The forgotten art of obedience
Samuel said, (to King Saul);
"Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed (the voice of God) than the fat of rams" [1 Samuel 15:22]
In the article that precedes this one, The forgotten Christian of New Testament Christianity, I spoke of the difference between what man has done and attempts to accomplish in the flesh and what God Himself has commanded and promises to bring to fruition by His Spirit. I also showed the adverse results of what happens when people exchange what God has decreed with man's own inventions and ingenuity. The fact is, what God desires and indeed commands can only be brought to fruition in His time, His way and through the resources He provides. Anything less, despite so-called sincerity of heart or the degree of sacrifice is plainly unacceptable to Him.
When we look over what is labeled Christianity in our day, what we find on most occasions and places is far removed from what the Bible exhibits as a New Testament expression of "the faith once delivered." On one hand it is understandable that we have an adversary who continues to deceive and thwart our efforts, quite another for professing believers to be ignorant of what they say they believe or others being plain disobedient to what are God's obvious commandments. Below are a few obvious indications of the latter.
|Professing believers||What God has said||The Result of Ignorance|
|Fail to study and show themselves approved to God by being Berean type believers who search the Scriptures for the truth.||Each believer should show themselves an able workman. Trust in Him and His written Word alone.||Widespread ignorance as to God's truth. A lack of discernment in spiritual matters. Chronic apathy. /32|
Abandoning Scripture verses relying upon the Bible alone as our authority for our actions and beliefs.
|His Word is truth. He, Jesus is the truth. Faith must be based upon Biblical facts.||Faith based upon feelings, experiences, speculation, conjecture and superstition- all of which are subject to change. /33|
|Have overemphasized God's love at the expense of His justice.||God is love…and that is why He will save sinners AND condemn the unrepentant.||Any correction of sin or false doctrine is resisted and called judgmental. /34|
|Continue to start new earthly organizations which are sects in God's eyes.||Jesus says, "My kingdom IS NOT of this world." It cannot be built with bricks.||Widespread disunity, backbiting and competition run rampant among the various sects. /35|
|Continue to fund that which God doesn't sanction.||Such sacrifices are an abomination.||False doctrine and corrupt "church" practices flourish. /36|
|Misrepresent God's grace||My grace is sufficient||License to sin. /37|
|Misrepresent true faith||Faith is trust and dependence upon God||Faith is a force or a law even God is subject to. /38|
|Renounce repentance as part of the gospel and a daily necessity for believers.||All men will reap what they sow- either everlasting life or eternal damnation.||
Man's easy-believism will be his end as all men are judged according to what they do. /39
Just say we exempt for now the prior articles' thirty one prior indictments and only focus upon the eight listed above. In light of the Scriptural evidence herein, would you consider these ignorance or willful disobedience?
(32) Fail to study and show oneself approved unto God.
"Be diligent to present yourself a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" [2 Timothy 2:15]
"Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica , for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" [Acts 17:11]
I suppose it is possible that whoever led you to Jesus may have neglected to tell you to study the Bible for yourself. That said, it is much more likely that the reason you are confused, misled or deceived is due to your being lazy and careless in what obviously is of monumental importance for one claiming to be Christian. Get busy and stop being disobedient.
(33) Failure to allow God's Word to govern one's life.
And Jesus came up to them and spoke to them saying, "All authority is given unto Me in heaven and on earth." [Matthew 28:18]
"Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth" [John 17:17]
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed in Him, (claimed to have believed in Him) "If you continue in my Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" [John 8:31, 32]
If you refuse to allow what Jesus Himself makes paramount (that of continuing to follow His Word- in our case the Bible) you cannot truly be His. Furthermore, if you are not His you cannot know His truth nor become free from sin. Obviously, one who is not governed by God's Word is governed by something or someone else they deem more important than Jesus. Attempting to find Jesus' leading through subjective experience or blindly following a leader is ignorance, though a neglect of discovering objective truth through His Word is surely disobedience.
(34) Emphasis upon one truth over another.
