A Place for the Lord

“Foxes have their dens, and birds have their nests; but the Son of Man has no where to lay His head (Matthew 8:20).”

How may we prepare a place for the Lord Jesus? What is He searching for? Where is the place of His rest?

Many of us have traveled “outside the camp” in search of something more in tune with God’s own heart. I believe the most important calling we have is to prepare a place for the Lord Jesus, to give Him somewhere to lay His head. We will find that the purest, simplest expression of the Church is that which satisfies the Lord’s heart and gives Him a place.

A LONELY JESUS WITHDRAWS

“News about Jesus spread fast, and crowds of people were coming to hear Him teach and to be healed of their sicknesses: but Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed (Luke 5:15,16).”

Many of us share a remarkable testimony. I have spoken with several who can confirm my own experience. It is this: while sitting or standing within the church service many of us have had the sense that Jesus is quite lonely, in spite of all the praise, worship, and things which are done in His Name. I recently found a book published nearly twenty years ago in which the author claims to have experienced the same feeling. It is as if Jesus is on the outside looking in. After much prayer we have come to understand that most of what is done in the name of “church” is not for the Lord at all, but it is for us.

Perhaps this explains why Jesus often withdrew Himself to a lonely place, and why perhaps He is withdrawing Himself from much of what is being done “in His Name”. If someone asks why we do not participate more often in meetings or in gatherings, all we can say is that, most of the time, the Lord’s Need is not being met in those places.

Jesus often withdrew to a lonely place. More and more, we are finding Christians in these “lonely places” who are praying, waiting, and wondering. I believe this is the first step towards finding a place for the Lord – sensing the Lord’s Need for such a place.

“The time is coming – in fact, the time is now – when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshippers the Father is looking for (John 4:23).”

If there are true worshippers, then there are false worshippers. If there is spirit and truth worship, then there is a kind of worship which is unspiritual and false.

We will not dwell on what is false, for we are already too familiar with it.

The question before us is: how may we prepare a place for the Lord Jesus? What is He searching for? Here we have some insight into what the Father is looking for, and since the Son is the express image of the Father, we know they are both looking for the same thing. Are we that kind of place? Is the Lord at home with us? Has the Lord found what He is looking for in us?

(Not in a legal sense because we are His children and He loves us no matter what we do, but in a relational sense, in a fellowship and communion sense.)

These questions are irrelevant to those who are only concerned with their own needs. Church, God, the Universe, everything revolves around them and their needs. All decisions are made respective to their own needs, wants, desires (real or imagined). No thought is ever made to meeting the Lord’s Need, seeing that His desire is met, making sure He has found spirit-and-truth satisfaction in us. That is why I say most meetings and gatherings do not meet the Lord’s Need. How can they? They are seeking to meet man’s need.

The object of this message is to provoke and challenge us towards a higher end, that the Lord may find a Place in us where His Need is met, and our needs are forgotten.

IN SEARCH OF A PLACE TO REST

“He was in the world, but even though He made the world, the world did not know Him. He came to His own people, and they would not receive Him. But the ones who did receive Him also received the power to become sons of God, yes, everyone who believed on His Name (John 1:10-12).”

The world did not know Him, and His own people would not receive Him. This, in spite of that fact that He is the Heir of All Things, and apart from Him no one and no thing was made. We see it in the synagogue, when one moment they are wondering at the gracious things that He said and marveling at His teaching – but by the end of the message they are trying to throw Him over a cliff. There are many such examples.

It is important for us to understand that, for the most part, the Lord Jesus is shut out and rejected from His own creation (in many ways, He is shut out from His own Church). It is not an issue of Lordship or Deity, for He remains King of Kings. The issue is always fellowship and communion. For the most part, according to the Scriptures, Jesus Christ lacks the intimate relationship He desires with His people.

Yet, there is a remnant of people who DID receive Him, and they received power! What about them? This is what we want to know: how may we prepare a place for the Lord, where He finds satisfaction and heart-rest, in the midst of a crooked and perverted generation, in the middle of so much darkness?

IN SEARCH OF SPIRIT AND TRUTH

The Lord is seeking spirit-and-truth-worshippers to commune with. In your group, in your meeting, in your heart of hearts – has He found what He seeks?

“Look! I am standing at the door, knocking! If anyone can hear Me, open the door! I will come in to you, and we will have fellowship with one another (Revelation 3:20).”

We have often quoted this verse in the context of salvation, but it should be noted that Jesus spoke these words, not to lost sinners, but to the Church of Laodicea. Even with His own people He does not force the door open, but He patiently knocks, and waits.

