"Going Out Unto Him . . ."January 27th, 2009 updated 6/15/2010 ~ by the Generic Christian Mystic
I saw the truth of the need of my "going out" and leaving the current religious system of mainline Christianity some 25 years ago. Here's an update on all that . . .
(In PART 1 of this word, I offer a more recent viewpoint of mine, echoed elsewhere on this website and in many places across the web.)
So, your are in a church, a member or a regular attendee, perhaps even the pastor or some deacon type -- and debating on needing to leave due to one reason or the other the Lord has impressed you with -- what do you do?
You might want to stay and attempt a "fix" of sorts, showing others the way, before you have to finally leave* or maybe the pastor(s) has(have) given you the "left hand of fellowship" and sent you on your "heretical" way. Maybe you are somewhat troubled by leaders' bogus behavior, troubling teachings, nagging worries -- yet are not sure you need to leave.
* (My wife and I left the organized religious system in Spring 2010)
You undecided ones may ask,
“What of all the good intentions that 'they' of devout religious systems can offer?”
A history lesson . . .
Sadly, “they” killed the prophets and “they” killed the Lord Jesus and then “they” killed Stephen. Religion without Christ (w/o the leadership of the Holy Spirit) is a very dangerous entity. It is motivated by the world, the flesh and the Enemy; as he, the Adversary, loves religion.
Sadly, Christianity has turned into something called “churchianity” and has moved away from many truths of the Word. Instead, we now have a religious system (with all its variants) that calls itself Christian but in fact operates outside of the leadership of Christ. The mainline institution most call “church” has very little in common today with what Paul called the “ekklesia” or “the called out ones” — now translated in our New Testament English as the Church. What we are left with now is a man-inspired, earthly government-modeled and non-scriptural perversion of what Paul’s church was in the 1st century.
What does a believer do that sees this? And what does a believer do when not only is the system wrong but what the system teaches as the whole truth is again wrong? How do we reach out to our brothers and sisters w/o condemning them by our concern? When this “confrontation” of sorts happens, many times the authority (authorities), of the church will ask that believer to either be silent, recant or leave. We are “dangerous, disruptive or disrespectful” of “God’s order”, etc., etc. . . . When one researches unfiltered church history, (not the one written by the historically ruling church system), you will find that throughout the past couple millennia, small groups left the organized church, (be it Roman Catholic or Protestant), and were severely persecuted as heretics and demonically inspired rebels. I believe many of these so-called “heretics” were many times devout people who refused the system to follow Christ alone.
As we look at today’s religious systems, not much has changed.
I am in a quandary as to how we serve the Lord when we see a truth that our church-system refuses or rejects. I believe, that as a prophet would have done, we do this:
we wait on the Spirit’s lead
we share the truth in love
we wait on the Spirit’s lead
we share the truth in love
and in love I believe we eventually will become “called out ones” all over again, called out to Jesus, suffering outside the gate, outside the system but — praise God — WITHIN THE PERFECT WILL of God. There’s no place I would rather be, actually.
(I go into much more detail on the concept of "going out" as revealed in the scriptures, showing it is quite a common path of the faithful seeking the Lord outside of religion.)
Philippians 3:7-14 (Darby Translation)
7 but what things were gain to me these I counted, on account of Christ, loss. 8 But surely I count also all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all, and count them to be filth, that I may gain Christ; 9 and that I may be found in him, not having my righteousness, which [would be] on the principle of law, but that which is by faith of Christ, the righteousness which [is] of God through faith, 10 to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, 11 if any way I arrive at the resurrection from among [the] dead. 12 Not that I have already obtained [the prize], or am already perfected; but I pursue, if also I may get possession [of it], seeing that also I have been taken possession of by Christ [Jesus]. 13 Brethren, *I* do not count to have got possession myself; but one thing -- forgetting the things behind, and stretching out to the things before, 14 I pursue, [looking] towards [the] goal, for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus.
The above verses became my mantra in April of 2008 and I wrote a rough draft concerning the biblical concept of a believer "going out" and leaving behind those things that did not serve their search for "Deep Christianity" versus wallowing in lukewarm, shallow-watered religiosity.
