I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Ps. 32:8
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. Ps. 23:1-2
This may be a challenging message to some because it could stretch the spiritual boundaries of some readers’ thinking while providing exposure to greater liberty in Christ.
The nation of America has devalued some important foundations that used to hold its people within the borders of reason, morality and decency. Without these strong borders, people are freely crossing over normal lines of restraint and few can rein them in without being accused of phobias or narrow-mindedness. Americans are so accustomed to concepts of inclusion and the comfort of being “part of the team,” until it has become unacceptable to call out an associate or team member for error. A spirit of tolerance is deemed as a better approach: We are all “okay.” This is our current fallacy that is leading to destructive practices that have descended to new “norms.” Where did we get this from? When did the lines between right and wrong, good and evil become so unimportant or invisible? When purebred animals are mated with a mixed-breed, we call them “mutts” because the value is lost and mutts cannot reproduce a purebred pedigree. “Mutt” is a term of disdain and has no value in discussion of purebreds. We can become just like that…without much value or worth because we have become contaminated with something considered filthy or disdained. This can be a delicate subject and may appear to imply disfavor of people some would not call proper or whole; but Christ loves all kinds of people even when He rejects improper conduct.
Quality of Leadership
Leaders ought to lead followers in the right path because of their familiarity with the goals and standards necessary to reach the destination and they should possess above average skills. Moses had the blueprint to the tabernacle and guidance from God to lead the people from the wilderness to Canaan Land. The Israelites followed Moses’ guidance from God because they saw evidence of God leading him. When Moses began to follow his own mind and disobeyed God’s guidance, he was set down and new leadership replaced him. God is still doing that today, but people are so accustomed to following the flesh of man even when divine guidance is gone. Believers should seek to follow the God in man revealed by the Holy Spirit, not his flesh.
Leaders ought to lead in the right way. They are not right because they lead; but because they lead, they ought to do what’s right. The bible painstakingly reveal in the books of Kings and the chronicles, the reign and result of good and bad kings. God set up good kings and pulled down bad ones, often turning bad ones over to their enemies for punishment. God grew weary of Israel’s bad leaders and decided to send us the perfect leader: Jesus Christ. The best possible leader and model has already come and shown the right way with empowerment to obtain levels of perfection. Christ could not remain among us in fleshly form nor was that His mission. He came to introduce a change that would improve our lives and world. He corrected our wrong course and brought deliverance from the penalty of sin and entrapment to Satan. He taught, empowered and established us on a better path for life in righteousness.
Many see church as the path Christ gave and have submitted themselves to a lifetime of church guidance. But is that what Jesus planned for the believer? Isaiah 61 tells us the Messiah would come to bind us the broken hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, opening prisons to the bound, proclaim the day of vengeance, comfort mourners, and to give joy and praise instead of mourning and heaviness. Jesus came at a time when there was already the God-ordained temple with religious leadership consisting of high priests, local priests, Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes knowledgeable in the word of God and who stood as leaders and teachers over the Israelites. With this vast knowledgeable religious leadership available, why was it necessary to bring in a new leader or change for God’s people? It was because these leaders had become self-absorbed and corrupt leaders who abused God’s people and His law. Prophet Isaiah records God’s summation of this problem:
His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter. Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant. Isa 56:10-12
Wickedness in God’s leaders required Jesus to come as Deliverer. At Christ’s coming, the Israelites needed deliverance from the bondage of Roman oppression and from the Jewish religious leaders working as accomplices to Rome and to their own religious heavy-handedness. Jesus observed the wickedness of men as individuals and leaders and instituted a new system to set both free. Religious leaders were no longer to be the burden carriers for the people but rather a veil of love covering and instructing the believer.
Christ’s Impact on Leadership
If Jesus was to come in the flesh today, the same type of bondage would be found in our nation. Government bondage is not from foreigners but from our own people through unjust laws. The universal and eternal story of Jesus Christ and His entry into Jerusalem can reveal a lot about our world when we take the time to explore it. Jesus was sent to bring change, restore and atone for the morality of his day and ours. His entry was the pivotal moment to change everything at a time when things were at their worst. We are at a similar moment in the nation of America. America has had the best opportunity with wealth, knowledge and liberty to provide its entire people the benefits of a good life but rather leaders pressed for more power, wealth and privilege for the elites. Here are some of the markers of both times.
