Posts Tagged ‘watchmen’

They Love Error More Than Truth

By Cedric Fisher

Professing Christians are fawning over every heretic, heresy, heretical book, and blasphemous movie. They will race off to conferences with a speaker lineup that reads like a “Who’s Who” in false “ministers of righteousness.” The truth floats on by them, but they eagerly reach out, grab, and gush over every falsehood.  But they will not rejoice over or promote truth. Further, they refuse to invest any time and energy defending anyone who presents truth when they are under attack.

So God sends His messengers to warn them just as He sent prophets to apostate Israel. But will they listen? They will not listen. We are in the last of the last days before this earth is shaken by the consequences of its rebellion. God knows their hearts are hard, their ears are dull, and their eyes refuse to see, but He sends His messengers anyway. Why?

He sends them because God is just, He is merciful, and God is love.  He is not willing that the wicked should perish.  He sends His messengers because He wants people to heed, return to Him, surrender, reject wickedness and accept righteousness, and be spared the consequences of their sinfulness.

But they reject God’s messengers. They call them mean-spirited, hateful, ignorant, self-righteous, and even diabolical, for the sole reason that His messengers pierce their fickle and carnal hearts with anointed truth.

When they speak harsh rebukes to God’s messengers, they are speaking against Him. Condemning God’s messengers is as condemning the message and the One who sent it. It is as rejecting His righteous authority. Click here to continue reading.

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Identifying Wolves—Past and Present

By Roger Oakland
Understand The Times International
& The Good Shepherd Calls Ministry

Both Old Testament and New Testament writers warned ravenous wolves sneaking into flocks led by false shepherds and cleverly harming the unprotected sheep. This is a fact of life throughout history. Perhaps Jude, the half-brother of Jesus said it best:

For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [1]

These “certain men” Jude was writing about were wolves who had an agenda to fleece and devour the flock. Obviously, this was happening in the church that had been planted shortly following the ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven. Very little time had passed before they had “crept in.”

But nothing is new under the sun. Paul predicted this would happen as stated in the book of Acts:

For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. [2]

The apostasy in the book of Jude was certainly a fulfillment of Paul’s prediction. However, delving back into an earlier time, it is apparent that the forefathers of Paul and Jude were plagued by similar deceptive plans to dupe those who were called sheep. It would take pages and pages to exhaust the references found in the books of the major and minor prophets in the Bible with regard to those who were neglecting, abusing, and leading innocent sheep to the slaughter. As one example, we look to a plea of Jeremiah found in the 23rd chapter. He proclaimed:

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. [3] To read this entire article and for endnotes, click here.

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Ichabod Fulfilled in the Body of Christ

LTRJ Note: Some who read this article and other similar articles by Roger Oakland and LT accuse us of “lumping” all Calvary Chapels together saying they are all bad. We find this line of reasoning troubling. Lighthouse Trails historically has challenged many denominations (and the leaders within those groups), Calvary Chapel being one of them. Because Calvary Chapel has claimed it is not a denomination, there has been this expected idea by some who contact us that they are so loosely connected to each other that one Calvary Chapel church should not in any way be implicated with other Calvary Chapel churches.But the fact is, if a church takes on a particular name for the benefit of being associated with that name or group, then it seems unfair to expect that no one associate them with that group. Does this mean that all Calvary Chapels are going astray because some are? Of course not. Just like not all Baptist or Nazarene churches are going astray because some are. Calvary Chapel, as a group or denomination, should not be singled out for undue criticism, but neither should it be excused from criticism. And if a church has the name and association of Calvary Chapel, then that church must bear some of the responsibility for the leaders of that group, just like any other denomination or ministry. While Lighthouse Trails does not say that a particular local church should break away from a denomination if some of the denomination is going astray (because that is a decision only that church can make), we do say that pastors and church members who see their group or denomination going astray should speak up, not be silent, and call out those who are leading their group toward apostasy. Roger Oakland and Chris Lawson, both long-time Calvary Chapel ministers/teachers, finally left the Calvary Chapel movement and speak about the problems within the movement in an effort to help Christians stay the course of truth. Lighthouse Trails supports their efforts.

