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I’ve heard it repeatedly said, “We Christians are not to follow a man,” or, “We are not to focus on a man,” or, “Things are not to revolve around one man.” All these years I believed this and even preached it, and to be sure, most of us have been deceived by these notions because they contain an element of truth. We aren’t to worship any man, and indeed, things shouldn’t revolve around a man.
God alone is Lord and Savior of all mankind, and alone worthy to be worshiped. He alone laid down His life for us and had the power to raise it up again. Only God is righteous, holy, and perfect. Every one of us has need of Him while He has no need of any of us. To Him and Him alone belongs ultimate devotion and allegiance as the One and Only God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
By believing this lie, people have been held in darkness, refusing to submit to a man of God.
Enter the rebels and liars, the proud, stubborn, stiff-necked, and independent. Enter Satan and those given over to disobedience, lawlessness, arrogance, and waywardness. All the while that I confessedly believed the lie that we weren’t to follow a man, I felt something wasn’t quite right.
The lie didn’t stop me from obeying God (His hand was on me), but it did weaken me when the rebellious would come and simply brush away anything I had to say from God by saying, “We have a problem with focusing on a man.” I knew they weren’t right in spirit or motive, but the words seemed right. Therefore I often didn’t refute the words.
I wasn’t trying to get them to follow me – I was speaking things from the Lord, and they didn’t believe me because they weren’t hearing it directly from Him, but thought they should. To them, believing what God was giving me to give them was to believe a man and not God.
I now know better. Praise God, He has revealed to me the truth in this matter and it is no small revelation. It’s foundational. By believing this false doctrine, people have been held in darkness, refusing to submit to a man of God or to anyone who had some extensive truth from God to share. By believing this lie, they’ve had what appears to be sound reason to reject God’s authority at every turn.
Now, why is it a lie to refuse the leadership and Word of God by men?
1) God always comes through a man and always expects those to whom the man is sent to say, “Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord.”
2) To believe the lie breeds pride, not humility; rebellion, not submission; stubbornness, not meekness; and independence of God. Believing the lie also proceeds from these negative attitudes.
Those who are God’s are instructed both by Him and those He sends to submit to men of God.
There is much confusion because many have come seeking submission to themselves when they had no business doing so in the Name of God. These are egotists, misguided souls, power-seekers, predators, deceivers (some sincere because deceived themselves), dreamers, and opportunists with little or no conscience, devil-inspired as angels of light. Liars attract liars, however; those deceived by phonies are phony themselves.
Jesus warned of such deceivers. So did Paul and other apostles. God protects and is faithful to those who love the truth, but to those who love lies He sends strong delusion that they should believe a lie and be damned (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).
Search the Scriptures! Over and over again people after God, or who are God’s, are instructed both by Him and those He sends to submit to men of God, to obey them, and to follow them. Not once do the Scriptures say, “Don’t put your eyes on a man!” Not once! Yet this lie has been so prevalent, we all assumed that surely it was in the Bible as a basic premise. Isn’t it ironic that Satan uses men to lie to and mislead us, telling us we ought not to believe and follow men?
So now the deceivers and the deceived say, “So what about those who followed Koresh or Jim Jones or…? Didn’t they perish because they had their eyes on man and not on God?” The answer is YES. But closer to the truth is they had their eyes on deceivers because they didn’t have their eyes on God.
To have one’s eyes on God does not presuppose he will disregard a man of God. It does mean that he won’t follow the voice of a phony. So the issue isn’t whether or not you have your eyes on a man, but on what man? Will you choose a liar or God? If you choose God, you will submit to, obey, look to, and put your eyes on the man He sends in His stead.
“How does one tell a phony from a genuine man of God?” We go to the Lord and to the Scriptures.
You will, in essence, be saying, “Blessed is he that comes in the Name of the Lord.” Rebels demand that God manifests Himself to them personally, thus eliminating the possibility of His coming personally in a man, and eliminating the possibility of their being accountable to God, seeing as how He never manifested Himself as far as they are concerned.
Now the big question: “How does one tell a phony from a genuine man of God?” We go to the Lord and to the Scriptures. Jesus pointed to His works as well as His words. Paul pointed to his lifestyle and works. They all lived what they preached. It wasn’t simply a matter of doctrine to them, even if sound. It was a matter of life itself.
