Joseph Herrin (01-25-2010)
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
I love the above picture. There is a shepherd going before the sheep (staff in hand). There is a straight and narrow path. There is also a little flock.
In America it is drilled into the minds of the masses that “bigger is better.” This mindset has been adopted by the church, but it is contrary to the thoughts of God. Christ never judged success by how many followers He had. Success in God’s kingdom is knowing the Father’s will and doing it.
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing…”
The Father did not give the masses to His Son. He gave His Son a little flock. Oh, there were large numbers of people that often gathered around Yahshua, especially when He was performing miracles, or feeding them. Yet, Christ knew these were not given to Him by His Father. He therefore treated them very differently from His disciples.
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” And He answered and said to them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.”
We find that the Lord always made a distinction between those whom the Father had given Him out of the world, and those who had not been given to Him.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word… For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them… I pray for them. I do not pray for the world, but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”
The principles of this fallen world are so ingrained in the minds of all men that it takes a concerted “renewing of the mind” to begin to be loosed from the patterns that we so easily fall into. Let me demonstrate this by sharing a recent experience I had while in jail.
Upon being placed in a wing of the jail that houses approximately 80 men, it became known to me that there was a room in this wing that was at times used for chapel services. I also understood that inmates were allowed to lead services for the men there, and often did so.
I began pondering whether the Father would have me to offer teachings in this chapel forum. I knew that attendance would be good, for any time a service was held there the room was filled with men. At times as many as a third of the inmates in that wing of the jail would attend.
The natural mind would conclude that the more people you can speak to, the more successful you are in accomplishing the ministry of the Father. Yet, as I waited upon the Father and continued in prayer, I discerned that He did not want me to speak to the masses. The Spirit began to lead me to pray that He would bring to me those whom He had chosen to receive the truths of His kingdom.
The very next morning after I had made this petition before the Father, there was a knock on my cell door. A man was standing there who had been in the jail over five months. I knew he was a professing believer, and had been leading services for the men in the jail, having the gift of an evangelist. This man was a trustee, and was therefore given much freedom during the day to go where he wanted in the jail during the day.
This man entered my cell and told me that he had heard I was a minister. He asked if he could speak to me, and began to share some of his present struggles, seeking my advice. The Spirit quickened me to discern the issues he was dealing with, and I was given words to share with him. Immediately, conviction fell upon this man, and I could sense a spiritual alertness come upon him.
This man told me that he had been praying for months that God would send him a minister who could teach him truth. Although he had spent many years attending churches, he had never found a minister willing to mentor him, though he had sought it often. Seeing that I had no other pressing engagements, and the Father had delivered to me a “captive audience,” I agreed to begin teaching this man the truths of God’s kingdom. I was led to instruct him in things he had never heard before in the religious system of this day.
Every day we met during the morning and afternoon breaks, one hour each time. We sat at a table in the large central break area, and other men would join us from time to time. This man, and one other, came to every meeting. These two men were very hungry for the word, while many others came and went. The Spirit instructed me to focus upon these two men, for they were appointed to receive the words of God.
The teachings I delivered to these men were not crowd-pleasing messages. I spoke at length of the cross that all disciples must bear. Our theme consistently was that “the entire purpose of the Christian life is to die before you die.” I was led to lay a foundation of dividing between soul and spirit, of the three resurrections, of distinctions in glory, and the need to run a focused race with our eye upon the prize of attaining to the first resurrection. We spoke to the symbolism of the firstborn, and pursuing the blessing and birthright with the same intensity as Jacob who wrestled with both God and man and prevailed.
I taught these men the fear of the Lord, demonstrating from Scriptures that we will surely reap what we sow. I spoke to them of the call to present ourselves as a freewill offering now, or we will be cast into the Lake of Fire as a mandatory offering later, where there is neither grace nor reward.
These two men were able to receive these words, and repeatedly the man who was a trustee would tell me, “How did I never see these things before? Why did God wait so long to open my eyes to these things?” I explained to him that we must all be broken before we are able to accept the truths of God, and until this time of suffering had come upon him, the soil of his heart had lain fallow. God had appointed the hour when He knew he was ready to receive the implanted word of truth.
Some days there would be as many as six men who would gather around the table to hear those things the Spirit was having me share. Most of the men did not return. The message of suffering and the cross did not appeal to them. A great many men were eager to attend chapel services where a false gospel was proclaimed that was devoid of obedience, repentance, or a focus upon holy living. They wanted to hear a message of salvation by confession alone that allowed them to continue carelessly in sin. Sadly, there were many ministers available to preach such deceit to them.
