As I was reading through the Bible recently, I had a passage of scripture jump off the page and rock me unlike anything I have read in a long time. The revelation God gave me was profound, I quickly begin to journal as I wanted to share with as many others as possible. The scripture was Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. 6 And he will turn The hearts of the fathers to the children, And the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Let me explain. This passage is prophetic of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. His job was to make the way ready for the Lord. What really rocked me was the thought of all the things that could be said about John, why was turning the hearts of the fathers to children and children to fathers selected? Seems like God could have said 100 different things about John and this is what he picked. Why???
My next thought was how bad were family relationships in John's day that this is what God chose to select? I started studying and begin praying and this is what the Lord spoke to me:
"In the days of John the Baptist, the Pharisees were the spiritual leaders of Israel. Under the Pharisees and the priesthood there was no fathering heart. It was about building their empire and protecting turf and they both neglected and were abusive of people/spiritual children.
He also said there is also a future fulfillment as we prepare for the second coming of Jesus God wants leaders to father. It's not about Christian leaders building religious organizations and abusing people in the process, under the guise of reaching people or saying this is for the kingdom. It's about connecting with people on a heart level and calling out the best in them. Helping them reach their full potential in Christ Jesus."
I'm all for big organizations and big churches. I used to go to a great one and I'll believe I'll pastor one - one day. But if all churches/ministries do is get butts in seats, take up offerings, and build a machine to promote themselves and their leaders instead of people, they just quit building the kingdom. The kingdom is about building sons and daughters not organizations that prey on and make slaves of the organization by using fear, guilt, and manipulation.
Let me give a specific, common example to explain:
Tithing. I believe in it and have done it since I was 21. I believe in it so much I tithe birthday money - lol. We tithe before we pay our house payment or buy groceries. It's a biblical principle and we have never done without! With that said unfortunately many churches/ministries beg for money and in some cases misquote scriptures like Malachi 3:8-9 which says to bring all the tithes to the storehouse and if you don't God will curse you with a curse. This is a misapplication because when Jesus hung on the cross he became a curse for us. Christians are not cursed if they don't tithe today. Some churches/ministries will go so far as to say that if you don't tithe you will go to hell.
The interesting thing is by using fear, guilt, and manipulation many Christian organizations get people to do right actions. But do they build mature sons? No. They have told these people the Father will essentially un-son or curse them if they don't tithe. The people will then tithe but do it grudgingly and out of fear. They will almost never give above and beyond a tithe because the fear that was used to manipulate them kept them from connecting with the Father on a heart level. And if they were told they didn't have to tithe anymore they wouldn't because at a heart level they didn't really want to because ultimately they felt like their Daddy was trying to take from them. The organization that got the right behavior left them unchanged on a heart level. Or worse, they pushed their heart from the Father's heart. The people are left as immature Christians - and it’s not totally their fault. The organization did it to them.
As a parent, if I told my kids that every time they don't obey me they were un-sonned or cursed there is no way I could raise healthy kids. They'd be warped by the time they were in their 20's. This is the essentially what we have seen in Christianity today. A lot of warped spiritual kids who were never properly fathered/mothered. They never connected with the Father on a deep heart level and so they never really got his heart.
Going back to giving, I give because I have I have my Daddy's heart. I want to see Him get His will to pass by having more sons and daughters and I know as I give to him, he'll get more back to me. That's biblical sonship/maturity.
So let me tie all this back into sonship before the second coming of the Lord. There are two main Greek words used in the New Testament for the word son: teknon and huios.
Teknon essentially means sonship by birthright. Kind of like my two boys are to me. They will always be my sons by birthright. They can never be any less my son even when they mess up. The minute a person declares Jesus their Lord they are born again and become his son by birthright. Once you are a son, you can't become an un-son just because you mess up.
Huios means son by characteristic. This is my goal for my 2 boys. That they mature to my level of maturity and beyond. That when they are adults, you look at them and see me; by characteristic. They come to a place of full maturity and do good things because they want to and not because they have to. Right now they are 10 and 8 and they are in the process of getting their hearts shaped to be like my heart and being instructed in the ways of their father. I have to be careful as a Dad in how I do this. I have to teach responsibility and consequences or otherwise they will never change their behaviors. At the same time, if I put so much pressure on them or withdraw from them when they mess up then they won't feel safe with me on a heart level. They'll run from me instead of to me when they mess up.
Daddy's can't help those who run from them and cover. This is also true spiritually. If people run from God when they mess up because they don't feel safe, He won't be able to them. They may want to stay saved (in the family) because they don't want to go to hell, but they don't see their Daddy as good and they will live the rest of their lives from the vantage point of slaves instead of sons. God cares more about connecting with people on a heart level than changing behaviors. If He gets our heart, he'll get our actions.
Romans 8:19 says For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. The word son in this verse is huios. It means maturing sons. The creation is waiting for the children of God to grow up into our sonship so we can exercise our full authority Jesus has given us. This only happens as we connect with the Father on a heart level and grow into His fullness because we want to and not because we have to. I believe before the second coming of Jesus, he is raising up an army of mature sons who will want what he wants and do what He does. They will so resemble the father by action, we won't be able to distinguish the difference. Full maturity!
As I close I want to remind you that wherever you are in your place of sonship or daughtership, your Daddy is pleased with you. He longs to connect with you on a heart level so you will serve Him with ease by grace and not by fear! For more on this, listen below: