Rev. 3:7 - The church of Philadelphia is the example of Godly Christian’s that have sacrificed all for the Word sake. It is not based on the size of the church but on quality and is the only church that Jesus edifices and promises that even their enemies will have to acknowledge their Faith. It is also the only church that Jesus states in verse 10, that He will “keep from the hour of temptation” that try the world. This church is not about control but empowering the body of Christ.
They build monuments rather that the body. The church’s collections a lot of time is used for expanding the existing building rather than spreading it. The original churches were small and nothing more than a gathering of the Faithful. Today, some pastors think of oversize churches reaching for the heavens and as an object of grandeurism to be admired. Jesus’ last instruction to Peter, the founder of the early church was not to house His people but to feed them. John 21:15-17, “feed and shepherd My sheep”. Ultimately, Jesus is talking about leading. Today, many churches are practically empty due to more concern about the physical rather than the spiritual. If the first concern is space rather than effectively preaching the Word and building the current body, then eventually that will be all left. God will not suffer His people just to keep the pews filled.
July 6, 2016.
It is not unusual for Christian’s to move from one church to another. It should be encouraged! Sure, there must be a consistent and consolidated body that makes up the church but without spreading of this core of the body, other churches will not be strengthened. A church isn’t worth its weight in Godliness (gold) without this core. Yet, one of the principle of righteousness is to “die”; as John states, “unless a kernel (seed) dies, it only remains a single seed” - Jn. 12:24. Now, the actualization of the church occurred long after Jesus came and ascended into Heaven and He really did not speak too much on it regarding the structure, or give instructions for it. Jesus only makes reference to the people (church) called by God; given Grace and requiring forgiveness for their sins for Salvation of their souls and Spirit. He gives one prime instruction to feed “His sheep”. Jesus came for the Jews but for righteousness sake commanded that the good news spread to the gentiles. He did not instruct that it remains contained.
Yes, his calling was to preach to the gentiles and this required him to travel the known world at that time, but years later as his ministry and his disciplines such as Timothy grew; he did not have to continue his initial work. His ministry had momentum and grew without his physical presence. Paul enacted the principles mention, that of dying to self and sowing to reap a harvest. This is exactly what Jesus did.
Today’s church leaders (pastors) frown on their membership moving from one church to another. They have no right do this. Now, I am not advocating that members move from church to church as if it was a food sampling blitz that many of us do during supermarket shopping especially at those wholesale establishments. No, the church needs its body but never at the expense of being feed. Many churches have become nothing more that another organization for men and women to attain status and to be revered. They have become a place for control in some instances. Consider these with the church today.
There is single leadership (pastor). Jesus’ model is multiple leadership. Hence, the apostles multiplying leadership with disciples. Matt. 28:16, “the eleven went to Galilee as told by Jesus” for the great commission. With this multiplication many new converts were attained because many became "a pastor" themselves spreading the gospel with righteous authority.
There is no example of the great commission. Jesus did not instruct unless he showed. He led by example. The church is for evangelizing (unsaved) not evangelizing the church (already saved). Very few pastors leave their pulpit to evangelize, and in many cases instruct their congregation to do what they ought to demonstrate. Mk. 16:15, “Go and preach to the world”. This results in little to no growth because without an example, others do not know what to imitate or can be encouraged by those who have not done what is being asked. Feeding is not about just giving the fish (Word) but showing how to fish.
The pastor or those appointed constantly teach on biblical knowledge. It is very interesting that no place in the bible, it instructs born again people to learn from their pastors but more admonish all to be students of the bible having the Spirit to guide them. - 2 Tim. 2:15. It is by the Spirit the apostle's became empowered after Jesus ascended and it is to be the same for the current church. God is not going to ask where and who taught us knowledge, wisdom and understanding, but rather He will ask did we walk as the Word and Spirit directed us to. It is also why teachers will be held accountable for misleading others because the latin meaning to educate is to draw out. Meaning it is already in you. This is what teachers are to do; to pull out what you already know.
To put satan under His feet. The Grace and Love given by God is not just about holding your breath through the week waiting for a Sunday to recharge up for the coming week. The Grace and Love available to us are prime weapons to further God’s commission where we will be most productive; at our workplace and especially in public domain (which is satan’s domain). You don’t engage to free the free but the captured. Jesus was not just about healings, miracles and casting out demons. Jesus was mainly about getting results and being accounted for it.
Even though you would think it would be all about taking His Faithful with Him when He returns, Jesus, the lamb now lion takes a stern stand in what He will find when He returns. Consider Jesus’ warnings and accusations to the churches.
Rev. 2:1 - The church of Ephesus is a model of some Christian’s today that knows the Word but has allowed the negatives of life to overshadow their righteousness. They are well meaning, but are reserved to the point that their walk can be somewhat mechanical. Like when some say, “God bless you” as an automated response without realizing what the blessing is for. Things become more on the surface rather than a deep walk. This is why Jesus tells them they are to remember their “first love” in verse 4, admonishing them to quickly repent and acknowledge that no one has earned righteousness but by Grace are they are a part of the church of Christ and that they ought to start with the “first works” in verse 5 which is the two greatest commandments; to love God first and then your neighbor as yourself. The basic foundation for the Christian walk should never be lost as to the prime reason for Christianity in the first place.
