Making Room for the Spirit to Mature Others in Christ

By Michael Clark and George Davis

Church

“My brethren, be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the severer judgment. For in many things we all offend. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man…” (James 3:1-2 KJ2000)

Lately the Lord has drawn our attention to a problem that exists among many of us “more mature” saints of God who have a lot of Bible knowledge and have had many decades of experience following the Lord. That problem is that many of us are not making room for the saints who are more timid or who are still learning to experience first hand the Living Christ and assure them that they can hear the voice of the Spirit speaking to and leading them. Paul wrote,

“Let us have fond affection for one another with brotherly fondness, in honor deeming one another first” (Romans 12:10 CLV)

“Deeming one another first”…How often I (Michael) have listened to a brother or sister tell about their latest insight they got from the Lord only to jump right in with a couple of scriptures and assure them that I also knew all about this truth before they did. You see, this is not demonstrating fond affection and deeming the other saint first before myself. In fact when I have done this or seen it done, the more timid of God’s little ones will often just shut down, feeling that their little offering is only “one talent” compared to ours and go away and bury it out of intimidation because of the glaring neon lights of our own “giftedness” compared to their “pocket flashlight.” Is it any wonder that churches are filled with silent observers that do not personally know the voice of THE Good Shepherd?

When Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do you say that I am,” it was not so that He could lord over them with His great knowledge as the Son of God. He was the consummate Teacher and often taught by asking questions to draw people to engage with what He taught and to hear God Himself speak to them. When Peter answered Him and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” Jesus did not say, “Well, it is about time you guys figured that out! I have known that from the foundation of the world!” No, He commended Peter that he himself could hear the Father speak to him and said that it was upon this foundation that God would build His house! How often do we look for or make opportunities that we might show other saints more honor and commend them in their faith to walk and listen to the Spirit for themselves and move with His wind? We cannot expect to grow the kingdom of God by making people perpetually dependent on professional clerics and teachers. Real maturity takes place when His followers are doing as He did, only speaking what they hear the Spirit saying and doing the works that the Father foreordained them to do.

If we are not making room for others to interact with the Spirit of God and encouraging them to do so, but instead trying to be their “be all and end all” for everything that has to do with faith, we are putting ourselves in their lives instead of Christ. The very definition of the word “anti-christ” is “instead of Christ!” Real maturity does not happen when we do all the “fishing” for those around us. Real maturity takes place when they also learn how to “fish” and can teach others to do the same (See 2 Timothy 2:2).

Jesus taught the 70 disciples for a few months and then sent them out and said, “Okay, boys, go do it!” It was time to “get tough or die.” He equipped them to fly and pushed them out of the nest and they came back with glowing reports of their success (See Luke 10:1-19). How often we have heard in the last few years about the glories of the “five-fold ministries.” Yet, if we read the context of Ephesians 4:11 where these graces are listed we see that they are not an end unto themselves. These were given to individuals so that they would work themselves out of a job,

“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,” (Ephesians 4:12-15 ESV)

In our experience the more we have heard men teach the importance of these five gifts they claim to have, the less we have seen the saints under them “all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Rather we have seen these men and women trying to do all ministry (except the nursery, setting up chairs, mowing lawns, and janitorial work, etc.) while the faithful sit there Sunday after Sunday in their pews sucking on their spiritual thumbs. One dear saint referred to this syndrome as “the perpetual babyhood of the believer.”

Dear saints, we cannot count on that system that men have built around themselves, that produces weak Christians at best, to get the gospel out into the highways and byways or teach those who are saved to listen to the Spirit as Jesus did, growing up in every way into Christ who is their Head. We have to point all who believe Christ to Him and His Spirit, not ourselves! Like John the Baptist, we must decrease and Christ must increase. He who is supposed to have the bride is the Bridegroom not the friends of the Bridegroom (See John 3:25-31).

This is the NEW Covenant, Not the Old

Most of the dysfunction in the church today is due to an inadequate comprehension of the New Covenant. In the Old Covenant prophets, priests and kings preformed mediatory functions between God and the people. In the new covenant “there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5 RSVA)

In the Old Covenant there were many teachers. In the New there is only one. Christ commanded His disciples not to be called teachers, “. . . for One is your Teacher, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:10). Foreseeing this in the Spirit Jeremiah prophesied,

“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD . “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD ,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD . “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:33-34, NIV)

The Author of Hebrews quoted this passage to emphasize the vast difference between the Old and the New Covenants.

“. . . And they shall not teach every one his fellow or every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know me, from the least of them to the greatest. (see Hebrews 8:10-11 – emphasis added)

they shall not teach . . .

One of the primary differences between the Old and the New Covenants is teaching. In the old, men taught every one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ but in the New Covenant all are taught of God and all know Him.

Quoting Isaiah Jesus said,

 It is written in the prophets, “‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to Me. (John 6:45, NKJV – emphasis added)

John wrote of the individual believer’s submission to this One Teacher saying, “The anointing you received from him abides in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. Instead, because his anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not a lie, abide in him, as he taught you to do” (1 John 2:27, ISV – emphasis added).

To make one’s self the teacher of God’s children is to become a busybody in the affairs of another. To do so is to attempt to control others through doctrine and to usurp the role of the One Teacher. Jesus said, “But you must not be called Rabbi, for One is your teacher, Christ, and you are all brothers” (Matthew 23:8 MKJV – emphasis added).

Paul addressed this at length in Romans 14. Regarding the then hotly debated matter of what one should eat. Paul wrote, “Who are you to condemn God’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. The Lord’s power will help them do as they should” (Romans 14:4, NLT – emphasis added).

The Greek word translated condemn here is Krinoto rule, govern, to preside over with the power of giving judicial decisions, to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong. This is the same word translated “judge” and “judged” in this verse that we know so well, “”Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7:1 NKJV).

Individual believers are accountable directly to the Lord not to each other. And so in addressing this inordinate ambition Paul does not advance special doctrines to enforce uniformity, in doing so he would have been guilty of the very thing he was exhorting the Roman believers not to do. He encouraged them to live their lives in direct accountability to the Lord and to allow their brothers and sisters to do the same. knowing that it is God who teaches each one right and wrong and it is He who keeps them standing as they live before Him alone. Our faith finds its proper place privately before God. “Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. . .” (Romans 14:22). The exhortation here is clear– forcing our opinions on the servants of God is counter to true faith. True faith believes that they are kept by Another. True faith believes that they will be made to stand by their own Master. True faith holds its piece and allows the one Teacher to instruct without constantly interjecting our “superior” knowledge, opinions and will..

