Four Truths for a Foundation
Salima, Africa, October 3, 1999
(This was spoken extemporaneously by three brothers at a stop in a village in Africa, at a pentecostal denominational expression. IN ONE DAY the entire “congregation” radically responded to Jesus and has never looked back. At great personal cost, many changes were made, forever transforming many people and even their economic structure in that village. In a matter of a FEW HOURS word was out in their area within other religious groups that something supernatural was going on amongst them. I wish it were possible to have captured the things that were said by the local brothers from that village in Africa during the next hour after these thoughts were deposited with the Saints there. It was and is amazing and inspiring, truly, to see their courage and “zeal for the Father’s House” expressed by “love of the Truth” and action in the time since that day.)
A precious treasure is awakening God’s people around the world right now. There are special truths that have always been in your Bible that will change your life and change the way Church is expressed, in order to more highly exalt our King Jesus and see His Dream fulfilled! It is our hope, by the Holy Spirit, that all of our eyes will be opened to see these beautiful truths! God wants to build His House so we can all be stronger together. He wants to build His House so the gates of hell cannot prevail any longer. He wants to build His House so relationships can be healed. He wants to build His House so that He will be free to heal our bodies, our minds, and our souls. He wants to build His House so we can be strong and wise, and the Good News of Jesus can go forth, stronger than ever before.
Do you have the courage to hear these things? Will you obey the Word of God as you hear these things? Will you change your lives regardless of the cost? If you have the courage to obey and to risk, then please read on.
There are four Truths upon which we must build. Without them, God’s House will never be strong, and the gates of hell will continue to make a shambles of the House. However, if we understand these four things and obey them, and if we are willing to take risks for these Truths of God, then God will honor this and He will send His Power into our lives. The poor shall be rich and the weak shall be strong! This has always been God’s heart and intention. However, this treasure has been stolen from us from the very first century on. We’ve been robbed by the empty traditions of men.
Truth #1: What is a Christian?
The first foundational Truth is to properly define what a Christian is. We have been very sloppy about this around the world and in every culture. Because we have not been clear about what a Christian is, we have built much of God’s House on the sand. We have defined what makes someone a Christian by such things as sentiment or emotions or family upbringing. We have defined what a Christian is by whether a person has the “right” set of beliefs. We have defined a Christian by whether a person sings well, or attends enough, or tithes properly. That is not how Jesus defined Christianity.
Jesus said, “Unless you forsake all, you cannot be my disciple.” Jesus said, “Unless you take up your cross every day, you cannot follow me.” In the book of Acts, the Bible says, “The disciples were called ‘Christians’ first in Antioch.” So, whenever you see the word “disciple” in the teachings of Jesus, think in your mind the word “Christian.” When Jesus said, “Unless you forsake everything you cannot be My disciple,” He was saying you cannot be a Christian if you don’t give away your life. He did not say, “Unless you attend, you cannot be a Christian.” He did not say, “Unless you read your Bible, you cannot be a Christian.” He did not say, “Unless you give money, you cannot be a Christian.” Jesus said, “Unless you die to your very self, you cannot be a Christian!”
Jesus is calling for a people who will die to their very selves. They will forsake everything to come after Him. They will forsake their pride and material goods to follow Him. They will turn away from personal sin and selfishness. They will love others more than they love themselves. This relationship with Jesus will change how they act every single day.
Unless we define the word “Christian” the way Jesus does, the House will sink into the sand and be washed away. This is what Jesus the King promised would happen if we build on the sand of hearing, singing and talking, but do not obey. The house we build will perhaps be something that is fun for us, but it will mean nothing to Jesus. The house we build may make us a little happier because we are singing and getting together, but it doesn’t mean anything if God is not happy about it! It doesn’t mean anything if satan is still winning the battle in our lives. If we are not building a life and a Church that brings pleasure to Jesus, then we are wasting our time and God’s time.
The number one foundation stone in building God’s House is describing what a Christian is the way the Bible describes what a Christian is. We must make our decisions according to what God calls a Christian. Can a person be a member of God’s Church and not be a Christian? Absolutely not! But around the world people are being taught that it is okay for Christians and non-Christians to be part of the Church. The Bible says this is not true! In 1 Corinthians 5, the Bible says, “Remove the leaven from the batch.” Remove the sin from the Church. This is very important to understand, because God said, “A little bit of leaven leavens the whole batch.”
