Saturday, October 10, 2020

"You're Not Welcome Here!"


Greetings dearest friends around the world. Our friends and brethren in Athens, Alabama, in Warren, Pennsylvania, Fleming Island, Florida, and around the world! Welcome to the Church of Jesus Christ Online Ministries. I’m your servant Leonard V. Johnson.

Friends, I was invited by my sister to join her in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for God’s holy Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day this year with her church – the Intercontinental Church of God which, supposedly, has an open-door policy. Now, I was having a truly enjoyable Feast until the 5th Day! A bully sycophant "leader" along with his cronies (which reminds one of a bully jock who walks the halls of a high school corridor and bullies others) became combative with me and said, "We're gonna have a talk with you this afternoon!" Indeed, they certainly have replicated an old church culture which stemmed from their Mother Church which existed in the ’60s, ’70s – and like the proverbial Humpty Dumpty, had a great fall in the ’80s and shattered into thousands of pieces – a type of dictatorship. ‘You will do exactly what the main leader says,’ or his underlings ‘or else you will find yourself asked to go home.’ Because I felt unwelcome, and because there was a growing sense of unwelcomeness by the members of that organization, I came home.

Now, you mean to tell me that there are people who if they don't like somebody will gossip and tell lies to get people stirred up to turn against the one they don't like and to persecute them!? In this modern age!? Yes, this happened to me! – cf. Acts 16:22.

Friends, there are a lot of groups which practice shunning. And they claim to get their authority from God’s living word – the Holy Bible. Yet, shunning is NOT biblical, and it is NOT what someone should do if they claim to be a Christian! Shunning is a type of pressure and punishment to help church leaders cull or maintain control and is a manifestation of the leaders fear – that they cannot answer important questions honestly and legally and therefore they know – the church leaders – that they are vulnerable. They tend to believe that there has to be a type of “mind-control” which takes place in these poor “laypeople.”

Now, of course, it’s not the first time this has been done to me – from those groups which have descended from their Mother Church. And, I’m saying – I once had friends within those churches who now refuse to speak to me.

But what does God’s living word say!?

I ask you to turn to Matthew, chapter 22, verse 36

Some of the religious lawyers – the people who were highly involved in the doctrines of the Jewish Church, way back when – were asking Jesus a question. And they were tempting Him, trying to trick Him.

“’ Teacher, what is the great commandment in the law?’”

And Jesus responded by quoting from the Book of Deuteronomy, ’ You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38) This is the FIRST and GREAT COMMANDMENT.’

Verse 39 – “’ And the SECOND [or principle] is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40) On these TWO COMMANDMENTS hang all the Law and the Prophets.’ – the writings of the Bible. The two great divine principles – ‘love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, and soul. And ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’

And neighbor here just doesn’t mean the person living next to you – or within your neighborhood. It’s referring to all other people.

And then, there’s the Book of John. John, chapter 13. This is a powerful comment! And He says in verse 34 – again these are some of the final words Jesus Christ ever spoke to His disciples.

’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, …’

Now, did our Lord Jesus Christ say here – that ‘you’re to be hateful, that if somebody comes to God’s holy Feast that you don’t like, that you’re to make him feel unwelcome, turn everyone against him and shun him’!?

Think about Jesus – He, after His conversion, ends up in the Garden of Gethsemane and He’s having some of His final and quiet prayers with God the Father – and His disciples are not even able to stay awake. And He chided them – ‘Can’t you even keep your eyes open for a little while and be with Me!?’ And then, later when He was arrested – they fled. If anyone had a reason to be upset with some Church people – Jesus Christ had a great reason to be upset. And yet, Jesus Christ NEVER turned His back on these disciples which had indeed deserted Him! Think about that!

But, He says here, ’ A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35) By this [principle – by the fact that ‘you love one another, despite your differences’] shall all men know that you are My disciples, IF you have love for one another.’

So, what I am saying is – by the authority of Jesus Christ – that so-called minister that became combative with me and shunned me is NOT a servant of Jesus Christ!

And I dare say the opposite can be said – since Jesus said, ‘By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another’ – ‘by this shall all men know that you are NOT My disciples IF you DO NOT have love for one another.’ The mirror image.

And so, when you – or somebody – shuns; throws away; refuses to converse with someone, for whatever reason, you are demonstrating –

  1. You do not have any love.
  2. You are NOT a disciple of Jesus Christ.
If you would turn to Romans, chapter 13. There are many places in the New Testament that talks about this principle.

Verse 8 – “Owe no one anything …” – except the FIRST COMMANDMENT – “ … except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” – and in one place he calls it ‘the royal law.’

Verse 9 – “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 10) Love does no harm to a neighbor; …’” 

So, when you bully someone who is trying to keep God’s holy Feast of Tabernacles – and then you even go farther and gossip and or tell falsehoods; repeating unsubstantiated lies – becoming a gossipmonger –and God’s living word says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor,” isn’t that working harm to your neighbor – if you try to bully them and spew hate, refuse to socialize, giving them a cold shoulder!?

And he continues, “ … therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

You want to know how to be a Christian – show love, respect, and loyalty – to your fellow human beings.

