PREACHING TO "VACCINATED SAINTS"
then & now
Inoculated, vaccinated saints
Some have no religion. They know that they are godless. They will admit their sins. They can be saved, but if they do not get saved from their guilt of sin - they will go to hell. There is another group who have had an inoculation with a mild case of religion that has made them immune to true religion. It is like the measles' vaccine, or polio vaccine - which give a mild case of the disease to the body so antibodies will be created by the body and make the person from that point on immune to the real disease. These people in religion today, are very, very difficult to get saved because they have been vaccinated with a mild dose of religion. They are therefore immune to the real thing.
In real revival, reality can become form.
Fellowship with God can be subtly replaced with a patriotic zeal. Worship can degenerate into ceremonies and chants. The end result, if we are not careful, can be worse than before the revival. This is strongly evident in the revival of Josiah. It seemed real, and it was. Many were converted back to Jehovah. False idols were destroyed. Sinful practices were stopped. The people had been immersed into the true worship of God. They had been given a dose of true religion. Some had received the real thing. Suddenly it was stopped. The mild dose that some had received had become like a vaccination to them. Not all in the revival had received a big enough dose of religion to give them the full "disease."
We see the same thing in Jesus' day. Judas had gone with the other disciples to pray for the sick and cast out devils. He had a mild case of the real thing. Yet, when the times became trying -he lost the real thing abruptly. In the early church, Ananias and Sapphira had seen the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of the first days. They had seen the thousands being saved, baptized, and filled with the Spirit. Yet, their own dose must have been like a mild vaccination of the real thing. They were struck dead for lying to the Spirit. In churches today, it is easier to win a terrible sinner to the Lord, than to open the eyes of many a church member who is immune to the true faith and relationship with the Lord. They have missed the real reason for the church. They are so hardened at being a pew-sitter, that they will do their pew-sitting and walk out on the preacher at noon - even if the preacher were Jesus Himself. If they had been in the upper room on the day of Pentecost, they would have missed the infilling of the Spirit because they would have fallen asleep, as they are accustomed to doing during every service.
Are we in a religion that has simply had a mild case of real faith, but is now immune to the real relationship type faith? Some may degenerate, or backslide from the faith to a "form of godliness" that has no real power. In Jesus' day, there were many religious groups.
Today, we also have many religious groups,
and each think they are the true one.
The Sadducees of Jesus' day were like the modernists, liberals of our day. They denied the resurrection, and denied the existence of miracles. There are some today in churches that deny the miraculous workings of God. They try to explain away the answers to prayer that a church will experience when it believes God. They had a vaccination of religion, and were immune to the real faith that Jesus came to proclaim to them.
The Essenes of Jesus' day were like the ones in religion today who withdraw from others and try to claim a super-holiness because of their great respect for Scriptures. They get caught up in the pride of feeling superior to other Christians. They disregard the main issues of the Word of God, and concentrate on the minute points of the Word. They too can get immune to the relationship type faith that is vital to real salvation. They can get so caught up in their pride and "super-holiness" that they are vaccinated to true faith.
The Herodians of Jesus' day were like those of today who try to mix part of heathenism with true Christianity. This religious group attempts to make Christianity more palatable to the world by adopting their methods and ideology. This form of religion can be like the inoculation that makes them immune to even understanding what real relationship faith with Jesus is like.
There were Zealots in the times of Jesus who had great zeal to make the world adopt their religious ideas. Their zeal was motivated by the desire for power and control. In Christianity today, there are some who want power and very zealously, and even ruthlessly attempt to gain control. The zealots even murdered to attempt to overthrow the other powers. Some in religion today also will do things that chase others from the Lord, without much, if any, guilt about it, because it fits into their selfish goals. Unfortunately, this group today in the churches are the ones who are so busy struggling for control and domination that they have no idea of the joy of worship, fellowship with the Lord, and joy of being a servant to the others in the church. Their inoculation has made them immune to true faith also.
One group that Jesus often confronted was the Pharisees. This group was like the "holier-than-thou" people in religion today. They added rules to the true faith. Of course, rules are needed, but they put them equal to, or above the Word of God. There are some in Christianity today that spend more time making and enforcing rules, than in seeking revival. If these rules cause someone to backslide, and fall away from the Lord, it doesn't bother their conscience. The rules have become more supreme than the love for souls. They attempt to dominate others with these rules. They have rules that hurt, rules that help them maintain domination, rules to enforce their personal interpretation of holiness, rules that have no scriptural support, rules that keep some from joining our fellowship, and rules that have caused some to backslide. This is the group of Jesus' day that He spent the most time confronting.
