Not Hidden Under a Bushel Basket... a City Set On a Hill
Thursday Night, September 9, 1999
...Whose Builder and Maker Is GOD
A letter excerpt....... Shouldn’t we accept life around us as it is, because “there are no perfect churches”? Just “bloom where you’re planted.” It’s all about you and your personal relationship with God anyway. YOUR church—is you and God, and doing the best you can with whatever comes up around you. Not your local church or congregation. That’s unrealistic. Now, there are other individuals “out there” who love God, hidden in other religious facilities on Sunday morning. The “true” church is just the invisible collection of the folks that really care and aren’t living hypocritical compromising lives like many are. You won’t ever find a congregation of people who “from the least to the greatest ALL know Him.” That’s, as I said, unrealistic. The real church is just invisible scattered individuals here and there that make up the true church. Lower your expectations or you’ll burn yourself out, and you’re just being judgmental and a malcontent anyway! Love one another. Right?
Some DO say these things! Even “famous teachers and preachers and pastors and evangelists” have been heard to say such things! Some will resort to the above way of teaching because they have never experienced what true Church can be. Many of the leaders have started out with Vision and have become disillusioned through pain and failure. Now they are trying to hold something together for various reasons—some sincere, some personal. They’re covering their tracks to explain their current state of leaven and “10% committed.” This type of “teaching” is often to quiet those who desire the REAL DEAL—“Admonish one another daily, so that NONE are hard and deceived,” “...bearing one another’s burdens, and SO fulfill the Law of Christ,” “Confess your sins and pray for one another, THAT you may be healed,” “one heart,” “one mind,” “contending as one man for the faith....”
Obviously, if we find ourselves for now in a situation filled with contradictions, we certainly do need to keep our eyes on Jesus and find great Comfort and satisfaction in Him—without being bitter or caustic or weird. Sometimes we have to “make do.” But that is not God’s overall intent for a “Bride that has made herself ready.” That compromised stuff can never satisfy our hearts, nor can we be forever enslaved by the religious machinery to a life watching ourselves and our children and our neighbors be ruined by accepted sin that is only “preached” about. “A little leaven leavens the WHOLE batch.” God did NOT intend for us to be “one loaf” with such. He Himself said that, in such a case, “Your meetings do more harm than good, no matter HOW good ‘the worship time’ is! Your disconnectedness and lack of discernment of what the Body of Christ truly should be...brings God’s discipline. That’s why some of you are sick and some are dying!” It matters to God that we truly live out the Life of His Son together, rather than just teach about it and sing about it!
We’ve GOT to keep the Vision where God wants it, no matter what anyone’s (bad) experiences are. As Luther might have said, “Show me Teaching in the Scriptures that we should be happy with mediocrity, lukewarmness, and leaven in His Church, and that the gates of hell should be able to prevail daily in the lives of those in the church...and THEN I’ll recant. Until then, kill me if you must. I will not accept a lower Vision for His local assembly than what the Scriptures teach we should live for and be willing to die for!” Without His vision, the people cast off restraint. They’ll settle for the television, the VCR, the DVD player, the World Wide Web, “family outings,” “family vacations,” and more and more work and worldliness...if they can’t SEE it. “Repent...for the Kingdom is at hand.” Why? “Because there is something to truly live for now! Not just the King, but the Kingdom, too!!” “The splendor of Holiness” is only truly appealing in the midst of the genuine pillar and foundation of Truth, the Household of God, Bethel—the stairway to Heaven.
This isn’t meant to be some imaginary, unseen, invisible, theoretical thing. There is no Scripture to support that God intended the local assembly to be anything other than “joined and knit together by every supporting ligament” and none saying to another, “I have no need of you until the next theoretical meeting and singing time.” From DAY 1, it was totally about Life together in Him. Three thousand Jews who didn’t know each other much, with various language and cultural barriers, financial problems, and no New Testament to read about it and rationalize it all away, were “all together” as one People, every day, and “NO ONE counted their possessions as their own.” From Day 1, it was about a Life together in Him that could not and must not be hypothetical and “invisible”—but rather impossible to “hide under a bushel basket.” Even the pagans will “praise Him on that day” because of those who were once “not a People” but “now are a People.” The world will see it. “THIS is how all men will know you’re Mine...” “The manifold wisdom of God is made known to the principalities and powers (who aren’t impressed by anything theoretical, but only that which is as real and tangible and visible as JESUS was in time and physical space) through the CHURCH, now.” Fifteen years of seeing it lived out visibly with somewhere between 200-300 people, and growing in other countries like wildfire, makes a pretty strong case, too, for me.