And he found another man, and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him, inflicting a wound. Then the prophet departed and waited for the king by the road, and disguised himself with a bandage over his eyes. Now as the king passed by, he cried out to the king and said, “Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’ While your servant was busy here and there, he was gone.” Then the king of Israel said to him, “So shall your judgment be; you yourself have decided it.” – 1 Kings 20:37-40
This is the story of King Ahab’s judgment. As we read through this, it’s verse 39 (the text that is bolded) that I want to look at. 1 Kings 20:39 applies to the church today more than ever before. Many in the church are running the same course as Ahab did in 1 Kings 20. However, it doesn’t have to turn out for us like it did for Ahab.
In 1 Kings 20: 35-43, we find a story of one of the prophets (Josephus identifies him as Micaiah) and King Ahab. The story that the prophet tells King Ahab is the story of the church.
Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; We are the servant. God has sent us out to a battle and that battle is life. Don’t we know that life is a battle? There are things and people and spirits on all sides vying for our time, energy, money, attention, mind – our very lives. Life is a battle. The Apostle Paul in two different places of scripture spoke about putting on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6 & 1 Thessalonians 5). Life is a battle.
Your servant went out into the midst of the battle; and there, a man came over and brought a man to me, and said, ‘Guard this man; But in the midst of this battle a man came to us – more than a man – God Himself. He came to us, He has come to us, He is coming to us, all of us – and He gives us this man – Jesus Christ. He has given us the Word made flesh, the son of God, the truth, and has told us, “Guard this man.”
God has told us to take this man, Jesus Christ, take the Word, take the truth, and guard him, guard it. It is our job, the Christian’s job, our duty – our order to guard the truth.
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. – Jude 1:3
In Jude we are told to contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. That may sound a little unclear, The Twentieth Century New Testament states it like this:
Dear friends, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common Salvation, I felt that I must write to you at once to urge you to fight in defence of the Faith that has once for all been entrusted to the keeping of Christ’s People.
To contend for the faith means to stand up for the truth, stand in defense of it – guard it. Just as the prophet told King Ahab he was given a man and told to guard him, we have been given a man – the truth – Jesus Christ, and told to guard Him, guard the truth.
Now this leads to more questions. How are we to guard the truth and who are we to guard the truth from?
If we look at Jude, we can see who he was talking about guarding the truth against.
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. v. 4
These people that Jude was talking about were not strangers out in the world. No, they were people in the church. In fact, from reading the scriptures here and other places (we’ll get there in a moment), it sounds like these people were once saved. Now I understand the words “crept in unnoticed” may give us the thought that the Christians of that time were busy doing something else and just didn’t notice what was going on, but I don’t think so. I don’t think that is it at all.
Let us continue to read in Jude to see why.
But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. – Jude v.5-7
In these these two verses, Jude makes a comparison of three sets of people or things. The first we see are the people who were delivered out of the land of Egypt, and those who did not believe. The second is the angels of heaven who were obedient to God, and those that rebelled. The third is Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other cities around them that had given themselves over to sexual immorality, and the cities of Israel that had not gone in the same way as the others (though not directly stated, this is implied).
In these three comparisons we see God’s people, God’s creation – the angels, and God’s creation – the people of the cities. Out of all of these that were once God’s, there came those that rebelled, and followed after wicked ways. In like manner, those that “crept in unnoticed,” crept in less by pretending to be Christians, and more so by turning away from the faith that they once proclaimed.
Now if this is the case, if these people Jude talks about were once believers, what happened? How did they go from believers to “who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” ? 1 Timothy 4 tells us exactly how.
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils… – 1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV)”
The Apostle Paul tells Timothy, tells us, that in the latter times some shall depart the faith. When are the latter times? These are the latter times. The last days, the latter times -these are the times from the resurrection to the end of this age. So people will depart from the faith now. Now just so you know, you can’t depart from something until you have arrived to that something. You can’t depart your house until you arrive at your house. And you can’t depart the faith until you are of the faith.
And how will these people depart the faith? By giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Instead of giving heed to the truth, yielding to the truth, believing and accepting the truth, they have yielded to, heeded to, believed and accepted a lie – deceived by satanic spirits and demonic doctrines. Romans 1 even talks about those “who exchanged the truth of God for the lie.”
And this is what we are guarding the truth from, contending for the faith for – not just from people, but people that have followed after seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. These seducing spirits have led men and women off onto a road headed for destruction, an early grave, and even Hell. They have led them to follow a demonic doctrine that is contrary to the Word of God.
