Go Back to Your Beginnings

Go back to your beginnings with the Lord.  Remember that sense of blessing that you had? 

Go back to the gospel of Jesus Christ that was preached to you.  Remember how you thought and felt in that moment?

It is other gospels you have heard since then that have blown you off course.  Other influences have entered into your life and brought you into bondage whereas it was Christ who had made you free.

Go back to the purity and simplicity of devotion to Jesus Christ that you once had.  You loved Him above all others and you were prepared to do anything to serve Him.

You did not learn about church and all its trappings from the Spirit who taught you about Jesus.

If you go back to your beginnings, and reinforce those truths that He Himself has made known to you, then you can walk closely with Him once again.

Remember:  Jesus first.  Jesus last.  Jesus always.

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Indivisible Kingdom

The kingdom of God cannot be divided.  It is the kingdom that cannot be shaken.  This is what we have needed, because everything that can be shaken is being shaken.   And certainly the church has demonstrated in every generation that it can be shaken.

The church was even shaken at the end of the apostles’ generation.  The Lord had told them this would be so.  Thus they were not surprised.  And thus they warned those to whom they spoke and wrote. 

Because they knew the church would be shaken and divided, they gave no instructions for its maintenance and operation after their deaths.  Did Noah leave instructions for how his ark was to be used for future journeys?

Here is the choice before you, Christian leader:  a divided and ever-dividing church…or an indivisible kingdom?  Which will you have?

Choose this day whom you will serve.  As for me, I will serve the Lord and His indivisible kingdom.

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Do You Love Church More Than the Kingdom?

Why do you cling to church instead of embracing the kingdom?  Was not the church God’s ark of salvation to carry His people into the promised land of the kingdom?

When the perfect is come, the partial is done away.  Why do you continue to hold fast to the partial?  Do you need more evidence that the church is not the perfect?  Look around you.

What have you thought, or even said, about the Jews who would not let go of the temple when He who was greater than the temple came on the scene?  Because they loved the temple more than the new thing God was doing, they were left with what they loved – only it had become empty of the Lord.  Ichabod.

He who gave the tabernacle in the wilderness gave the temple to replace it.  He who gave the temple gave the church to replace it.  He who gave the church gave the kingdom to replace it.  Embrace the kingdom.  That’s where God is now.

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Disband the Brothers

If you are a Christian leader, you probably have a band of followers.  If so, disband them.   Disband them that they might be of a band with the Lord instead.  He is the only true Christian leader (Matthew 23:10). 

The Lord does not bond to people through you.  He bonds to people directly.  He is the living God.

Jesus desires all men to live together in harmony.  That goal is hard enough without you or I taking people and binding them to ourselves in the name of the Lord.  This only creates more relationships and more temptations for them.  Now they have to spread their energy across double the human demands.  Moreover, they’ll be expecting your band of brothers to treat them better than their natural band of brothers – and in that regard they will often be sorely disappointed. 

We have no call to try to create the family of God.  The true family of God is humanity – of which people are already a part.  Our role is to praise Him, calling attention to His omnipresence and His moral excellence!  If we do that, brothers will bond and the family of God will find peace.

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The Parable of the Unjust Steward

If you have believers in the Lord devoted to you as their spiritual leader for the Lord, then you would do well to mimic the steward in Jesus’ parable who was found squandering his master’s possessions. 

Let the Lord’s servants go to Him that they might serve Him.  During their time with  you, you laid burdens upon them, usually in the name of the Lord.  Maybe it was about church attendance.  Maybe it was about volunteer service in church, ministry, or organization programs.  Maybe it was financial commitments you asked them to make to you or your organization for the Lord’s sake.  In any case, free them from these obligations.  Set them completely at liberty and you will find other comfort and care for yourself when they have all gone.

Above all, however, be sure to let them go.  They are the Lord’s sheep and you and I should never have taken them – even if we were well-intentioned.  We may have been blind, but now we see.  The earth is the Lord’s and the sheep are the Lord’s.  He is able to care for them.  We may proclaim Him.  In fact, we should proclaim Him.  But we cannot take His place.  He alone is the Shepherd, the Pastor, the Ruler, and the Teacher of the people.