The Brother with the More Perfect Word

A friend of ours shared with us a problem that repeatedly stifled mutual sharing in there gatherings. Someone would be telling about what God had been teaching them and then a seemingly well-meaning brother would interrupt them and give them a quick course in one-upmanship. He always completed their thought by adding his fuller revelation. Soon no one was sharing. The only one left standing or speaking was the brother with “the more perfect word.” How often have we seen this? Or rather, how often have we been guilty of this very thing? In our pride we want to flaunt our biblical knowledge, but behind it all the underlying message we communicate is this, “Look at me. See how special I am. I have traveled down the Christian road further than the rest of you. My understanding of spiritual things is vastly superior to yours. Who better then to be the final arbiter of truth? Or does experience count for nothing?”

There is a word for such delusion–pride. And by it we reconstruct the old mediatory system and privately christen ourselves king, prophet and priest. By such arrogance we both disrespect our brothers and sisters and their Teacher. Nothing could be further from the self-forgetfulness of those truly spiritual individuals who think of others as being higher or better than themselves.

Not understanding the New Covenant, many believers have returned to the Old Covenant mediatory system. They have replaced the one heavenly Teacher with many human ones and have garnered to themselves teachers who tickle their ears (2 Timothy 4:3). Some have ambitiously risen up “. . . speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). Some are unduly exalted above their calling while other men and women are dishonored and subjugated. A few high profile people assume responsibilities well beyond their appointed measure leading the rest to abdicate their proper function in the body of Christ. What a travesty! We are not rightly discerning the body of Christ and many are spiritually emaciated and sick among us.

Once again we see an Old Testament system using New Covenant terminology. The result is the same–believers are once again relegated to the outer court instead of boldly coming into the throne of grace.

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67 comments on “Making Room for the Spirit to Mature Others in Christ

  1. Penny says:

    Yes indeed brother Michael, it takes Christ-like humility to use our 2 ears and 1 mouth in the proportions they were given to each! And some confirmation came my way via this post directly after yours in my news reader, and I share it to encourage us all:
    https://tpuccio.wordpress.com/2015/10/30/the-body-building-itself-up-in-love/

    God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Penny and thanks for the link. I believe that Tony has a good heart to see all men and women in Christ’s body connected to Him. As Paul said in 1 Cor. ch. 3, we are yet carnal when we put ourselves under a man, even Paul! He finishes up that chapter saying, “All things our yours… and you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s.” This is a hard lesson to get across to Christians after 1900 years of church leaders clamoring to be on top of the heap of all believers, manifesting the world system of leadership.

      In reality not even the apostles and prophets are the foundation of the church. They are there only to connect each of us to the foundation, even Christ, not themselves (See 1 Cor 3:11). Christ is the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets. Isaiah saw the day coming where Christ would be not only the Cornerstone of the house but the Foundation as well saying,

      Therefore so says the Lord Jehovah, Behold, I place in Zion a Stone for a foundation, a tried Stone, a precious Cornerstone, a sure Foundation; he who believes shall not hurry.”
      (Isaiah 28:16 MKJV)

      Thanks for your comment, dear sister.
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you Michael. I was just telling someone that the other night. That we have only one Teacher and that is Christ. And The Holy Spirit is the one who draws him/her to Christ. When you seek, you shall find. 1 Peter has much to say on this very topic as well. I am not very well versed, meaning I do know it’s in the bible, but I don’t know exactly where and I will admit to that. Now when I do want to find the scripture pertaining to what I do know is in the bible I will google it and find out like that. Even when in dreams I was given scripture or speaking of it, I was not shown where it was in the bible but when speaking to another about the dreams they would show me where to find it. Interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Stacey, Yes! You see, God can be trusted to speak to you for He is the Spirit of Truth and your child-like faith without all that Christian hype from years of “Bible teaching” by the wrong kind of teachers is really a blessing from God. For “the anointing [unction – Spirit of God] which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.” It is those poor souls who do NOT abide in the Spirit of Christ but in their intellectual understanding of the Bible that become so easily deceived and that is what 1 John chapter two is all about, the deception among the saints by the anti-christ spirit… it comes through having too many human teachers instead of listening to the Spirit of Christ as He speaks to us.
      Keep it simple, dear sister and keep listening, for the WORD of God has not quit speaking since He said, “Let there be Light!”

      Liked by 3 people

    • Stacy wrote:

      “I am not very well versed, meaning I do know it’s in the bible, but I don’t know exactly where and I will admit to that.”

      I could have written the same thing, Stacy. Admittedly, when I run into other believers who are scripture spewing machines, I have felt a measure of guilt or perhaps inferiority. Yet the Spirit abides in me and as Michael has often written here, Jesus himself remarked that the pharisees searched the scriptures relentlessly looking for Messiah, and yet with Jesus standing right in front of their noses, they didn’t recognize Him. All their scriptural knowledge and still they were blind without the Spirit.

      Recently I’ve done some reading on the history of the modern Bible … the chapter and verse numbering system we use today came about in 1550-1551 (see http://www.biblestudy.org/question/when-was-bible-divided-into-chapters-verses.html ). The first english translations appeared at about the same time.

      So your confession (smile) above would have been the just 500 years ago. 😉 Today we are blessed to have so many different printed Bibles today, but it reassures me to know that there was a time Jesus’ disciples relied on memory to spread His word. The common availability of printed Bibles and “Bible Studies” are still a relatively new development in Christianity.

      No need to apologize or make excuses for not having the Bible memorized. Knowing the Savior is all we need. 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Jack, isn’t it amazing that the early church turned “the world upside down” for Christ and none of them had a Bible to preach from? That rich Ethiopian eunuch only had a piece of Isaiah on a scroll which cost him much from which Philip showed him the gospel, but very few people had access to the Old Testament, much less Paul’s letters and the gospels. That all came much later… they had only fragments at best that had to be shared with the rest of the body in each area. Why were they able to be so effective in spreading the good news of Christ? Well, they had two things going for them that today’s churches seem to think they can live without, the love of Christ in them and the Holy Spirit who lead them into all truth. That was what Jesus promised to take His place and THAT WAS ENOUGH!