By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International

Roger Oakland

Roger Oakland

This commentary will be short. It will also be clear and to the point. There are three things I am compelled to share.

First, I am often accused of being a Calvary Chapel basher. Not so. For those of you who have read my biography, Let There Be Light, you know I first began working with Calvary Chapel in 1989 at Chuck Smith’s personal invitation. Chuck had asked me to bring my teachings on evolutionary thinking and the New Age (and how both were affecting the world and the church) to Calvary Chapel pastors. Thus, I moved my family from our farm in Saskatchewan to Southern California.

I had only been with Calvary Chapel less than a year when I began seeing serious problems within the movement. In my book, I described the situation:

From 1998 on, the battle I faced in southern California . . . only intensified . . . A number of things simply did not line up with my “farming” way of seeing things. Many times I was reminded of my dad’s famous statement: “The reason I am a farmer is that I would rather deal with nature than human nature.” This became etched in my mind over and over as I saw the signs of a Christian church being run more like a corporation than a New Testament church. . . . Since I had traveled throughout America and the world in Calvary Chapel circles since 1989, giving me opportunity to make observations, I didn’t have to be a forensic scientist to see when something was wrong. [1]

You can read more about my years at Calvary Chapel in Let There Be Light, but I bring this up because of being accused of only wanting to hurt Calvary Chapel. Nothing could be further from the truth. I’ve sometimes been asked, “Why did you stay so long at Calvary Chapel if problems began surfacing within the first year.” I explain this in my book:

Well, that’s simple—I truly was convinced God had brought me to Calvary Chapel to be a blessing, to teach those at Calvary Chapel about creation versus evolution and the ramifications of believing in evolution, and to help prepare and equip Calvary Chapel against spiritual deception and a great coming apostasy. With such conviction and my love for the Calvary Chapel pastors, I never felt the freedom to just walk away from the movement, at least not until I had done all I could possibly do. My farmer heritage gave me the tenacity to not give up, while the Lord in my life helped me to persevere. [2]

While I have been accused of being divisive and unloving, the fact is, to say nothing when people are in danger is the most unloving thing of all. Bottom line is, at Understand The Times, we have attempted to promote the truth, not just to Calvary Chapel but to the body of Christ at large. When light shines into the darkness, the darkness does not like the light. You will find this in the Bible where we read:

The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him. (Job 18:6) Click here to continue reading and for endnotes.

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Asleep On The Watch

by Steve Muse
Eastern Regional Watch Ministries

I have been told that in this day and age the role of watchman as understood in the Old Testament has been done away with, that it is not necessary because we are not under the wrath of God but under grace through Jesus Christ. If there are watchmen today, I am told, they cannot be held to the same degree of accountability that God required of Ezekiel. If there are watchmen today as described in Ezekiel, who are these watchmen? And after examining the following from Ezekiel 33, who would ever want to be put in this position?

The Watchman’s Duty: Ezekiel 33

“And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them,

‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman, and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people, then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

“But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’

“Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life. ” Ezekiel 33:1-9

If we look closely in chapter 20 in the book of Acts we see that the Apostle Paul understood this mandate even as he warned the overseers in Ephesus concerning his departure after being with them for three years. Here is one example clearly stated:

“I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose of God. Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

“I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert (watch), remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.” Acts 20:26-31 (also see Acts 18:6)

One could say that this was an Apostolic responsibility that was not passed on to us but if we look in Hebrews we see that the overseers were exhorted by its writer to look out for the sheep, to guard and warn them as watching over the flock:

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.” Hebrews 13:17

In Mark, chapter 13, we see that Jesus is telling us of the things to come regarding the Last Days. He exhorts us all to be on the alert, to be watchful of the things to come. It seems we have all been called to be in a constant state of watchfulness in some capacity as believers in Christ:

“Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. It is like a man away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert.

