n. Meeting in Jesus name
Subject: Meeting in Jesus name
Date: 13th June 2004.
Today we received revelation about meeting in Jesus name.
Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matt.18:19,20
..I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt.28:20b
Here is something for spiritual minds. The Lord says that when 2 or more are gathered in His name then He is there in the midst, and yet He says that He is always with us, and in us, at all times. So, His presence in our meetings is not Him coming to visit us. He is not coming to the meeting. There is only one Jesus. If He is in you all, then He cannot come and go from your meetings. Yes, He is in Heaven and He is in us, and we are also in Heaven and here on earth at the same time, (Eph.2:6). He cannot be with you and yet not be with you; and then, when you sense the Holy Spirit, to think, “Oh! Jesus has come!”…..NO!
What happens when 2 or more are gathered in His name is that He is manifest in a deeper and more powerful way than He does to us when we approach Him privately, (which, by the way, is absolutely vital and essential: Matt.6:6). True Body Life is always the true fruit and outcome of a true secret and private Holy relationship with Father. Our private and secret relationship with Father is not the end, or meaning of our life. It is the wellspring which leads to the fullness of Body Life, as expressed in our Lord’s personal promise to us: ..where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. The end, in God’s mind, is a corporate work together in us all:
..Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph.4:12-16
Meeting in Jesus name means that He is manifest powerfully ..in the midst. He’s already present in you. He may be already powerfully manifest in you, as an individual, yet not manifest in your midst, as a group, if the conditions aren’t right. In the midst.. carries the meaning of a work of the Spirit which affects all those who are present. It also carries the meaning that if Jesus is in the midst, then anyone in the midst, can be a vessel for the Master’s use, as He is in the midst, and not in the so-called ‘leader’, in this case. But people have been programmed to expect Jesus to be manifest in the ‘leader’, and not in the midst, meaning through any and all. These conditions are crucial. Expect Him to speak through whom HE wills.
What we saw today had to do with the story of Martha and Mary.
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42 (Jesus, the pioneer of home meetings!)
From this account we find some keys as to what meeting in Jesus name is.
Martha’s main concern was to do something for Jesus, and Mary’s main desire was to be WITH Jesus, by simply sitting at His feet and hearing His Word. There is a Martha-type meeting and a Mary-type meeting. A ‘Martha meeting’ is where people, like Martha, are a little highly strung, and who are only focussed on their performance: i.e. how well they can ‘serve’ Jesus. So, really, they are very self-conscious. Their eyes are really on themselves and not on Jesus. “Oh Martha! The cookies you baked are delicious!” ” Oh Martha! Wow, you really know how to pray don’t you!” “That was a wonderful message Martha!” etc. But Jesus said one thing is needful. Jesus doesn’t need a performance. He doesn’t need a show. He doesn’t want to be ‘served’ from the level of understanding which thinks that He needs something. The only ‘service’ He wants from us is that which springs out of His current Rule in our hearts. Because He knows that what we really need is to sit at His feet and hear His Word. We need Jesus.
‘Martha’ needs tradition. “Martha’ needs to be affirmed. “Martha’ needs many thing to ease her nerves and anxieties, and she is blind to the fact that all she needs is Jesus: to know Him. The ‘Marthas’ in the “Martha meeting” are always nervous. There’s always this underlying tension. “What if nothing happens!! Oh my!! What will people think!! What if there are some silent times during the meeting!! Oh my!! What if Mr. Jones doesn’t like it? Oh my!! What if something goes wrong? Oh my!!” Just like Martha. Distracted with much ‘serving’. Worried and troubled about many things.
Martha was in the same house as Jesus but she wasn’t with Jesus. Martha was probably the one who asked Jesus to come and stay in her house! She wanted Jesus to be there, but she didn’t really want Jesus, like Mary did. ‘Marthas’ say that they want Jesus, but they really don’t want to be with Him, at His feet.
Thankfully, i was only in the ‘Martha-meetings’ for about 4 years of my walk with the Lord. I remember what it was like. It took some more years to be fully ‘de-Martha-rized’ and really sit at Jesus feet, and from then on its been glorious! He is glorious.
The ‘Mary meeting’ is when, like Mary, you ..sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word. Your heart is fixed on the one thing that’s needful. Remember the ONE THING. The ‘Mary-meeting’ will go on as long as Jesus speaks; as long as He wills. Mary was willing, if need be, to sit at Jesus feet all day and night.
