Least Among You – BT10
Knowing the bible doesn’t keep ‘little children’ disciples from being deceived
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Paul was concerned that Christians as nepios breast-feeding infants were sitting ducks to be “tossed to and fro by the waves and/coupled carried about by every violent wind of doctrinal teaching, dice-playing deception/cheating of men by trickery/craftiness towards the end of being fraudulent cunning” (a). He understood Christ’s solution to this threat: “Christ gave grace-gifts to men . . . He gave [these 4 groups of grace-gifts] the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the shepherds that teachers (b) to equip (c) the saints for the work of the ministry for building up the Body-of-Christ until we ALL attain to the unity of the trusting-relying-faith and/coupled of the genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of the Son of God unto mature manhood, that is to the metron standardized-size measuring-cup of the fullness of Christ” (d). This isn’t a 4 or 5-fold ministry! These 4 groups are only coaches and facilitators for Body-of-Christ ministry who ALL do the building up of the Church so they aren’t susceptible to deception, and it’s not through accumulating bible gnosis-informational knowledge, but direct, experiential, relationship epignosis knowledge of Christ!
<Notes> a) Ephesians 4:14, b) the definite article “the” in Greek distinguishes on 4 groups, and the coupler kai combines shepherds to teachers. Kai is links related things together, unlike our word “and” which means “next in the list” – in Greek de is used for that purpose. Kai can also be used for emphasis like “even as or indeed or also as” as here: “shepherds who also are teachers.” The episcopos overseer, presbyteros elder, and poimen shepherd praxis practicing-functions per Romans 12:4 all occurred within a single group of “faithful men” as “the Lord’s servants” that must be “able to teach” per 1 Timothy 3:2, 2 Timothy 2:2, 2:24. We know from Ephesians 4:8 that these 4 groups are “grace-gifts” and not positions with offices or titles. Each of these verbal-nouns are a shorthand form of saying in this case, “those practicing-the-function of shepherding who also are teaching.” The Catholic and Protestant Church incorrectly differentiated these and turned them into official positions, offices and titles despite Christ’s prohibition of this kind of behavior in Matthew 23:8-10, not to mention there is no biblical or early Church support for their behavior – see Teach One Another – BT10, c) see Coaches and Facilitators, c) Ephesians 4:8-13.
I have heard so much false teaching from pulpits and Christian books and my seminary classes – that’s where “the winds of doctrine” get taught, exactly because of The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit – the “equippers” think they are the ones “doing the work of the ministry” and in many cases they aren’t allowing Christians to “teach and admonish one another” (a) and “letting the others weigh what is said . . . you can ALL prophesy one by one so that ALL may learn and ALL be encouraged” (c) so that the whole Body-of-Christ can do the work of ministry . . . to keep infants from being tossed by winds of doctrines.” In other words, the average church service as eliminated all the biblical ways for the Body-of-Christ to “check” false prophecy and teaching in the churches. The leaders believe the service is supposed to be a monologue when it was designed to be a dialogue. The leaders run the service very much like a seminar or business meeting, where the bosses do the talking. The pastors have wrongfully “exercised authority over others” to “kill the objections” by not allowing a time or a format for them. The “deceivers” in the NT were bible student scribes and teacher Pharisees likely in the home churches or rare churches that met synagogues, twisting the scriptures to deceive Christians, just as they were twisting Paul’s words to create controversy they could take advantage of (c). Those spreading false doctrine are doing it from the pulpits, bookstores, and seminaries! That’s where the deception of Christians is happening! And it’s being done by scholars and bible students to those who have been told to be scholars and bible students! <Notes> a) Colossians 3:16, b) 1 Corinthians 14:29, c) 2 Peter 3:16.
The solution to deception isn’t to try to become a bible expert yourself, though bible schools will charge you a lot of money holding out that “carrot” as the 5 that I went to did. The solution is to genuinely epiginosko know Christ. I’ve heard too many pastors say the way to know a counterfeit is to really handle the real thing, like a bank teller does. Now that part is correct, but here is where they really get it wrong. They hold up their bible and say that if you become an expert at this bible, you will be able to recognize the counterfeit and be safe. “You will know The Truth and The Truth will set you free.” Never mind that they took the verse out of context and “The Truth” isn’t the bible, or just the NT, or any writings, or even Christ’s logos gospel message but “The Son who set you free” per John 8:32, 36, 14:6. Jesus is the Living Logos Word of God that is “the real thing” and only by genuinely, experientially, relationally epiginosko knowing Him by “the Spirit of The Truth” will you be free from deception coming to you in the Christian world where it comes from!
That’s how you keep from getting sucked into the arguments of the teachers of the Law or the Gentile debaters (a)! When John “wrote Christians . . . about those who are trying to deceive you” (b), the solution wasn’t apologetic rebuttals to learn, but a reminder that “you-all have been anointed by the Holy One [Christ] and/thus you all had [with ongoing results] eido ‘seen’ to understand/know . . . the anointing that you have already received from Him abides/lives in you and/thus you have absolutely in fact no need than anyone should teach you, but just as His anointing teaches you about everything and is trustworthy and indeed no lie, just as it has already taught you, abide/live in Him” (c). The solution of false teachers isn’t more bible-info, but Spirit-baptism to continue living in Christ! <Notes> a) 1 Timothy 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:14, 23-24; Titus 3:9; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Colossians 2:4; Romans 14:1, 16:18; Ephesians 5:6; 2 Peter 2:3, b) 1 John 2:26, c) 1 John 2:20, 27,
The ignorant fisherman Peter’s advice to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is IN you” (a) sure wasn’t biblical apologetics to argue against bible scholars! In context, it’s about “honoring the Christ who is IN your heart” and “having a good conscience because of your good behavior, doing good, IN Christ.” This is all about real relationship that results in real life-change. That’s your testimony! “They have conquered by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony” (b). Hope is IN us through trusting-relying-faith by the dunamis enabling-power of the Holy Spirit to even abound with hope (c). The Spirit of wisdom and of revelation by the genuinely, experientially, relationally epignosis knowledge of Christ causes the eyes of our hearts to be enlightened in order that we may eido mentally ‘see’ to understand/know what is the hope to which we are called” (d). None of this has to do with reading and learning gnosis information in a bible! <Notes> a) 1 Peter 3:15, b) Revelations 12:11, c) Romans 15:13, d) Ephesians 1:17-18.