“Therefore, be on the alert — for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning — in case he should come suddenly and find you asleep.
“What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert!'” Mark 13:33-37

Why am I asking these questions or why am I even concerned that anyone is at watch for the body of Christ?

As Paul states in Acts 20:28-31, there has been through the centuries and still continues to this day, to be many savage wolves coming into the flock and also rising up from within to deceive and steal away disciples after themselves. I would hope this is not a surprise to anyone but sadly, I must report, this is probably the state of many churches everywhere.

Just testifying of my own experience, over the last 10 years, I have visited dozens of churches that have had an ‘open door’ policy, accepting whatever doctrine or new teaching that comes through the door. Unlike the words of Paul in Ephesians 4, about those who should be watching and equipping the saints, to bring us to maturity, not being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, they in fact willingly open their sails to allow any wind to blow them about. I have witnessed many in leadership, whether pastor, elders or overseers who have no clue to what has come through their doors or is about to come upon them as we look to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. No one is guarding the flock as the wolf moves silently about looking for those he can devour.

As I was wondering what has happened to those called to watch over the flocks, in whatever capacity that they serve, I thought of a little Mother Goose nursery rhyme about Little Boy Blue and how appropriate this is for today’s churches:

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn.
The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.
Where is the boy that looks after the sheep?
“He’s under the haycock, fast asleep.”
Will you wake him? “No, not I;
For if I do, he’ll be sure to cry.” (Emphasis mine)

Somebody please wake the watchmen! I would rather have sadness and grief with much tears, bringing us to repentance, than to continue to see the churches being infiltrated and assimilated by New Age Occultism, false teaching, heresies, philosophies of men and doctrines of demons as the watchmen sleep.

I have written this before and it has happened again just recently. I was asked which church I would recommend for a new Christian to begin fellowship. As a Christian of more than 30 years, and after visiting dozens of churches locally, I could not think of any church where I would send this person without knowing that they would in some way be caught up in the current trends of deception that are sweeping through the body of Christ. This is related to the lack of discernment being used by the leadership that are asleep.

Most of what I have written addresses those in leadership that are asleep or unaware of the dangers that lie in wait. There are also churches that I have been to that the leadership is knowingly allowing and teaching deception with little concern for the flock thus fitting the example of Scripture from Acts 20.

Pastors, elders, overseers, shepherds and watchmen; please heed this call to awaken and warn the flock of the dangers that face your churches today. You are responsible and accountable if you do not warn them! Their blood will be on your hands! (source)

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The Jeremiah Calling

by Roger Oakland
Understand the Times

The Bible provides a vast list of characters God has used as the servants He has called to fulfill His plan on planet Earth. Few are more dynamic in the way they fulfilled their calling than Jeremiah, one of the prophets we read about in the Old Testament. Jeremiah’s ministry covered approximately forty years until a few years after Judah ceased to be a state in 586 BC.

As with other prophets that God raised up to speak and warn about the terrible apostasy that impacted Israel, Jeremiah was not popular. In fact, the task of a prophet of God is often characterized by loneliness and despair. No one wants to hear the bad news of the mandate that the prophet has been given to proclaim.

Such is the case today when someone proclaims the Word of God with the anointing of God’s Spirit. Those who do not have a love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10) but rather love the darkness make the most noise. They do not want the light of the Word to expose the carnal and devious plans they promote.

Jeremiah had no choice but to tell the truth. He was called to tell the truth. He knew that it was the truth that would set sinners free. He was also aware that hiding the truth would bring further destruction. Jeremiah had a compassion for those who were deceived, but he also had passion to let the deceived know there were consequences for turning away from God and serving their gods.

