The Army of God


The Army of God by David L Griffin

One must take heed to the warning I am about to give as I continue to relate to you the story of The Kingdom.  For in no ordinary way it continues the efforts of Steadfast and Hope to awaken in God’s people what Compromise has destroyed.  Just as a prism will separate out light to show its true colors, so this story will lay bare your souls too.  Listen to my pleading.  You may not like what you see reflected back to you from these pages.  Now for my warning: You are who you are, whether you have believed the truth or a lie.  After reading you will be left only with the knowledge of who you are and what you believe, since there is no power here to change you.

The work of Compromise has been very thorough and at first appearances is totally complete.  For it is the subtle way it which he can get men to leave their convictions of God’s truth, to pursue the lesser things of man himself.  It is almost impossible for Steadfast and Hope to know for sure who is with them in taking back the kingdom from the dragon.  For many give lip services to their cause, but their hearts are far from it.  Compromise has made himself a place in the hearts of men where men hold to higher ideas but such notions are chained to their inner chambers by apathy. 

This is their continuing story:

Steadfast and Hope had been pushed into exile by their father Standard.  They could no longer rely on those in the king’s government for help.  The king himself put out an edict declaring all of Standard and Hope’s actions to be sedition against the kingdom.  They would have to risk their lives to restore the Law of God to its proper place in the hearts of men.  Enemies were everywhere.  People could not be trusted because those few who recognized God’s Law were not ready to lay down their comforts, positions of authority, even lives to do those things which those who had gone before them had done.

Being troubled in heart at the condition of their fellow man’s hearts Steadfast decided he must take a journey he has never undertaken.  He felt it was the best way to restore the kingdom.  He told Hope he needed to go find the army of God.  When he was younger he would hear their father speaking of it.  It was a place where men gathered to present themselves to the King of Kings.  Surely there they would find the people they needed to defeat the dragon and his sons.  Surely there he would find those who counted it all joy to suffer, even die for the kingdom.

Hope insisted that she be allowed to go with him, but Steadfast loving his sister didn’t want his sister to be in danger.  The journey would take them right across the wide path.  Eventually she convinced her brother that they should not be separated.  “Besides,” she said, “haven’t all people great and small started on the wide path.”  Marveling at such wisdom he relented to let her come with him on his search.

With much provision they set off.  They avoided all towns and kept to the small trails.  Since they new men had proven themselves to be untrustworthy, they avoided talking as much as they could to those they met along the way.  After some time they no longer had to go around any town.  The trails were mostly grown over and they could tell they had left the kingdom.  Steadfast understood from his father’s stories they could not miss their destination since it was the one place all men travelled.  However, his mind pondered the one and only man in all creation who had avoided it.  “His footprints you will not see there,” he remembered his father say.

It had been countless days since they had begun when suddenly they stepped out of the woods.  “This must be it”, Standard said to his sister.  They were both looking up at a big warning sign.  It read in big bold words,

WIDE IS THE PATH THAT LEADS TO DISTRUCTION

 “It is so vast,” cried Hope, “how shall we know what direction to go so we don’t get turned around?” 

“We can not let ourselves be given over to compromise,” Steadfast explained.  Remembering a little yeast goes through the whole batch of dough.

It wasn’t at all what they had expected.  They had envisioned the wide path to be crowded because so many had left God, but they hadn’t seen a soul since they started walking.  Of the people who had ignored the warning of the sign, they rarely came upon their footprints.  They weren’t even sure if they were still cutting across the path or if they were deceived by the paths great vastness and now walking towards their own destruction.  Hope commented, “I guess if someone wants to go their own way here on this path, there is nothing to get in their way.”  For it was true that nothing forced men to venture down this road or stood in their way to restrain them.  It was totally their own choice that led them to hell.

Of in the distance they saw a young man walking without any personal restraint or noticeable care about his situation for he was singing.  They ran to him to ask him if he was aware he was lost.  “No I am not lost,” he replied.  He told them that he was not afraid of hell and was purposely going there to be with all his friends who had promised to have a good time there.  Steadfast and Hope looked at each other because this young man didn’t know he was deceived.  He kept taking about his friends and him taking this journey together.  He had no idea he was completely alone.  The young man would not listen to them.  He kept insisting he and his friends were all going there to have a good time with no one to tell them what to do or how to behave.  He saw it as a place of ultimate pleasures found in sin and not for what it was, the second death. 

