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Where does your heart lie? Christians today speak more about the things of Christ than about Christ. I challenge you to find a piece of paper and make several categories labeled ministry, prayer, truth, worship, faith, love, peace, serving, giving, and Christ. Turn on your local Christian radio station and record how many times you hear these categories mentioned. I garuantee you that Christ will be the least mentioned.

Another dare, go to your local Christian book store or the Christian section. Start reading titles and the backs of books. Make the same category list as before and see how often each is mentioned. Try the same test with your church services, Bible studies, sermons, and favorite pod casts. How many of them mention Jesus Christ primarily? A very small minority!

Christians today are obsessed with talking about the things of Christ. They are obsessed with trying to live out and follow after the things of Christ. They doggedly follow and seek out what the truth is, what their ministry, prayer, worship, faith, love, peace, serving, and giving should be. Many Christians center their lives, their work, their efforts around praying more, knowing more of the truth, and having greater faith. We think by these things we have life. These are all things of Christ, so we have life if we possess them all, right?

Wrong! Jesus Christ is the life. The things do not bring us to life in Christ. The things do not guarantee us eternal life in Christ. Living in Christ, seeking and loving Him, and following after Him every day with the Body guarantees that we have life. By doing this then we possess all the other things.

Without focusing on living in Christ we can never possess all the things of Christ. “Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you,” Jesus said. He never said that if you sought the things of the kingdom of God that Christ would be added to you.

Let’s not forget Christ is eternal life. The things of the Spirit do not give us life but are the out pouring of Christ’s life in us! Don’t put the cart before the horse. Forget on measuring yourself against how much you possess of the things of Christ. Remember what Christ warned, “Whoever judges shall be measured by the same standard.” If you measure your life in Christ by how much you possess of the things of Christ you will be condemned by how much you lack them!

The only standard to judge yourself is whether or not you are living in the Spirit, aka Jesus Christ. Put your eyes on Christ and never take them off. He possesses all and is more than enough to keep you satisfied and alive.

Cheers to living in Christ!

Rethinking Ministry

Much emphasis within the church is placed on ministering to others. Pressure is constantly put upon the saints to minister to one another or the lost. If you are a pastor then an overwhelming pressure is placed upon you to minister to the whole church through sermons, counseling, prayer, guidance.

One question always comes to mind when I hear someone say, “We are ministering to the poor,” or, “We are ministering to the church,” is “What are you ministering?” The answer most readily given is that they are ministering compassion, love, mercy, money, food, truth, discipleship, etc. Ministering basically means to give out. Is ministering about giving out compassion, love, mercy, money, food, truth, discipleship?

These are all a giving out that serves the needs of others. Is this what ministry is all about? Is ministry all about serving the needs of others? Ministry is not about serving the needs of the downtrodden, lost, or the church. The ministry mentioned in scripture never revolved around the needs of mankind.

The first minister in scripture was Aaron from the line of Levi. God chose Aaron to minister as priest. This was God’s first picture of what a priest should be like. The first picture of what God intended all priesthood for all of time to look like. Aaron was God’s example of what ministry was to be all about.

“Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me—Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons.” -Exodus 28:1

Who did Aaron minister to? Was it to the lost, downtrodden, poor, abandoned, lost? Aaron ministered to the Father! What did Aaron minister to The Father? Incense, perfect and spotless lambs, doves, and unleavened bread. These were the things the Father instructed to Aaron as being pleasing to Him. This was the only ministering the Lord would accept.

What a strange preference the Father had! The other gods of that time wanted their priests to sacrifice their children, precious gems, gold, their own lives, and other items of great wealth. But the Father wasn’t interested in wealth or mankind. The Father was interested in something vastly more pleasing, more significant to Him, more worthy of love. The Father asked to have His Son ministered to Him! The incense, lambs, doves, and unleavened breads were all pictures of Christ. All the Father wanted was His Son.

Aaron ministered Christ to the Father. Aaron was the first priest a picture of how a perfect, royal priesthood thousands of years later would minister to the Father. The saints today are the royal priesthood. We have the same calling and responsibility as Aaron in how we minister to the Father.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” –  1 Pet. 2:9-10.

We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of God called to minister before the Lord. What do we minister to God and each other? We minister Christ to the Father and each other. The ministry is not to serve our own needs, heal us physically or spiritually, or out of great compassion to help the needy and lost. Ministry is to serve Christ to one another and to the Father.

