Time to Learn Righteousness

By Francis Frangipane

"At night my soul longs for You,
Indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently;
For when the earth experiences Your judgments
The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness" (Isa. 26:9).

Fear Among the Nations
There is trepidation among the nations, and indeed there should be. Political leaders strike poses of confidence, yet express anxious whispers and dread when they are alone:

What is happening in our world? Will it get worse?

No one really knows the outcome of this time. But here is what is occurring worldwide: Over the past year the veil of deceit and subterfuge that hid the corruption in many nations is being lifted. God is exposing corruption, whether it is rooted in Wall Street or among politicians or leaders in the church.

The sense of privilege, that one can live without accountability either to God or to the law of man, is being judged by the Lord. There are no special people who are exempt.

One should not assume that things are worse today than ever before. I don't believe so. There have always been corrupt leaders whose practices were masked with deceit. It is in this season that the Lord is peeling off the mask.

This is not a bad thing, although it will be very bad if leaders do not embrace righteousness as the way out. The fact that these things are being exposed is a good thing. If we respond correctly, it means that a more honest set of leaders will arise to replace those who were corrupted. It means that, if we submit to God, our economy and culture will turn a corner into a time of renewed blessing.

However, if we resist, if we persist in deceitful ways, we should not expect God to bless us.

Thus, it is imperative to discern this season. We are in a time of increasing judgment. The world and its structures are in a collision course with the Kingdom of God.

We have underestimated the authority and function of the Holy Spirit; we have assumed He has come only to inspire or comfort. Yet, Jesus said that when the Holy Spirit comes into the world, He comes also to confront and convict the world "concerning sin and righteousness and judgment" (John 16:8).

You see, God has an agenda, a grand plan, and it is not just to bless and prosper us as we live mostly self-centered lives. His ultimate goal is to see the kingdoms of this world become the "kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ" (Rev. 11:15). Thus, Jesus commands us to pray, "Thy kingdom come. . . . on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).

Remember, Jesus' message was "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). We are in the season of the kingdom. We either repent and change our ways so they conform to righteousness, or we face the consequences.

If we don't repent, God renders a decision accordingly. He judges us. His motive is still to redeem, but He will not refrain from judging the sin that rules us. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. This is not the season to try to negotiate with the Almighty. The only option He gives us is to humble ourselves and pray. It is time to seek His face and aggressively turn from our evil ways. If we would have healing in our land, we must take the path the Lord provides.

The Consuming Fire
Thus, speaking of the last days, the Lord warns, "Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven" (Heb. 12:26). God is focused on more than blessing a few people here and there. He is coming to shake and subdue the cultures of man. Hebrews continues:

"This expression, ‘Yet once more,' denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (v. 27).

Two things are occurring simultaneously: God is shaking what can be shaken, and He is establishing His kingdom, which cannot be shaken. We must migrate out of trusting in man and enter into the unshakeable life of the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews concludes:

"Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire" (vv. 28-29).

Let us focus on this reality: God is a consuming fire. Not long ago a revival tried to emerge amidst great controversy. To the shock of many, God exposed the hidden sin in Lakeland's leader. To what degree this revival itself was true or false is still debated, but one thing is true: millions of people nightly joined via Christian television praying and calling forth in unison, "Fire! Fire! God pour out your fire." The ministry itself was called "Fresh Fire."

What did we suppose, that "fire" in God's dictionary means blessing? Or even healing? No. Fire means purification. It consumes and purifies the sacrifice – indeed, it consumes everything that can be burned. This one prayer was certainly answered: when the body of Christ prayed for God's fire, chaff in the church, starting with leadership was the first to ignite. And then the fire spread into the world systems, exposing the corruption and greed.

While many hope that the rapture will rescue them from tribulation, it will rescue no one from the fire of God. Recall, my friend, Paul's word: the day of the Lord will be "revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work" (see 1 Cor. 3:13-15).

"For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17).