Meeting in Jesus name means meeting for the ONE THING: for the purpose of meeting Him. When 2 or more come together and want to meet Jesus together, then He doesn’t disappoint and He does manifest Himself in a greater and deeper way than when you seek Him privately.
In Jesus name has got nothing to do with name tags in any form. Some people even boasted to Paul that they were ..of Christ, (1 Cor.1:12): Like, “We meet in Jesus name and not in the name of a denomination! So there!” …and Paul wasn’t at all impressed with them, as they were just as much in pride and arrogance about it as the ‘original denominationals’ were: i.e. Those who said: I am of Apollos, I’m a Pentecostal, etc.
In Jesus name means you actually meet to meet Jesus. Like Mary, you come into that home or place, wherever you are meeting on that day, and you sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word. When 2 or more sincerely and genuinely have that same heart then they definitely hear His Word, because He is manifest powerfully through His Word and Spirit. He is waiting for Christians to get real, and desire Him alone, and meet together expecting Him to be manifest there.
The preceding verse, (Matt.18:19), describes the ‘atmospheric condition’ which is required, i.e. ..if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask.. i.e. AGREEMENT ABOUT THE ONE THING. Not an enforced or cloned agreement over ‘doctrine’, but the essential heart agreement of what it is we are doing, and why we are doing it. If 2 or more can agree that they are meeting for the ONE THING, i.e. to meet Jesus and to hear, (be ready to obey), His Word. Then and only then are the conditions of His promise satisfied, so that He can fulfill His promise.
The ONE THING is to be WITH JESUS , AT HIS FEET, AND TO HEAR and OBEY HIS WORD.
The fleshly religious forms, which spring from ‘Martha-like’ insecurities, and from selfish personal agendas and motives, are a waste of HIS TIME, and they’re not what we need, and neither is it what Jesus needs.
Subject: (Part 2) Meeting in Jesus name
Date: 14th June 2004.
In the account of Mary and Martha we see that Martha was fully focussed, maybe obsessed!, with what she was doing, with her ‘serving’, but Mary was fully focussed on Jesus, with what He was doing and speaking. What Jesus was doing didn’t interest Martha. She was too busy to care what Jesus was doing. Her ‘serving’ was the center of her life, not Jesus. SHE was the center of her universe, not Jesus. What Martha missed out on! Maybe later she received that good part from the Lord, and after the Holy Spirit had come, maybe then she learned to sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word.
Our Lord didn’t reject Martha, because she did receive the Lord into her house, indicating that she believed that He was the Messiah. Our Lord tried to teach her the correct way. The same today. He’s trying to teach us His Way. The early Church was called The Way. Many Christians today are ‘Marthas’ who need to be corrected by the Lord. Many today, just like Martha, have no idea what it means to sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word. They haven’t yet learned what the ONE THING is; what the GOOD PART is. They are too highly strung. Distracted and troubled by many things; their minds spinning out of control. Their minds controlled by tradition, as a panacea for sin, like a computer program, except its a religious program and track that’s running in their minds.
Their only ‘comfort’ is that nothing changes, that its always the same boring show. ‘Marthas’ find comfort and assurance in such natural reasoning, but its a false assurance. ‘Marthas’ find ‘comfort’ in a multitude of natural ‘things’, but not in Jesus Himself. They are comforted to know that ‘ their church ‘ has so many people in it and has been going on for so many years. In the same way that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses are comforted to know that there are so many people in their organizations who believe and act the same as them. But its a ‘house of cards’, isnt it? It won’t stand the fire of Christ’s judgement at His appearing. It will be consumed by His fire. Its kindling wood.
Martha followed her natural reasoning, as religionists have always done. Most of what is going on today under the banner of Christianity, is the outcome of natural reasoning. Martha figured that what Jesus needed was a meal cooked for Him. Today people have all sorts of wild ideas about what Jesus needs. Yes, He probably did need a meal! He was probably starving. But, to Jesus, His personal need was not on His agenda: Martha was on his agenda! ..And Martha was too busy to listen. Naturally speaking, Martha was doing the right thing. Spiritually, she was losing out something drastic!! Naturally speaking many today are doing the right thing: ‘honoring’ Christ thru a multitude of religious services and works, yet, spiritually, strangers to Jesus Christ.
Could you imagine if you were there then, and you were too busy to listen to Jesus? Almighty God in the flesh walks into your little cottage, and sits down on the floor and begins to teach, and you rush off and bake some cookies, or something? Many of us do that nearly every day of our lives. Adam! Where are you? Why are you running from my presence?