And to man He said, "Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding" [Job 28:28]
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. [Isaiah 55:8]
God acts out of Who He is- out of the righteousness of His character. God is not extreme as man would make Him out but altogether righteous in His actions. True love and grace are both demonstrated and lived out by those understanding what it costs to purchase them. Whether it's love without discipline or mercy without repentance, neither are found as mutually beneficial in relationship as they are when brought together. Although exaggerating one truth while diminishing another is primarily ignorance, it is also an attempt to justify one's actions. Parents know the above to be two sides of a coin.
(35) Self confidence in serving God.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." [Proverbs 3:5, 6]
…..for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh…[Philippians 3:3-7]
There is a huge difference in where we humans place our confidence. For example, if Jesus says he will build His Ekklesia, then why do we attempt to do that for Him through Church? Isn't that a contradiction of the highest order? Where does or did Jesus ever command us to start something- anything in our name or our choice of a name for Him? Answer: Nowhere. The results alone should convince us, no? Disunity, hatred, heresy and unrest all stem from fleshly efforts. If Jesus says His kingdom is heavenly (and it obviously is) then why do we keep building with bricks? Disobedience yes, and rebellion to boot.
(36) Spending God's money on what He doesn't support.
"The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immortality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." [Revelation 17:4-6]
"Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" [Revelation 2:6]
It may be ignorant to support self – promoting "Pastors" and "Priests" who rule the roost through "their churches" but that's only if you fail to read, study and obey the Bible. You may even be ignorant as to the identity of the WHORE above. It's not ignorant, nor wise to fail to discover who that is. Considering it's the end of the age, that's just plain stupid.
(37) Don't misrepresent God's grace.
"My grace is sufficient……." [2 Corinthians 12:9]
Sufficient for what? To continue in willful sin?
"What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? [Romans 6:1, 2]
You can choose to believe God or refuse to believe Him. His grace is sufficient regardless. If you are truly His, you have died to sin, and are therefore free from it. Once again, you must believe the facts. Don't be ignorant. Believe God and stop sinning.
(38) Don't misrepresent true Biblical faith.
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. [Romans 10:17]
"The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves" [Romans 14:22]
Every Christian is called upon to search the Scriptures and form their own convictions based upon what the Spirit teaches them. This is far different than simply believing what some religious leader tells you to believe or making faith into something it is not. That is both foolish, ignorant and dangerous. Without true faith through which we are commanded to live, we cannot either know Him or please Him.
(39) Minimize repentance in life or in salvation.
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" [2 Peter 3:9]
"You yourselves know, from the first day I set foot in Asia, how I was with you the whole time, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which came upon me through the plot of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" [Acts 20:17-21]
Although no deeds save anyone, nonetheless all men will be ultimately judged based upon the manner in which they lived this life. Don't deceive yourself into thinking some former decision you made or prayer you said will "cover up" for a present sinful lifestyle. If you sow to your flesh you shall reap corruption. A life of continual repentance is part of the character of a truly renewed individual.
I'd like to suggest you return to the former article and read all the sections again under, What man has done (1-31). Then add to that section the herein titled, Professing believers (32-39) and then consider how each of these things have become culturally relevant (acceptable and proper to the masses) over time. If you are one prone to be relevant or are following someone teaching or preaching any of these things, I strongly suggest you stop following them before it's too late.
Now let's just say that all of what is listed (1-39) above never happened. What type of Christianity would we be left with? Clue: Exactly what God desires and requires. Take men, their names, churches, organizations, methodologies away and all that is left is Christ and Him Crucified and believers who recognize that He is all we need. Amen?