- God’s people existed in bondage to oppressive government but Jesus brought liberty.
- Ungodly government and idol gods.
- Religious leaders in allegiance with the oppressive government hid truth.
- Religious leaders conspired with oppressors for position and money and betrayed their own people.
- The people of God toiled under abuse, extortion, ignorance, and poverty while their leaders were enjoying the benefits of wealth.
- The people were at a pivotal moment to change everything and establish a new kingdom.
- Opportunity to choose between two competing kingdoms (Christ or Satan) for eternal destiny.
- Disciples of Christ were sealed and given a place in His eternal kingdom.
Leadership is still heavy-handed in churches and binds people to legalities for fellowship and experience with God. People are burdened by both government and church without enjoying the liberties Jesus came to bring. One of the devastations of today’s religion is that some people do not realize they are in bondage to a religion called Christianity. The Jewish people at Christ’s coming were in bondage to Judaism because of corrupt religious leaders who ruled them. John the Baptist released his pastoral authority over followers and directed them to the liberty of Christ. Pastors today either do not know or refuse to release members into the liberty of Christ. They keep believers in a state of striving to obtain some mystical, unknown church goal. Christ revealed their inability to lead anyone where they themselves had never gone.
But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me. Joh 7:29
Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. Joh 8:55
Christ came to flip the script! Now every man can know God for himself and escape the false requirements of leaders. The veil has been ripped from top to bottom, the formalities have ended, and the tabernacle has been changed from a building to a body that is part of the Divine. Bondage has been broken and liberty has come.
And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. Heb 8:11
Christ told Matthew and Andrew: “Follow me.” John the Baptist’s disciples left John’s teaching and followed Christ. But what if John had forbade them to follow Christ’s lead? Many leaders are doing just that and people remain in bondage after learning of Christ. Christ admonished every believer to read the word for self and the truth would make them free. Within every believer and especially Spirit-empowered believers is the power to change the world. They are like “LEGO” bricks: full of potential as singles but when united with others, they can become anything. Christ came to give us the potential to do miracles as individuals and greater miracles in unity, but false leadership can squash that potential. Believers can be hindered under fleshly leadership rather than set free to mature and follow Christ into their destiny.
While visiting a church, the pastor was heard telling the spirit-filled congregation: “Before you make a major decision, come and talk to me.” I was appalled at such a demand. Wise counsel is always good but Christ never instructed believers to be led by the mind of their pastor or for the pastor to make the personal decisions of believers, crippling them to dependence on him. Christ taught:
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Joh 16:23
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Mat 7:7-8
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. 1Jn 2:27
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. Joh 16:13
Major Change in Spiritual Leadership
Christ taught believers to pray and seek God in the name of Jesus and follow the directions of the Holy Spirit, who would lead them into all truth. Following Christ allowed the believer to ask any question, go anywhere, and be led by Christ into limitless experiences and maturity. Christ came to take the cuffs off the believer so he could fellowship and work for Christ in the earth. The weakness and wickedness of fleshly leaders led God to break the believer from spiritual and mental bondage to man that kept them impoverished and ignorant. Even though authorities still rule over groups of people for compliance to laws and to keep order, Jesus set the mind and spirit of man free to follow Jesus, the righteous leader, into his God-ordained destiny and well being. Man is no longer crippled in spiritual or mental bondage to any man and Christ’s power can liberate any other bondage or constraint. There are many people bound by church or government where they could be freed through Christ’s power. The bondage of mankind to the fleshly leadership of man has led many to submit their entire being over to another person. This was never the will of God. This type of bondage makes one vulnerable to Satan’s captivity if he subdues the leader. Christ taught that once the strong man is bound then his whole house could also be spoiled. Satan’s entrance and control through a weakened defense can destroy whole groups that may be submitted to one leader. Christ came to release believers from that kind of bondage. The power of man is limitless when he follows Christ.
