Come Down and Worship
by George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
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We live in a day when nothing seems to make any sense, even the worship of the one true God, Christ Jesus, has come into a state of chaos and confusion. All religions think they are right, yet they are diverse one from another as day is from night. All are ready to defend what they believe to be the only true religion, and they are the only ones who are walking the right way and worshiping the one true God correctly. Others believe all religions are good, and they can worship God, or any god any way they choose. So mankind continues down his road of confusion, hoping he is acceptable in the sight of his God, and confident he will enter into the rewards made to those who faithfully serve Him. The All-Wise Solomon warned:
"There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 16:25
Many today are walking in a way they have been told is the right way. These are taught to believe they are right in the sight of God because of the day of the week they worship Him. Others are told they are pleasing to God because of the way they dress. While others are told they are pleasing to God because they deny themselves certain comforts of this life. And the multitudes believe that they are right because they have aligned themselves with this or that religion and adhere to their dictates and doctrines. These go through life ignoring the words of Paul:
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." II Timothy 3:5
All religions have a form of godliness, but they deny the power of change God wants to bring into their life. Jesus quoted the prophet Isaiah when He declared:
"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:8-9
When one follows the doctrines of men, his worship of God becomes vain or worthless in the sight of God. If we follow the ways that seem right in the sight of man, then our end will be death. God sent His only Son to be an example to us, that we should follow in His steps, I Peter 2:21, because as Jesus stated:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me." John 14:6
There is one way, and one way only to come to the Father, and that is to walk the way Jesus walked. Jesus was, and is, the Word of life. When Jesus walked the earth there was no New Testament. Jesus knew what the Father expected of Him because His life was laid out in the Old Testament. When Jesus walked with two of His disciples after His death on the road to Emmaus, He began. . .
". . .at Moses and all the prophets, and expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." Luke 24:27
Moses and the prophets are the Old Testament. Therefore if we are to learn the way we must walk, we not only need the New Testament, we also need the Old Testament. The Old Testament contains many direct prophecies, types, shadows, and similitudes. God has given many examples in the Old Testament of what is right in His sight and what is unacceptable in His sight. If we are to walk in His way and become acceptable in His sight we must learn and apply the truths of the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.
In searching out these truths, we need to consider the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cupbearer in the court of the King of Babylon during Israel's captivity. God ordained Israel would be seventy years in bondage because of their gross sin of falling into idolatry. When Nehemiah heard the walls of Jerusalem lay waste, his heart was broken. He sought the king for leave to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls.
Spiritually, Jerusalem is the true place of worship; not the physical city called Jerusalem, but the Spiritual city, New Jerusalem. On the Isle of Patmos, Jesus revealed to John the Spiritual meaning of the "wall". The walls of Jerusalem represent the place where we can Spiritually enter into the protection of the Lord. It was Nehemiah's desire that God's people enter again into the protection and security of the Lord.
God's cry in the earth today is "Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!" Yet God's people continue down the same path of putting their trust and security in their money, their jobs, or the government. Many have failed to enter into the protection and security of our God.
When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he surveyed the demolished walls with their piles of rubble. The gates had been burned and the walls broken down. Nehemiah rallied the people to rebuild the walls, so God's people could live in the security God had provided for them.
If God's people will not repent, return unto Him, and come under His wings of total protection, then they will suffer the wrath of God which is about to be poured out upon the earth. It has become common knowledge that this materialistic way of life and our monetary system is about to fail. Economies are failing daily and untold jobs will be eliminated. The government can no longer be our wall of protection for it, too, is failing.
Hinderers of the Work
Nehemiah, in his zeal to serve his God, oversaw the entire task of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. As soon as he began, the enemy raised its ugly head and began to hinder the work.
"When Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, heard of it, it grieved them exceedingly that there was come a man to seek the welfare of the children of Israel." Nehemiah 2:10
Sanballat and Tobiah became the main hindrances to the work of God. Sanballat was an Horonite. Most believe he came from Horonaim. This would make Sanballat a Moabite, or a descendant of Moab. Tobiah was an Ammonite, or a descendant of Ammon. Moab and Ammon were the incestuous sons of Lot. A curse was pronounced upon Moab and Ammon because they did not meet Israel with bread (food) and water when they came out of Egypt.
