This series of 26 lessons was developed for classroom presentation from the book by David Miller that should be required reading for every preacher, elder, and Bible school teacher in the Lord’s church: “Piloting The Strait”. This book is available from a variety of bookstores, Sain Publications at www.sainpublicans.com as well as from David Miller at www.apologeticspress.org.
CHANGES IN THE CHURCH
FUEL FOR CHANGE - REBELLION
Numbers 14:1-4 “AND ALL THE CONGREGATION LIFTED UP THEIR VOICE, AND CRIED;
AND THE PEOPLE WEPT THAT NIGHT. AND ALL
THE CHILDREN OF
These people had survived some 400 years of Egyptian slavery and oppression. God had extracted them from the control of the most powerful kingdom then on God’s earth by miracles and signs. They saw miracles and signs that should only convince normal thinking people that He was all powerful and would continue to care for them regardless of what they might encounter in their new land. But the entire community showed signs of panic. Caleb attempted to calm the people by insisting they were well able to conquer the land and urged them to go up at once and do so (Numbers 13:30). But the people refused to listen; they rebelled against God and his chosen leaders.
When God was ready for Moses to close out his life and his leadership of the Israelite people; Moses delivered a farewell address to the nation that he had lead for 40 years. He wrote a song to remind the people that their future disobedience would bring them trouble:
“TAKE THIS BOOK OF THE LAW, AND PUT IT IN THE SIDE OF THE
We know the history of the Israelite nation - they continued to refuse to hear God and rebelled against him.
God instructed Saul to engage the nation of Amalek in battle. He was to completely annihilate the human and animal population of that nation due to their treachery (Exodus 17:8-16; Deuteronomy 25:17-19). But brother Saul made some slight adjustments in his execution of God’s commandment. He spared the life of the Amalekite king as well as the best of the animals. God was not happy with Saul:
I Samuel “IT REPENTETH ME THAT I HAVE SET UP SAUL to be KING: FOR HE IS TURNED BACK FROM FOLLOWING ME, AND HATH NOT PERFORMED MY COMMANDMENTS. AND IT GRIEVED SAMUEL; AND HE CRIED UNTO THE LORD ALL NIGHT.”
Saul’s failure to comply completely with God’s instructions was an act of rebellion.
While Zedekiah was king over
Jeremiah 28:15-16 “THEN SAID THE PROPHET JEREMIAH UNTO HANANIAH THE PROPHET, HERE NOW, HANANIAH; THE LORD HATH NOT SENT THEE, BUT THOU MAKEST THIS PEOPLE TO TRUST IN A LIE. THEREFORE THUS SAITH THE LORD, BEHOLD,I WILL CAST THEE FROM OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH. THIS YEAR THOU SHALT DIE, BECAUSE THOU HAST TAUGHT REBELLION AGAINST THE LORD.”
Within two months Hananiah was dead because he taught rebellion against God.
As we look back over the past 40 years, we can surely see that rebellion was the central theme of what has taken place. The so-called “generation gap” between the older and younger generations came about because of the younger generation’s rebellion against the principles and values that the older generation held near and dear. This cultural turmoil was manifested in the form of long hair, antiwar, anti-establishment, use of drugs, acceptance of Eastern religions, etc. Much of it was really nothing more than the rebellion against authority. The rebellious younger generation behaved in precisely the same manner as a spoiled two-year old. They lacked the discipline needed to exercise self-control and personal restraint, so they clamored for their own way – even when they didn’t understand what their own way might be from one day to the next.
Now that we are in the new century we have seen the fruit of these decades of rebellion against authority grow, flourish and we are reaping the harvest. A full-scale breakdown of authority is in effect. The members of the baby boom generation has achieved adulthood and are now in positions of leadership. Their influence has spread throughout society. Their liberal attitudes and permeated our entire culture in the form of:
We have more crime and more criminals than ever before - people who deny and resist the authority of law.
We have more law suits than ever thought would come about - people displaying the rebellious “me first” mentality.
We have a judicial system that has abandoned justice and its primary purpose and even seems to be to punish the victim and coddle the criminal. It now seeks to be politically correct, look for technicalities to short-circuit the process, do whatever is necessary to acquit the guilty. Mankind has forgotten:
Ecclesiastes “BECAUSE SENTENCE AGAINST AN EVIL WORK IS NOT EXECUTED SPEEDILY, THEREFORE THE HEART OF THE SONS OF MEN IS FULLY SET IN THEM TO DO EVIL.”
failure to provide swift, sure justice has caused crime to increase just as the
wise man of God prophesied. Policemen
are no longer held in the level of respect that they once were. In times past no decent, upstanding
This rebellion against authority, or any standard of behaviour other than which permits us “each to do his own thing” has been transmitted to succeeding generations.
