Thursday, August 29, 2013
EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION
“Then they asked Him,
‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’
‘The work of God is this:
to believe in the One He has sent.’”
The religious want religious answers. This answer from the lips of the Son of God did not satisfy the religious then, and it will not satisfy you if you want religion now.
Religion seeks but never finds, because religion rejoices in its own activities, and in the search itself. Religion wants prescriptions, and lists, and tasks. Religion wants a clear outline of “minimum standards”.
Religion desires a physical house of worship and a creed and an organization. Religion desires structure and rules.
Religion is never the answer, because religion exists to create more structure, and more requirements, and sustains itself through order and repetition.
The religious want to do things religiously, which simply means to do something over and over to earn a feeling of absolution or worthiness.
The religions of the world exist by teaching that without their religious structure and adherence to their many requirements, no man can know God.
Religion is what people get when they get what they want.
Jesus didn’t come to give what people want, but rather what they need, and what they must have if they would inherit eternal life with God the Father.
Religion kills. Religion imprisons. Religion deceives. Religion takes people to hell by the trainload. All man-made religious structures stand worthless and condemned since Christ.
The ekklesia of God, the Holy Nation, the Household of God, the Family of God, His Treasured Possession, is made up, not of those who seek religion or religious experience, but those who believe in Jesus with a saving belief, an empowered belief that comes when God the Father draws a person to Jesus. Nobody can be part of this true Body of Christ on earth except he or she be drawn by the Father. These called and chosen know Jesus’ voice, and will not follow religion, or any other shepherd. His sheep know Him, and follow Him only, doing the things He does, having His mind, being led and empowered by His Spirit.
Does any of this sound like your religion? If you list your religion as Christianity, and say you are a believer in Jesus because you go to a Christian church building and participate in the activities and services, and because you sometimes read your Bible and even pray, and that makes it so, then you may be entirely deceived, as the religious Jews were in their day. If you think you are saved because you believe in the “basic principles and precepts” of the Bible, and believe that Jesus is the Christ, please listen.
Perhaps your deep discontent, which you express to nobody but your own inner self, is because you know you are not truly experiencing the Christ-life, and abiding in Christ, but are just being a religious ‘Christian’!
Many of us have been raised in this religion. Many of us were caught in this religious trap. Many of us are hearing the voice of Christ, the Word of Christ, for the first time, calling us out from this empty life of observance and spectatorship.
Come with us on the only adventure worth having in this life, the Life of Christ lived in us, the fullness of Christ growing in us, the Way, the Truth, and the Life lived out through us.
If you truly believe, your life will be Christ’s, and He will live in you, and His Spirit will empower you to live a life of love and sacrifice for others as Jesus did. Remember, even the devils have religion!
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
PROCLAIM FROM THE ROOFS
“What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight. What is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” --Matt 10: 27,28
’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things? --Matt 3:10 Israel
“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue…He…wakens my ear as one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back. I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me I will not be disgraced. Therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I will not be put to shame.” --Isa 50: 4-7
There is no ecclesiastical, institutional call for those who speak the Truth of God from His Word. The call that comes to them comes in the darkness, not in the glaring lights of worldly publicity.
God’s spokesmen and watchmen on the walls of
are not picked for their advanced degrees, and their detailed knowledge of the intricacies of biblical scholarship. In fact, there is no earthly reason for their being chosen for such a difficult, lonely, arduous task. Only God knows the reason for His choices. And His Chosen are given their call by Jesus Himself, not by men or man-made organizations. Jerusalem
We are confronted daily with the blatant apostasy of the people of God. As Jesus was maligned and hated by the religiously motivated men around Him, so we will be maligned and hated by those who stand for religion today.
As in Jesus’ time, the teachers of Israel will often not understand God’s true purposes as shown in His Word, and will often stand in opposition to them.
That is all the more reason we cannot fight this fight with the weapons in our hands. We cannot stand if we don’t put on the full armor of God, because we are set among the tares, and they will be constantly working to choke out the Word of God and make it ineffectual.
