by Sandy Simpson, 4/26/10
I am writing this article as an encouragement to those Christians who use discernment, especially the discernment/apologetics ministries. This passage was an encouragement to me so I would like to pass along what the Lord showed me. Jeremiah's prayer is reflected in our own prayers to the Lord when we find ourselves under heavy attack from the enemy and from his servants. A number of years ago I took a strong stand against the Brownsville "Revival" in the islands and ended up losing many friends over it. I thought they would stand with me in acknowledging the many false teachings, false prophecies and unbiblical practices of that movement, but I was wrong. Very few did. I remember standing out back of our mission guest house where I was building an addition. I was standing in cement feeling like I had been deserted and betrayed, when a picture of Jeremiah standing in a muddy cistern where he had been thrown came to mind.
Jer. 15:15-21 You who know, O LORD, remember me, take notice of me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away; know that for Your sake I endure reproach.Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts. I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, nor did I exult. Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone, for You filled me with indignation.Why has my pain been perpetual and my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream with water that is unreliable? Therefore, thus says the LORD, "If you return, then I will restore you--Before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them."Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you," declares the LORD. "So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent."
Jer 38:6 So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king’s son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.Fortunately a couple of family members and friends were an encouragement to me during that difficult period where I was learning to stand for the truth no matter the cost. But I learned to rely on God because almost everyone can let you down when you stand for the truth. I have heard similar testimony from many of my brothers and sisters in the discernment community. I am not only addressing them but anyone who takes seriously the admonition of the Lord to grow into a mature Christian. The definition of Christian maturity is that we learn to distinguish good from evil, false teaching from true teaching, so that we will not end up getting blown about by every wind of doctrine.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.The "solid food" we know is digesting and meditating on the written Word of God. From it we learn what is true and false. We strive for unity in the faith, not unity for the sake of unity. We avoid those who teach false ideas because the Lord commands us to do so, and we warn others to do the same. But in doing so we don't make a lot of friends. But then there is no difference between standing for the truth and preaching the Gospel. When the Gospel is preached truthfully we often make people angry. I was angry when someone told me I was a sinner. But now I am thankful for that person. People get angry when you tell them about false teachings they are believing, but after the initial anger, if they are listening to the Holy Spirit and reading His Word, they may come around. This brings me to the principles I learned from Jeremiah's prayer.
Eph. 4:13-25 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
(1) "for Your sake I endure reproach": Jesus endured the worst kind of reproach for us. That is why we risk losing friends and family over issues of the Truth of God's Word. We can do no less.
(2) "Your words were found and I ate them": We learned, while going through the trials of separation from false teachings and false movements within and without the churches, that we had to dig deep in the Word of God and digest it. God took me back to an intense study of His Word because of the Brownsville apostasy and I am so glad He did. I remembered how important it is to study to show ourselves approved workmen for the Lord (2 Tim. 2:15).
(3) "and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart": The written Word properly digested and acted upon brings back the joy of the Lord to our lives. Even in the trenches of self doubt and despair the Lord lifts us up with His eternal words of truth.
(4) "for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.": He reminds us of our call, that it is not in vain, but a call that comes from the Lord God of hosts. It is an important call even if we don't see a lot of fruit sometimes. But our reward is in heaven (Rev. 22:12).
(5) "I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, nor did I exult,": As a result of His call and our stand for the truth we marked and avoided fellowship with false brethren (Rom. 16:17). We left the merrymakers, those who exult in a false anointing, drunkeness and false prophecy.
(6) "Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone, for You filled me with indignation.": I often have this kind of statement thrown at me: "You are just angry and that is not a good thing". First of all I am not "just" angry but I challenge them to know where my indignation comes from. It comes from the hand of the Lord on my life and those who mock that need to beware, not of me, but of coming against what the Lord is doing. Remember that when people call you an angry person, tell them "Yes, the Lord has made me concerned and indignant over a number of issues impacting the churches today."
(7) "and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman.": Jeremiah was reminded to be faithful in extracting "the precious from the worthless". This is a picture of what happens in a refiner's fire when precious metal is extracted from dross. We are to continue in the discernment extraction process no matter how unpopular that is with the modern culture of Christendom. If we persevere in our ministry of being watchmen for the church, our families and our friends, then we can know with certainty that we are His spokesmen. Don't doubt the call of God to be used of Him to bring forth prophetic words through proper and careful exegesis of His Word. That is how God is speaking to His true Church today, not through unbiblical utterances, trance states, and pagan methods.
(8) "They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them.": This is an important point not to miss. I have seen so many Christian leaders who have fallen by associating with deceivers who act like they are okay when they are not. Those who believe that Leonard Sweet, for instance, is a good Christian because he can talk a good game, need only read his books. It is there he reveals that he is nothing short of a New Ager. But meanwhile many people who have dropped their discernment guard, have taken off the spiritual armor, are being brainwashed and led away into captivity by the likes of those who associate with Sweet and the Emergent Church. Always be wary. Test everything, hold on to the good (1 Thes. 5:21). Be careful of those who claim they are orthodox doctrinally or claim to have changed. They may be feinting in order to lure you into their debauchery. We must be always careful to be following the Lord, not men.
(9) "Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze;": If we will continue to speak the truth in love we then become a wall for many who are beset on every side by heresy. I have many people all over the world who have been fortified and sustained by the materials on my web site, not just by myself, but by hundreds of committed apologists. Be encouraged. Though those who turn from the world, or return to the Lord after wandering away, are a small number in comparison to those who are falling into apostasy, I am continually encouraged by the many who are turning back to a sincere and true faith in the Lord, which is proven by the fact that they now obey the law of Christ and His commands.
Joh 14:23 Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.(10) "and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you;": Oh brother and sister Bereans, we have a fight on our hands and we know it. We know that we must demolish arguments of those who set themselves against the truth (2 Cor. 10:4-5). The fight becomes very personal at times, and sometimes we become weary. But don't become weary in well doing (2 Thes. 3:13). To fight against lies is a noble thing, don't ever forget that. God will fight the real spiritual battles for us, and those who accuse us, curse at us, blaspheme the Lord, hate us, threaten to kill us or to sue us ... the Lord will take care of them. They will not prevail even going into the Great Tribulation, if we are still here. We are to persevere, recognizing that it is ultimately the Lord's battle, and He will win!
(11) "So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.": Amen and amen! I know He will do this for you because He has done this and continues to do it for me.