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Monday, December 21, 2015

DO CHURCH BOARDS RULE A LOCAL CHURCH?


A WARNING ABOUT MODERN DAY DEEDS OF THE NICOLAITANES AT WORK IN THE LOCAL CHURCH!


"But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate."  Revelation 2:6

Have you ever wondered who the "Nicolaitans" were, mentioned in the book of Revelation? Whoever they were, Jesus loathed their doctrine and hated their deeds. Let's delve into this subject today to see if we can ascertain the identity of this group. What was their damnable doctrine? What deeds were they committing that elicited such a strong reaction from Jesus? 

Let's begin in Revelation 2:6, where Jesus told the church of Ephesus, "But this thou hast [in your favor], that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate." Jesus was proud of the church of Ephesus for their "hatred" of the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which He also "hated." 

The word "hate" is a strong word, so let's see exactly what it means. It comes from the Greek word miseo, which means to hate, to abhor, or to find utterly repulsive. It describes a person who has a deep-seated animosity, who is antagonistic to something he finds to be completely objectionable. He not only loathes that object, but rejects it entirely. This is not just a case of dislike; it is a case of actual hatred

Any doctrine or practice that hurts the espoused bride of Christ, for whom He shed his blood for, is a dangerous path to tread.

The thing Jesus hated about them was their "deeds." The word "deeds" is the Greek word erga, which means works. However, this word is so all-encompassing that it pictures all the deeds and behavior of the Nicolaitans - including their actions, beliefs, conduct, and everything else connected to them. 

To crack the door for compromise silently and secretly to override the local church is the action of the Nicolaitans. Jesus died and shed His blood for the local church not a board or a denomination. For there to be any authority over and above a local church is the goal of the Nicolaitans.


The name "Nicolaitans" is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, a compound of the words nikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word that means to conquer or to subdue. The word laos is the Greek word for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are compounded into one, they form the name Nicolas, which literally means one who conquers and subdues the people

It seems to suggest that the Nicolaitans were somehow conquering and subduing the laity or the members of the local church. His say took precedence over their say as a local church.

The Nicolaitans were the spiritual descendants of Nicolas of Antioch, who had been ordained as a deacon in Acts 6:5. That verse says, "And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch." 

We know quite a lot of information about some of these men who were chosen to be the first deacons, whereas little is known of others. For instance, we know that the chief criteria for their selection was that they were men "...of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom..."(v. 3). Once they had been chosen, they were presented by the people to the apostles, who laid hands on them, installing 
and officially placing them as deacons. 

Stephen 

Like the other men, Stephen was of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. However, Acts 6:5 makes a remark about Stephen that is unique only to him. It says that he was "...a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost...." This stronger level of faith may have been a contributing factor to the development recorded in Acts 6:8: "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." 

Stephen was a God-called evangelist, and he was later privileged to be the first martyr in the history of the Church - killed at the order of Saul of Tarsus, who later became known as the apostle Paul (see Acts 7:58-8:1). The deacon ministry was vital proving ground to prepare Stephen for the fivefold office of the evangelist. The name Stephen is from the Greek word stephanos, and it means crown. This is worth noting, for he was the first to receive a martyr's crown. 

Philip 

Philip was with the other six original deacons. However, Acts 21:8 informs us that Philip later stepped in the ministry of the evangelist. He had four daughters who prophesied (v. 9). Just as the deacon training was proving ground for Stephen to step into the office of the evangelist, it was also Philip's school of ministry to prepare him for evangelistic ministry. The name Philip means lover of horses. This name often symbolized a person who ran with swiftness, as does a horse - a fitting name for a New Testament evangelist who ran swiftly to carry the Gospel message. 

Prochorus 

Very little is known about this member of the original deacons. His name, Prochorus, is a compound of the Greek words pro and chorus. The word pro means before or in front of, as with the position of a leader. The word "chorus" is the old Greek word for where we get the word choreography

Nicanor 

This unknown brother was found to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Other than this, nothing is known of him. He is never mentioned again in the New Testament after Acts 6. His name, Nicanor, means conqueror

Timon 

Like Nicanor mentioned above, Timon was known to be of good report, filled with the Holy Spirit and wisdom. Nothing more is known of him outside of Acts 6. His name means honorable or of great value

Parmenas We know nothing more of Parmenas other than what is mentioned here in Acts 6. His name is a compound of the words para and meno - the word para meaning alongside and meno meaning to remain or to abide. Compounded together, his name came to mean one who sticks alongside and conveyed the idea of one who is devoted, loyal, and faithful



Nicolas 

Acts 6:5 tells us that this Nicolas was "a proselyte of Antioch." The fact that he was a proselyte tells us that he was not born a Jew but had converted from paganism to Judaism. Then he experienced a second conversion, this time turning from Judaism to Christianity. From this information, we know these facts about Nicolas of Antioch:


  • - He came from paganism and had deep pagan roots, very much unlike the other six deacons who came from a pure Hebrew line. Nicolas' pagan background meant that he had previously been immersed in the activities of the occult.