An awareness of these problems isn't enough. We can talk about them over and over. What is needed is an application of the things in which God declares are true and correct. Let's start a new chart which will show:
- What God has said (from the preceding article)
- How we obey as a result
- The Result of our obedience
|What God has said||How we obey||The Result of obedience|
|God's Ekklesia is a spiritual organism/it is built through spiritual means. /01||Stop calling any place or building Christians meet a church. Stop advertising places as such. Tell people the truth about God's ONE Ekklesia.||Unity amongst like-minded believers as sectarian distinctions are abandoned. The world no longer sees the divisions that divide believers from one another.|
|All Christian service is an outflow of a local ekklesia. There is no such place as a Christian organization or ministry that God sanctions. Yes, He does sanction Spirit led actions from us as individuals but not the organizations themselves. /02||Those who are part of God's Ekklesia are responsible to serve all of mankind. Because of our failure to do this all manner of organizations have arisen such as "Christian" hospitals, rest homes, colleges etc- most of which are either for profit organizations or non profits subsidized by the government. Both are a sad testimony to our failure as the corporate and local ekklesia as well as individual believers and should therefore be abandoned. We take upon ourselves these responsibilities as caring Christians verses delegating them to outside sources.||To whatever degree possible individuals should aim to reverse these trends and abandon supporting any and all so-called Christian organizations. The Ekklesia of God should care for our own as far as possible and not look to secular government for help. Such an example will prove to this world our love for one another verses following the typical status quo examples of this world. Does Jesus really want His children going into debt to learn how to run a church? Come on.|
|No local ekklesias were ever named. They were simply referenced by the locale where they resided. /03||Stop calling any place we meet or serve others with a formal name. If others inquire give them an address. If others ask where you go to church tell them the truth- you don't. Make earnest attempts to alter the false definitions we have used for years in misleading others. Stop making excuses for what God hates.||
Believers will stop stereotyping individuals based upon religious and denominational distinctions and fellowship around Christ alone. Only Biblical reasons for separation will exist and that within individual small assemblies in local areas. The world will see ONE LOVING EKKLESIA with no obvious external differences to separate us.
God condemns a hierarchal system of authority for His children- regardless of where they meet or serve.
Those organizations God doesn't sanction "require" such a hierarchy. /04
|Stop disobeying God by having one believer "over" any other. Close every organization that utilizes such a hierarchy as God is opposed to them. Stop submitting to those who demand our allegiance or obedience to them.||God's method of authority will be re-established for His children thus honoring Him. He alone is the HEAD of HIS EKKLESIA and only Jesus can exercise His authority through a plurality of believers in a local assembly.|
|Saints originally met in homes which removed most expense. More resources were freed up to meet the real needs of the the household of faith and our neighbors. /05||Only build when absolutely necessary- never. Don't name the places we gather. Meet in homes or rental properties. Keep expenses as low as possible so more resources can be used in service to others,||God's people stay out of debt. Borrowing money is a terrible testimony before this world and makes us look like we don't trust God or help each other as Christians. Stop compromising the gospel message due to extreme financial commitments.|
|All Christians are equal before God despite having different spiritual gifts and functions. /06||Treat others as equals. Drop any distinction that may exalt one over another. Treat others as more important than ourselves.||Saints are no longer intimidated by others with prominent gifts or functions. They freely give as the Spirit leads them. Families function properly. All saints contribute to the local ekklesia.|
|There is no such thing as a religious title for a man or a woman to assume among the brethren. Titles exalt men and diminish Christ's preeminence. /07||Decide immediately to renounce any title we as individuals may have used. Do not recognize the titles that other religious folk use. Never use any titles in print or on signs etc.||Jesus is emphasized as THE ONLY HEAD and retains the attention and admiration due Him. No man remains the central imposing figure in any local ekklesia.|
|There is no such thing as a religious position for a Christian in Jesus' Ekklesia. Neither are the functions of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher positions, nor do the gifts of prophesy, teaching or evangelism grant anyone the right to utilize one. Jesus plainly condemned doing so as only He can be our Leader. /08||We refuse as individual to assume any religious or so-called spiritual title. Those of us who have done so previously renounce them and repent. We confess that although spiritual functions and spiritual gifts do exist in and through believers, the use of titles are contrary to God's design for His Ekklesia and thus prohibited.||Another step in the practical working out of unity amongst the brethren. Humbles man who utilizes titles to exalt himself among the brethren and society.|
|The focus must remain upon what God is building (His Ekklesia) and not what man is building (his church). God's Ekklesia is not a building but rather the called out assembly of saints for mutual edification and worship of God. It has nothing to do with any particular place the saints choose to meet. /09||Stop calling the places we meet as believers with any earthly or formal name such as "church" or "temple." Stop recognizing these places others call a church as church. Church means "the Lord's house." They are not, that is a lie. Each should be recognized for what they are- the inventions of men.||
Believers will once again emphasize that they are the Ekklesia when assembled together with Christ as their Head/Leader. They are the temple of the Holy Spirit as individual saints.