God revealed in Old and New Testaments the wickedness in some leaders over multitudes of people. Men have long enslaved other men like themselves for material gain. One of the horrible realizations of slavery of Africans was that many of their own tribal leaders sold them into slavery to white Europeans for material gain. Spiritual, mental and physical bondage of men can still be sold to oppressors by leaders without the group’s knowledge, but Christ came to give man a way of escape. When the individual has a personal relationship with Christ, he always has a functioning alert system.
The reality of our current political dilemma in America has been the question: Is the American President an asset of Russia? Is it possible that a people who are willing to put away their God for financial wealth can be sold to an enemy? The unrepented corruption of America is returning upon her head. Our nation has long believed national superiority would last and outmaneuver other nations but it seems America’s highest office holder may have betrayed her to her worst enemy whom he calls friend. God is showing America through her current trauma that we are not to give lordship to our fleshly leaders or put our confidence in any man. God’s commandment to Israel was that they should have no other God and yet they made many gods, as has America. One of America’s false gods is money, even though God forbade covetousness and the apostles taught the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10). America’s love of money has matured and reaped a crop of trouble but each believer can still find personal salvation in Christ.
Israel was led from false gods to the true God but then turned back to idols and chose Caesar over the Savior. Americans must understand their imitation of this flaw when they choose fleshly leaders over the leadership of Christ. This choice offends our Sovereign God. The grace of God has given each individual the right to be delivered from the group’s error of idolatry by personally accepting and following Christ. Christ came to bring truth that God is the believer’s leader; and the believer who submits to His Lordship is set free.
New Leadership Makes the Difference
To be clear, all our church guidance and biblical history were intended to bring erroneous children back to God, the Father. We are not saved to become bound to a fleshly leader, nation or idol. Christ unites believers to Himself in a new family. Our churches were never supposed to bring us under submission to an oppressive nation or leader. Failure to submit and adore our Sovereign God will not be tolerated by God. Religious leaders should lead followers to Christ and He will direct us to the Father, who longs to love and protect us.
As was said at the beginning, this is a challenging message and it is not written to everyone. It is written to those that truly love the Lord. There is a deception going on to deceive multitudes and only the righteous will prevail. When an oppressive power takes authority over a people, its presence will be revealed through the fruit produced in the people. God’s people show forth His love and truth while Satan’s people cannot contain their evil ways through lying or hatred.
America is set up as a republic where the people’s voice is spoken through representatives from local to federal offices. Americans are accustomed to submitting to higher authority. Our representatives have often sought out the moral council of ministers they value during times of crucial indecision. Governments were established originally from moral religious leaders honoring God and His commandments and this truth was the standard it operated from. Our national government has bound the hands and voices of many churches through restrictive tax laws. We, nevertheless, see our government which should be an extension of God’s authority at times invoking the favor of God’s while adopting unrighteous positions. If truth is forsaken by the government leaders, it does not annihilate God’s leadership and truth, which is higher. When government decides to uphold a lie, truth still stands and God will judge the nations. Salvation of the individual’s soul is a personal decision.
The leadership lie is that the believer cannot do anything without his religious leader. The truth is that Jesus is leader and Lord over the believer. Jesus came to pull down the barrier between man and God. The believer is lifted above religious leaders to God, Himself. Each believer has access to God, His power and truth. It is no longer solely the duty of religious leaders to enforce truth. Christ has basically deputizes every believer in His service with power and truth. We are individually empowered and responsible to God to stand in His service where He has assigned us. God will stand in us to provide strength to uphold the standard where He has placed us. And when we all stand together in our place for truth as a bulwark against evil, the devil or evildoers that stand against us will fall. One mystery about America is that the God over the nation through Christ will empower any individual, like Gideon, that stands up for truth to restore and preserve righteousness. History reveals many singular individuals who endangered their personal lives and freedom to help establish and protect America as a nation under God. We saw individuals like Patrick Henry (“Give me liberty, or give me death!”) stand up alone and declare truth in critical times in early America. They had an underlying faith, patriotism and indignation against unrighteousness. Righteous change does not come easily and not without sacrifice. Christ taught us to make sacrifices for good. Christ empowers any individual believer to stand boldly during crisis with the power of God to bring change. Politeness is an instrument of compromise, not a weapon of war; and we must know when we are at war. Heroes are born out of times of crisis and their stand is never easy. That is the strength that made America and it is the strength that can save America.
. . .and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Mat 28:20