  • - He was not afraid of taking an opposing position, evidenced by his ability to change religions twice. Converting to Judaism would have estranged him from his pagan family and friends. It would seem to indicate that he was not impressed or concerned about the opinions of other people.
  
  • - He was a free thinker and very open to embracing new ideas and concepts. Judaism was very different from the pagan and occult world in which he had been raised. For him to shift from paganism to Judaism reveals that he was very liberal in his thinking, for most pagans were offended by Judaism. He was obviously not afraid to entertain or embrace new ways of thinking. 

  • - When he converted to Christ, it was at least the second time he had converted from one religion to another. We don't know if, or how many times, he shifted from one form of paganism to another before he became a Jewish proselyte. His ability to easily change religious "hats" implies that he was not afraid to switch direction in midstream and go a totally different direction. 

According to the writings of the Early Church leaders, Nicolas taught a doctrine of compromise, implying that total separation between Christianity and the practice of occult paganism was not essential. From Early Church records, it seems apparent that this Nicolas of Antioch was so immersed in occultism, Judaism, and Christianity that he had a stomach for all of it. 

He had no problem intermingling these belief systems in various concoctions and saw no reason why believers couldn't continue to fellowship with those still immersed in the black magic of the Roman empire and its countless mystery cults. This influence and ability to conquer the members of a local church is destruction in the making. No board or individual should dictate, but should be dictated to by the decisions of the local church membership or it ceases to be a local church.

It is significant that the "deeds" and "doctrines" of the Nicolaitans are only mentioned in connection with the churches in two occultic and pagan cities. It seems that the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans was that it was alright to have one foot in both worlds and that one needn't be so strict about separation from the world in order to be a Christian. This, in fact, was the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans that Jesus "hated." 

It led to a weak version of Christianity that was without power and without conviction - a defeated, worldly type of Christianity. The conquering of the laity or members of the local church was hated by Christ. 

The overthrowing of local church entity, autonomy, and indigenousness was despised by Christ. It would lead to compromise. Christ's church is to be presented without spot and blemish. This cannot happen if one or a group of ones dictate and usurp authority over a local New Testament Church autonomous and indigenous church polity.

Nicolas' deep roots in paganism may have produced in him a tolerance for occultism and paganism. Growing up in this perverted spiritual environment may have caused him to view these belief systems as not so damaging or dangerous. This wrong perception would have resulted in a very liberal viewpoint that encouraged people to stay connected to the world. This is what numerous Bible scholars believe about the Nicolaitans.  

They justified their position by getting their way through conquering the local church bathing it in compromise. 

This kind of teaching would result in nothing but total defeat for its followers. When believers allow a persona or a board to over rule the local church they are opening up the potential of sin and compromise to be in their lives, it drains away the power in the work of the Cross and the power of the Spirit that is resident in a believer's life. 

This is the reason the name Nicolas is so vital to this discussion. The evil fruit of Nicolas' "doctrine" encouraged worldly participation, leading people to indulge in sin and a lowered godly standard. 

In this way he literally conquered the members of a local church and over threw their stand.   

God wants to make sure we understand the doctrine the Nicolaitans taught, so Balaam's actions are given as an example of their doctrine and actions. Revelation 2:14,15 says, "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate."

Just as the men of Israel compromised themselves with the world and false religions, now the "doctrine" of the Nicolaitans was encouraging compromise via over ruling the local church membership's stand as a local church. As you are well aware, compromise with the world always results in a weakened and powerless form of Christianity. 

No board or no one person should ever over rule a local church for if they do they open the door to compromise by over throwing the local church autonomy. 

This was the reason Jesus "hated" the "doctrine" and the "deeds" of the Nicolaitans. No board should ever over rule the vote of a local church for if they do they open the door to compromise with "board rule" instead of "church rule."  

Thus the "deeds of the Nicolaitans" leads to compromise and generations to follow will pay the price of their compromise of overthrowing the will of the local church.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

SHOULD GOD'S MEN ENDORSE PRIMARY CANDIDATES?