Furthermore, Christians may finally stop lying and misrepresenting what Jesus' Ekklesia is- for their good and His glory.
Israel gave tithes as it was mandated by God for them- and for specific reasons that are no longer applicable.
Those in the body of Christ don't tithe but rather freely give as they are increased. We are commanded to support the saints needs but ONLY to do that VOLUNTARILY and not under compulsion. /10
|Stop submitting to anyone or any fellowship that mandates a tithe from you. You are being used and manipulated by someone who is using an outdated system of works/law to control you. Live free, you will be glad you did.||
The law is the strength of sin. Any law you attempt to live by INCREASES SIN in your life- including a tithe.
Although God's law is perfect, we have an Adamic nature which although crucified with Christ still opposes God's law. Giving freely is more synonymous with living freely, which is what those led of the Spirit of God are commanded to do. Do not be bound…
|Man wasn't created for the Church (Ekklesia) any more than man was made for the Sabbath. Both were made for men- and the Ekklesia is being made for Christ as His bride. /11||As believers, we do not participate in an "earthly church" in order to serve it and its needs. Our purpose as believers is to be the Ekklesia to both the saved and the unsaved.||
We stop utilizing our gifts in service to build what won't last and instead invest in eternal things. We stop obeying the dictates of churches that men run and start obeying the Lord who creates and builds His Ekklesia.
We serve God only in the manner He requires.
Only born again Christians are part of God's Ekklesia- the universal body of Christ.
Repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ brings an individual into Christ's spiritual body.
Joining man's "church" equates to an act of man whereas spiritual membership in the Ekklesia is initiated by God Himself. /12
We acknowledge that unbelievers ARE NOT part of God's Ekklesia nor can they be until converted. We further note that the Ekklesia IS NOT and WAS NEVER created for unbelievers but only for Christ and His brethren. We steer all functions and service toward meeting Christ's desires and and the brethren's needs.
We stop inviting unbelievers to become leaven in a holy and solemn assembly.
The Ekklesia remains pure and undefiled. The Ekklesia remains focused upon Christ and not upon unbelievers felt needs. The world's people note this separation and are drawn because of it.
The fear of God is restored among the brethren and the seriousness of the small assembly gatherings keep the wayward and worldly away. Any darkness in peoples lives is exposed due to the degree of light which is present.
|Only born again should contribute. Fleshly men are not part of the Ekklesia nor will God even accept their "best" of intentions. God says, "Be ye Reconciled." /13||By emphasizing that only born again Christians are part of THE ONE EKKLESIA. To refuse to allow unregenerate people to participate in holy things which can lead them to deceiving themselves. They can attend, they should not participate.||The separation between the world's system and Christ's kingdom stays intact. So does the separation between Satan's people and God's children. This is the example all believers should live before the saints and our own children.|
Those with apostolic functions convert souls to Christ in specific locales. Those people become part of the ekklesia in that locale.
These gifted men are "sent" on behalf of and represent the entire body of Christ, not just a segment of it. /14
First, we become willing to recognize the men who have these functions.
Secondly, they are sent as the Holy Spirit leads them and supported by local assemblies when necessary. Sent ones have this right.
We NEVER send out anyone to a mission field from a particular segment of sectarian "Christianity" or on behalf of that segment.