"An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever." Deuteronomy 23:3
No Moabite or Ammonite will enter into the congregation of the Lord forever. When speaking to His disciples, Jesus spoke of those who would not enter into His presence. Jesus revealed this in the separating of the sheep and the goats. The sheep are those who know His voice and follow His ways. The goats are the independent ones who go their own way and do their own thing, not desiring the things of God. To His sheep He says, "Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world". Matthew 25:34. To the goats He will say...
". . .Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:" Matthew 25:41-42
God cursed the Ammonite and Moabite because they did not provide food and water to Israel when they came out of Egypt. The Ammonites and the Moabites are with us today to hinder all who are leaving Egypt, (the world) and are trying to enter into the presence and security of the Lord. These are the goats whom Jesus has cursed into everlasting fire.
Sanballat and Tobiah were not the only enemies Nehemiah had in the rebuilding of the wall.
"But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? Will ye rebel against the King? Nehemiah 2:19
Geshem was also confederate with Sanballat and Tobiah as an enemy of God's work. Geshem was an Arabian. The Arabians were sons of Ishmael. Ishmael was the son of Abraham's concubine, Hagar. Isaac, the son of promise, was born to Sarah, Abraham's wife. The prophet Isaiah addressed these two offspring of Abraham:
"Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord." Isaiah 54:1
Isaiah called the seed of Hagar, barren and desolate. Isaiah also assured all who would see, that the seed of Hagar would have more children, than those of the married wife, Sarah. Paul quoted this same Scripture in his letter to the churches of Galatia:
"For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." Galatians 4:27-29
The children of promise are those who are born of the Spirit. These can expect to be persecuted by those who are born of the flesh. Even though Geshem and the Arabians are offspring of Abraham, God calls them "barren and desolate", not understanding the things of the Spirit. These only worship God in the flesh. They have organized themselves into religions and have bound themselves together under man-made doctrines. The Arabians are still in our midst persecuting those who desire to be shut in with God.
Nehemiah had yet another enemy in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, the true place of worship:
"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat heard that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?" Nehemiah 4:1-2
Sanballat had the whole army of Samaria on his side to fight against what God was trying to accomplish in His people. We must recognize who these Samaritans represent. After the death of Solomon Israel was divided into two parts. God gave the Northern ten tribes to Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon. These are referred to as Israel. Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, was only left with the tribe of Judah. Rehoboam ruled from Jerusalem. The southern tribe was known as Judah.
Under the reign of Jeroboam, Israel became very wicked. Every king in the Northern tribes, except one, was evil. The Northern Kingdom of Israel only lasted two hundred and ten years. In 721 B.C. God allowed the Assyrians to overthrow Israel and scatter its inhabitants to the four corners of the earth.
"And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof." II King 17:24
Because of Israel's sin, God allowed Samaria to be filled with heathen nations. These heathen nations mixed with the Israelites who remained in Samaria. They became a mixed multitude, who even though they had a Godly name, "Israelites", they took on the character and ways of the heathen. The same is true today in the church system. Today the heathen are allowed to sit in the midst of God's people. Marriages between those who call themselves by God's name and the heathen are common. Truly the church has become a mixed multitude. The prophet Ezekiel spoke of today's modern church:
"Her priests have violated My law, and have profaned Mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from My sabbaths, and I am profaned among them." Ezekiel 22:26
No difference is made between the holy and the profane in the church system today. The unclean are allowed to sit with the clean, and no separation is made. The army of Samaria makes up the greater portion of churches today.
Nehemiah had another enemy:
"But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth," Nehemiah 4:7
The Ashdodites were from Ashdod. Ashdod was one of five main cities in Philistia. The people of Philistia were called Philistines. Philistia was a heathen nation who were neighbors of Israel. The Philistines were a constant enemy of Israel. Many times Israel defeated the Philistines, but they never destroyed them. The Philistines represent the old, Adamic nature we all struggle with. We have had many victories over the flesh, but the flesh always raises its ugly head to bring us again into defeat. As Paul revealed:
"Now all these things happened unto them (Israel) for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." I Corinthians 10:11
We need to heed Israel's victories and defeats to know what God expects of us. The Ashdodites (flesh) is still our biggest enemy.