        Thanks for bringing your portion to our little feast, my brother.
        Michael

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Ah, such lovely words and so timely too.

    I remember a boy long ago a, a new believer, who had a close encounter of the God kind and all he could say to describe the experience was “Holy crap!” That set some tongues wagging about harsh language and taking the Lord’s name in vain, but it wasn’t like that at all, his words were authentic and pure. “Holy” said with such reverence and awe, and the “crap,” well, that is an authentic expression of our place in the equation, a recognition of His power and authority over us. I’ve read a lot of lovely elaborate words expressing that same concept, but none so genuine and human as that one “Holy crap!” That kid didn’t need a teacher, he’d met THE Teacher.

    “Individual believers are accountable directly to the Lord not to each other.”

    Yes, absolutely, He is number one. There is however, something to be said for a few trusted believers who we hold ourselves accountable too, who help us to keep our heads above water. That is something often missing in the church today, love, trust, genuine fellowship not in competition with each other, but existing for the purpose of edifying. I was thinking rather fondly about those who have been brave enough to tell me, “you’re being rather ridiculous,” and they were quite right. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

  4. A very helpful teaching on how to be taught (by God) and how not (by men). Thanks, Michael, and George! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Ken Dawson says:

    Holy crap–what a beautiful post and such golden comments–why its enough to send the clocks back!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Hey, Ken, thanks for the reminder. The part I hate is having to stay up until 2 AM to turn all my clocks back to regular time! :-p

      Yes, I also love all these thoughtful comment by our family on here. Father God is so good!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cie says:

        Hehe Michael, why don’t you do it at 10pm and go to bed. The right time will greet you in the morning. 😉
        Elli

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Elli, Huh! Now why didn’t I think of that! Canada to the rescue of the colonies once again! :-p
        How deep is the snow up there already? Say “Hi” to Nanuk of the North for me.
        Thanks for stopping by.
        Mush!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you, Michael and George, for the post. It is such good news that the Holy Spirit wants to be our teacher. He knows all about us, in spite of that, He wants to be our teacher. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. I hear people speak of wanting a mentor, teacher. I am not critical of that desire. But I rejoice that if we will let the Lord, He will be our teacher.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Pat, so good to hear from you again, dear sister. Yes, the REAL gospel IS such good news. Sad that most churches that preach it do not include ALL the Good News! I get so excited when I think about all that Christ has done for us! We not only have our sins forgiven and are justified by Christ. but we are given the Holy Spirit as our resident Teacher and He even prays for us when we do not know how to pray! And Christ is our Mediator and Intercessor before the Father who counters all the accusations of the devil. Then on top of that we are made a kingdom of priest unto God and are counted as HIS sons and daughters who can come any time into His throne room of grace where there is NO wall of separation between Jew nor Gentile, slave or free or male or female, but a NEW Creation IN Christ! All that and heaven too! THAT IS THE GOOD NEWS! Oops! I hope I did not just become “the brother with the more perfect word.” :-p

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Allan Halton says:

    Excellent word, Michael and George.

    The early Friends (Quakers) continually emphasized that Christ our Teacher had come to teach us Himself. That is the New Covenant, as you said. I love the passage from Isaiah, which is also prophesying of the New Covenant: “And all thy children (that is, the children of the New Jerusalem mother) shall be taught of (by) the LORD, and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13).

    What is the purpose, then, of those whom God sends to be teachers in the Church? It has to be to teach the people that Christ their Teacher has come, and so they should learn to hear His Voice, and be taught by Him.

    I remember a wise teacher once teaching that David the shepherd of Israel taught the people to say, “The LORD is my shepherd…” That is to say, “The LORD is my pastor…”

    Would that the pastors and teachers today were teaching this beautiful, liberating truth!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Allan, it is so good to hear from you again, my brother! Yes, you nailed it about what the function of the New Testament shepherd-teacher is, to point people to Christ as their ALL in all and away from themselves. [The whole “five fold” as it is taught and practiced today is a travesty. These are five graces (and the list goes on in Romans ch. 12), not “offices” (another fabricate word in the KJV that is not in the original Greek)] I just wrote this to a sister on Facebook:

      There is room for “teachers” ONLY if they share according to the will of the Spirit of God and do not usurp His place with the other believers. This is the only way we can reconcile an apparent contradiction between Hebrews 5:12 and 1 John 2: 26-27. As Peter put it so well,

      “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11 RSVA)

      Yes, Allan, Even David figured it out a thousand years before Christ came, “The Lord is MY Shepherd…”

      Liked by 3 people

      • Allan Halton says:

        Michael, what you said about the ministry gifts of men: “These are five graces (and the list goes on in Romans ch. 12), not “offices” (another fabricate word in the KJV that is not in the original Greek)]” Amen. These are not “offices.” They are descriptions of graces, as you said, spiritual strengths given and nurtured by God. I’ve been much enjoying your writing– The Great Ecclesiastical Conspiracy. True pastor/teachers (I think the description in Ephesians is actually four-fold, not five-fold) are yearning for the day when they are no longer needed. Just as when the priests of old could not stand to minister any longer, “for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.”

        Liked by 2 people

      • Michael says:

        Allan, thanks for your follow-up. Have you ever noticed that the word translated “some” in this list of graces in Eph. 4:11 is “ho” and is the same Greek word found in John 1:1, the definite, article, “In the beginning was THE Word…” I have concluded that all these graces are available as the Spirit wills in ALL the saints of God. For instance, the word “apostolos” means “sent one”. Paul and Barnabas were not called apostles until the Holy Spirit sent them out from Antioch! God has sent you and I out at different times to visit and serve {notice I did not use the word “minister” for that Greek for it means “to serve”) the saints of God in different areas of the world. He has also used us to teach and shepherd if you will. We have also preached the Good News (the meaning of Evangelist), and He has used us to speak as oracles of God (prophets). Where we get in trouble is when we make a title out of one of these graces and claim it as our own private “hobby horse” to ride in front of all the faithful.

        JESUS is THE Prophet. He is THE Teacher! He is THE Evangelist. He is THE Good Shepherd and HE is “THE Apostle and High Priest of our confession.” Paul wrote that ALL things are ours IN Christ. It stands to reason that NOTHING is ours if we stand OUTSIDE OF CHRIST! All too many people garnering N. T. words as their titles are NOT IN CHRIST and it is evident by their pride in their titles. Paul had the right idea in his humility calling himself the Chief of Sinners. Even Christ humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant and served all mankind until His death. Bless HIS name forever!