Before we can prepare a place for the Lord as a Body of believers, He must have ready and frequent access to us as individual disciples. In Laodicea the situation is so bad that the Lord makes His appeal to the individual heart to take Him in. We are in much the same condition today. The issue is not salvation, but fellowship and communion.

Indeed, the corporate Life of God’s people will only rise as high as the individuals represented. That is to say, if there is no spirit-and-truth worship in our prayer closet at home, we cannot expect spirit-and-truth worship when we gather together. So often we come to a gathering expecting to “enter in” to a place in God. Instead, the gathering of believers should be the celebration and continuation of Who we have already entered into.

The worship, the adoration, the laying down of self, the ministry to the Lord, must be on the basis of the individual “Marys” who sit at His feet every day to hear Him, and the individual “Annas” who never leave the Temple, but minister to the Lord with fasting and prayers day and night. As we continue to ponder these things, may the Lord find an open door to our hearts.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! You kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you. How often I have longed to gather your children together under my wing, as a hen gathers her chicks, but you would not allow it. Now your house will be empty. You will not see Me again until you say, “Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord (Matthew 23:37-39).”

Some ask how the Lord Jesus can feel any sense of loneliness or loss when He has so many children already. The answer is quite apparent. If you have three, or five, or even ten children, would you not grieve over the loss of one? How much more does the Heavenly Father long for all of His children! The Shepherd leaves the ninety-nine in search of the one. Such is the heart of Christ.

Now Jerusalem represents that which initially gave the Lord satisfaction, but no longer. It continues in the tradition and ceremony, in the outward things, yet it does not recognize Who the Lord Jesus is. The place of His rest used to be the Temple, but even it has become a “den of thieves”.

He longs to have them, to gather them under the shadow of His wing: but they would not allow it.

There is a place where the Lord is received: but it is outside of Jerusalem, away from the religious establishment, away from the scribes and teachers of Law, away from the Pharisees, Sadducees, theologians, Bible scholars and hypocrites, even away from the Temple in all its splendor.

Just east of Jerusalem, in a little village, in a single house, He finally finds what He has longed for.

BETHANY TYPICAL OF A PLACE FOR THE LORD

“Jesus and His disciples entered into a village, and a woman named Martha opened her home to Him (Luke 10:38).”

We know from the context of other Scriptures that this village is Bethany, which means “House of Figs”. Bethany is the place where Mary, Martha, and Lazarus reside.

You’ll remember that Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem, drove out the money-changers, and spent the night in Bethany. At some point He became hungry, and went to a fig tree expecting to find figs, but found nothing but leaves. So He cursed the fig tree, and it withered.

The fig tree represents “Jerusalem”. Again, the Lord’s Need is not satisfied, and this situation with the fig tree is meant to convey a spiritual truth. The Lord is “hungry” if you will, searching for something that resembles fruit, something pertaining to Life, but finding nothing but leaves – an outward show of greenery, but nothing of any substance or sustenance. But in Bethany, the House of Figs, He will find fruit.

In discussing how we may prepare a place for the Lord, we will take Bethany to be symbolic of that which satisfies the Lord’s heart and meets His Need. We are not making a case for “house churches” or making a case against “institutional churches”. We are hoping to impress upon you that what satisfies the Lord and meets His Need has very little to do with the outward appearance or geographical location. What makes a “Bethany” is not how they “do” church or how they meet (leaves) but Life (fruit).

There are seven characteristics of “Bethany”, and we will look at each of them accordingly.

1 – The Lord is welcomed and received.

“Jesus and His disciples entered into a village, and a woman named Martha opened her home to Him (Luke 10:38).”

The Scriptures mention or indirectly reference Bethany seven times. We are still in Luke 10:38 because everything we have discussed so far leads us to the first characteristic of a “Bethany”, a fruitful house, a place for the Lord. First and foremost, Bethany is the place where the Lord is received.

We have seen how the Lord is largely shut out and rejected by most of the world, even standing at the door and knocking to gain entrance into the Laodicean church. Not so with Bethany. Here the Lord gains the entrance that He has been long searching for. As such, He gains a Testimony in the earth, a golden lampstand from which His Light may permeate darkness. That is why the Churches of Revelation are typified as lampstands.

I believe this “receiving the Lord” is a definite thing, an intentional thing (and I’m not talking about “receiving the Lord as your personal Savior”). We have heard people say they hope the Lord “shows up” at their meeting or service. What kind of an invitation is that? “Lord Jesus, we welcome You, we receive You: not as a spectator, but as the honored Guest.” Now that is an invitation to fellowship. Where two or three are gathered together in His Name, He is there. It is not so much trying to get Him to “show up” as it is acknowledging, welcoming, and receiving Him as in the midst already. But He must be recognized, and our “home” must be opened to receive Him. Is there not some preparation involved?