But God is the God of the impossible, and He will do it for us.
Right now, brother or sister, you may love the Word of God because you are called to be a watchman on the walls, a prophet among the people of God. God’s Word may be your life’s blood, and your constant companion day and night. You may pray without stopping, keeping your ears open to the Spirit, trying hard to understand everything Jesus gives you. You may hear His voice speaking in the wee hours, in the morning hours, even when you go about your work or spend time with others.
You have waves churning in your heart and mind at the wrong around you, especially the wrong in the churches. You look at the Truth given us in Scripture, and you wonder where it went. You look at the behavior of so-called believers in Christ, who gather together and worship Him in comfort, yet who don’t carry out even the most basic of Christ’s commands, and you are in pain at this state of affairs.
Your soul, like
Lot’s, is vexed at the sin around you. And you are not primarily upset at the world, which careens toward self-destruction because the lost don’t know any better. You are primarily angry and frustrated at the gap between how you see the Church shown us in Scripture and the life of the churches today.
You pray daily for God to raise up men and women who will speak these things boldly.
What I am going to say is from the Spirit, and from the Son’s heart, and is the Father’s will for this time, though it is hard for me to say because it puts me on the line as well as each man who listens and hears and is willing to obey.
We are those who must obey Jesus and speak in the light, shout from the rooftops what He tells us in the dark and whispers to us in our ears. We are those who must obey His call to tell others what He is saying. He is demanding of us what Jesus talked about in the Parable of the Minas. That each of us has just one mina, one life, and that must be given wholly to advancing the
, regardless of our personal business, regardless of any worldly agendas we may want to pursue. Kingdom of God
Some of us, the spokesmen and watchmen He has called, are busy with our nets, trying to catch fish. Some of us are collecting taxes or busy with our corporate jobs. Some of us are raising families, and have our own businesses. Some of us are in “fulltime Christian work”, and are busy doing things for the churches, or other organizations. Some of us are laboring as carpenters, as Jesus did.
But each of us is required to build the
first, and to put aside our own agendas and plans. Jobs and earthly pursuits come last. Your search, men and women, for career fulfillment comes last. Kingdom of God
Many of us are like the man who told Jesus he couldn’t come with Him because he had personal obligations that prevented it. Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead.” --Matt 8:22
Do we think that Jesus can’t take care of us and ours if we follow Him?
Today, even if you’ve spent time away from the Lord, and have sinned greatly, you are called to obey. As Paul, the murderous, violent man whom God used so mightily, we who have sinned and been away are now called to tell the truth where we have promoted lies.
Today, if you know this call of God in your heart, you are to obey, just as God is taking all other crutches and excuses away from me, and telling me to obey.
What do we do?
Speak out today to others around us about what God is saying. We are to obey Jesus, and be His true disciples, and that means we stand with Him, not with religious men.
We must forsake our nets, and follow Jesus.
We are to be willing to suffer with Jesus outside the gates of the city, setting our faces like flint as He did, and be willing to endure the mocking hatred of the religious crowd if we are to fulfill His calling.
Remember Jeremiah in the cistern, up to his neck in mud, starving, and yet unyielding in His commitment to God’s Word.
When the disciples saw Jesus cleansing the temple in
Jerusalem of the money changers and the merchants who had taken over ’s central place of worship, they were reminded of Psalm 69, the prophetic Word that David spoke about the coming Messiah. Israel
May it also be true of us as we awake each day and listen to Jesus speak to us, and as we are faithful to follow in His footsteps.
“I am a stranger to my brothers,
an alien to my own mother’s sons;
for zeal for your house consumes me,
and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.” --Ps 69: 8,9
As our Lord Jesus promised to His disciples, we won’t lose anything in this life that won’t be given back to us a hundredfold, both now and in eternity.
We will be given brothers and mothers and sisters and fathers and children and the warmth of family now, in the form of the Body of Christ. We will have greater riches than any we could have from the world.