Finally Hope reached into her pack saying, “This is the only thing you need on your journey.”  She tried to give him the eternal gospel but he abusively refused it and went on his way singing as he went.

It was amazing.  The more they walked the more they noticed people’s footprints.  First it was only a few.  After a while they became hundreds, then thousands, then what appeared to be million all going the same direction.  Still only on occasion would they meet someone on the path. 

They had a conversation with a women they met and tried to give her the eternal gospel but she refused.  Steadfast pointed out the footprints of those who had gone before her to their destruction.  To which she replied, “If God is a loving God, He wouldn’t send all these people to hell.”  Then she herself continuing to walk on and leave her own footprints.

Now mixed with these footprints where laying face down in the dust what looked like picket signs.  They appeared to be randomly scattered here and there but they were all face down and trampled.  At one point there were so many of them and their trampling so complete, Steadfast was about to pick one up.  “Look,” cried Hope, “there is some one carrying a sign.  Let’s go see what it says.”

Forgetting the sign in the dirt they ran up to the man and the sign read,

Accept God’s forgiveness

They looked at the man confused.  They were about to question him when suddenly he ran off into the distance where he saw someone walking to their destruction. 

“Look another one,” said Steadfast.  Approaching him the sign read,

God loves you

“Why are you here?” Steadfast asked.  The gentleman explained we are here to let people know God loves them and they should accept God’s forgiveness.  Hope inquired as to how many were out there with the signs.  To their shock he replied hundreds of thousands, because it looked by appearance that it was only them on the path.

At that moment an elderly lady was seen in the distance.  Tripping over one of the old signs in the dus,t the man holding the sign ran after the woman.  After pausing for a second they ran after him.  When they approached they heard him telling the old women she needed to accept God’s love for her.  The man with the sign led her through scripture that spoke of God’s love and the provision for forgiveness.  When he was done he led her in a prayer to become a child of God.  What a relief it was to see someone caring enough to reach out to the lost.  Especially, since they have experienced the apathy in men’s hearts.

Dumbfounded Steadfast and Hope saw the woman continuing down the path to the wide gate as she turned and left.  The man was pleased that he had led another one to Christ.  He looked at them at said, “That is the second one this week.”  As soon as he saw another person coming down the path he ran after them to win another convert.  Hope noticed he tripped over one of the signs lying faced down.

“Did you see that?” Hope asked.  “Every time people with signs run off, they trip over these signs in the dirt.  What a nuisance!  Some one really needs to pick them up and throw them away. How horrible it is the way these signs keep tripping up workers in the field and hindering out reach out to these lost souls.” 

Steadfast commented on how the message to the woman hadn’t changed her, even though the man shared scripture and prayed with her.  “I thought she had really believed,” he said.  They turned and walked on.

They crossed more and more footprints and those pesky signs lying face down in the dirt.  As they came across people they were amazed at how many didn’t believe they were on the wide path or worse didn’t care.

They would see others with signs trying to lead those lost on the path to God.  Some signs spoke of God’s plan for their lives.  Other spoke of His blessings.  Many spoke of His love.  And of course there were those that spoke of forgiveness.  On occasion the person holding the sign would be accountable to his new convert and lead them off the path.  Yet they observed many of the lost remained lost even when they asked Jesus into their lives.  Hope asked Steadfast, “How can this be?”  She wanted to know how come people were not being changed. 

“Why do they keep tripping over these signs?” Standard asked as he was reaching down to pick one up.  He gulped as he turned it over to read it.  Hope just blinked and looked at it as they were both awe stricken for it read,

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; Acts 3:19

After the shock wore off Hope reached down and picked up a sign.  It read,

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38

Steadfast reached out for one sign that he noticed was particularly trampled underfoot and half ripped.  When he turned it over to read it tears welled up in his eyes.  He looked up at Hope who was moved as well for her tears were more abundant.  The words on the sign were in red,

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  Luke 13:5.”

Hope helped Steadfast to his feet as he was still holding the accosted sign and looked out at a sea of trampled wrecked signs lying face down in the dust.  All of which had been cast aside for an updated more contemporary message to those who were lost.