Some who seek “the Presence of God” often covet some feeling in their emotion. We are not after “the Presence” or some powerful encounter: we are after HIM, and if we are used to seeking some kind of feeling or experience then we must make the distinction between Christ and our feeling. That is not to say we should never feel anything; but whether we are emotionally or physically affected is beside the point. The true worship is spirit and truth, not flesh and blood. Hence, Bethany receives the Lord as His, for Who He is, to minister to Him and to meet His Need.

2 – The Lord’s Word is heard while we sit at His feet.

“Martha had a sister named Mary, who sat at His feet and kept on listening to His Word (Luke 10:39).”

As we consider what it means to prepare a place for the Lord, a “Bethany”, we come to the second characteristic of this place – it is where the Lord is able to speak, where hearts are open to hear and to perceive what He is saying and doing.

There are two elements here: she sat at His feet, and she heard His Word. We must sit at His feet and hear for ourselves. We can hear His Word through other vessels – the pastor, the teacher, the prophet, a devotional, a television program, a book. In spite of an abundance of vessels we are very dull in our hearing. We are well-versed in “the things of the Lord”; nevertheless we are quite shallow. Why? We have missed the Lord for ourselves. We have not sat down at His feet personally, we are consulting and conferring with flesh and blood, receiving second, third, or fourth-generational teaching. If this is our situation then we have no root in ourselves and we are apt to wither during the heat of the day.

You must sit at His feet and hear Him for yourself. Entering into the Lord’s thought, becoming acquainted with His Ways as well as His Word, takes the sort of love-devotion Mary demonstrates. The Greek here is continuous action: she “kept on listening”. Martha listened too, but when she arose to prepare dinner, Mary remained. As we progress we will see that Mary has discovered spirit and truth, and from henceforth she is always at the feet of the Lord in one way or the other.

That is where it begins: the disciple sitting at the feet of the Teacher, lingering there well beyond what is usual and customary, hanging on His every word. So Bethany satisfies the Lord because that is where He is able to directly deposit Himself into listening hearts.

3 – Christ has the preeminence as the One Thing among many things.

“Martha, Martha. You are worried and troubled over many things: but only one thing is needed. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:41,42).”

Now we come to the third characteristic of Bethany. The place we are preparing for the Lord’s satisfaction will be a place where He has the preeminence, where everything else takes its place beneath Him. So Bethany stands for Christ having the preeminence.

We have written elsewhere concerning the One Thing which is needed. We will not repeat ourselves again, except to say that this One Thing relates to Christ filling all things as the Preeminent One. If we see that God is working all things together according to this Purpose of summing up everything into Christ, towards the One Thing, then we will naturally seek those things which are conducive to this, and we will naturally shun those things which are not.

Later we see Martha continues serving, but everything is all right – there is no complaining about Mary, and everything seems to go on as it should. It is not that service, fellowship, or preparing meals is a bad thing: it simply has to be in the right order. It is not that we cannot perform many good works and spiritual duties: but the work of the Lord must never have preeminence over the Lord of the work. In our experience, most strife and discord between Christians is the result of becoming embroiled in the “many things” and forgetting that “only one thing is needed.”

The solution? Paul said, “This one thing I do.” We must be single-minded. As we seek first the Kingdom of God then all the other things will find their proper place beneath Him. Bethany continually speaks of the One Thing, and in the midst of much distraction and turmoil, it reminds us to take our place at the Lord’s feet and keep first things first.

4 – The exceeding preciousness and worth of the Lord Jesus is recognized.

“As Jesus was reclining at the table, a woman came to Him with a jar of expensive perfume and poured it on His head (Matthew 26:7).”

We come to the fourth characteristic of Bethany, that is, the place where the Lord’s Need is met, where His heart-satisfaction lies. Now we see that Bethany represents the recognition of the preciousness and the worth of the Lord Jesus.

This sounds like a very simple thing, but it gets right to the heart of the matter. The complaint from the disciples was that this perfume, worth more than a year’s wages, could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Those who witnessed this event and protested were in essence saying, “He’s not worth it.” They viewed such pouring out as a waste.

“Unto you who believe He is precious (I Peter 2:7).” To those who appreciate the exceeding preciousness of the Lord nothing is too much for Him. Nothing poured out upon Him is a waste. Whether He is anointed with tears, or with perfume – He is worthy of all. Now when Christ is revealed to us and we begin to grow up into Him, our hearts are illuminated and we begin to grasp something of the preciousness of the Lord. The natural response is spirit-and-truth worship. This cannot be achieved with better music or dynamic worship leaders. Apart from revelation, apart from seeing, we cannot value Him in any deep sense. Worship is our response to revelation.