What’s the equivalent in ‘organized’ churches today? Running the traditional program, to the exclusion of obedience to Christ the Head – in the midst, working as He wills, through whom He wills, (ref: 1 Cor.14:29-33). Martha! Martha! calls Jesus.
From: Ian Vincent
Subject: Church: For whose benefit?
Date: 28th March 2004.
Just some simple words to try and distill the essence and meaning out from the spurious matter.
Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. Acts 13:1-3.
I was thinking the other day that if we all could corporately come to an understanding of for whom we live and for whose benefit, how that would, by God’s grace, mean a revival. If everything we do is done for Jesus and our Father: for His benefit, and not our own, what a revival would break out! Like the prophets and teachers of Antioch, they ministered to the Lord. There was no leader who “led them” in some songs, like: ” We will begin with chorus number 47“. And what was the fruit of their ministering to the Lord that day? Every time you read Paul’s letters, you can be thankful that those elders took the time to minister to the Lord that day!
Looking at what constitutes Christian’s assembling together in these days; usually known as a “Church Service”: the concept of everything being done UNTO and FOR the King, is mostly unknown.
“Man” is hard to please, if not impossible to please, (if the “revolving-door” on most “churches” is any indication).
But God is easy to please: just do what He says, as a child, and leave everything to Him, and expect no glory, reward or thanks for yourself: finished! Find all your satisfaction and fulfillment in Him alone, and then: Work accomplished!
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down for your meal? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may eat, and prepare yourself, and serve me, till I have finished eating and drinking; and afterward you shall eat and drink? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. So likewise you, when you shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:7-10.
Pleasing man, on the other hand, is a wearisome and heavy burden that MOST Christians desperately need to be relieved of. The whole system is that way, so it has to go. It must bend the knee to the Lord of Glory, Jesus Christ. Everything must bow before Him. “Man-pleasing” and humanistic and sentimental ways must be the first idols to fall.
I’ll give an example: Take the traditional song service, which traditionally takes up the first half or so of a traditional “church service”, (even though the concept of a ‘song service’ was unknown to the early Church, 1 Cor. 14:26-33). Show me anywhere on the earth today where God is worshipped, through the musical medium, where its done totally for His benefit?
I was listening to a popular “rock and roll” type worship tape from Australia, and it struck me, that it seemed that the whole ‘show’ seemed to border on being some type of “cathartic” exercise, or therapy, for the worshippers to unload their emotions, (like the “laughing clubs”. They laugh as an exercise because they believe its good for their health). I’m not judging any individuals on the tape, and i don’t know them anyway, i’m just saying what i perceived. It struck me: Are these people really ministering to the Lord? ..for His benefit ALONE, and not their own? Do they simply offer their praise to God, in all childlike simplicity, only seeking His pleasure, and not caring what anyone else thinks about it? Or, are they actually enslaved in something they don’t realize: i.e. the selfish “need” to sound good, look good, be ‘cool’, produce ‘great music’ that’s contemporary, etc. See what i’m saying? Hardly anyone offers up pure worship, and that HAS to change before the Bridegroom comes. The “suit and tie Sunday-morning-power-brokers” , and tithe-collectors, (another unscriptural practice), won’t bring that change, but it will come from the grass-roots, like a rushing mighty wind.
If we do anything for His benefit, and not our own, then only He can be the judge of how “good” or “successful” it is. And, He should initiate it and end it. What we have is a mixture, and varying degrees of mixture, and God hates mixture! He hates it because there is absolutely no excuse for it, once you have been filled with the Holy Spirit. It can’t be justified in any situation. In the Old Covenant the High Priest would die if he approached the presence of the Lord with any mixture in his life. And, the whole typology of the Temple worship in the Old Covenant shows us that it was ALL for God’s benefit and glory, and there was nothing in it for man. It was simply the RIGHT THING TO DO, and anything less was evil. Anything less was courting death. We must not have anything less than this heart attitude. We shouldn’t be swayed by selfish interests, or the demands of the carnal, who demand that things be a certain way, because that’s the way they like it, or have always done it.
As Priests of God we can’t afford to have our “own way of doing things” : if we do we will die, as simple as that. Oh, you possibly won’t be struck by lightning, like Uzzah was struck, but you will die spiritually over time, if you don’t repent within the time frame, or “space”, which the Lord graciously provides, ( Rev. 2:21). Where will anyone end up if they follow their own way? ..Like sheep gone astray, each going his own way? , (Isaiah 53:6).