Children are no longer being taught to respect and submit to authority; my daughter quit the teaching profession because of such. The saddest part of that: she received more respect for her authority as a teacher in a government funded day care pre-school (by parents and students) than she did in the fifth grade of one of “our” so-called “Christian” academies. To know the real source of much of this problem; spend a little time in one of our public places of business and watch how many of the children behave and what is done about it.
Many public school systems are out of control and teachers are leaving the profession because they have to spend all of their time trying to control the classroom instead of teaching. What those teachers have been taught in their colleges of education has not prepared them to effectively manage their classrooms. The agenda of the liberal politicians and the educational organizations that support them wouldn’t let them if they tried. This rebellion against authority has been so ingrained into our society that when you couple it with video games that train young people to kill and destroy in vivid Technicolor, and implant in their mind the evolutionary doctrine that human life is something that came up out of the slime and has no more value than a common animal; is it any wonder that one will take a weapon to school, kill a supposed enemy and a dozen or so other people besides?
The church has not been immune or escaped the influence of this attitude of rebellion. Many of our brethren are forgetting Jude’s record provided through the direction of the Holy Spirit:
Jude 5-8 “I WILL THEREFORE PUT YOU IN REMEMBRANCE, THOUGH YE ONCE KNEW THIS, HOW THAT THE LORD, HAVING SAVED THE PEOPLE OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT, AFTERWARD DESTROYED THIM THAT BELIEVED NOT. AND THE ANGELS WHICH KEPT NOT THEIR FIRST ESTATE, BUT LEFT THEIR OWN HABITATION, HE HATH RESERVED IN EVERLASTING CHAINS UNDER DARKNESS UNTO THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY. EVEN A SODOM AND GOMORRAH, AND THE CITIES ABOUT THEM IN LIKE MANNER, GIVING THEMSELVES OVER TO FORNICATION, AND GOING AFTER STRANGE FLESH, ARE SET FORTH FOR AN EXAMPLE, SUFFERING THE VENGEANCE OF ETERNAL FIRE. LIKEWISE ALSO THESE filthy DREAMERS DEFILE THE FLESH, DESPISE DOMINION, AND SPEAK EVIL OF DIGNITIES.”
Those who would rebel against the precepts of God’s word and do their own thing in the church are like those he speaks of in:
Jude 16-21 “THESE ARE MURMURERS, COMPLAINERS, WALKING AFTER THEIR OWN LUSTS; AND THEIR MOUTH SPEAKETH GREAT SWELLING words, HAVING MEN’S PERSONS IN ADMIRATION BECAUSE OF ADVANTAGE. BUT, BELOVED, REMEMBER YE THE WORDS WHICH WERE SPOKEN BEFORE OF THE APOSTLES OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, HOW THAT THEY TOLD YOU THERE SHOULD BE MOCKERS IN THE LAST TIME, WHO SHOULD WALK AFTER THEIR OWN UNGODLY LUSTS. THESE BE THEY WHO SEPARATE THEMSELVES, SENSUAL, HAVING NOT THE SPIRIT. BUT YE, BELOVED, BUILDING UP YOURSELVES ON YOUR MOST HOLY FAITH, PRAYING IN THE HOLY GHOST, KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD, LOOKING FOR THE MERCY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST UNTO ETERNAL LIFE.”
Instead of listening to John’s record of the instructions from the Holy Spirit in II John 9-10 “WHOSOEVEER TRANSGRESSETH, AND ADIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HATH NOT GOD. HE THAT ABIDETH IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HE HATH BOTH THE FATHER AND THE SON. IF THERE COME ANY UNTO YOU, AND BRING NOT THIS DOCTRINE, RECEIVE HIM NOT INTO YOUR HOUSE, NEITHER BID HIM GOD SPEED.” Our brethren are practicing ecumenical tolerance and holding joint worship sessions with denominationalists and those who teach things contrary to God’s word. These are particularly centered around the man-made holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. Because it feels good and appears in man’s analysis to be a “good thing to do” they are joining in with inter-denominational organizations such as Promise-Keepers.
They are abandoning the worship that
God has mandated and believing Christians have followed since the first century
and are adding instruments of music, special choirs, solos and praise teams,
drama, hand-clapping, and special divisions for certain age groups. Some recent examples, three witnesses should
be sufficient to our purposes:
In June, 2002 it was reported in
“Seek The Old Paths”, published monthly by the
The necessity of baptism is not just
ignored but denied. In the Christian
Chronicle, published by
fellowship is something else that is under attack. Not only are preachers and congregations
practicing open fellowship with their denominational neighbors; restoration
history is being actively rewritten by our denominationally minded brethren to
support their contention that the
These people have all contributed to the creation of something new, something that is not designed to please God, but rather designed rather to appeal to the emotions of those present and make them feel good about themselves. They provide something that is in complete rebellion to the Word of God. Something that has indeed become, in many places, and becoming in others a denominational church that still claims to be a church of Christ and still keeps that name on the sign in front of their building.
In the next lesson we will look at emotion and the role it is playing in the changes to the church.