Sunday, February 22, 2009

Judgment and Discipline

Apostolic Judgment and Church Discipline

Apostolic Judgment is the anointing, authority, and the agenda of the Spirit released through apostles in setting things in divine and spiritual order, governmental foundation and functionality of focus, proper alignment, and in establishing right relationships in the local assemblies.

Apostolic Judgment is not something, which occasionally takes place upon finding out that an elder was caught in the act of adultery or has embezzled funds. But apostolic judgment is the nature of the apostle to bring valid judgment {discretion, decision, etc.} into the leaders, assemblies and related ministries for its vital and necessary growth and stability as kingdom people into kingdom alignment unto kingdom advancement . Apostolic judgment brings purity of motive and challenges leaders and saints in right relationship with God and one another. Apostolic judgment is a mandated authority to set God's house in order.

Below are scriptures which bears witness of the importance of setting things in order...

For we sought Him not after the Due Order...1 Chronicles 15:13

That you should set in order {Greek - straighten further, arrange additionally} the things that are wanting {lacking}, originally, the things that are destitute {destitute in truth, revelation, order, regional apostolic purpose, to fail or be absent}...and ordain elders in every city...Titus 1:5...{implies the character of leadership as found in part in 1 Timothy 3:1-11; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-5; Exodus 18:13-24

1 Corinthians 12 - Classification of the gifts of the Spirit: 1 Corinthians 13 - Motivation of the gifts of the Spirit: 1 Corinthians 14 - Demonstration and Operation of the gifts of the Spirit in Spiritual divine order - also read 1 Corinthians 14:33 - God is not the author of confusion and tumult, but peace and in all assemblies of the saints...

With apostolic judgment comes Church Discipline, God’s order for correction, which is not rejection, but divine direction.

One of the needed areas of church discipline is when we honestly admit that our very own personal life sometimes lack the necessary challenge of personal growth and development and a lack of honesty and maturity to apply wisdom and knowledge to our given life sphere. Such unchallenged behavior finds its way right into the corporate anointing of the assembly. We may not be willing to accept spiritual order corporately, because we do not accept the challenge to change at home, personally. When we lack personal order and discipline, how are we going to value spiritual and divine order and apostolic accountability, submission, sonship, and leadership potential? This is why church discipline is needed in the assemblies, for more than judging sin, rebellion, or false doctrine {teaching}. It is given to reshape, reconstruct, and to reform the foundations of our understanding as we are not here to fit in this world, but to change it through dominion, the first great commission in Genesis 1:26, 28.

Now, there is a two-fold purpose of church discipline, and bear in mind this principle is applicable to any important sphere of ministry including apostolic networks, Para-ministries {as it has been so often called...hmm}, and other legitimate Christian organizations. These core values and core stabilizations is purposed to bring repentance and restoration and as in Galatians 6:1 and is not designed to exact revenge or to foster ideals leading one to unbearably endure someone's condemnation of them.

In this there are two main divisions of discipline. One, is church discipline: Church discipline may be found in Matthew 18:15-20 and understood in the following ways...

A - Private and Individual Discipline: Going to your brother alone regarding the offense. Do not be quick to go before the public, for private matters should be dealt with in private at first. Luke 17:3-5; Matthew 5:24; Leviticus 19:17

B - Public Discipline: In this case, you take 2-3 witnesses to your brother {the offender} if he will not hear you one-on-one or refuses the divine protocol and accountability structure in the more private portion of discipline mentioned above. Get a mature person whom you can trust, possibly someone that knows the individual personally. Each person involved with the process of restoration must be willing to see the individual offender restored. Also, in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is established. Galatians 6:1`

C - Corporate Church Discipline: Whenever an offender refuses to reconcile before the witnesses, you must bring it before the corporate assembly so that the whole church and possibly certain others can righteously judge. The congregation or assembly shall not condemn the offender, but aim to restore. Again, repentance and restoration is the key here.

D - Excommunication: If the offender refuses to reconcile after hearing from the corporate assembly, the witnesses, or the other person alone, and after having failed all attempts of repentance and restoration of the offender, then you must excommunicate him from the assembly. Such remaining or overstaying of aberrant behavior becomes infectious, and tends to negatively influence the rest of the assembly when a person who is permitted to hang on after bringing a grave breach to the church. People who are judged righteously through theocratic government of the church and has not passed the previous stages of church discipline is given to excommunication for the safety and well being of the rest of the assembly: and when the offender has repented and has come clean with leadership and the corporate anointing, they are welcomed back within the assembly. Even in this, there must be some guidelines posted within the local assembly, especially if this person once had a leadership position within the church.

