Category Archives: Church

The Body of Christ

When Saul of Tarsus met Jesus while traveling one day, Jesus introduced him to the Church. He pointed over Saul’s shoulder and identified the people Saul had been persecuting as “Me.” “Why are you persecuting Me?”

Have that fact in your mind every time you read something Paul wrote about “the Body” or “members” or “the Head.” When Paul looked at the Church, He could see Jesus. The big mistake, the “unworthy manner” he accused the congregations in Corinth of in 1 Corinthians 11 was “not discerning the Body” when they looked at each other.

When we learn to see the Body in the Spirit, we will see Jesus and love Him in each other. We will be built up in that love to be the full stature of the measure of Christ. A proper Bride for the Perfect Husband  (Ephesians 4).

Hate to wait…

 

GATHERING AS THE CHURCH

1 Corinthians 11 – The Lord’s Supper

How to get it wrong
°    division
°    eating your meal instead of the Lord’s
°    not honoring the body by waiting until all have arrived before eating the meal
°    despising the church
°    humiliating those who have nothing
°    eating the bread, drinking the cup in an unworthy manner
(profaning body and blood of the Lord)
°    eating and drinking without discerning the body
(eating and drinking judgement, and thereby becoming weak, ill, dead)
How to get it right
*    the bread and the cup are parts of a meal
*    proclaim the Lord’s death through the meal
*    examine yourself (by discerning the body of Jesus) before eating and drinking Him
*    judge yourself truly, so that you won’t be judged
*    come together to eat, and be certain that it is a blessing for all

discern and certain are words that are related to a Latin word for “sift”

Here is an article on Communion

Why the Desert?

Why is there always a desert between the place where you hear the call of Yahweh and where the promised place is?

The answer depends on who you are and who you are related to. Generations rarely bless each other, and it takes two generations to launch a movement.

Wilderness for the forerunner generation is about preparing another generation; wilderness for the second generation is about taking the land.

When we learn to build correctly, it is because we have learned to bless the generation that came before us, and to make sacrifices for the generation that comes after us. We have learned to bless the calling of the next generation to enter something we have not seen and don’t understand yet.

1 in a few million even step over into the next generation. They get re-generated and become re-newed enough to be able to bear being re-stretched with the newer wine.

Wilderness for the generation that refuses to bless what leads it and what follows it, and that refuses to trust Yahweh, is a place of unmarked graves.

The Building

Each member of the Church has a calling, each has been given grace, and as each part does its share, the body grows – the Church is built, because love holds us together and accomplishes the miracle. Every believer has an important part to perform in the building process. Each believer must listen to the Head of the body in order to find his/her part and must be empowered supernaturally with some manifestation of the Holy Spirit in order to get her/his part done properly.

The instruction from the Cornerstone will include directions related to what part of the building to be working on. This would inform the worker about the location of the congregation related to his/her assignment. The workers need to find from the Lord what their burdens are, so that they can tell if the yoke they are taking up moves the correct burden, or is doing someone else’s work. Trying to pick up whatever work is nearby in whatever congregation is convenient or comfortable may lead a builder to a heavy burden and a difficult yoke, rather than the one the Lord has for them, which would be easy and light.

The next time you hear a person complaining about some lack of activity opportunities or some service they are not receiving or any other problem in the congregation they gather with, ask them if they are related to that congregation because they were instructed to join it by the Holy Spirit. If their answer is “no”, ask them why they are there. If their answer is “yes”, ask them why they are whining rather than interceding for their coworkers and asking the Head of
the Church how to make the congregation succeed at His mission for it. Most people are related to the Church in ways that have no concern for what Jesus has ordained them to.

In John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples that He had “ordained” them to go out and bear much fruit. In 1 Corinthians 12:18, when Paul was writing about the ministries each believer brings forth by the working of the Holy Spirit, he used the same word Jesus used in John 15:16 when he wrote that “God sets the members in the body just as it pleases Him.” The common word is translated into English in the John narrative as either “ordained” or “appointed”. In Paul’s letter, it is translated “set”.

It describes having been put in place on purpose. You don’t climb into the place or achieve the place, you are put there. You have to get the authority, the power, the freedom, even the information of the assignment, from God.

Presuming to walk into a “calling” prevents your work from being a “calling”.

The Foundation

The foundation of the Church of Jesus is Jesus.

He is the Cornerstone of the entire building. A cornerstone in a building is either decorative, listing the builders or owners or designers or financial benefactors who created the building, or is operative, defining the three dimensions of depth, width and height as a cube.

Any vertical line or plane in a building that has its shape defined by a genuine cornerstone must match the plane or line that is represented by the stone. Level, horizontal surfaces or planes or lines in the building must be defined by the top and bottom planes of the cornerstone, and can be compared to those planes for accuracy during the building process.

Jesus, as a person, as a servant, in character, in integrity, in purpose, in strength, and by nature defines the standards of each of these facets of His identity as they are reflected and manifested by and in His Church.

