I didn’t know it was a sin!
I’ve heard all of my life that esteeming some above others was not correct. We often quoted the verses “God is no respecter of persons.”
Meaning, that He would not do for one what He would not do for another. Judgment and blessings apply to all, not just certain ones.
“He that shows respect to persons, commiteth sin….” One of my sweet friends here on Facebook posted this on her page.
As I read it, something suddenly jumped off the page at me. I have read this scripture many times in the past but for some reason I just didn’t see the words that say we are actually committing sin when we do this.
Sure, I always thought it was in bad taste, but some of the things we do may not be in the best judgment… but sin?
I wrote a note once on Politics in the Church, but I did not fully understand the depth of what I was actually saying… that there was even more to it.
Later after I read this sister’s comment, I was surfing the net looking for something totally unrelated, or so I thought.
I ended up watching a video of a very well known minister speaking at a camp meeting quite some years back now. He was speaking on Miracles, Signs and Wonders.
I could not help but notice that sitting directly behind him on the platform were several of the leaders of this particular movement.
I recognized most of them, because I had seen many of them at other meetings and conferences over the years.
As most old-time preachers do, the guest speaker began to walk back and forth across the platform as the preached. The video camera followed him as he walked.
At first, I did not realize there was another group of ministers siting to the left of the group in the middle.
I was listening intently and watching the elder speaker, because the message was not only interesting but he was attempting to make a powerful point about what it took to have real Apostolic outpouring, he even read from the book of Joel.
For some strange reason, my attention kept being drawn to the ministers sitting on the platform.
I know about who’s who in Pentecost. There’s no reason to pretend I don’t. It was at just such meetings that I first realized that we had our own Scribes, shuffling for a front row seat in the temple.
Those in state level offices were allowed and asked to sit on the platform or directly to the side. They always had been. We always gave honor to these brethren as we had been taught to do and we “respected” their office.
Over the years, there were some very fine Christian gentlemen who graced those platforms and their love and compassion for other ministers and God’s people was well know.
A few of those were still sitting in their places on this video, just as they had for many years.
Something made me notice that out of all the ministers sitting there, only a few seemed to be truly getting behind the elder guest speaker, shouting amen and waving their hands, really getting in to what the brother was talking about.
The speaker knew his subject, knew it very well for he had experience in working miracles and healing, signs and wonders that followed his ministry and had for many years. Everyone in the building knew that, not just those on the platform.
The more I watched, the more stunned I became. Modern technology has allowed us to view events from several angles, sometimes even several sides at once.
I saw something I never would have seen otherwise. Most, and I mean most of the ministers sitting across that huge rostrum were not moving at all.
They were not saying amen, raising their hands in praise or doing anything what so ever to encourage the speaker. They simply sat there.
They were not in rapt attention, they were just there. Filling a seat, a place of more esteemed honor than the other ministers in the tabernacle itself.
They were simply members of the Who’s Who list. There were a lot of young ministers in that group and I will just have to say, I know how they got there.
They were either friends of the higher ups or their parents were members of the elite. No spirit, no encouragement, no outward emotion, all about themselves and their plans.
Don’t tell me they were listening intensely to the message. Remember we’re talking about miracles, sings and wonders that follow those who have the Gifts of the Spirit residing within them.
The other elders siting there were laughing in joy, waving their hands, shouting amen, smiling, urging the speaker on, anxiously awaiting and expecting a mighty move of the Spirit.
The oracle said he was going to demonstrate just how to put faith and the Word in action, right then, right there, that very night.
If I recall, I was sitting in the very middle, on the very front row in the audience. I wasn’t there in that spot as a Scribe, I was there because I was hungry for every single word this minister said.
We had been promised that these same signs and wonders were available to us as ministers and laymen, just as they were, beginning on the Day of Pentecost and throughout the book of Acts.
I wanted absolutely every bit of it I could get. Don’t ask me if I was shouting Amen, waving my hands and even weeping, urging the old man on. He had something I wanted.
He said I could have it too. I’m not boasting. I was so hungry for a miraculous move of the Spirit, I was reaching forward with every drop of being I had.
If it was truly there, I intended to get every bit of it I could. With all the simple honesty or humility I can manifest, like the one who pushed her way through the crowd, if I could just touch the hem of his garment, if I only could just get close enough that even a portion of that Mantle might fall on me,
I would wrap it completely around me, never let it go and portion it out to others who so desperately needed that touch also.
No great miracles were done at the end of that message. A few were touched and some blessed anew. But what that elder so mightily and eloquently spoke, did not germinate.
The soil was prepared, the seed planted but there was no harvest.
Years have gone by. Only a few plants have sprung up and have done a mighty work.
There were thousands of ministers there, but only a few stalks matured and produced Apostolic renewal.
I wonder if anyone ever bothered to ask, “Why?”
No one would ever dare say it was because there was sin in the Camp. Not the sin we normally think of, not bad habits or earthly failures that wreck lives and create havoc for all.
A common definition of this subject is, showing partiality or favoritism.
Roget’s goes further to suggest it also means placing someone on a pedestal and forcing others to show respect, likely whether it is merited or not. Being “servile” to other men.
One writer on here went a step further to say, “making them Gods, giving them more power than the One we are to serve”.
There is no who’s who in God’s Kingdom. There are no task masters, no higher ups, no one greater than the other, no powerful positions, no big I and little you.
We are equal, whether Saint or Bishop and we are all servants if anything at all. We are taught to honor and obey those who have the rule over us but not to the point of damning our souls or giving away our birthright as the heirs of salvation.
Blind obedience is not godly. Not searching out the scriptures and securing your own soul salvation is inexcusable.
Your pastor will not stand before God for you, you will. Your overseer will not give an account of every word you’ve spoken, you will.
None of these will stand in your stead when the Master asks, “What have YOU done with the talents I gave to you?”
It was not their word we were to hide in our hearts, that we might not sing against Him, it was His Word. Sin will block the flow of the Spirit.
Unknowing to some, the Holy Spirit will not play second fiddle to anyone, no matter what their title or profession.
The Army of The LORD’s People has been defeated before, every time men decided to move their way, other than the way the Spirit wanted to move.
Showing respecter of persons and forcing others to do the same is sin, just as much as all the other missteps, shortcomings and any atrocities of those who wear shoes.
Don’t ask me what happened to all of those ministers on that platform…. Many of the elders have already departed.
I know two or three that stood behind the old preacher are still with us. He is not. They continue to wave their hands, to call for apostolic renewal. I fear to say their cry grows weaker.
I think it’s been a long time since the entire Camp was dancing before The LORD, even all outside, including the refreshment stands.
From the front to the back and even out into the yard, people slain in the Spirit everywhere, all the ministers from the platform, on their faces with the saints in the altar…. all things common.
Showing respect of persons, is sin.
Sin unrepented of leads to death.
It will block the flow of the Holy Ghost.
There will be no full Apostolic renewal or revival until we repent.
I am repenting every day. I will only get mercy as long as I extend mercy to others, forgiveness as long as I am forgiving.
We can’t change what has happened, but we can change what will happen now and in the future.
I don’t think you’ll find me on the front pew at the Camp anymore. But I will sit in His presence and wait.
Who knows, God may change His Mind…….
First published July 21, 2011.
~ Robert Blackburn