Judgment begins first with the household of God. Fire came to the church first, and it has only just begun to burn.

My advice is that we stop judging others and take inventory of our own condition. Where we have sinned, we humble ourselves before the Almighty. By humbling ourselves, I mean that we confess our secret sins, the areas of our soul's bondage – our fears, lusts and deceits, those things we are most ashamed of – and bring our sin to the cleansing light of God's grace. My counsel is that we not put this off for another day, but we humble ourselves now, passionately and thoroughly.

Do not look for shortcuts; do not seek to justify yourself to God. The judgments of God are in the land. It is time to learn righteousness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.

When a Leader Sins

By Francis Frangipane

Transferred Guilt
When church leaders serve the living Christ in love, aggressive faith, and prayerful humility, the people who live in harmony with their anointing become rich in the presence of God. Conversely, when a leader scandalizes a congregation by committing a major sin or is led into Christ-denying doctrinal deception, the heartache of his downfall is also absorbed into the perception and attitudes of those in relationship with him.

This precept, that a leader's sin carries negative consequences, is seen in other positions of authority as well. Do you remember how you felt when you heard the details of former President Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky? Or consider the distress that crushes a family when a father or mother commits serious sin and ends up going to jail. Unless it is remedied, the impact of these events is similar to that of a curse upon one's life.

The Bible speaks of God "visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me" (Ex. 20:5). The oppressive consequence of serious sin is actually passed from the fathers to the children, and then beyond from one generation to the next. This oppression must be discerned and atoned for, or its effect will work against us trans-generationally.

"Guilt on the People"
David ordered Joab to take a census of Israel. Joab begged the king, "Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?" (1 Chr. 21:3 NIV). God forbade taking an unauthorized census. It could represent a shift in a leader’s heart from trusting God to trusting the strength and numbers of his people. David sinned, yet his actions brought "guilt on Israel," and a plague struck killing tens of thousands.

People positioned in places of authority sometimes think they are "special" and the rules of integrity do not apply to them. Yet, the fact is, there are more rules, not less. Leaders are to be judged by a stricter judgment. This is because the failure of a leader has greater consequences. For us in the church, the recent failures of Ted Haggard, Todd Bentley and others has opened a sewer from hell, pouring into the larger church a multitude of contaminating influences.

In the Old Testament the Lord provided a means to deal with both the leader's sin and its subsequent effect on those under that leader’s authority. Thus, the Lord says, "If the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering" (Lev. 4:3).

"Guilt on the people" is the effect of the leader’s sin upon them. This resulting mixture of fear, shame, apprehension and anger is now the people’s sin. It is a state of being that exists outside of the blessedness of a right relationship with God. The "guilt on the people" does not mean that they have sinned in the manner of the leader, but that their reaction to the leader’s sin has them positioned in an "unblessable state" of being. This "unblessed state," be it from anger or heartache, as legitimate as these things seem, is now a "guilt on the people" which must be acknowledged and atoned for.

Demons Haunt the Scene of Past Transgressions
As much as they wish it were otherwise, wounded congregations often carry a discernible cloud of heaviness upon them. For years, the influence of their wounding surfaces in conversations, attitudes of cynicism or in fearful anticipations. Worse, their shared, unremedied pain becomes a beehive of demonic exploitation, where human attitudes of mistrust, anger and confusion remain vulnerable to demonic manipulation.

The Amplified Bible, speaking of the effects, or the dwelling place, of unexpiated sin, gives us an insight into this demonic infestation. It reads, "The shades of the dead are there [specters haunting the scene of past transgressions]" (Prov. 9:18).

That understanding, that "specters haunt . . . the scene of past transgressions," tells us that when we pass through the disappointment and heartache caused by another's sin, if we do not find a way to forgive and to react as Christ, our human reactions can become a magnet for ongoing warfare and oppression. Thus, to move into a future God can bless, we must be cleansed of the unredeemed past.