What else did Jude say that these men have done? They were “ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. (v.4)” The Phillips translation says, “they abuse his grace as an opportunity for immorality.” These ungodly men used the grace of God as a excuse, a license to sin. And in doing so have disowned God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you noticed one of the big doctrines to come against the church in the past few years – that 1 John 1:9 is not written to the church?
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NKJV).”
Preachers, internationally known ones, have preached across the world, across this nation – to packed out arenas that we don’t have to ask for forgiveness for our sin because we’re already forgiven. This demonic doctrine has led many astray, telling believers that God has already forgiven them of all of their sins and that they never need to confess their sins again. That doesn’t line up with the Bible. That greasy grace message has led many astray, sinning without any fear of the consequences – using God’s grace as an opportunity to sin.
That is what the church has been called to guard against – false doctrine – seducing spirits that would come against the truth, against the truth of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for the world.
Don’t be confused. It is not necessarily against men. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Our guarding, our fight if you will, is not against men, but against these evil spirits seducing the church. These spirits are seducing the church, not the world. The world is already seduced. They’re done there. They’ve got the world all fixed up believing all sorts of wacky things. They’re working on the church now.
Let’s go back to our original scripture. In verse 39 we continue, “..if by any means he is missing, your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.’” Let’s relate that to what we are talking about. “If he is missing – if the truth is missing or corrupted, or changed into a lie – what will happen?
“your life shall be for his life, or else you shall pay a talent of silver.”
Let’s look at that second part first – “you shall pay a talent of silver.” A talent of silver is a little under a thousand dollars. Doesn’t seem like a lot, but in that time, such an amount was more than any soldier could pay. So the amount that the soldier (or prophet in disguise) would have to pay was unpayable. So we have two options – one of which is unpayable. So what is the other option?
Now for the first part –“your life shall be for his life” When we see that line, in context of the scriptures, it’s easy to see that it means that if this person who was entrusted to be guarded is killed, then so shall the person that was supposed to be guarding him. Today, that is much the same.
No, the Lord isn’t going to kill anyone. No, He isn’t going to put sickness on them. No, the Bible tells us that the ”thief (the devil) does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10).” It’s not God doing the killing, but the devil. How does this happen?
“But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you…(Deuteronomy 28:15)”
It’s not that God is going to kill anyone. It’s that God is going to remove His protection from you (or those who have not guarded the truth, contended for the faith). Have you heard the saying that it’s better to be standing in the middle of a minefield in the perfect will of God than to be in the safest city on earth out of the will of God? This is much the same way, except instead of being out of the will of God, you are living, believing, and speaking in direct opposition to the Word of God.
If you would go back and ask the great fathers of the faith, those that moved in the Spirit, had great signs and miracles operating through them and their ministry – they would tell you this: it’s when you get away from God and His ways that the anointing leaves.
Kathryn Kuhlman had thousands upon thousand of people healed in her ministry because of the anointing on her. However, she stepped out of the will of God and that anointing was removed. It wasn’t until she made the correction and got back in the will of God that the anointing returned.
Dr. Kenneth E Hagin saw thousands healed in his meetings over the years (among other great things). He had an experience where he got out of the will of God and hurt his arm while falling off a stage. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him that the reason that this occurred was because he had gotten out of His will. He also told him that if it wouldn’t have happened and he continued on the way that he was going, that he would have died prematurely. However, he made the adjustment and finished his course.
The Lord Jesus Christ also told Dr. Hagin that, “I bless all of My people as far as I can. But the reason there is not the move of God and the depth of the flow of the Spirit, and the fullness of the manifestation of the Holy Ghost today is because men do not take time to hear from Me. And they do not take time to follow My plan set forth in the scriptures. The more closely you follow My plan, the more My power will be in demonstration and in manifestation.”
So the closer that we walk to the Word and Spirit of God, the closer we walk and do the plans of God (and not our own), the more those plans can be blessed for His Glory and our good. However, when we do our own plans, God can only do so much.
But when we get too far away from God, His hand is removed. Sadly, there were many great ministers of God who left this world prematurely because they got away from God’s plans and His Word – because they left the truth and followed after other things. Men who in the mid-1900’s saw miracles, signs, and wonders – great moves of God, died prematurely because God had to remove His protection from their life. Why? Because what they got into and started preaching and teaching was not of God. It was false doctrine, or their motives were wrong, or they wouldn’t obey the Lord. All of which falls under ‘not guarding the truth.’
It’s not that God doesn’t love them. And it’s definitely not that God didn’t try to correct them. He did. Many times. But they were in such a key position that He could no longer allow them to spread lies or lead people astray and thus, removed His hand of protection. And the devil took them out.
Now I know that I have been giving specifics about preachers and leaders, but the same holds true for everyone that God has called out of the darkness. Of course these men were given much to be responsible for, so more was required from them than from a lay person. However, when we step out of God’s will and start believing and living something that is contrary to the Word, the devil will eventually take us out.
