God’s Royal Priesthood (6)

It is wonderful the way God works in our children. 

Sinful parents that we are, weak in the faith ourselves and prone by nature to seek the world and its lusts, God still uses us to train His covenant children, and through our feeble efforts He makes sons and daughters of Zion grow in grace and in knowledge. Stammering prophets, tongue-tied because of our own shallow insight into the wonders of His Word, He still uses us to teach our children the everlasting things of His kingdom. From age to age, from Paradise till this very day God has been gathering His Church and calling His children out of the children of believers. It has not failed. 

False prophets have risen during all these times. Men have striven to wipe out faith in Christ. Violent and brutal even have the attempts been whereby the adversary has sought to kill off the Church of God and prevent the spread of the truth. And yet that Church has continued to press forward and has been a living testimony in the midst of all this opposition of the power of the Living God to gather His Church. And the present generation speaks the same language of faith that the last generation of believers spoke. It is indeed wonderful how our God works in us and in our children.

However that does not excuse you and me of our calling to provide our children with the truth and to fight an unrelenting battle to preserve the truth for them. In the prophetic phase of our office as God’s royal priesthood we must reveal to them the things God has revealed to us; and we must see to it that they are taught the truth

As we wrote above, false prophets have arisen throughout the ages. And they have been a plague upon God’s royal priesthood and their spiritual seed. We may not keep from this spiritual seed the truth which we know and believe. But we likewise may not allow those who pervert the truth to try to poison their minds. If we bring them up, as we ought, in His fear, we will to the utmost of our power keep them from embracing the lie and strive to teach them the truth. 

The true prophet will always be concerned with the truth. And he can never enjoy or condone the philosophies of the false prophets. He may be called narrow-minded, oldfashioned, a miserable critic, a chronic fault-finder or the like. But even that is nothing strange or new. From the mouth of the prophet Micah we learn that the true prophets are hated of those who love the lie. We read in Micah 2:6, “Prophesy ye not, say they to them that prophesy: they shall not prophesy to them, that they shall not take shame.” Paul likewise speaks of men who clamor for the lie and insist that their instructors and educators satisfy the lust of man rather than to feed them with spiritual food. In II Timothy 4:3 we read, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” And it is exactly in that connection that Paul first in the preceding verse warns Timothy to “Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” And if Timothy needed to be warned that in his time yet these men with itching ears would appear, what are we to expect in these days of the end of the age?

Sound doctrine is rejected. As Paul continues to write to Timothy in the very next verse, men shall “turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables.” The prophet of God who searches His Word and from the mountain top of revelation speaks sound doctrine is called the false prophet. And men think that they do God a pleasure by heaping ridicule and scorn upon those who speak the truth. These are persecuted as the false teachers because they do not satisfy the itching ears of fable lovers. Departures from the truth are condoned. Men see them. They know that they are wrong. And yet they defend the right of such who teach these heresies to remain in their circles and spread their pernicious doctrines. Prophets who know the truth keep silent before those who they know speak as the false prophets do. 

This carries down also to the prophet in the pew. Where there is laxity in the officially ordained and called prophet in the pulpit, where there are those instructed to teach God’s people and to train them to praise Him as the sovereign and glorious God that He is, who fail to stem the tide of false doctrine, the congregation all too soon becomes indifferent to the things spiritual. There is such a lethargy. No, perhaps that is not the word even. Men are not simply drowsy and not alert to the things that are transpiring, they just do not care. They are indifferent. It makes little difference to them what is taught in their hearing. And it disturbs them even less what their children are taught. A little humanism, a little man-centered, social-improvement-gospel, a little spiritual pep-talk, a few little stories about “famous” men among men and their philosophical writings, and for the rest, Why bother with sound doctrine ? Those things are all right for preachers! Election and reprobation, total depravity, limited atonement, justification by faith, God’s sovereign counsel and means of grace are all fine subjects for a ministers’ conference; but on Sunday, please!, give us a little moral talk on how to clean up the social evils in our community (only not those which we ourselves commit) and, please!, do not always remind us that we are conceived and born in sin, prone to hate God and the neighbor. Please, do not always speak about the cross! Tell us about glory, about the street of gold, the pearly gates, the nightless day, the water of life and that we are such nice people that we surely will one day enjoy all these things. Remind us that our country is the kingdom of God and that we ought to be thankful God did not place us somewhere else. Please, do not shatter our dreams with talk about an antichrist! Do not throw in our faces the cold water of an idea of a false prophet who serves him. Be careful that you do not influence the minds of our children with the (Scriptural) idea that this antichrist and his false prophet come out of the so-called Christian nations rather than from the professed out-and-out godless and atheistic nations. Leave me alone. Let me dream. And let my children look out for themselves. 