But, what if saints get caught up in doing things for His pleasure alone? We would possibly find “worshipful times” going on for hours on end, as the worshippers get caught up in the reality of the Father’s pleasure, and not solely their own, as they begin to be able to distinguish between the two realities, and pursue the higher road. I’m saying this from a comparative thinking: see, some of us could easily sit in front of the idiot box for hours on end, watching lust, greed, murder and lies, but couldn’t sustain even an hour of worshipping, waiting, hearing or bringing petitions to Father. We would find a total transformation happening, and the gospel would be preached to every creature.
If, for example, a worship time is SOLELY for the Lord’s benefit, and the worshippers are filled with the Holy Spirit, then, if the Spirit leads, and we have the faith, we can leave our “favorite” songs behind and worship like David did, without a book, without a “golden oldie”, because worship just flooded forth from his spirit, and he “wrote the book” as he went along: as the Lord Jesus said it would be for His true disciples: that out of our inner man shall flow rivers of living water, ( John 7:38). Rivers. More than one river. i.e. floods, torrents, unlimited capacity. The least in the Kingdom of heaven, His true Church, is greater than John the Baptist, and is therefore greater than King David spiritually, (Matt.11:11). (Our Lord was speaking of a true Spirit-filled Citizen of Heaven, and not a back-slidden, nominal christian.) And He will decide when we finish, and not tradition, or the “worship-leader”.
I’ve just used musical worship as an illustration, to make a point, which touches on everything in life. Who is it all for? When we live for Him, and unto Him, we are truly free.
From: Ian Vincent
Subject: Being free to gather
Date: 12th March 2004.
..if your brother shall sin against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone: if he shall hear you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he doesn’t want to hear them, tell it to the Church: but if he doesn’t want to hear the Church, let him be unto you as a heathen man and a sinner. Absolutely I say to you, Whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, That if two of you shall agree on earth concerning any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them by my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:15-20. ( 2 or 3 literally means 2 or more).
Here are some very simple notes of truth, and truth sets us free. It was on my heart to talk about the basis for gathering: the basis for Church, and what it means for two or more to gather in Jesus’ name.
To understand what our Jesus meant by gathering together in His name, we need to understand the preceding verses, which concern dealing with sin in a brother or sister, and making binding and loosing decisions together concerning that brother or sister, which are the context for understanding what Jesus meant by gathering together in His name.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the basis and reason for gathering is to deal with one another’s sins and grievances! That’s a part of it, sure, (if it reaches the final stage where it has to be told to the Church). But if those issues can’t be dealt with, in accordance with our Lord’s specific directions, then surely that’s an indication that the gathering, or Church, is not in Jesus’ name, or doesn’t truly represent Jesus’ name, but, that its rather a cultural or social gathering, with His name tagged on. Its definitely wise to take Jesus literally. The heart honesty, transparency and vulnerability that Jesus is alluding to here is FOUNDATIONAL to Him building His Church: gathering in His name: the verses preceding verse 20, being the keys to understanding verse 20. ( In my name has so much meaning that i’m obviously only alluding to some of what it means here.)
Still, its a very powerful thing the Lord is saying here: i.e. that if the unrepentant Christian, who won’t listen to the Church, cant be thrown out of your gatherings/meetings then Jesus doesn’t consider the gathering to be in His name. That’s the plain reading of this passage.
So, how do we, who have come out of Babylon, …
(literally: come out of a situation where we were being used by others to build their dreams: Just as the children of Israel were slaves to Pharaoh, and all their energies were harnessed to build visual monuments to Pharaoh’s dreams and ambitions: So also, many of us were being used by ‘clergy’ to help keep them financial, and to help justify theirs and the system’s existence, to make the “Sunday show” a “success”, etc.)
… how do we, who have been set free from our old Nicolaitan masters, (many of them very nice people!), be free to gather as Jesus always intended we should: in His name? Even in two’s or three’s, if necessary to start with? How can we be part of a day of small things beginning, an organic nucleus, which can be the seed of something more glorious for Jesus honor?
Obviously, we are going to have to come to terms with what it means to meet in Jesus’ name.
Firstly, our Lord is saying that all this only applies to brothers, in verse 15. That has to be settled first. Are we truly spiritual brothers and sisters, having been born a second-time from above, by the One Father? If not, then its not in His name.