Nehemiah faced all the same enemies we face today. Even though Nehemiah had many enemies, he was not deterred from the task God had set before him. Nehemiah's proclamation should be our watch word in everything we do when the enemy comes in like a flood:
"Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem." Nehemiah 2:20
These enemies have no portion, nor right, nor memorial in Jerusalem, the true place of worship. In the book of Nehemiah we recognize the enemy. These enemies continue to hinder all those who desire to enter into God's protection and security.
The Enemy's Tactics
We have identified the enemy, now we need to expose his tactics. Nehemiah was dedicated to serving God. God's calling in Nehemiah's life was made sure. Today many who are attempting to live Godly lives and fulfill God's calling in their lives are hindered by these same enemies:
"Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, "Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall." Nehemiah 4:3
Tobiah mockingly used cutting remarks of discouragement and disrespect. Discouragement and disrespect are common today in the church. One denomination has no respect for the work of any other denomination. There is a constant pulling from one denomination to another denomination to fill their pews. Many times the members of the same denomination speak against and tear down the work of ministries in their own denominations. When someone outside their denominational system begins another work to teach and admonish God's people in Kingdom ways, their persecution is especially harsh. They proclaim, "How can this person know anything? He has not been to our seminaries?"
Those who attempt to lift God's people out of their religious rut are discouraged, disrespected, and spoken against from the pulpits. Even those who desire to become part of this work are discouraged and spoken against. It would be hard for the denominational system to justify their actions by the Word of God. Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel". This discouragement and disrespect is not in God's plan for those He has chosen to do His work. How far have we fallen from the truth of His glorious gospel?
One ingredient that binds all the enemies of God together is a common cause:
"And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it." Nehemiah 4:8
Nehemiah, as the true church today, had many enemies. These did not operate separately. They conspired together. This conspiring together is still happening today. When a new church springs up, pastors who would not speak to each other before, get together to conspire against the new church. This is done under the name of protecting the flock. This is not new. When the religious system and the government came against Jesus, there was an alliance made between Herod and Pilate:
"And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." Luke 23 :12
Uncertainty and unknowing always create bonds between enemies to fight against that which they do not understand. Nehemiah knew how to defend himself against such activity.
"Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them." Nehemiah 4:9
If the work is of God then we do not need to fight to keep the work in tact. God is able to defend His work and His workers. It is our job to pray. Our watchers need to be set in the Spiritual realm, not the physical realm. When Peter and John were taken before the counsel to give an account for their preaching, Gamaliel spoke a warning to all who are enemies to God's work.
"And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." Acts 5:38-39
Many today choose to fight against the God they declare they serve. Nehemiah never fought the enemy physically. As Nehemiah, God's faithful today need to fight their enemies in the Spiritual realm. As the enemy comes against God's chosen to degrade and discourage them, then God's chosen need to enter into their closet to invoke God's blessing and protection in their lives.
The hinderers continued their onslaught:
"And our adversaries said, They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease." Nehemiah 4:11
The enemy seeks to infiltrate the work to cause the work to cease. This is nothing new. This has been the enemy's tactics from the beginning. When Paul went to Ephesus, he called the elders of the church together to warn them of the attack of the enemy.
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." Acts 20:29
We have all heard of wolves in sheep's clothing. They look like the sheep, but they are grievous, ravening wolves who come into divide and devour the flock. Jesus warned His people of these ravening wolves:
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." Matthew 7:15
Today the church is full of false prophets. The Apostle Peter who was given the keys to the Kingdom also warned God's people of this present age:
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." II Peter 2:1
False prophets and false teachers have ravished the church, bringing in damnable heresies that deny the Lord Jesus and His teaching. They truly have divided God's flock, not so much from each other as they have divided His flock from the Lord Himself. They are drawing God's flock to be followers of themselves. The prophet Ezekiel warned God's people against these false prophets:
"Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts." Ezekiel 13:2-4
The false prophets prophesy out of their own heart. They have seen nothing and have heard nothing from the Lord. They prophesy to draw attention to themselves and to gain a following. These draw God's people away from the true Word. These want God's people to look to them in all things. These have truly ravaged the flock of God. Paul wrote to the churches at Galatia:
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." Galatians 2:4
False brethren, false prophets, and false teachers have entered in to spy out the liberty we have in Christ Jesus. They desire to bring us again into bondage of the law, the bondage of man's doctrine, his dress code, and his moral standards. When we allow ourselves to be brought under man's bondage, then our liberty in Christ Jesus is lost.
