Who’s Preaching?

The Western style of gathering the Church into congregations has a pulpit as the center of activity. Modern versions have, in some cases, replaced the pulpit with a stool and table, but the activity is the same: monolog from a preacher is the main event during meetings.

Most denominations approve of the existence of pastors, teachers, and evangelists. Other ministries, like apostle or prophet or miracles, are a little too weird to allow airtime. If we only pick on the  three popular gifts, having the wrong one in the pulpit can be boring or annoying. A pastor isn’t a teacher. If we make one come up with a sermon at least once a week, it is likely to be sad. Magazines and websites with sermons you can download and read to the congregation are made for these people.

An evangelist is sometimes thrust into the only leadership job in the congregation. This is likely to become tiresome quickly, too. Some denominations teach their people that they need to come back to the altar again and really get saved again this week, so an evangelist in leadership there would be appropriate, I guess. To have an evangelist trying to lead a congregation into discipleship or deeper truths isn’t going to go far, though.

Suppose we looked at Acts and some letters in the New Testament for clues about how to gather. There, a meal is the center. There, pastors comfort the sheep. Teachers teach them. Evangelists are hanging out with unbelievers inviting them to Jesus. Apostles get big pictures to lead with and prophets get timing and correction revelation to lead with.

Paul wrote to Ephesus that those leadership gifts would be in place to equip the Church to do ministry. He wrote that they would be doing that until we all come into unity in the faith and the knowledge of Jesus, and are mature in the same stature as Him. We aren’t there, yet. We still need all of that, in the person of many people. The pitiful one-man-show will be history when we let it be.

Read about that and be blessed: Ephesians 4

The Priesthood of All Believers

“The priesthood of all believers” is a phrase that has been used to allow all believers to pray. It is a contradiction to the idea that everyone needs to employ the Heavenly access that only a person has who has been elevated to the earthly status of “priest,” or their prayers will not be heard by God. This implies that everyone but the priests are just peasants in the Kingdom of Heaven.

When the leadership of the Church came to understand what they did of this truth, it expanded the work of the Church in the earth. Sadly, it was not really an advance, just a restoration of something earlier leaders stole from believers they were misleading.

There is more! We all have something important to accomplish in the earth! “The ministry of all believers” is going to be restored to the Church. This is a contradiction to the idea that there is a caste system in the Church – a class of citizens called “clergy” and another peasant class called “laity.” Clergy means “clerk” and laity means “people.”

Every believer has something important to do. It will take a spiritual gift – some manifestation of the Holy Spirit at work in each of us – to accomplish it. Education helps, but education without a spiritual gift is like having deeds or surveys without actually having property.

Paul wrote in his letter to the congregations in Corinth that we call 1 Corinthians, in a section in which he was declaring that all of the ministries of the Church are manifestations of the one Holy Spirit:

Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God is active in everyone and everything. A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person to produce what is beneficial:
(1 Corinthians 12:4-7 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Here is the whole chapter.

Commitment and Cost

When lawyers took over the religious aspects of the nation of Israel, the two major parties were the Sadducees and the Pharisees. They argued about orthodoxy (“right opinion”), and made laws about what could be believed. Since they disagreed about what should be believed, the strongest party always shifted the “truth” toward their opinion.

In Germany, under the leadership of Hitler, many Germans, both military and civilian, gave as their defense argument when the war was over that they were just “following orders.” The Roman Church declared that Martin Luther’s teachings were “unorthodox,” and threw him out of their church and tried to kill him. The Church of England declared that the teachings of John and Charles Wesley about holiness were unorthodox, and refused to let them teach in their buildings. They therefore launched a movement that gave birth to Methodism, the Salvation Army, the Nazarenes, Wesleyans, the Church of God (Anderson), Pentecostal Holiness, Assemblies of God, and many more. Their influence produced leaders in the English government that abolished slavery in that empire.

