Pastors are getting angry because such a small percentage of their congregation “serves” (works to keep the system running). This partly is because the system they operate limits the function of members by design.. But more importantly, it’s because they only have the threats of punishment and promises of reward as an incentive to “Serve.” From start to finish, their ministry appears to be Christless. Their version of “justification” does not give you Christ, it promises you “heaven when you die.” Meanwhile, you’re here you are to “work for a wage,” which they are also calling “justification,” using James 2.
To try to motivate people to serve, in the lack of any enjoyment of the Spirit, they threaten from the pulpit, accuse people of being lazy and looking for a license to sin, and promise them discipline and chastisement if they don’t get “busy for God” while teaching them OFFICIALLY that while Paul teaches justification as a free gift to “go to heaven,” James teaches justification by works for “Reward.”
We point out that this is outright heresy, not because we want to “Get out of working” but because of our love for the word. Predictably, and in keeping with their character, they turn and accuse us of being antinomian, lazy, and looking for a license to sin.
I won’t boast, but by the mercy and grace of God I serve the Lord and minister the word nonstop. I don’t do this for a wage, I do it because it’s my life. I don’t do it because I’m afraid I’m going to be punished if I don’t, I do it because it’s my food and drink and my satisfaction.
Furthermore, since I’m not trying to corral everyone into a system with overhead and make them pay me a salary and cover all the expenses of the prison, I don’t feel personally threatened by their supposed “lack of service.” That puts me in a position where I am free to observe, taste, and even enjoy the fruit that is coming from them.
I don’t despise the people who I’ve been brought into fellowship with through this ministry. We may be a small fellowship, but I can tell you this: every single one of them is “functional.” There is a tight-knit fellowship that is constantly caring for the saints, contributing to the needs of the saints (spiritually and financially), preaching the Gospel, praying for each other, and building one another up in love. Furthermore, there are many that have been equipped to teach and to minister. While these are discounted as mere “amateurs” by the “professionals,” they are busy and actively serving the saints in the ministry of the word.
Even though they’re just lazy and sitting around living a life of leisure, these discounted “amateurs” (in between their bouts of perversity, drunkenness, and rioting in the daytime) are somehow () having enough impact through their teaching that people are beginning to refer to us as a “movement” and feel threatened.
Many of them also have fellowships that have sprung up around them similar to what I’m experiencing, and all of us have our hands full with many new believers that need shepherding and equipping. (A waste of time, we should probably just give them a broom and send them over to the institutional churches to work). Meanwhile the testimonies on our walls are coherent, and the people glorify the lord with one voice.
In our fellowship, we do practice genuine church discipline. we don’t shrink back from dealing with things when they erupt and we don’t tolerate wolves in the sheepfold. some have had to go., and some have become offended as a result.
We have a healthy, functional fellowship of many FUNCTIONING members that are actually fruit-bearing, even though they are BED RIDDEN and found no place to serve in the institutional system.
All of this has happened by the grace and mercy of God, and we’ve never had to tell ANYONE to do anything! We’ve never had to threaten anyone with punishment or insinuate that they’re lazy in order to get them to “work.” Nor have we had to promise them rewards and wages. We testify of Christ and speak the word; it is our delight to do so. We love to talk about Him, and His grace, and the mystery of Christ, our identification with Him, and His building, and people love to jump into the flow because they get washed. They actually have joy and peace, and before you know it, they can’t stop talking about Him.
None of it is motivated by LAW, and no flesh can glory.
We all know we’re a bunch of failures that ran to Jesus for refuge, and we’re all very candid about personal testimonies. We don’t manicure our presentation to seem more spiritual than we are. We’re “rough around the edges,” but we know that doesn’t mean we’re not holy. We don’t speak “church lingo” and act like Ned Flanders in order to get people to think we’re someone we’re not. We’re just real, but we really enjoy Christ and we really are thankful that He has saved us from our sins and has put NO BURDEN ON US.
We are dead to ALL BURDEN. WE do not operate from a sense of debt. the more that we see that we are not under law but under grace, the more that grace flows, and it is a living active grace and pushes us into resurrection, and we are FUNCTIONAL AND BUSY.
But Because we talk about feasting and enjoying Christ, and the satisfaction we have found in Him, the wolves become angry because they don’t know a language other than wages and punishments.
It doesn’t work!
Their systems are falling apart and dying, and many are about to be put out of their stewardships! Well, they should take a lesson from the “unjust steward” in Luke 16. When he was being put out of his stewardship, he went around and REDUCED the demand of all the master’s debtors. “How much oil do you owe?” One would say 10. He’d say, “okay you only owe 5” In this, he made a home for himself and made friends of the debtors so that when he was put out, he would not be “homeless.”
The master praised this unjust steward for his wisdom. Why? Because he touched the heart of grace, which is to REDUCE the demand, not increase it. Reducing the demand to set the Lord’s people free is what releases the Spirit and brings healing and revival. That’s what the Gospel is for. The Gospel isn’t just to send you to heaven, it’s to break the yoke off you and set you free. There is NO DEMAND on you once you believe the Gospel. You are dead to all debt. You are dead to sin, and you are dead to the law. But you are alive to God in Christ, and Christ really is your life. He has given you His Spirit to be in you a fountain springing up unto everlasting life and the ONLY thing that matters is that if you are thirsty, you would come to Him and drink!
We are not mighty “Servants of the Lord.” But we are thirsty sinners who come to Him and drink and He satisfies us, and then, surprisingly, we have found ourselves restored to health, revived, and full of resurrection to serve in newness of the Sprit.
This is what the 11th hour labor force looks like. They are a group of “failures” that were “idle” because the “professionals” discounted them. Furthermore, they were set upon by wolves, robbed of their assurance, beaten and stripped, and as they lied bleeding on the ground, the wolves set upon them and accused them of being lazy and good for nothing! Well, the Lord is the Shepherd and the Good Samaritan. He knows our pain, and He’s also quite aware of those who devour the sheep. He’ll take care of that.
meanwhile, the word of grace is producing EXACTLY what the Lord desires. “Thy people will volunteer freely in the day of thy power.” We don’t have a hard taskmaster that we hate, that we must be manipulated, threatened or incentivized to serve with, with a false definition of justification and abuse from the pulpits of those who have lorded it over the flock and demand that we pay them while they slap us in the face. We have a bridegroom who says, “all things are ready, come unto the feast” and we’ve found that He is satisfiying! Our enjoyment of Him IS our service. And yet to these wolves, it’s just “leisure and greasy grace.” I wonder how many of them are actually saved?