Last week I shared what I was thinking when the Lord 'broke in' to tell me what the Spirit is saying to (many in) the body of Christ for this time. I also said I wanted to share what it means by 'judgment begins at the house of God' because it is directly related to what He said.
Quick summary of last week
In the 10+ years between Pentecost in Acts 2 and Paul starting to teach in Antioch in Acts 11, no one had been teaching the practical aspects of applying life in Christ to daily life beyond the basics. The teaching of Paul was so dramatically different than what anyone had heard since Pentecost it caused the world to take notice that they were a distinct group and called them 'Christians'. Amazing!
Setting the context
In The Revelation chapters 2-3 the Lord gives individual words to the body of Christ in 7 different cities in Asia, which was then merely a state in the nation that would become modern Turkey. He says to each*, "He that has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches." *2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22
Note that is plural. Therefore each word was first meant for the individual church He addressed, then outward to the rest of the body of Christ. Even you and I some 1900 years later have learned from those words!
The Visitation and the vision
Similarly, what the Lord said to me is first for a specific group in the body of Christ, then outward to the larger body of Christ. He was specifically talking about those who over the last 10-15 years have lived their faith similar to how it was in the 10 or so years between Pentecost and Paul's teaching in Antioch; believers, but believers who have had little growth as disciples and as people. Their knowledge was more broad and general than specific to their life and growth as Christians and growth as human beings.
In our day there are many reasons for people having a broad knowledge but little specific application to their faith. At the core isn't a lack of teaching or teachers, but there is still a vast people calling themselves Christian who over the course of years have stepped back from each opportunity to grow, which came masked as hardship and difficulty. Knowledge does not equal growth, only doing the Word equals growth.
With each personality conflict, with each disagreement, with each misunderstanding, with each difficulty in life, these are a people who backed off personal growth in Christ and as human beings, who backed off opportunities to demonstrate love and forgiveness, the fruit of the Spirit and difficult but godly decisions, in exchange for staying stagnant in growth, unchallenged and unmoved.
He said; "Those who in times past were easily distracted, having their ear always to the latest thing, must give up those distractions and turn their attention to me in order to grow. It is time for many to stop following other voices that they might hear my voice." (Those other voices can include but aren't limited to memories of the past, worldly thoughts and ways of doing things, love of the world and things in it, etc.)
As He was saying this to His left this vision appeared: I saw a woman staring with head moved slightly forward as one does when concentrating intensely while looking at a spectacle, with wide open eyes that were not blinking at all, and open mouth gasping at all she saw - at many TV and computer screens all floating in the air in front of her face in random movement, maybe 8 screens all moving about like they were part of a giant screen saver, and she was trying desperately to take it all in.
Then 1 screen came within arm's reach and she reached into the screen and took out from it rotting garbage - but she thought it was good tasting food and more than that, she thought it was the latest and greatest like a new chef presenting a new dish to the public - she thought she was on the cutting edge of secret knowledge and ate it all without question nor discernment - she crammed it into her mouth, eating every word and image, but not daintily, rather like a starving person crams food and doesn't care that much of it gets on their mouth and face and clothes and falls to the ground - she kept grabbing at and devouring it as each screen moved around and came within arm's reach, slowly at first, then faster and faster like a starving person...and she became a mess, with garbage all over her otherwise white linen gown, all over her face, even in her hair.
In her spirit
As she was doing this my attention shifted to her insides for the simple reason I could suddenly see her spirit and down in what would physically have been in the stomach area, and within her being was a baby that looked like a combination of Jesus and her. I've never seen anything like it in my 30 years of Jesus visiting me and teaching me and showing me things in the Spirit. The little baby in her was her, but also Jesus, and words just can't describe it accurately enough. It was like she had His traits and He had hers and they were one, except that He was trying to grow in her but she wouldn't eat the right food that would allow growth. It wasn't a case of malnourishment so much, but rather stunted grow - she should have been an adult by now but wasn't able to grow due to the diet she consumed.
In the same way an apple seed is larger inside than it is on the outside, in that within it is untold numbers of apple trees and apples, so too I instantly knew that all the answers she was looking for 'out there' were in Christ who was in her, and trying desperately to grow her from baby-hood to adulthood. But she thought that dull and uninteresting. He said "Part of her test of growth is this; Is she willing to have questions remain unanswered, putting them in my care and trusting me for her well-being, or will she continue to ignore my silence on these questions, which are inconsequential though she thinks them important, pressing on in them while ignoring areas I'm asking her to deal with?"
"There are areas of her heart I long to touch, and areas in her life she needs to face, but each area would require her to look honestly at her heart and life which would then result in facing serious issues. And she knows these things. On that day, do you think I'll ask her about what she thinks she knows on so many subjects, or will I ask her about the issues in her heart and her life where she denied me access?"
He continued; "Many who have lived distracted lives such as this have an open door to fear and the enemy's lies, for they ignore discernment in favor of gathering as much information as possible from the many voices they are straining to hear. In times past many have picked and chosen the areas in which they want to grow in me as it suited them. Many have failed in past years at opportunities they've had for growth, in favor of adding knowledge and keeping themselves busy, ignoring true growth in Me. Being focused on my voice is the first step towards growth in strength and character in me, but many won't even press in to get to know me and my voice because the other voices are so immediate. Thus, they remain babes in me when they should be mature adults in me."
About 'Judgment begins at the house of God'
Peter said in I Peter 4:17: "For the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God." What did he mean by that? Context is everything, so let me set the context with the start of that chapter:
Peter's first letter is focused on suffering - in fact that word is used 15 or 16 times in I Peter. He teaches about suffering two ways: Persecution is the primary theme of I Peter, but also causing our flesh to suffer because we won't allow it to go on sinning. He starts chapter 4 saying this:
"Therefore since Christ suffered for us in his flesh, arm yourselves with this same mind; for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin..." He goes on to speak of how in a past life we were sinners, but now the people we used to run with think it strange we no longer go with them to sin. (v3-4)
In the rest of his letter, he uses suffering to talk of persecution - 'suffering in the Lord' or 'for the Lord' never is about sickness or illness or some person bothering you - it is always either suffering in your flesh because you won't let yourself sin anymore, or persecution. In context, persecution of Christians is a sign of judgment coming on the world, but first to the body of Christ.
Next week I'll share in more detail what 'judgment begins at the house of God' means, the rest of the vision, and comments He made about this year and next.
Until then, blessings,