Do you remember when the walls of Jericho came crashing down? God’s people were mighty in a supernatural way. However, right after the walls of Jericho fell, Israel was defeated in battle. They were crushed! Why was Israel crushed in battle? Because one man in all of Israel had sin in his tent. God was very upset because one man in the whole Church had sin in his life that was hidden. That man, Achan, had an idol buried under his tent. God caused all of Israel to suffer a great defeat because of it. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. Right? God is still very unhappy when people in His Church have hidden sin in their lives. This breaks His heart. The Bible says that God brings judgment for this.
Is it okay for us to say that someone who has never really given his life totally to Jesus can come and be part of the Church? No! This is a very big mistake. God brings judgment on the whole House because of that one person who claims to be a Christian, but has never really given his life to Jesus. So, if we are going to see a Glorious House that does the work of God, the first thing we must do is define the word “Christian” the same way Jesus does. The Scriptures say, “Unless you forsake all, you cannot be My disciple.” “If you love father and mother and children more than Me, you cannot be My disciple.” “If you love the world and the things of the world, you have become My enemy.” “God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble.”
We must accurately define what a Christian—a member of the Church—really is! You cannot claim to be washed in Jesus’ Blood, and be a part of Jesus’ Body and pretend you are a Christian if your heart does not belong to Jesus when you are at home, or at work, or in the fields. If your relationships are not Holy relationships, you must repent and give your life to Jesus.
Truth #2: What is Leadership?
The second thing we must define, the second foundation stone of building God’s House, has to do with what leadership is in God’s House. This is a very wonderful Truth! This will excite you and change your life. In countries all over the world, we have all made a very big mistake about leadership in the Church. In many places the person who studies the Bible in seminary or bible schools, or a good businessman or speaker, gets to be the leader or the “pastor.” We have seen in India and other countries, many times, that the person with a bicycle who can also read is chosen to be the leader. This is not God’s way! God’s leadership is not based on who can read, or who knows the most, or who can speak the best, or who has the best business experience, or who has wealth or education or charm or good looks or a bicycle.
Living Like Jesus
I will give you an example from the Scriptures. In Acts 6, there were some Greek widows who were very hungry at times because they were forgotten. When food was distributed they were overlooked and not cared for properly. The Church in Jerusalem had to decide how to solve this problem. They decided to choose some men to solve the problem. If you read your Bible, you will find out that there was a certain way to choose those men. Does the Bible say, “Choose from among you seven men who know their Bibles”? No. “Choose from among you seven men who can sing well”? No. “Choose from among you seven men who are experienced in business, or in the food business”? No. “Choose from among you seven men who can speak very well”? No. The way to solve the problem was, “Choose from among yourselves seven men who are full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom.”
These were men who were tested every day. These were not men who went to school to become spiritual, or who simply spoke well. These men were friends of God and deep friends of their brothers and sisters every day. Stephen and Philip and those seven men were in people’s homes every day, trying to help them. They would draw the water for the other believers and help them. They would hold the hands of the children of their friends and talk to them and teach them. They would go to people’s homes when they were discouraged. They would go into people’s workplaces during the day to encourage them. And they weren’t even so-called leaders! They were just normal brothers who were living Jesus’ life every day. “Choose from among yourselves seven men who look like Jesus, seven men who can see God and hear God. Choose seven men who are washing the feet of the saints every day. Seven normal, everyday brothers who love God deeply from the heart, and demonstrate a supernatural connectedness to the Messiah.”
Because these men look like Jesus, every day in people’s homes, then we know they are full of the Holy Spirit. They are not full of the Holy Spirit because they can yell louder or sing better or say more things. They are full of the Holy Spirit of Jesus because they look like Jesus with their daily lives. This is the only kind of leadership in the Bible. In the New Covenant, Jesus told the twelve apostles to call no man teacher, call no man father, call no man leader, call no man master, call no man rabbi, call no man pastor, call no man reverend, for you are all brothers! So now we have a wonderful, different view of leadership.
So Different From the World
Learning this was very difficult for me, personally. Many, many years ago I used to be the “pastor” until I realized that the Bible said I was only supposed to be a brother amongst brothers. I was to use whatever gifts I may have “in the midst, as one who serves”—rather than as a boss or someone to look at all the time. If that was true for Peter, John, James, and the other apostles, it has to be true of any of us, no exceptions! “You are all just brothers.”