Abraham goes out, leaving behind all he knew to follow God . . .
Hebrews 11:8 (Darby Translation) 8 By faith Abraham, being called, obeyed to go out into the place which he was to receive for an inheritance, and went out, not knowing where he was going.
Genesis 24:7 (Darby Translation)
7 Jehovah the God of the heavens, who took me out of my father's house, and out of the land of my nativity, and who has spoken to me, and who has sworn to me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give this land -- he will send his angel before thee, that thou mayest take a wife for my son thence.
Moses goes out from Egypt and meets God . . .
Exodus 2:15 (Darby Translation)
15 And Pharaoh heard of this matter, and sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from before Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian. And he sat by the well.
Acts 7:30 (Darby Translation)
30 And when forty years were fulfilled, an angel appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sinai, in a flame of fire of a bush. Not long after that, Moses leads his people to go out of Egypt unto Mount Sinai where God gave them the Law.
Then Joshua and Caleb and the overcoming generation of Hebrews leave the wilderness of Kadesh-Barnea, going out into the promised land.
Deuteronomy 31:7 (Darby Translation)
7 And Moses called to Joshua, and said to him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and courageous, for thou must go with this people into the land which Jehovah hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.
And we remember David, the lad who went out to face Goliath, throwing off King Saul's tools of war to use what God provided, and David defeats Goliath. So we see, one man (a boy) of faith, throwing off the normal system of warfare and in doing so meets and defeats the Enemy. All the best of Israel's warriors and weapons stood transfixed and powerless until one small lad of faith, stepped out from among the nation and its ways of battle, (a set system), to take on the Enemy. Think on that awhile.
And consider all the prophets who went out, from among the rebellious yet religious people of Israel, unto the Lord to seek His face. And these prophets were considered "outcasts" and nut-jobs. These men of God stood up to the corruption of lords and kings -- speaking God's mind into each situation.
In the Song of Solomon examples abound of "going out" to meet "the Lover" -- all these stories depict the Bride of Christ seeking to run out to meet Her Bridegroom.
Song of Solomon 2:8-14 (Darby Translation)
8 The voice of my beloved! Behold, he cometh Leaping upon the mountains, Skipping upon the hills. 9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young hart. Behold, he standeth behind our wall, He looketh in through the windows, Glancing through the lattice. 10 My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
Song of Solomon 3
1 On my bed, in the nights, I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. 2 I will rise now, and go about the city; In the streets and in the broadways Will I seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. 3 The watchmen that go about the city found me: -- Have ye seen him whom my soul loveth?
My mind quickly goes to another picture of the Bride of Christ in the Old Testament, (the Lord revealed to me 25 years ago), going out to marry The Bridegroom. Ah yes, Rebeccah chooses to leave, (to go out), her family, (the Church, the called ones of faith), and becomes the Bride, (the chosen one), as she leaves to follow the un-named Servant, (the Holy Spirit), of Abraham (God the Father), who seeks a bride (The Bride of Christ), for His son Isaac (Christ, The Bridegroom).
Genesis 24:53-61 (Darby Translation)
53 And the servant brought forth silver articles, and gold articles, and clothing, and he gave [them] to Rebecca; and he gave to her brother, and to her mother, precious things. 54 And they ate and drank, he and the men that were with him, and lodged. And they rose up in the morning; and he said, Send me away to my master. 55 And her brother and her mother said, Let the maiden abide with us [some] days, or [say] ten; after that she shall go. 56 And he said to them, Do not hinder me, seeing Jehovah has prospered my way: send me away, and I will go to my master. 57 And they said, Let us call the maiden and inquire at her mouth. 58 And they called Rebecca and said to her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. 59 And they sent away Rebecca their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham's servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebecca, and said to her, Thou art our sister; mayest thou become thousands of tens of thousands; and may thy seed possess the gate of their enemies! 61 And Rebecca arose, and her maids, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man. And the servant took Rebecca, and went away.