We become victims of man's religious system where the blind lead the blind and all fall into a ditch. The ditch runs on both sides of the road. The road is where we should walk. When we are led into the ditch we fall into man's religious rut. Once we fall into man's religious rut, it is difficult to get out, because all who are in the same religious rut keep pulling their victims back into their religious rut with threats and tears. God is raising up His true church, and hedging it about in a place of safety and security for the troubled days ahead.
All Nehemiah's enemies were intent on stopping and destroying the work. Nehemiah took precautions to defend the people from the enemy and keep the workers informed of the enemies efforts. How did he do this?
"For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me." Nehemiah 4:18
If we are going to accomplish the work God has set before us, we must have our sword girded by our side. Paul informed the church at Ephesus, "...the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, Ephesians 6:17.
What other precautions did Nehemiah take? Nehemiah had the one who sounded the trumpet by his side. The trumpet is the prophetic voice . The prophetic voice is not to run rampant in the church. Many churches are run by the voice of so-called prophets. Many live their whole lives waiting on the voice of the prophet to be fulfilled in their lives.
The church at Corinth was a very fleshly immature church. Paul wrote to the church at Corinth to bring some semblance of order to that church. The gifts of the Spirit were being abused. Paul informed them:
"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." I Corinthians 14:29
Every prophesy that comes forth must be judged. How? By the Spirit and by the Word. Every prophesy must line up with the Word of God. If it cannot be proven in the Word it is to be rejected. It must also line up with the Spirit of those who receive it. If it does not line up with our spirit, it is to be put on the shelf until it is proven true or false.
When all attempts of the enemy to discourage, to show disrespect, and to infiltrate failed, they tried the oldest ploy in the world:
"Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;)" Nehemiah 6:1
The walls were complete, but the gates had not been set up. The enemy still had access to God's work. When we fail to set up the gates, then our wall of protection is not complete. When there is any opening or crack in the wall, the enemy will come in like a flood. God has set up His gates in our life. The gatekeepers are the leadership, and they are placed there to guard against the enemy coming in to divide and devour the flock.
"That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief." Nehemiah 6:2
The most common tactic in the religious system is to invite those who are doing the work of God to join them in some good work, or organized meetings. What was Nehemiah's answer?
"And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you? Nehemiah 6:3
Nehemiah was busy doing God's work. He had no time to go down to meet with the enemies of God. The word down means "to descend, decline, and to sink". When we go down we are going away from God. Remember, Jerusalem represents the true place of worship. In the Bible, when people went to Jerusalem, it was always said they went up to Jerusalem. When they were going away from God, they always went down. Yet today many times we hear, "Come down to our meeting. Come down and worship with us, or come down to our revival."
The word revival means "to revive or bring to life again." When the church has a revival we must assume their church has died again. So they must hire some fancy speaker to bring the people to life again. In the past, revivals have had a wide reaching effect, sometimes to whole countries. Today the organized church cannot even get their members to come. In the past, whole segments of a community or city were touched. Now if one or two come to a saving knowledge of Christ, the revival is deemed a huge success. Certainly one or two coming unto Christ is important, but what is more important is what happens afterward to those one or two. If, by the next spring or the next fall the church has to have another revival, we can assume these newborns will have died also, and gone back to their old ways. Unfortunately, these will probably have been hardened and will never again darken a church door, stating, "I tried religion, and it doesn't work". Yet revivals continue and the failures mount, and we are continually invited to come down and worship.
Another ploy used by the enemies of God's work is pastoral organizations, pastors' committees and monthly meetings of all the pastors in the community. These generally turn into gossip meetings, talking about those pastors who do not want to be part of their man-made meetings.
When a pastor, who has a vision of his calling in God, refuses to come down to meet with them, then much pressure is brought to bear. Paul revealed these pastors are gifts of God to the people:
"For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:" Ephesians 4:12-13
These men who have caught the vision can state as Nehemiah, "God has given us a great work to do and we cannot come down to meet with you". These who have caught the vision of God's work in the earth seek fellowship on a higher level.