I walked away from large amounts of money I had made in the business world to be a “pastor.” And now I had to walk away from the money and position of being in an unBiblical position that men call “Pastor” of a church. I had to decide I was going to be a “brother amongst brothers.” Whatever Jesus has done in my life will show up in homes and in other lives as I hold the children’s hands. I didn’t have to be a big shot anymore! I didn’t have to be the main man anymore. I could just do what Paul said he did with the Thessalonians, and the Philippians, and the Believers in the town of Corinth—and that is to love people as a father and friend, and as a brother from house to house.
Paul said, “I went from house to house with tears.” He loved the people as a father or as a brother. He nurtured their lives as a mother would nurture a child. The other believers did that for him, too. This is true leadership in the True New Testament Church.
Jesus said to the apostles, “The Gentiles have a certain way to have leadership, but not so with you.” In the True Church, the Church against which the gates of hell cannot prevail, leadership is very different from the way of the world system. Leadership comes from within, not “lording it over” from the top.
The Gifts and Authority of Jesus
Let me paint a picture for you. The Bible says in Ephesians 4 that when Jesus went to Heaven, He gave gifts to men. Jesus took all the gifts that He had (and Jesus had many spiritual gifts, didn’t He?), and He gave them to His people as a whole. He didn’t take all the gifts that He had and deposit them on the “pastor” or on one “man of God.” The Scriptures say He took all of His gifts and gave them to His whole body. The Bible says the Spirit is deposited and given as a Gift, as the Spirit wills, over the whole Church. If you are truly a Christian, if you have truly forsaken your very life for Jesus, then the Holy Spirit gives you a very special gift. Your gift is part of Jesus.
Before Jesus went back to Heaven, He said, “All authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to Me.” Do you remember that Jesus said that? All authority belongs to Jesus and no one else! So, if JESUS gave part of Himself to you, part to this person and part to that person, then whatever spiritual gifts He gave each of you, there is authority in that gift. Jesus gave the gifts, and He has all authority.
There are many kinds of gifts listed in the Bible. The Holy Spirit, for example, gives mercy as a gift. The gift of mercy is part of Jesus that He gave to some people. It is a supernatural gift. All of us should have mercy, shouldn’t we? But there is supernatural mercy that is a gift of the Holy Spirit. And all authority belongs to Jesus. So, if He gave you the special gift of mercy, you have been given authority in the area of mercy. If you have the supernatural gift of mercy and I do not, and if all authority belongs to Jesus and you have that piece of Jesus, then I honor that gift in you. You have authority in that area. Do you understand? This is what leadership is about!
All authority belongs to Jesus and we all have our own special gifts. For example, there are gifts of teaching. Hebrews 5 says, “We all ought to be teachers by now.” But in Ephesians 4 and Romans 12 it says there are supernatural gifts of teaching that Jesus gives. This means there is authority in that gift because Jesus gives it and He has all authority. We are to submit to each other in this. But teaching is only one gift and one part of Jesus. There are many other gifts. All since all authority belongs to Jesus and every gift that each of us has is a part of Jesus, then we submit to the gifts that are in each of us because Jesus has deposited them.
There is not some special authority that is in one “man of God” and everyone else just sits and watches. Because of the way men have built the church over the last 1800+ years, we have acted as if there is only one gift—the gift of “pastor.” (Or perhaps everyone else is allowed to have the “gift of giving money”!) But pastor/shepherd is only one gift! If we build wrongly, we all lose. If one man is pushed to the front to be the “pastor” and everyone else just sits and listens all the time, then no one gets to share your gift. They only get the “pastor’s” gifts. That is too small and corruptible! If we want to see the greatness of God, and if we want to see all of our lives change and our children’s lives change, we need ALL of Jesus. We must not settle for just part of Jesus. Amen?
Courage to Change and Courage to Run
Do you see why we said you must have courage? Things must change! You can’t keep doing what you have been doing. You are going to have to decide to use your gifts more and welcome others to do so also. You are going to have to decide to be obedient and to have courage. If you keep sitting in your chair or on the floor all the time and don’t use your gifts more than you have been, your gifts will continue to dwindle away. “He who has been given a trust or gift must prove faithful.” Do you remember what happened to the man who buried his talent? Jesus said, “You wicked, lazy servant.” That’s what Jesus says to us when we don’t do what we are supposed to do. If I don’t use my gift or if you don’t use your gift, we are “wicked and lazy.”