Jesus was killed by the writers of orthodoxy as a heretic. Your adherence to the opinions of those who declare the statements that are orthodox in the denomination where you serve is not as important as your adherence to the instructions that the Holy Spirit delivers to you. Do not fear making mistakes if you feel that there is more to the life we are called to than the leaders of your denomination think there is. Find the Truth. Surrender to it. Walk in it. Spread it.


The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom;

his tongue speaks what is just.

The instruction of his God is in his heart;

his steps do not falter.

(Psalm 37:30-31 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)


An Inheritance

What it means in practical terms to “inherit the Kingdom of God” is not spelled out in Scripture as clearly as how to miss the inheritance is. A basic layer to God’s grace to us is that we can be born of Him by faith, transforming our spiritual lives into having the strength to access abundance and the power to overcome evil. We can overcome the evil in our own hearts and lives, and cooperate with Him to overcome evil in the cultures around us.

Just that basic shift – gaining supernatural life by being born of Yahweh – means that our names are written in His book of life, as described by John in the Revelation of Jesus:

Then I saw a great white throne and One seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from His presence, and no place was found for them. I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.

Then the sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead; all were judged according to their works. Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
(Revelation 20:11-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Just not being thrown in the lake of fire means that I don’t experience the “second death.” It doesn’t mean that I have experienced the “life” that is implicit in the presence of my name in the “book of life.”

Experiencing that life happens when I am seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. That means living in the place where I find His instructions and His ways. Learning to listen to Him and learning to obey what I hear from Him is the access we have to doing things rightly – walking in righteousness.

Not learning rules – developing a relationship with the Ruler. The two judgments are based on two different criteria: one is identity, the other is works. Everyone experiences both. The works judgment is a Kingdom exam. The identity judgment is a Church exam.

The one that ends in the lake of fire is not based on works. Did you gain an inheritance in the Kingdom? Will you be alive to experience it? Will you be alive, but miss the inheritance by being focused on unimportant things instead? Those are the judgments.

Back Seat Driver

But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his practices and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of his Creator.
(Colossians 3:8-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

If you are driving well and have to listen to someone in the back seat instructing you to speed up, slow down, change lanes, turn here, et cetera, it can be annoying. If you are living in surrender to the Spirit of Jesus, it will be costly to your flesh. However much of your flesh (the old man) is still around will be making lots of noise when you obey the King.

Requiring your flesh to be silent about how much something costs or about serving someone who has abused you or anything else that requires death to your flesh will prevent you from derailing in your obedience. Allowing that old man to continue to make noise in the back seat can distract you. The Holy Spirit fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) will give you power to throw the old man out of the car.

So I discover this principle: when I want to do good, evil is with me. For in my inner self I joyfully agree with God’s law. But I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh, to the law of sin.
(Romans 7:21-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Love Overflow

And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
(Philippians 1:9-11 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

Here is a mystery. How can my love grow until it overflows into knowledge and discernment? Is it my love for my Father that draws me into His presence so closely that revelation is inescapable? Is it that bearing the fruit of His Spirit makes me trustworthy of the revelation?

Meditate on this and discover the answer. Seek the deeper place of love, and find the benefits of selfless life – abundant Life. Read it a few times and open your mind for answers about what it needs to mean in your days and nights.

Finding Grace

Somewhere between the boldness that is based on our relationship with Jesus and the humility that is based on what that relationship cost Him, we will find all of the grace – the power to live, the power of provision and protection – that we need to successfully be His people in the earth.

Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.

(Hebrews 4:14-16 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)

But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:

 God resists the proud,

but gives grace to the humble.

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.

(James 4:6-10 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)


The Sower and The Seed

You have read the parable of the sower and the seed (Luke 8:4-8).

Notice that Jesus did not begin it by saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is like…” He just started telling the story. When His disciples asked for an explanation, He described people failing to become believers, people becoming believers but not having the strength to bear tests, or the focus to bear fruit, and finally, successful believers. These listen to what God has spoken to them, hold on to it, endure the tests that come with it, and as a result of this type of life, bear fruit. It is a description of living in the Kingdom as believers. The Church at work in the Kingdom.

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground—these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit.”

(Luke 8:11-15 Holman Christian Standard Bible®©)