That’s why our Savior says to us:
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” --Matt 19: 29
So, if you are in the muddy depths, look up for God’s deliverance, brother. If you are on the lofty heights of success, look down and rescue your brother who is alone in his struggles. Get together and be the Body of Christ, proclaim what God reveals in His Word from the rooftops. Do not hold back. Let’s present the Lord Jesus with ten minas for every one He’s given us when we stand before Him.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
FALSE TEACHERS DOMINATE THE MEDIA
“But there were false prophets among the people,
just as there will be false teachers among you.”
2 Peter 2:1
A quick flip through the Christian television channels will provide anyone who cares to watch a catalogue of false and misleading teachings. I just finished watching a man named Mike Murdock preach a false gospel, misleading the thousands watching him, and bringing many to destruction. Right here in broad daylight, in
, on a professionally-produced program that airs on a major Christian network. America
This man preaches a false gospel that is not of Christ in any way. He uses the name of Christ once every half hour or so, and the rest of the time twists and distorts the Word of God for his own ends. He preaches a false gospel that is not new, but in fact a false gospel that was introduced by false teachers while the apostles were still preaching and teaching the true gospel of Christ.
Christ calls this man to step down or be brought down at the judgment seat of Christ. Like so many before him in a long line of deceiving wolves, he tells the sheep they can have unlimited prosperity, money, and blessings in their lives if they just “hold God to His promises”. He tells his own story, a blasphemous and ridiculous tale of poverty, and crying out to God, and telling God that if He didn’t keep His promises, then He was a liar. And He didn’t want to serve a liar. So Murdock challenged God, and came up with a smooth and complete doctrinal system that purports to be the true gospel. Murdock’s gospel is a phony, man-made list of principles that claim to obligate God to make everyone prosperous. He is a manipulator, a master salesman, and a liar. It is time he and others who declare these preposterous lies in the name of Christ be called out.
“Many will follow their shameful ways
and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
In their greed, these teachers will exploit you
with stories they have made up.”
2 Peter 2:2,3
This man and others like him tell masterfully-crafted stories, scripted perfectly to grab at the heartstrings and the pocketbooks of their audience. This audience is made up of the lower part of the population in terms of education and success. The sheep are hungry, and he promises wealth and prosperity. He plays on their greed and their desperate need to be somebody. He plays on their fears, and exploits their desires for a better life. He never mentions Christ, or the cross, or the Way of Christ, of love and sacrifice for others. He instead plants dreams of multiple homes, fancy cars, lots of money, and great respect from God based on the “faith to plant seeds” and to give to his ministry and to others. He represents himself as a model, having been poverty-stricken, and in dire need (“no kitchen table, no kitchen chairs”), and having then gone to his knees to find the truth in Scripture.
He challenges God in his story, building himself up as a pure and honest man. He said to God, “God, if you are not a God who keeps His Word, then I don’t want to serve you. If you are a liar, then I won’t be part of this, because I don’t want to be with a liar. But if you keep your promises, I’ll be willing to do anything for you.” In other words, Mike Murdock is honest and dependable, but God may not be. If Mike doesn’t get what Mike wants from God, then God is a liar. What boastful arrogance and sinful pride. What Satanlike character displayed brazenly and openly on “Christian” television!
He was claiming a Scripture that talks about God giving good gifts to his children, and that if they gave up all they had for God, He would give them “a hundredfold back, in this life, and in the life to come.” (His interpretation, not what Jesus said or meant). He used this Scripture, along with a few others, as a basis to teach that God rewards those who sow upon the principle of the Seed Gospel. That anything good we sow will reap rewards in this life, now, for us. That God is obligated to keep that promise. That this principle guides us in giving, so that we receive material blessings in this life in proportion to the material giving we do in this life.
All of this is bunk. It is pure and simple false teaching, out of accord with the entire Word of God from beginning to end. Yet stupid and ignorant sheep follow these men and are led astray, because they look, talk and act like men of ministry, and they are teaching on a major Christian network. So the networks are equally at fault for carrying men like these, and for advancing their false teachings. Not only the teacher, but those who promote him and “send him on his way” will all be held accountable at the judgment seat of Christ for misleading many in His name.