The entire time I was conducting these teachings the Spirit was bearing witness that He had not appointed me to preach to all the men there, but rather to a remnant. Our Father’s eyes are upon a small remnant in this hour. Many are the called, but few are chosen.
“And I will take you one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.”
People of God, one from a city and two from a family are not large numbers. It is a remnant that are being saved. Yahweh has always reserved a remnant for Himself, and His focus and desire is more upon this remnant in this hour than upon great masses of people whose devotion and obedience is of a lessor quality.
II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of Yahweh move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
Do you see the megachurches that fill the land? Some fill sport’s stadiums with tens of thousands of people. Yet there were as many overcomers appointed for salvation sitting at that one small table in the jail as there are in some of these huge congregations of professing Christians. In truth, the shepherds of these megachurches are not feeding the sheep on knowledge and understanding from the Father’s table. The sheep are being led to polluted streams. They are being fed foods that do not profit them.
Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, through which those who were thus occupied were not benefitted. We have an altar, from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat.
The remnant of Zion have an altar to eat from that those who serve the tabernacle (the body of flesh) have no right to eat. Indeed, those who serve the flesh have no desire for the food that comes from God’s table. Those who are mindful of earthly things respond as did the Israelites when God gave them manna from heaven to eat.
And the people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.”
People of God, I found two men in the jail who hungered greatly after the food that God was setting on the table before them. I would willingly return there again to be able to feed “the least of these” Christ’s brethren who are crying out for someone to instruct them in truth. All the other men in the jail proved by their actions that they “loathed” the wisdom and understanding coming from the altar of Yahweh.
Christ is “the bread that came down from heaven.” Do you perceive, therefore, the great reproach unto God that was demonstrated when the people of God said that they loathed the manna God sent them. The majority of the Jews 2,000 years ago demonstrated that they also loathed the Bread of Heaven. Few discern, that the vast majority in the body of Christ also loathe that which God is providing for His people to feed upon today. Christ cannot be proclaimed accurately apart from declaring “take up your cross daily and follow Me.”
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
Paul is writing to the church, and about those in the church, in the words above. Paul wept because there were “many” in the church “whose god is their appetite” and “who set their minds on earthly things.” Fleshly Christians are “enemies of the cross of Christ.”
Yes, God sends messengers to warn such carnally minded Christians to amend their ways. However, His chief focus is upon those who are willing to walk after the pattern of Christ. He must bring a firstfruits body of sons to maturity, and He will spare nothing in accomplishing this goal.
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
The Spirit is testifying even now that much hardship and persecution and loss is coming to His people. A fiery path must be trod by all those who would attain to the resurrection from the dead. Isaiah testified of the burning that the remnant of God must pass through.
“Yahweh has removed men far away, and the forsaken places (churches?) are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump.”
The holy seed must submit itself to the spirit of burning.
And it will come about that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy – everyone who is recorded for life in Jerusalem. When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning…
The Spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning lies before the people of God. Only a remnant will pass through. Most will fall away, but those who come through will be recorded in the Book of Life. They will have their filth washed away. They will stand pure and holy before God.
This message of suffering is detestable and loathsome to most. Look at the churches across the land. They cry out for flesh to eat. They want something given to them to satisfy the appetites of their fallen nature. But God has reserved a remnant unto Himself. This remnant esteem the reproaches of Christ to be of greater value than the passing pleasures of this world. These are men and women of whom the world is not worthy. They seek a heavenly kingdom and a reward that is imperishable in the heavens.
The Spirit bears witness that across this land there is a scattered remnant. Large auditoriums will not be filled with true disciples, for the true disciples of Christ must take up their cross daily and follow Him. The masses are not attracted to that which feeds the spirit man. The multitude are crying out for something to satisfy their flesh.
If you are hungry for true food; meat that profits the spiritual man, then I encourage you to pray that God would raise up shepherds for His “little flock.”
This man in prison who came to my cell testified that he had been crying out repeatedly for months that God would send someone to him to instruct him in truth. I have heard similar testimonies from others. They asked the Father to send them someone who would proclaim to them the whole counsel of God. God responded and they were fed in pastures that they had never been led to before. Oftentimes, we have not because we ask not.
I invite you to join with me in praying that God would bring together the sheep and the shepherds appointed to them in this hour. The Spirit is testifying that He would send me forth once more across the nation to teach His people. Please pray that the Spirit might lead me to a people that hunger for truth, and who will not despise that meat that comes from His altar. Pray that God would send true ministers to feed you, if you love, rather than loathe, that which the Father would send His people to feed upon in the wilderness.
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Montezuma, GA 31063