        Liked by 3 people

    • Cie says:

      You know, I sometimes wonder if it was ever the Father’s intent for us to have a Bible. To have letters (epistles) compiled into one manual to read from and follow. The things that were written by the apostles, had a very specific goal and audience at the time. Today, we read Paul’s writings to the Ephesians about the purposes of certain brethren, sandwiched together with John’s writing to the elect about not needing any teachers. We have no idea what the core of that dialogue even was. And here we are today, trying to make sense of two writings that seem to oppose each other. And if that isn’t enough, throw the OT writings into this already confusing mix, which has literally turned Christians into schizophrenics.

      I realize that raising questions like this might be considered anathema, but this is what it is for me now that I have activated my mind again… instead of passing through life simply reading and repeating, without thinking. I hope no one here is offended at my choice of words, I believe most here are truly matured in the Holy Spirit. I have yet to get used to myself thinking this way, and it’s all still very new and a bit wobbly at times. I am not quite comfortable to fully let go of the railings or training wheels I’ve walked with all these years, if you know what I mean. 🙂

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      • Michael says:

        Elli, in short, “Man shall not live by (our daily) bread alone, but by every word that PROCEEDS out of the mouth of God.” Contrary to popular teaching, the Bible is full of contradictions and I think God let it be written that way so that we would be forced into not leaning upon our own understanding, but upon HIS voice!
        Thanks for you comment.
        Michael

        Like

      • Cie says:

        Michael, for some reason I cannot reply to your replies, without starting a new dialogue. So if it seems like I don’t respond, it’s not that I don’t want to but there is no button to do it with. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Elli, when the blog gets comments upon comments the collumn gets narrower until you have to scroll up to the top of that last narrow band of comments and hit the reply button at the top above where my last reply is. I hope this helps.

        Like

  8. Don Merideth says:

    Brothers, my wife and I were talking about this very thing last night.. It breaks our heart with what we see so much of those that want to be seen and heard. This is a very timely word. My Granddad (Pap) told me as a small boy, “Every tub has got to sit on its own bottom”. Bro. Don

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Don, thanks for verifying what we heard Him say to us. You had a wise Grandad. Jesus said, “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:10-11 RSVA)

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Innperlenburg says:

    To me, this was a very ‘real’ and practical message. I have been guilty of this very thing more times than I can imagine, especially in the days when in a ‘position’ in church. It was only on leaving the system that I began to see how much I had subtly wanted others to see me as spiritual, because I had been only too aware of my own shortcomings, and wasn’t consistently walking in relationship with the Lord; the revelation and faith that He had already delivered me from them. Then I saw how much I wanted to correct others – ‘put them right’, according to my own understanding of what was right. I thought I was helping, but I was blind. Only when I ended up on the receiving end of such ‘help’ myself, did I realise that my own ‘helping’ others to see where they were wrong wasn’t touching what God wanted to touch. We’re not all at the same place at the same time, and I think this is one of the frustrations which God allows to test our love for each other. As you wrote in a previous post, Michael, knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. How great it would be if we could all just mind our own business and let God do His job Himself! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Markus says:

      Frances
      Let’s just allow the Spirit to handle our relationships though. There’s the danger to slip to the other extreme that we think that love means not to say a word of warning when we see a sister or brother in error.
      If someone has spiritual insight, has grown into God and knows what the other is in right now… it’s absolutely OK to say something. The bible calls this exhortation (such a terrible word… I know 😉 ):
      Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
      For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. – Acts 11:23+24
      Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. – Gal. 6:1

      Important is that the other has the right and freedom to reject the insight… either because he is blinded to it right now, doesn’t have the right spiritual stand (pride), or even has a clear order of the Lord to not do it this way.
      The challenge for spiritual brotherhood now is to ‘know the other not after the flesh’ and trust that God is the instructor, the one who teaches us.
      There is a place for apostolic authority in the body of Christ. We see it with Peter (Ananias and Saphira), Paul (Acts 13:8 and Corinthians). Though there is rampant misuse demonstrated by the Babylonian system this doesn’t mean, that the Spirit of God in us can’t use us as a ‘megaphone’ to someone who’s caught in error.
      I know we’d so love not to bring a dear brother or sister uncomfortable messages… but as God’s love isn’t always back-padding to us, so our love for our brothers and sisters means for us to LIVE IN THE LIGHT with each other. Of course without any pressure and force… love never forces itself on the other… but with upright and honest words. Yes, we even can ask for God’s words here… leaving the outcome with Him.
      Sometimes some years have to pass by till God shows what you said was right back then… and the other will thank you with heartfelt gratitude that you dared to say a word.
      One lady I knew (she’s with the Lord now) said to me after I had to bring her a very unsettling word and she finally broke through with the Lord: I’ll never forget the blessing the Lord gave me by you! Finally after all those years of hearing nice, comfy words someone shook me to the core. I didn’t like it! This for sure! But after this struggle I finally found what I always longed to have.

      As said in Acts 11 the exhortation has a focus… and right, it’s NOT that the other follows me, my doctrine or statutes or even temporary insights… but that, with all purpose of heart, one would CLEAVE UNTO THE LORD!

      Liked by 4 people

      • Michael says:

        Markus, I think you will agree that there is a difference between exhorting a fellow saint in such a way that God can back you up with a second witness from a totally different source and “exhorting” someone as their unquestionable authority and demanding of them a cult following and obedience..

