John 13:27 (NIV)- As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.”
(The following is a true story. The names have been changed in order to protect the identity of individuals.)
As the pastor was serving communion at the altar rail, John suddenly refused the host, and with clenched teeth said:
“You will never again threaten me with Holy Communion!”
The pastor was startled and confused, but his two decades of pastoral ministry kept him calm and collected.
After the service, the pastor stepped out in search of John in order to talk with him and pray. When the pastor found him, John began to angrily launch verbal attacks, including the accusation that he was riding a “high-horse” of spirituality and that he was sent by Satan.
The pastor insisted that they clear the apparent misunderstanding with a witness… Eventually John acquiesced to the old pastor’s pleas and waited for him in the church office, where a mature witness would be present during their conversation.
John was angry with the pastor because the sermon had struck a personal nerve.
The pastor had preached a sermon titled: “You Must Forgive,” where he made the case and gave the warning that disciples of Christ should not partake of Holy Communion unless they forgave those who harmed them.
Apparently John and his family had been harboring a great amount of resentment against unnamed perpetrators. They had never reflected on the Gospel fact that if we do not forgive the sins that others commit against us (or sincerely tried to do so), that God would withhold forgiveness from us.
The pastor and the witness were successful in showing John that the sermon was strictly based on the Sunday lectionary, and that any perceived correlations with personal issues was totally the work of the Holy Spirit.
When John calmed down, he began to open-up his heart and share a vision-dream he had experienced that same morning and that was still disturbing him.
The pastor and the witness listened quietly.
“In my dream I was standing by the shore of a great river. Suddenly at a distance, a woman walked up to the river, immersed herself in it, and walked back to shore. But as she was walking away from the river, she seemed to change her mind and returned.
She entered the waters again until she was fully submerged… but a moment later, she was pulling out her own corpse and trying to get back into her body.”
Thick drops of sweat began to form on John’s forehead as he nervously made recollection of his vision.
“Pastor,” John exclaimed, “I’m still freaked out by the woman pulling out her corpse from the river!” The pastor held his hand while assuring him that everything would be ok.
“Then suddenly,” John continued, “although I’ve never been there, I found myself standing in Chrissy’s house. Her husband Dan was standing in front of me and a clock was behind him… He seemed tormented…
He looked at me and said: ‘The devil is in my house!'”
As John squeezed the pastor’s hand he asked: “What does this mean, Pastor?”
The Holy Spirit immediately revealed to the Pastor, not only the meaning of the vision-dream, but also for whom the message was intended.
The Pastor explained the dream…
“John, the river in your dream is representative of baptismal waters. The Bible teaches that the old nature is buried in the waters of baptism and a new nature is born-again.
The woman in the dream is Chrissy… Her entering the waters and coming out means that she had made the resolute determination to walk as a disciple of Christ through her pastor, but when she realized that she had to carry the cross of humble service, she changed her mind and reclaimed her old ways.
In the dream, the Lord then transported you into her house where the first thing you saw was a clock. That is indicative of an impending time of judgement.
In other words… that her time is up.
Until now, Dan has been supporting her through all her psychological and physical issues… but the time will come when he realizes that her greatest problem is spiritual. Her obsessive-hatred against those who allegedly hurt her in the past will eventually become the door through which the devil will enter.
She will destroy everything in her path… including her own family.”
The Bible says that when God is going to do something, that He lets His prophets know before He acts.
“Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” Amos 3:7 (NIV)
The next day… Chrissy called a secretive unconstitutional committee meeting in order to stir her followers into getting rid of her pastor.
The pastor discovered the meeting… confronted them, but when a committee member lost control, the pastor and his wife were run out of the church with insults and threats of physical harm.
The word devil means slanderer… Like a devil, Chrissy mounted a phone campaign of slander against her pastor… She lied to as many people as possible- twisting every self-incriminating word to her advantage while mixing them with pure fabrications and calumnies against the pastor.
Eventually she got what she wanted…She stirred the congregation to fire the pastor as soon as possible- as she had done before with others.
But this time it was different… Although the injustices committed against the pastor won the approval of a majority vote, even the president of the church resigned in disgust with the people. Those who were closest to the pastor and his family spoke on his behalf… but to no avail.
Chrissy’s “truth” was a familiar narrative that echoed the general sentiment of the church- that pastors are not to be trusted.
This time God had indeed sent the congregation a family according to His own heart. A pastor who truly loved God. A tried and true pastor. But the Kingdom of God is built upon the blood of His martyr-witnesses.
God will judge the congregation for their modus operandi of slaughtering pastors and their vocations. God will judge the congregation for destroying the last godly man He sent them.
But worse… The God Most High will judge her for being the stumbling block upon which souls have fallen and lost their faith in God.
Eventually they will close the church doors and Chrissy will know that she was the ultimate cause of their destruction. She will also know that it was she who destroyed her family by the same pride and obsession with which she puppet-mastered the church.
In the end… unless she repents… her sin will find her out.
The clock is ticking… The devil entered… The old ways have returned.
The Divine Judge has spoken the Last Word.