The heart of ministry is mutual edification. Our ministry to one another is simply to edify one another. As we give Christ, sharpen others into more of Christ, and allow ourselves to be crucified down to Christ alone the Body of Christ is built up into the fullness of Christ! Without giving Christ to one another through what we say and do we will not become built up into the fullness of Christ. Our sole mission should be to live in Christ that we may be able to minister Christ to one another and the Father. Ministering Christ cannot happen without first living in Christ. You cannot minister what you do not receive.

” What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” – 1 Cor. 14:26

” I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” -Eph 1:18-23

Ministering is not caring for the lost, hurt, poor, and needy. Instead of trying to focus upon caring for the downtrodden learn to minister Christ to one another and the Father. When Christ through the Body begins to care for the downtrodden then you will be ministering to the lost, hurt, poor, and needy. Not because your ministry or responsibility is caring for them, but rather because you are ministering Christ. How? Christ is the one caring for them and you are obediently doing His will which is giving forth of Christ.

God leads when, how, and who of the downtrodden to care for. The work must be Christ’s. Our focus needs to remain on living in Christ and giving out, ministering, of Him to others and the Father. If your ministry isn’t giving out Christ to the saints and the Father then its not a ministry. You are doing good works, but this is not ministry.

Unlike Christ

We are not to be like Christ. How much we have been deceived! The point of following Christ, the evidence of the Holy Spirit within us, is not being like Christ. It is not being like God. The point of following Christ is to serve the Lord, His dwelling within us and us dwelling within Him. The point is not how perfect we act or that we learn how to be more loving, wise, giving, etc. But rather that we learn to dwell in Christ constantly.Satan’s boast was he would be LIKE God. That means that he boasted he would function, act, and perform LIKE God. The father never desired for us to be like Christ. This was only Satan’s desire.
“But you (Satan) said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God,
And I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the recesses of the north.
14 ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
“Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol,
To the recesses of the pit. ” Isaiah 14:13-15, parentheses mine.
Adam and Eve dwelt constantly with God. This perfect couple dwelt in the garden, walking and talking with the Lord. They were completely happy, fulfilled, and accepted by the Lord. Even though they were NOT LIKE God. What happened when they ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?What did Satan promise would happen when they ate the fruit? He promised they would be LIKE God. And sure enough, that’s just what happened. They became like one of God, rather than dwelling with God. Completely sinful and imperfect by doing thus, when before by just dwelling with God they were perfect. God recognized how they became like one of Him and was grieved. Grieved! Not pleased, but grieved.
“For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be LIKE God, knowing good and evil.”  Genesis 3:5
“Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” Genesis 3:22
Don’t be deceived… God will never let us be “like” Christ and live for eternity. God will let us dwell with Christ, trusting in Him for our perfection, and live for eternity. We can never be like Christ. We will only learn the difference between good and evil and be consumed by our own labors by trying to be like Christ. When we focus on dwelling in Christ we then walk in the Spirit and fulfill the things of the Spirit while denying the things of the flesh.Perfection isn’t the path we seek. Learning how to be more perfect or wise over time is not the goal. Seeking Christ is the way we walk, live, talk, and breath. He is the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except by Him. Our works are but filthy rags or the fruit of abiding in Him. But the fruit does not cause the abiding. Our focus should never be our fruit.If increasing in our good labor is what we focus on we are in trouble… Cain brought the fruit of his labor from his field. God was not pleased by his righteous acts, his hard labor. Rather God was pleased when Abel brought Him Christ, the fat of a lamb. Abel knew what God wanted and brought Christ in himself to the Lord. Eventually sin mastered Cain because he brought the fruit of his own works. If we try to better our love, works, or serving we will only be mastered by sin.
Furthermore when Christ was a man on earth He did not try to be like God. Jesus Christ was content being one with God. Not being like God in any way, but rather resting in the Father and Holy Spirit. We too should learn to be content to rest in God rather than strive to be like the Lord.
In his very nature he was God. But he did not think that being EQUAL WITH GOD was something he should hold on to.
Instead, he made himself nothing. He took on the very nature of a servant. He was made in human form. He appeared as a man. He came down to the lowest level. He obeyed God completely, even though it led to his death. ” Phil 2:6-8
Freedom from striving, sin, and the flesh comes in seeking Christ, abiding (living) in Him. Dear brothers and sisters let us just simply live in Christ. Christ is love, wisdom, truth, light, the way, serving, etc. To grow in these areas is simply to consume more of Christ. The way to be more loving is to abide more in Christ.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added to you.” -Jesus.
You don’t have to work to be all these spiritual things. Rather you have to work to keep your eyes on Christ alone and not on the labor of your own works. As Jesus said if you abide in Him He will abide in you. If you abide in Christ you will never be cut off. You will never lose the prize or crown of life. You will never lose your eternal life or be unable to finish the race. Its not dependent on your performance as a believer but rather on who you live in as a believer. Do you live in yourself or Christ?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” -Jesus, John 15:5-6.
The fruit comes from living in Him. You don’t live in Him by having the fruit. You have the fruit by living in Jesus Christ and the Father and the Holy Spirit. You don’t have to strive to be perfect. By living in Christ you are already perfect!
“”For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Heb. 10:14.
We don’t have to strive to be perfect. We are already perfect because Christ abides in us. Cheers to living in Christ together with one another!