We want to appear to be busy doing for God, busy at our “ministry”. But there is a place where we simply “waste” ourselves on Him, and outwardly we appear to be doing nothing. Would that more believers would “waste” themselves more often, ministering to the Lord, sitting at His feet, hearing His word, ministering to Him in secret prayer and fasting! Then when they do rise up to work, how much more fruitful they will b!

5 – Resurrection Life is manifest as we are decreased and He is increased.

The fifth characteristic of Bethany is its manifestation of Resurrection Life. Most Christians want the Life of the Lord in abundance like Lazarus, but they are not willing to lie dead in the grave until they stink. In other words, they are not willing to accept the death of self that they may have the Lord’s Life. They do not mind if the Lord is increased, but they themselves do not want to be decreased. Notwithstanding, Resurrection Life is not the avoidance of death, it is passing through death in order to overcome it. The one who loses his life will find his True Life, and the one who grasps his life will lose it. Lazarus cannot experience resurrection until he experiences death.

When the Lord finds a place for Himself, a “Bethany” of believers gathered together, His own Life will be there as well. Just as we cannot have the Life without having the Law of that Life, so we cannot have the Lord without having the Life of the Lord. And, just as surely as we experience His Life working in us through the Spirit, we will experience His Death working in us through the Cross.

It is not too difficult to find a meeting or a service in which you get a sense of death, not of Life. The music, preaching, and fellowship may be well and good: but you come away hungry and deflated because the Lord’s Need is not met. The measure of the presence of the Lord or the blessing of the Lord upon a meeting, a work, or a people is always the Life. Let us not judge by outward appearances. Remember that it is not the leaves of the fig tree, but the figs, which contain the Life. The fruit of the Spirit is the outward manifestation of the inward Life.

Resurrection Life is that which has died, but now lives. It has the mark of the Cross upon it. It has passed through death once, and death can no more touch it. If we have not already passed through death then we are constantly fearful of dying, but the one who has already died and lives again has nothing more to fear from death. As we are decreased through the daily carrying of our cross, Christ in us is increased, and the strength of His Life is matured through our weakness. Bethany comprises all these things.

6 – The Lord Himself is celebrated as we “waste” ourselves upon Him.

“A dinner was given in Bethany to honor Jesus (John 12:2a).”

In John chapter 12 all the people we have discussed thus far come together into one setting. Martha is still serving, but there is no friction as before, and we surmise that she has found the proper balance between being and doing. Lazarus reclines at the table with Jesus, and this speaks of the fellowship of resurrection. His very presence at the table with Jesus is a testimony of overcoming, is it not? And of course, Mary worships at the feet of the Lord.

The dinner is given to honor the Lord, to fellowship with Him, to meet His Need, to give Him the glory due His Name. It is a celebration of HIM. So the sixth characteristic of Bethany is it celebrates the Lord Himself. Whereas praise celebrates what the Lord has done, worship celebrates Who He is. Praise can sometimes become “me” and “I” oriented (the Lord saved ME, healed ME, set ME free, gave ME power, etc.) but worship can never be centered on anything but the Lord.

Keep in mind, of course, that in the midst of this outpouring of affection upon the Lord Jesus, satan is right there to cause a distraction. Whenever someone decides to prepare a place for the Lord then you can be sure that it will not be an easy piece of ground to maintain. The flesh will try to intrude. Those who do not know any better will present a problem. They will enter the assembly of saints with their own expectation of how things ought to be, and will endeavor to make their opinion known. They have not seen the Lord, they have yet to appreciate the worth of the Lord Jesus, and will view such pouring out of ourselves as “waste”.

We note that Jesus always defended His worshippers, they never had to defend themselves. But if we must suffer for something, I can think of few things better than being accused of “wasting” ourselves on the Lord. Bethany is hallowed ground because it represents one of the last places of real estate on the earth where all activity centers around Christ as All in All. This alone makes Bethany priceless.

7 – An ascendant spirit and a heavenly testimony is evident.

“Jesus led them out towards Bethany, lifted up His hands, and blessed them as He ascended up into heaven. The disciples worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem full of joy (Luke 24:50-52).”

The seventh and final characteristic we note from the Scriptures concerning Bethany is that it represents an ascendancy between earth and heaven, between the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God. Bethany is where “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” is fulfilled as a precursor to its ultimate fulfillment in all the earth.

The Church is primarily heavenly. “He has raised us up together and made us sit together with Him in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).” We are not suggesting that the Church does not exist at all on the earth; but we maintain that the Church is heavenly, not earthly. Though it is on the earth, it is not of the earth. Though it is in the world, it is not of the world. Much is made of us going to heaven when we die, but the goal is not so much to get the earthly into the heavenly as it is to get the heavenly into the earthly, and by extension, to maintain the Testimony of Jesus as something over and against this present darkness. Bethany provides the ground upon which the heavenly is made to bear upon the earthly.