Okay, “Then how do we gather?”, “Who will be the leader?”, “What will be the format and program, etc.?” When we come to love the truth, then we no longer want to do things which don’t manifest the truth: which are NOT JESUS, which don’t MANIFEST JESUS, but we shouldn’t let that prevent us from gathering at all. Truth never leads us into independence. Truth sets free, it doesn’t bind. You came out of Babylon, and you don’t want to go back to Egypt: so its like you’ve reached the Red Sea. You don’t wanna go back, but you can’t see any way forward either, unless God does a miracle and splits the Red Sea open before you. Because we love the truth, we can many times be afraid of making a mistake: fearful of missing it, so we stay “safe” in our cocoon, but that’s “no-mans land”. Here is where we need to humble ourselves at Jesus’ feet, and say:
Lord Jesus, we yield everything to You, and we will gather together as Your Family, in good faith, at Your feet, not necessarily knowing what will happen, and admitting that we don’t need to know what will happen, as You are our Lord, and if “nothing much happens” , and its a quiet time, then at least we have gathered in Your Name, which is glory and praise to You. But we dare to believe that You will have your way, and be manifest, as you promised to be.
He does split the Red Sea for us to go forward miraculously, supernaturally: i.e. against all natural reasonings and logic; But, still, we need good faith. The only way ahead is by faith. The true Church is the greatest miracle on the earth, and the greatest sign other than the sign of Jonah, (John 17:21-23), and it follows the sign of Jonah: its the result of the cross and the resurrection.
Family doesn’t need a “logical reason” to be together. Love should be the reason. We don’t need a reason to meet, as brothers and sisters, apart from Jesus being the reason. Jesus is the reason. That doesn’t mean that we cant have specific and practical objectives for meeting!! But, rather, it means that if you don’t have a specific reason: a specific teaching, a specific “word”, etc., then Jesus alone is reason enough to meet anyway, as Family, for Jesus’ sake, for Father’s sake. We are free to gather, even without a “reason” to, or an agenda.
Faced with the Red Sea before us, our only option is to go forward together. Staying alone and independent is not an option, so by all means we must come together at Jesus’ feet. We must be free to gather.
Then, if Jesus’ Life and Character is manifest, through grace-giftings ( a ) , then we know that we are meeting in His name, for that’s His promise. And if His Life is not manifest, but rather it turns out to be just a social/cultural thing, then we know it is not in His name, and therefore its not Church. That’s not to say we cant go and visit a social meet, or a traditional meet, if the Spirit leads us to, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves its in Jesus name: that’s its Church, if it isn’t, and we should try and find out why He wants us to go there and fulfill His purpose.
Now, to gather, and then to try and make/force people into talking about Jesus, His Kingdom, and Life in Him, is like trying to animate dead bodies with puppet strings. That is what Babylon does. They have their “Bible talk”, or whatever, and sometimes get people to talk about Bible stuff, and when that’s over, then its time to relax and breathe easy, down some coffee and cake, and go back to talking about the REAL WORLD: the stupid idols which have captured us: the things of the world: the “toys” which fascinate us: where our * REAL* interests are: all the stuff that’s “going down the gurgler very soon”, “all that you can’t take with you”: ( Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. ) …That’s NOT meeting in Jesus’ name. Many of us have come to understand that the hard way.
Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it: but he that does the will of God remains for ever. 1 John 2:15-17.
If we know of only one other person, where we live, with whom we can be free to share Jesus’ Life with, then we must meet and gather, and see what happens: see what the Lord will do with the few loaves and fishes offered to Him. He will bless and multiply. He promised to be there. Yes, He lives in our heart’s individually, but He never promised to fully manifest Himself to individuals alone, but rather, to where two or more are purposely gathered together in His name.
Carnal thinking blocks us, and prevents us from gathering in Jesus’ name. Obviously, the enemy plays with our carnal minds, and will go to any lengths to kill the baby before it can grow up, ( as in the days of Herod). What we are talking about here, attracts the greatest opposition from the demonic realm. So its not surprising that the enemy has made meeting in Jesus’ name one of the most difficult things we will ever do on the earth. All the religious-system-clergy world opposes it. Our pride opposes it because it is a humbling experience. Our flesh resists it. Everything opposes it. The Kingdom/Church must be violently seized by violent people, for 2 or more to gather in Jesus’ name, and NOT in the name of: common interest, common “doctrine”, common traditions, jargon or background, common socio-economic status etc. etc. We cannot meet merely on a “friendship” basis: i.e. because we see eye to eye and get along fine. Then we are meeting as mere men and women, and not as the sons of God.
