Wilderness Christians: LET’S PLAY CHURCH 2 (Part 8)
LET’S PLAY CHURCH – continued….
You see this played out in the book of Numbers scripture stated at the beginning of this chapter. The slanderers, busybodies, and experts on coveting are set to rebel against Moses and to challenge his authority. They are readily equipped and well trained, loaded with ammunition from their vicious, poisonous tongues. They need excitement. They have become bored in the wilderness – bored with themselves, bored with Moses, bored with Aaron, bored with God, bored with manna, and bored with church. They wanted excitement; so they made their own. They wanted to fulfill their own lusts for flesh desires. They could not go back to Egypt; so they brought Egypt to themselves. They said – “The hell with God and Moses; we are all holy”. How holy were they? Holy enough according to their own standards and as holy as a golden calf – the god who took them out of Egypt.
The stage is now set for the primetime performance of the Christian Fellowship Church of the Wilderness. It will compete well against the worldly primetime soap operas. Notice first in Numbers 16:1-2, the ‘famous’ of the congregation have risen up against Moses. These are the ones holy according to the people, not according to God. They would be voted into church office. They are the most influential, successful in business and politics. God’s anointed are rejected, and replaced by those approved by man. You are about to witness a church split.
Numbers 16:3 – “… all the congregation are holy, every one of them …” Here is the malicious tongue that Satan speaks through so well, always lying in wait and always twisting truth. Wilderness Christians are very envious and eagerly attempt to pounce on the Lord’s anointed. In this verse, they basically advised Moses they wanted to co-pastor with him; for everyone is holy, “the Lord is among them”. They were all holy in the eyes of the congregation and not in the eyes of the Lord. Is this not so prevalent in today’s churches? No wonder many churches today are so dead and boring; they are churches of the wilderness. Where do you exist? The Holy Spirit will truly show you and reveal your heart.
Moses responded so wisely; he went directly to the Lord and interceded for the rebels. What a magnificent example of an intercessor! Moses used godly wisdom not to debate with the children of Israel. We do well to study his example and patience in dealing with revelers and rebels. In verse 7, Moses emphasized that the Lord will choose who is the holy one. This is how it always must be; one can only be holy according to God, not according to man. If someone is anointed in some area (ex. Moses as a spiritual leader), that person must be respected and obeyed as a representative of the Lord. He requires heart-motivated obedience. When a believer strays from this, he walks in the wilderness and will only see truth from his own eyes. He will certainly rebel against spiritual authority; he becomes totally ignorant of his sin. This primetime rebellion becomes a scandal and the brunt of jokes from the unsaved world. No wonder many unsaved people refuse to become Christians; the hypocrisy of the Christian church is displayed right before their eyes in the national spotlight. Satan will never permit it to pass by without exposing it further. The problem with the unsaved world is not the unsaved world itself; it is wilderness Christians living as total hypocrites pretending to be holy in their own eyes. There is no resurrected life in their testimony; no true love of Christ flowing out. The only life the unsaved world sees is one of condemnation and judgment. The unsaved world receives the message that Christians are more known for what they are against than for what they are for. Yes, this last sentence provides a very accurate description of the wilderness church.
(Personal Note: All the unsaved basically see on the news is wilderness Christians condemning homosexuality and picketing abortion clinics. The irony is the unsaved world knows homosexuality and abortion are sins; and the unsaved world strongly desires to change. However, no love-of-God motivation inspires them to. It is incredible how frequently unbelievers have told me they truly love Jesus the person. They are convinced beyond any doubt that He is the Son of God. They strongly believe and understand the significance of His death and resurrection in God’s plan of salvation. Yet, they refuse to come to Jesus for life. Do you know why? They fear becoming like the wilderness Christians. They love Jesus but do not understand Christianity. They see no love and rest in wilderness Christians. They do not know of Canaan because most Christians live in the wilderness (coveting the sins of Egypt and seeing themselves as holy in their own eyes). So the only obvious choice for unbelievers is to remain in Egypt. I cannot blame them. Wilderness Christians are the biggest hypocrites in the world. They have become Pharisees. Where do you fit in?)
How quickly one forgets the Lord’s personal salvation! Egypt never left their hearts. Is this what the unsaved world sees in your testimony? Do they see the poison from your mouth? How often do you slander or gossip about others? How often do you walk with your self-righteous attitude on your shoulders and a big, puffed-up halo on your head? How holy do you believe you are – in your eyes or in God’s eyes? How often do you continue to live in Egypt; living in your fears and insecurity, and putting a legalistic Bible cover on your life? Do not look to me for your answers. The Word of God is well enough to stand your test. Is it not about time you went directly to God, alone and often? Is it finally time to cut out the circus you live in as a wilderness Christian? What ever happened to your intimate love relationship with Him?
These influential, wilderness Christians always challenge the Lord’s anointed. God will NEVER permit His anointed to be persecuted more than He permits. Such was the case here with Moses. In Numbers 16:32-35, the Lord opened the earth to swallow the rebels under Korah and fire from heaven consumed the 250 men of influence over the congregation. The people failed to learn to ‘never touch the anointed of the Lord’.
You think the remaining children of Israel would heed this message? Of course not! How long do you think it lasted? Not 24 hours. Incredible! Numbers 16:41 – “But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, YE HAVE KILLED THE PEOPLE OF THE LORD”. Here the children of Israel again unleashed their poisonous tongues. They could not even wait one day without opening their mouths. Who can imagine what they conspired throughout the night before to do to Moses and Aaron? Could Moses and Aaron themselves cause the earth to open to swallow them? You can read the conclusion yourself in the book of Numbers through chapter 17. With this rebellion, another 14,700 died as a result of a plague from the Lord.
From all this rebellion in only a few days, the danger of the power of the tongue is so obvious. Often the Lord warns us to only use our tongue properly. James writes that man can never control his own tongue. Only the Holy Spirit can control the tongue of man; but a complete renewal of mind is required. Consider why God created man with one tongue and two ears. He clearly requests man do twice as much listening than talking. Man has created the opposite. We always speak as if we have two tongues and one ear. Have you ever noticed how often people really listen when you are speaking? Also, how often do you really listen when someone is speaking? Frequently, my mind is preoccupied with other thoughts. This is downright sin. The person should have my undivided attention. Jesus surely never preoccupied His thoughts when in the company of others. (Remember that our tongue is basically our only body part that never tires.)
A quote by Miguel de Cervantes, author of Don Quixote/Man Of La Mancha, is very appropriate – “A closed mouth catches no flies”.