Do you see how the traditions of men steal and rob the Word of God? What if you were an Olympic runner lying in a bed and someone took a rope and tied it around you? Even though you might be a champion athlete, if you were there tied to the bed your muscles would shrivel, and you would eventually die. All your potential would be lost because you have been roped to a bed for months or years. Do you see how the traditions of men steal and rob the Word of God? The way we have built for over 1800 years in God’s House has roped most of God’s people to the bed! They have not been able to get up and run and fulfill their destiny because humans have built wrongly, not following the Word of God. If we build or structure the church in a way that exalts one man or a “staff” and quenches others’ gifts, we are criminals in the Heavenly Courts because of the damage and loss many will suffer because of “leaven in the batch” and un-used Gifts! It’s not usually because people are “bad” that we have been building wrongly. Mostly it’s because we just didn’t know how to build God’s House, by God’s Design.
So, remember that the first building block for a true Foundation is that only true Christians can call themselves members of the Church. The second foundation stone that will build God’s House is that we have to understand leadership properly. We have placed just one man in charge for 1800 years. We have taken one gift, the gift of “pastor” *(or shepherd, better translated) and made it the primary gift. This is far from true in the Church in the Bible! And it must not be true now, either. This has roped most of God’s people to the bed so they could no longer be who God called them to be. Leadership is in all of God’s people. The Bible calls us a Kingdom of priests. The Bible does not say a Kingdom with priests, but a Kingdom of priests. There is not just a special group like the Levite priests of the Old Testament. In the New Covenant, all of God’s people are supposed to be priests to one another. GOD said, “When Revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down!!”
If you are full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom, then you are a leader. It’s not whether you went to school, or if you speak very well. It’s not whether you are male or female, or young or old. Leadership is a person with a gift of Jesus and relationship with Jesus, full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom. Leadership is holding the children’s hands every day. Leadership is healing the wounds of God’s people from house to house every day. Leadership is helping to solve problems of sin in people’s lives and washing people’s feet every day. That is what leadership is and it is the only kind of leadership of which the Bible speaks—using the part of Jesus that His Spirit deposited in each of us. That is our area of leadership and authority. This means we have to change how we currently function. We have to change how we view leadership and how we act out the process of leadership.
This is very revolutionary. This will change how we function in our meetings, how we function in our every day lives. There is a cost to it—a price that we pay. But God rewards us one hundred times whatever we give up, according to the exact Promise of Jesus.
When I was the “pastor,” I decided that I was going to live differently. I decided to believe and obey the Scriptures about Leadership. I chose to be a brother in the middle of brothers rather than up in front of brothers. To be honest, I was afraid. I was afraid of how I would support my family. I was afraid that perhaps I would lose touch with God somehow and that people would not respect me anymore. I was afraid of many things. But I knew what God said in the Bible. He wanted me to be a brother amongst brothers. In my everyday life, I wouldn’t be the boss anymore. I would just be one of the brothers, and still use my gifts from Jesus as “a brother amongst brothers” who were also equally using their gifts. It changed everything for me, but God was very, very faithful. He promised that no one who has ever given up anything would fail to receive one hundred times as much or more than what was given up. God keeps His promises! Amen?
A Circle Around the Throne
From a practical standpoint, I want to suggest to you that if we really want to honor the gifts that are in each of us, and draw out the gifts that are in all of God’s People, then we need to change many things. As silly as it sounds, one of those things may be how we sit when we are gathered together. When Jesus was here, He had a circle of people around Him. “To those seated in the circle around Him—these are my mothers, my brothers, my sisters” (Mark 3). Seated in a circle around Him! Isn’t that the most natural thing to do, when we are gathered to hear HIM, and not a mere man with limited gifts? This may sound very simple to you, and it may not even sound very important, but I assure you it is. I’ve heard that the words for “pulpit” and “flesh” are pronounced the same way in French.
If someone at the workplace or in the market says something to you, does it matter how they say it? Of course it does! If they are leaning back, sitting against a stone and say something quietly with a yawn, that would be very different than if they said the same things with their face right up to yours and glared in your eyes with fire. HOW anything is said matters a great deal.
When we sit with everyone facing the front, it brings all the attention to one man. We are not equals amongst equals any longer. I am subservient to whoever has taken the throne in front of me as my master, or the conductor or facilitator or traffic cop or expert of the “class” or “service.” But note this well! A true servant of God does not desire attention for himself. John the Baptist, who was the greatest man born of woman up until that time said, “Jesus must increase, I must decrease.” Every true man of God says the same thing, “Jesus must increase, I must decrease. I don’t want to draw attention to myself. I don’t want people looking at me all the time as the person who has all the answers. I don’t take great joy in being the one who gets to speak. I just want to love and serve Jesus, and help everyone else do that, too. Jesus must increase. I must decrease.”