        Speaking the truth in love never gets between Jesus and His sheep, but entreats our fellow saints to consider what they are doing and take it to prayer. What Peter did was not attack those two but rather gave them a chance to repent by asking if they sold their land for the amount that they gave. The Holy Spirit defended Himself and His right to keep that fledgling body of early believers pure. Thank God that He is more merciful with us after 1900 years of apostasy that we are still trying to dig ourselves out from under! As for the word “Exhort” it definitely is not speaking of top down abject authority…

        parakaleō
        Thayer Definition:
        1) to call to one’s side, call for, summon
        2) to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc.
        2a) to admonish, exhort
        2b) to beg, entreat, beseech
        2b1) to strive to appease by entreaty
        2c) to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort
        2c1) to receive consolation, be comforted
        2d) to encourage, strengthen
        2e) exhorting and comforting and encouraging
        2f) to instruct, teach

        Liked by 4 people

      • Markus says:

        Of course I agree completely, Michael! I actually mentioned it above. It was more my heart to bring a balanced, spiritual position. I’ve noticed a move among believers that once had to go through abuse and manipulation by so called ‘spiritual leadership’ that they resent any spiritual exhortation now… tending to a soul-based understanding about love… instead of a spirit-based understanding.
        The wounding they received caused by their unspiritual worship and following of what they could see, touch and hear (human leaders) lets them now swing to the other SOUL-BASED extreme by rejecting everything that only has the slightest ‘smell’ of personal criticism. It’s immediately debunked as unloving, lording over or even anti-Christian.
        Unless we leave the way of the soul (feelings, emotions, our understanding and self) and truly follow the Master alone, we won’t get the ‘right end’ of the stick here.
        Do we truly have left the past behind… or does it still influence and haunt us? Have we understood that it’s ONLY the carnal mind-set of every believer like you and me that empowers Babylon? If one had followed His voice from the start one would never have been abused by man-made imposters in the first place. It’s easy to criticize a system… but it’s more helpful to come to the point when we start to realise the system IN EACH OF US.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Well, Markus, Call it as you may, but God rubbed my nose into everything He never wanted me to do to His precious saints. I am not going back to Egypt ever again, now that I have been through the wilderness and crossed the Jordon. End of discussion.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Glad to hear that it was a help for you my dear sister, Frances! Yes, there are toooo many busy bodies in the church trying to do the work of the Holy Spirit for Him. (See my reply to Marcus above.)
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Innperlenburg says:

        I agree with you, Michael, as I do with Markus too.

        You wrote ‘…… and “exhorting” someone as their unquestionable authority and demanding of them a cult following and obedience.. ..’

        Amen. Someone who loves Jesus will always point others to Him and away from themselves. Really, who needs followers? It’s far too much work, trying to corral and bridle those wild horses. Far better to let God do the disciplining… He has always been a far better Parent than we could ever be.

        It’s good to see too, that the kind of filter in my heart will determine how I receive a thing from someone else. If pride and wounds (caused by the past) are there, then I will reject what is actually only meant to bless me by delivering me from myself. It’s all about the filters – how clean or dirty they are. Clean my filters, Lord.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Thanks for your filter analogy, Frances. Yes our filters get pretty dirty as we filter out all the lies of the enemy, especially after 50 years of being steeped in the religions of men.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, what you said above: “Have you ever noticed that the word translated “some” in this list of graces in Eph. 4:11 is “ho” and is the same Greek word found in John 1:1, the definite, article, “In the beginning was THE Word…” I have concluded that all these graces are available as the Spirit wills in ALL the saints of God.”

    I don’t know Greek well enough to be able to confirm that. The way I see it is that these “gifts of men” are given to the whole Church. They are to equip the saints unto their work of serving in the body of Christ (and, of course when their service has been accomplished, that service is no longer needed). And Paul emphasizes in 1 Corinthians and in Romans that not all the members of the body have the same function. In fact he asks, “Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? etc.”

    You are right that Jesus is the Apostle, the Prophet, the Teacher, etc. But He expresses these functions differently in the different members of His body. “All members have not the same function” (the KJV has ‘office’ there) (Rom. 12:4). This, by God’s deliberate design, prevents us from becoming one man bands.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Markus says:

      Nicely put, Allan, Jesus through the Holy Spirit in us works out the different body functions in each member according to the present need… and as He cuts away the useless branches he uses us – even our faults – to bring the body into shape to bear more fruit. Iron sharpens iron.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Allan and Markus, men are NOT the gifts. The Holy Spirit is the gift to ALL who believe. What is so hard for those who desire to have power and influence among the saints of God (which belongs to the Holy Spirit) for these to accept what Paul said to EVERY believer,

      “So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apol’los or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, ALL are yours; and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 RSVA – emphasis added)

      Please see my earlier article on this subject in the context of ALL of Ephesians chapter four. Thank you.
      https://awildernessvoice.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/thoughts-on-the-five-fold-minestry/

      Liked by 1 person

      • Allan Halton says:

        Hi Michael. I read the other message. Just wondering how you arrived at the Greek article “ho” in the Ephesians passage. My Greek Interlinear reads, “tous” there.

        In any case, I agree with much of what you said. But I don’t have a problem accepting that God graces certain men with special capacities, and gives these men to the church. They are never intended to be “over” the flock, but “among” them, as Acts 20:28 and 1 Pt. 5:1-3 show. The clergy/laity distinction is something man set up, not God.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Allan as you said in your other reply, you were looking at the wrong Greek word for “some.” “Ho” is the definite Greek article for THE and “tis” is the word for “some” as is found in Mark 14:4. The problem I have with the usage of these five giftings as title is the very thing you are defending… men thinking of themselves as “God’s gift to the church.” It they were REALLY as mature as they want us to think they are, they would do as Paul did and finally settle on the title of “the chief of sinners.”

        in accordance with the glorious gospel of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted. I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service, though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners;
        (1 Timothy 1:11-15 RSVA)

        Like

      • When the Lord baptized me with the Holy Spirit, several of His spiritual gifts were manifest, including prophecy, word of wisdom, word of knowledge, etc. It was so new, exhilarating and confusing for this former life-long pew-dweller, that I sought out others like me to learn what I could about these new gifts. I read volumes and then attended a few prophetic conferences in Kansas City where I met a number of people who gave me business cards. This one was an “apostle” according to his business card, another was “prophet to the nations”, still another “evangelist”, etc.

        I had no business card, nor did I have any leading from the Lord to take such a title, much less the gall to print up a business card. When I got home, was a gaggle of old charismatic women in town who were trying to assemble a ‘5-fold swat-team’ to deal with the devil where we lived and they invited me to a meeting. When I arrived at the meeting place, one said “you have the anointing of an apostle” … I said “nope, I don’t think so” … so she dialed it back to “well then, a prophet” – again I said “nope, not that”. “Well” she said “you have some kind of anointing” and I said “yeah, suppose”. Anyway – all these happenings within a few weeks unnerved me and I went home, deeply conflicted in spirit and prayed – asking God “what am I, Father”?

        He said “would you settle for son!?!” and my heart leapt within me! YES! That’s what I want to be – your son!

        And so that has been my understanding these last 16+ years since He started shaking up my life by His Spirit. I am a SON! Joy!