I say about Mike Murdock and all others involved in promoting these teachings:
“They will be paid back with harm
for the harm they have done…
they are blots and blemishes,
reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning;
they seduce the unstable;
they are experts in greed—
an accursed brood.”
2 Peter 2:13,14
These men and women, who are Satan in disguise, call men and women away from the narrow road of discipleship to Jesus, and onto the broad way that leads to destruction.
I have seen them my entire life, and know their excesses. They use the giving of poor sheep to fund an extravagant lifestyle, with private jets, large homes, luxury cars, huge wardrobes, travel and the finest in everything. These men and women exhibit the perfect blend of public humility and private greed and corruption.
The empire of Oral Roberts, and his son Richard, are perfect examples. Their personal wealth, amassed to not only build “prayer towers” and a university, has been used to buy a fleet of private jets, and luxury palaces in several places. In the twentieth century alone, and now following into the twenty-first, we have dozens who live this way off their twisted gospels.
It is time, brothers and sisters, that we had the courage in Christ to call these men and women out.
“These men are springs without water
and mists driven by a storm.
Blackest darkness is reserved for them.
For they mouth empty, boastful words,
and, by appealing to the lustful desires
of sinful human nature,
they entice people who are just escaping
from those who live in error.”
2 Peter 2:18
This is serous business, brethren. These people lead others astray. They betray the very Lord who bought them with His sacrifice on the cross. They take others to hell with them.
Remember Jesus’ Words about Judas, on the night of His betrayal.
Jesus replied, “The one who had dipped his hand
into the bowl with Me will betray Me.
The Son of Man will go just as it is
written about Him.
But woe to that man who betrays
The Son of
It would be better for him
if he had not been born.”
Judas was one of the twelve, chosen by Christ Himself. Yet he betrayed His Lord for money.
These men, the Mike Murdocks, betray the Christ who called them and gave His life for them. So these men follow the way of Judas.
Woe to you, Murdock, and the others who mislead the sheep across the globe today. Woe to you from Christ, who says it would be better for you if you had not been born than to lead astray even one of His little ones. It is time you found judgment at the hand of God.
I counsel all who hear these words today. Stay in Christ. Stay close to Him. Never accept or promote the false teachings of these self-glorified men. As John says in his first letter to the churches, so I say to you:
“I am writing these things to you about those
who are trying to lead you astray.
As for you, the anointing your received from Him
remains in you, and you do not
need anyone to teach you.
But as His anointing teaches you about all things
and as that anointing is real, and not counterfeit—
just as it has taught you,
remain in Him.”
1 John 2:26,27
The Holy Spirit, God’s anointing in your life, will teach you the truth from His Word as you remain in Jesus. He will remain in you as He promises, through poverty, trouble, disease, danger, famine, the sword, and all other trials. He will be your strength and your shield. You need no material rewards in this life when you know and serve the living Christ. He will take care of you, with food, clothing and shelter, and so be content with that.
Resist these false teachers, and take every opportunity to speak out against them and their deceptions. Perhaps the Lord will save some of His own who are among the deceived.
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH
“…I will build My Church,
and the gates of Hades
will not overcome it.”
There is an understanding that can only come to us, as it came to Peter, whom Jesus was speaking to here, much later, after the Resurrection, from the Holy Spirit. There is the natural man’s way of looking at the Church, and there is the resurrected-with-Christ, spiritual man’s way of looking at the Church.
Look at what Jesus says here.