I expect by now, as I did -- you will see a pattern in the scriptures. God calls all people to Him. Some hear and follow Him into eternal life and there they sit -- satisfied. But God's call is more than just into "fire insurance" and simple justification by faith. The Lord calls us to be His chosen ones, those who will decide to go further, to stand apart, to come away a bit farther and go out unto Him beyond the gate of easy faith. There is a harder road of suffering and endurance unto full obedience that He calls us to walk upon as disciples. He calls us to lay down our lives, to come out from among those who are settled with "just enough" to get by. He looks for a great faith.
Let's see what the New Testament shows about this "going out" teaching.
From Hebrews . . .
Hebrews 13:11-13 (Darby Translation)
11 for of those beasts whose blood is carried [as sacrifices for sin] into the [holy of] holies by the high priest, of these the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 Wherefore also Jesus, that he might sanctify the people by his own blood, suffered without the gate: 13 therefore let us go forth to him without the camp, bearing his reproach:
I will not quote all the New Testament scriptures, as many of us are already aware of these in conjunction with the following examples:
In Revelation, Jesus speaks to one of the seven churches and we find even Him, "outside the door" knocking!
Jesus was crucified outside the city.
Jesus' teaching was beyond and outside Judaism's religiosity. He found Himself and His truth outside the accepted religious system.
Jesus did not praise the accepted ways of Temple "worship" and business as usual. This automatically classified Him as on the outside.
Paul left his religious life to pursue Christ.
Even Nicodemus, under cover of night, slipped out from the system to meet Jesus.
Zaccheus left the crowds, risked scorn, set aside pride choosing ridicule, just to catch a glimpse of Jesus. You might say He went "out on a limb".
Jesus was driven by the Spirit to "go out" into the wilderness where His faith was tested.
Sometimes, this "going out" may not be a physical movement but can be a shift away from the status quo, a casting off religion's "business as usual" mindset. This "going out" unto Jesus may be to just stand apart from the crowd's flow, to refuse a paradigm, a decree and thus refuse to honor a lie.
This standing apart in boldness and faith marked the lives of Gideon, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Stephen, Paul and other martyrs down through church history. Many rebels of yore become our heroes now. These were those that overcame the temptation to escape danger and give in to fear.
Like those who were going out to hear, repent and be baptized by John the Baptist, that Voice Crying in the Wilderness -- we must hear the call of the Spirit to be ready to "come out" unto the fullness of a holy life. Even the Lord Jesus, to fulfill all righteousness, went out to John's baptismal waters of the Jordan.
Noah goes out from the Ark. He could have set up shop there after the Flood and in fear worried that the promise of God to never flood the earth might not be true. By faith he left Mount Ararat.
And the Hebrews could have easily become enthralled by Mount Horeb's miracles and hung out there for more wonders of religious spectacle. Why go risk trouble elsewhere? They had food, clothing, the tabernacle and Moses to lead them. But read this:
Deuteronomy 1:3-8 (Darby Translation)
3 And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, that Moses spoke to the children of Israel, according to all that Jehovah had given him in command to them; 4 after he had smitten Sihon the king of the Amorites, who dwelt at Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who dwelt at Ashtaroth [and] at Edrei. 5 On this side the Jordan, in the land of Moab, began Moses to unfold this law, saying, 6 Jehovah our God spoke unto us in Horeb, saying, Ye have stayed long enough in this mountain. 7 Turn and take your journey, and go to the hill-country of the Amorites, and unto all the neighbouring places in the plain, in the mountain, and in the lowland, and in the south, and by the seaside, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, unto the great river, the river Euphrates. 8 Behold, I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which Jehovah swore unto your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them.
What seems to be a recurrent theme throughout all the scriptures is this:
God calls us out to Himself, to resist becoming too comfortable, to run from being all-too-satisfied with our organized religious programs planned out neatly for the coming calendar year and cast off being content to "do the church dance" ad nauseum.
He wants us prayerful, warfare-ready to meet the enemy within and without, seeking Him anew, in a daily holiness, humbled before His face. If ANYTHING stands in the way of this vital life in Him -- it is an idol. It is a danger. And most saddening, the idol is our favorite organized religious way-of-life, that slowly sedates our soul into complacency and a numbed spirit.
May the Lord awake us unto action and the awareness of His call to go out and meet Him -- counting all other things but loss.
E-mail me if you have comments or questions.