        So, here’s how I look at it now. As a son, I am all things that my Father in heaven delights to call and anoint me to be … the same was true of Jesus, who when He asked “who do you say that I am”, received a variety of answers, from prophet, to teacher, to messiah, and every answer was correct. (Though sometimes I amuse myself imagining Jesus saying “BZZZT! Wrong!” or “And we have a winner!”)

        As a son, Jesus acted in every capacity as ambassador to His Father … and as sons of God IN Christ, we share in His anointing. Though admittedly, most believers have sold out their glorious inheritance for a bowl of religious stew. We are SONS FIRST. Those other things enumerated in Ephesians, which really are functions, not “positions” or “offices”, are as enabled by our Father whose Spirit abides in us for the purpose of helping the sons to grow into complete maturity (perfection) in Christ. And of course once maturity (perfection) comes, the need for the gifts, and special appointments like apostles, prophets, et al, likewise fade away.

        Naturally, if one views function (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher) first, son second, it will make for a chaotic and out of order Church. I can understand therefore why Paul would refer to himself as “chief among sinners”, so as to remember his place of servant to the saints.

        I’m reminded of this word:

        Matthew 20:25-28 ESV But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. (26) It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, (27) and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, (28) even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

        Love you brother! Jack

        Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Dear Jack, I am sorry I did not get to answering your comment right away. I got quite a blessing out of reading it. Your experience has been so much like my own. In 1979 the Spirit moved on me sovereignly after some deep repentance and all of a sudden I was moving in prophesy, words of wisdom and words of knowledge! Like you I was troubled by these things for the highest calling I had attained to in the church had been toilet cleaner, church bus mechanic and all around flunky for those in charge. This was all happening before the “Kansas City Prophets” took center stage, thank God! There were a couple men locally in the Spokane area that claimed to be prophets and they were not that much help with telling me where the balance was in all this stuff. I felt like a 6 year old kid running around the school yard with a loaded 45 auto! After showing me my inflated ego that soon rose up with these gifts, I asked Him to kill everything in me that was not under His authority and He did. I soon joined Moses on the back side of Midian. In the economy of God, the flesh profits NOTHING. I was truly blessed recently when I finally read 1 Cor. 13 for what it says, “When I became a man, I put away childish things,” and this is found right there where Paul is listing spiritual powers and gifts. Brother the more His love is perfected in me the more I understand that onLY these three remain in us as we grow in Christ, “faith, hope and love, BUT THE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVE.”

        I love what the Lord told you, “Would you settle for ‘son'”? There is NO higher calling than to be appointed as the sons and daughters of God. When that relationship with Him embedded in our hearts, who needs titles! As God’s sons we are ONE with Christ in the Father and we can say along with Paul, “I can do ALL thing IN Christ who is my strength.” Or as Paul put it,

        Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; And you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:21-23 KJ2000)

        Love you too, my brother!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, an online Greek Bible I consulted shows that it is indeed the article that the apostle uses in Eph. 4:11, which most English translations have rendered “some.” So you are right on that one. But the article is plural, and so are the nouns. “The-ones apostles, the-ones prophets… etc.”

    4:11 kai
    kai
    G2532
    Conj
    AND
    autos
    autos
    G846
    pp Nom Sg m
    SAME
    same-one
    edwken
    edOken
    G1325
    vi Aor Act 3 Sg
    GIVES
    tous
    tous
    G3588
    t_ Acc Pl m
    THE
    the-ones
    men
    men
    G3303
    Part
    INDEED
    apostolous
    apostolous
    G652
    n_ Acc Pl m
    commissioners
    apostles
    tous
    tous
    G3588
    t_ Acc Pl m
    THE
    the-ones
    de
    de
    G1161
    Conj
    YET
    profhtas
    prophEtas
    G4396
    n_ Acc Pl m
    BEFORE-AVERers
    prophets
    11
    tous
    tous
    G3588
    t_ Acc Pl m
    THE
    the-ones
    de
    de
    G1161
    Conj
    YET
    euaggelistas
    euaggelistas
    G2099
    n_ Acc Pl m
    WELL-MESSENGERS
    evangelists
    tous
    tous
    G3588
    t_ Acc Pl m
    THE
    the-ones
    de
    de
    G1161
    Conj
    YET
    poimenas
    poimenas
    G4166
    n_ Acc Pl m
    SHEPHERDS
    pastors
    kai
    kai
    G2532
    Conj
    AND
    didaskalous
    didaskalous
    G1320
    n_ Acc Pl m
    TEACHers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Allan, as for the plural form of each of the five graces given in Ephesians 4:11, my Thayer’s or Strong’s do not make a distinction between “prophet” and “prophets” or “teacher” and “teachers.” There is only one Greek word for both the singular and plural used in the New Testament from what I can see. (Along with Eph 4:11, see Acts 13:1, Matt. 1:22, Matt. 8:19, Acts 21:8, etc.)

      As for “pastor” that word appears only once and should be translated “shepherd” but isn’t it interesting that all of Protestantism has chosen to elevate this ONE “office” and put it over every congregation, when the N T. speaks of multiple elders that oversee each of the churches which Paul appointed in each city where an ecclesia was established? Sorry, brother, but the whole system we have today smacks of the Catholicism I grew up in, only the name has been changed on this “office” to protect the “new” system ushered in by them to make it look different. Men are still lording over the people of God and God still resists the proud.

      As we are doing here, the whole focus is once again on Eph. 4:11 instead of the rest of the chapter where the “All.” the “Whole” and the “Every” of the body of Christ are the focus as to where REAL ministry is to take place in a mature body…

      “[Christ] From whom the WHOLE body being fitly joined together and knit together by that which EVERY joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure [metron] of EVERY part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16 KJ2000 – emphasis added).

      The way I see it, Allan, the focusing on the “some” gifts in Eph. 4:11 for 1900 years has been a measurable failure in the light of Ephesians 4:16 because we are STILL not rightly discerning the body of Christ as a living organism where ALL its members function in their metrons under its ONE Head, Jesus Christ.

      Like

      • Allan Halton says:

        Michael, lexicons and concordances use the single form of words when giving definitions, but this does not mean those words have no plural form. The word “apostle” appears in the plural form in several places in the New Testament, as do the words, “prophet” and “teacher.” This is the case in the Ephesians passage. These words are plural, and so is the article which refers to them. And so Paul is certainly speaking of certain men whose calling is to fulfill these functions.