Every true man of God wants to back away so Jesus will get the spotlight rather than himself. Again, some will say this is meaningless, but having been in many countries and cities I assure you, it is not unimportant. It is absolutely important how we say something. When we set the chairs in rows instead of a circle seated around Jesus, it’s like turning a spotlight on one man. Everyone else is just an audience and one mere man is the attraction. That is very wrong because there are many gifts amongst us, and they are all parts of Jesus. If we put everyone looking toward the front, we are exalting only one gift. How proud a man would have to be to allow himself always the “chief seat” or the spotlight.
So, what if instead all the gifts have an equal place? Perhaps there is someone with the gift of shepherd sitting in the circle. Maybe someone with a gift of teacher is sitting here and a gift of mercy sitting there. The gift of help may sit here and one with a gift of prophecy may sit here. All of the gifts have equal place because they are all Jesus! Does this make sense? (If you have a computer, take a look at JesusLifeTogether.com/JesusAsHead to see a “picture” of this.)
Now, if a mother in this circle is in tears about raising her children, the gift of teacher can speak to her and teach about what Paul says in Titus about women. The gift of mercy could offer thoughts of mercy; perhaps she had young children at one time and could share the feelings of it. The gift that has prophetic insight can see into the heart of why this sister is having problems with her children, and so on. Now, finally, we can truly obey the Command from God, “When Revelation comes to the second person, let the first one sit down.” Hallelujah!! (Shouts, echoed!)
Everyone, Equally Important
In 1 Corinthians 14, God also said, “When you come together, brothers, and the whole Church is together, let everything be done for the building up of the Body. Every one of you has a word of instruction, a song, a revelation.” There is no boss except Jesus! “Call no man leader, master, teacher, or pastor. You are all brothers.” You all have Jesus and He is equal in each of us. Certainly there will be maturity differences, and some gifts are more “public,” while other gifts are more quiet or less visible in public settings. But, all are available and have opportunity. Sometimes we need the mercy of Jesus and sometimes we need the teaching of Jesus. Sometimes we need the songs of Jesus and sometimes we need the help of Jesus to solve problems. But it’s all equally Jesus. Please do read 1 Corinthians 14:26-40.
Can you see that this takes courage? Can you see that this takes faith and obedience? Can you see that this will change your life if you begin to live in these things? You will no longer be roped to the bed! Your gift will no longer be pushed back. Your gift is different than my gift, but yours is equal to mine. I need your gift just as much as you need mine.
Some of the most important things that have happened in my life have happened because a twelve-year-old with their gift affected my life. Women affect my life and children affect my life. Old people affect my life and not just on Sunday morning, but every day!
We are a Kingdom of Priests every day. Meetings are just extra, really. Ninety percent of our growth comes from living together, and maybe only ten percent comes from meetings. That means you have to get out of your house and into other people’s homes. You bring water, or food, or clothing to their house. When you see they are angry with a child, you may need to pull them aside to talk with them and walk with them. When you see pride in their life, you put your arm around them and ask them not to have pride. When you see selfishness in a brother’s life, you put your arm around him and say, “Please don’t be selfish anymore.” We don’t just close our eyes until the next meeting. We live in the middle of each other’s lives every day as priests doing the work of God, and as “a hundred mothers, brothers, and sisters.” This, too, is an absolute command from God in Hebrews 3, and many, many other scriptures.
The first foundation stone is “What is a Christian? What is a member of the Church?” If you have people who are not truly converted to Jesus in the Church, then you will constantly have battles and fights that you don’t need to have. The Bible says, “From the least to the greatest, they will all know Him.” When everyone who calls himself a member truly is in love with Jesus, there is so much more peace—no fighting, no gossip. And there is deep love of one another every day. You cannot be a true member of the Church of Jesus unless you have forsaken your very life. Only Christians can be members of the Church. Everyone else is only visiting. But they are not members of Jesus’ Church.
