INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD

November 21, 1998
Written By S.R. Shearer

"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets ..."

Luke 6:26

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake."

Luke 6:22

They shall put you out of the ... (churches): yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

John 16:2

INTRODUCTION

In the upcoming weeks we will begin a series of reports on the United States - reports designed specifically to reveal the real identity of the United States in prophecy: it's not at all what people like Pat Robertson, Tim LaHaye, Jerry Falwell, D. James Kennedy and countless others like them would have you believe. We begin this series with a good deal of anxiety and not a little apprehension because there is no doubt in our mind that it will unleash a firestorm against us. But before we do so, we want to invite you again to read (or re-read) the second chapter of the Antipas Papers: "A Trap Is Being Set; Don't Get Caught."

In addition, we urge you to read the following short article on "Individual Responsibility Before God." It has a very real relevance to all of us in these "Last Days."

Giovanni Papine has written,

"... The prophet is a troublesome ... voice, hated by the church's leaders and out of favor with the church's members. Like a wild, ragged, unkempt coyote scenting from afar the smell of carrion, like a raven always croaking out the same cry, like a ... wolf howling on the mountain top, the prophet travels throughout the church ... followed by suspicion and hatred ... He is ... a man who sees with a troubled heart - but with clear eyes - the compromises the church is making with the world today, and the consequences that will accrue to it tomorrow ... as a result. Like all truthtellers who disturb the slumbering majority and who unsettle the peace of the church's leadership, he is avoided like a leper, persecuted like an enemy and those with a reputation in the church for 'being somebody' detest him. The prophet is an accuser, but today's Christians do not want to admit their guilt. He is an intercessor, but Christians do not want to be shown their error ... He is an announcer, but Christians do not want to hear ..."

These words from Papini are easier to read than they are to suffer. We've been getting a lot of negative "feedback" from those who have visited our site - and we thought that you might want to see some of it if only because you might want to "count the cost" of continuing with us. At least it gives you some kind of an idea of what we are up against. We would be less than honest with you if we didn't tell you that some of it is very difficult to bear - especially because so much of it appears to be based on a misunderstanding of what we are trying to say. The following are just a few examples (we quote verbatim):

  1. Antipas -

    I just don't trust you. Your rhetoric against the Christian right is obnoxious and ill-founded ... Just thought you'd like to know...


  2. Antipas -

    Thank you for showing your true colors, You may say you are conservative evangelical, but I believe your heart is as black as coal, you have hardened your heart against God and His Son Jesus Christ and you are bound for Hell ...


  3. Antipas -

    You need to go to Washington DC visit Lincoln mem. and Jefferson mem read what is on the walls, then walk over to the war memorials all three of them , then thank God someone died for you to have what little bit of freedom is left. [Note: most of those associated with Antipas are veterans, and some are even combat vets of the Vietnam War - editor.]


  4. Antipas -

    What about rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's?


  5. Antipas -

    My friends and brothers, you are misapplying the Scripture you quote.


  6. Antipas -

    Christians getting involved in politics is what made this country great.


  7. Antipas -

    Christians MUST get involved in politics and stay involved in politics for the very survival of our nation!


  8. Antipas -

    What you are calling for is the devastation of your nation. Christians who, by their silence, agree to the Secular Humanism and other evils pervading our nation are allowing forces that don't work - that will degrade and eventually destroy the nation - free reign. This is clearly unacceptable.


  9. Antipas -

    We believe that it is time for the Church to do something about our evil government.


  10. Antipas -

    I can scarcely believe that you and I believe in the same God, or read the same Bible. We, as Christians, if that is indeed what you are, are supposed to make up a body of Christ. So, what are you doing trying to break that body? The people in Jesus' time said that He got His power to cast out demons, because He was a demon. His answer? A kingdom cannot be divided, or it will fall! A family cannot be against one another, or they will not last. Why are you doing this? If you really believed in the doctrine of Christ you would not send out hate mail toward your fellow Christians, you simply could not do that. I do not believe that intolerance of sin and evil only hurts people. If we can pull someone out of their sin of abortion, of homosexuality, or whatever, if we can pull them out with our loving hands, then we will indeed be helping them. We will be helping them to get right with God. We are called to do this. Or should we stand by and watch them helplessly fall into the pit of hell? We might as well push them in! We are Christians, we are called to hate what is evil and cling to what is good. We are also called to love one another. These two need, and can be, joined when helping someone who is lost. It really comes down to this: Are you going to let sin run rampant in the world by willingly closing your eyes to it, or are you going to stand up for the doctrine of Faith that my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ died on the cross for. Make your choice. God wants hot or cold, He spits lukewarm out of His mouth.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY BEFORE GOD