Respect has to be earned and redeveloped within the life of that former offender. Serious repercussions arise when we don't establish the proper foundation, government, and spiritual order of the kingdom within the local assemblies of the saints. Leaders are to be friendly but firm. A familiar spirit {familiarity} is bred when grossly misguided sympathizers step in the way of things and try sway the theocratic leadership or to influence others within the assembly to party to their contentions about the offender. In such, church splits arise, and splinter groups flourish throughout the local regions and vicinities of our nation as well. A poor posture and negative perception of ministry lingers in the minds and imaginations of many as the devastation of the seed crops planted by regional apostles and elders attempts to uproot and undermine the very foundation of the apostles and prophets.

I have witnessed hundreds of dissident, disgruntled, and disenfranchised saints throughout Houston in large numbers or groups going from assembly to assembly, nowhere to be fathered, nowhere to deepen their roots, and nowhere to have been given vision, direction, stability, leadership, purpose, training, and mentoring unto fulfillment of their given destiny. There is no place to be found for them to become clear and well-defined in lines of communication or covenant and kingdom community. Or, if they do discover a place that is healthy and vibrant in covenant relationships they do not stay there or anywhere for too long while living and leaning on their limited notion that, "If things get too heated around here, just leave, bail out, jump ship, and man overboard as always!...How sad! I call this "ROAMING Charges!" lol.

To witness the seriousness of God's house, note the scriptures below...

1 Timothy 5:19-21...Rebuke before all...

Leviticus 17:9...cut off from God's people...

Numbers… 19:20: such a man defiles God's sanctuary and must be cut off...

1 Corinthians 5:13...put away from among yourselves that wicked person...

2 Corinthians 2:6...punishment was inflicted by many...

Proverbs 15:10...{Please read and review}

According to the word of God, a person can be bound until loosed. The assembly has the authority to bind and can loose when the person has truly repented. This happened in 1994 when a woman sought repentance with God and valid leadership at one of our established assemblies. After she admitted the offense and received forgiveness we released her to go on from here, and the sickness in her body disappeared. Upon further examination the doctors could no longer find it, nor was surgery needed. Why, for she got it right before the apostles and elders, and the saints. These and other similar things happened numerous times over the years when folk tried to circumvent and undermine that which the Lord blessed us to establish. We realize more then ever that we were sent of the Lord to bring order {in HIS leading, timing, and design} order out of chaos, light out of darkness, bringing to light wisdom and knowledge which is the stability of times. Isaiah 33:6

Is any among you afflicted?...Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the assemblies; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that you may be healed...James 5:13-16

E - Repentance and Reconciliation: If the person returns to repent in private and in public, confessing his sin of offense, and desiring true restoration as well, the assembly can loose the offender as he or she is privileged to be a part of the local flock or ministry once again.
In all of this, we are to judge with righteous judgment, as confirmed in John 7:24, and not by the flesh...John 8:15

Unrepentant and Non-judged Sin

If the disturbing tenor of sin is allowed to continue in the leadership, assemblies and ministries, like Achan it may delay what God wants to do in the corporate anointing. {James 5:14-16}. No, it is not to suggest the delay in the nature and operation of who God is, but our given mission and mandate can become plagued by inherent character flaws, unchallenged behavior, and faulty foundations.

Sins are retained against a person until they repent and are reconciled...Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:23...they are retained...2 Corinthians 5:19

If more elders, assemblies, and related ministries would properly judge sin among themselves, the local and national news media wouldn't have to step in to do so. If we take our brothers and sisters to the courts, and smear their names all over the media, or break rank in local leadership to attempt to expose our leader's weaknesses while uncovering their nakedness, we are no different from the conventional worldly system and all of its liberal media and deceitful values.
Just the same, what are some things, which the church is to righteously judge?