The Danger of Endorsing Political Primary Candidates


NameBornCurrent/previous positionsStateAnnouncedCandidate Logo and campaign linkRef
Bush
Jeb Bush
February 11, 1953
(age 62)
Midland, Texas
Governor of Florida
(1999–2007)

Florida Secretary of Commerce (1987–1988)
Flag-map of Florida.svg
Florida
June 15, 2015Jeb Bush presidential campaign, 2016
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[3]
Carson
Ben Carson
September 18, 1951
(age 64)
Detroit, Michigan
Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery,
Johns Hopkins Hospital

(1984–2013)
Flag-map of Maryland.svg
Maryland
May 4, 2015Carson for President 2016.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[4][5]
Christie
Chris Christie
September 6, 1962
(age 53)
Newark, New Jersey
Governor of New Jersey
(2010–present)

United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey (2002–2008)
Morris CountyFreeholder (1995–1998)
Flag-map of New Jersey.svg
New Jersey
June 30, 2015Christie 2k16.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[6]
Cruz
Ted Cruz
December 22, 1970
(age 44)
Calgary, Alberta
Canada
United States Senator from Texas
(2013–present)

Solicitor General of Texas (2003–2008)
Texas flag map.svg
Texas
March 23, 2015Cruz 2k16 text.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[7][8]
Carly Fiorina by Gage Skidmore 3 (cropped).jpg
Carly Fiorina
September 6, 1954
(age 61)
Austin, Texas
CEO of Hewlett-Packard
(1999–2005)

Nominee for United States Senate in California, 2010
Flag-map of Virginia.svg
Virginia
May 4, 2015Carly for President Logo.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[9]
Gilmore
Jim Gilmore
October 6, 1949
(age 66)
Richmond, Virginia
Governor of Virginia
(1998–2002)

Presidential candidate in 2008
Nominee for United States Senate in Virginia, 2008
Attorney General of Virginia (1994–1997)
Flag-map of Virginia.svg
Virginia
July 30, 2015Gilmore 2016.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[10]
Lindsey Graham by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Lindsey Graham
July 9, 1955
(age 60)
Central, South Carolina
United States Senator from South Carolina
(2003–present)

United States Representative from South Carolina (1995–2003)
South Carolina State Representative (1993–1995)
Flag-map of South Carolina.svg
South Carolina
June 1, 2015Graham 2k16.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[11]
Huckabee
Mike Huckabee
August 24, 1955
(age 60)
Hope, Arkansas
Governor of Arkansas
(1996–2007)

Presidential candidate in 2008
Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas (1993–1996)
Flag-map of Arkansas.svg
Arkansas
May 5, 2015Huckabee Plain.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[12]
Kasich
John Kasich
May 13, 1952
(age 63)
McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania
Governor of Ohio
(2011–present)

Presidential candidate in 2000
United States Representative from Ohio (1983–2001)
Ohio State Senator(1979–1982)
Ohio Flag Map Accurate.png
Ohio
July 21, 2015Kasich 2016.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[13]
Pataki
George Pataki
June 24, 1945
(age 70)
Peekskill, New York
Governor of New York
(1995–2006)

New York State Senator(1993–1994)
New York State Assemblyperson(1985–1992)
Mayor of Peekskill(1981–1984)
Flag-map of New York.svg
New York
May 28, 2015Pataki for President Campaign Logo.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[14]
Rand Paul by Gage Skidmore 13.jpg
Rand Paul
January 7, 1963
(age 52)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
United States Senator from Kentucky
(2011–present)
Flag-map of Kentucky.svg
Kentucky
April 7, 2015Rand Paul Presidential Campaign logo.svg
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[15][16]
Marco Rubio by Gage Skidmore 8.jpg
Marco Rubio
May 28, 1971
(age 44)
Miami, Florida
United States Senator from Florida
(2011–present)

Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (2007–2009)
Florida State Representative (2000–2009)
Flag-map of Florida.svg
Florida
April 13, 2015Marco Rubio 2016 Campaign logo.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[17][18]
Santorum
Rick Santorum
May 10, 1958
(age 57)
Winchester, Virginia
United States Senator from Pennsylvania
(1995–2007)

Presidential candidate in 2012
United States Representative from Pennsylvania (1991–1995)
Flag-map of Pennsylvania.svg
Pennsylvania
May 27, 2015Santorum 2k16 text.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[19]
Donald Trump Aug 19 2015.jpg
Donald Trump
June 14, 1946
(age 69)
Queens, New York
CEO of The Trump Organization
(1971–present)

Flag-map of New York.svg
New York
June 16, 2015Trump 2016.png
(Campaign • Positions • Website)
FEC filing
[20][21][22]

In the early 1970s, the city of Hammond Indiana had a mayor whose name was Joseph Klen. Mayor Klen was a staunch Democrat. His politics resembled Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago. He was in no way a conservative politician. He was a Roman Catholic by religion. 