Still, for those who are conversant with the Prophetic Scriptures, we can't pretend that we don't know what's happening. We do know! - and this knowledge hangs like some kind of biblical sword of Damocles over our heads. To do nothing is to invite it to fall on us. The Bible says:

Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. (Ezek. 33:2-6)

In our introduction to Section II of the Antipas Papers we wrote,

"One result of the Reformation was that the Bible - not church authority, and most especially not an ecclesiastical caste of paid professionals - was made the sole source from which all divine authority flowed (Sola Scriptura).

The priesthood of ALL believers - not one which was held exclusively in the hands of a few select individuals held together by the absolute authority of one man - was made the watchword of the day.

"The practical outcome of this for Christians everywhere was twofold: on the one hand, they were freed from the tyranny, superstition, and oppression of Rome; but on the other hand, with freedom came individual responsibility before God. No longer could the individual Christian rely simply on his membership in the physical organization of a church for the salvation of his soul; to a large degree, it now devolved upon him. Salvation was not something one was physically born into because one's parents were Christian or because one had received "infant baptism" and made a member of the church before he could even understand what he was doing; but salvation was something spiritual which one had to enter into as the result of a conscience decision he alone had made.

"No longer could anyone else decide this matter for the individual - not one's mother or father; not one's priest or bishop; not one's pastor or elder - it was an individual decision for which the individual alone was responsible. From this point on, no human intermediary could stand between God and man: man now stood naked and alone before his Maker. The frightening words of the Apostle Paul loomed heavily over his head: "Wherefore, my beloved ... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling!" (Phil. 2:12)

"Heaven or Hell? - it was his choice! Remaining an "infant in the Lord" or growing up into full Christian maturity? - it was his choice. Being obedient or disobedient? - it was his choice!

"The church could assist by providing the Christian with a nurturing and Biblically-based environment which was conducive to growth in the Spirit; and other Christians could help in their fellowship and friendships - but even here, the individual had to make a conscience decision to avail himself of these "helps." There was no way other Christians and/or the church could force themselves on the individual and decide for him. In the end, he alone was responsible, and he alone would have to answer for his decisions."

"CONSENSUS" IS THE WATCHWORD OF THE DAY

Individual responsibility before the Lord! - this is what the Reformation and early Protestantism were all about; but all this would sound very strange today to most Christians. Indeed, the concept of individual accountability is something from which most Christians in this day and age would probably draw back in fear - and while it may be true that in some churches "lip service" is still given to this notion, the caveats which are inevitably and very subtly introduced make it nothing more than a pretense and a sham.

"Group Speak" and "Consensus" are the watchwords of the day. Responsibility lies with the great mass of people (and, ultimately, its leaders), not the individual. Just stay where most of the people congregate (i.e., in the proverbial "mainstream") and obey your pastors and leaders, and everything will turn out okay - and in the "unlikely" event that things do go wrong, it's your pastors and leaders whom God will hold accountable, not you. Your job is simply to obey and "maintain the unity" - that's all you're responsible for. That's what Bill McCartney, President of the Promises Keepers, was thinking when he said,

"We (i.e., the laity) cannot rightly divide the word of truth. We need you (i.e., "our pastors and priests") to teach us."

Unity is the name of the game. "Group Think" is what needs to be fostered. "Group Integrity" and "Group Wholeness" are what's important. Nothing is more consequential than this! The sin which one must guard against is the sin of "divisiveness!" This is what Rick Joyner, one of today's so-called "Prophets," believes. He admonishes pastors to "get with the program," and warns those who fail to do so that "action will be taken against them:"

"Some pastors and leaders who continue to resist the tide of unity will be REMOVED from their place."

And again, Francis Frangipane, another popular, "grassroots" evangelical leader - who also adorns himself with the "mantle" of "Prophet" - writes ominously,

"... there will be many 'stumbling blocks' (i.e., dissidents) circulating in the church ... Those serving in leadership must trust their discernment and REMOVE the 'stumbling blocks'."