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Israel Is a Type of Humanity

If you are a Christian leader, you know that the Bible is filled with shadows and types.  Israel in the Old Testament is a type of humanity in the kingdom of God.

When Jesus is king, Israel flourishes as it did under David and Solomon.  When people disregard Jesus and seek other gods, the experience resembles that of Israel under its weaker kings.  When every person does what is right in their own eyes, the earth resembles Israel in the days of the book of Judges when there was no king in Israel.

Note that I did not say Israel was a type of the church.  Rather it is a type of all humanity.  In this context, the northern kingdom of Israel which split off from the house of Judah is a type of today’s church. 

Thus the post-apostolic church needs to forsake its separated identity and return to the Lion of the tribe of Judah as its King.  If it truly wanted to serve the Lord’s anointed, it would serve only Jesus and not set up kings (be they called pastor, pope, or anything else) of their own, declaring (falsely) that they are the true kingdom of Israel.

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The Divided Kingdom Is a Sign

If you’re a Christian leader, you know your Bible.  You know that the Lord gives signs.  The divided church is a sign to us.  Specifically, it’s a sign that the kingdom has come to replace it.

The prophets and apostles, and the Lord Himself, told us that the church’s last days would be marred by apostasy even though some believers would remain true.  The beginnings of this were even documented in the New Testament, especially the book of Revelation.  That fracturing has never stopped.  Today there are over 30,000 Christian denominations.  Do you now see that this is a sign that the physical church is not the kingdom of God?

A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.  There is no more divided kingdom on earth than the self-identified church!  How could it possibly be the Lord’s?

There was one who restrained the divisions in the days of the apostles, but once He was taken away there was nothing to prevent the continual dividing.  Thus the splintering continues even to this day. 

The kingdom of God, by contrast, is not divided at all.  It would be impossible for the Lord’s kingdom to be divided.  Thus, let the sign of the earth’s divided church alert you to stop seeking the church…and start seeking the kingdom!

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Why Are We Surprised That We Misunderstood the Kingdom?

Some of you know that the kingdom came long ago, right on time.  Many of us, however, took a while to get that truth.  We should not be surprised, however, that we initially misunderstood the kingdom of God.

After all, even though the kingdom of God was Jesus’ primary teaching theme, even those of us who’ve been devoted Bible teachers have shied away from it.  Isn’t that odd – that those of us who proclaimed the supremacy of Jesus the loudest, shied away from His central teaching?  How about the Sermon on the Mount, which could be considered the Magna Carta of the kingdom – how many of us majored on that as a sermon text?

Jesus taught the kingdom by parables.  Even the twelve apostles had a hard time comprehending them, especially at first.  The kingdom is indeed a mystery that only God can reveal.  Human intelligence and education are of no value in the quest to understand.

Therefore, having now the benefit of hindsight, it should be no surprise to us that while we initially thought the coming of the kingdom would be with signs to be observed (even though He explicitly said it wouldn’t – see Luke 17:20-21), the truth turned out to be something different than our expectation.  And it should particularly be no surprise that His coming in the kingdom was spiritual, not physical or fleshly, events.  After all, have we not boldly declared to anyone who would listen that spiritual things are more important and lasting than physical things?

Thus it is very understandable that we should have missed His second coming, just as the Jews missed His first coming.  Only let us miss it no longer.  Let us turn completely to Him whom physical eye cannot see.  Let us honor Him by faith…for He once asked (as if He foresaw our problem), “When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”

Do Not Withhold Good

You know that the Scriptures say that we should not withhold good from those to whom it is due when we it is within our power to do it.  Therefore, if we see a man in need and have the resources to help him, we should help.

You also know that the Scriptures tell us that hope deferred makes the heart sick.  Therefore, if we do not have the present ability to help the man but promise to provide it later, we should send the help as soon as we are able.  It almost goes without saying that we should not continually put off fulfillment of our obligation.