The impact was too great for Hope.  She fell down and somewhere in the midst of the wide path that leads to destruction she wept for the lost.  She wept for the message of the gospel that never got out to those on the path.  All those carrying signs had failed to carry the one sign that will bring man back to his maker.  Instead it was decided newer signs would be need to reach the lost.  All the older signs representing the eternal gospel were obsolete.

Standard’s reaction was different for his came out in anger.  He screamed violently with his face looking to the sky as he fell to his knees.  That terrible dragon Compromise didn’t just destroy the Laws of God in the kingdom of his father.  He hadn’t just destroyed the lives of people.  He perverted the one message, the only message that could restore the kingdom.  He had polluted the gospel message itself.

Tiring from their expressions of grief, someone tripped close to them on one of the signs lying face down in the dirt as he ran off to peruse a person lost on the path.  He was carrying a sign that read,

“Put your hope in Jesus.”

It was now with horror that Steadfast and Hope crossed the wide path.  They no longer with hope watched as those carrying signs would approach the lost.  Instead they had grief as they witness the tragedy over and over again the church tripping over the signs in the dust, as they haled the lost with smooth flowing words.

Steadfast let slip from his lips:

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.  For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.[1]

Hope inquiring of her brother asked what he meant.  He explained that it appears that the message to the lost has been contrary to the teaching of the Apostles and the Lord Himself for the church is speaking smooth things to the lost.  “After all Hope,” Steadfast said as he watched another person trip on those signs of repentance lying face down in the dust,  “Jesus Himself said’

“repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.[2]

They continued to walk on as they talked how scripture didn’t ask men to accept God’s love to come into His Kingdom, but to repent.  They discussed how even John the disciple of love preached repentance along with the other disciples.  They talked how even Jesus to the seven churches in Revelations didn’t preach what was written on the signs that were now in use.  Instead Jesus told His church, the people of God, to repent and this seven times, how much more the lost.  Steadfast asked out loud as if talking to himself, “Are we now greater than these that we no longer need to preach repentance?’

Sometime during their discussion the terrain had changed.  No longer were there signs in the dust.  No longer did they see footprints of those who went on to their destruction.  After what felt like days and maybe even weeks of crossing the wide path it was the first time they had hope of finally crossing this vast emptiness of hopelessness. 

Off in the distance they saw what reminded them of a fire in the distance.  The sky was reddish orange.  “Do you think we have strayed, and that is the wide gate and the fires of hell are awaiting us?” Hope asked. 

“Can’t be,” Steadfast replied.  Even though he said it he was uncertain and he could tell by looking at his sister she was uneasy as well. 

The reddish sky was looking more and more like a sunset as they approach.  They noticed a sign that was becoming more and more visible over the horizon as they approached it.  As they came upon it Hope said, “What good is that sign?” for the sign was covered over with so much dust it could no longer be read. 

Steadfast slowly raised his hand and started to wipe the dust off the sign.  As he did they both felt their heart skip for the sign was spelled out in red lettering.  It warned:

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”  Luke 13:24

Their hearts continued to pound for the Lord of the harvest in His own words was warning that many on this narrow path are as lost as those on the wide path.  Hope commented, “I thought only those on the wide path were going to hell.  Never did I think that anyone on the narrow path would find themselves there.” 

“Neither did I,” Steadfast said solemnly.

As they stepped away from the sign to go around, Hope noticed the dust return over the sign.  She told her brother about it because the message was there but people wouldn’t have a chance to read it.

“More likely,” Steadfast said, “this warning from the eternal gospel has been ignored for so long by those striving to enter in, they haven’t cared to understand it from their own Bibles.  That is why the dust returns.”  It made them wonder what they would find as they past the sign by. 

In their hearts they contemplated the warning and were glad they stopped to read it, although it made them fearful.  Hope broke the silence, “I dread to think of what will become of us if we continue thinking we are secure from the fires of Hell because we are on the narrow path.  What if apathy settles into our own hearts and we strive in vain?”

“We are now aware of a lie of Compromise that wretched beast,” Steadfast said.  “Compromise has settled in the hearts of the church that everyone striving to enter will enter, everyone on the narrow path will enter into the narrow gate.”

“It certainly helps to explain the apathy in men’s hearts about the kingdom, doesn’t it?” she replied.  “We no longer have the fear of hell because we have bought into a lie that all those who strive on the narrow path are now exempt from Hell.”