The last group in the days of Jesus, was His own group. He had a number of followers that were taught by Him that the emphasis needed to be on an inner change. He taught them to forsake sin and rebellion. The method that He used was marked by His simplification of the law. He took all the laws of the Old Testament period and taught that if people would obey only two laws, they would please God. There are some today in the religious world that still hold to that doctrine. They will love God supremely, and love their neighbor as themselves. Jesus wanted us to take all rules and make them into only two. The Pharisees took the many Old Testament laws and added many more. They ended up with a religion that few could and would follow. Jesus took their rules and disobeyed them, whenever they interfered with the two laws that He had set forth. In Christianity today, there have been so many additions to the two commandments of Jesus that there is often church splits, backslidings, bickerings, factionalism, etc. All of these stem back to rules that people have added to the Word of God
How very easy it is for churches
to take the two commandments of Jesus
and make it 2002.
The ones who make these rules often will attempt to make people obey these rules as though they were given of God in the Bible. They take a rule and want others to follow it because if they don't they are not a "team player." And even if the rule, and its enforcement may cause someone to backslide, or another to not get saved, they will still demand obedience to it. Their idea is that obedience to the rule is supreme and to have someone go to hell because of it is a small concern. The concept of a relationship with God, which gives one a love for his neighbor, is one that they do not understand. They have only the inoculation of a form of religion, and they do not have the real "disease." To them, religion is a form of worship demonstrated by observance of rules and being subject to domination by a "shepherd", or denomination, or dogma, or church creed... They are unaware that they are becoming immune to true faith. Rules are dominating, and replacing what they should have.
If you lived in China, where there is a rule that after one child is born to a family, all subsequent pregnancies must be aborted, would you obey the rule and murder the unborn child? Not many saints would dare to say "yes." We would disobey that rule because of a higher law of God that tells us to love life. In the same way, some of the rules of churches can come into conflict with the higher laws of God. When this happens, we must throw aside these man-made rules and obey God. The Pharisees of Jesus' day did not do that and it angered Jesus greatly. He could forgive the woman caught in adultery with ease. He could warn Peter of his impending failures with love, but to the Pharisees and their rules He added warning after warning. He called them horrible names and gave to them many a "WOE."
The best of churches are not free of problems.
Even in heaven, we find the devil came into the midst of the angels who were present to worship God. (Job 1) How do we handle the ones in our midst that are being used of the devil to do works that hurt Christianity, and souls? How do we minister to those in the church who are simply "vaccinated saints?" We need to preach the truth, read the Bible, pray, love the brethren, until the devil is so uncomfortable that he leaves.
Why does the devil attempt to get his workers into the midst of the saints? There are many reasons.
-To do mischief to God's children-
-To get false accusations started-
-To encourage criticism, not worship-
-To sow dissension-
-To encourage pride-
-To cool down ardor and spiritual desire-
-To hurt the unconverted so they will cease attending before they are saved from sin-
-To raise doubts in the minds of the saints-
-To deaden feelings, and encourage apathy-
-To rob memories of the Word of God-
-To sow counterfeit Christians who will bring reproach on the true saints of God-
The more good being done in a place, the more the devil will oppose it. He will bring anger and dissension into revival. To stop a potential revival, he will encourage bitterness, slander, and unforgiveness. The world will not break down the doors of the church to attend where such things happen. Souls will not get saved where the dissension is so thick that it has to be cut with a knife. The main cohorts of the devil in his attempts to destroy revival and split the churches are those who are the "vaccinated saints." These are already within the church. Often they have positions, as ministers, board members, deacons, teachers, division leaders, etc. These "vaccinated saints" will do much harm to the true faith, and relationship faith that God is trying to develop in the Christians.
How did the troublemakers and "vaccinated saints" get into the church, and how did they get the power to do their work??? In the parable of the sower, we have an answer, it says:
"WHILE MEN SLEPT, HIS ENEMY CAME AND SOWED TARES AMONG THE WHEAT, AND WENT HIS WAY." Matt. 13:25
The church slept.
Perhaps, it was a "building project" that became an idol of worship. The souls of the church were neglected while the bricks of a building received all the attention. The prayer life, and the Bible study, and the love of the brethren have been neglected by some of the saints. While spiritual desire waned, and the real saints slept spiritually, the devil sowed tares and "vaccinated saints" in the midst. Many pastors and religious leaders have spent many hours, weeks, and years building brick temples, and in the process they have allowed abuse and neglect of the sheep. The wounded sheep began to scatter while the shepherds looked about for someone to blame. Too many are building the wrong buildings. The body of the believer is the "temple of God". Time, prayer, Bible study, in place of the brick laying, painting, and faultfinding of all who were not partaking in the same, has caused many a shepherd to let the true "temples" of God be abused. A building of worship may be inspired of God, but the worship of the building is not. God probably spoke often to awake the sleeping saints, but they mistook the encouragement of worship of Him to mean they must double their efforts to finish the building sooner, so they could worship Him as they did earlier. When the building project is finished, and they take their eyes off of it, they suddenly are amazed to see that the devil has been sowing tares in the midst. They are so weak spiritually by that time, that unless they repent of their lethargy, they often will join the dissension and turmoil that the devil has begun to harvest.