We are free to gather. We don’t have to be anybody to call a meeting, and we don’t need an agenda. And we don’t need to accept any accusations that we are following our own agenda, from those who disagree with what we’re doing. We are free to gather in Jesus name. When Life meets Life there is greater Life.
( a ) Grace is always manifest as “that which should not be“, according to the natural order of things. When you see a common “imbecile” share wonderful things which come from Heaven, then you say: Oh! ..so that’s grace! Its something he didn’t earn or deserve or achieve, but rather, its something he has received. Now I see what grace and gifting is. ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Last night we were visiting somewhere, and a brother asked me which organization i was with. I answered from my spirit, without pre-meditating what to say: “We go by relationships”; and, “God is the great organizer, and we prefer that He organize things, and when He is organizing its wonderful”.
Then this morning, i felt the pain that so many of us feel, i think, when we feel that others who should know, don’t understand what the Kingdom of God really is.
Then this gelled in my spirit this morning: That God so designed His Church so that it cant function, or even exist, without His love. He designed it to be completely relational in its constitution. If the relationships break down, and His love no longer rules over those relationships, then there is no Church. That’s what you find in the NT, and nothing less than that. In fact, in Revelation 2:1-5, our Lord shows us that when man accepts less than what God accepts, and leaves his first love, then God no longer calls that Church a Church: Like Ephesus, He threatens to take away its lampstand. Yet how many of us have accepted a form of Church that is far below what our Lord Jesus calls ..my Church… ? (Matt. 16:18). We should accept all who are born-again, but not accept “ways” which are below the apostolic example, and not true to the Person of Christ. We can accept people, while not accepting their actions. That’s the very nature of the grace of God.
God so designed His Church so as to be totally dependant on His love and life. It has no other reason to exist, and simply cannot exist without His love and life. Therefore it appears to be too vulnerable from the viewpoint of the worldly. Its always seemingly teetering on the point of collapse: “fragile” love holding it together. Of course, the love of Christ is not fragile, but, to the uninitiated, the true Church looks too fragile, and too ”up in the clouds” to be trusted in, or invested in: like fickle winds that suddenly change direction without warning.
Don’t marvel that I said to you, You must be born again. The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear the sound of it, but you cant tell from where it comes, and where it is going: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7,8).
The worldling says, ” What type of theology is that?!” , “The life of Christians compared with wind that blows here and there?!”
Those who are truly born again can never be controlled, boxed in, or fenced in, by man-made structures, just as the wind cannot be controlled or prevented from blowing where it blows. A message to the wind, “Dear Mr Wind, would you be so kind as to blow over here on such and such a day, and then over there the day after, and please stop blowing before 12 so we can get home for lunch. Thanks, The church in the world.”
Backslidden men formulated their own ecclesiastical theology so that their organizations can exist as entities in their own right, whether they are relational or not; whether there is the dying love of Christ, or not. An organization is held together by tenets, goals and aspirations, and in practicality is held together by conformity to certain cultural norms. But the organism is held together by love, and its bodily functions depend on a source of life in order to function. The organization usually goes on, regardless of whether there is true relational life between its members, or not. The organization doesn’t need divine Life in order to exist. It exists in its own right, and is propelled ever-onward by tradition. It says,
..I sit as a Queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. How much she has glorified herself.. (Rev. 18:7).
All the 7 Churches of Rev. 2 & 3, eventually died and ceased to be, because they were organisms, and not organizations. Organisms can die very easily, and will die when the LIFE has gone. Had they been organizations, they may well have survived to this day.
The organization goes on, and that explains their appeal to the insecure. They offer security, certainty and continuity, in an ever-changing world. They offer easy answers to the issues of life. They even offer to do the thinking for you, so you wont need to bother your pretty little head, (isn’t that thoughtful!).
Love is all we got, and in the Truth, He’s enough. Don’t throw away the very reason you exist.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matt.18:20.
Brother, we are 2 saved men, both in Christ, both sharing the same Spirit that was in our Lord, and in the Apostles; both equally loved by the Lord, equal in every respect. Truly we are brothers under the same Lord.
How we function together as 2 men, is a microcosm of how the whole Church is supposed to function together.