Bethany has a heavenly savor. There is an ascendant spirit there which lifts us up to the heavenlies. If there is a failure in the Church today it is this: we live as natural, earth-bound, flesh-and-blood people who speak great things but do not live what we speak. There is no heavenly distinctiveness about us, little reality about us which suggests this other-worldliness of which we claim. We live as “mere men”, religious men, even spiritual men, but not as citizens of heaven.

Nevertheless, I believe that as we prepare a place for the Lord this ascendant spirit will break forth upon us spontaneously. It is one thing for us to try to act heavenly, and it is quite another thing for us to enter into such communion and fellowship with the Heavenly Man that we simply begin to exude His heavenliness, as the priest in the Holy Place exuded the fragrance of the sweet incense. The Kingdom of Heaven is where Christ has the preeminence and fills all things: and if this is the case with us individually, or corporately, then it can be said of us that the Kingdom of Heaven has arrived.

PREPARE A PLACE FOR THE LORD

“Wherever two or three are gathered together in My Name, there I am in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).”

When we take everything the Scriptures say relating to Bethany we have an idea of what it means to prepare a place for the Lord. To summarize, Bethany is the place where:

– The Lord is welcomed and received;

– The Word of the Lord is heard while we sit at His feet;

– Christ has the preeminence as the One Thing among many things;

– The exceeding preciousness and worth of the Lord Jesus is recognized;

– Resurrection Life is manifest as we are decreased and He is increased;

– The Lord Himself is celebrated as we “waste” ourselves upon Him;

– An ascendant spirit and a heavenly testimony is evident.

Perhaps you are saying, “Oh, that I could find a place where believers gather together towards this end! How I wish I could find such fellowship! I am out here in the desert with no place to go.” Brother or sister, my challenge to you is this: stop looking for such a place, and be such a place.

Perhaps you are in a lonely place because the Lord desires to use you to establish a place in the wilderness for Him. If the Lord has impressed His Need for such a place on your heart, then declare your heart a “Bethany” place and take this up between yourself and the Lord. Give the Lord some ground to build upon. Give Him His place. Do not look for multitudes of people. It is better to have one, two, or three gathered together as the Lord’s Bethany than to have hundreds or thousands of people gathered together as something other than Bethany.

Is there anyone in all the world who can truly meet for the purpose of ministering to the Lord and “waste” themselves in worship, giving no thought to their own need, but laying down their lives wholly for the Lord’s satisfaction? I pray something is stirring within someone to seriously consider this before the Lord. Many are called, but few are chosen. May He quicken this word to our hearts, and whosoever will, let them hear.

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2017-06-17T15:04:14+00:00 By |Blog, Ekklesia, Fellowship & Church|

About the Author:

CHIP BROGDEN is an author, teacher, and former pastor who shares "real, simple, truth" about a Christ-centered faith that is based on relationship, not religion. Learn more »

23 Comments

  1. Dan Gonzales Oct 16 at 9:02 am - Reply

    What timing Chip…

    I must say at this moment Iam in the midst of this when “The LORD is saying to my Lord” The death is only sufferable by the hope of Life. The one who recognizes Christ in the flesh has to come to terms that he will no longer know Christ in the flesh. but only through the Spirit and Truth.
    In that day of the revelation of the Christ many will seek the death needed but it will not come for them. It is a process of increase that leads to decrease as you have stated.
    Chip the blessing in all this and the encouragement for me by you and those alike is that we can recognize truth when we see it. (of course we must see it first) Our ONLY resource is the LORD himself….nowhere will we find a better place to draw from, than His living water… God bless all, whose strength is the LORD.

  2. Paula Oct 18 at 10:28 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this truth, Chip. My husband asked the Lord once at the altar in church (back in the organized church days)what his “job” was meant to be. (You know how in church, everyone is searching for their “job,” to “feel” like he/she fits in etc,everyone passing off as “spiritual” because they have a title of something in the system,—and this all is a topic in itself, isn’t it) So the Lord answers him, “Your ‘job’ is to sit at my feet and worship me!” Amen.
    I appreciate the fruit of your relationship with the Lord. It always blesses us! Peace to you and your house, Chip.

  3. Cynthia Oct 29 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    I agree with Paula and Dan.

    God Bless you and your family even the more. (shaked together,pressed down tighter and running over the more)

  4. Joanie Mar 6 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Bother Chip: What a beautiful, wonderful, live giving word…..Simply beautiful are your feet!