Furthermore, we do not exalt these men more highly than we ought to as they are merely fulfilling their calling.
Mission fields are no longer filled with individuals representing "their particular church" or "denomination" but rather Jesus Christ alone.
Apostolic workers are sent from a local assembly, on behalf of sinful men in need and for Jesus Christ. They find the reward which will be Christ's upon His return to earth.
|Plurality of elders guide and set the proper example. No one central figure or a combination of elders allowed to rule. Ever. /15||
Disband or reorganize any one man show. Pray about who might and could serve and meet the qualifications.
No one elder should have more say or authority than any other. NEVER allow a top down hierarchy.
All decisions made by consensus- of ALL the local assembly members.
Safety. Men are often tempted to take liberties when given the opportunity. This prevents a single individual from taking over an assembly, introducing error, steering the direction of an assembly alone, making command decisions or controlling others. It affords safety for both the elders and the other saints. It also divides the teaching and leadership responsibilities among the elders.
Mutual accountability for each elders actions before the entire assembly.
|Only ONE is your Leader. Christ alone is HEAD of HIS EKKLESIA. Follow Him. /16||Keep Christ in focus. All fellowship and worship is FOR HIM. Do not call some man your Leader, Pastor, Priest, Teacher etc.||
Those who lead by example understand their place. They do not draw attention to themselves or find others to follow them. They point people to Christ.
All the saints are led of the Spirit within the assembly and desire to glorify God, not a man or men.
|Elders and deacons must meet criteria and be tested before they can serve. The decision to allow someone to serve is decided upon through mutual decision making among the other elders AND the assembly as a whole. /17||
An applicant should approach the elders with their desire to serve. If they approve, then said desire is brought before the local ekklesia for rejection or ratification. Although some situations may warrant it, the elders should always attempt to involve the entire assembly in major decision making.
ALL Biblical qualifications should be met for elders and deacons. Once approved, they do not receive a title, an office or a position. They simply serve in the capacity of their gift(s) in relation to assembly need.
Women are not to serve in any leadership capacity outside of groups specifically directed toward women.
The roles of men and women remain consistent and proper. Headship is retained.
Only qualified applicants can serve in any leadership capacity.
Order and stability is promoted and retained as saints mature and learn to take upon responsibilities.
|Decisions are made by consensus- not by individual or eldership rule. Each local assembly should agree and be likeminded. /18||
Appoint mature elders only- not in the Word only but in their concern for the saints well-being. Never allow any individual to make a decision for the entire assembly.
Make time to discuss assembly concerns. A time where all can participate and share.
Respect the elders' decisions. The saints may not always agree, but the elders have experience in these things. In most cases it is wise to trust their judgment- especially if they live like Christ.
Unity is retained as every working member has had an opportunity to contribute to the direction of the assembly.
Men refuse to allow their leadership or spiritual functions or spiritual gifts to set them above anyone else. All are subject one to another in the fear of Christ.
|The apostle Paul said of his education, "I consider it dung," when compared to the value of KNOWING CHRIST. Trust and dependence upon God cannot be learned in college but over time in the school of life. /19||
Elders train up individuals within each assembly to follow in their steps.
STOP paying colleges for a "Christian education" which only amounts to a position, title and salary within a religious institution.
STOP believing and promoting the above methodology of God's means of preparing His peopele for ministry. IT IS NOT!
|All equippers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers) are equipped for ministry as they practice ministry. They follow real role models as they follow Jesus.|
He chooses the weak, the foolish and those willing to be dependent upon Him. Why? So they have NOTHING to boast about except Him.
God is strongly opposed to one particular type of person: anyone who thinks they have earned anything at all by their own efforts and strength. /20
Refuse any label that might denote an individual as a professional minister/ Christian. Such talk is silly and prideful.
Refuse any religious title or position anyone offers you.
Recognize Jesus as your sole resource for living. Stay weak, foolish and dependent.
Embrace the scorn of fellow believers and the shame of the world system.
NEVER seek worldly qualifications for God's service.