My brethren and sisters in the Lord, this is not serving as a prophet of God’s royal priesthood! 

In His fear God’s prophet will affiliate with that church which maintains the truth and will seek it for his own spiritual joy and for the faith of his children. It is not a question of leaving the study of the truth and the examination of doctrinal matters to a few leaders in the church or congregation. It is not faith, and it is not in His fear to say, “My minister thinks this to be the truth, and my parents think so as well, and they are smarter than I am. I leave it to them. What they say and decide is good enough for me.” Then you refuse to function in your office as prophet; and then you are in absolutely no position to “show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” YOU must turn to that revelation which we have in God’s Word, and YOU must not repeat as a machine the words of other prophets (and surely not of the false prophets), but you must enter into that Word yourself and see for yourself those praises of God. Then you will be able to show forth His praises and will reveal yourself as a prophet of God’s royal priesthood. Only what YOU see can YOU show forth! 

Nor is it a question of loyalty to a church. It is a question of being loyal to God as His royal priesthood. To be sure, when our parents are aged and feeble, we must not leave them alone, run away from them and let them struggle along in want and misery. But let us not be so foolish as to call false doctrines and evil practices nothing more than weakness and old age. When mother and father are rich in gold and silver, spread far and wide over a vast continent, able to boast of beautiful buildings and numerous institutions, when mother and father are still able to beget many, many children and the family is growing fast in number, it is a rather difficult thing to get across one’s conscience to say that mother and father are getting old and feeble with age, and that son and daughter ought to stay home and help these feeble old souls in the declining days of their life. 

But even then, when father and mother are actually feeble and in need of physical, material help and a little tender love in their childishness of old age, it will not quite do to tell the grandchildren that their grandfather’s and grandmother’s sins are quite all right in God’s sight, and that grandfather’s and grandmother’s denial of the truth must be tolerated and go unchallenged because we must be loyal to grandpa and grandma rather than loyal to God. The little prophets like that kind of training. And soon enough they sing, “It was good enough for mother. It was good enough for grandpa and grandma. It was good enough for pastor Tolerant. And (with an increasing crescendo) it is good enough for me!” 

Indeed, but is it good enough for God? He has, you know, a way of being very intolerant. He has a way of insisting that every i be dotted and every t crossed. He is a perfectionist. And He says, Be ye holy even as I am holy. He says not only that we are His royal priesthood. He says also that we must show forth His praises. And the lie, no matter how small a departure it may seem to us to be from the line of the truth, always denies Him His praise. Always it ascribes it to the creature. And our loyalty first, last and always must be to God. 

For your own sake. For the sake of your children’s faith. For God’s sake, search the Scripture! Study to determine the truth of the Word of God as His prophets that you may speak His praises. Shudder at the very thought of being a false prophet who ascribes to the creature that which belongs only to the Living God. Never mind the praise of men, of church leaders, of friends in the church, of a denomination or sect. As God’s prophet you are to show forth His praises. Study then His Word. Flee from all departures fromthe truth. Condemn them in no uncertain terms. Speak up as a prophet ought. And in His fear sing aloud of His divine majesty as the only true God. Let mind and tongue be joined in His praise.