It’s clear that God led the early church to expect the return of the Lord and the coming of the kingdom before their entire generation passed away.  Almost every page of the New Testament pulsates with this hope.  The sense of expectation is palpable.  Yet here we are, dozens of generations since that time, and some people say that the Lord still has not fulfilled that promise.  That would mean that He has led generation after generation to expect something that He promised, but has still not delivered – almost two thousand years since He said the time would be “soon.”  How can this be?

The answer is that it cannot be!  It cannot be that God would make the hearts of His people sick…time after time.  It’s always been in His power to effect the coming of the kingdom.  How could He withhold what He Himself had promised and led His people to expect? 

The good news is that God has not withheld from us the good that He promised.  He has not made our hearts sick by a repeated deferring of our hope.  Rather, He did everything He promised in the time frame that He promised.  The Lord has come…and has reigned over heaven and earth ever since!  (Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again )

Therefore, do not proclaim the Lord Jesus who is to come again.  Instead, proclaim the Lord Jesus who has come again just as He said and who reigns forevermore.  Those who have eyes of faith see Him now…and serve Him gladly!

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2 Timothy 2:19

For those of us who name the name of the Lord, our number one responsibility is to abstain from wickedness.  It is not to build churches, manage ministries, wage evangelistic campaigns, or build great organizations for God.  Rather, it is to abstain from wickedness.  If we cannot do that for God, nothing else we do matters.  In fact, if we cannot do that, we will bring dishonor on God’s name by everything else we do in His name. 

If you cannot abstain from wickedness, cease mentioning His name until you can.

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Psalm 130:5

Jesus Christ is our hope.  He is also the Word of God (see John 1:1, 14; Luke 1:2; 1 John 1:1; Rev 19:13).  It’s in Him that we hope, and we thus find rest for our souls (Matt 11:28-30).

The Scriptures are about Jesus (John 5:39-40; Luke 24: 27, 44).  They will sing His praise at every opportunity we give them.

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Psalm 119:38 – Seeing Jesus as the Word Who Inspires Reverence

God established Jesus as His ultimate promise.  That is, Jesus is God’s Word to us (see John 1:1, 14; Luke 1:2; 1 John 1:1; Rev 19:13).  It is this very personal Word or Promise that evokes the reverence of God in our hearts.  Without Jesus, we could not imagine that the heart of God was so merciful.  Jesus, however, is the confirmation of such a hope.  Thus we hold Him in reverence and awe.

The Scriptures are about Jesus (John 5:39-40; Luke 24: 27, 44).

Psalm 107:20

God sent His Son into the world.  That is, God sent the Word (John 1:1, 14; Luke 1:2; 1 John 1:1; Rev 19:13)

The Word healed all manner of sickness and disease.  Most of all, He healed our sinful hearts.  He delivered us from all our destructions in the process.  His deliverance is enduring and eternal.

The Scriptures are about Jesus (John 5:39-40; Luke 24: 27, 44).  We certainly see His glory in this word picture by the psalmist.

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The Society of the Washed?

What if those who had submitted to John’s baptism had decided to form a society?  They might have called it “The Society of the Washed.”  We could further suppose that the doctrinal statement of that society was that all who had submitted to John the Baptist’s call for repentance and baptism would be allowed to go to heaven while those who did not submit to John’s call would not be allowed.  This would, of course, defeat the purpose which John was after and would be antithetical to spirit of humility he sought to inculcate in the people.  For this reason, no such society was formed.  Neither John the Baptist, nor Jesus, nor the apostles would have allowed it.  Only an insincere or partially repentant one would have even suggested it.

Unfortunately, after the age of the apostles such societies were formed, and they still exist today.  Their members think that because they have recognized the Lord’s call to repent, and perhaps even have begun an initial response  of repentance, that this makes them better than others and somehow worthy of ultimate salvation.  This attitude is not born of humility.  Let us reject it.

Abandon any society of the washed and live your life for Jesus without making distinctions between people.  The Lord only is judge.