A proper example is set for others to follow. Don't just say we are powerful in weakness- live it.
Exemplify before the local ekklesia, angels and a dying world how becoming NOTHING is the fastest road for Christ to become EVERYTHING through us and to us.
Any spiritual or religious title EXALTS MEN as above their brothers and sisters. Nowhere are titles such as Pastor, Priest, Rabbi, Minister, Reverend, Apostle, Prophet, Bishop, Cardinal or Teacher EVER SANCTIONED by God within the body of Christ.
Having a particular spiritual gift or spiritual function within the body DOES NOT necessitate a religious title or designation- unless of course a religious hierarchy is utilized in direct opposition to what God commands. /21
Refuse any religious title or position as we fulfill our calling. DON"T DO IT! Refuse any desire to rule over other believers.
Realize that having various gifts or functions is not the same as having a title or position with a similar name.
A religious hierarchy is avoided. Christians retain their equal standing before God.
Men must humble themselves and wait for God to exalt or honor them.
|Go therefore (go out into the world) and make disciples. /22||By going instead of inviting. By being obedient as those sent out to God's harvest fields.||
Assembly of saints only. Pure and undefiled fellowship.
The world's people realize God has high and holy standards for conduct and participation among His saints.
|God does not recognize professional ministers. The two words together would mean "professional servant" by God's standards. I wonder which religious professional would admit to being that? None, they prefer the world's definition. /23||There are no professional Christians. Professionals are supposed experts in their particular field of study. Anyone who sanctions this term for a believer most certainly cannot be an expert. They may have skills, oratory or presentations and presence- NONE of which are necessary and likely a deterrent to real Christian service.||
Mockery by the so-called professionals. They have earned what they have (or so they say) and their reward will be equally as earthly.earthly. andaaahaveh oobbsxbxsbxs bsbbskab;buiqbqcbcbbjqsbjsqbjse (or Theymmmmmmmmal. TThey T
We desire no advantage before men (sinners or saints) and ONLY desire to know and live Christ Crucified.
No Christian has authority OVER another Christian.
No believer can command or demand another believer to act in any particular way. /24
Refuse to submit to demands of religious authorities who attempt to control you.
Do not be subject to a yoke of slavery.
Question those who claim to have religious authority.
Suffering from religious authorities within organizations.
Forced silence or threats of excommunication.
Eventual spiritual abuse for those who obey God.
|The sheep are God's and His alone. That is why we must follow ONLY HIS VOICE. /25||
Abide in Christ. Grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him. Study the Word.
ALL believers should submit one to another.
Follow Jesus alone. Discern His voice and leading.
Safe from deception.
Jesus says, "All authority is given unto Me."
God appointed believers (plural) within each assembly have the right to exercise God's authority in given situations as the Spirit leads them- just like every other believer. /26
|All believers should submit to one another as members of a spiritual family whose Father is God.||
Discern the difference between institutional authority and God's authority.
Understand why authority is necessary and how it is properly exercised.
|Men assume the primary functions in each assembly and the women support the men. /27||
By accepting the roles, functions and gifts God gives each believer.
Honoring God's order in headship.
Treating the opposite sex as equal members of the body.
Unity in the Spirit.
Fruit of the Spirit manifested daily.
Women are not allowed to speak in an assembly let alone teach a gathered assembly.
Women can have the gift of teaching but are prohibited from teaching the assembly as a whole or when men are present. /28
Women are to remain silent when the entire assembly gathers.
Women are not to teach men or exercise authority over them.
Women should be encouraged to lead and teach the younger women and their neighbors.
God's proper order of headship is maintained.
All those with teaching gifts exercise them properly and in the appropriate context.
Mutual respect is maintained as is God's order from creation forward.
Although God does exalt and raise up certain individuals for His purposes, rarely is it wise to attract this kind of attention to oneself. Considering the false methodologies that usually bring rise to these individual's notoriety (self-proclaimed and self- titled ministries) it is unlikely God was behind them to begin with.