Yet Mayor Klen loved Jack Hyles. He loved him so much that when Brother Hyles’ children graduated from high school Mayer Klen sent a card and a check congratulating them. He loved him so much that anytime Dr. Hyles called City Hall he was able to reach the mayor personally. Mayor Klen often visited First Baptist Church, and whenever he did Dr. Hyles would bring onto the platform and let him greet the people.
One of the things I remember about Pastor School was the annual greeting from the liberal mayor of Hammond Indiana. It was obvious that these men revered Dr. Hyles and perhaps even feared him somewhat. But it was also evident that they genuinely loved and respected him. They would invoke their Catholic faith hoping that they could appease the crowd, most who could not even vote for them. Dr. Hyles would graciously stand behind them and smile as they greeted us. I was always amazed at how Dr. Hyles was so influential with these liberal politicians. 

As I got to know him better I learned why. Dr. Hyles did not play politics. He did not endorse candidates. He did not try to be a power broker in the political arena. He did not believe that was his role. He believed his role was to be a good citizen. He believed his role was to teach his people the right principles, so they could make the right choices. He believed his role was to go into the ballot box and vote his conscience. In all the years I knew Dr. Hyles I never saw or heard him endorse a candidate. Let me explain why he did not.
Dr. Hyles believed that to endorse a candidate was to risk alienating those who were for other candidates. It was quite obvious to his people where he stood on issues thus it was usually obvious for whom he voted. However he never said it publicly. No one questioned what he believed. They could easily determine who he probably voted for. 

However it was not his place to tell them who they should vote for. If a person in his church was a Democrat he did not want to alienate them from himself. There were always many new Christians in his church who had voted for liberal candidates in the past. He did not want to lose their ear to the preaching of the Scriptures by endorsing a candidate for whom they may not like. It was not compromising. It was prioritizing. 
He once told me that his in-laws were lifelong Democrats. They voted for many for whom he never would have considered casting a vote. Just as he never talked politics to his in-laws, he never talked politics to his church. Wait I did not say issues; I said politics and therein is the difference. 
Dr. Hyles had men on his deacon board who were lifelong Democrats. Some of them supported and voted for candidates who Dr. Hyles believed were not the best choice. Had he stood and endorsed a candidate he could easily have alienated those good men and lessened his influence on them as their pastor. Influencing his people was more important than endorsing a candidate. 
There were likewise people in his church who would have chosen his second choice as their first. Sometimes the more two candidates are alike, the more heated the competition. The moment that he endorsed their closest competitor the closer he could come to alienating those people. 

Let me give an example. I have good preacher friends who love Rand Paul. Although similar in some beliefs, Ted Cruz has strong differences with Mr. Paul. If I endorse Ted Cruz, I become a part of the team of their candidates “enemy.”
Dr. Hyles goal was to teach his people the right principles that would influence them to vote for the right person even if sometimes it was second best in his own mind. First and foremost his goal was to train his people to be the right kind of people. Eventually that would lead them to vote properly. 
He believed that it was better for his people to vote for the second best man because they felt it was right thing to do than to feel resentment towards him for trying to control what they did. He did not want to put them in a position where their loyalty had to be tested. Nor did he want to put them in a position where they felt he was on the other side. For that reason he never endorsed a political candidate. 
I don't think anyone ever thought Dr. Hyles didn't love his country. I don't think anyone ever doubted his commitment to this nation. But he chose to show his love for America by encouraging pastors to reach the lost in their communities. He chose to give himself to raise up enough righteous people to spare our nation. He believed that God spared the nation because of the righteousness of his people not the political persuasion of their elected officials.
Dr. Hyles was right. It is dangerous to endorse candidates especially in Primaries. There are many who are running for the GOP nomination. They all have strengths. They all have weaknesses. They all have qualities that are good and they all have qualities that I don't particularly like. They all take a good position in some areas and are weak in others. 

