“By ceasing to take part in the public worship of God, as it now is, you have constantly one guilt the less, and that a great one: you do not take part in treating God as a fool.” – Søren Kierkegaard
We must tear down the flimsy structures we have built and rebuild upon the firm foundation of Christ. I offer the following Four Pillars as a basis upon which the Ekklesia can re-establish itself in the current age and ensure the continuity of an authentic, Biblical, Christ-Centered Faith for this generation and for however many will follow.
just as the newly liberated Hebrews wandered the desert for forty years without entering the Promised Land, it is possible for newly liberated Christians to wander in the wilderness for years and never discover the purpose to which they are called.
If everyone is looking for fellowship, why is fellowship so hard to find? And once we have found it, why is it so hard to maintain it? When God begins to bring you out of church and into a deeper relationship with Himself, there is a lot of unlearning that has to take place – particularly in the area of fellowship.
Just as God called out a remnant of Jews to leave Babylon and journey to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple, God has in these last days called out a remnant of Christians to leave “Churchianity” and take a journey through the wilderness. What is He bringing them to?
Jeroboam’s concern is not for the people. His concern is not for the Lord, or for what the Lord requires. Jeroboam’s concern is only for self-preservation: the safeguarding of his leadership, the continuance of his kingdom, the prolongation of his own life.
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.
My mission in life is to let people know that you don’t have to go to Church to find God. God’s favor doesn’t depend upon the Church’s favor. It just doesn’t. Religion is fear-based, and Relationship is love-based, and you can have that relationship right now. You know, that’s a revolutionary concept for most people.
Stop defending and protecting what God has already judged and set apart for destruction. Don’t be destroyed with it. Build your house on a rock so you can withstand this flood that’s coming upon the whole earth; or, just keep frittering your life away on stuff that doesn’t matter, and see where that leaves you when all hell breaks loose.
We really ought to thank and praise God that people are sensing something of the Lord’s dissatisfaction with the way things are. Thank God for that disillusionment. People think disillusionment is a bad thing, but to be disillusioned means you have been stripped of your illusion so you can see what is real.
When we hear the phrase, “bring people to Christ” we are apt to think in terms of tent revivals, evangelistic meetings, and missionary campaigns. I’d like to expand your horizons a bit and get you to see that the whole aim and purpose of God is to bring us to Christ – not once, but continually, daily, hour by hour, minute by minute.
Those who ballyhoo the spiritual benefits of joining a church should be reminded that we are already joined to the Body of Christ, the Ekklesia, and are already realizing every spiritual benefit of membership in HIS Church. The only qualification for such membership is a New Birth.
How easy it is for us to become distracted into something less than Christ! Are you centered on Christ? Is Jesus your obsession? Is He your focus? Or have you set your sights on something beneath Him? This speaks right to the heart of the crisis we find ourselves in today.
What is significant about this mass exodus is the numbers of people who are leaving their churches and not going back. They are not looking for another church to attend.
The problem with the Religion Machine was that it started out as a neat invention designed to help people, but it wound up hurting them. The Machine was made for man, but soon man lived for the Machine and became dependent upon it.
If God would grant you a moment by His side and allow you a fleeting glance at His Church you would at once understand what a pitiful substitute we have in Organized Religion. There is no vanity so deep as religious vanity, nothing more sickening and diametrically opposed to the heart and ultimate purpose of God.
If you primarily see fellowship as a verb, then of course you are very interested in where to meet, when to meet, how to meet… To me, those questions and concerns are all based on a viewpoint that sees fellowship as a verb – something to be done.
To be a brother or sister we have to humble ourselves and recognize that we are not the Parent in God’s Family and they are not our children. We have One Father, and He is responsible for the correction, protection, discipline, and direction of His children….
Everything you do (or do not do) as a member of the Body of Christ affects all the other members. No one is an island. The Difficult Path may be lonely at times, but we are never truly alone.
A growing number of people have come to the conclusion that the social benefits of going to church can no longer compensate for the lack of spiritual life.
Can fellowship only occur in the context of a church meeting? Once we realize that our fellowship is supposed to be based on a relationship with Jesus, not a relationship with “church”, we will discover that there are more opportunities for fellowship OUTSIDE the local church building than there are INSIDE.
The good news is that even if the Ekklesia has been underground, it is still growing and developing. When the season is right it will burst forth and once again those who have eyes to see will indeed discern the blade, the ear, and the full corn in the ear.
Not a doctrine, or a religion, or a catechism, but a Person, an exceedingly great and precious Person, this Preeminent Christ. Paul was not occupied with Christianity per se, and he would have nothing in common with the Churchianity we are all so familiar with; he was forever and always occupied with CHRIST.
Obtain a genuine love for someone before you ever say anything. You should be able to pray for them and ask the Lord to soften your heart towards them. Otherwise, if you do go to them, your words may be correct, but your attitude will be wrong…
Jesus did not tolerate hypocrites. And if you are truly one with Him then you will sense His dissatisfaction with those things that claim to represent Him, but do not.
The Sabbath (and every other thing in the Old Covenant) points to a spiritual fulfillment in Christ. Jesus is not bound by any rule, or regulation, or tradition, that says thou shalt, or thou shalt not. He is Lord over the Sabbath; the Sabbath is not lord over Him.
Jesus prayed for a spiritual unity in Him first and foremost. From there anything is possible, even deep relationships and fellowship with others. But that can only happen when your spiritual life is founded upon a deep, abiding belief in three core principles…
Many things compete for our time, attention, affection, energy, and money. But there is only one Lord Jesus. Just as some people cannot see the forest for the trees, I believe most sinners cannot see Jesus for the Christians. And I believe most Christians cannot see Jesus for the “church”.