Furthermore, the saints are called to operate separately from the world and are forewarned about any allegiances with this world or its princes. THEY ARE STRICTLY FORBIDDEN and unnecessary as they undermine one's dependence upon God alone. Neither are they necessary to achieve God's ultimate purposes for His own people and Ekklesia. /29
Commit to staying in the shadows whenever possible. Make decisions that keep us out of the religious limelight. This can only be done as guru type believers willingly dismantle "their own" organizations which have exalted them above their brethren.
All believers should continue to speak and write what the Spirit speaks to them- and willingly share that free of cost and with no recognition as the author(s).
All believers should immediately STOP:
-starting any more self-made ministries.
-going into debt
-receiving any assistance from worldly governments (for organizations)
-have no ties to these governments
-stop naming ministry after "their own" names or any name.
-close and sell every church building and useless asset.
-distribute all of the resources to people in need as a testimony of Christ's love.
Man's worldly wisdom will be cut off- they will be forced to trust God once and for all.
All celebrity type preachers and teachers will lose their notoriety as they stop making a name and a kingdom for themselves. All believers will have to stop following:
1) Individuals other than Jesus.
2) A churches "traditions" instead of Biblical truth.
3) The religious right or similar organizations.
4) Some colleges church philosophies or any other thing, organization and idol that detracts from the preeminence of Jesus Christ.
The final result of obeying God in these matters (1-29):
Likely the greatest harvesting of souls ever recorded, as the world and its citizens are awestruck by the fact that Christians are finally practicing what they preach (or used to preach) and living by the principles the Bible teaches.
|We have been forewarned about people who will introduce falsehoods among God's people. They claim to know God but by their deeds they deny Him. /30||Test anyone who claims to be a leader or desires to be one. (about their lifestyle, desires, beliefs and authorities). If they desire in any way to exalt themselves, build what is earthly, utilize worldly resources in ministry or fail to live Christ Crucified trouble is imminent.||
The Scriptures remain the believers' authority- not a culturally relevant understanding of them, but what God actually intended for us to discover and practice as believers.
Any deviation from this authority opens Pandora's Box- and every evil thing that originates in the imaginations of men.
Church leaders have introduced or resurrected the following falsehoods into "their churches" and even among God's Ekklesia:
12 Step Programs
Purpose Drive Life
Mega Church Trends
Word Faith Doctrines
New Age Practices
…and many more lies /31
As individual Christians we MUST abandon the people and places teaching these lies. If we fail or refuse to do so, we shall be overcome with deception and suffer the consequences.
In addition to rejecting these lies, ALL believers are called to defend the TRUE FAITH found in CHRIST ALONE. We stand fast in an abiding relationship with Jesus Christ and speak and act ONLY as He leads us.
After admonishing and attempting to warn others involved in these lies, we are to SEPARATE OURSELVES FROM THEM.
THE FAITH, once delivered to the saints, is once again preached in its purity and power.
THE SAINTS, having abandoned all of men's inventions, are now free to rest solely upon Jesus and Him Crucified as a testimony before this evil world.
When ALL THINGS, are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One Who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.
Right about now, many of you may be wondering why I've bothered to create this rather extensive list of comparisons. I assure you, the lists could have been significantly longer.
In the opening paragraph of The forgotten Christian of New Testament Christianity, I explained how I would use these comparisons to show you the foolishness of attempting to be culturally relevant- how those who attempt this actually participate in obscuring what true Christianity entails. I will prove this, not with more lists that contradict the specific things that man has done, but with one simple observation.
Christianity grows and changes lives for one simple reason: Christianity is Christ. The faith once delivered to the saints only needs Him to succeed. This is due to Christ's finished work upon the cross. What is finished cannot be added to or subtracted from- it cannot be changed. If either of these could actually happen, the work would not be finished as Jesus claimed it was.
What can be changed is the manner in which Christianity is presented to other people, and this is not the same thing as it actually changing.
