Where are the Men (and Women) of God?
"Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse." Malachi 4:5-6
It is alarming how many professing Christians in these last days have no understanding of Godly authority. Although such may seem sound in other areas of the faith - they simply fall apart at a biblical understanding of God's authority. As a result, many are wishy-washy; unable to stand unequivocally for the things of God and following every whim, every false spirit, because they are spiritually blind.
Some claim that there is no authority in the church and completely reject organized fellowship as they go rogue in a "I am just led by the Spirit" perspective. Another extreme is to simply submit to anyone who claims to be "called" without regard for Godly standards about church leadership. Yet, one of the most common expressions - and perhaps the very foundation - of this blindness is what God notes in Malachi Chapter 4: a rejection of patriarchy.
Throughout His word, God proclaims that the authority ordained by Him is reflected in patriarchy. Yet, those who dispute this come up with every contrivance to rebel. They paint God's commands as a "Gospel of Bigotry" and fashion "another" god to worship after their own imaginations (II Corinthians 11:4). They claim the Scriptures have been perverted over time so as to unrighteously hold back the gifting in women. They dismiss God's commands about women's submission as only relevant for a particular time in church history.
Malign God's word...malign God's character...anything but accept that God says what He means, and means what He says. In rejecting God's word/authority, such people are in fact rejecting Him. God tells us that a rejection of patriarchal authority will lead to a curse on His people (Malachi 4:5-6), and we can see the affects of this curse on society today...even within the churchworld.
"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12
If the head of every man is Christ (I Corinthians 11:3), then by default, those males submitting to or promoting female headship are NOT qualified to be called men...according to the Scriptures. A wise man will consider the input of his wife (Genesis 21:12), but he will only be ruled by, and take commands from, the Lord. Man's first sin was in fact replacing the headship of the Lord with the headship of his wife (Genesis 3:17).
Why do we have "ministers" in the church committing adultery, pedophilia, theft, and every corruptible work? Why do we have men and women who support such persons and make excuses for their sins? Why do we have so many rejecting God's word to do that which is forbidden? Because people have no respect for the structure, purpose, and blessings of Godly authority and therefore have no identity in Him. The church has largely lost an appreciation/understanding of patriarchy; which is the essence of who God is - a Father. Many professing Christians are walking around in a spirit of fatherlessness, even while claiming to be a child of God. Scripture calls such individuals "disobedient" and commands them to turn so that they might be received by the Lord (Luke 1:17).
Can we not see that the root of people's problem with submission to God is that they are fatherless (Jeremiah 3:14-15, 23:1-4)? Do we not know that one of the primary reasons Jesus came was to restore in man the knowledge and gratitude for God as a Father (Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22; John 1:18, 14:9)?
All of this compromise and all of this confusion is enough to turn one's stomach. I, for one, am not going to stand with a liar! I am not going to say "peace" when there is no peace! I am not going to shut my mouth because the truth of God makes some uncomfortable. The Body of Christ is under attack from within, and if we hold our peace, then how shall the lost be saved (Romans 10:14)?
According to Malachi 4:5-6, the last days ministry of the church is the spirit of Elijah calling for the people to return to patriarchy. Where are the men and women of God calling for a return to Godly authority, in the home and in the church? Where are those saints of God who are not ashamed to confront Ahab's abdication and Jezebel's illegitimate authority over God's people? Where is the remnant who has not bowed the knee to Baal, but will boldly proclaim, "The Lord is God!"?
It is such persons whom God chooses to raise His children, both of physical and spiritual seed.
"Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace" Acts 18:9b
In the picture of fatherhood, God gives us the pattern for understanding who He is, the authority He walks in, and how He interacts with His children. Without such an anchor in our hearts, if we fail to understand the significance of God as a patriarch, then we wind up making of ourselves bastards (Hebrews 12:6-8).
The following message from Pastor Zac Poonen called "Being a Godly Father" is about the importance of restoring true fatherhood in the church. As he examines God's word on this topic, I pray that it allows people to have a greater appreciate for who God really is so that we may turn away from idols towards worshiping the Father - in spirit and in truth.
- Parents, especially fathers, have a serious responsibility to represent God the Father to their own children so that they will come to know God and His ways.
- God prepared Abraham to be a blessing to the nations of the earth by calling him to command his children and family to keep the way of the Lord so that God could bring to pass all of the promises He had made to Abraham (Genesis 18:18-19). There are things that God has even promised us, but first He is going to test us with our children; whether we learn to command them to obey and walk in God's ways.
- In Abrahan's offering of Isaac, we not only see Abraham's obedience to God, but his son's obedience to him. The respect by which Abraham's son obeyed his father illustrates that Abraham had in fact been faithful in commanding his household in the things of the Lord.
- On the other hand, Eli the priest (the top religious head in Israel) raised his own sons to be worthless men (I Samuel 2:12). For this, God blamed Eli for honoring his sons above Him and God took the ministry away from him and gave it to Samuel.
- Samuel was so busy in the work of the ministry that he neglected his responsibilities at home in raising his sons. Samuel appointed his sons to be judges in the land, but like Eli's sons, they too did not follow after the ways of the Lord.
- The first step to being a Godly father is to be a Godly husband. God did not listen to the prayers of Israel because God has seen the way men treat their wives and their children (Malachi 2:14).
- We can take God's promises for our children and grandchildren to prayer, believing that these promises will be fulfilled in their lives.
"And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children." Isaiah 54:13
"As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever." Isaiah 59:21
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6
- We are responsible for the way we bring up our children. I Timothy 3:4-5 says one of the conditions for leadership in God's house is the way a man brings up his children. Such is a qualification for church leadership.
- Children often go astray because they see hypocrisy in the parents.
- The beauty of the Lord our God as a Father is that He is both kind and strict (Romans 11:22). Being a good father requires both discipline and instruction (Ephesians 6:4), just as God chastens us (Hebrews 12:6-8, Revelation 3:19).
- For those whose children have gone astray, Matthew 18:19 promises that if two of us agree on one thing, it shall be done. Join with your wife and pray for your wayward child to come back to God, that they be born again and become disciples of Jesus.
- For those with Godly children, know that it is not because of you; all credit is due to God. Do not boast, for if it were not for the mercy of God, your children would be wayward too. Do not despise those whose children have gone astray; if you cannot pray for them, then keep your mouth shut.
- For single mothers, II Timothy 1:5 says that Timothy got his own faith from his mother and grandmother. It is the example of his mother's ways toward the Lord which allowed faith to come into his heart, even when a Godly father was not present.
- For all parents, we need to call upon God for wisdom and pray to be filled with the Spirit in order to know how to raise our children.