First, He says “The Church is Mine—what is done in it I will do, what is worked in it I will work—because it belongs to Me, not you.” The Church, which we’ll declare as the Scriptures teach is the
, built upon the foundation stone, who is Christ Jesus, being built up as living stones into this holy residence for God and His Spirit, is Christ’s, and belongs to no man. What no man possesses cannot be controlled or defined or managed by any man or group of men. Christ is all, and His Church is all Christ. Those living stones (1 Peter 2:4-10), do not control Christ’s Church. The world does not control Christ’s Church. At all times, and in all ways, Christ owns His Church, and thus retains control. Living Temple
Second, He says “I’m the builder of My Church, and if any man tries to build apart from Me, apart from My power, he is working against Me.” In other words, it is the plain truth that Christ is the Builder here. We are not the builders of the Church. How is it then that so many of us act as if it is incumbent upon us to build something for God? We get it backward, and so we are left with our silly structures, and our empty liturgies, and our bills to pay for them. Jesus Christ, Lord of all, will build His Church, as He did at the beginning, and has He has always done. Christ has never gone away from the Church, though He has pulled out of many man-made institutions who put a cross over their doors or on their letterheads. Christ is the Builder, make no mistake. This concept is closely linked to ownership also. We, as the true Church, are “being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” (Eph. 2:22) It is impossible for us to construct anything like this dwelling God builds through Christ.
Third, we must see the strong purpose of God after the resurrection in our lives. He purposes that we, His people, will be built together into this dwelling for the Spirit of God, and He will fulfill His purpose. God never lies. He has been, is, and will continue this building of this
called His Church. This understanding comes only from the Holy Spirit, who enlightened Peter after the resurrection. None of us is enlightened until the power of God does it in us, raised like Lazarus, raised like Christ, by the power of God. When we begin to see, then we see the Church, laid on the One Foundation, Christ, and being built by His hand, and being impossible strong in the power of God. Temple
Fourth, and this is of vital importance in our day, is that we must take warning from this declaration by our Lord Jesus Christ. Many of us have taken up any handy tool we can find laying around, and plunged into the work of “building” we think God has called us to. However, our hearts and minds are tainted and painted with the ideas of man. Until we spend our time in the desert with Christ, and know the fellowship of His suffering, the power of His resurrection from that suffering, we will not be worthy workmen. Until we know our own depravity, our own daily capacity for sin, our own unworthiness, then we cannot, like Paul, declare ourselves the least of all the brethren. So what building we do will be sloppy, self-touched, inherently manly. We must take great heed to what Paul said:
“But each one should be careful how he builds…if any man
builds on this foundation (Christ), using gold, silver,
costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be
shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.”
1 Cor. 4:10-15
Building the Church is Christ’s job. We are only laborers on His mighty project, which is so amazing, so high in its purposes, that we don’t see the whole thing. We must take care, and back off, and pray, and seek the Lord’s face for every nail we pound and every chisel we set to the stone. It is His Church, and His purpose, and His life, and His cross and resurrection, and His Day coming.
This is our glory. That God considers us worthy as His Children, born not of human descent but of the Spirit, to lay hands on His Building, His great work He’s designed to manifest His power to the universe.
“His intent was the now, through the Church,
the manifold wisdom of God should be made known
to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,
according to His eternal purpose which He accomplished
in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Brothers, these truths should make us take pause, and throw down our puny, weak, human tools. It is utterly impossible for us to do this work without the consuming power of Christ in us. When it comes to the Church we must remember especially Jesus’ Word to us:
“I am the Vine, you are the branches…
apart from Me, you can do nothing.”
I pray that the eyes of our understanding will be opened, so that we will see only Christ, only His work, His Ways, and that we will humbly participate with Him in the building process by His Spirit. We must resist the current Christian culture’s demands for new, exciting, man-induced ideas of what the Church should be. We must listen, branch in Vine, one with the One and Only, and hear what He wants us to hear, so that He can do the building, not us.
Saturday, August 10, 2013
My House Lies in Ruins
“Then the Word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
“…and the whole remnant of the people obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the message of the prophet Haggai…and the people feared the Lord.”