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Isaiah 55:10-11

The apostle John told us clearly that Jesus was the Word (John 1:1).  Long before, Isaiah had prophesied of Him as the Word that was seed for the sower and bread for the eater (Isaiah 55:10-11).

Do you sow seed other than Jesus?  Do you take nourishment from others besides Jesus?

Honor and glory be to our all-sufficient Seed and our all-sufficient Bread – we have need of no other!

Jesus Is the Seed of the Parables

You know of Jesus’ parables.  You also know that many of them had to do with seed growing to harvest.  You also know that He designated the parable of the sower as foundational to the rest.  That is, if we couldn’t grasp that parable, the others were probably out of reach.

What He did not say explicitly in the Scriptures, but what we know just as well, is that He Himself is the supreme application of those parables. 

Jesus Himself is the seed sown.  Jesus Himself grows to a hundredfold harvest in good soil.  Jesus Himself grows in hearts day and night – how, we ourselves do not know.  Jesus Himself was the smallest of seeds on the way to becoming the largest of plants.  Jesus Himself was the good seed, next to which were sown tares. 

Revisit the parables and be consumed with Him who is our life.  Be done with church.  Be done with the trappings of ministry.  Let your life be your ministry and let your praise of Him overflow into a harvest of souls in His image that you would never have achieved with your former manner of life. 

In other words, return to Jesus forsaking all else…and receive a hundredfold return of Him.

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To Provoke in You a Godly Jealousy

I hope that this blog for Bible readers will provoke those of you who are Christian leaders to a jealousy for Jesus.  That is, I hope you will respond to what I have written by making Jesus more important in your own ministry.  In so doing, I hope and pray that you can reach even more people than I can.  The important thing is that His name is proclaimed and that all humanity comes to realize the greatness of His glory and His grace.

Jesus Christ is certainly worthy of our zeal and devotion.  He has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness through His willingness to take upon Himself flesh and live subject to the same temptations that bedevil us.  Whether you agree with me or disagree with me, I hope the outcome will be that you give yourself more fully to the One who loves us all and redeemed from our sins by His blood.

May He Himself be with you always!

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2 Samuel 19:12

Why should you be last to bring back Jesus?

Where is Jesus in your ministry?  Does He tower above all?  Do you talk about Him so much that there is no time left to talk about anyone or anything else?  Oh, I wish that it were so!

Will those who were the first to know of Him be the last to bring Him back?

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Thy Kingdom Come

Do you pray “Thy kingdom come?”  Toward what purpose?  If His kingdom came would you receive it?  What if it meant a choice between your church meetings and receiving the kingdom – would you choose the kingdom over those church meetings?

His kingdom has come.  It is here today and has been since the days of the New Testament closed.  Though it has been hidden from you, you can receive it now.  It has always been present when the winds of revival have blown because it has been the kingdom moving in those winds.  Many of the people in the church over the years have been affected by the winds, but the church itself is a man-made structure impervious to them.

Many people will not let go of the old when God brings the new.  This was certainly true of the Pharisees.  They had long waited for a Messiah who would deliver them.  When He did not match their preconceived notions, however, they rejected Him and clung to their traditions.  Today’s Pharisees are doing the same thing: they are clinging to their traditions of church even though the Lord’s kingdom is available to them.  I hope you are different.

O Lord, show a man what he may let go of, in order that he may grasp the things that You are offering. 

Receive His kingdom now.  Walk in the light of His glorious presence.  Serve Him in everything that you do.  The church age is over.  The kingdom for which we have prayed, lo, these many years has come.  When the Son of Man comes, He asked, will He find faith on the earth?  I pray He finds it in your heart right now. 

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Someone Greater Is Here

Cain slew Abel because Cain’s deeds were evil and Abel’s were righteous…but Someone greater than Abel is here now.

Enoch walked with God, and he was no more, for God took him…but Someone greater than Enoch is here now.

Noah was given as one who would give his people rest from the curse which God had brought upon the earth…but Someone greater than Noah is here now.

Abraham was one from whom God brought forth multitudes at a time past when such birthing was considered possible…but Someone greater than Abraham is here now.