This is absolutely what the Bible says. And “leaven” must be removed from the batch, or we do not love Jesus as much as we say. “If you love Me, you will obey My Commands.” The Church is for the bonding and strengthening and equipping and protecting of those washed in His Blood, having chosen to die to themselves in order to marry the Master, Jesus, forever. Anyone who has not made that decision, as evidenced by their lives and choices, and whether or not they “love the Light” (Jn. 3, 1Jn. 1), is not to consider themselves a Christian or a member of the Body of Christ. This is what God has said.
Any other definition of “church” is man-made, and the “gates of hell” will prevail against such a counterfeit. Look around. You will see it on every street corner in city after city, nation after nation. It is not God’s Plan, but only something to accommodate men’s flesh, while using the logo of Jesus to salve their consciences. But there is no healing there! The Messiah only circulates where He can leave a Lampstand!
The second foundation stone has to do with leadership. The Spirit and Current Life of the Resurrected Christ—is our only leader. “The world won’t see Me, but you will!” The measure of that Spirit that anyone has, the gift that one may have, that maturity and depth of real, living relationship with the Living Jesus that they have—that is the biblical definition of “Leadership.”
Truth #3: Daily Life
The third foundation stone has to do with our daily life together and we’ve talked a little bit about that. Daily life has nothing to do with how many meetings we have, but rather how much we are involved in each other’s lives. Are we involved every day as a priesthood in the marriages and with the children of those around us, and with the work habits and the character traits of those around us? Are we involved every day, on a heart level with brothers and sisters? Do we “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the Law of Christ”? Do we “confess your sins one to another, and so be healed”? Do we “contend as one Man for the Faith,” “joined and knit together by every supporting ligament”—and accept nothing less as “true Church” and the very “Body of Christ”? Only there will you find out what Jesus meant by, “I will build MY Church that the gates of hell cannot overcome or withstand!” Everything else is a “house built upon the sand” of compromise, lukewarmness, disobedience, disconnectedness, and rationalization. And it will bear the appropriate fruit, unfortunately. God said it does matter how we build!
I will show you one Scripture, and it will change the rest of your life if you will obey it. If you will do this one Scripture, you will be amazed at how these other things make sense. It is a command from Jesus. Will you do it? Will you? Do you love Him? It will change your whole life to DO what He says, rather than just agree with it or study it or sing about it or have meetings about it! Let’s look at it together. The Scripture is Hebrews 3:12-14:
“Be careful then, dear friends. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. You must warn each other every day, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
Notice what this Scripture says—this is from God. Almighty God says to you and me that we must every day warn each other and help each other. We must be alongside each other every day. The Holy Spirit chose to say “every day.” He didn’t say every Sunday. He didn’t say every Sunday and Wednesday. He didn’t even say in meetings. He said get involved on a Truth level in each other’s lives every day. If others are available or could be, and you do not get involved because of lifestyle, or pride, or selfishness, or choice of living situation, God said you will become harder and unable to feel what He feels. You will be deceived into thinking that you know what is right when you do not. That is what Scripture specifically says! He didn’t just say to do it. He said if you don’t do this, it will hurt you greatly. If I don’t have brothers talking to me every day about my life—every day—I will become hard. I will become deceived. You may say, “But I read my Bible every day!” “But I pray every day!” “My wife is a Christian and I see her every day!” That’s not what God said. You can read your Bible and pray every day, but if you won’t be involved in each other’s lives every day, you will become more and more hard, and more and more deceived. God says this in Hebrews 3:12-14. Do you believe the Bible? Do you believe God?
Who wrote the Bible? God! God said that we have to be involved in each other’s lives every day. If you see me being selfish, you need to come to me and say, “Brother, don’t be selfish. That makes Jesus sad.” If you see me being proud, please help me and remind me that God opposes the proud. I don’t want God to oppose me! You have to help me, because I can’t see it all the time. No one can. “Admonish one another daily so that none of you are hardened and deceived.” This is an important (and almost totally disobeyed worldwide) part of our daily life together. This is one key way you are a priest using your gifts, and “an ambassador of Christ, as if God were making His appeal through you.”
Truth #4: Meetings
For 1800 years, the Christian world has confused the issues of who is a Christian... who is a leader... what daily life is supposed to look like... and what meetings are supposed to look like. Our Father wants to restore these things to you in your lives now. Just as the Word of God had been neglected in King Josiah’s day, and Truth was found buried in the rubble of men’s kingdoms and traditions, so today God’s Truths, so long ignored (but always in the Bible) can set men free. God will change your life miraculously and change everyone around you as a result. These are very powerful and precious truths. Whether there are few or many in your village, as Jonathan, David’s close friend once said, “God is not hindered to save by many or by few.” “He who is given a trust must prove faithful.” We must have the courage to do something about Truth we have ignored or disobeyed in the past. And He Himself will be your Shepherd, your Fortress, and your Rear Guard as you live boldly for Him.