1 - Those that bring divisions in the assembly...According to Romans 16:17-18 you must mark them which causes division and strife within your midst. One year while ministering in the Rockies I called home to speak with my wife in Houston and was quickened to ask of a certain someone and how they were doing. I had just felt something extracted from me from afar. Well, needless to say that certain someone whom I had asked about had went into perdition and I picked it up in my spirit over 1000 miles away. You will know in the Spirit when virtue leaves your body for healing, strength, and vital life unto another, or when there is some kind happening in your local body from far away.

Many years ago we witnessed a number of people leaving an assembly over an attempt to bring insurrection before leaders. The sad thing was it stemmed primarily from one person in cahoots with outside voices and chaotic connections, whom was given the biblical pattern of discipline at the first. All attempts to restore them had failed according to the pattern. The matter was openly divulged to the entire assembly. Unfortunately, the dragon drew a third of the stars with its tail, and in another sense, the Cherubim at the way to Eden would not allow such rebellion to habitat among the assembly. If you permit rebellion in your house, it will never leave your house. The problems with so-called falling away of saints, church splits, and frivolous parting of company stems from a foundational problem. Not always a prayer problem, but a wisdom problem which requires a wisdom solution.

Either the local assembly needs to rethink its wineskin, remove old death structures, revamp its design, or to express clearly its core values, competencies, and policies and procedures.
But one thing is for certain, the real issue has to do with the need to reestablish and to re-relate to father - son spiritual order within the local assemblies as in Acts we see apostleship, eldership, discipleship, producing SONSHIP. In every local assembly we either established or helped others in establishing regionally, the subject, planning, and implementation of the order of father and son came up. It had to, yet many had loathed and detested this level of spiritual order with passionate anger. For one thing, it was the foundation and basis for all ministry in understanding the King and His kingdom, and according to 2 Timothy 2:20 "Nevertheless the Foundation of God stands sure..." Oftentimes, the issues lies in ones own makeup and lineage at home, problems with their own dad and mom, or someone close to them in the present or past. Then when unchallenged, it finds its way trekking into the corporate anointing of the saints.

2 - Those with disorderly conduct...1 Thessalonians 3:6-15 {Especially verse 14}

We can write the book regarding disorderly conduct. We have witnessed people wanting to assume the ministry of apostle, to high wage earners who wanted to bring their influence among the saints in various assemblies across America. From people who came to challenge whether or not the apostolic leadership is called to such progression of purpose, to folk who left other assemblies out of hurt, rejection, bitterness, and a wounded spirit only to hook up with another assembly or ministry. When you have a party spirit, or have not resolved the anger from many broken relationships among other bodies of saints, you will bring such ideals into the new fellowship you are becoming a part of. If you treat one ministry father with contempt, and expect the new ministry father to really pamper and please you at every whim of your imagination, you are out of order. For one thing, if you are so quick to tear down your leaders so easily from before what’s to prevent you from doing the same with us or anyone else? Not forgetting, we cannot be bought or sold, and fatherhood does not tickle your funny-bone either. If appointed of the Lord, our life is tied into together towards destiny, for we have made {versus missing} the appointment of the Lord.

One day an emerging apostle desired us to be his spiritual father. He went through the whole ritual of proving {announcing} we were the ones, and lavished us with great things. Though we did not ask to be served in the choicest seats and the best of accommodations, we discerned that this person was taking us for a ride. We begin to give this immediate attention and distant ourselves from his eagerness to proclaim us as his special someone, and encouraged that he go through a process of His Purpose in the matter. Later, when the novelty wore off, he became very distant from us, suspicious of our actions, and spoke indignant of us. Why? For he had never been properly healed from the hurts of his own natural parents, and particularly his ministry fathers whom he made appearing to be the abominable Snowman.
After a while, we talked over the phone, as he himself had already returned to his so-called spiritual father, all because of a misunderstanding he had with him from long before. Such misunderstanding had him to seek us out to claim us for his father in the Spirit which was really avoiding the real issues at hand, and searching for some significance in another. And at the change of a hat, this soon shaken man returned to the very one that was imparting to him from before, the one which he characterized as something almost evil. We agreed he had to get it right with his significant other {in the ministry}. For again, it is dangerous for someone to claim you as their father, while breathing hatred, familiarity, and contempt to the one who was once to have begotten you in the gospel. As a policy in ministry, we do not endorse frivolous relationships as a core mechanism of ministry. We do not make room for others to subvert whole households, and to lay claim on us as their significant other without the FIRE of God, and the weighty glory of His Shekinah revealing and dealing between us and in our midst.