    After 20 years of NOT attending any “so called church”….I decided to go and talk to other believers about how wonderful Jesus is. I expected them to share the same….They didn’t want to know how MY Lord was working in me. They wanted to know if I was married, who my husband was, where I went to church….They had no interest in the things of God….I thought , great, I have to spend eternity with these people? I took Jesus back home with me, continue to love HIm, Seek His ways and deny self. I continue to carry my cross, the one He chose for me, and to want no other…It’s just wonderful on this site knowing my true brothers and sisters, that know HIm….I can’t wait to meet you all one day….

  5. Kris Collins Mar 24 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Thank you Chip for these Life giving words. What a challenge for most to NOT have a “show the world” outward expression of their supposed love for Christ (church, meetings, etc. etc.), but rather have an inward and peaceful relationship where one draws on His living waters while the world lives in hypocrisy. Many will outwardly put on a show in the name of Jesus but inwardly it’s all about “me, me, me”. These words bring Truth to the matter that it’s our Lord’s needs that are to be met, not ours. Much love to your family as you stay committed to the Lord’s needs even through your very own personal struggles.

  6. rev. ron warne Mar 24 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    One of the songs frequently heard in the church is “I am a friend of God.” I can’t bring myself to sing it. Though we may call our God friend, its presumptuous to assume He calls me His friend. You could have entitled this message “friend of God” and people who read your post can see that being born-again doesn’t quantify me as God’s friend. Only those who live to satisfy his needs and hold Him as preeminant can be called friend of God.

  7. mike Apr 16 at 7:00 am - Reply

    What is it about the church system that we feel such a need to go on Sundays? A thought that has always struggled with, Why do we feel so much that the pastors and bible teachers are our leaders and if we go outside of that then we are not under the biblical authority God established? Aren’t pastors and teachers them same as the Pharisees, but only a knew way now. They say its under the law grace now. Just saying how different is our system now verses the same back then?

  8. Kris Apr 16 at 11:36 am - Reply

    This is in response to Mike’s post…Yes, our system is indeed as it was over 2000 years ago, and in reality even worse. The “need” for church is derived from many different avenues. For example, if you were a young believer it would have been ingrained in you from your parents that “we go to church every Sunday”. And as a child, we do as we’re told, and just expect that we’re doing the correct thing. If a person comes to accept Jesus as their Savior at a more mature age, the suggested “need” to goes to church comes from friends, evangelists, preachers, etc. who oftentimes say “now that you’re saved, find a church and become a member”. It’s the classic “the blind leading the blind”. These vessels will stress the need for a Savior, but once that is accomplished they then push for the “need” of church. Jesus’ commission was to make DISCIPLES, not church goers, and this is why Paul was so adamant in his warning about false teachers, etc. However, being a disciple is a hard pill to swallow. Our human nature is to take the easy way out of anything we can, and church’s prey on this (for their own benefit). The is only ONE Way to the Truth, and the route is absolutely not through the modern day Pharisee system.

  9. Judy B Apr 16 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    Chip, I believe I am near this >but they are not willing to lie dead in the grave until they stink<.
    I think i could continue the stinking process if I had some help with a question I cant find a healthy response nor answer to.
    Here's my question. What happens to children, and innocent (special needs) people. People who cant read or process information like the material here?
    I want to read and be taught How Jesus loves them. How they are included. I hear all the gasps in the room just now, while some read this question of mine. But, I am stifled in my walk because I cant find the "severely handicapped" being addressed in the WORD. I have thought of the demon possessed man who cut himself, and the young man who the disciples could not cast the demons out of..ect… But, I cant get solid teaching on the subject of severely handicapped people.
    I take comfort in knowing GOD is good and HE is love so of course it follows They are all Heaven bound..but this way of 2+2=4 thinking doesn't square with me. I have become excited of seeing (because my brain supposedly works right) of seeing my sins revealed on the pages of the Bible. So, Ive come to see that the Bible has the answers I wonder about. But this question of innocent souls with a clearly compromised mental handicap from birth remains untouched. I cant find some good words to answer my wanderings about this. I cant find a good book to get me started on GODs plan for the mentally challenged. I want to be able to answer this question for myself and others who suffer with their loved ones. And for people who skirt it. I hope you all will not be offended. This question is a true struggle I have. I have asked a many preacher/pastor this question..I hope you open this question wide up Chip. I hope GOD finds a way to help me through you or any other good servant.
    Maybe you could write a paper on the scripture says David hated lame people, But, then winds up caring forMephibosheth …Jonathan's son. Maybe if you uderstand that a bit you would share that. I dont get how David is a man after GODs own heart but the scripture here says David hated these lame and blind people.
    2 Samuel 5:8 And David said on that day, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites, let him get up to the watercourse, and smite the lame and the blind, that are hated of David's soul. Wherefore they say, There are the blind and the lame; he cannot come into the house.