It was in silence they continued to walk for some time.  After a wile they noticed they were walking past what looked like archeological ruins of some kind.  They were scattered here and their all strewn about the narrow path.

Many things they couldn’t make out, but some looked like meeting places.  One building was exceptional still preserved.  They went into it and the room was empty.  They saw a stair and followed it to the upper room.  In the faint light they could still see dinning mats and dishes but there was only one cup.  Steadfast had a curious thought.

After they left the building they pasted the ruins of a large coliseum.  They snuck into it past some animal cages and saw torn clothing and sheep skin but that was all.

They continued to see many such things like this.  At one particular place they saw a ruin with a corner stone still exposed.  It read, “The Morning Star of the Reformation”.  They walked into it and found a scripted that said “Wyclif’s translation of the Bible.”

Steadfast shouted out, “I knew it, I knew it, we are walking the footsteps of the church.”  After this he ran out with Hope on his heals.

They now had a new appreciation of what they saw.  At a stone pillar with the words “Vilvoorde” above it they saw ashes on the ground.  “What is it?” Hope asked.

“I believe it is the ashes of William Tyndale a man of God who was not apathetic and given to compromise.”  Steadfast said respectfully.  “He gave his life defending the eternal gospel.”

“I would say of those of whom we have seen their past, they have given or been in danger of giving their lives for the eternal gospel,” Hope answered back.

Across the path from it there was a door still standing with a note on it.  The walked up to it and read the ninety five Theses.  It was the Wittenberg door. 

They walked on looking at the sacrifice of those men, women and children who heard the call of their master and put in all on the line.  Hope quietly spoke as she reflected on their current situation were apathy and compromise ruled in the hearts of their people.  “Where are the people like that today?”

Up in the distance they saw what looked like a metropolis.  “Finally we are coming to the place where the army of God has assembled to present themselves to the King of Kings.” Steadfast remarked.  It was with great anticipation they went on as they came closer and closer to the metropolis.  In their excitement they forgot the warning of the sign and the history they just passed and talked of how wonderful it will be to have fellowship with God’s people.  They talked about winning back the kingdom from Compromise and the craft of his sons. 

As they came into the city the streets were narrow and crowded.  They had to press around others to make it from one place to another.  As they looked around them the noticed all the buildings were ministries with church names above them.  The building themselves crowded each other as well and it was hard to tell where one building ended and the other started.  The more they made their way toward the direction of the narrow gate the more it reminded them of a log jam on a river.

People were running around proclaim to have the eternal gospel.  “This way”, they would call out to them.  “Follow us if you want to know God’s love.”  “Come over here and discover God’s plan for your life” another shouted. 

There were banners everywhere.  Banners that were exceptionally large and colorful. 

Courage

Commitment

Leadership

Discipline

Success

Read the banners along with other snappy phrases. 

As Hope was asking her brother where the Ten Commandments were she was interrupted by a woman encouraging Steadfast to come work in her ministry.  But while she was talking another grabbed both her brother and her and tore them away from the woman.  “They don’t preach faith, you need to profess faith and take authority or you will never live a victorious Christian life,” the man said. 

They tried to peal themselves away but the man was too strong for Hope to escape so Steadfast went along with them.  In the great assembly inside the ministry they heard of the blessings to be poured out to believers who put their faith in God.  “Plant the seed and God will give the increase!” the man from the pulpit shouted.  “By the measure of your faith God will measure back to you.” 

Alarmed, “Hope this is not the gospel!” Steadfast said to his sister. 

Steadfast steadied his heart and rose to his feet and grabbed the hilt of his sword Selflessness.  He yelled out in the midst of the assembly, “Brothers, where have we ever heard from the writers of the gospel or our salvation to plant the seed so God can give the increase?”  All heads turned to him in shock that someone interrupted the service.  Steadfast continued, “How does this gospel you are preaching work for those millions who have been slaves and could not own any property or personally prosper as you speak of?”  The people looked at each other then back at him.  “Can’t you see this gospel you advocate will not be found to be preached by those whom you say you follow and can not possibly apply to Jew, Gentile, Free and Slave equally.”  At this the congregation grabbed him and abused him greatly before they rid themselves of him.