Therefore, we continue to confirm with emerging sons in the Spirit, to get things in order with past leadership as much as possible, as God allows, and with the help and grace of the Lord in a manner pleasing unto Him. Get things in order with personal relationships. Apostles and elders, you have the right of privilege to call and to speak with senior ministers of other assemblies where the dissident members are coming from, and if is deemed necessary, an agreed background check and references from the individual's prior leadership and ministry on a relational and mutual basis of course, and in servant leadership and loving grace. Let us be certain the Lord is doing the knitting. If the Lord is not, that so-called knitting becomes a tight rope wrapped around the neck. For you will know when the appointment is of the Lord. You will know when it is the Lord’s doing, and HE will not have us succumb to the negativity of toxic relationships, negative about all churches, negative about people trying to help one in dire need, negative towards apostles receiving and dispensing resources in full kingdom design, and negative about LIFE itself…Psalms 118:23; Amos 3:3...

A good thing is to give room for the Lord to do HIS pleasure, for it may not be the timing of the Lord or His design for just anyone to claim you as their father, or for you to walk with several others as if they were all your sons. Some apostles give a one year assessment, some six months, and other apostle friends of ours assert that the son, like Elisha, will follow his Elijah wherever appointed for Elijah to go, according to 2 Kings chapter 2. Elijah's passion became Elisha's passion, the ministry of the father became the ministry of the son. You can see this when sons desire to share the burden of the ministry, and to endure the suffering of the father as God gives and increases His unlimited glory. Faithful in the least, faithful in money matters, and faithful in that which is another man's work or ministry.

If the fathers in the making or in potential, does not see or witness the Spirit of the Lord in this level of relationship, or if the supposed and yet potential son is straddling the fence if you will, not open to receive from his appointed Elijah, always substituting and not representing, competitive and cocky, and not walking in humility with their father, then the potential spiritual father has the right to move forward and further on into greener pastures and flowing brooks until there is a divine restlessness within that potential son leading unto a divine commitment together through divine relationship. Again, two cannot walk together except they are agreed or appointed. Love is a two way street. True sons will serve in the vision of their father as this helps to unlock the destinies of the sons coming into their inheritance in ministry, who have been begotten into a lively hope, and are being formed into a bold new lineage of the Spirit.

3 - Those who are teaching contrary to sound doctrine: A particular brother we knew made it clear that a wife was to do whatever the husband said, regardless. He was also a male chauvinist, with a bad marriage interpreting scripture through his own hurt and demise. He used scripture to justify his own disorder in the home, arrogant, and demanding, and leading his wife around like a puppet on a string. He defined this scenario as the work of the ministry...Matthew 15:9 1 Timothy 1:3, 19-20; 4:1-3; 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:16; 2:23; Titus 3:9; 1 John 4:1-6; 2 John 10; Revelation 2:14-15, 20-23

Discipline of elders

Psalms 105:15...Touch not mine anointed...1 Samuel 26:9

If every time a leader stumbled or sinned, and the congregation first put their hands on the apostolic eldership to discipline, that assembly would have a hard time keeping leadership. If congregations are always on the warpath with their leaders, or with conspiracy theories, loaded questions, suspicion, slander, backbiting, and tearing down leadership and uncovering their nakedness if you will, then that assembly has little to NO revelation of church government and spiritual order...for the government is wrong, the spiritual order is not according to the pattern, the people lack apostolic judgment and discretion, and remember, where there is Divine Order there is also HIS Divine Presence! And if there is the glory departing, then it should not be hard to fathom the outcome of Ichabod.

To confirm the important principle of divine discipline, please note the one, which first and foremost judged leadership. Was it the Lord or the people?

...In Numbers, 12, who dealt with Miriam?

...In Numbers, 16, who dealt with Korah?

...In Leviticus, 10, who dealt with Nadab and Abihu?

...In Numbers, 20:12, who dealt with Moses? {Promised land}

...In Acts 5, who dealt with Ananias and Sapphira?

God uses other elders to deal with elders

...In Galatians 2:11, who dealt with Peter?

...In 1 Samuel 13:13, who dealt with Saul?

...In 2 John 9-10, who dealt with Diotrephes?