Indeed, one would think that truth is to be found where most of the people gather. Find out where the great mass of so-called Christians are, and there you will find truth, and while most Christian leaders would deny that this is what they are saying, this is clearly the logical end of what they are teaching. "Go along to get along" seems to be the axiom of the day.

THE WAY OF TRUTH IS A LONELY PATH

But this is not what the Bible teaches! Indeed, the Bible suggests the exact opposite - i.e., where the great mass of people are, there error is inevitably to be found. Isn't this what Jesus was hinting at when He said:

"Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets ..." ? (Luke 6:26)

Certainly it is! And again, isn't this what He seemed to be saying when He stated:

"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ..." ? (Matt. 7:13-14)

Certainly it is! And that's not the end of it! - isn't this what Peter was suggesting when he wrote:

"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. "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
"And spared not the old world, but saved Noah (i.e., the few) the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly (i.e., the many);
"And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha (i.e., the many) into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
"And delivered just Lot (i.e., the few), vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
" (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) ..." ? [2 Pet. 2:1-8]

And what more can be said of Paul when he wrote of the lamentation of Elias in Romans 11:3-6:

"Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left ALONE, and they seek my life ..." ? (Romans 11:3)

And the answer the Lord gave to Elias did not necessarily contradict Elias' complaint - i.e., that not many of God's people were listening to him, or else why did Paul refer to "a remnant" when he spoke of the "seven thousand" who had not bowed their knees to Baal? -

"But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal."
"Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (Romans 11:4-5)

Obviously, the great mass of God's people had fallen away! The truth of the matter is, when the Spirit of God moves, He invariably has to move outside the great majority of those who call themselves "God's people" - i.e., the religious establishment. It's no accident that in His day, Jesus operated from a perspective which was totally outside of and at variance with the established religion of His day - so much so that the religious leaders of that day felt compelled to crucify Him.

BLESSED ARE YE WHEN MEN SHALL HATE YOU

So also today! It's futile for people to believe that if they persist with God and obey His Word their friends and loved ones will appreciate what they are doing and join themselves to them. The fact is, to choose God is to choose to be misunderstood and even hated. Indeed, it is this very hatred that Jesus indicates is the badge of recognition for all those who choose to follow Him:

"Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake." (Luke 6:22)

The path that leads to God is a lonely one. This is what Jesus meant when He said,

"... narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it ..." ? (Matt. 7:14)

And what Paul meant when he wrote,

"We are fools for Christ's sake ... we are weak ... we are despised.
"Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling place;
"And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
"Being defamed, we entreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (I Cor. 4:10-13)

[And remember - Paul's complaint here was not directed against unbelievers, but believers - i.e., the great mass of people who at that time called themselves, "God's people" - and not just Jews, but Christians as well! (After all, Paul was writing to the Church in Corinth: the full text of verse ten reads: "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye {i.e., the Christians at Corinth} are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.")]

For those who are looking for "popularity" and "acceptance" - it's best for them not to go this way; because "popularity" and "acceptance" are not to be found here. I have been young, and now I am old - and in all this time, one of the most heart-rending things I have had to watch is seeing this great truth "played out" in someone else's life - someone who wants to go on with the Lord; when he or she comes to realize once and for all that if they decide to go "This Way" (2 Peter 2:2), they are going to lose everything - popularity, acceptance, understanding, family, friends - EVERYTHING!

THERE IS A GREAT "TEST" COMING

It's a great test! - a trial (tribulation) through which every servant of God must someday pass. Indeed, even now, while I write this, I know of one particular person whom I dearly love in the Lord who is now passing through this test. It's not something others can do for you - it's not even something with which a person can do in the company of others. It's a test which every servant of God must face alone. This is what Jacob faced in the wilderness at Peniel:

"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
"And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
"And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. (Gen. 32:24-28)

FOLLOW ME

We must all come to the place where we hear God's voice - "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" - and are irresistibly drawn to answer: "Here am I; send me." (Is. 6:). When the Lord called His disciples, there was no compelling outside force which compelled them to answer Him. It was an inner compulsion which forced them to answer. As Oswald Chambers has written, "... the quiet, passionate insistence of His Follow Me ..." proved irresistible.

May God bless all of you

S.R. Shearer
Antipas Ministries


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