Christ’s Yoke

In the modern age of transportation and media who do believers learn from? American culture, which has spread to all first and second world countries and is slowly seeping into third word countries, loves to use media or an accredited person to educate them. Most of the world learns now by books, television, documentaries, newspapers, internet browsing, and specialists.

Today’s churches are no different. Their congregants learn from specialized pastors, priests, worship leaders, Sunday school teachers, and conference speakers. If your church is fervently Pentecostal you learn from prophets, evangelists, and “apostles” as well. Believers are taught by video sermons, millions of books, God TV and their similar conterparts, worship music, course study materials, and the list goes on and on.

These things are all excellent forms of learning. Every time I think of these tools for learning a question pops into my mind, “What are we supposed to be learning?” You should only teach what needs to be learned, right? This is a common, practical aspect applied in all education systems.

What are we supposed to be learning? Are we supposed to be learning scripture, the correct way to live, knowledge about Christ? You might be tempted to answer yes because the predominant Christian lesson in the church today is to live a godly lifestyle. All these things like scripture memorization, Bible studies, sermons, and “discipleship” training, which is little more than character building, are designed to make you live a godly lifestyle so that the world may see Christ through the way you live and talk and come to know Him as well.

While this goal is good and dandy is this what God says we are supposed to be learning? God knows what is best. What did God say we are supposed to be learning in this life? The answer is Jesus Christ. We are not to be learning things about Jesus Christ, but rather who Jesus Christ is. We are supposed to, as His Body, learn how to be Christ together. Who else can teach us who Jesus Christ is as a person than Jesus Christ himself?

To say a pastor, television series, or even a sincere believer who wants to save a friend can teach someone who Christ is is ridiculous! Its tantamount to saying that my dear friend Jen can teach her friend Jeanette, who has only met me a few times, who I am intimately. You would scoff! How silly of a statement! Jeanette would have to spend time with my on a regular basis to know me for herself. You cannot teach someone who someone else is. Yet with all our attempts at teaching through all these tools we are essentially doing exactly that. We are attempting to teach people who rarely, infrequently, or never have been in contact with Jesus Christ who He is by telling them all about Him.

People will truly know who Jesus Christ is when they are brought into contact with Him. Only Jesus can teach the world who He is. Jesus Christ asserted this fact numerous times as did many of the apostles. There is no way around it.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30.

Head knowledge will never teach us who the Lord. Head knowledge will only, possibly, teach us how to live a godly lifestyle which isn’t even the purpose of being a believer. The purpose of being a believer is to built up into Christ with other believers. Which means, you guessed it, you have to experience Christ. You have to know Him to be Him together with other believers.

 …so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:12b-16.

Paul clearly stated to the Ephesians the church’s purpose is to become the Body, the fullness of Jesus Christ. In order to do this we must know Christ, live in Him, and be unified in all things. This is why we can only have one teacher. Jesus Christ is the only One who can teach us who He is.

But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.  And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.  Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. – Jesus, Matthew 23:8-10.

The church needs to understand what her purpose is on earth. Our purpose is not to live godly lifestyle or to know about Jesus Christ. Our purpose is to become one with the other saints in Christ Jesus being built up into the mature Body of Christ. To be a part of Christ! Learning about Christ, scripture, and a godly lifestyle will never accomplish this incredible eternal purpose. Only daily relationship with one another and Christ will allow us to be built up into the mature Body of Christ. As we do this we will truly know Jesus Christ and He will teach us all about Himself.