        I fully agree with you that there has been great abuse in this area, and a wrong emphasis. But it is tragic when wrong use prevents right use of this provision that the ascended Christ has provided in the Church. And so please don’t misunderstand me. I fully agree with what you said about the way the office of pastor has become the dominant ministry in the church system. But surely you know that I am not defending a “system.” It is right use that I am advocating.

        The right use, the purpose, of these– I will use the word “servers”– is to equip the saints (the KJV has “for the perfecting of the saints” but the word “equip” is better) unto THEIR work of the ministry, because it is the functioning of ALL, that is, of each and every member of the body of Christ that brings the body unto full maturity, unto “a full-grown Man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” That is God’s objective, nothing less– not to have ministries ministering forever, but TILL– a little word that is all too often overlooked here. “TILL we all come… unto a perfect Man.”

        It is a beautiful order– not the “lording over” order of the Gentiles, not vertical leadership, but horizontal leadership, as you call it in your Ecclesiastical Conspiracy book.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Allan, thanks for your reply. I did not know that these lexicons and Greek New Testaments did not differentiate between plural and singular nouns, for even the Greek spelling in the Wescott-Hort Greek N.T. is the same for both plural and singular forms of these graces, though someone has assigned both plural and singular notations after them such as “an apostle (652 N-NSM) chosen” in Rom. 1:1 and “some apostles (652 N-APM)” in Eph. 4-11. It would seem that Greek is not Greek if we are truly looking at the words as they were found in the original texts. I believe that a lot of these “translations” we are stuck with are not literal, not even the ones that call themselves “literal” but have been “translated” according to the traditions of men more than truth of what was originally spoken or written. Because of this, I am convinced that Jesus did not promise those who believe a gold edged, leather bound book to “lead you (us) into all truth,” but rather the Holy Spirit who for the most part is totally ignored in Christendom today in favor of following the intellects of men. Often we are asked which version of the Bible George and I prefer, to this we answer, “The Holy Spirit Version,” for without Him we are blind to the Truth, even when we read the Bible.

        Speaking of Eph. 4:11 you wrote, “It is a beautiful order– not the ‘lording over’ order of the Gentiles, not vertical leadership, but horizontal leadership, as you call it in your Ecclesiastical Conspiracy book.” Yes, it is as long as we never forget we are only servants and that apostles (those who would be first) were called to be slaves of Christ (see the Greek for Matt. 20:25-27, Rom. 1:1, Gal. 1:10, Phil. 1:1 and Titus 1:1).

        Thanks, Allan, this has been good.
        Michael

        Like

  12. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, you said, “The problem I have with the usage of these five giftings as title is the very thing you are defending… men thinking of themselves as “God’s gift to the church.”

    I understand your concern, and it is tragic when this happens. But there are also many men who the ascended Christ has given to the church in the way Paul describes in this passage, and who have been deeply humble and God-honouring men. T. A-S, for example. (One of your favourites, and mine, too.) They know that they are not the full answer of God for the need of the church, but rather have been sent to equip the saints unto their work of the ministry. Their job is to work themselves out of a job, as the old saying goes, and if they are truly of God, they rejoice when this happens.

    And so, dear brother, we can give our Lord Jesus our genuine thanks for such men, and receive them from His hand.

    …My thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Allan, I do wish it was “many men” like T.A. Sparks, A. W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, etc. (all whom are with us no longer) that can be found in the church today, but your list of “many” is quite short compared to what the faithful are being subjected to today, a system where pride in the pulpit is considered a virtue. Yes, true leaders always seeks to decrease that Christ might increase in HIS body. They do not seek to leave a legacy or dynasty in their name. Maybe you have a better cut of men in church leadership in Canada than we do in the United States.

      God bless you, Allan!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Allan Halton says:

        Yes, it does seem that they are few and far between, Michael. And I am not sure the picture is much better in Canada. What a revolution we need to see in the Church of Jesus Christ!

        God bless you, too, Michael.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Yes, Allan, and as I read Revelation ch. 17 and 18 and look around the web, I am led to believe that that revolution is happening already,

        And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul and hateful bird; for all nations have drunk the wine of her impure passion, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich with the wealth of her wantonness.” Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and played the wanton, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning. Since in her heart she says, ‘A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see,’ so shall her plagues come in a single day, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.” …Rejoice over her, O heaven, O saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!” Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more… and the light of a lamp shall shine in thee no more (see Rev. 2:5); and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall be heard in thee no more

        (Revelation 18:2-23 RSVA)

        Liked by 1 person

  13. “Dear Jack, I am sorry I did not get to answering your comment right away.”

    Never a worry, Michael. Ain’t like I’m timing you with a stop-watch! 😉 Hearing from you is always a joy as you have the time. And when there’s been seasons of quiet between us, I still know you’re there and that the next time we connect it is as brothers and we pick up where we left off. 😀

    Have a blessed day! It’s beautiful here in sunny Sequim.

    Jack

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Thanks, Jack. It is so good to fellowship with you for it seems that Daddy has taken both down the same path to get where we are at. I am looking forward to the day we finally get to meet which is true of so many of His saints who I have met through this blog.

      Sunny in Sequim? Wow! Who would have ever thought? It has been cloudy and gray over here for quite a few days so I hit the vitamin D3. I hope you get out and walk in the sonshine, my brother!

      Michael

      Like

  14. Allan Halton says:

    Michael, you said, “even the Greek spelling in the Wescott-Hort Greek N.T. is the same for both plural and singular forms of these graces…”

    Just to clarify, the Greek for “some apostles” in Eph. 4:11 is “tous apostolous.”

    Notice the ending: apostolous. The singular is apostolos. Apostolous is plural, as the info I gave earlier from the online Greek website shows:

    apostolous
    apostolous
    G652
    n_ Acc Pl m
    commissioners
    apostles

    n_Acc Pl m (n_ stands for noun, then Accusative, Plural, masculine.)

    The parsing info you gave above (652 N-APM) confirms this.

    As for the definite article tous (ho is the nominative singular masculine definite article), tous is the accusative plural masculine definite article, which the parsing I gave shows:

    tous
    tous
    G3588
    t_ Acc Pl m
    THE
    the-ones

    (t_ stands for definite article, then Accusative, Plural, masculine.)

    As to the “Holy Spirit Version” you mentioned, Michael, we certainly do need to know the original God-breathed Scriptures. But ultimately the Holy Spirit Version is what we ourselves are to be!