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand in the courtyard of the Lord’s house and speak to all the people of the towns of
who come to worship in the house of the Lord. Tell them everything I command you; do not omit a word. Perhaps they will listen and each will turn from his evil way.’ --Jer. 26:2,3 Judah
“The priests, the prophets, and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded him to say, they priests, the prophets, and all the people seized him and said, ‘You must die!’ --Jer. 26:7,8
The situation in the affluent societies of
America, Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand and Europe today is as in the time of Haggai.
God’s House, His people, are held captive by their idolatry to the gods of pleasure and profit. They are living contentedly in their big, fine, paneled houses, seeking their own desires, their own agendas, and ignoring the clear commands of Scripture regarding His House. They are seeking their own good first, and God’s Kingdom last, after all other things have been taken care of.
God is angry, and is giving us a choice.
Will we obey His Word to us?
Or will we kill those He sends, and ignore Him?
Historically, God gives us examples of both—Haggai, whom the people listened to, and ended up repenting, changing their priorities, and following God’s Word; and Jeremiah, whom the people angrily defied, and ended up broken, destroyed, and in exile by the hand of their own Lord, who disciplined the remnant severely so that some might be saved.
While Jesus speaks to His called out people in vain through His life, through the written Word of God, through the voices of a few prophets here and there, they ignore Him and pursue the world and its conveniences.
True discipleship to Jesus is forgotten. An easy, casual Christianity has taken over in the past three or four generations in
, and God’s tough, narrow road is overgrown with weeds and left empty of travelers. We opt for the life of 10% discipleship, instead of the 100%. By our tithe, we represent to God what we’re really willing to give. By ignoring the New Testament standard of giving all, we flaunt our disobedience in the face of God. America
The poor, the lame, the blind, the oppressed, the orphan, the widow, the lonely, the struggling—all are outcasts, not invited to our weekly worship feasts where we shallowly lift our hands and try to get our religious fixes while the shepherds feed us milk from a bottle.
The cult of individualism has gripped our comfortable sanctuaries.
No longer is Christ’s ekklesia, His “called out to be together” people, made up of those who’ve given all to follow Jesus.
No longer do we think of God’s family as our one true family. No longer are God’s chosen our refuge, nor do we love and help one another daily, banding and bonding together in unity and love as if our lives depended on it.
No longer do we think of ourselves as one in Christ, hourly, daily laying down our lives for one another as Jesus instructed His followers to do. No longer are we part of a living, breathing, loving, dynamic Body for Christ on earth, His passions and compassion consuming us to the exclusion of all other loves.
We instead have opted for a gospel that is no gospel, which emphasizes the individual’s relationship to God, and ignores the Kingdom Citizenship we share together.
We are to be one in heart and mind, as were the earliest disciples, and share everything, including our very lives, with one another. Yet we persist in our sin of ignoring these commands from God’s Word, and instead, pursue our individual destinies apart from one another.
LISTEN AND HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD:
Obey me or perish along with the world. Seek my face, call upon Me, and I will hear you and answer you. Come out from the great crowd, who follow Me only to leave Me at the cross. Come out and join together with others who will hear My voice and obey My Word. Come out and be together, to live My life in this present evil hour. Be My hands and feet, My heart, and give My love to one another and even to your enemies. I am with you to save you and deliver you. Know Me, from the least to the greatest, and live generously and kindly with one another, meeting one another’s needs, bearing one another’s burdens, and so fulfill My Word.
You are to stop pursuing your own agendas. Put down your frantic life, your busy ways, and turn to Me in repentance. Pray and listen. Look to My Word yourselves, and ignore the shepherds I have not sent, who speak words of their own that are not My Words. I call you back to Me today.
Do not ignore Me, or I will discipline you with My love, to save you from being lost along with those who hate Me. If you truly follow Me, the world will hate you as it hated Me, and you will suffer many things for My sake. All for My Kingdom, all for My Love, all for Me. I will be with you always, and will never leave you. You will find your life if you lose it willingly for My sake.
My wrath is coming to rest upon all the deceivers. All those who follow Me from afar, their hearts consumed with themselves and their own lives. All those who teach from pulpit and podium their own brand of religion, not My Word. They may speak peace, but I came to bring a sword, and they don’t speak for Me.