    Judy

    • Chip Brogden Apr 19 at 6:33 am - Reply

      Hi Judy,

      My personal thought is that special needs people who lack mental capacity are more endowed spiritually with discernment to apprehend the truth. In the same way that a blind person develops an acute sense of hearing, a mentally challenged person develops an increased spiritual sense. I have witnessed this (or actually, discerned it) with special needs people who I knew were spiritually “getting” what I was teaching while all I got from the so-called “normal” people were doubt, confusion, and disagreement. What we call a “handicap” is actually a possible advantage. Our spirit is more important than our mind, and our spirit will endure forever.

      As for David – I think you’re pulling that out of context 🙂 David hated them because they were Jebusites, not because they were blind and lame. They were the enemies of God that Israel had failed to drive out and they were occupying Jerusalem. David wanted to drive them out and make Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

      It’s a great question. Thank you for asking it, and I hope the answer is encouraging and helpful to you.

      • Vanessa Jun 20 at 7:43 am - Reply

        Chip, as one who has an autistic son, your answer to Judy is on point to me. My son accepted Christ for himself when he was 18. He’s now 33 yrs old. He gets overwhelmed by long teachings; nevertheless, he listens and then asks questions. At that point, I try to simplify the messages for him and explain how we should be if we claim to know Jesus Christ. We both read the Bible; however, he reads and listens to Biblical teachings for himself and asks questions. I stopped trying to force religion on him when I stopped going to church a few years ago. When I was forcing him to go to church, his behavior was terrible because I spent more time in church than with him. Now, I spend more time with the Lord and living out the Life as an example to my son so now he gets it and we talk things out. Over the last few years, his behavior has greatly improved…no more out bursts of anger and confusion…less depression and anxiety, etc. Once I came to know the love of God then my son began to experience it to. He actually has 4 disabilities, but as you stated, he has “an increased spiritual sense.”

  10. Jeff Lacatus Apr 17 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Excellent article.

  11. Sharon Apr 18 at 10:15 am - Reply

    This is in response to Judy’s comment.
    I don’t have answers, but I do have experiences.
    #1. My husband was seriously head-injured. Before the injury, he was not “saved”. After the injury, he was confined to a wheelchair, with a feeding tube, and could not speak.He was severely cognitively impaired, and would often become very agitated. Yet, about 2 years after the injury, in a church service, when they told people to raise their hands if they wanted Jesus, he did, to the best of his ability, even though he could barely move his arms.From that time on, I knew he was saved. He would weep as I would read Scripture to him. His heart was much softened, even though physically or verbally he could not show it. My husband has since gone to be with God. I had a vision the night he died, and a dream thereafter. To make a long story shorter,through the vision and the dream, I know that my husband is with the Lord.
    #2 There’s more. We have 5 children, the youngest is 20 now. Our fourth child is mentally retarded. She’s at about the level of a 3-4 year old. My oldest daughter is a believer. The other three “normal” children have all fallen away. But I know my daughter Carolyn is saved. I know that she loves the Lord. I am concerned about the eternal destiny of three of my children. But I know that Carolyn is going to heaven. She, in spite of her disability, is probably better off than most Americans.
    Salvation is not based on intellect. In fact, intellect often hinders people from being saved. The body and mind may be “broken”, but the spirit can still be free. If even the rocks would cry out, I don’t think that we need to worry about whether our handicapped loved ones will understand. In fact, I think often they have greater understanding in the spirit than “normal” people do.
    Rest assured, God has our handicapped loved ones in His hands. He is not the God of formulas, He is the God of love.
    In fact, I believe that God has a purpose for the handicapped. He uses them to show us what is in our hearts.
    We will never have all the answers, but we can trust God. Trust Him with your loved ones. Isn’t this what He is wanting for all of us to do.

  12. Judy B Apr 19 at 12:19 am - Reply

    Sharon, thanks for sharing.

    I agree, GOD is the GOD of love as I did mention in my note.

    >>I take comfort in knowing GOD is good and HE is love so of course it follows They are all Heaven bound<> So, Ive come to see that the Bible has the answers I wonder about<>I am stifled in my walk because I cant find the “severely handicapped” being addressed in the WORD<<
    The closest I come to is the story of The rich man and the beggar Lazarus. Which is so beautiful to think of my son AND COUNTLESS OTHERS in the comfort that the poor beggar Lazarus is in.

    I want more. I dont know how the more will come, or what it will look like, or if I will find it….but I'm glad I have the faith to ask GOD for more understanding.

    1 peter3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

    By searching I am adding to my defense. so I can answer myself. And maybe I will be equipped to answer others.