It is possible to identify the genuineness or the quality or power of love in the Church by comparing it to the Cornerstone for accuracy. The words the Church speaks can be compared to the plumb declared by His words to determine if the Church is out of alignment in her declarations. Any activity a congregation is involved in can be judged by the works of Jesus.

Acts 15

Paul was followed through most of his church-planting ministry by the people he made mad when he emptied their synagogue to create a congregation. They demanded that Jews remain Kosher and God fearing Gentiles become Kosher.

“No one can please Yahweh without obeying the Torah,” they instructed. “It’s OK that you God fearers have become believers in Yeshua, but you can’t be a good believer without being a good Jew.”

The flames of the argument were eventually taken to the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem, and that leadership wrote every non-Jewish believer a letter. It contains all that is required of Gentile believers to observe of the laws that Yahweh gave Moses to make Israel’s descendants a nation when He brought them out of Egypt.

It is very interesting that the letter doesn’t mention quite a few laws that are popular to impose on believers today. You should read it. It was written to you, if you are not a Jew…

The Two Sons

A man had two sons. One was anxious to receive his inheritance, so he asked for it. The man gave each son his half of the estate in response.

The son who was anxious went out and wasted his inheritance. The other son stayed home and ran the farm. One day, the anxious son realized that his father had not thrown him out, but that he had left on his own, and could return to the farm at least as a servant. He went back home.

The father was looking for him and saw him coming from a distance. He instructed the servants to welcome him. He threw a welcome-home party.

The well-behaved son was angry that the wasteful son was being honored. He became jealous. He refused to come to the party. When the father pursued him, he complained that the father had never given him even a goat to have a party with his friends, and yet, when the wasteful one wandered back home, he had killed the best animal on the farm!

How much of “he divided his property between them” (Luke 15:12) do we miss regarding the provision we should recognize from our Father?

How much of “all that is Mine is yours” (Luke 15:31) do we not understand to mean that we should have the confidence of well-loved sons and daughters in the household of the King of Glory?

When we have a need, even when we have a desire, we should ask of our Father and expect to be loved and to be blessed.

Evidence

There are, it may be, so many kinds of languages in the world, and none of them is without significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the language, I shall be a foreigner to him who speaks, and he who speaks will be a foreigner to me. Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.

Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:10-15 NKJV

I got thrown out of a ministry once for refusing to sign a doctrinal statement that included the idea that a believer has not been baptized in the Spirit of God if he/she has not exhibited “the” evidence of having spoken in tongues. The erroneous emphasis on the gift of tongues being “the” only appropriate evidence of having been filled with the Spirit was what I disagreed with. Some people who Luke described having been baptized in the Spirit prophesied as their “evidence.” (Luke 1:67; Acts 4:31; 19:6)

I suggest that you ask the Spirit for the privilege of both prophesying and of speaking in tongues. As an extra, I suggest with Paul that you ask God that you may interpret tongues. Yours and other peoples’ tongues.

When you get the gift of interpretation, don’t be discouraged if most of what you hear spoken in tongues turns out to be just the noise of people trying to avoid being accused of not being able to prove that they have been baptized in the Spirit. Religion is everywhere…

If you want to know if someone has been baptized in the Spirit, look for the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). Agape, peace & patience are harder to fake than tongues or prophecy.

Knowing Glory

In “Knowing Religion,” I said that religion is a product of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6, Paul said that God knows how to talk to light. He told it to shine, and it did! God, Who knows more than that about light, is shining light in our hearts so that we have the light of the knowledge of His glory. It is the face of Jesus shining in our hearts.

When Moses asked to have His glory revealed to him, He showed him His back. Maybe, since Jesus was slain from the foundation of the earth, that was His back that Moses got to see. The stripes. Maybe…

We need to know His glory pretty desperately. 1 Corinthians 8:1 was written about good and evil type knowledge. There, Paul said that knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Knowing Jesus, and knowing His glory, and bearing His fruit (Galatians 5), will build us up and we can share that power to build others up.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Ephesians 1:15-21 NKJV

Unity

Unity is raw power. It doesn’t resist being used for good or for evil. Electricity isn’t particular about how you use it either.

Unity empowers people who are like each other with greater strength than they have individually. Unity that includes agreement with an unclean spirit gives that spirit power. Then, the spirit can draw more people into the agreement, and they can keep adding strength until they together give the unclean spirit power to rule over a town or a city or a nation.

The power that is gained when similar people unite is greater than the sum of their strengths. It is multiplied, not just added. It is supernatural, so it affects the realm of the spirit, too.

The greatest power unity can offer, though, is when dissimilar people unite. When enough people of different races unite in an area, they can displace racism’s power if they want to confront it. When people of different religions unite they can overpower truth if they want to confront it.

Of the types of dissimilarities that can unite, the most powerful combination is when believers who have different Spiritual gifts, and different ministries from similar gifts, unite.

When pastors trust prophets, and evangelists trust pastors, and so forth, and bless each others’ perspectives and gifts, they can colonize the earth with the power and culture of heaven. They can overpower darkness if they want to confront it.