Isaac faced death as a sacrifice yet was given back to his father…but Someone greater than Isaac is here now.

Moses was the great prophet and leader of the people of God…but Someone greater than Moses is here now.

Samson killed more Philistines in his death than he did in his life…but Someone greater than Samson is here now.

Samuel was a faithful priest who replaced the corrupt priests before him…but Someone greater than Samuel is here now.

David was a humble Israelite whom God chose to make king over them all…but Someone greater than David is here now.

The Queen of Sheba said the servants of Solomon were blessed just to be around him and hear his words…but Someone greater than Solomon is here now.

Ezra set his heart to study the Scriptures, put them into practice, and teach them to his people…but Someone greater than Ezra is here now.

Jonah preached to the great city of Nineveh that it should repent and he spent three days and nights in the deep on the way…but Someone greater than Jonah is here now.

That Someone is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is invisible but omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient.  It is Him we are to serve.  Today and every day.  Do you know you are doing that…or merely think you are doing that?

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Greater Than John the Baptist

You know that there was no prophet like Moses who spoke with the Lord face to face.  Yet Jesus said that of all those born of women, there was no one greater than John the Baptist.  What made John greater than Moses?  John the Baptist also spoke with the Lord face to face, but in his case, it was his cousin Jesus of Nazareth – God Almighty in the flesh!  This was one of those statements of Jesus that could not be fully appreciated until His divinity was realized.

How then does Jesus go on to say that he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John?  We who live in the age when Jesus’ divinity has been revealed stand before Him every moment of our lives.  We are not restricted to see His face only at certain times as were Moses and John.  Rather, we can behold the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ every waking moment.  To our God and Savior Jesus Christ be the glory for the unending grace He pours out upon us!

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The Sinner’s Prayer

If the sinner’s prayer is good enough to be saved by, why isn’t it good enough to live by?  Here’s an example of the sinner’s prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus,  I know that I am a sinner and that I have fallen short of your glory.  I know that you have seen every wrong thing I have ever done.  I also know that you died on the cross so that I could be forgiven of my sins and be able to live for you.  I submit my life to you from this day forward.  I believe in You.  I call upon you as my Lord and Savior.  Please receive me, Lord.  I trust Your promise that you will not cast me out.  Help me to live only for you all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What if you were to tell a person that prayed that prayer to live the rest of their life in that same spiritual posture – would that produce a good life?  Of course, it would.  Instead, we tell them that they need to go to church, get involved in fellowship.  That’s where all the mischief ensues.  We go over land and sea to make one proselyte, and when we succeed, the convert becomes as bad as us – sometimes worse.

As you have received the Lord, so walk in Him.  If we have been birthed by the Spirit, should we not live by the Spirit?  Since we’ve begun by faith, will we not continue by faith?

The sinner’s prayer was not such a bad idea, except that we aborted it with our man-made docrine about joining a man-made church.  Let us turn to God and live the sinner’s prayer just like we would want the converts to live it.

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Did You Dedicate Your Life to Being a Meeting Promoter?

Those of you who promote church instead of the kingdom of God are promoting meetings over the keeping of God’s commandments. 

I know most of you have good intentions.  Your hope is that by getting people to come to church regularly, they can hear the commandments.  You believe also that they’ll be around other like-minded people of faith who will encourage them and help them stay faithful.  The first problem with this is that it connects people to you and your congregation rather than to God.  The second problem is that it doesn’t work (and the first problem is why it doesn’t work).

You know that church is a monster that must be constantly fed.  If it dies, you lose your source of income.  For this reason you have to keep it going.  If the church were the kingdom of God would this be the case?

As a church leader, your life is consumed with how you can get people to come to your church’s meetings (i.e. worship services, programs, activities).  And if enough people come, your concern shifts to how to get them to donate enough money to pay the expenses associated with those meetings.  Is this why you gave your life to the Lord – to be a meeting promoter?  Don’t you long for more spirituality than this?