That is, we find the will of God together; we speak into each others lives, and we suggest what we feel the Lord wants us to do; but neither of us controls the other because we are equals. We have full respect for one another; we esteem the other better than ourselves, and we receive each other as if we were receiving Christ himself. We acknowledge Christ in each other, and the awesome responsibility we have toward each other, that comes with that acknowledgement.
There cant be 2 types of relationship in the Kingdom, ie. one type in Church, and another type out of Church: For that which is true cannot change, it must be consistent. Truth cannot change. The nature and quality of our relationships should be consistent, whether we are in a meeting or not, because we only have one LIFE in Christ Jesus, in His Kingdom; and not a religion, that we could put on, or take off, like you would a coat or a hat.
Subject: Call the elders!
Date: September 1, 2005
Call the elders!
13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
(Beautiful! Beautiful! Just love it! Ha. Are you happy? Then go ahead and sing your heart out! Is your soul downcast? Then PRAY! He will be your comfort.)
14 Is any sick among you?
( “Is” there any sick there? Meaning, it was not such a common thing in the church. Jesus was never sick. Why? His body was, and still is, a normal man’s body : i.e. normal human flesh, without sin, and now glorified. Therefore, it wasn’t having a “super” body that caused him to be immune from sickness. It must have been something else! Something to do with having no sin. He was immune from sickness, but not immune from fatigue and aging. At 33 He must have already been having some signs of aging in His body, like wrinkles. Moses also was such an example of a “blessed” , but normal, human body. - i just threw that in to avoid the inevitable comments.)
let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
(Note: Its not “Let him call the pastor of the church”. Why? Because the plural elders were the pastors.)
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are,
(He ran off and hid in fear from Jezebel. He asked the Lord to kill him, he was that discouraged!)
and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.
18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.
Call the elders! Not the ‘head-honcho’, but call the brothers, if you are sick, (It better be something fairly serious though, and not just a headache!).
Why didn’t James say to call the “senior-pastor”? Because there was no such position in those days. The elders, (plural), were the pastors of the church.
The elders will pray in faith, and anoint you with oil and you will be healed. (Why do you want to stay sick? God says that if you follow these instructions you will be healed. Yes?).
Hardly any one does this today. Why?
1. Maybe too proud, too independent. Maybe trusting in medicine alone, or not seeing a need for the ‘ministry’ of the elders.
2. Maybe there is no such unified team of men available today to come to your bedside.
3. Maybe the emphasis is mostly on what one man, a “senior-pastor”, can do, or delegate.
So many run around trying to find people to pray for, but this Scripture is very clear that it is the sick who must humble themselves and call for the elders of the church to come to where they are.
Worldly or Godly authority?
Many Christians are still part of church environments where they have this gnawing on the inside that something is desperately wrong, but they cant put their finger on it. I remember that feeling well. They need the gifts of the one Body of Christ worldwide to help them, equip them. The internet is playing a part in this.
And, as well, many millions of Christians are living in sin, therefore they couldn’t bear to be around true leaders who have Godly authority. The humanistic worldly peppy plastic smile leaders are much safer for them. Its the distance factor. If you are continuing in sin then you don’t want anyone who knows the LORD and who walks in holiness to get too close to you. You don’t want them dropping in at 11:30pm to sleep on your sofa, or on the floor, (as true servant-leaders are willing to do), when you’re still up watching doubtful movies. You don’t want them to “see” what you are doing in secret.
Why does Jesus order us not to use titles in Matt. 23? Because His type of authority, as juxtaposed with worldly models of authority, is RELATIONAL.
Matt. 23 is a juxtaposition : Phariseeism juxtaposed with Christ-likeness: “This is how they live, and this is how you will live.” Period.
How does Jesus become LORD of your life? Because He comes to live in you and you with Him. His authority then is expressed in your life because you KNOW Him, because you live with Him. That’s relational authority: authority which works by love.
We bow the knee to Him because He loved us, and served us, by laying down His life for us. Therefore our submission to Him is our joy in this life, and not onerous. Submitting to Him is our life now. We have no life of our own. We no longer see our life as independent of His life with His Father, and the Father also only sees us in His Son.
Because of this we should reject every worldly concept of authority in the church, and only recognize the authority from Jesus, which is expressed through humble and devoted relational sacrificial servitude, in love: i.e. REAL FRIENDSHIP,
..and NOT for any personal gain, (whether ego, finance, or whatever), for that would be false friendship; false leadership.