Those who have chosen to become part of the higher walk in God are not free from the attacks of the enemy. They are proselyted and drawn away with threats of their being part of a cult. All these attacks come because the leadership will not come down to meet with them.
God refers to the church as "the womb (woman)". We read much about the deadness of Sarah's womb. The organized church today has become Sarah's womb. It makes no difference if it is the old denominational system, the Pentecostals, or the Charismatics. These work up emotion and call it Spirit or worship. Their loud musical instruments drown out the people's voices, and they call it praise; the louder the better. We are God's instruments of praise. God desires to hear His instruments praise Him. Musical instruments are to be used to enhance the praise of God's people, not replace it. David the Psalmist wrote:
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel." Psalm 22:3
We can praise God many ways: with our voice, with our hands, and with instruments. But all things must be done decently and in order. Our praise must be in order, our worship must be in order, and our lives must be in order with God's Word.
Another aspect of coming down and worshiping with us is conventions. Many groups have their annual, semi-annual, or quarterly conventions. People travel from one end of the country to the other to attend conventions to hear the latest word or revelation. Paul spoke of these as. . .
"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." II Timothy 3:7
What is the knowledge of the truth? The knowledge of the truth is the Word of God. Today most depend on the pulpit to get their knowledge of the truth. God wants His people to come to Him to receive the knowledge of the truth. John the Beloved wrote:
"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him." I John 2:27
The anointing (the Holy Spirit) is our teacher. We need not that any man teach us if we are walking in the anointing and applying ourselves to the Word. The Psalmist wrote:
"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." Psalm 46:10
The phrase be still means "to relax and withdraw and know He is God." When we are still, relaxed, withdrawn, and come apart we come into a knowing of who God is, and what His plan and purpose is for our life. We cannot come into this knowing running to and fro, seeking a new Spiritual high from the latest convention. These mountain top experiences lead to the valley of depression, doubt, and fear. Many times this depression, doubt, and fear comes from the attitude, "I have not reached the Spiritual maturity of so and so; or, I do not have as great a calling as so and so. God must not love me as much, or maybe I am just no good to God." We must always remember Peter's words:
"Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:" Acts 10:34
God is no respecter of persons. He doesn't think more of so and so then He does you. We need to seek God in the calling He has in our life, and not get our eyes upon man, or man's activities. If we get our eyes off the Lord and His calling in our life, we are sure to be headed for the valley of depression. Those who spend their time running to this convention or to that revival miss being still and knowing their God in an intimate way. Many follow this great man of God or that great healer. They run to and fro trying to find out God's latest revelation. These are looking for their next Spiritual high. They are drawn to these meetings as a drug addict is drawn to his next fix. These are failing to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling before God, Philippians 2:12.
Come Down and Worship With Us
Many churches have a sign in front of their building that says, "Everybody Welcome". How far has the church fallen? Everyone should not be welcome in the church. How can we worship and praise our God in the midst of the heathen. When the unsaved come into our midst they should not be comfortable. The presence of the Holy Spirit, the convicting power of God, should bring them under conviction. When the unsaved come into the presence of the pure and holy God, they must make a decision to change their way of life, or change their church. Unfortunately the unsaved are comfortable in most churches today because the Holy Spirit is not welcome in their midst. These are the churches Paul spoke of who have a form of godliness, but deny the power of the Holy Spirit in their midst, II Timothy 3:5.
Most churches have a form of godliness and deny the power and working of the Holy Spirit in their midst. From these we are to turn away. The word turn means "to shun and avoid". We are to shun or avoid those who profess godliness, but have no power. The heathen are welcome in these churches because they fill seats and collection plates. We are admonished by our God:
"Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," II Corinthians 6:17
We are to come away from the unclean, those who have not been cleansed by the washing of water by the Word. When we do this God proclaims, "I will receive you." He will not receive us in the midst of the heathen. The writer of Hebrews speaking of Jesus our example explained:
"For such an High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;" Hebrews 7:26
Jesus never turned His back on sinners, but He did not become part of their sin, nor were they allowed to join Him and remain in their sin. Yet in the church, people who have never made a commitment to Christ, nor turned from their unclean ways are allowed to sit in the church for forty or fifty years or longer. And we wonder why the church system is dead. It's because the Spirit has departed. The church has proclaimed for all to see EVERYBODY WELCOME. They have accepted all who wanted to come down and worship with them.