Verse 11 – “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12) The night is far spent, that day is at hand…” – referring to the Day of the LORD, what Minister Michael C. has dubbed the ‘end-time trauma.’ “ … Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, …” – and shunning is a work of darkness! “ … and let us put on the armor of light. 13) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.” – and you can add, ‘not in shunning of those people who should be our Christian brothers and sisters.’

Verse 14 – “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, …”

If you would turn to Galatians, chapter 5. Another place where Paul spoke about this topic. Think about Paul himself was the recipient of shunning. He was shunned by the Jewish religious people who were the majority of the religious people of his day. And when Paul became a follower of Jesus Christ, he was shunned and hated and they tried to murder him, too! Where before they cheered him on when he persecuted the Church of God – now, they were trying to murder him!

Verse 13 – “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; …” – religious freedom.

Now, time out! If you have been called to religious freedom, then why are some of you following the commands and the dictates of your so-called church leaders!? Instead, departmentalizing, and saying such things as, “Well, he’s not from our church!” When, in fact, that organization is one big conglomeration!? I contend that you’re NOT in a form of religious freedom, but you are in a form of bondage.

“ … only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14) For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 15) But if you bite and devour one another, …” – isn’t that what shunning is!? Biting, hurting, harming. “ … beware lest you be consumed [destroyed] by one another!”

Verse 16 – “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

The human nature tendency is for so-called church leaders to lash out with hatred, or contempt, for anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe – either religiously or politically. And then they try to get all of the other congregants – the other church members – to do and feel the same way.

If you would turn back to Matthew, chapter 5. Again, directly the words of Jesus Christ! You can’t argue with the words of Jesus Christ – you either do them, or attempt to follow them, or you walk contrary to them, it’s one or the other. And if you’re walking contrary to the words of Jesus Christ – you have no hope of eternal salvation. That’s just the plain truth of it all.

And sadly, this so-called leader of that organization which had put himself down to speak on the Fifth-Day of God's holy Feast of Tabernacles got up at the podium and focused his assault (because it wasn't a godly message) at me! Reading from the Book of Luke, chapter 13, verses 26-30, he looked up directly at me and said, “I could name a name. ...” And, he looked over at his wife as she was shaking her head, adding, “but I won't.”

How, dear Lord Jesus, is this bully “leader” and his cronies going to escape gehenna fire!?

Verse 43 – “’ You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44) But I say to you, love your enemies, …’

Now, doesn’t that go completely against the theme of shunning!?

’ Love your enemies’” – not shun them. “ … ‘bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45) that you may be [children] of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46) For if you love those who love you, …’

And let’s change this a bit – ‘if you only love the people in your particular sub-group, you’re cronies’ … “ …’ what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors [the publicans] do the same?’

Verse 47 – “’ And if you greet your brethren only, …’

Same idea – ‘if you’re only going to show respect for only your so-called church brethren’ … “…’ what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors [the publicans] do so? 48) Therefore you shall be perfect [or complete – spiritually mature is what the word means], just as your Father in heaven is perfect.’

Obviously, Jesus Christ does not support the idea of shunning – or showing hatred and contempt for others!

And then, Matthew, chapter 7, verse 12.

’ Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, …’ – which means ‘to show respect and concern.’ “ …’ do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.’ – and the basic foundation of the Message of God to all human beings!

Shunning is a most terrible sin. And many of you are part of church groups which participate in that – and I know this to be true. And, if the other leaders or congregants of these church groups allow one of their own to get away with spewing hate and shunning they are just as guilty in the eyes of Almighty God and Jesus Christ!


And if you would, turn back to the Book of James, chapter 5, verse 19 – “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turn him back [converts him; changes his mind and heart], 20) let him know that he who turns [or helps] a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”

So, I would say to all of you who are my detractors – if you are serving Jesus Christ and if you do indeed think that I have ‘wandered from the truth’ – from the words of James (the very brother of Jesus Christ inspired by God’s Spirit) shouldn’t you be doing everything you can to convert me, to help me!? Instead of throwing me away!? But that was not your reaction! Your reaction was to make me feel unwelcome and become combative with me! It’s the total opposite of what this verse and all the other verses we read says.

Friend – you’re in the wrong! And, I don’t say that with hatred. I say it with a great deal of sadness. Because I know from the word of God that if you continue to have that contempt – that disrespect, that hatred in your heart – if you do not change you will not make it into the kingdom of God. You just won’t. And I know that – and it greatly troubles me. I do not want you to flounder. I, like Almighty God, wish for none to perish, but for all to come to repentance. – cf. 2 Peter 3:9.

I do, however, hate the fact that they have power over so many of you. It’s like whatever they say you guys are just going to follow – without questioning them. That’s NOT serving God – that’s serving them. You’re God is not Jesus Christ – you’re god, apparently, is these so-called leaders. Don’t you see how wrong that is – and how messed up that is!? FOLLOW JESUS CHRIST! FOLLOW HIS WORD! FOLLOW HIS PROMISES! FOLLOW HIS NEW COVENANT! I just wish that you would open your eyes! Again, you are passionately loyal – with a seemingly certain amount of blindness to reality – to a man who seemingly cannot (will not, hasn’t) said, written, or acknowledged Jesus Christ. And in that respect, you people are just as lost – when it comes to the potential of eternal life.

I want nothing more than to salvage you! □

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