Basic Battle Training
Chapter 5: “The Special Forces”
As described in Chapter 4, the brief life of Jesus Christ shows the clearest example of discipleship within Scripture. In his life Christ never married, fell in love, or engaged in sexual activity. He was a fully equipped soldier, prepared for and fully given to the service of His Father. As such, he exemplifies the true warrior / disciple: unentangled with the affairs of this world and fully given to the service of the Kingdom (II Timothy 2:4).
Throughout Christian history few have followed Christ’s example. Before the reformation the Albigenses, Waldenses and others taught and exhorted eunuch service of God, but in “modern” times few seem to even understand this doctrine. As with real discipleship, Satan has been able to successfully eliminate the truth, practice and power of this service from the Christian Church.
What does the Bible say?
Our first instruction comes from Christ Himself in Matt 19:11-12:
"All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Key wording within this verse should be noted:
- To whom it is “given”.
- Those who have “made themselves” eunuchs.
- And he that is “able” to receive it.
As consideration for service in God’s kingdom is explored, decisions are made concerning the distance and sacrifice one is willing to make. The most telling of these decisions is that of marriage or remaining single.
Nothing outside of salvation will have greater impact on your life than marriage. From the joys and tenderness found in the Song of Solomon to the bitterness of adultery and divorce, Scripture covers the full range of male/female relations.
The worldly impact of marriage on your service to God is found as your heart becomes divided between God and the love of your wife and children (as indeed you are commanded: I Tim. 5:8). With this, the substance of your labor is, for the most part, given to the worldly support of your family and it's interests. This is not meant as an indictment of such things, but serves to give graphic context to what is indeed "the better way."
In consideration of these things, wisdom is found in the following Scriptures:
· "No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" (II Timothy 2:4).
· "It is good for a man not to touch a woman (1 Cor. 7:1).
· “For I would that ALL men were even as myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that” (1 Cor. 7:7)
· "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I" (1 Cor. 7:8).
· “But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you" (1 Cor. 1:28).
· "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: but he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife" (1 Cor. 7:32-33).
· "And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction." (I Cor. 7:35)
· In Luke 9:23 Christ said: "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Remember, by Biblical definition you cannot be a disciple unless you forsake all (See also Matthew 19:27-29 and Luke 14:26-33).
· Christ called people to leave their families, jobs, income, and even to sell all, give to the poor, and follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22; 10:9-10; 19:21; Luke 9:57-61; 14:26-33).
· The apostle Paul taught that marriage was provided "if you cannot contain," and that "it is better to marry than to burn" (I Corinthians 7:2,8-9).
· Marriage is God’s blessing and acceptable state for those who have insufficient power over their own will in fleshly matters. Getting married is doing "well," while staying single is doing "better" (I Corinthians 7:37-38).
Again, we are not here indicting the status of marriage! It is God and His Word which describe these things, and to this that we will be held to account. Also, we are very aware that there were many married people throughout the Bible that were mightily used of God...we are not, in any way, "forbidding to marry" (I Timothy 4:3).
Elements of the Eunuch Lifestyle
Though some pervert this teaching, an undeniable element in successfully being a eunuch is that of being "gifted” for this service. This is clearly taught by Christ in Matt. 19 and again by Paul in 1 Cor 7:7. Within this gift element however, we find Christ’s teaching of "making one’s self a eunuch" (Matt 19:11-12), and a parallel passage brought forth by Paul in I Corinthians 12:31 that you should "covet earnestly the best gifts." So, the properly understood ingredients needed to have this gift are your desire to possess it in concert with God's will and grace to bestow it.
Gifts and Gifting
The subject and understanding of gifts and “the callings of God" are greatly misunderstood in today's church. Most have the idea that God chooses the gifts for each individual and it is somehow our job to "find" the gift he has bestowed on us. Though God does select a few for special callings, this "find your gift" concept is nowhere to be found in Scripture. As seen with the gifting of the eunuch power and lifestyle, interaction between God and His children is the prescribed Biblical path
Gifting for service within the Kingdom of God is certainly at the will and grace of the Father, but our involvement in the process is a key ingredient. As we are told In I Corinthians 12:31 to "earnestly covet the best gifts," our interaction in the process is clear. As God then sees our desire, He looks into our heart to be assured that we would fulfill the gift. This is critical as He tells us in Rom. 11:29 that His gifts and calling are without repentance, and His grace in these things are only given to those He has a confidence in.