Again, it’s not that God is going to kill you. But He can only protect us so long before it would become unjust to keep His hand of protection on us while there are others in the world doing the exact same that He has not put His hand of protection on. God keeping us safe, watching over us, protecting us is a benefit of being His child and walking in His will. When we no longer choose to do so, He can no longer protect us because then He is saying by His actions that He approves of our life and what we are doing, believing, and speaking.
Let’s not get to far off on one side of the road and fall in the ditch now. God is merciful. he is long suffering, patient.There is such a thing as the grace of God. However, God is also just. And just because He removes His hand of protection does not mean He no longer loves someone. The Apostle Paul spoke about turning one over for the destruction of their flesh so that they may be saved (1 Corinthians 5:5). Just because someone dies prematurely does not mean that God does not love them and it does not mean that they are not saved.
But to keep this from happening in the first place, we are to guard the truth, protect it from ever being contaminated with lies by seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Now when we don’t guard the truth, when we don’t contend for the faith, automatically that means we are standing for a lie. If we are not standing for the truth, by our inaction, we are opposing it. We are following a seducing spirit. It means we are following a doctrine of the devil.
Today, more than ever, seducing spirits and doctrines of devils have slipped into the church. Today the devil is questioning the Word of God to Christians more than ever. Does the Bible really say homosexuality is a sin? Does the Bible really say you have to ask for forgiveness? Does the Bible really say God wants you healed? Does the Bible really say to be separated from the world? Does the Bible really say that the Holy Ghost is for today?
The devil is questioning the Bible to Christians like never before. He has realized that it is easier to attack from the inside than from the outside. If he can make the church of the Lord Jesus Christ weak from the inside, then he can easily take it from the outside. That’s not to say that he is going to take it, but we do have a part to play.
God’s will and plan will not take place automatically. It’s not just going to happen. No, there’s a part that we have to play. There’s a man-ward side and a God-ward side. He will easily and clearly do what His part is of His plan, but we have to do our part.
The Bible talks about fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). There is a fight. There is something that we must do. God is calling us out of deception and back to truth – back to a strict adherence to the Word and Spirit of God. If you can’t find it in the Word of God – forget it!
Too many Christians are following after the lies of the devil instead of the truth of Christ. These may be well meaning Christians – Christians. However, they’re not following after the Word and Spirit of God. You can still be saved, still go to Heaven and follow after a doctrine of the devil.
Yes, that’s right. I didn’t say you can follow after the devil. But there are Christians that will fight you to the grave for their right to die because they believe that it is God’s will for them to be sick because God is teaching them something. But they will die an early death and get to Heaven before you or I because they refuse to believe the Word of God and instead believe a doctrine of the devil.
God is calling us back to a strict adherence to the Word of God. Why? Because until the Word is first place in our life, we cannot fully fulfill what God has called us to do. He has called us all to take our specific place in prayer and in the Kingdom of God to see that the plan of God takes place on the earth.
We will not take authority over the devils that are operating and controlling those in position of authority in our government and in some churches until we know that we have authority. We won’t pray for the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the early and latter rain until we know that God wants to do that in the earth and that it takes prayer to do it.
A man of God once remarked to God that years ago, back during the Great Healing Revival, that the move of the Spirit was deeper and greater than it was when he was talking to the Lord (and today as well). The Lord remarked, “Yes, and the level of consecration was deeper as well.”
God is calling us to re-examine what we believe. Yes, we believe in Jesus Christ. But are we believing the Bible on Jesus Christ. Can we find two or three witness (scriptures) that back up all of our beliefs (Deut. 17:6,19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19)? Do those witnesses agree with the whole council of God’s Word?
It doesn’t matter what your church preaches, your favorite preacher, or even what you believe or were raised on. What does the Bible say? Ask the Lord to remove any blinders from your eyes that may be keeping the whole truth from you. Break the powers of darkness over your mind and spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.
The Lord is wanting to do great things in the earth, but He is waiting on His people, His church to take their place. He can’t do that until we move away from the world and back to Him, away from seducing spirits and doctrines of devils and back to the truth of the Word.
Yes, the Lord has placed in our care the truth of God’s Word, the truth of Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to guard that first in our own lives, and second in what is being proclaimed as the truth. Guard it against attacks of the enemy both inside and outside the church. It doesn’t matter who is speaking against the truth, we must realize that it is not that person – saved or unsaved. It is a spirit that is influencing them to do so. There is a spiritual realm and it affects this natural realm, even people.
Stand for the truth. Guard the truth. Stay with the Word of God and the Spirit of God.