You are absolutely right when you say, “I feel a greater urgency in my spirit than ever to ‘preach’ that message–repentance and faith in Jesus.” Yes, that is the message. Not “Get involved in our self-help program” or “Get a mentor” or “Get involved in the community project” or “Get involved in a church” or “Boycott this” or “Picket that” or even “Pray and fast 24/7.” No. Those who do all these things may still be condemned –as were those preachers Jesus spoke of in Matt. 7:21-23. Instead, we are to do only what the Lord specifically tells each one of us to do every given day –and as backed by God’s objective, unchanging Word –which we need to be daily abiding in so that we hear. (Josh 1:8) This is what God calls “obedience”.
True too, as you say, that we are to trust no one except the Lord. It is a command given throughout Scripture. One is Jer. 9:4 and it is the LORD speaking: “‘Beware of your friends; do not trust your brothers. For every brother is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge Me,’ declares the LORD.” That last phrase does give us hope that those who DO acknowledge the Lord can be trusted. And that those who are abiding in His Word, the Truth, will speak truth. But, it is only as they are also abiding in the Spirit. This is why we who love Him want to constantly take the steps necessary for “living in the Spirit” as Gal. 5:16 & Rom. 8:5,10 etc. tell us to do.
It is God speaking again in Jer. 12:6 when He warns, “Your brothers, your own family –even they have betrayed you; they have raised a loud cry against you. Do not trust them, though they speak well of you.” This could be referring to the family of God, the church family, because then He goes on, “I will forsake My house, abandon My inheritance; I will give the one I love into the hands of her enemies… Many shepherds will ruin My vineyard and trample down My fields. …the whole land will be laid waste because there is no one who cares. …destroyers will swarm… no one will be safe. They will sow wheat but reap thorns; they will wear themselves out but gain nothing. So bear the shame of your harvest because of the LORD’s fierce anger.'” (v. 7-13)
I believe this warning from the LORD is for all these church groups, faith-based groups, and even “prayer” groups who do not do things according to the Lord’s ways, but instead bring in the world’s philosophies and methods (as well as other religion’s practices) to prop up people for “success” and “victory”. They lure their congregations into doing acts that wear them out, but produce nothing for eternal purposes. They will eventually have to admit, “We writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. We have not brought salvation to the earth.” (Isa. 26:18)
If any worldly success is achieved, (or any supposed spiritual “enlightenment” gained), these “Christian” groups say, “Look at what great things we have accomplished in the Lord’s name!” What fools! As the rich man said in Luke 12:18, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones…” This sounds exactly like those who say, “Oh, we’re growing! Let’s build onto our church…” or, “Let’s construct another program.” Yet in verse 20, God says, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded of you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
Those who prepare for themselves riches and fame, striving after a good reputation by using their “good deeds” for man to see, or in order to please worldly people or worldly “Christians”, well, their lives will be required of them soon enough. And when it is, what will God say to them when they stand to be judged? “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10) And God considers “good” deeds to be only those done for His glory alone. For only “the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:17)
So the necessity for distrust which we must have even toward those in the church family is directly related to the demise of the church. We who are true followers of Jesus and His words must distrust and test the spirits first. (1 John 4:1) Because many deceivers have gone out into the world, and many are slithering in by claiming they love Scripture, when in fact they hate it. Sadly, this can also be the members of our own family, for as Jesus states in Luke 12:52,53, “From now on there will be [family division].” This is also what Micah warned of in 7:6, and in verse 5 he says, “Do not trust a neighbor; put no confidence in a friend. Even with her who lies in your embrace be careful of your words.” In other words, even those who are the very closest to us –such as our own spouse– may betray us.
So what can we do in view of this sad fact? We can just put ALL our trust in the Lord. Forgive others 70 x 7, as Jesus commanded (Matt. 18:22)… but not throw our pearls to swine, as He also commanded (Matt. 7:6)… leave a divisive person, as Titus 3:10 commands… pray for those who persecute us –Jesus’ command again (Matt. 5:44)… walk in the Spirit, exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:16,22)… continuously clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14)… preach everywhere that one must repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds (Acts 26:20)… and basically, abide in Jesus and His words (John 15:1-8) which is what makes us clean (v. 3) and through which we become holy (17:17)… This is the good life –the abundant life He gives… And He does indeed “guard the lives of His faithful ones.” (Ps. 97:10) –Guarding everything concerning our life and well-being –spiritual, mental, emotional, moral, social, financial, and physical.