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The Devil's Best Advocates

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					                 THE DEVIL’S BEST ADVOCATES by Daryl Wood




        “A Word from David Orton -
        Daryl is a fivefold teacher on the Kingdomquest apostolic team; King-
        domquest International Ministries, Inc., is an international apostolic
        company of churches and ministries founded by Don Atkin.

        The web link is: www.kingdomquest.net

        David Orton




Football pundits have a cliché for once-in-a-decade, vicious hits. Often these are officially
“career-ending,” but even when they aren’t, they might as well be. It is said, regarding the
recipient of such, that the deliverer of this devastating shot “. . . stole his heart.”

Transfer the analogy to the spiritual realm, only this time imagine the crushing tackle
being administered by one who is lined up on the same side of the line of scrimmage and
wearing the same helmet logo and uniform colors as the victim. You now have a tragic
picture of something that occurs in the body of Christ with more frequency than any would
care to admit.

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers
among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who
bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their
destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness
they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been
idle, and their destruction does not slumber (2 Pet. 2: 1-3, NKJV).

But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of things
they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, and will receive the
wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They
are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you,
having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable
souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children (vs. 12-
14, NKJV).

As in the days of the early church, so it is in our day. The culprits are generally free to
move on to their next “prey” (which may be individual or corporate) with unchallenged
impunity. Unfortunately, because the damage they cause is spiritual instead of physical, it
tends to be invisible to those who walk more by sight than by faith. Therefore, this same
basic scenario plays out repeatedly in every setting imaginable. From denominational to
non-denominational circles and from mega-churches to home churches, the identical
pattern is commonplace, and it continues, for the most part, unchecked. Why? In this
article I will develop the central reasons why this cycle of abuse is permitted, and why it is
so rampant in the family of God.




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                 THE DEVIL’S BEST ADVOCATES by Daryl Wood

Passive denial on the part of church leaders as to the existence of “wolves”
Warnings to the early church regarding the dangers of false brethren began to be more
pronounced and more frequent as the original church fathers approached the end of their
lives. One clear attestation to this fact was the increased emphasis on this issue in the
latter epistles. Since this problem accelerated even more after the church entered its
second generation, it should come as little surprise that some of the final counsel afforded
by the first apostles would be admonishment to all, and particularly to leaders, regarding
this peril. In his final address to the elders of Ephesus, Paul remarked:

“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has
made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own
blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you,
not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse
things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that
for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears (Acts 20: 28-31,
NKJV).”

The words of Jesus Christ to two of the seven churches in Asia carried strong rebukes,
because they allowed false brethren to gain a foothold of influence within their
midst. While the overseers were not mentioned specifically in these two addresses, their
ineffective leadership was implicit. Of course, the absence of action on their part did not
excuse other saints within the local assemblies from responding decisively in opposing
these counterfeit ministers. Still, when leaders fail to lead an unhealthy influence is sure to
fill the vacuum. That was notably the case in Pergamos and Thyatira:

“And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,

‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword:

I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My
name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr,
who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you,
because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put
a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to
commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the
Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight
against them with the sword of My mouth (Rev. 2: 12--16; NKJV).’”

“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine
brass:

I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as to your works, the last
are more than the first. Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow
that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and beguile My servants to
commit sexual immorality and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her time to
repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. Indeed I will cast her into a
sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they
repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death. And all the churches shall
know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you
according to your works. But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not
have this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they call them, I will

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                 THE DEVIL’S BEST ADVOCATES by Daryl Wood

put on you no other burden. But hold fast what you have till I come (vs. 18-25, NKJV).”

The leavening influence of false ministers within a local body of believers is certain to
propagate when left unchecked. Jezebel begets children, and as the number of her
offspring grows, so does God’s judgment on His house if she resides there. It is incumbent
on all saints, especially leaders, to stand with all boldness in opposing those who would
bring destruction on many through continually feigning faith and love as they minister out
of another spirit besides the Spirit of Christ. Failing to oppose that which He opposes
incurs His wrath.

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;

Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;

Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter (Is. 5: 20, NKJV)!

You who love the LORD, hate evil (Ps. 97:10a, NKJV)!

A number of months ago I was told of a talented minister of music in a small, rural
community whose adulterous relationship with a choir member had been discovered and
secretly “forgiven” by the rest of his church leadership. Sometime later he was caught
taking indecent liberties with a teen in this same church. The matter was again hushed by
the leaders, though this time he was quietly dismissed from his post. The pervert was
quickly hired as the music minister for another church group across town, and before long
he was repeating a similar cycle of immorality. The grievous fact is that incidents like this
and worse are not isolated. They are epidemic.

“Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not
distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference
between the unclean and the clean . . . so that I am profaned among them (Ez.22:26 in
part, NKJV).”