    Judy

  13. Sharon Apr 19 at 8:09 am - Reply

    Hi Judy,
    The word says, if you seek, you will find. Seeking is good. God will answer.
    The word also says, if all that Jesus said and did were written in books, the world couldn’t hold all of them. That to me says, the word is only a fraction of what God is speaking to us. It was never meant to be a book with all the answers. That’s why Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to us. Rather, I see the word as a pointing us to God, and the revelation that He loves us and wants to have fellowship with us. The word will never replace relationship with the Lord.
    Although what He tells us will never contradict the word, He has so much more to say than what could possibly be contained in the word.So keep asking. The word says that that if you do, you will find (not necessarily what you are looking for- but what the Lord desires to give you at this point in your life).

  14. James Mal Jul 25 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    The answers to a question asked by Judy are very interesting. But I am taken aback by the question asked by Judy. God is love and God is spirit. I love my daughters,is this the love of the spirit or of the flesh. Jesus was telling His disciples that he would go to Jerusalem and the Pharisees will get hold of Him, crucify Him, He will die on the Cross, be burried but will rise again the third day. Peter the Apostle who loved Jesus, took Him aside and rebuked Him. But Jesus rebuked him. “Get behind me Satan, you are not with me but with the men.” whatever Peter said, he said out of love. But Jesus rebuked him for showing that love. It appears, Peter was more emotional than spiritual.

  15. Theda Flynn Jul 25 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    Hello, Chip, and especially Judy.For 15yrs I’ve worked with disabled persons & find them acutely sensitive to the spirit-life.We sing “Jesus Loves me” in very loud voices in the special bus on our way to outings.They know I’m not there for the money.They know which staff ARE!They remind me to pray at night,if I forget!They have no guile.Jn.9 explains it all — and appropo the Brogden message of today — Jesus seeks those who’ve been healed of their “blindness” and thus have been cast out of the established churches — c.f.vss 35 to 38.
    Theda (Theodocia) Flynn
    New South Wales, Australia

    • Vanessa Jun 20 at 8:33 am - Reply

      Good word Theda. Spiritual blindness is healed from within the heart of a person who comes to believe in Jesus Christ. Handicaps/disabilities do not prevent people from knowing Jesus Christ. We have to get to the point where we just be who we are in Christ and let His Spirit in us draw people to know His love. So, even if a person appears to us as physically/mentally impaired, remember, they can still know the Truth in their hearts. Love, love, love…in the name of Jesus.

  16. Elizabeth Ann Woods Jun 18 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Thanks, Chip, for your message. Thanks folk for all your comments.

    I always remember Jesus having time for everyone – especially those “disadvantaged” in society – the children, the women and those who were sick etc. He who called the little children to spend time with him and gave such a grave warning for those who would hurt them, has already shown us the kingdom of heaven belongs to them and those who are like them. We oftimes look at the exterior of a person, Jesus looks at our hearts, perhaps the ones who are unable to communicate their heart to us because of physical and mental challenges are of the poor in spirit who are very close to Jesus’ heart.

    I remember being taken to church every Sunday as a child. Maybe, at the time, part of the attraction was the music but that doesn’t satisfy your heart. We need a personal experience with Jesus. I’ve had that from my earliest years. He is Lord and when we don’t spend enough quality time with him, our life is exemplified by that of a certain crowd of Israelites who wasted 40 years going round and round the desert en route for the promised land. Will we not spend one hour with him sitting at his feet, listening and worshipping him for who he is? If we are Jesus’ disciples, our task is to spend time with him listening to him, obeying him and worshipping him. We are to be in the world but not of it. Choose to be one of those who turn the world upside down by bringing the good news of salvation in Christ alone to a broken, lost world. Let it once more be said in our world, “see how these Christians love one another”. Let it be so!

    God bless you all

  17. Marthe Jun 19 at 12:32 am - Reply

    Merci Chip,

    Mon souhait , que mon cœur , ma vie , soit une Bethany pour le Seigneur !!!

  18. Shirley G Farmer-Hudson Jun 19 at 9:01 am - Reply

    Thank you Chip for writing this article. This is where I feel that I am at in a wilderness. So much you wrote in this article spoke to me personally. God bless you

    Shirley Farmer-Hudson
    Cary, North Carolina

  19. Vanessa Jun 20 at 8:11 am - Reply

    Wonderful teaching Chip. Glory to God! This is how I strive to live my life…to many people, it looks like I don’t do a lot. Not true. My life is very meaningful and productive in things that really matter… I have the peace of Christ and I strive to keep it. He knows what He wants me to do at any given time. So, l spend more time with Him which serves to keep me from wearing myself out trying to figure out what to do. When I veer off course, He gently nudges me back onto the narrow way.

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