So, relational authority is not a ”lording it ” over others. Neither, is it an “official” type of authority, as in worldly forms of authority.
You only know whether a man has relational authority in your life by:
1. His Godly and holy love for you.
2. His sacrificial service for you, in prayer and in the Word.
To sum up: he is a true friend who will never fail you.
Yes, we are in the last-days, because there are very few like that today. ..because iniquity abounds the love of many has become cold..
We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 1 John 3:14
What is worldly authority?
Well, if you are sick you may go to a doctor, and you call him “Doctor Jones”, and you submit to him and trust him because you see that he is a professional, because he has a diploma on the wall to prove his credentials. And then he provides his services to you, for a fee, and then you pay him and head out the door: transaction finished. Nice and neat and convenient.
And you don’t know him from a bar of soap, and neither does he know, or really care, about you. But he meets your need and you meet his need, i.e. cash.
I have just described to you ‘church’ which operates by a worldly concept of authority, i.e. non-relational authority.
Let’s re-think all these things.
What’s the real thing like? i.e. real relational authority.
Something like our text:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders (plural pastors) of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord..
At 3:30 am when its snowing outside, if you are sick you can call these guys, (maybe 3, 4 or 5 of them), and they will be at your bedside by 4 am praying, and you will be out of bed healed and dancing before the LORD by 4:10 am!
This does not mean the senior pastor stays home in bed and delegates such things as these to his team of elders, no. The elders ARE the pastors. They are where the buck stops in each local church. There is no “senior-pastor” in the NT pattern. That stuff only came up when the church backslid.
Just imagine, what i described above, happening today in a big way. What an impact within our societies and cultures! Just say you were the one healed at 4:10am, and the next day your neighbor asks, “Hey, I thought you were sick?” , and you say, “Well, there’s this team of lovely guys who love Jesus and I called them at 3:30am and they came around in the freezing cold and prayed for me, and here I am healed!”
Your neighbor’s jaw drops and he says, “Say ..what? …….errrrr…..they did what? At 3:30am!”
Brothers and sisters, the REAL has to come. Make way! Make Him room.
Restoration: Is it something ‘new’, or is it just ‘catching up’?
I believe in receiving constant revelation, or LIGHT, of and from the LORD, by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
I never stopped to think whether that daily and hourly and moment by moment revelation was ‘progressive’ or ‘new’ or not. I don’t care. If He has revealed something more of Himself and His ways, and if He has spoken, then i just want to obey. I must obey.
My sheep know my voice…
These are they that follow the Lamb wherever He goes..
If the ‘revelation’ contradicted ..the pattern shown us on the mount’.., (Heb.8:5), i.e. the Scripture, and the foundational pattern of ..the Apostles and Prophets.., (Eph.2:20), then, of course we reject it.
There is a Scriptural hint that the Church progresses in revelation, in Eph. 4 :
..till we all come in the unity of the faith..
This is linked to the fact of great apostasy in the second and third centuries, which steadily got worse and darker, until the days of the reformation, from since a chain-reaction type process of restoration was put in motion, and christendom was progressively restored, up to a point, mostly due to the availability of the Bible amongst the ‘common’ people, and you could call that “progressive revelation”, in terms of the environment, and what preceded it, yet in terms of the “foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone” its not accurate to call that restoration ‘progressive’, because we are still ‘catching up’ and still far below the place from which we have fallen. It looks like ‘progress’ when its really only the church getting back on her feet after being knocked down. Down but not out.
Some talk about a more glorious church than the original. That’s fine, but we have to catch up to them first. (I know many don’t agree with this. They think the end-time church will look nothing like the original. I’m highly suspicious of this view.)
E.g. In the original church, church goers would drop dead on the spot for lying. This is to do with the presence of Godly apostles. In Corinth, when Paul was absent, they got up to ‘hanky panky’. (i.e. The first time, then they repented and learned their lesson) So, the presence and influence of apostles made a huge difference, and though they were not always present bodily, they were always present ..in spirit.
Are we there yet? No way! Will we get back up to where we have fallen from? Maybe not, but if not we should die in the effort ; die being faithful to our LORD and faithfully obeying Him.
We have no excuse not to have the same faith, love, walk and life that the early church enjoyed, by virtue of the same LORD Jesus, and same Spirit, dwelling within us.
(If this article seems a little disjointed, its because i’m piecing together different notes i have posted at Revivalschool.com)