    Blessings,
    Allan

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Michael, do you remember the time when a mutual friend in a discussion group we had together, had to deal with a man who claimed to be an apostle and his wife, who moved into our friends home, contributing nothing while our friend served and supported them? When the friend tried to evict them, they lorded it over our friend, using guilt and manipulative tactics to influence and control?

    All of us counseled our friend to be firm and to put them out, for as Paul said in 2 Thes. 3 “… ya don’t work, ya don’t eat …” Still our friend struggled to be firm with this so-called apostle and his Jezebel.

    Finally I wrote “the guy isn’t an apostle, he’s an apost-hole”. Only the Lord knows why, but the word broke through the guilt and condemnation our friend was under, with uproarious laughter and the “apost-hole” and his wife were put out of the home forthwith.

    Fast forward several years, I lost touch with our friend – we’d all moved on as the Lord led. I happened to be in battle with another self-proclaimed apostle and his wife, who had freeloaded off of Karen and me. I had put them out in no uncertain terms, but they continued to harass me on a few forums I frequented, on my web site through the guest book, and other means. From out of the blue, our friend contacted me saying that the Lord had spoken to her an instruction to write me with the word “apost-hole”. Guilt and condemnation fled, laughter and joy overcame me and I was able to put them away from me and Karen for good. I exchanged a few messages with our friend, to know that’s they are in the grip of Christ and enjoying the freedom He gives.

    Now I’m unsure whether there is any Greek equivalent for “apost-hole”, nevertheless I can attest to their existence. The difference between “apost-hole” and “apostle” is the difference between flesh and spirit, between pride and humility, between being served and serving.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Jack, I had forgotten all about that episode. About eight years ago a brother came through and spent a day or so with George and I and he said that he had a ministry to “burned out pastors.” So we asked him what that was and he commenced to tell us of a hunting and fishing lodge that he rents out of his own pocket and the plane he used to fly them in and out of the outback of Alaska from Anchorage where he lives, just because they are suffering from “pastor burn out” (find that one in your New Testament!). He provided everything and these “pastors” provided nothing! About then I was thinking that I would have loved to be catered to like that and was thinking about changing my calling! :-p

      Well, after he told us about this “great work” he was doing and how much it cost him personally, he said, “Maybe you could help me with something. Now that the word is getting out, some of these pastors are now asking me to not only provide this week long Alaskan get away, but to also provide them airfare to and from Anchorage from the lower 48! What am I to do?”

      To this I replied, “Brother, you are dealing with professional mooches! Many of these men have never had to work with their hands or pay their own way in entire their lives and feel that the world owes them not only a living but all the perks they desire as well!” What a far cry this is from Paul who modeled what true church leadership is (see 1 Thes. 2:1-10). He wrote saying,

      “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is living in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us; we were not idle when we were with you, we did not eat any one’s bread without paying, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you. It was not because we have not that right, but to give you in our conduct an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: If any one will not work, let him not eat. For we hear that some of you are living in idleness, mere busybodies, not doing any work. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work in quietness and to earn their own living. Brethren, do not be weary in well-doing. If any one refuses to obey what we say in this letter, note that man, and have nothing to do with him, that he may be ashamed.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-14 RSVA)

      Jack, it doesn’t get much clearer than that!

      BTW, the Greek equivalent to apost-hole is “pseudapostolos.”

      Thanks, Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  16. O man, should have read this earlier, thanks bro. I see this trap often… too late ;-), reasoning pride into humility!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Christo, God seems to put a high value on us getting experience as well. Glad you are learning from your experiences. Sometimes in my own life I think that experience is not only the best teacher, but the ONLY teacher.

      By whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who is given unto us. (Romans 5:2-5, KJ2000)

      Like

  17. I wanted to add that there is a “responding” to someone sharing that does add value to the conversation. This is surely not what is discussed here, I guess discernment is needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Christo, yes discerning our own heart motives with the help of the Spirit and yielding to God’s chastening work in us when we need it is what is needed. The more God has worked me over, the less highly I think of myself and the more I want to hear what the Spirit is saying through the rest of Christ’s body. I still have a long way to go, though.

      God bless you, my brother

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Ink Pastries says:

    Thank you for convicting me as well as inspiring me. Coming from a home of an agnostic P.h.D. one-upper, I have always been taught that arguing to show one’s superiority is a “way of life,” and often find myself guilty of this, even after being born again. I have been that interrupter, but often it is because I get so excited when anyone has a similar revelation (in fact, my insides jumped up and down while reading this post and if you were speaking to me personally, I’d have probably interrupted you to agree out of enthusiasm). My problem is that I think “viper” when I am around religious people and just get sad around people who are carnal and rejecting any thought of God because of the vipers. I really do feel “stuck in the middle” with God, Christ, the Holy Spirit and the ekklesia–out there somewhere (you included). It is sometimes a temporarily lonely place to be, but only lonely in the sense of a being a sojourner hoping to wake others up, if at all possible. The earth will one day be engulfed by the sun. Those of us who choose the inheritance God is offering, that righteousness in Christ gives us, will live survive that. God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Michael says:

    Dear Sheri,
    Thank you for your wonderful and encouraging comment. As I read it MY insides started to jump up and down as well!!! 🙂 I think you have a right assessment of the current situation in this world. On the one side we have the vipers who want to inject their religious poisons into us as we let down our guards and trust them because they name the name of Christ and on the other side we have the lost who see through the ploys of the vipers and through Jesus out with the dirty bath water. It is so rare to find a dear saint who has gone far enough on the journey in their pursuit of Christ that we can really relate fellowship with them over what God has been showing us.

    I just finished reading you testimony and all that you have gone through in your pursuit of the Truth, which is Jesus Christ. Your story reminds me so much of another dear sister, Susanne Schuberth, and all that she has gone through. You can read it here:
    https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/category/my-testimony/

    Anyway, I hope you continue to read on my blog as God leads you. I looked on your blog for a “follow” button, but did not see it. I see you found my poetry blog as well. Susanne also has one. I will try and get back to yours soon: https://inkpastries.wordpress.com/

    Your brother in Christ,
    Michael

    Like

  20. Fred Thoren says:

    Well I needed to read this. I was being prideful in this way and didn’t even realize it. They pointed out I needed to be lead by the spirit and for some reason came here. This was and is what I needed to hear though.

    Like

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