You may be thinking at the moment, “That’s too hard!” No, nothing is impossible with God. In fact Jesus said this was an easy thing to do. Jesus said, ” For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Jesus said that He is a gentle and humble teacher who gives us plenty of rest when learning who He is. Christ’s yoke is to learn who He is.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” -Jesus, Matthew 11:28-30.

In fact, what you have been doing is harder than what Christ commanded about learning from Him alone. Learning from a human teacher is harder than learning from Jesus Christ! Defies the natural mind, but its true nonetheless. How do I know this? Who did Jesus call to come to him in the above passage? Jesus was speaking to the Jews! To His people who had learned about Him and memorized scripture in the synagogues. What did Jesus say about them? “You who are weary and burdened.” What you are currently doing by learning about Christ from a pastor and memorizing scripture is heavy and burdensome.

Learning who Christ is from Himself with the Body is light, easy, and restful. But it means a sacrifice whereas the old way does not. Learning Christ means death on the cross of all who we are. The cost in being Christ’s Body with others is high but the reward and life afterwards is great. The cost of just learning about Christ, memorizing scripture, etc is low but in the long run the cost is high in burdens and weariness and displeasing the Lord.

Oh, the consequences of doubt. Abraham is a prime example of the consequences of our doubt. Abraham?! Indeed, one of our greatest heroes of faith is also one of our greatest examples of doubt. After many years of waiting Abraham and Sarah became impatient for God to produce their blessing; a son. Abraham gave into Sarah and slept with her maidservant, Hagar, who birthed a son, Ishmael.

For fourteen years Abraham doubted God. During this time Abraham attempted to build his lineage through Hagar. Then one day Abraham woke up. Suddenly, for reasons the Bible does not explain, Abraham realized God would not give his blessings through Abraham’s attempts to force it to happen.

Abraham learned after fourteen years of doubt that only faith (belief) in what God says will bring about what God promises for us. No amount of force or hard work or even perfect behavior and faith will bring about God’s promises any sooner. God has a time and place for everything.

If Abraham doubted God for fourteen years, a very long time indeed, why was he recorded as a righteous man of faith? Did you know that God did not credit Abraham with righteousness until after he had lacked faith for fourteen years and then turned to trust God again? Once Abraham repented the Lord credited him with righteousness.

How can this be? Abraham lacked faith. Abraham doubted and sinned!  God does not judge a man by how he falls but rather by whether or not he rises again in Christ.

 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of calamity. Proverbs 24:16

So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Galatians 3:6.

Your mistakes do not have the final word. Scripture leaves no doubt that a righteous man WILL fall many times. You cannot prevent yourself from falling. Instead of looking to your actions as your yardstick of righteous you need to see that who you are is your seal of righteousness.

Scripture is clear that only Christ is righteous. God sees no one else, no other action as righteous. If we are in Christ, we are have righteousness. If we are apart from Christ than we can never achieve righteousness.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Cor 1:30.

Remember your mistakes do not have the final word. God’s rising you again has the final word. All you need to do in order to be righteous is to live in Christ, because when you are in Christ Jesus He will be in you. If He is in us then we have righteousness.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.  You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.  Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – Jesus, John 15:1-4.

The story of Abraham continues to get even better. Ishmael, who represents the world, mocks Isaac, who represents Jesus Christ, when his father Abraham, representing The Father, throws a banquet in his honor. This is to Ishmael’s determent as he is then thrown out of his father’s house. We see Abraham later on depicted as God the Father who gives up his son and Isaac as Jesus Christ, the sacrificed Son. Most believers are familiar with these parallels between Christ and Isaac.

Then another interesting tangent occurs. Abraham has a dispute with a king about a well near Beersheba. The matter was quickly settled between these men in a most intriguing manner.

Then Abraham complained to Abimelek about a well of water that Abimelek’s servants had seized. But Abimelek said, “I don’t know who has done this. You did not tell me, and I heard about it only today.”

So Abraham brought sheep and cattle and gave them to Abimelek, and the two men made a treaty.Abraham set apart seven ewe lambs from the flock,  and Abimelek asked Abraham, “What is the meaning of these seven ewe lambs you have set apart by themselves?”