After the mob cleared, Hope found him on the other side of the street.  He got up to meet her but falling down again he fell into Hopes grip.  As he was steadied Hope said, “I hope this isn’t the case everywhere we go.”  They discussed how they had been greatly disappointed at the condition of the army of God.  They so looked forward to the fellowship and camaraderie of their fellow saints, who they looked to for help to stand up to Compromise.  But compromise and apathy was everywhere. 

It was now evident to them that Jesus’ warning at the beginning of the path had been ignored by them. Everyone proclaimed to have the truth and was competing for those on the narrow path.

In some ministries they found those who were seeker friendly and never mentioned sin and hell.  They too had forgot the words of Jesus,

“I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”[3]

Instead they preached of God’s love and provision.

Others were noble in the efforts to be an outreach church but forgot to let their hearers know they would not be saved if they lived a life of sin.  They forgotten the gospel they had received which said:

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.[4]

Many of the ministries would preach Christian psychology about better living, living life to the fullness, relationships and steps to achieve such things mingled with examples from scripture.  They offered much self help material and counseling to help people achieve their potential.  None of this could Steadfast and Hope find preached in the gospel letters, but the ministries presented it as the gospel.  Hope mentioned to her brother that the messages were not unique to the gospel of scripture, for peoples of many faiths could have the same messages preached to them as well.  She noted the uniqueness of the one true eternal gospel was lost for the more appealing universal message.

After much effort and turmoil they made it close to the Narrow Gate.  They were gleeful in their hearts as they pressed into the crowd at the gate hoping to get a glimpse of the King of Kings, as the army of God gathered to present itself to Him. 

Close to the gate all the teachers of the ministries was fever pitch and deafening.  They noticed a herald of the King of Kings standing at the gate with a scroll which he was reading from.  They could see his lips moving, but couldn’t even hear a syllable of what he said.  They had to press and shove their way through the crowd to get closer to the herald with the scroll,l but they still couldn’t hear him.  They tried to get the crowd to quite down but each one yelled all the louder, because they each felt they were the heralds of the eternal gospel. 

They made it to the gate itself straining to hear what the herald was saying.  But the noise was so fever pitch it was dizzying.  They waved at the herald to get his attention as he looked up from the scroll.  He looked back down with double effort to proclaim the contents of the scroll to the army of God.  Still he was not able to get his message across from all the other voices proclaiming the gospel of their own ministries. 

The crowd pushed and shoved with such surges and noise liken to the ocean waves breaking on the rocks of a cliff, then suddenly Hope was separated from Steadfast.  He called out to her but she could not hear him.  He in return only saw her lips move and could only assume she was calling out to him for help.  With the greatest of violence in his body he lunged forward to reach his sister again.  But at this they were now far from the gate and had no hope of hearing the message of the herald of King of Kings.

At last at some distance away from the gate with only faint image of the herald Hope said to her brother let’s pray.  They decided to pray for each other.  Hope started.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.[5]

Steadfast ended with his prayer.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,[6]

After their honest payers before the Lord to be instructed by Him, the noise of all the ministries drowned.  Their activities and their messages they still proclaimed, but they had become a dull roar.  Now they heard loud and clear the message of the herald even though he was now a far off.  The herald proclaimed from the scroll.

“A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land:  The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?[7]

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”[8]

After hearing the message of the herald who was standing at the Narrow Gate Standard and Hope had a new view of those in the crowd that pressed against them with the messages of their ministries.  They saw a people who didn’t take head to the sign at the beginning of the narrow path.

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”  Luke 13:24

So now the telling of the continuing story of Steadfast and Hope is complete.  You have been warned and you did not take heed.  Now it is revealed to you who you are.  Either you are repulsed by this tale and ignore the warnings which are found in the telling of this story, or you are encouraged by the message of its truth.  Either you are drawn to a conclusion that arise from compromise and apathy, or you are invigorated to stand in the gap and fight for the truth of the gospel.  If you are the latter, Steadfast and Hope have not failed.  For you are who they set out to find…the army of God.

The Gospel According to the Gospel.com all right reserved


[1] Romans 16:17-18

[2] Luke 24:47

[3] Luke 5:32

[4] Hebrews 10:26-27

[5] Philippians 1:9-11

[6] Ephesians 1:17-18

[7] Jeremiah 5:30-31

[8] Mathew 15:8-9

One thought on “The Army of God

  1. Pingback: Did you know that I wrote a sequel? « The Gospel According to the Gospel

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