The enemies of God's work are tireless. Nehemiah refused to come down to meet with the enemies. We need to be a people who will stand. If people want to fellowship with us they should come up to our walk. It is not that we should set ourselves above anyone, nor should we be too good to reach down and pull someone out of the mire and corruption of the world. Our walk is, or should be, ordained by God. Jesus never lowered His standard to walk with anyone. He was our example of compassion, love, mercy, and an exalted walk.
Sanballat and Tobiah came to Nehemiah five times to get him to lower himself and come down to meet with them.
"Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together." Nehemiah 6:5-7
When we refuse to come down to worship with them, then the threats begin. False accusations abound, then reproach is brought upon our name. Nothing is too low for the enemy of God's work to try. Nothing has changed in the religious system. As we study the New Testament we understand how many times the enemies of God's work wanted to kill Jesus:
"I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because My Word hath no place in you." John 8:37
The Word of God has no place in the enemies of God's work. The fear of God is not part of their being. They do the works of the flesh to protect their religious system and what they have chosen to believe. Jesus continued:
"But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham." John 8:40
It is no different today. When we tell people the truth they seek to kill us. Most are not interested in the truth. All they want is to look good and be acceptable in the sight of man. It was said of Paul:
". . .These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;" Acts 17:6
Today there are those who are turning the religious world upside down with the truth of the Word, and the enemies of God are out to stop them any way they can. Paul proclaimed:
"For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple and went about to kill me." Acts 26:21
When the threats and the false accusations did not work, more drastic measures were taken.
"For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands." Nehemiah 6:9
When talk and letters fail, then one of the oldest tools in the enemies' arsenal is employed, and that is fear. If we succumb to fear our hands will be weakened in the work. Most of the time this comes through false prophecy. If you don't cease what you are doing, physical harm will come upon you, or God will destroy you, or everybody will turn against you. These tactics have been successful in the past to hinder those who desire to enter into the security and protection of God. We need to know and understand fear:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." II Timothy 1:7
The first thing we learn about fear is that it is a spirit. The second thing we learn is it is not of God. So fear is from the spirit of darkness. Fear always weakens the hands of God's servants. Yet God's people are filled with fear, doubt, and unbelief. By the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit we can take control of the spirit of fear and cast it out. We need not give place to fear anymore in our lives. We are already the victors over fear if we let God have His way in our lives. The enemy was not yet finished with Nehemiah:
"Afterward I came unto the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah the son of Mehetabeel, who was shut up; and he said, Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple and let us shut the doors of the temple: for they will come to slay thee; yea, in the night will they come to slay thee." Nehemiah 6:10
It was against the law for anyone who was not a Levite to enter into the temple. Those who did so were worthy of death. When all other avenues of the enemy fail, then they attempt to entice their victim to break one of God's laws. The whole Bible is God's law. If the enemy can get us to do something against God's Word, they have the victory because God must deal with all who disobey His Word. Nehemiah knew by the Spirit this was another attempt by the enemy.
"And, lo, I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me: for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. Therefore was he hired, that I should be afraid, and do so, and sin, and that they might have matter for an evil report, that they might reproach me." Nehemiah 6:12-13
God's enemies have used fear and reproach from the beginning to accomplish their father, the devil's work. Nehemiah listened to the voice of God. He did not operate his life on fear, threats, or intimidations. His answer to Shemaiah was:
"And I said, Should such a man as I flee? And who is there, that, being as I am, would go into the temple to save his life? I will not go in." Nehemiah 6:11
Nehemiah knew his place in God. He was a servant of the Most High God. His work, his ability, his knowledge, and his zeal were all from God. The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth:
"For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?" I Corinthians 4:7
Paul asked all those who are called into God's labor, "What makes you differ from anyone else?" The answer is simple, "God's calling and ability in your life is what makes you different." Paul proclaimed, "If we have received our calling and our ability from God, why do we act as if we have not received it?" If we have received our calling and ability, then it is God who should get the glory for any work we accomplish, and not man. Those who desire for us to come down and worship with them believe their calling and ability is within themselves. Their calling and abilities are from their religious orders because they were trained in their seminaries.