What is especially unfortunate is that the unredeemed past can be transferred to individuals who join a church, yet were never partakers of the original wounding. New believers come to churches where mistrust of leadership has residence. Soon, through the osmosis of human relationships, the same fears, mistrust and suspicions that were resident in the old Christians can surface in the life of the new Christian. Simply replacing pastors will not bring healing; what needs replacing is the cloud of heaviness that remains in that church. For, not only did the fallen leader need forgiveness, cleansing and renewal in Christ but, as we stated, what was transferred to the people must be cleansed as well.

Perhaps we are tempted to think, "So what? Leaders come and go. I walk with God. Their fall doesn't affect me." Individually, you may indeed be blessed; but, you will never know the descent of the Lord's corporate blessing on a church until you experience renewal.

If we fail to deal with the effect fallen leadership has had on us, it is possible that our future relationships with church leaders will be colored with fear and suspicion. Remember, the Lord's promise is that He will raise up "shepherds over [His people] and they will tend them; and they will not be afraid any longer, nor be terrified, nor will any be missing" (Jer. 23:4). Unless we are cleansed of the effect of our negative experience, the filter of our mistrust might disqualify us from seeing godly leaders when the Lord brings us to them.

You see, there is a corporate blessing coming to the church that is greater than the individual blessing. The corporate blessing carries a unique reward for those who overcome offenses and persevere in faith for each other and their leaders. This is the Pentecost anointing that was in the 120 who were able to overcome the failings of the original twelve. Here, in the corporate blessing, is where God pours out His Spirit and touches multitudes, turns cities, and empowers His people with the life of heaven.

On a local level, your leaders may be godly, but each time a national leader fell, for some the "mistrust level" toward all church leaders increased. The cumulative effect of moral failure, both on a national and local level, has smothered the fire in many Christian hearts. If you are a pastor and you are wondering why people have not responded to your teaching as you hoped, it is possible they are carrying woundedness from a previous leader in a former church. Among church attenders, this woundedness has been translated into a polite, yet numbing attitude of suspicion. They may not hear you because they have distanced themselves from the memory of pain; and distance hinders hearing.

The Cure
The antidote for a leader's sin in the Old Testament was to "offer to the Lord a bull without defect as a sin offering." Of course, we have a Sacrifice for sins greater than the blood of bulls and goats. Indeed, one of the great graces of the Christian faith is that, as we yield to God, as we forgive others, He promises to cleanse us as well. His love makes all things new. We can be delivered from being hardened wineskins.

Thus, to facilitate this new grace, let me speak for all leaders who have failed you. Forgive us. For every leader who has stumbled badly, remember there are a hundred still climbing the mountain of God. So, release that man or woman who misused their spiritual authority or betrayed the solemn responsibilities entrusted to them and fell in sin. Again, I ask you to forgive leaders who have fallen or failed your expectations.

Let us also take up our positions to intercede for our leaders. God never intended that congregations would not participate in their leaders protection and inspiration. Your leadership reflects, at least in part, the answer to your prayers. Pastors without prayer support are uniquely vulnerable to the battle. If you haven't given your heart to intercession, perhaps it is time to stand in the gap for the leaders in your church.

As followers of mankind’s Redeemer, God invites us to the ever-renewing work of His grace. Yes, let us structure greater safeguards and accountability for those in leadership, for their sakes and ours. But let us also remember, though the Lord visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children, He also shows His "lovingkindness to thousands" who love Him (Ex. 20:6). Let us surrender our heartache to the Lord and release ourselves from the pain caused when a leader sinned.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to forward this message to others; acknowledging our web site would be kindly appreciated.

Reprint Agreement
Your interest in duplicating and re-sending this material is a joy to us. We only ask that you also provide website information for the Ministries of Francis Frangipane. The only exception is if the article is actually an excerpt from a book by another publisher. In this case they have asked that they be listed as the reference. Finally, any questions about the teachings of Francis Frangipane can be sent to info@frangipane.org. God bless your pursuit of His heart.