I wanted to share a portion of this message along with the link..its an excellent message; one that in light of many false teachers today like those in Peter Wagner’s NAR, who are seeking (and proclaiming) apostolic authority over the Church, I believe its important. We should know what the word of God tells us on the subject of authority. This evening I received this, but also found it posted at the website, so if interested in reading it all, the link will take you there.
From: He That Has an Ear: What Authority? by haRold Smith from Jerusalem, Israel
“Now when He came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people confronted Him as He was teaching, and said, ‘By what authority are You doing these things? And who gave You this authority?’ But Jesus answered and said to them, ‘I also will ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I do these things: The baptism of John – where was it from? From heaven or from men?’ And they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men,’ we fear the multitude, for all count John as a prophet.’ So they answered Jesus and said, “We do not know.” And He said to them, ‘Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things’.” Matthew 21:23-27
“…He said to the disciples, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.” Luke 22:24-27
“Now, before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. …So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent (Greek ‘apostolos’ – one who is sent) greater than he who sent him.” John 13:1, 12-16
There is much controversy in the Body of Christ today over “leadership” within the Church.
Just how do we discern What Authority people professing to be leaders among us are operating under? After all, the religious leaders of Yeshua’s day professed a love for God, were often charismatic, had large followings, taught and were wizened in the scriptures and wielded great influence over those under their care. Yet, Yeshua did not send the disciples to learn of their methods. In fact, the harshest words He ever had for anyone, He reserved for those men in positions of spiritual leadership (Matthew 23). He called them vipers, snakes not worthy to enter the Kingdom of God primarily because, through their teaching, they shut up the Kingdom (Romans 14:17). from those who followed them. In contrast, Yeshua taught the disciples by living a Life in front of them – a Life they could handle and see, without hypocrisy and without guile. He did not exercise authority over them, but invited them to sit with Him in the overseeing of the Authority of the Father. Having found them trustworthy, He then empowered them with the same authority He had been given (Luke 9:1)
It is interesting to note that both of the two words highlighted in the passages above, benefactors and sent, are only used once in the entire Book of books and they are both used in contrasting how a person of leadership behaves under different motivations. The word “benefactor” originates from the Greek word ‘euergetes’ and means ‘a title of honor conferred by men – a prospering’. This is a person whose motivation is dictated, as in the first passage above, by what personal advantages are at stake in the outcome of any decision. The word “apostle” (coming from the Greek word apostolos) appears 83 times in the Book but is translated only once as the word “sent”. The single place it appears thusly (and the only time in the entire book of John that “apostolos” appears in any form), is at the Passover Seder just before Yeshua’s death as, He said after washing their feet, is the example by which one who is “sent”, or an apostle, is to be.
This word, “sent” has been misappropriated to mean “sent out as a missionary” when, in the context of how it is used, is more accurately portrayed along the lines of “sent to be as He is.” Everything about Who Yeshua personifies is as a gift to us. This is why those listed in Ephesians 4:8-16 are called “GIFTS” – not ministries, not offices, not positions, not callings, not occupations, not titles – but gifts to the Body. They are “gifts” because it is IN them that He is called into this realm whereby THROUGH them He might be made manifest as examples to and for the benefit of the saints so that the saints might then be equipped to do the work of the ministry in like fashion.
It is in 2Corinthians 6:3-10, that we have a portrait of how these “gifts” operate.
This template is given so we can hold it up alongside and recognize those who manifest these gifts among us. This is the model by which we are to discern true leadership – dying to themselves that others may live, giving of themselves that others may receive, laying everything in their lives down for the King Who came to preach the gospel to the poor for the poor have been chosen to be rich in faith. There is no earthly glory in this Way. This is the example of the King who, not of this world, was crucified and rejected by this world’s system. As He is, so are we in this world. Scripture says it is by their fruit we shall know them – this is their fruit (Luke 6:43-45). It is our job to recognize the difference between a benefactor and one who truly seeks to BE a gift.
To recognize the difference between a ‘benefactor’ and a ‘gift’ brings us to the exercise of discernment.