He replied, “Accept these seven lambs from my hand as a witness that I dug this well.”

So that place was called Beersheba, because the two men swore an oath there. Genesis 21:25-31

Abraham gave Abimelek, a king, seven ewe lambs from his flock. What an odd thing to do! Odd enough that Abimelek could not contain his curiosity and asked the meaning of these lambs. Abraham’s reply is telling, “It is a witness that I dug this well.”

What is occurring between Abraham and Abimelek is a financial transaction. Abimelek basically told Abraham, “How am I to know you built this well? What proof have you?” Abraham having no proof offers to buy the well, hence Abraham bringing this king sheet and cattle. Yet the transaction is not complete in Abraham’s mind, even though Abimelek is satisfied.

Abraham gives Abimelek seven more ewe lambs than he asked for the price of the well. Those seven ewe lambs were the witness that Abraham dug the well. Crazy thought here, but can a lamb testify to what is happening around it? No. Why then the lambs?

Seven is the number of God’s perfection and completion of His works. Abraham paid seven ewe lambs extra to prove that the well was God’s perfection and completion of all His works. It was a sign of God resting.

Why would a well matter so much to God? The well is a picture of Jesus Christ. More accurately the well is a picture of Jesus Christ and His Body. Think of this, if the well was just the Son then why does the Father need to buy it? Who has been made and bought by God? We have! Jesus Christ was the price paid, the ewe lambs, to buy us whom God had made.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. 1 Cor. 6:19-20.

Furthermore a well holds water within it. A well is the dwelling place, the temple, of water. Who is the water? The water within the well is Jesus Christ. Numerous times Jesus told those spiritually thirsty souls he met to drink of Him and they would never thirst again.

Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14.

The well is a picture of Jesus Christ, Head and Body, as perfect and complete at the end of time. Christ isn’t complete until all things are brought into Him and He is brought into all things. Christ isn’t complete until we are in Him and He is in us.

And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, thefullness (completion) of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesian 1:22-23.

God will not rest until Christ is completed which will happen at the end of time as we know it. God will not rest until He fills all things with His Son and His Son fills all things. Not until the work is complete.

Abraham’s well, the well of Bathsheeba, is a picture of Jesus Christ and us as one. A picture of us and Christ complete. A picture of all things being brought in Christ and all things into Christ. A completed work yet to come.

How We Divide Christ

Have you ever considered that by having a pastor you are dividing Christ in half? Believers tend to think that having a pastor is a good thing. After all pastors teach us about Christ, how to live a Christian lifestyle, how to be like Christ, and help us to understand scripture. Pastors care for us when we are emotionally, physically, and spiritually sick. When they are unable to they find others in the Body of Christ who can help care for us. The pastor mobilizes the Body to pray, care for, and minister to the community.

If a pastor is such a good thing, how can he divide Christ in half? After all dividing Christ in half is a very bad thing. As Jesus said, a house divided against itself cannot stand. No, a pastor does good which means he cannot produce a bad effect in us.

What if I told you good goes hand in hand with bad? What if not only a pastor causes Christ to be divided in half but also our church services, Sunday school classes, Bible studies, praise and worship, and video sermons? All these methods of building up the Body of Christ are good for us. But all the while they are bad for us as well. When we allow a pastor and a few select others in Sunday service to minister Christ to us its like dividing Christ in half.

Paul said the church is like a body. Think of our human body for a moment. We have trillions to the trillions of connections within our bodies. In fact there are so many connections we cannot even begin to count them all. Each organ, each cell, each nerve is sending our thousands of messages per minute. Each organ is also receiving millions of messages per minute.

One would call this chaos. Yet God designed our bodies to work as a beautiful, synchronous symphony. Our bodies work in perfect order, communicating most effectively with trillions of messages all being made at the same time.

The Body of Christ works much like our human bodies. Paul said every member of the church is to function every time they gather. This way of functioning as the Body is the only way the Body can be built up. Only by every member functioning can the church have orderly worship. Every member functioning every time we gather is the command of the Lord.

“What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up

Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop.  For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged…

Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command.  But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.” 1 Cor. 14:26,29-33,36-38.

Well if that doesn’t defy reason! How can every single member participating during every meeting be orderly? If you have fifty people meeting together wouldn’t every member sharing be chaos? Wouldn’t it be chaos if we followed Paul’s advice that when one believer is prophesying anyone else can stand up at the same time and begin prophesying something else? Aren’t interruptions chaotic? Aren’t sudden changes of thoughts before the last thought is finished chaos?