Jesus is not building a denomination or founding a movement. The Church is not a denomination, but neither is it a non-denomination. It is not a steeple-house or institutional church, but neither is it a house church. Stated simply, the Church is a spiritual house of living stones, invisible to the naked eye, but clearly seen and known in Spirit.
If you follow this revelation of Christ to its ultimate conclusion, and if you truly desire to give Him preeminence in all things, then you will eventually find that you have nothing in common with the religious system that man has created in His Name.
The glory is in Christ, and not in a method, a meeting, or a movement: and it is for Him, and not for us. How quickly “It is good for us…” turns into “Let us build for You…” How subtle our flesh is! How often in the name of “fellowship” have we have built something “for” the Lord Jesus that really serves our own agenda?
Let us not be too quick to seek out others until we have reaped the benefits of being alone with God. Let us remember that Christ’s Body is a spiritual Body. Being in the physical presence of other members does not make us more of a member, and being removed from the physical presence of other members does not make us any less a member.
The Scripture does not say, “Seek first the ministry.” It says to seek first the Kingdom of God. How does this apply to ministry? It means simply this: I must be governed by the Lord of the Work, not the work of the Lord. The Lord of the Work governs the time, the place, the people, the provision, and the assignment. All these things may change as the Lord of the Work sees fit.
Without a purpose – and without leadership to keep people aligned to that purpose – home fellowships are as spiritually unsatisfying as the institutional church services they aspire to break free from.
The ministry of One-Anothering doesn’t require a platform, a pulpit, a building, a budget, or a Board. You can start immediately, with no training and with no experience, and you don’t have to quit your job or do anything dramatic. The Life you possess qualifies you to be in the full-time ministry of One-Anothering.
Paul gave us an example to follow. Don’t just look at his calling and his gifting and his revelation. Look at his heart of love. He gave all – not just for the Lord, but for the Lord’s people. And they were a most carnal, unappreciative bunch of people. Even so, the heart of a father is demonstrated.
Jesus is no ordinary person; He is the Son of the Most High God. What He demonstrates to them (in word and in deed) is that everyone who does the will of God is His brother, sister, and mother; that is to say, all the members of His family are on equal ground before Him. In this family He plays no favorites, He gives no preferential treatment.
The purpose of solitude in the spiritual desert is to get you to see that Jesus is Enough. You’re not going to die from lack of fellowship, but if you don’t learn that Jesus is Enough then spiritually speaking you’re dead already. He’s the One you need to be focused on – not starting a fellowship, not finding a home group, not making something happen with other people.
We hear a lot of talk about trying to unify the Church, but until we see that we are already One Flock we will just keep on talking about it and never experience it. We must see before God that He has already made us One Flock under One Shepherd. This is not some future event, but a spiritual reality, waiting for us to enter into.
I can appreciate your viewpoint because for many years I shared it, as a pastor and teacher in Organized Religion. But I no longer have that viewpoint, and so I disagree with your conclusions and your advice. Here’s why…
Religion is on the side of bondage, tradition, conformity, uniformity, control, and manipulation. The Lord Jesus is on the side of liberty, freedom, deliverance, healing, setting free, releasing, and restoring that which is bound. And in ten seconds, Jesus did something that eighteen years of religion had been unable and unwilling to do.
“Perfection” here means “maturity”, and it would be good to simply remember that whenever we see the word “perfect” used in this context we should think “spiritually mature.” The perfecting of the saints means the maturing of the saints, the process of bringing the saints out of spiritual immaturity and into spiritual adulthood.
At first glance the Lord’s decision to accept Abel and reject Cain seems rather arbitrary. Both worshipped the Lord, and both brought the Lord a sacrifice. What makes one acceptable and the other unacceptable?
There is a wonderful reformation happening right now – not within the religious system, but within the hearts and minds of people who are repudiating that system. There is a tremendous revival taking place right now, and it is a revival along spiritual lines, among those who have heeded the call to “come out of Babylon” and have been raised to new Life.
Archippus had received a ministry from the Lord, and he had not, as of yet, fulfilled it. Archippus knew it, and Paul knew it, and now everyone in Colossae knew it. He was called to something, and had received something from the Lord, but it was dormant, stagnant, inert, still waiting to be put to use.
Both sacred and secular history teaches us that having no leadership is just as bad, and in some ways worse, than having bad leadership.
Come to Him and learn of Him. Repudiate the wisdom of the Pharisees and embrace this Man Who does not keep the Sabbath, because this Man is the Son of the Most High God, and there is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!
It took five hundred years of walking with God, but Noah found grace, and that made it all worthwhile. Let us learn to do nothing apart from this amazing grace. It is better to wait five hundred years for grace than to work for five minutes without it.
Have we all attained to the full-knowledge of the Son of God? Have we all, as the Body of Christ (not just individually), grown into the fullness of Christ? Some may have, but it is clear that all have not. We still need the ministries of the apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher “till we all come.”
Often we take the easy yoke and the light burden of the Lord and turn it into a difficult yoke and a heavy burden. This happens when we go beyond the place God has appointed us and take it upon ourselves to do things He has not called us to do, go to places He has not called us to go to, and speak with people to whom we have not been sent.
I have generally assumed that Jesus was a Jewish rabbi. After all, He was born in Israel, He was Jewish, and people called Him, “Rabbi.” But that would make Him a professionally trained religious leader. Was He?
The turning point in my life came in 1995. At that time I was a 24 year-old burned out pastor of a church that had just closed. I was a little angry, a little frustrated, and a little depressed. As I was half-reading and half-praying, I came across a passage that I had seen hundreds of times before…
Relationship views everything in terms of a "person." Religion views everything in terms of "place" or "thing." For example, people say, "I miss corporate worship." They are basically saying that they see worship as a "place," something to attend, a "thing" to be...