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 Restoring Fallen Christian Leaders to Holiness

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PostSubject: Restoring Fallen Christian Leaders to Holiness   Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:10 am

Restoring Fallen Christian Leaders to Holiness
By Rick Joyner


The fear of the Lord and the pursuit of holiness in a fallen world. In Scripture “the flesh” is a metaphor for the carnal nature of fallen man, which is in opposition to the Spirit of God. The attributes of this carnal nature are listed in Galatians 5:17-21: “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

It is so crucial that Christians overcome this base nature that we are told in the last verse above that we will not inherit the Kingdom of God as long as we practice these things. The removal of that nature is referred to as our spiritual circumcision, which is the circumcision of our heart, as we read in Romans 2:27-29. So we want to take the time to look at each of these works of the flesh, and how they are to be cut out of our life so we can replace them with the fruit of the Spirit, which is the Christ-like nature. That is our goal, not to just rid ourselves of the evil, but to fill our hearts with God.

The first work of the flesh that is listed is “immorality.” This includes fornication, which is having forbidden relations outside of marriage, and adultery, which is having forbidden relations with someone other than your spouse. It also includes homosexual forbidden relations, which the Bible calls not only a sin, but a perversion and an abomination. These are sins; they are forbidden, and under no circumstances are acceptable behaviors for a Christian.

Does this mean that anyone who has ever fallen to one of these cannot inherit the Kingdom of God? No. There is grace for those who stumble and the forgiveness of sin if we repent and seek the forgiveness of God through His atonement. However, it is a different story for those who “practice” these things. That implies the continual, repeated sin that is not repented of.

A second question would be whether a Christian who falls into repeated affairs or a lengthy affair cannot be saved because they have practiced these things. This is a good question and one that is certainly worthy of examination. It is addressed in a number of Scriptures, but we will look at Hebrews 6:4-6: “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.”

There is obviously a line that can be crossed where it becomes impossible to renew one again to repentance. This also implies that if someone can still repent, they must not have crossed that line. The key is if they can still repent. Repentance is more than just feeling sorry for having committed the sin, and is more than asking forgiveness – it means to renounce the sin and turn away from it, resolving not to do it again. So if someone can still repent, they can be forgiven and they can still inherit the Kingdom of God. Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

Sin does harden the heart toward repentance or makes it harder to repent. Sin is also deceitful, and those who practice it often become so deceived that they no longer see it as sin, and therefore cannot repent of it. I have witnessed this process with far too many, even with those who had an extraordinary anointing and have been mightily used by God. In fact, it seems that the more anointed you are when you fall into sin, the faster the hardening takes place and the deeper the deception is.

I know one such very anointed man of God who engaged in lengthy homosexual relationships lasting for years. When it was exposed, the depth of his hardness of heart and the level of deception was astonishing. Every conceivable homosexual act was performed repeatedly, but because he was only involved with one partner at a time he became enraged when it was even implied that he was a homosexual! He had begun to call the sinful acts “fellowship” and ways that he was helping his partners “to get free of their homophobia.” Could he really believe anything that foolish? It seems that he really does.

Though this man finally admitted to everything when confronted with the evidence, there is a difference between admitting something and repenting of it. This was a man that was known all over the world for the powerful spiritual gifts that operated through him, and his knowledge of the ways of the Spirit. However, when this sin was exposed I have personally never witnessed more irrational thinking than what came out of this man. We must never underestimate the power of sin to deceive. The greater we think we are in the Lord and the more pride we have in that, the more vulnerable we can be and the further we can fall when we do.

I am convinced that the Church today has some of the greatest leaders that it has had since the first century. There are great problems in the church today, but there are also many more reasons for great hope. I have had to deal with some very ugly things in the church, and in some leaders, but this has by no means shaken my faith in their ultimately becoming a bride without spot or wrinkle.

We must also keep in mind Galatians 6:1, “Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.” “Any trespass” covers a lot. We must also have as our goal the restoration of any one who falls into any sin. As stated above, there obviously is a line that can be crossed when it becomes impossible for one to repent. However, it is my opinion that only the Lord knows when this has been done. Therefore, regardless of how deep the darkness is that one falls into, it is my resolve to hope and pray for their repentance and do anything I can to help them as the Lord gives me the grace. I have learned repeatedly that His grace and mercy reaches much further than my own.

When weird practices start to manifest in a group, leave as fast as you can. Such will almost always try to bind you to them with a control spirit, guilt, and fears that you will miss the will of God for your life, that you are “touching the anointed,” or other yokes of bondage. Do not listen to them, do not fear them, and do not let them control you to try to help others. It is very unlikely that you will be able to help anyone by staying, but will be putting yourself and your family in jeopardy. I can understand why some would determine to not want to be in leadership or grow in their anointing. This is not the answer because then the devil has already won. The answer is to heed the warning of I Corinthians 10:12: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”

If we ever start to think that we are so wise and strong in the Lord that we cannot fall, then a fall is inevitable. Pride caused the devil to fall in the first place and it is at the root of almost every fall since. There seems to be a pride that many who are used with a great anointing sometimes get, thereby thinking they are somehow special and can get away with such things because of the way God has used them. This is a terrible presumption that the Lord Jesus Himself addressed in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

Lawlessness is the result of rationalizing away the clear Word of God. It is the tendency to bend the rules in order to get away with something. That tendency is also called “craftiness” in Scripture and was the very first attribute given to describe the devil in the Garden. Once you start down the path of bending the rules, you have opened the door very wide to Satan, and he will come through it.

I have been told by Christian leaders that when I preach these things a great fear comes upon them. I hope it does. I hope that it has come upon all who read this, for your sake. We need a good, healthy dose of the fear of the Lord. As we are told in Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” We are told in Proverbs 8:13,“The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogance and the evil way.” “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” and those who stay on the path of life never lose it.

However, it is not the highest form of wisdom. We should fear the consequences of sin, understanding that God’s judgment is going to come upon the world for these things. However, we should hate sin even more because of what it does to the One we love – and what sin did to Him on the cross, which He bore for our redemption. How could anyone who has truly beheld the cross not hate that which caused our King so much pain?

It is necessary for us to understand sin and that it is the path to death. If you want to live, turn from sin, and to the One Who alone is Life. He will give us His own Holy Spirit so that we can live free from the yoke of sin, and live in righteousness, holiness, and the truth. – Excerpted from “Creating a Clean Heart, Part I” by Rick Joyner. Used by permission.

Rick Joyner is founder, executive director and senior pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church, which now holds services in Charlotte, Wilkesboro, and Winston-Salem, N.C. Rick founded MorningStar Publications and Ministries in 1985 and has written more than 20 books as part of his commitment to equip the saints. For more information, visit www.morningstarministries.org.


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