We must have the courage to have meetings like the Bible describes in 1 Corinthians 14, “When you come together, brothers, everyone has a word of instruction, a song, a revelation.” There is no one in charge except for Jesus Himself. We gather together having considered how we can “spur each other on toward love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24-26). We must give thought and prayer about how we can help each other when we do come together, and each of us takes responsibility to be a bearer of the Word of God and the Love of God. We have each “considered how to spur one another on to love and good works.” This is in Hebrews 10. Please be sure and look at the very next scripture! This is for all of us, even in “meetings”!
1 Corinthians 14 says, “When revelation comes to the second person—when a second person hears something from God—let the first one sit down.” That’s what the Bible says. Why don’t we do what the Bible says? No “special person” should be “automatically” expected to do anything—except listen and respond to God like everyone else. If someone brings a teaching from Jesus and others come with a word of instruction or song or revelation; if this brother or sister is sharing something that Jesus showed them and revelation comes to a second person, the first one sits down—if we are responding to God’s command, rather than the traditions of men. Just like the Bible has always said.
Why don’t we do that? It is because we have inherited a heavy load of traditions from the roman catholics and from our “protestant” and “denominational” and pagan forefathers. The “priest” or “pastor” or MC or CEO is up front, talking to the “lesser” laity—all the poor people, all the audience—just sitting and listening. This is likely the practice and “doctrine” that Jesus said He hated—that of the “Nicolaitans” (translated as those who “conquer His People”). But GOD has said all of that must change, for His sake and ours.
Instead, Jesus said to “the circle seated around Him” that everyone has a word of instruction, a song, a revelation. We are all equal. We are all brothers and sisters with different parts of Jesus poured into us individually for the common good. How amazing and wonderful this is! He is setting us FREE from the “empty traditions handed down by our forefathers” with its clergy, laity and ritual. He’s setting us free into the “dangerous” world of trusting and loving HIM as our all-in-all! And there will be no chaos there, because He calls Himself “the God of Peace” and “of order.” It is simply His order, rather than man’s manipulations “for” Him.
Foundations for Change
Is this different from what you are used to? Do we have the courage to build God’s way? Is it frightening? Does it sound like fun? It is very fun! Some men who are part of the Church we are a part of had been Christians for twenty years and were still babies. But when they learned these ways and began to function as priests, they grew ten year’s worth in just one year. Hallelujah! Others had been “leaders” of churches that had hundreds and even thousands of people. They found out they were still only spiritual babies! They thought they were leaders, but they found out that many children and mothers were more spiritual than they were. They had to grow up from being babies, and they have! All of this is very frightening, but it is also very exciting.
If you put into practice these truths that have always been in your Bibles, you will be amazed at how much closer to Jesus you will be two years from now. “Admonish one another daily.” Be involved with each other’s children and marriages and workplaces “every day.” Go there! You must get out of your “comfort zone” and go there when you would not have done so before! Yes, I mean YOU! : ) Please, for Jesus! Speak the Word “as of God” into each other’s lives, in a practical, loving, wise way, every day. “When you come together, brothers, everyone has a word of instruction, a song, a revelation.” “When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down.” As you walk this out, you may find that some whom you thought were Christians don’t love Jesus as much as you always thought they did. You also may find some whom you thought to be very weak are becoming stronger and wiser than you could ever imagine. God’s ways expose frauds and counterfeits, and make the weak very strong. Glory to God!
These riches are entrusted to you. Put them into practice for Jesus’ sake. These stones are foundational. You must define what a Christian really is by what Jesus said. You must understand leadership and what it is really supposed to be. Live your lives every day, together, encouraging each other, building one another up. Help each other to grow and love Jesus more throughout your afternoons and evenings. Come and meet together around King Jesus.
If you love Jesus and build the right way, the gates of hell will no longer prevail. Sin will be crushed. Weakness and sickness will be healed. Sins will be forgiven. Kindness will lead many to repentance. Relationships will be built or restored, beyond what you could imagine in your wonderful dreams. You will shine like stars in the universe, displaying the goodness of God. And the Bride, the Church, will “make herself ready” and be ready when the Groom returns!! Amen?