"Church Life"? Ready for the REAL Thing??!!
Saturday Morning, May 18, 2002
To Our Growing Family in………
We feel the need just now to encourage you. We’re “not unaware of satan’s devices,” and how the little pimple-head satan tries to steal the heart and vision of newborns. So here we go. You have recently “left all” to “save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” You have embraced “the full message of this new Life” together in Jesus. You have accepted and responded to the Truths regarding the Nature of His Life in His Body. You have loved the Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles about His Church being daily intertwined life in the Head and the Body—rather than “a show to attend.” This is excellent. However…
By now you must be realizing some things. You must by now be discovering the “pressures” of not stepping directly into “utopia,” but encountering instead, the cross. When you first gave your lives to Jesus and were washed in His Blood, giving up your idols of family and the world and hocus-pocus, man-centered religion, you found that satan opposed you, as did men. Remember? As was true when you walked into the Gospel of Jesus, is it not also true that the Gospel of the Kingdom (Acts 8:12, 28:31; 1Cor. 12:12-13:3), the walking out Together of the Life of Christ Jesus, is also now opposed by satan, and man—and causing you some difficulty? Is it not true, in your experience now, that “the Kingdom is entered with much tribulation” and, as the Lord Himself has said, only “the violent take it by force”?
Can you now feel in your bones that we have entered into the ultimate War? Why do “the angels long to look into these things”? Can you feel it now? Do you understand now how it could be said by God, “NOW, through the CHURCH, the manifold Wisdom of God is made known to the principalities and powers”?! The galaxies were created as the stage for the training and the raising up of the Bride of Christ! She is made Whole and cleansed—not by “lots of participation in a ‘meeting’”—but by the opposition of satan’s fallen followers, and his earthly stooges and pawns. Will this “feel” like “really sweet ‘church life’” and a fun, utopian neato church? NOT if you are opposed by satan, and Chosen by God. The other “way to have church” is just a counterfeit and gimmick and distraction to try to steal good people away from God’s Intent and Purpose.
The Real Desire of Father, the Betrothed of the Son, is attacked by the Dragon and hated by both the religious world and the world system. How could it be any less, when the Head “had no beauty or majesty that we would be drawn to Him”? How could we look for fun and utopia and a way-cool church experience, when the First to live this Life was murdered by compromisers, the pagan government and politicians, and the well-known religious leaders… in only forty months of “church life”? Jesus, living TRUE “church life” perfectly and sinlessly, in love and unwavering Truth, was chased, accused, hated, lied about, and experienced betrayal and unbelievable pain. The Real Deal is not “utopia” and “fun church life,” but rather a cross. “I want to know the Anointed and the power of His Resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in death” to “share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His GLORY!” Ah… the Real thing. IS that what you signed up for? The Glory of the cross?
Any wonder at all at this point why True Life is so rare, and cheesy religion and compromise and disjointed rituals, shows, and hierarchies are so common? Human flesh hates a cross, with its stench and pain and humiliation and inconvenience. True “Church Life” is about a cross, not externals. Well, many of the religious “externals” ARE disobeying direct Commands of Jesus and the Apostles, from God the Father.
But besides that. The only reason to discuss “Sunday Services” and “hired ‘pastors’” and “liturgies” and “programs” and “religious buildings” and the other unBiblical “traditions of men” is this: The bogus religious externals and faulty building of the religious world and its traditions and hierarchies and flashy gimmicks and sentimental, humanistic programs… HELP the flesh hide! Everyone is tempted to take the shortcuts and the road most traveled! And then, comfortable and “affirmed,” they will curse the Cross as being unfair, too hard, or just plain “wrong.”
Maybe you haven’t yet been tempted that way, but everyone is eventually. At least everyone who is on JESUS’ Trail. “Take up your cross” is an invitation to ugly, painful, lonely, humiliating, and confusing death. This is exactly why you can travel all around the world and find very, very little that bears much resemblance to the Together Life of Christ. Jesus is not truly Head where there is “leaven in the batch,” refusal to deal with sin (“Let the Holy Spirit do it, rather than obey these Commands to lay down my life and help rip them from the fire”), 30% to 90% lukewarm or unknown “periphery” (forbidden by God Himself), abuse, manipulation, ambition, hero-worship, or compartmentalized lives (my “work life,” my “family life,” my “church life,” my “social life”—forbidden compartmentalization of life!).
Whew! Most want “benefit” from “Christianity” or “Church”… but the cross? That’s got to be “wrong.” Skandalon can’t be right, can it? Frankly, it cannot be GOD’S Will or Jesus’ Church if there is not plenty of the disgrace of the Cross. Like the Head, the true Body has “no beauty or majesty that we would be drawn to it.” It ain’t no faddish fun house, if it’s the Church Jesus is building that will demolish the gates of Hell. The rest is a detour and delusion. You can see now why “the nations rage.”
A “Cross” is just to talk about, not to experience, for most. That kind of LIFE is way too radical and embarrassing and misunderstood and rare—so it must be wrong. “Give me cool teaching and good singing and a friend or two, and that’ll be enough for me.”
But what did Jesus live for, die for, and what does he desire?! That’s the real question. Is a religious group that is “about” Jesus… good enough? OR will you DIE before you will accept anything less than…the substance of Jesus??!!
Those are the questions that satan loves to put in front of people. And Father allows satan to bombard us with these questions, and various patsies of satan to try to make us feel guilty, or to confuse us, or to pile up difficult circumstances to make us second-guess and tempt us to take the easy road. Father allows satan to bombard us with “coincidences” and “chance meetings with accusers” and painful circumstances. WHY would He allow this? As always, “to find out what is in our hearts” and to show Him, ourselves, and others our motives for “coming after Him.”
His Call to us is the cross. Not a cutesy, utopian “way to have church.”
“Unless the seed falls to the ground and DIES, it abides alone. But IF it dies, it BEARS MUCH FRUIT” (John 12:24).
The Real thing only comes through Skandalon. And that will never be an easy decision. Few will be those who will take it past “deep teaching” into the ramifications of losing their very lives, and all that they hoped for and dreamed of….
Be there? We’re praying for you. The Church here is praying that you are busy about the loves of His Life, saturated in Worship!