Understanding this interaction between God and man is critical in understanding the language surrounding the gift of “being able” to be a eunuch. As stated in Christ's instruction: the ability or gift to remain single is one that is gained as the believer pursues God to “make himself a eunuch for the kingdom of God". In contrast to this instruction we see within the Catholic Church and the erroneous teaching of others, the "fleshly" pursuit of this service apart from the specific gifting of God. As we have seen in our time, this "willful" path is destined to fail and is quickly followed by all sorts of mischief and error.
With these things understood, the service of real discipleship and "following" Christ is clearly God-given and to be considered (and even "coveted") by all! Victory over the flesh (Philippians 4:13) and the ability to "do all things through Christ which strengthens you" rounds out this instruction and further empowers the recipient of the gift with "the ability to receive it."
As a final note, we would like to make clear that, though a lot of the harder service appears to be "male oriented” in Scripture, this in no way excludes women. As is made clear in I Corinthians 7:32-34, this option and service is truly open to all.
What then is the problem?
Why is there no effective treatment of this subject in our time? Why are there no leaders, examples, exhortation, books, seminars, Sunday school materials or articles on this issue? Why is it not treated, in some way, at Billy Graham Crusades, Harvest Crusades, "men’s and women’s meetings” (Promise Keepers, Women of Faith, etc.), retreats, seminary and "singles’ groups"? And lastly, why is there little support (and even rejection) within many mission boards?
The answer to this is painfully simple: beyond satan’s efforts to bury, confuse and alter this teaching, most of us do not want to sacrifice all, and indeed "follow Christ.” What we are happy with is to follow Christ “from a distance,” and from that distance “have our cake and eat it too”: Christianity, marriage, sex, family and to some degree, the world.Most, if not all of us, have chosen to marry or are looking for a mate. Deep down, if we are honest and truly understand the options before us, we know that this is far short of what we could be in service to God. With this continued mindset and the enemy’s efforts, the issue of following Christ within the eunuch lifestyle continues to find itself relegated to a resisted, back-burner status
Not for this time?
Additional resistance to this subject is argued that this was only to be done "because of the present distress" (I Corinthians 7:26). Although remaining single and unencumbered with the world’s cares makes much more sense during hard times (see Jer. 16:1-4), we believe that this in no way diminishes its value in even the best of times.
Finally, it has been the concern of some that the injunction to “be fruitful and multiply” would somehow be hindered by this teaching. As this borders on the ridiculous (because most will marry) we will not give it further comment.
The rewards Involved
A vast percentage of Christianity does not practically view the teaching on rewards in its proper context. Many believe that we will all be "equal" or some how "become equal" as we give honor to Christ by casting our reward at his feet. But as taught in Galatians, "what you sow you will reap" and in some unrevealed fashion, robust service for God will pay huge eternal dividends to those who sacrifice for Him.
With this in mind (and all things being equal) who would you suppose to be in line for the largest portion? Would it be those who have had their cake and eaten it too, or would it be the ones who had sacrificed and forsaken all? It is not hard to see that those truly worthy will have their work richly remembered!
Understanding this, we see God’s instruction and promise of special reward in the following verses:
"And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life." (Matthew 19:29)
"Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speak, saying, the Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off." (Isaiah 56:3-5)
This doctrine needs to be seriously re-established, taught, and encouraged to all. As things stand now, the "marriage factory" mentality that permeates the Church is far from the mark.
This instruction should be the first one on the table for young people entering their adult lives. Church, Sunday school, singles, high school, and college classes should all be oriented toward this proper order of things, instruction and encouragement. With these things done, the power that would exist within the men and women who chose to follow this completely discipled lifestyle is mighty, and the world would finally see those who really “follow Jesus”!
From the beginning with Christ, John and Paul, through the church age, till the final 144,000 last effort, this eunuch gift and service is to be in place and active within the believing church. With the Scripture clear, and the freedoms we enjoy to follow it, there is no further excuse for failure or omission.
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