There are those today that would confuse individual responsibility with the greater accountability meted out to those assuming positions of responsibility within the Body – there is a difference. There is a difference between criticizing an individual for his individual shortcomings and failings when it affects only him and those he is immediately related to; and holding up to the Light of Truth one who assumes a mantle of authority and, thus, responsibility within the Body of Christ. This is why we are admonished to not many of us become teachers (James 3:1) because those who do fall under a heavier weight of judgment since their words and deeds affect the eternal lives of so many (Romans 2:21-23)
There are many who say that we are not to judge – that by doing so, we only “shoot our wounded.”
I see this as nothing more than a tactic of the enemy to remove all discernment from the Body.
Yeshua applauded the Church at Ephesus for testing those who call themselves apostles. He applauded them for exercising judgment and being cautious (Revelation 2:2). By failing to test all things we open ourselves up to deceiving and lying spirits. This is what we see repeatedly happening in the Body today from Colorado to Texas to Toronto to Kansas to Florida. These instances are just the exposed edges of a rotten flooring – indicators that these spirits are eating away at the entire foundation of the Body of Christ and if left untreated, they will continue to spread like insatiable termites eating the good timber of a house. Ignoring them, hoping they will do no damage, or just “trying to get along” with them is naive and is not an option I find given to us in scripture.
There is truly a famine in the land being perpetrated by these “benefactors” among us – a famine of the individual saint being able to “HEAR the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11-12). Foolish virgins are noted by one trait – they go to other virgins to seek their oil (Matthew 25:1-12). The vast majority of the folks comprising the audiences at these meetings, rallies, conventions and ‘revivals’ are believers. Those who have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church do not have to run to and fro and wander from sea to sea and from the north (Toronto) to the east (Florida) to get a word from God.
The reason the “benefactors” continue to propagate this structure is because, by denouncing it, they would undercut their source of income. If you teach people how to dig their own well, they won’t find a need to come to your house to buy water.
There is an accounting that is coming upon the Globe right now. It is of no coincidence that the foundation of greed being manifested in the collapse of the world economic system is in direct parallel with the shaking we are seeing within the Body of Christ for judgment begins with the house of God (1Peter 4:17). Make no mistake – God is after the floorboards. This accounting is not coming in the manner in which many have thought it would, however – it is being unleashed with a fury and it’s name is deception.
2Thessalonians 2 makes clear that of those who will not receive the love of the Truth, that they might be saved, will be given a lie to believe, that they might be cursed, because they take pleasure in unrighteousness. The love of money that all these “benefactors” share in their paid ministries should be enough warning for anyone that understands what scripture says about such activity – that the deceitfulness of riches does blind those who have them and lust after them.
After having lived with that demon of deception for many years, I can attest that when someone is captivated by it – he does not know it. In fact, he will go to great lengths to defend it. The only way darkness is exposed is to bring it into the Light. That Light resides in the individual members of the Body of Christ. The judgment Yeshua speaks of in John 3:18-21 that is come into the world is that men loved darkness more than they loved to bring their deeds into the Light for reproof, to see if they be wrought in God – or not. Having men who are deceived only being accountable to other men who are deceived by the mammon idol (Hebrew = finances) they continue to worship is not the accountability spoken of in scripture but is the accountability of the world.
Matthew 11:12 tells us that the kingdom of heaven, which is within us (Luke 17:20-21), can be taken by force. There are those who by sheer force of will and determination “storm the citadel” to obtain the Power to use it, even with good intention, and, for a while, might actually succeed. But, since He has set the barriers to this force, His Power, to be crossed only in Purity, eventually the impurity of their hearts rises to the surface and they are consumed by the fire of His burning (Isaiah 10:16). There is a more excellent way (1Corinthians 12:31, & chapter 13).
If you are to be a Gift to the Body, it will be as a servant – all the rest, the “benefactors”, are merely imposters.
This is not a position of glory – but it is. This is not a place of wealth – but you lack not. This is not a place of prominence – but you are seated with the most Prominent. It is not necessarily visible because is operates from a spirit of transparency among other members of the Body. The only accolades that accompany it are those from the Father.
This is the Life He lived and because He lived it, is Worthy to beckon us to reach for the same standard He set with His life.
He is looking for willing vessels relinquished to Him, purified by Him and set apart for Him..
*Complete message here