If God could just get the shepherds of those buildings of worship to realize how close we are to the judgment time of God's wrath, they would not be so wrapped up in the material things. Too many churches are placing undo emphasis on buildings that are soon to be destroyed. To preach as though the judgment was many years away, or would never come, is a horrible crime of the false shepherds. The sheep, that suffer while buildings are worshipped, must someday be accounted for... What will the shepherds say to an angry God?
Some of the "vaccinated saints" are the ones who may have been in the church for years. They never developed a real relationship with God. Like the Pharisees, they spent their time working on rules and wanting a religion that elevated them to places of power and prestige. When revival came to the church, they were the ones who were uncomfortable. The church began to accept many newcomer converts who were growing spiritually, and finding a real relationship with God. The "vaccinated saints" felt threatened by the new converts and wanted to create new rules, dress codes, power structures, etc, that will show these new converts "who" is in control. Revival can suddenly come to an end if these are allowed to gain domination over new converts.
Paul said of the Pharisees:
"FOR I CAN TESTIFY ABOUT THEM THAT THEY ARE ZEALOUS FOR GOD, BUT THEIR ZEAL IS NOT BASED ON KNOWLEDGE. SINCE THEY DISREGARDED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT COMES FROM GOD AND SOUGHT TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN, THEY DID NOT SUBMIT TO GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS."
Paul was saying that surely the Pharisees are zealous. There are many zealous today that add to the righteousness that God has demanded. They put rules above the two that Jesus gave. They, like the Pharisees, disregard the rules about love for God, and love for their fellow man. Yet, we can see in them a zeal, but one that is not with knowledge.
The Pharisees emphasized the "oral law" (the law that was their interpretation of the "written law", in other words, the law that they could not find Scripture to back up). The "oral law" was composed of many explanations of the law.
It focused on trifling details. For instance, a person could spit on a rock on the Sabbath, but could not spit on soft ground, because that might move some soil, and constitute plowing.
Another was - a child could be lifted on the Sabbath, but one had to beware lest the child was holding a stone, because then to lift the child would involve the labor of lifting the stone also.
One could not drag a chain, or belt on the Sabbath. This might make a slight furrow in the dirt, and constitute plowing.
Women were forbidden to look in a mirror on the Sabbath, because they might see a white hair and try to pull it out. This is work, and therefore considered sinful on the Sabbath.
Do some of the "vaccinated saints" in Christianity add such silly rules to the two laws that Jesus commanded? Yes, and some are as silly, and others, when obeyed actually contradict the two laws that Jesus commanded.
"AT THAT TIME JESUS WENT, ON THE SABBATH DAY, THROUGH THE CORN, AND HIS DISCIPLES WERE HUNGRY, AND BEGAN TO PLUCK EARS OF CORN TO EAT...THE PHARISEES SAW IT...'BEHOLD, THY DISCIPLES DO THAT WHICH IS NOT LAWFUL (according to their added rules)'... HE SAID... 'DAVID... WAS HUNGRY... HE ENTERED... THE HOUSE OF GOD...AND DID EAT THE SHEWBREAD WHICH WAS NOT LAWFUL...ON THE SABBATH DAY THE PRIESTS IN THE TEMPLE PROFANE THE SABBATH AND ARE BLAMELESS... IN THIS PLACE ONE GREATER THAN THE TEMPLE...IF YE HAD KNOWN WHAT THIS MEANS: 'I WILL HAVE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE' - YE WOULD NOT HAVE CONDEMNED THE GUILTLESS. FOR THE SON OF MAN IS LORD EVEN OF THE SABBATH DAY."
The Lord illustrated to the Pharisees that their added rules could be and should be disobeyed when they interfere with the law of God. The disciples were hungry and the law of God was not intended to keep people from satisfying their hunger. God doesn't want us to starve people to death to show they love God. The rules added by the Pharisees, should have been "prayed about" by these condemners, and the disciples were smart enough to know that Jesus and His law did not condemn them for "praying about this rule" and deciding that it was contrary to the two laws Jesus said were necessary. Jesus called the disciples here -"the guiltless." There are many in Christianity today that need to beware becoming Pharisaical. The condemning, the rule adding, the judgmentalism, the nit-picking over details, is not Christ-like, and not Christian. It is the practice of the "vaccinated saints" of today's church, just as it was in Jesus' time on earth.
David was not of the Levite tribe, and not a priest. Yet when he was starving, he entered into the holy place of the tabernacle and ate of the shewbread. This was forbidden by the true law. Yet, Jesus taught us that even here--the greater law of love overcomes any other law. David was not condemned for saving himself from starvation. The disciples, likewise, harvested food on the Sabbath. This too was work. However, they were "guiltless." The priests did work in the temple on the Sabbath day. They trimmed lamps, did sacrifices by the score, and yet are guiltless. Jesus is a higher authority than the law of the Old Testament, the law of the Pharisees, and of the rules and laws the churches try to impose on Christians. Whenever, the laws of Jesus conflict with the rules of mankind, we need to obey the Lord.
see part 2