Commendation of the Faithfull Warriors
I want to thank the many faithful slaves (doulos in the Greek) who minister in accordance with the Ministry Manifesto of the Kingdom Revolution – the Bible, specifically in adherence to the New Testament commands given for and to the Church. You understand that Jesus called His followers to be separate from the world (why does the Church use programs and methods to be like the world?). You will certainly be commended in the end with the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful slave (Matthew 25:21, HCSB)!” Millions around the world have been blessed through your ministries, and we the Church thank you for making a valiant stand in the trenches of battle in the Revolution and not succumbing to the ways of the world and the Church Growth propaganda. You have followed the Ministry Manifesto and have not “conformed to the world” (Romans 12:2); or followed “the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:20 and 3:19); or have been cheated “through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8); and have kept “oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27); and you “know that friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4); and “have escaped the pollutions of the world” (2 Peter 2:20).
1 John 2:15 warns us all, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” The faithful soldier does not use the world as a position of strength, but separates himself from the world to take the high ground according to the Ministry Manifesto. Why are we told in 1 John 3:13, “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you” if we are to become like the world to draw people to Christ? If we communicate like the world why did John give us the following warning in 1 John 4:5, “They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them?”
Obedience is not Taught because Worldly Methods are used Instead of Scripture
From my observation churches do not teach on obedience as they had in the not too recent history of the Church. Today the numbers of people that are added to church membership, and subsequently stay put, are what is emphasized. Growth of membership rather than growth of people has crippled the Kingdom Revolution. Teaching obedience does not sit well with church leadership who would rather cater to the consumer-driven, entertainment saturated seekers that sit in, and outside, the walls of churches in the Western world. The hard hitting and militant Ministry Manifesto with its clear teaching on obedience has been replaced with the seeker friendly gospel which really is “a different gospel” (2 Corinthians 11:4). The command has been given, but few follow orders. Why?
The Fear of Works Righteousness
Another reason obedience is not being taught in the Protestant churches is the fear of implying a works righteousness faith. By works righteousness, we mean that works are done to merit salvation. Protestant churches believe correctly that we are saved by grace through faith as the Ministry Manifesto clearly instructs:
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin.” (Romans 4:4-8)
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (Romans 11:6)
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:27-28)
Salvation is not earned if it is given to us as a gift wrapped tightly in Grace (charis in the Greek). And as we all know a gift has to be received for one to partake in it. There is no such thing as works righteousness in Scripture. But on the other hand works are an important part of the Christian walk, a byproduct of our righteousness imputed (placed in our account by God as a deposit, not as wages, rather as a gift) to us, and as such we cannot even take credit for works done as seen in the following passages:
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18)
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
But glory, honor, and peace to everyone who works what is good, to the Jew first and also the Greek. (Romans 2:10)
Likewise, the good works of some are clearly evident, and those that are otherwise cannot be hidden. (1 Timothy 5:25)
Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share. (1 Timothy 6:18)
In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works… (Titus 2:7)
Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. (Titus 2:14)
This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men. (Titus 3:8)
And let your people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful. (Titus 3:14)
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. (Hebrews 10:24)
Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. (1 Peter 2:12)
The fear of works righteousness can be easily overcome with solid teaching and discipleship as laid out in the New Testament, the Ministry Manifesto. The Church has been instructed to teach obedience. We will come back to the topics of teaching and discipleship in later blog posts.
We will consider obedience as taught in Scriptures in our next installment of The Plow.