself before God. For the most part, anger is a sign that your spirit has been wounded and you need to be reconciled with someone. Something is going on within your spirit. Pay attention to your emotions, don’t deny or stuff them. We are not to live by them, of course, but they should be a signal to us that something is going on inside us and we should be honest with ourselves and God enough to seek Him on what we need or what we should do. It is in these areas that we receive the ministry of Jesus as the one who bore our sorrows and griefs. We get whole and healthy spiritually and emotionally and we grow into mature, righteous Christians who are changed into His image. We have to take seriously the binding up of the broken hearted in our midst and not be a people who “heal the wounds of my people slightly”. We will be left with immature Christians full of pain and iniquity.
I see very little demonstrated love within the body of Christ today. We are a people who pray for one another and say, “be warm and filled brother” and we don’t meet that brother’s needs. We are a people who are self centered and afraid of each other. We preach on righteousness, faith, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the gifts, but we will not even be friendly or help one another. Do you know what we are like when we do that? A loud cymbal and brass. We are just making a lot of noise. No one believes us, no one listens to us, and everyone considers us so much noise pollution and an annoyance. No wonder no one believes our gospel. We would have a whole lot more repenting, emotionally healthy Christians in our midst if love were demonstrated and not just talked about. That is how the world is supposed to know that we are Christians – by our love. No one even knows that we are here and no one cares because we do not have love. Iniquity is abounding and the love has waxed cold. We need to be taught on the ministry of reconciliation and go back to the foundational teachings of the church. We need to preach on the baptism of repentance and judgment. We need to lay the foundation under the church and keep laying it again and again.
The Lord has really been showing me the need to go back to the foundational teachings within the church and lay them again. They are:
- Repentance from dead works
- Faith toward God
- The doctrine of baptisms (plural – there are 4 baptisms)
- Laying on of hands
- Resurrection of the dead
- Eternal judgment
The four different kinds of baptism mentioned in the new testament are:
- The baptism of repentance or John’s baptism. Mark 1:4“John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”
- The baptism of suffering or full surrender to the will of God even to the point of death. Luke 12:50“But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished”‘
Mark l0:38 also speaks of the baptism of suffering. The sons of Zebedee requested to have the privilege of sitting on the right and left hand side of Christ in His glory. To this request Jesus replied:
“…You do not know what you ask. Can you drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?
- The next type of baptism is Christian baptism in water by full immersion. This is referred to by Christ in Mat. 28:19:
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit….”
Christian baptism is to be carried out in the full name and authority of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This was not so with John’s baptism. as a matter of fact, those who were baptized by John had to again be water baptized with Christian baptism, acknowledging that they are dead to sin and raised in the newness of Christ in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Acts 19:1-5. Infants are not to be baptized. Baptism is to be an act by an adult upon accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior. No one else can do this for you and an infant is incapable of making this decision for himself. It is pointless to baptize an infant and if we tell people that they were baptized as an infant and they do not need to be baptized as an adult, we are deceived and we keep people from obeying God and doing the will of the Father in regards to this baptism, initiated by the Holy Spirit moving upon our hearts. It is a choice we make consciously and an infant can’t do that. One thing that scattered me from the Catholic Church at a very young age was the infant baptism thing. They believed that if a child was not baptized and it died, it went to hell. I knew as a tender young child that that was not right and I couldn’t believe in this kind of God that the Catholics worshipped and this was one reason why. Infant baptism is a religious ritual. It, again, originates out of unbelief and the thought behind it is that we will cause God to move by performing this ritual. It is man reaching God through ritual. If I do this, God will do that is the belief system. Baptism is supposed to be an outward act to show what has already transpired in our hearts. The actual act of baptism does nothing but get you wet if nothing has transpired in your heart. The act of baptism is to be a dead to sin (burial under water) and alive unto righteousness (rising up out of the water). It is a decision to denial self, your will and your way and let Christ change you into His image and likeness through his Spirit and by submission to His will, not yours. An infant can’t make this decision and a parent can’t make it for him. It is to be made as an adult. Any religious ritual is a dead work. Any form of thinking that has man reaching God and causing God to move with a “If I do this, God will do that” theology is dead works and the first foundational doctrine in TRUE Christianity is repentance (changing our mind and moving in the opposite direction) from dead works. True Christianity is not practicing religious, ritualistic, “If I do this, God will do that” dead works. This is an unbeliever, not a believer. If we are truly a Christian, believing in the finished work of the cross, and not placing our faith in our works instead of what Christ did on the cross, we will have repented from dead works. Most of us don’t even know what dead works are. Can’t say that now!
“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
Then Paul said, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, in Christ Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the fourth and final baptism.
Acts 1:5 “…for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
Acts 1:8 reveals the purpose for the baptism in the Holy Spirit. “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you; and you shall be witnesses to me…”
We have got to get back to the foundational doctrines within the church and teach them and lay them again. We have gotten so far from them. We have got to go back to teaching the four doctrines of baptism. We cannot even receive Christ and be baptized with Christian baptism, let alone the baptism of the Holy Spirit without first repenting. The foundation needs to be laid again underneath the church. Disciples need to be baptizing converts into the Christian baptism and laying hands on them to receive the Holy Spirit just as they did in the books of Acts. We need to be water baptizing adults by full immersion in our churches. We need to be preaching repentance in order to receive forgiveness and be reconciled to God and one another. We have got to stop preaching and teaching cheap grace which omits repentance. We have got to start being true ambassadors for Christ and confront the sin in our own heart, repent of it and be reconciled. We need to confront the sins of those in our relationships as well, in order that they may also be reconciled to God and to one another. Reconciliation does not come without confrontation of sin. Yes, we must know what we are asking for when we say we must be ministers of reconciliation, because reconciliation cost God the death of his son. It involves a confrontation with evil and sin because the cross was a confrontation with evil. Why? Because God made His son to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God IN HIM !
Disciples are given the keys to the kingdom. Mat. 16:19 says: “I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind (retain) on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shalt be loosed in heaven”. Cross referencing scripture is John 20:23: “Whose soever sins ye remit (loose or forgive because they’ve repented) they are remitted unto them; and whosoever sins ye retain (bind or not forgive because they deny their sin) they are retained.
When you confront sin in a person’s life using God’s word and they repent, you have loosed them from the power of sin and satan and turned them toward God. Righteousness is then worked in them. A stronghold is pulled down in their lives and minds. We pull down strongholds with the truth of God’s word because we have been given THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION. This is also referred to as being “the salt of the earth” and if the salt has lost it’s savour, wherewith will it be salted or flavored. It is good for nothing.
This can also apply to confronting evil in schools, society, churches, etc.
The church is called to have a prophetic ministry in the earth. True Christians have all power and authority to remit or retain a person’s sin by confronting that sin. The response from the sinner determines whether the sin is forgiven or retained (not forgiven). To deny, smooth over, have a peace at all cost theology furthers and benefits satan and his kingdom, not the kingdom of God which we are supposed to be preaching. Jesus commanded disciples to preach the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is submission to the King, Jesus. Let me again state here that only those who can’t see their sin, get it revealed. It is the heart condition, not the behavior that Jesus is concerned with. Minister life to the root or cause behind the sin in those that need this ministry, but to those that need the sin confronted, confront! In doing so, you are fulfilling your call as a Christian in THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION!
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