...In 2 Samuel 12:7, who dealt with David?

{Read 1 Timothy 5:19-21, rebuking elders, or not...}

Keep in mind, that the general mass of the assembly does not carry the weightier matters of authority to administer governmental judgment. There is a place in God's counsels where the norm is not in place, and we trust the Lord to do his pleasure even in that which we don't understand. However, such authority comes from appointed seasoned ministries, although it is good for God's people to understand Apostolic Church Judgment...For in truth, there is a place where the assembly had tried those who said they were apostles and were not, finding them to be liars. This scriptural witness can be found in Revelation 2:2

1 Peter 4:17...Judgment begins in the house of God...

Matthew 7:1-2...Admonishes us not to pass judgment upon other people, or to criticize by our own standards, using our own yardstick...

John 8:15...We are not to judge after our own flesh...

1 Corinthians 11:31...Learn to judge yourselves, examine ourselves...

Isaiah 26:8-9...God's people learn righteousness through his judgments...

James 2:13 {RSV}...Mercy triumphs over judgment

Revelation 19:11...Christ, our white horse rider, judges and makes war, righteously...

Divine Discipline {#2}

The second aspect of discipline is called "Divine Discipline." Here, some people fail the test of church discipline and are subject to the divine chastening of the Lord. In this particular area, the hand of the Lord now deals with you individually.

In the old or first testament, there are instances of divine discipline. In Genesis 3, we have God's discipline to Adam and Eve. In Numbers 12, we have the discipline of Miriam's sin. In Joshua 7, we have the sin of Achan being judged.

Also, we have the story of Korah's company in Numbers 16 and that of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19.

Now, divine discipline is weightier in scope than the protocol of church discipline. For in church discipline, one may be excommunicated from the local church, but in a more tragic sense, divine discipline can go as far as your removal from off the face of the whole earth through death.
If any man see his brother sin a sin that is not unto death, he shall ask, and he {God} shall forgive him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 1 John 5:16

Here, the sin {missing the mark, not to receive the prize} could be direct willful disobedience to the will of God for your life, overt sin in the assemblies as a mockery to God's standard pristine living, living a lie with a seared conscience, or overt rebellion to what God has established for that assembly and your life's progression. I have seen the end of a number of folks over the years that chose to disobey the Lord, even in their calling and purpose. According to 1 Corinthians 11, some believers get weak, sick, and die before their time, not discerning the Lord's body. Thus, the highest form of excommunication under divine discipline is physical death, the removal of your life from off this very face of the earth. We have witnessed this too, on several occasions.
Apostles of the Spirit and by the grace of God, though servant leaders of love, humility, and servanthood, are given authority and boldness robed in humility and meekness to set the house in order. It is not an option, or some given past time. Not only do apostles set things into divine order, the divine order for the local and regional development of ministries is apostles, relational, and not impositional, serving, and not to be seen, leading by example, precept, and demonstration, and not as some lord over the conscience of the people. I pray you receive this in wisdom and revelation.

Beloved, though God is full of compassion and mercy, never underestimate the judgment and dealings of God for bringing true spiritual order within the assemblies. Yes I understand that his mercy triumphs over judgment. But this is not a Tim Early translation either: rather, a kingdom principle. We lend to aberrant and spurious behavior in the assemblies of the saints by permitting rebellious and chaotic disorder to flourish through its lair. We become the problem as apostles, elders, etc., for not setting up father - son order within the assemblies in conjunction with the theocratic eldership of those flocks. Therefore we must redesign and re-relate to the culture of the kingdom in our given sphere and community in P&P's, core values, right relationships, and new ways and means of healthy and wholesome communication. If we don't stand for something we fall for anything. As apostles {with elders}, it is our God given responsibility to set things into order, although our authority is limited. For we are not the apostles of the whole world {smile}, but to our given sphere and grace, and through our measure of rule and allotted portion. Nevertheless, don't apologize for setting spiritual and governmental order in the house no more should a parent apologize for simply being a parent.

Let the apostles arise in the regions with prophets, and let the elders be ordained in every church and in every city...It is the nature of God and the nurturing of the Father's heart to set in order the things that are lacking.

More to share and coming up in the appointed time...

In covenant,
Apostle Tim and Theresa Early
FAP International {Ephesians 2:20-22}

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