Wednesday, January 27

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, Jesus commanded his disciples to make disciples of the nations, baptize, and teach them to obey what He had commanded. Jesus instilled within each the full DNA to accomplish the assigned task.

For many years his Church was on course for completing the task. Servants like Peter, Paul, and their companions pointed us in the way. The blueprint clearly found in the pages of the New Testament.

However as the Kingdom grew, so did the desire to control and monitor all that was happening. God has certainly not ceased to work through His Church, but in a real sense, his divine methods and purposes have been substituted for man-made religion, programs, dogmas, denominations, and church-related organizations. Simply stated: we are the divided body of Christ.

Instead of the simple obedience to the commands of Jesus--love the Lord your God, love one another, seek first His kingdom, abide in me, go make disciples, do this in remembrance of me, etc.-- the church has set up different standards for governing what it is Christ said to do. We have turned Christianity into a religion. Complete with hierarchy in our churches, organizations and institutions. We have added rules, regulations, expectations, and interpretations which go way beyond the simple commands of our Lord. Isn't this the same kind of stuff the Pharisees were condemned for by Jesus?

However, all over the world today, there is an emerging breed of believers ready and willing to exchange Institutional Christianity for a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation--a people for God's own possession (I Peter 2:9). A return to the reality that all God's children are empowered to be active participants in the Great Commission and the coming of God's Kingdom upon this earth.

Today we get bogged down in a never-ending debate about who, what, when, and where, and how things can and should be done. Instead of just doing what Christ said to do, we now have formal written documents, clauses, guidelines, interpretations, and definitions for everything. Clutter.

Thom Rainer writes in Simple Church: Returning to God's Process For Making Disciples
"[Jesus] stepped into a complicated and polluted religious scene. It was cluttered with Sadducees, Pharisees, Herodians, Zealots, and Essenes. He did not play by their rules. He could not stand their hypocrisy. He preferred spending time with tax collectors and sinners."
Is anything different today? How does Christ react to all we have made of his Church? His Bride!

Why can't we just get back to being the simple first-century, Spirit empowered disciples meeting in homes, by river sides, under Mango trees, spurring one another on to do those things Jesus commanded us to do?

5 comments:

Darrell said...

All over the world such words make the common sense that they should. However HERE such words go in one ear and out the other...and the beat goes on...

GuyMuse said...

Darrell,

Philip Yancey once said, "As I travel, I have observed a pattern, a strange historical phenomenon of God "moving" geographically from the Middle East, to Europe to North America to the developing world. My theory is this: God goes where he's wanted."

I think there is a lot of truth to that statement. Don't you?

Mark Finger said...

In one month:

God has given us a house of peace in a nearby town.

He has brought existing Christians who were isolated from fellowship into our home (laborers for the harvest).

He has brought me a ministry partner (former NAMB) who faithfully works with me.

He has provided opportunity for the sharing of the gospel in public places (I didn't plan it).

We have so many ministry tasks, it's hard to keep up with them all right now: and we L-O-V-E it!

Three Keys I've Learned:

1) Go. (by faith)

2) Value the ones God gives you.

3) Be faithful in little.

4) Battle to be constant in prayer.

Peace,

Mark

P.S. It's not work; it's fun.

Mark Finger said...

Guy: you can see the picture of our 'House of Peace' man on my Authorized and Commissioned site under the heading 'His Sheep Hear His Voice.'

GuyMuse said...

Mark,

What a great and encouraging testimony! Wow, keep up the good work in the Lord. I love the 3 keys you describe in four points!