My recommendation to pastors is to teach your people what is right. If you teach your people what is right they will do what is right. And that includes voting. The moment we put ourselves behind a particular candidate we risk alienating that for which we were called.
Let me make it perfectly clear there are people who we cannot endorse. Mr. Obama has proven himself to be anti-God and anti-Christianity in many ways, not to mention being anti-constitution. My condemnation of his behavior and his beliefs is not an endorsement of another candidate, but speaks clearly for itself. At times we must speak out at certain behaviors of certain politicians. However we must be cautious about endorsing a particular person.
But what about endorsing a candidate who professes to be a born again Christian over one who is not? In 1976, Jimmy Carter, a born-again Southern Baptist Sunday school teacher was running for the office of President against Gerald Ford, a man who did not give a clear cut testimony of his conversion. 

The fact is I could not have voted for Jimmy Carter. Voting for a Christian is the litmus test some Christians have when deciding for whom to vote. In my opinion Gerald Ford was the better man, in spite of the fact that he was not a professing born-again Christian. 

We must be cautious that we do not promote our people to vote for someone based solely on who we think is a Christian. Many Christian businessmen are crooked and many lost businessmen are honest. Are we to do business with a crooked Christian or with an honest pagan? I don't think that's a difficult decision. The same is true with politicians.
Let me give some practical advice to pastors regarding this matter of election
  • Never endorse a particular candidate.
  • Give your people some guidelines as to how to decide for whom they are going to vote. What are the important issues? If all things are equal choose the born again believer, and if not choose the one who is most right on the important issues.
  • Make your people aware of the importance of our Constitution and how to decipher the candidates who will protect and abide by it and those who won’t. Remember the job of our elected officials is to honor the constitution upon which our nation was built.
  • Inform your people of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidates. I plan to do this in an article before the primaries and the general election.
  • Warn people of critical issues that are important in their decision making.
  • Honor all those in office but never water down your message.
  • Do not make political zealots of your people. Make soul winning zealots of them. If we win more people to Christ than to our politician of choice we do more good for this nation than if our man wins.
  • Have prayer meetings before elections and ask the people to pray for God to be honored and for them to have wisdom in their voting. Pray that the will of God is done, not your will.
  • Remind your people that it is God who lifts men up and it is God who puts men down. Sometimes God allows a man into power for whom we would not have voted, and does so for a purpose which we do not see.
  • Remind your people that God is still in control no matter who wins. Elections have no power over our God.
  • Vote and make certain your people know you are voting, but not for whom you are voting. Let me say here that the choice between a Mormon and a liberal sitting president was not a good one, but one man was better than the other. Not to vote is a disgrace and your people should understand that. Many, estimates of 4 to 6 million, Christians sat out that election and that could have changed the outcome.
  • Remind your people that even if their man wins he will let them down along the way. In my lifetime I have yet to see a president who did not at some time disappoint me. Expect it and prepare for it.
  • Teach your people to be gracious to people who strongly promote candidates who they do not believe are right. Don’t argue with them. You may win the argument and lose your influence. Worse yet, you may win the argument and lose the chance to win them to Christ.
  • Do not attach supernatural permission or consequences to a political election. One good man wrote me recently and said, “I'm not sure I understand your opposition to endorsing a political candidate. I don't understand why you make public a disagreement between good men when a phone call would be best; far less confusing to some. We are on the same team. I do not promote stopping the work of the local church; soul winning. I personally believe we are going to lose our freedom to preach if we do not elect a God fearing man like ____________.” 
  • The candidate he named is a good man and on the top of the list of those for whom I would probably vote. However, as good a man as he is, I am concerned with the last line my dear brother used, “...we are going to lose our freedom to preach if we do not elect a God fearing man like __________________.”
  • If we lose our freedoms, it will not be because we do or don’t elect that man to the office of president. I do not believe that nor do I think we should put that kind of power into an election. The truth is, we are spoiled. We have the freedom to do what many have lost their lives doing in other places. 
  • Let me also make it perfectly clear that I will have the freedom to preach as long as God gives me breath. If I am put into prison for preaching then I will preach in prison. I may be martyred for it, but if so I believe there will be a Saul nearby who take my coat and my message and keep on preaching. Glory to God, I am free to preach and I will leave the consequences up to my God.
May God give us as men in our pulpits with the wisdom to understand the position that God has given us. May we not use our influence to alienate our people. May we also not use our personal opinions to alienate our political leaders. We must do our best to show ourselves like men of old in the Scripture who when placed in positions under pagan leaders showed forth the wisdom of God in their behavior. 
I am not angry at anyone, nor was this written to scold any one person. I am a few days from being 70 years old. It might do good for some younger men to heed the warnings of this grizzled veteran. I am not just old, I am seasoned. You may be well advised to take these thoughts into serious consideration.