We’ve gotten way, way off track.  With church, the means has become the end.  Let’s drop the means and go straight to the end: Jesus Christ our Lord.  Live for Him.  Obey Him.  Tell others about Him.  But don’t try to build Him something that He doesn’t want and doesn’t need: your church.  He already has one of His own. 

Forget your meetings.  Let your sheep join His flock.  And don’t forget to join it yourself.

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The Human Race Is the Body of Christ

One of the problems with church today is that it sets up distinctions between people – distinctions that God does not want to exist.  Is there a man you meet who is not your brother?  A woman you’ve found who is not your sister?  We are all born of flesh.  Jesus did not die so that humanity could continue to be separated.  He did not choose Abraham in order to create separations, but rather that separations might be ended and people might be brought back together.

Yes, in the New Testament age, the church was the body of Christ.  That was when there was only of them (the apostles would not tolerate separations in it).  But the church age gave way to the kingdom age when Jesus returned in His Father’s kingdom.  Since then He has reigned over all humanity.  Everyone is now in Christ. 

God would never be content ruling over only a portion of humanity.  He was unwilling that even one soul should be conceded to Satan.  See every person you meet as an extension of the body of Christ.  Do not reject this idea on the basis that some members of the body are of little or no use to the cause of Christ, because you previously accepted your church as the body when you had the same perception of it.

We are one in the Spirit.  We are one in the Lord.  Love everyone equally and make no distinctions among yourselves.  God may make distinctions – that’s His prerogative.  We, however, are not allowed to make them.  We are to regard everyone as a servant of the Lord, and to his own Master that other person stands or falls.  And to that same Master do you and I stand or fall.

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Q: Are You Saying We Shouldn’t Build Churches and Invite People?

A: Yes, that’s what I’m saying.  There’s no scriptural foundation for doing so.  If you want to invite people to something, invite them to righteousness.  That is, tell them about Jesus.  He said that He would build His church.  Do you want to ursurp His place and be like Uzzah, Saul, or Uzziah?  Do you want to be like the Pharisees and seat yourself in His chair?  Let us repent and become His true servants!

Are You Prepared for a Stricter Judgment?

It’s clear that God judges us according to the light available to us.  If you are a Christian leader, you have more knowledge of God’s will than the rank and file.  And you have far more knowledge than the people of other religions…and those of no religion.  Do you think about the awesome weight of judgment this brings?  It is a terrible and fearful thing!

Take heed to your life.  Get alone – away from everyone else.  Ask God to show you where you stand, so that you can be sure things are as right as they can be between you and Him while you are still on the earth. 

Some of you have been frowning on people who will actually have a higher standing than you in heaven.  Does that shock you?  Better to be shocked now – when you can still do something about it – than then.

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Jesus Is Greater Than Adam

Church theology has it that Adam is greater than Jesus.  That is, it declares that all human beings suffer the judgment of death because of Adam’s sin, yet the sacrifice of Christ only qualifies a portion of them for resurrection to life.  The apostle Paul, however, had a different idea and he expressed it with the utmost simplicity and clarity in 1 Corinthians 15:22.  He said that Christ’s redemption would extend as far as had Adam’s judgment. 

Technically speaking, Paul did not say in this verse that Jesus was greater than Adam.  But did he have to?  Did he have reason to believe that any of his readers would need instruction on this point? 

Neither should any of us today need to be reminded that Jesus is greater than Adam.  But if you can’t bring yourself to believe that Jesus is greater than Adam, at least believe that He is as great as Adam – that is, that He can bring as much redemption as Adam could bring death.

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The Inadequacy of Group Identity

Those of you who think having a church affiliation is important, let me ask you this: If group identity and affiliation were so useful, why did God ever decide to replace ancient Israel with the kingdom of God? 

If group identify is critical, what more clear and sure identity could you have than heredity?  Group identity, however, was inadequate for God’s ultimate purpose.  Why?  The answer lies in the nature of faith: faith is something that occurs between an individual and God.  This has nothing to do with one’s physical identity or human associations.