In 2 Corinthians 10:1-5, how did Paul “overthrow arguments and every high thing lifting itself up against the gnosis informational-knowledge that [possessively] belongs to God?” He directly links this by kai to “taking every thought captive into the obedience of Christ.” This is not about quarreling or arguing back about words, which Jesus didn’t do (a), which Paul prohibited (b). No, Paul didn’t use the world’s “fleshly” weapons back against them! Instead he uses Spirit-kind-of warfare, “for the weapons of our warfare are not out of the flesh (e), but have God dunamis enabling-power to demolish strongholds.” Ephesians 6:10-20 is all about this Spirit-kind-of warfare, so we all need to learn this! None of the weapons are used against people but against Satan and demons! Paul explains his strategy: “My logos message and preaching were absolutely in fact not by plausible/persuasive logos messages of sophia wisdom [like the Gentile philosopher or Jewish Law debaters and mystic Kabbalists] but instead by demonstrating-proof of the Spirit and/coupled dunamis enabling-power” (c). It’s really hard to argue against the “signs and wonders” of God that should “accompany those who have trusting-relying-faith . . . speaking in new tongues . . . laying hands on the sick to recover . . . and they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the logos message by accompanying signs” (d). I suspect the problems and ineffectiveness of most pulpit and street preaching is that they don’t believe or obey this, leaving them only with a “logos message that may be plausible/persuasive” to play on the same field using the same “fleshly” weapons of their enemy. Futile! <Notes> a) Matthew 12:19, b) Romans 14:1; 2 Timothy 2:14, 23-24; Titus 3:2, 9, c) 1 Corinthians 2:4, d) Mark 16:17-20, e) see Identity.
As Christian musicians, are we still expecting the uneducated, little children, and other “least among you” to become bible experts, just like the Jewish scribes and Pharisees were, to “do the work of ministry to build up the Body-of-Christ? Aren’t we showing the same partiality and favoritism that plagued OT ministry? Aren’t we missing the real task of the 4 “equipping grace-gift” functioning-practice groups of apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherd-teachers is to simply to coach or facilitate the saints to build trusting-relying faith and/coupled a genuine, experiential, relational epignosis knowledge of the Son of God? 2 simple tasks! Only the indwelling Spirit of God can be our “One Teacher” who will keep us from being deceived!
Many will still be deceived by preachers/teachers in the churches and seminaries who quench the Spirit when they “exercise authority over others” to prevent the Body-of-Christ from prophesying, speaking in tongues with interpretation, and exercising the other grace-gifts, and ALL weighing in on what they hear in order to “teach and admonish one another” so that “one by one you ALL may learn [together] and/coupled ALL be encouraged [together.” In these environments you can still be deceived because we don’t have Body-of-Christ Ministry correcting itself, which is what admonishment is!
Even the uneducated, little children, and other “least among you” can follow the NT solution to deception, because it has absolutely nothing to do with the “might and power” of the flesh but of the dunamis enabling-power and “signs and wonders” demonstrating proofs of the Spirit! The solution is the anointing of Spirit-baptism which shows no favoritism! It’s routinely available to everyone! The “asking for the good grace-gift of the Holy Spirit” that can may “Thy kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven” a reality in Luke 11:13’s Lord’s Prayer is the present, routinely ongoing participle form as is Paul’s Ephesians 1:18’s “Be pleroo filled-to-completion by the Spirit.” The “defense of our trusting-relying-faith” with our “weapons of warfare,” are accessible and effective by everyone because they have nothing to do with gnosis informational-knowledge to read, study, and learn, but about epignosis genuine, experiential, relational knowledge we learn directly from God by the Holy Spirit. It’s really all about being genuinely IN Christ! Is that what we are pointing people toward?
We don’t need to argue our case to prove it! We simply prophesy right into our opponent’s life so they are “convicted since the secrets of his heart are disclosed and falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you” as in 1 Corinthians 14:24. All we have to do is “lay hands on the sick and heal them” per Mark 16:18. Signs & wonders was the testimony of Paul’s ministry and the early Church, testifying to the dunamis enabling-power of the Spirit of God per Romans 15:19. I’ve seen so many Christians on YouTube evangelizing on the streets that follow this advice and in less than 30 minutes many people come to the Lord, healed in many ways, and Spirit-baptized. I’ve seen them run down into the ocean, lake, or stream to get immediately water-baptized just like we see in the Book of Acts. It’s supposed to be simple enough for “the least among you” to experience and share with others! Why is the Church trying to minister with only a “logos message of plausible/persuasive words” when Paul said that using the enemy’s “fleshly” weapons was futile!