When God's people stand to do the work of the ministry God has given them to do, it will be as Nehemiah states:
"And it came to pass, that when all our enemies heard thereof, and all the heathen that were about us saw these things, they were much cast down in their own eyes: for they perceived that this work was wrought of our God." Nehemiah 6:16
When all the enemies' tactics fail, they can only admit the work was of God. As Paul wrote to the church at Rome:
"For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen." Romans 11:36
Nehemiah sought no glory, nor did he receive any for the work he did.
Nehemiah only had leave of the King of Babylon for a certain time. At the end of that time, he had to return to the palace at Shusan. After a period of time Nehemiah asked, and received permission to return to Jerusalem to check on the progress of the work:
"But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I unto the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:" Nehemiah 13:6
Nehemiah had been gone from Jerusalem for a number of years. When God's chosen are absent, then the enemy truly comes in like a flood. This was true in Nehemiah's time, it was true in the early church, and it is especially true today. Paul warned the elders at the church of Ephesus:
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock." Acts 20:29
During Nehemiah's absence what had entered in?
"And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God." Nehemiah 13:7
When Nehemiah returned he discovered Eliashib, the High Priest, had prepared living quarters for Tobiah in the temple. This was only the beginning of the evil Nehemiah discovered in Jerusalem, the true place of worship. As Nehemiah began to survey the work, it was made known unto him:
". . .One of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son in law to Sanballat the Horonite: therefore I chased him from me." Nehemiah 13:28
As we understand what the Lord is showing us in the life of Nehemiah, we can see and understand what has happened to the church. The Moabites and Ammonites had not only become one with the priesthood, they had moved in and taken over the house of God. Every denomination has its headquarters. The leaders of the denominational systems stand in the place of the High Priest in the Old Testament. These make policy for the denomination, decide what can be taught, what cannot be taught, and also who will be allowed to teach. Their dictates must be followed or you are not allowed to stand in their pulpits. This high priesthood of the denominational system has been taken over by the Moabites and the Ammonites. They have become confederate with the Arabians (sons of Ishmael), the army of the Samaritans (the mixed multitude), and the Ashdodites (the Philistine enemies of God). The sins of the priesthood are not all Nehemiah discovered on his return:
"And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people." Nehemiah 13:24
The children spake the tongue of Ashdod, or the tongue of the heathen. They could no longer speak the Jew's language. The Jew's language was the tongue of their fathers. Today the church no longer speaks the tongue of the Father, but rather they speak the tongue of their mother church. They speak what their denomination dictates rather than what the Word of God declares. They no longer speak the Word, they speak out of their own heart. They speak what they desire God to be, instead of what He is.
Because their children see no life in the church, they have turned from the phoniness and have gone back to the world. Their children know more about their rock stars and sports heroes then they do the life of Christ. Nehemiah's heart was broken:
"And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves." Nehemiah 13:25
Today those in the church have allowed their sons and daughters to marry the Ashdodites, the enemies of God. They completely ignore the words of Paul who warned:
"Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?" II Corinthians 6:14
What fellowship can the righteous have with the unrighteous? How can light commune with darkness? It cannot. Marriage is the yoking together of two people for life. Yet those who are in charge of teaching God's people His will and His way have failed to warn the people against allowing their children to be unequally yoked with the unbeliever.
The language used by the children and even the children of the leadership of the church is appalling. In the public school system you cannot distinguish between the Christian children and the heathen.
When compromise is taught in the home, then the children compromise with the world. Unfortunately compromise is also taught in the church. This is why the message of "Come down and worship with us" and "Everyone Welcome" is prevalent in the denominational systems today. The Moabites, Ammonites, Arabians, Samaritans, and Ashdodites must be driven from our midst if Christ is to return to the church.
A house cleaning is in order! How many of God's men who have their positions behind the pulpit are willing to make the decision to clean up God's house of worship? How many are willing to raise their standard of life? How many are willing to say to all those who desire a new way of life to "Come up and worship with us".
God does not move in our midst by emotion, but in righteousness and true holiness. God would say to the church, "Wake up! Clean up! And come up higher into My presence!" that we may commune together in the Spiritual realm which I have prepared for those who love Me. Amen.
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