They were telling me last night in the Deacons Meeting that we have a man who is getting ready to get out of prison. He has been in prison for thirty years. He’s been one of the chief overseers of the ministry that we have in the prison. Somewhere, about ten years ago or whatever, he wanted to marry this woman. We told him, "Don’t do it." Pastor Rob went down there, "slapped him around" a little bit, and he told him, "Don’t do it." I mean that he did everything but tie him up. What do you think he did? What do you think happened? So he pledges, "I will never go against a multitude of counsel again as it comes to me from my overseers." He’s getting ready to get out, and he’s got a plan, a good plan. But all those who have ministered to him, whether it’s a deacon or some of the other men who have gone down and ministered to him, have said, "It’s not that good of a plan." The deacons and the others are talking to him and ministering to him. They told him, "No, it’s not a good plan." What do you think he’s going to do? He’s going to do what he wants to do. So I sent word to him, and I said, "Don’t come out of prison and plan on coming to fellowship here. You have already rejected the counsel we gave you. If you won’t take it now, you won’t take it after you get here. Don’t bother." Amen? Don’t bother; do what you want to do.
The questions we’re going to answer in these next couple of sessions have to do with the question: what rights do we have as individuals? You have every right to be independent, but you have no right to be rebellious. Can I say it again? You have every right to be independent, but once you profess to be a part of the body of Christ, you have no right to be rebellious. You are under authority, and you are under guidance as it pertains to spiritual things. "Well, what about all this stuff that, you know, the authority… Do you mean brothers and sisters who come to me with counsel? Their authority is something that, if they are representing biblical principles, I should listen to it? I’m obligated to listen to them?" You’d be wise to listen to them at times, and, yes, you’re obligated to listen to them at times, because God has set up standards for living in His kingdom. "Yeah, but I feel led to commit adultery." We want to play around over here in the obscure; most of us want to argue the obscure. When I use terms like "adultery," you all say, "You can’t commit adultery and be part of the church. That’s obvious." It’s not about adultery. It’s about rebellion. It’s about independence. It’s about selfness as it pertains to what’s good for the community as a whole. "I have my rights!" Yes, you do. Your right is to prefer others better than yourself. Our doctrine is all good, beloved, but when it comes down to putting this thing to the road in so many areas, we have trouble. A case in point was when somebody asked the question the other night: "Well, I don’t know. I heard Pastor give that illustration about a sister and marrying another one. Don’t we have rights to go to another church, if we want to go to another church?" You have every right in the world to go to another church, but you have no right to be in rebellion and "blow off" the counsel and the guidance of your spiritual overseers. I would very, very cautiously choose my rights and my independence against designated authority. Some of you say, "Well, I don’t know about that." Well, if you’re going to follow that philosophy, apply it to your home. Apply it to your children. Who are you? "I’m the head of my house, bless God." Who made you head? Amen? The One you are ignoring, the One who has established authorities and order in His church—if you don’t submit to authority, you have no business being in authority. We miss the obvious, beloved, as we argue for the obscure, for the secular, and for the temporal. We’ll forfeit eternal privilege and position for temporal justice and rights. That’s the Constitution. It is not the Bible.
Remember who wrote our Constitution and gave you these liberties: rebels. Don’t make a mistake. I’m not going to get into my politics. I love our country. I love living under the liberties that we’ve had, but I am not stupid. I know how we were founded. I know that the majority of the "Christians" who wrote our Constitution were deists. Do you all know what a deist is? They believe in God. They believe that God created and that God initiated. Then, He stepped back, and He said, "It’s yours. Go ahead and run it." That’s not the God I serve. Some of these were born again, but most of them were deists. Most of them were rebels, and most of them established the churches that we are all so thankful for. Many of them allowed the pendulum to swing too far because of the Church of England. They didn’t like the dominance; so it swung over here to independence within the churches, and it broke the divine order that God established. Many of them were the Puritans, the Quakers, and the Calvinists of that particular age. There is something behind all of this, beloved. We can become lax in our thinking, because we are a generation living off of sound bites. We don’t spend enough time to sit back, analyze, and understand what’s going on around us. We hear a sound bite of a preacher over here on this television show, and a preacher over here, and the Bible says, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," (2 Timothy 2:15). The words "rightly dividing" mean "to be able to cut through the principle that’s at hand, or to arrive at a conclusion, justice, and application that glorify God the creator." It does not justify man, the creation. It does not justify the wicked and condemn the just.
We’ve had so much confusion and stuff going on in recent days in our fellowship. Questions are being asked. "Well, what about the right… Don’t I have the right to run over here?" We had a situation just the other day. A young person runs off from here and goes to another, local church. They embrace them, and everybody’s encouraging them. What should be said is: "Go home, you rebel." Your mom and dad are serving God. They are full of the Holy Ghost, and they are standing up for biblical principles. The people there are coddling the rebel, and they call themselves the church. We’re saying the church is universal. That’s not the church! The church does the Word of God; amen? I don’t care what their theology is. I don’t care how sound some of their doctrine might be. If you simply can’t understand how to treat a rebel, and you can’t understand divine order and authority—children are to obey their parents in the Lord, if they are not being asked to do anything that’s not biblical. "I want my rights. I want my independence. I want to run around, hang out, do this, and do that." I want to tell you something, beloved. You are tossed to and fro by every wind and doctrine, and by men who lie in wait to deceive. You’d better find out what the Word of God teaches. You’d better find out who the representatives of God are. They are the people who are going to stand, apply the Word of God, and not coddle the rebels.
Some of us want to get confused or up in arms over other peoples’ rights. They have no rights but to obey their parents; amen? You have no rights but to do the Word of God. You don’t have any rights to be running around out here. You don’t have any right to independently rebel against your parents, those who are put in your life and have overseen your life since you were born, those who have counseled you, and those who told you, "That’s not the way. That’s not the Word of God. That’s not bringing glory to God, and that is not representative of the kingdom of God." They don’t have any right to do that, and then call themselves Christians and rail upon authority. This isn’t new, beloved; this has been around in man since time began. We know in the sixties, the "drop out generation"—I want to tell you something. The way some of these churches have responded and the way the communities respond, right now, it’s always "the authority." It’s always "the institution" that’s wrong. These poor, abused people… It is that "bad institution," that "bad authority." It is humanism!
You go and tell them, you and two others, and they refuse to hear you. Look what he says happens next. "And if he shall neglect to hear them [do what?], tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican" (Matthew 18:17). There’s a very obvious truth here that’s being missed. It’s very simple, but it’s being missed. Go to them alone. If they don’t hear you [do what?], take two or three witnesses. If, by chance, they happen to still be so self-willed, stubborn, and stiff-necked that they don’t receive the counsel of a multitude, what do you do then? There is a truth that’s being missed here by so many. Do you know what it is? There’s nothing that follows that. That’s the end. Tell the church, and then you say, "The end." Amen? What the church says is final; it is the end. Their decision stands. That is the end. We always want to think there’s another court to appeal to. Now, as if it wasn’t bad enough—we have all the appellate courts, the different things that are going on, and the Supreme Court. Now we have our country wanting us to bow down as a nation to an international court. I don’t personally care what another country thinks about what we’re doing and how we judge things; amen? As a citizen of the kingdom of God, I don’t care what the world thinks about the judgment we make. If it’s according to the Word of God, it’s true. There is no appeal, if you are part of the church. Do you see? What you have to do to reject the judgment of the church is to reject the church, the lordship of Jesus. What we do in our day is go three blocks down the street, and we join another church. There is only one church