Rev. 2:8 - The church of Smyrna is a model of keeping righteous values at their core and even being outspoken on things regarding the world. They want to be a pure church and as such face many attacks from satan to the point that some may face death or worst. Jesus tells them they “are rich” in verse 9 because they have the right value in their Christian walk and by Faith they hold onto the promises of God despite trials and tribulations. This church keeps to true and tested paths of righteousness.
Rev. 2:12 - The church of Pergamos is really about Christian’s who want best of both worlds. They do the right things but allow worldly processions and concepts to interfere with the righteousness of God. They believe the Word but use worldly constructs such as political correctness to cloud the true issue regarding all facets of the bible, the Word and Salvation. As Jesus states in verse 14, they allowed “stumbling blocks”. Today, this would be liken to those considering "Chrislam" as a unified alternate faith or good manners to be preferred over speaking the truth.
Rev. 2:18 - The church of Thyatira is similar to Pergamos that though they walk as a Christian should, they allow deception and unrighteousness to plague their church. There is a lack of leadership for these churches and anyone ambitious enough constantly challenge the precepts of God with vain arguments. Without a strong and convicted leadership many who are not secure in their Faith are constantly swayed never getting to the point of knowing who they are in Christ.
Rev. 3:1 - The church of Sardis are Christian’s who are up today for God but down the next day. They lack foundation because essentially they are relying on another to build up their spirit and joy. They are the Sunday faithful, never missing a service but not showing grow or fruit in their walk, or rather the lack of their walk as a Christian. For many they want every answer before take the leap of faith and even after hearing the Word several times, they never walk in it.
Rev. 3:14 - The church of Laodiceans is probably the worst of all because they cannot chose righteousness or unrighteousness. They are those who think through their position, wealth and abilities of quick talking, cordiality and showmanship they will always be on the right side. They never take a stand on any issue but rather entertain pros and cons and tend to have sayings like “if it does not affect me why should I care”. Essentially, they are liberals thinking all things should be allowed, never considering the long term effects of their outlook. They tend to be all about love but never righteousness.
All these churches are about the current status of the body of Christ. This is because the body is made up of individuals and as the members we are the ones responsible for the church and not just the pastor or the board members. Jesus set the example even though He was a Jew; to fall in line with the Torah and other Jewish traditions. Jesus instead challenged, opposed and changed many things that the authority at that time did not want to change. As in Jesus’ days so is the current churches that are stuck in their own doctrines and theologies. They cannot and chose not to see beyond their “noses” lest they lose what they have built up and established. They are more concerned by fear rather than freeing themselves with only the foundations of the Christian walk as Jesus taught us. To owe no man nothing and live the three main pillars. To Love God first, your neighbor second and grow into and walk as a true discipline of Christ. Why did Jesus come; to set the captives free. What did Jesus teach; that righteousness is more than laws, food or any other man-made construct. What did Jesus do; live in righteousness and teach others to do the same. How did Jesus live and breathe; by the Holy Spirit! When the church meaning us the body rid themselves of anything that hinders the Spirit of God to move in their life, then you will see healings, miracles and casting out of demons become the norm for every Christian that is church and the body will be so busy they won't have time to be inside a building called a church.
Flush it Out! - Awake and become that Glorious church Jesus is coming for.
Now, for the order of things, we do need a place to chart the course of the good news, that being what we refer to as the church building and not what is referred to as the church, the people of God. They are two separate entities meant for unity towards another principle of righteousness, which is sowing and reaping. Most of our indication of how our church should be structured comes from the east and Paul who instructed on the leadership of the church includes deacons and elders. In fact, Paul only speaks to the qualification of such leadership and their appointment - 1 Tim. 3. Is it not ironic that the greatest known apostle and writer of the New Testament did not have his own church? A place that many could come to; to hear him preach the Word.
Now, I must say there are some very large churches doing the righteous thing because the priorities are correct. We evangelize, then save, then we mentor, equip the individual and release to duplicate the same thing over and over again. It is better a pastor's claim to fame to have a constant flow of new Christians moving onto greater things for God than claiming a packed church of bench warmers. You can’t win a battle without fighters. If that is so, then why are all the Christ fighters only in church and not on the battlefield? What is preferred? A church filled with bench warmers swimming in the rhetoric of grace and love yet doing nothing significant to build the Kingdom or agitated Christ followers doing exactly what Jesus did.
They do not mentor. Jesus says He will mentor those He will send out to minister. Mk. 1:17, “make you fishers of men”. Mentorship is not about instructing but developing. You can’t do that without a personal relationship. Jesus had a large congregation by today's standards with constant interference and even with that He still focused on building His team to spread the Word. Jesus as all pastors should know; you can't do it all and success depends on unity and like mindedness. Without sharing of personal experience there is no foundation for team work only administration.
ChristnMe @ 2013