Why didn’t the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Sanhedrin, the scribes, doctors, lawyers, elders, rulers, and others know it was God in the flesh Who stood before them? Were not many of these learned in the Scriptures? Yes, they were, very much so! So then it is obvious that going to the Scriptures isn’t enough – not nearly.
For example, how is it the Jews have studied the Scriptures in their schools and synagogues all these millennia and yet don’t know their Maker and Savior and Lord? Ironically, the answer is still in the Scriptures. Jesus said:
“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life. And they are the ones witnessing of Me, and you will not come to Me that you might have life” (John 5:39-40 MKJV).
How can we discern right doctrine, then? Jesus said:
“My doctrine is not Mine, but His Who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it is of God, or I speak from Myself. He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory, but he who seeks the glory of Him Who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 7:16-18 MKJV).
He repeatedly said to His disciples that to them it was given to understand, while to others it wasn’t given (Matthew 13:11; Luke 8:10; John 3:27; 6:44). So it is a gift of God to know a true man of God.
I declare I am from God, I represent Him, I do His will and call on others to do the same.
Consider that it was the religious, and those who thought themselves well versed in the Scriptures, who vehemently opposed the truth at all times and finally crucified the Truth Himself in the Name of God, claiming support of Scripture (John 7:52).
Here is more to consider: Who is opposed, and who does the opposing? Who does the teaching that brings persecution, and who does the persecuting? Who speaks openly while detractors quietly oppose him behind his back as well as openly in bitter manner? Who speaks substance while detractors speak the same old thing that has kept people bound everywhere? “You shall know them by their fruits,” Jesus advised.
I declare I am from God, that I represent Him, that I do His will and call on all others concerned to do the same. Let those who prefer the status quo of social enjoyment, religion, and death remain where they are. To those wanting a living relationship with God through knowledge of Him and His will, what I have to say is a cool drink of water in a hot desert, a cool breeze on a hot day, and a shelter from the storm. I’m life from the dead.
Do I divide? No. But the truth does in that when I speak the truth, some will believe and act on it, while others will reject it and remain where they are. Am I therefore not of God because people are divided? If I divide, I, with the Lord, am a divider of sheep and goats in this, His great and last day.
I call on those who desire to be His to come and be raised from the dead, to be fed, healed, delivered, taught, and clothed. I can do nothing of myself but what God has granted and required of me to do of His will in this, His last day.
Consider also that if people remain where they are, there will be no controversy, persecution, battle, division, forsaking, or sacrifice; there will be no need to lay down one’s life for the cause of Truth, no cross to take up, no mental agony or other hardships to endure, and no reward or honor, which only comes from God, not from men.
“Yea, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and seducers will go forward to worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:12-13 MKJV).
Pews are comfortable, crosses are definitely not.
Jesus asked, “How can you believe, which receive honor one of another, and do not seek the honor that comes from God only?” (John 5:44)
Even of some who believed, John writes, “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue [church]: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:42-43).
Pews are comfortable, crosses are definitely not. Banqueting tables are enjoyable, feeding on crumbs under them is not; praise of men is desirable, their scorn is not; walking with many feels secure, walking alone rather otherwise. But what one will find on the other side of the cross, one will not find on the other side of the pew.
Earthly banqueting tables feed the flesh and are temporal, while the crumbs, by nature, deny the flesh, yet in Christ are able to bring eternal feasting. Praises of men draw us from God, while their scorn drives us to Him. Congregations of sinners surrounding us will secure our damnation, while separation from them for His sake leads to life. Jesus said:
“Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. Because narrow is the gate and constricted is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14 MKJV).
God requires obedience of people toward a man. Read Numbers 16 – all of it. Note that God not only required that the people honor Moses and Aaron, but condemned those who placed themselves on a par with God’s appointed rulers and spoke against the men of God.
Here’s what God says of His anointed: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers plot together, against the LORD and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands in two and cast away their cords from us’” (Psalms 2:2-3 MKJV).
“But that’s all Old Testament,” rebels reply. So what do gainsayers have to say about this Word of the Lord?:
“Behold, I give out of those of the synagogue of Satan, those saying themselves to be Jews and are not, but lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you” (Revelation 3:9 MKJV).
Was this not speaking of the feet of men – believers – faithful ones?
Did Paul say, “Put your eyes on God”? or, “Put your eyes on me even as I put my eyes on God”?
