In my first post on this subject we looked at the truth that in most churches the people are unrestrained because of no revelation (Proverbs 29:18). This implies the great need for systematic exposition of the Scriptures in order to bring the church under the guidelines of God as revealed in His Word. Preaching expository sermons systematically through books of the Bible will yield great benefits both for the pastor and his congregation.
In my second post on this subject we looked at the question: how or why did most churches get unrestrained; how or why did they get out of control? The answer to that question gave us a clearer understanding of the root of the problem facing today’s churches. The people are unrestrained and get out of control when there is no restraint because of poor leadership (Exodus 32:1-28).
In my third post we explored what the pastor should expect both positively and negatively (mostly negatively) as he begins to lead the church to function as God designed. The God-called pastor can expect certain rejection of God appointed authority (Numbers 16:1-50; Jude 8, 11c).
In this post we will examine what the pastor can expect when God shows up:
The God-called pastor who is leading his congregation to function as a church the way God designed not only is to expect certain rejection of his God-appointed authority, he is to expect God to show up (Numbers 16:19b) – “And the glory of the Lord appeared to all the congregation.” But the question that must be answered is: what is the pastor to expect when God shows up; what will that look like and what will happen?
Expect God to bring about a separation (Numbers 16:20-27). Many wrongly assume that any separation among the congregation must be of the devil. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God Himself will command a separation and bring about a separation. God is more interested in the quality of His people – their purity, holiness, and separation from that which is false than He is in quantity. The God-called pastor can expect to lose some of his congregation when God shows up and brings about a separation.
Expect to have to remind the people that you did not appoint yourself but were called and sent by God (Numbers 16:28). Pastor, you will have to explain that this separation that is happening is not your doing but it is God’s doing and God will vindicate His choosing and appointing you to lead the church.
Expect God to deal swiftly and severely with the apostates (Numbers 16:29-35). Again, many wrongly assume that God is not a God of judgment and that He no longer deals in such a swift and severe way with rebellion against His authority. Many a pastor can testify that God will indeed and still does deal this way in His church. Many opponents of God’s ordained authority for leading the church have found themselves destroyed swiftly by God. God still causes the ground the open up and swallow apostates who have spurned Him, although He may use a grave-digger rather than supernaturally splitting the earth open.
Expect God to give a reminder of the dangers of a layman rejecting and despising His authority (Numbers 16:36-40). Should this happen in the church God has called you to lead to function as He designed, it will serve as a severe warning and reminder that rejecting and despising God-appointed authority is rebellion against God and God will not leave such defiance untouched. This will go a long way in bringing the people under control and purifying the church.
Expect many of the people to blame you for God’s actions (Numbers 16:41). Sad to say but this lesson is not easily learned and many people will put themselves in the same danger by accusing you of causing the death and separation that God has brought about. You would think that after experiencing such a terrifying reality of the holiness and seriousness of God that people would learn quickly. Don’t expect it!
Expect to have to intercede for such ignorance (Numbers 16:42-50). Pastor, you will have to pray for your whole congregation. You will have to pray for repentance and revival to be granted by God. You will have to pray for God to turn His church around so that He doesn’t have to completely remove its lampstand (see Revelation 2:5).
Pastor, may grace, peace, and mercy be multiplied to you as you lead God’s church to function as God designed.