If group identity were critical to maintain faith, then God never would have abandoned the nation of Israel for the structure of church.  The group dynamics offered by the nation Israel were significantly superior to what a church can offer.  Church meets at most several times a week while Israel was a nation – they never departed from each other.  Reading the Scriptures, retelling the Bible stories, holding each other accountable – these are tools which a nation can employ more often, more comprehensively, and more effectively than a church.  What church can hold festivals like Israel did that involved every person in the country and sometimes lasted days?  Church members have to celebrate Christmas at church but also leave time for celebrating with their families – with Israel it was all one celebration.

Look at it from the opposite angle: If the church were a superior mechanism for the purpose of preserving and conveying faith, then God would have from the beginning employed a gathering a willing individuals from all nations to wait on Jesus rather than restricting Himself to the physical descendants of one man.  That is, He would have Abraham assemble like-minded people and grow the congregation rather than have him bear a child.

In any case, neither identity as a Jew, a churchgoer, or simply a professed Christian is sufficient to please God.  What God wants is for people to hear His voice and obey it.  Whoever does that is His family.

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Where Is the Procedure Manual for Your Church?

Have you ever wondered why God gave so many specific and detailed instructions for worship in the Old Testament tabernacle but so few for the New Testament church?

You know that the law of Moses is filled with everything you’d want to know about how to sacrifice on God’s altar.  The book of Leviticus alone can be overwhelming.  Why then would God place so  little information about the operation of the church in the New Testament?

Here’s another question from a different angle:  Did Jesus Christ die on the cross so that God could move worship services from Saturday to Sunday?  Was that the whole problem – that He just needed to change the day, get rid of the animals, and institute some new rituals, and then people would start obeying Him more?

I hope you will think about these questions and give them serious consideration.  In the meantime, know this:  the New Testament church was temporary housing for those who believed the good news about Jesus and were waiting on the kingdom of God.  At the end of the New Testament time period, the kingdom came and those who had been faithful knew it.  They came to realize not only that Jesus was the Messiah, but that the Messiah was God!  They also realized that this God now lived in their hearts to love and direct each and every one of them.  Therefore, they no longer needed the structure of church.  The church continued on, however, led by those weak in faith who kept looking for a physical return of Jesus.  That church keeps splitting in generation after generation – there are currently over 30,000 separate versions of church.

Therefore, today there are two churches: the one that you see with your eyes, and the one that only the Lord sees because it consists of those who truly believe in Him and serve Him.  God didn’t leave us a procedure manual for church because we don’t need one.  We just need to live in the omnipresence of Jesus and keep His commandments.

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Why Your Church Doesn’t Put God First

Your church doesn’t put God first because if it did, it would go out of business – for that’s what the church is:  a business.  It has customers, revenues, expenses, operations – all the characteristics of a business. 

You have to teach on tithing, you have to receive offerings, you have to seek volunteers to staff the various ministries of the church.  Without the time and money of the members or participants in your church, you can’t continue the ministry.  The church has to turn away from the commandments of God and focus on self-preservation in order to survive.

You may have convinced yourself that God wants all this but you can’t find commandments in the Bible that tell you how to operate a church.  Oh, different churches will pick a verse here and a verse there to justify their practices, but the Bible says so little about the operation of a church that people are forced to invent procedures for them – especially about how they’re governed.  If God wanted churches to succeed the New Testament church, wouldn’t He have left instructions about how that should occur?   

Because the New Testament church put God first, we know about the kingdom of God.  They were thrilled at the prospect of exchanging church for that kingdom.  Why do we keep clinging to the remains of what they were ready to discard?   For their sake, let us cease the vain imitation of church and pursue the kingdom of God with all our hearts. 

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The Priest, the Levite, and the Samaritan

When Jesus told the story of the good Samaritan, why you suppose he chose a priest and Levite to represent the two uncaring individuals who passed by the victim without giving any care?

Obviously, priests and Levites were the clergy of their day – analogous to today’s Christian leaders.  The Samaritan had no religious standing at all.  Was the Lord trying to send us a message?

Maybe He was trying to tell us that religious services don’t matter in the kingdom of God.  What matters is giving care to those who need it.  Why don’t we just forget the religious services?

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