Close your eyes for a moment. You’re on a ship in the middle of the ocean. You are one of the crew. Jesus is the captain of the ship. You’re scrubbing the deck near the bow of the ship and you overhear some of the crew plotting against the captain. They know His orders. Some of the men on the bow disagree with them. Some think they see other ways to obey them. So together they begin to plot how to accomplish the orders in their own way.
Do you think the captain will be pleased with them? Do you think he will say “Well done sailor. Even though you disobeyed parts of my orders you have done a great job”?
The captain of a ship is like the boss of the office. He has particular likes and dis-likes in the manner certain duties are performed. Even if you don’t like it, you still do it because you don’t want to get in trouble, right?
When a sailor decides to disobey the captain they have lost their fear of the captain. They have raised themselves above the captain because he thinks he knows more and can navigate and run the ship better.
When we as disciples of Christ begin to mingle with institutional seminars, gatherings and so forth, then we have separated ourselves from Christ. We have decided to run the ship (ourselves) without His guidance. Christ, through the apostle Paul gave us instruction on how to gather. It did not include many of the things we see in the institutional church. Some of these things include seminars, conferences and the like because they call many unto those who pretend to have all the knowledge. Here’s the deal. If we cannot learn to depend on Christ ourselves, how will we ever learn to discern Him from all the other voices that claim to be from Him?
23 “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you beforehand.
26 “Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. 27 For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 28 For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together. (Mat. 24:26-28)
Folks, do you trust your captain? Do you take Him at His word? His reputation is righteous and true. The above verses are a great example of one of His warnings to be careful how we walk and who to believe. There are a number of people who claim to be Jesus outright. But also those who claim special abilities above others to rally the crowd around them. Many of these people are the Joel Osteens, Rick Warrens, Jesse Duplantis and so on. These men and women claim that you need to depend on them to hear from Christ and they are masters of the truth when Christ alone is the master of truth.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. 8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. (John 15:1-8)
These are the Captain’s words. They are truth. They are life.
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:15-18)
Let us consider well our place on the ship and follow the Captain’s orders well, lest that we find the mutiny is put to rest and the mutinous crew be made to walk the plank.