He also understood that history had a pattern of repeating itself. He knew what had happened in the past, and he knew what would occur when the Children of Israel refused to hear God and His Word. He could see his colleagues and friends falling into the same trap. On one occasion, his passion is obvious from the words that he spoke:

And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble. Jeremiah 11:9-12

The main reason the Children of Israel were disobedient is that they were rebellious to God and His Word. God had already warned them. They knew what to expect if they chose the gods; but they went after the gods anyway. Further, they had placed their trust in man rather than in God. The writing was on the wall. Judgment was just around the corner. Jeremiah pleaded with his people. The leaders of Israel scoffed at him and attacked him personally. However, the Word of God explains that the gods did not prevent the Lord from judging them. The people were taken into captive in Babylon just as God warned.

Jeremiah was a true prophet. He could not keep quiet. He had to speak. He was called by God and appointed to be a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). While he was not always enthusiastic about what God had called him to do, his calling commanded him to speak with boldness and not to be afraid of those whom he was directed to warn (Jeremiah 1: 7-8).

Further, Jeremiah did not have to lay awake at night to think up what he was going to tell the leaders of Israel (Jeremiah 1:9). His message was not candy-coated. It was harsh. It was a message of warning. He was a warrior and a watchman (chapters 1-45). He warned that sin would be judged and that leaders and the organizations who were sinning would be exposed.

They and their sin were exposed. Sin will be judged whether it is covered up or not. The same is true of the past, the present, and the future.

Jeremiah’s message was not all negative. There was a positive side as well. He was called to build and to plant. When one plants then one has enlisted in the field of agriculture. This means that seeds are put in the soil with the faith that there will be a crop and therefore a harvest. While most Bible expositors are good at pointing out that Jeremiah was good at exposing sin and error, not many actually see him as an evangelist. Jeremiah proclaimed the truth of the Gospel – he was a witness to the nations as well (Jeremiah chapters 46 – 52).

Warrior, Watchman and Witness

The Jeremiah calling is still in place today. God is speaking to his people to be warriors for the truth. This does not mean to attack the unbelievers and the apostate deceivers with a sword. What this means is that we should be warriors who use the Word as the sword.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 

While there are those who claim they do use the Word as they teach the Word, it is obvious that this is not always true. Sometimes they use the Word of God in a way that advances their own false beliefs in order to gain power and control.

A warrior is one who is willing to lay down his or her life for the truth. This is what Jesus did. Few are willing to lay down their lives today and risk their lives to take a stand, whatever the cost. Few are willing to pick up their cross and follow Him. But Jesus told His disciples:

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24

Certainly, this does not mean that such a person who chooses to follow Christ at all costs is perfect. All have fallen short of the glory of God. There is only One who gave His life so that we can have eternal life. Only One who is worthy. We must always be looking to Him and Him alone. A watchman is someone who is always prepared to be on the wall looking towards the horizon to see if danger is coming. Sometimes there are those who are supposed to be watching who instead have grown weary or old and have fallen asleep. Others have been sidetracked by the cares of the world or the attraction of money, power, and possessions. They no longer see spiritual danger. This is very tragic indeed. Often when this happens, God will simply raise up other watchmen.

A witness is someone who will share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jeremiah laid the foundation for the Gospel by pointing the people of his day to the Word of God, which is the truth. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is based on the truth, which is the Word God; therefore, Jeremiah was a true witness for the Lord.

So, where do you stand? Are you willing to be a Jeremiah? Are you willing to do what God is calling you to do or just sit by the wayside and do nothing?

We are living at a time in history when we may be near the end of history. Isn’t it time to stand up and take a stand for the truth?

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. Jude 1:3

From Understand the Times with Roger Oakland
Used with permission from UTT

To listen to UTT’s radio lectures, click here.

Related articles by Roger Oakland:

The Death of the Mega Church (Christian Leaders – Vessels of Honor or Dishonor? Which Will it Be?)

Standing for the Gospel – It is a Small Price to Pay

Author/Lecturer Roger Oakland Says Good-bye to Calvary Chapel

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