I am calling YOU today. Are you listening and will you obey?
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
I am not a biblical scholar. I have spent a lifetime reading and studying the Scriptures, and until recently, it made very little difference in my life. I had grown up doing church, and lived most of my adult life doing church, so I am familiar with everything in our “Christian subculture”. I’m here to declare that one can spend a lifetime in the church, but not know the power of God in his life. I was truly an “evangelical of evangelicals”, by birth, by lineage, and by profession. Yet I became lost, a man burdened with sins and anxieties, in constant pain; unable to find solace from his brothers, or help within the institutions we call churches. I became completely disillusioned by the gap between what I read in Scripture—this rich life Christ promised us and the early ekklesia I saw there—and our current church life.
God called me back, and reached out with His love to me.
And when the Holy Spirit reaches out and fills us, when God calls us back to Himself, when we become true disciples of Jesus, we are entering a whole new world—the Promised Land of spiritual plenty that God has meant us to inhabit. One who experiences the life changing entrance through the Narrow Door—Jesus our Lord—and truly agrees to embark on that journey known as complete and total discipleship—will be left almost entirely on his own by the traditional churches who operate by creed, curriculum and calendar.
Creed never saved anyone. Curriculum never radically changed anyone. And the calendar, with its clocks and timetables, never allowed the Holy Spirit leeway to do His work, and still doesn’t.
Jesus calls His followers to a radically different life. We become new creatures, and that means we must wear entirely new clothing, and we will live by His calendar, His clock, and His Spirit’s curriculums and creeds. We no longer live by the “weak and miserable principles” (Gal. 4:9) of this world. As believers, we often, like the Galations, long for the comfortable, familiar paths, and so we gravitate back to doing things our way in the churches, instead of God’s Way.
Paul reproved the Galations strongly for their move back into the religious world. For taking back upon themselves yokes of regulations and rituals that God had broken off them through Christ. Yet isn’t that what we do every day in the churches? We long for structure. Unregenerated man is fearful of change, fearful of spontaneity, fearful of letting the wind of the Spirit of God take His people where He wants them to go. So we gravitate to the creation of our own structures.
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
As Jesus added when talking to Nicodemus that day:
’s teacher…and you do not understand these things?” Israel
Our pastoral offices and pulpits are filled with many who do not understand these things. They have chosen a secure vocation, and certainly don’t want their parishioners floating around on the wind of the Holy Spirit wherever and whenever God pleases. They wouldn’t be available to fill all the slots that are needed to keep the church programs going. Religious leaders today are like Nicodemus and the rest of the teachers of
in that day—instead of coming to God and His Spirit and His Word to find out what God wants to do, they are dedicated to perpetuating the system with which they are comfortable. Israel
Jesus Christ wants to transform people and let the creative, transforming wind of the His Spirit fill their sails. He wants to free them from religion, and dead conformity to man-made rules and regulations, not enslave them to another religious system. Yet we are prone to want these religious systems, even if God has told us they are not good for us.
Like the people of
in its early days, we don’t like having Jesus as our only Head in the Body of Christ. We want kings and princes who live in palaces to rule over us, as the other nations have. Instead of wanting rule by Christ and His Spirit alone, moving and working in His Body as He wills, we demand a King, and a bureaucratic structure, and a visible place of worship, like a comfortable cathedral, in which to practice our religious rituals. As God let Israel have its King, though He told them it wasn’t what He wanted for them, so God lets us have our denominations and our church institutions by the hundreds, and the trouble and the compromise and the watered-down version of Christianity they bring. (1 Samuel 8:6-21) Israel
But make no mistake, God still requires the same level of discipleship and obedience He always required. If we let ourselves be drawn astray from the Word of God by our religious institutions, we are still accountable.
A. BROTHER'S FIRST BOOK RELEASED. "EVEN THE DEVILS HAVE RELIGION". 100 Collected Prophetic Words from A. Brother.
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