Only if we think of it in the natural, fleshly mind. Consider again the human body that God designed. God could have designed a body that sent one message at a time. Instead God created a body knowing that only by trillions of messages sent at once could the body stay alive. The same is true with the Body of Christ. God chose on purpose to use the human body as a metaphor for the church. This was not by accident.

If trillions of messages at once is orderly in the human body, what is chaos? Obviously the body all functioning together at once is not chaos, its orderly. Obviously thousands of messages at once is orderly, not chaotic. What would cause chaos and great harm to the body is for only one or a few organs to function at a time. For only one or a few organs to send messages at a time.  This would be sheer chaos in our bodies! In the same way it is sheer chaos in the Body of Christ.

When we have a pastor, teacher, worship leader, video teacher, etc as the only few functioning during some gatherings of the Body it causes chaos within the Body of Christ. Suddenly the Body is not able to function properly because only a heart, kidney, and nervous system is sending messages. The rest of the Body has shut down to listen to only a few organs operating. The rest of the Body that is shut down during Sunday service gatherings is the congregation. In other words all those who do not have a Bible degree or have not been selected to teach Sunday school or minister through worship or prayer times.

If only a few organs were to function within a real human body the body would shut down. The person would be dead or knocking at death’s door at a minimum. Doctors would look at a patient like this and give them a few hours at best left to live.

Yet we think the Body of Christ is alive and well! We think we can defy all odds, remaining alive despite the death of all members functioning. We are fighting a hopeless battle, watching the slow death of a barely functioning Body. Then we complain that most believers not reading their Bibles, seeking the Lord, caring for others, or living in Christ. Why are so many believers like this? Because a few organs, a few members, are willingly doing the work for the whole body. They are willingly and encouragingly being the only ones functioning during certain gatherings. No one else can interrupt, function, participate in the life of the Body. The result is death for a few members can never supply the life a whole body is supposed to create in synchrony.

If this is so, then a pastor and all these other “good” and very well intentioned things and people cause a great deal of harm as well. Why can’t we just do something good without something bad being attached to it? Why couldn’t God allow for a few very godly, well functioning, well intentioned members of the Body to supply the needs of the rest? Because then it wouldn’t be the Body of Christ. It wouldn’t be the nature, the heart of who Jesus Christ is.

In the garden of Eden there were two trees. The Tree of Life and the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil. In scripture good never comes alone. Whenever you discover someone or something good in scripture it is attached to something evil. The Tree of Life is Jesus Christ.

 “I am the vine; you are the branches.” John 15:5

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6.

The fruit of the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil has both good and evil in it. You cannot separate the evil from the good. The tree combines both in who it is and produces both in what it bears. This is why a pastor trying to do good also creates a great deal of evil. The intent is a misguided notion. There is only one tree to eat from, The Tree of Life who is Jesus Christ. We can either eat of good and evil or eat of Jesus Christ. We can either be the branches, body, of good and evil which results in death or we can be the branches, body, of Jesus Christ which produces life. You can either all function and live or a few members can function and you all will die spiritually.

If we aren’t supposed to have a few organs functioning in our meetings but everyone, how do we do this? Do the members just blab whatever they want? Do they talk about hair, clothes, jewelry, food, diet, gardening, books? No, they communicate only one thing to the rest of the Body.

What are they communicating? They are communicating the instructions of the head. The brain in the human body sends and controls all the messages throughout the Body, even those sent between organs, instructs what their actions and messages should be, and moves the body in any way that in needs to in order to function. Jesus Christ is our head. Jesus Christ is the author of every message that each member shares. He gives all instructions and commands all movements of the Body. Jesus controls all the functions of the Body that constantly keep the Body alive.

“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength  he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,  far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,  which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” Eph. 1:17-23.

Jesus is the head over everything of the church., which is His Body. We are the fullness of Him who fill everything in every way. We fill Christ and Christ fills us. Together with Christ we are a whole, functioning Body.

But what happens when only a few organs function as we gather? We’ve established that the Body would die. The Body will not be built up, but would rather crumble. If only a few members are functioning we are disobeying the Lord’s command. Even if we are very well intentioned. If only a few members function than we are dividing Christ.