Prevailing misconceptions about what typifies Christian love
A distorted and highly feminized picture of Jesus Christ and what constitutes maturity in
Him has permeated the church world, especially in Western culture. This has resulted in a
neutering of Christian character in both men and women, effectively cancelling all virtue
that could be considered masculine in nature. (Examples include virtues such as courage,
boldness, confrontation of evil, frankness, truthfulness, and the endurance of hardship, to
name just a few. For more on this subject, see Dr. Stephen Crosby’s book titled, Silent
Killers of Faith, pages 38-42.) Love, being the greatest of these, has suffered this
debilitating fate. It has been pasteurized, homogenized, and further processed by
American society to the end that it no longer resembles the true and living Jesus Christ as
portrayed in the Scriptures. Unfortunately, the god that many church-goers know and
serve is way too weak and tolerant to chase the merchants out of the temple with a self-
styled whip. Fashioning an idol after their own image, the personalized version of Jesus
held by so many pew-sitters has never grown beyond the rosy-cheeked baby that they see
depicted in manger scenes. Hence, their concept of love also remains infantile, at best.

If one believes that “hurting someone’s feelings” is categorically “unloving” he will never
take the relational risks necessary to speak the truth in love, and follow through with
further action when appropriate. As a result, evil will dominate and prevail, often masked
behind great sweetness of soul. This brand of “love” promotes peace at all cost. It rarely,
if ever, would dare to label someone or something “wicked,” since to do so would be

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                 THE DEVIL’S BEST ADVOCATES by Daryl Wood


considered a “judgmental” act. The ensuing environment makes a perfect hothouse in
which toxic tares can thrive. Again, Christian leaders bear a heavy responsibility for the
entrenchment of this prevalent mindset within the church. Its impact is further
compounded by a quelling of those who would voice any genuine discernment, inevitably
resulting in the next condition.

Lack of discernment within the body
But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For
he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not
discerning the Lord’s body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and
many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged (1 Cor. 11: 28-31,
NKJV).

A failure to properly discern the Lord’s body has left many of the members weak and
sickly. For some, it has even led to premature death. Contrary to some misguided
teaching on this subject, any issue involving the consumption of wafers and thimbles full
of grape juice is only incidental to the much larger matter at hand. The real crisis here is a
widespread breakdown on the part of the members to properly relate to one
another. Unfortunately, the commonplace avoidance of any real relational problem-
solving is not only tolerated, but, all too often, actually encouraged! Hence, no one should
wonder why there is so much sickness and disease in the church—physically, emotionally,
and spiritually. Whenever a particular gift is not utilized—in this case, discernment—it
will ultimately atrophy until it is completely ineffectual. When accurate spiritual
judgments are not honored and the reasonable corrective actions that they require resisted,
the true prophets are driven from the house. The natural consequence is both unavoidable
and systemic. Discernment is deplorably lacking in a vast number of local expressions of
Jesus’ body, not to mention trans-local ministries.

This condition has become both the product and the cause, generating a downward spiral
into spiritual dullness. The following passages are quite apropos for much of the
American church today:

. . it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time
you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary
principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For
everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he
is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses
trained to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:11b-14, NASB).

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I
found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which
was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who
long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our
God into licentiousness, and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ (Jude 3, 4,
NKJV).

Perpetual infancy is guaranteed when the practice of discernment is not permitted. While
many of our brethren around the world face severe persecution from without as one of
their greatest challenges (and, incidentally, one of their greatest catalysts for growth),
American saints are, and have been, most seriously threatened spiritually by opposition
from within. As previously noted, it is my estimation that we have generally not handled
this test very well. As with our predecessors in Pergamos and Thyatira, we have been

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                 THE DEVIL’S BEST ADVOCATES by Daryl Wood


quick to roll out the welcome mat for Jezebel, Balaam, and any other false brother of
sister, especially if he or she is a dynamic speaker or one possessing strong personal
charisma. It may require the hot flames of overt, physical persecution to open the eyes of
the Western church and raise her awareness level with regard to this deficiency, as well as
to further mature her in Christ. Whatever the path He chooses for us, we desperately need
for Him to change us through fulfilling His good Word in us.

Then you shall again discern

Between the righteous and the wicked,

Between the one who serves God

And one who does not serve Him (Mal. 3:18, NKJV).

Not everyone who dresses the part is on the team. Fortunately, however, even saints who
are not strongly endowed with discernment can follow Jesus’ simple and clear warning
regarding false prophets:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are
ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from
thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad
tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good
fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the
fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Matt. 7:15-20, KJV).”

I recently told an extraordinarily loving friend, who goes the extra mile and beyond in his
efforts to win some false brothers to the obedience of faith, “Tim, those folks are out to
suck the life out of you. They would take your very heart of your chest if they could!”

Jesus said it this way:

“Behold, I come quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown (Rev.
3:11, NKJV).”

For more information about Kingdomquest International Ministries, Inc. visit the website
at www.kingdomquest.net




        Duplication and re-transmission of this writing is permit-
        ted provided that complete source and website information
        is included.
        Lifemessenger Inc.
        PO Box 777
        Mount Eliza VIC 3930 Australia
        www.lifemessenger.org




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