Isaiah, whom Jesus often quoted, spoke of rebellion against men of God:
“This is a rebellious people, lying children that will not hear the Law of the Lord: which say to the seers, ‘See not’; and to the prophets, ‘Prophesy not to us right things, speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us’” (Isaiah 30:9-11).
Wasn’t the Holy One of Israel present there in the seers?
And what about Jacob’s son, Joseph, to whom God caused his whole family, father included, to bow down, as his dreams foretold? Are God’s ways foreign to these kinds of things? Joseph was a man of God, prepared and sent of God.
Did Paul say, “Put your eyes on God”? or, “Put your eyes on me even as I put my eyes on God”?
“Be imitators of me, even as I also am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 MKJV).
“Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me” (1 Corinthians 4:16 KJV).
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17 KJV).
“And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thessalonians 1:6 KJV).
“For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews” (1 Thessalonians 2:14 KJV).
“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee’” (Hebrews 6:12-14 KJV).
On whom was Paul encouraging the saints to put their eyes on?
“Do those things which you have also learned and received and heard and seen in me. And the God of peace shall be with you” (Philippians 4:9 MKJV).
“But for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all long-suffering, as a pattern to those being about to believe on Him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:16 MKJV).
“But I exhort you, brothers. You know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruit of Achaia, and they appointed themselves to ministry to the saints. See that you also submit to such ones, and to everyone working and laboring with me” (1 Corinthians 16:15-16 MKJV).
Not stuff for the proud, is it?
Jesus came as a man and set an example, and sent men as He was sent by the Father.
Peter writes: “Likewise, younger ones, be subject to older ones, and all being subject to one another. Put on humility. For God resists proud ones, but He gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5 MKJV).
Gainsayers insist we must submit to one another. Yes, we are to submit to one another, as well. Where truth is spoken, we do well to heed, whether a stranger, a wife, a child, or an ass speaks. But let me ask this of gainsayers: Do you submit to anyone if not to men of God? That is unlikely. God have mercy!
There is an abundance of Scripture on following a man, including Jesus, Who came as a man and set an example, and sent men as He was sent by the Father:
“And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men’” (Matthew 4:19 MKJV).
“But Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me, and let the dead bury their dead’” (Matthew 8:22 MKJV).
“And as Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax-office. And He said to him, ‘Follow Me!’ And he arose and followed Him” (Matthew 9:9 MKJV).
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me’” (Matthew 16:24 MKJV).
“Jesus said to him, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven. And come, follow Me’” (Matthew 19:21 MKJV).
But men will find noble excuses to reject following the Lord or the men He sends: “And He said to another, ‘Follow Me!’ But he said, ‘Lord, first allow me to go and bury my father’” (Luke 9:59 MKJV).
“If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also My servant shall be. If anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him” (John 12:26 MKJV).
“For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us. For we did not behave ourselves disorderly among you” (2 Thessalonians 3:7 MKJV).
Why didn’t God simply speak to the people directly, instead of sending His Son?
“Remember those leading you, who have spoken to you the Word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conduct: Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:7-8 MKJV).
“Yield to those leading you, and be submissive, for they watch for your souls, as those who must give account, that they may do it with joy and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17 MKJV).
Why didn’t God simply speak to the people directly, instead of sending His Son? Why did He send Moses and the prophets to tell the people what they needed to hear? Why did He send John, Stephen, Agabus, Paul, and other apostles to call on people to believe, follow, and obey them? Think about it.
Finally, we have God saying to the man Moses:
“I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, one like you, and will put My words in his mouth. And he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. And it shall happen, whatever man will not listen to My Words which he shall speak in My Name, I will require it of him. But the prophet who shall presume to speak a word in My Name which I have not commanded him to speak or who shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:18-20 MKJV).
Then we have Moses (a man sent of God in God’s stead) saying, “The LORD your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, one like me. To him you shall listen” (Deuteronomy 18:15 MKJV).
Yes, as Peter declared in Acts 3:26, this prophecy of one to come after Moses is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, in all those who are sent by Him to speak to others that which He requires and inspires by His Spirit to speak.
People, the problem isn’t with me, but with this 20th century, Western, democratic, “advanced”, “civilized”, “modern Christianized” world departed from the norm of God – the ME generation, the Entitlement Crowd, demanding rights of all kinds. It was not so in the beginning. Let’s return to God!