WHO ARE THE "LOST SHEEP"?
By Richard Wright
Jeremiah 50:6, "My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place."
There are current surveys showing that people are leaving the structured Church by the thousands. These people are coming out of denominations and other non-charismatic churches. I have known for years this was coming and in fact have been praying that it would happen; but I didn't see the whole picture and assumed that when they left the old dead churches they would automatically seek out that which is scriptural. I assumed that because they were christians and there has been an apostolic reformation going on since the early 90's, they would flock into that which God is currently doing. I WAS WRONG! The majority of these people are going to the extreme in escaping the structured, program-oriented Church...they are flooding into what is now being called "the Emerging Church."
Some are going to the extreme of getting ordained by internet "ministries" and then meeting in small groups in homes or coffee shops. They are operating without five-fold ministry, without any accountability or elders to oversee the meetings.
Some are attaching themselves to the "seeker friendly" churches and identifying with what is now being called "the purpose driven movement". Current reports are that there are now an estimated 400,000 churches in what is being called the "purpose driven network." This "movement" (I have another term for it which cannot be mentioned here) is full of new age teaching, including the translations of the Bible they use. This new age thing is growing and many "big name" ministries are embracing it. Beware of terms like "contemplative prayer", which includes the lighting of candles and chanting mantras along with walking labyrinths in the guise of prayer walking...the list goes on and on.
Now for the shocking news...according to a CBS report, there may be as many as 20 million participants in the "emerging church". It is being called "a new reformation" by many and the deceit is growing faster than the apostolic reformation! Pastors like Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Brian McLaren, etc., are promoting and encouraging the "emerging church"...these are some of the largest churches in America. Even the American Bible Society is now promoting contemplative spirituality and "emerging church". This is a different gospel and it is sweeping the Church.
I am deeply troubled by this and I marvel at the lack of spiritual discernment within christianity. This is why the Lord has restored the five-fold ministry. The lack of true five-fold ministry is the main reason the Church has gotten so far off the scriptural path.
In Matthew 10:6, Jesus said, "...go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This is in fact the first commission given by Jesus, before He ever gave the great commission. These people are the lost sheep, those who are wandering around without a shepherd. As in the scripture with which I began this letter, the Lord would say today that "their shepherds have led them astray". Some of these new agers have deceived even some of the best-known ministries and we are sitting idly by watching the destruction. This is a "different gospel" and must be addressed by the true apostles and prophets immediately. This is now the main arena of evangelism needed in the Church. We must reach these "lost sheep" with the truth. This should now become our "first commission" priority.
These people are being misled (as scripture has warned us would happen) because they do not know the Word of God, nor do they understand the one and only pattern for the Church set by Jesus Himself after He said... "I will build My Church." It continually amazes me to see how many "christians" there are who do not care what the Word of God has to say. There is only one pattern for the Church throughout the New Testament, yet man continues to be drawn to another gospel.
I have been shouting this warning for the past several years and have brought messages of warning like "The devil's reformation", and have been criticized for it. Even the church where I was originally ordained has submitted to this teaching and has ignored my warning by saying that I am just jealous because they have larger congregations and their books are more accepted than mine...Oh well.
The bottom line is this: I believe these people are the lost sheep that must be reached and desperately need someone to lead them to the pasture of truth.
These lost sheep are in more need than someone who does not yet know the Lord because they are now denying the power. It is my understanding that some of them are even denying that there is a hell and that there is no need for salvation. Some are also believing that the tribulation is already over and we are in the millennium. Most of them believe that all mankind is saved and that our God would not send anyone to hell anyway. We must be giving ourselves to the first commission of going to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. I will say this over and over again as I know that most who read this will merely put this letter aside and forget about it.
This is urgent and very serious. We have our work cut out for us! It will not be easy because these lost sheep do not see themselves as such and think that they are on the "cutting edge of a new move of God".
"Just look at the great numbers who are accepting this, so it must be of God" will be the response of the majority and I will again remind you that the majority is always wrong!