Wait a minute… Did you say we are dividing Christ by having a few members functioning in our Sunday service?! You heard me loud and clear. Christ lives in every member through the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is the messages Christ sends to us about how to function. If only a few members are functioning and the rest are silent, then the rest of the organs are dead for at least a time. Christ is then divided from His Body!

What do we say happens when the brain cannot communicate with the kidney? We say the kidney is cut off. That is another way of saying the head and kidney are divided. The kidney is Jesus Christ. The brain is Jesus Christ. If they are cut off they are divided from one another and the body dies. Christ divided from Christ is death. Jesus said whenever we are cut off we are dead in Him.

“He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2.

Furthermore we, with Christ, are the kingdom and house of God. Jesus told us that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. When a few members function we become a kingdom divided against itself. When this happens we fall, we crumble, we die.

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Pet. 2:9

“Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: ‘Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall.'” Luke 11:17.

“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.” -Jesus, Mark 3:24.

We need to begin to all function every time we all gather together. A few members functioning leads to death just as a few organs in the body functioning leads to death. High time the Body rises to allow Christ to function through every member at every gathering. This is the manifestation of Christ. The whole purpose for why we exist!

The Mediator

Let’s face it … Mankind has always loved to have a mediator between themselves and God. The mediator can be a pastor, a priest, a Bible, anything. But what has God always asked for? God and mankind together as one with no mediator.

One example, God asked all the Israelites to come up on the mountain, for them all to be a royal priesthood and kingdom unto Him.

“Then Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain  and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and  what you are to tell the people of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what  I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to  myself. 5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all  nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is  mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’  These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”” Exodus 19:3-6,

Every single last Israelite were to be God’s priest and king. What did the Israelites do? Did they go as their magnificent Lord had called them? Did the accept the tremendous gift of this relationship with the Almighty God?

No. They refused sending only Moses to mediate on their behalf. Then God designed the Levitical Priesthood to communicate to the Israelites through a mediator.

“When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and  saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a  distance and said to Moses, ‘Speak to us yourself and we will listen.  But do not have God speak to us or we will die.’ Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so  that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.’ The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick  darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:18-21.

The Levitcal Priesthood was never God’s plan or desire. God’s plan was to have all the Israelites be a priesthood. Because of their refusal to be a priesthood and insistence on Moses being a mediator between them and God, the Lord picked one family, Levi’s, to mediate between Him and mankind until Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again.

Today God is asking of us the same as He was asking of the Israelites. God has asked us to be a royal priesthood before Him. God has asked every single person who abides (lives) in Christ to join together as one and be a royal priesthood before Him. This is made possible by Jesus Christ mediating on our behalf.

What has been our answer historically? Our answer has been the same as the Israelites. A flat out refusal. We have insisted God give us a mediator as He did the Israelites. Our mediators are exactly the same types as the Israelites. Scripture, pastors, priests are our chosen mediators.

Wait a minute! Scripture is not a mediator, you may say. Want to guess again? If you over half of God’s way of speaking to you is by scripture it is very likely a mediator. If you when you go to seek Christ you use the scriptures primarily as your way of seeking, rather than the Holy Spirit primarily, then they are a mediator. If you think by scripture you begin or continue to have life, then you are using scripture as a mediator. Jesus warned the Pharisees of this and the death they had in Him by trying to find God through the scriptures.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” -Jesus, John 5:

Life comes from going to Christ alone and He will teach you by whatever means. Typically He teaches us by our living in the Holy Spirit and Body of Christ and a small amount from scripture, pastors, blogs, books, praise and worship, etc. These are tools Christ sometimes uses, not the primary source. Whenever the primary source they are a mediator between you and God.

You have a choice today. Will you please God? Will you be a royal priesthood without any mediator besides Christ? Or will you follow the path of the Israelites? Demanding a mediator between the Body of Christ and God? Demanding a pastor or priest and scripture to be a barrier, a means of communication, between you and God? Will you continue to not let the Lord speak to you, teach you in all things, as He promised outside of these forms of mediators? God may use them, but they should be a small source of God’s teaching and speaking to you, not the primary. If these means of communication and learning are the primary, then you have a mediator between you and God.

Will you let Christ teach you in all things through the Holy Spirit? Will you, with the rest of the Body as one, commune (live) with God? Only one thing will please God, us being a royal priesthood together and one with Christ. A mediator, other than Christ, between us and God will never please the Lord.

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