We know today that there is much confusion as to what Christianity actually is among both the sinners and the saints. This is specifically due to those things men, often well-meaning men have attempted to add or subtract from the real thing. This includes all of the above and whatever is listed under the section, What man has done.
What has man done? Man has continually attempted to highjack and control the person of Jesus Christ as the Head of His Ekklesia- to take His place. If Jesus were to remain the Head (be in control) man could not direct the affairs of other men and exalt himself in the process- the exact thing every example I give results in. Many a preacher, teacher or believer would reject this of course, nonetheless, it's obviously true.
Let's say we take all of the assets of a combined "Christiandom" (what man has done) and value them. Include every so-called church, organization, school, land holdings as well as those hidden and forbidden investments. Every physical asset of everything each of us would consider to be "Christian" related worldwide. Sell everything, liquidate it all! What do you suppose those monies would total? That's right, it's beyond our imagination to even consider such resource. We could only dream of having those monies to minister with, right?
Now consider what the impact of this very action (selling everything) would be before those in this world who need Christ. Especially if all that resource was donated to reaching those people and meeting any particular needs THEY HAD (by us in our locales). What do you suppose would happen? You already know. The world as we know it would be turned upside down. Millions of souls saved, the knowledge of God dispersed throughout the world. It would be the greatest act of benevolence and generosity ever recorded, it would rival anything ever seen this side of Jesus returning to earth. It staggers the mind to ponder the potential results.
So let's do it, right? Ah, now wait a minute you say. How do I know everyone else would sell everything. How could we all do it at the same time? Who would control the money? Who would orchestrate it all? It's just not possible.
The above questions (excuses) are no different than the list of man-made justifications I've offered earlier under the section, What man has done. The fact is simple: Despite the blessing and impact of doing something as radical as the above with the expectant results, we really don't want to do it do we? No, not after all the building, the orchestrating, the working, the saving and investing. It's simply too great of a cost to all we have done isn't it?
You see, the problem is not what we think it is- neither is the solution. The truth be told, all the money in the world won't change lives. Money can't save souls. It's people that make the difference, a people God is making into His own image. What makes that difference with God and before men are two things. First, a willingness to obey regardless of the cost. We are called to obey regardless of what others do and think. Have I never stood alone at the side of my Lord?
Obedience is necessary before God, but obeying Him isn't enough. It's equally important how we obey Him. You see my friend, even if we were to admit all we have done and renounce it all, nothing would really change. Even if we were to attempt to implement all of the solutions herein, still nothing would really change. How can that be you say, isn't that what you're saying we need to do?
God has another requirement for service and it must accompany the first. Without this condition, all of our works will merely stem from our own resources, from our own efforts as those listed above. In order for our lives to be truly beneficial to others and bear fruit unto God, we must be willing to die.
God's ultimate weapon is death, exemplified magnificently in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Won't you come follow in His footsteps as He has in yours?
You see, many a man will make sacrifices for other people. He will read his Bible, he will pray, he will attend meetings and share his faith. He will gladly perform the duties of a Christian, but will he commit to death?
Will a man die as God has commanded? Will he die to "his own ministry?" Will he die to "his own reputation?" Will he die to "his salary," "his title," "his religious position" and the praise that comes from being a religious professional? Will he die to every single thing that makes him stand out among his brothers and sisters? Will he die to what he has done? Will you?
Imagine for a moment serving God with none of the things man has done. Where would we fellowship? How would we function? Who would lead us?
These are the very questions we should be asking ourselves as a Christian, as a local ekklesia and a member of God's household of faith. For when a child of God discovers these answers, he or she can actually decide for themselves if Jesus is worth what it will cost them to obey Him.
When everything man has imagined and attempted to incorporate into God's society has ceased, then and only then, will we live reliant upon Jesus and Him alone. This is our neglected, but not forgotten past. There are still a few, the forgotten few, who long to live as their Father destined them to live. These letters and the reminders herein are dedicated to those few people…and the few who are considering the cost of doing likewise.
-Among the forgotten
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