Chapter 29: "What It Ain't"
NOW, envision 17,000 or more as part of one church, the church of Christ Jesus in a city. How would they still allow the Lord of Hosts to be Head of His Church? Would it now have to revert (in the “daily in public” part of “daily in public and from house to house”) to a slick Hi-Tech Hollywood presentation by some well-groomed marketeers and choreographers? Would the show need to be planned out step-by-step and practiced again and again all week long, in order to “get it right” on the big day? Is that New Testament Christianity? You know better. Paul would have blown a cork if such a thing were even suggested! John would have wept aloud…just before, as a true “Son of Thunder,” he tore into the stage props and troupes. What great lengths we have gone to in our day to fill in the vacuum left by Ichabod, the departure of true Glory. We have discovered, as in Jesus’ day, that, in spite of the ongoing religious ceremonies, the Ark is not in the Temple.
I must add two things at this point:
1. While this may seem “negative,” keep in mind that severe problems require an accurate diagnosis. Otherwise we’ll never have the heart and passion to find the cure. And,
2. We don’t have to stay in this state of affairs unless we prefer it, for reasons of our own!
I don’t really need to describe any more of what is happening today. You’ve seen it. Suffice it to say that while God, for the most part, may have appreciated our sincerity, most of the fruit of being disconnected from the Head has been tragic. The divorce rate is as high in the “churches” as in the world. Teenage girls are getting pregnant left and right. Drinking, drugs, vulgarity, and worldliness of every kind are filling up pews on Sunday morning all over the world — and “God is not amused.” Might we at least consider the fact that this tragic stuff wouldn’t be going on unchecked if Jesus were really (rather than just theoretically) Present in His Church?
“I will build my Church…and the gates of Hell (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it (or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it).”
“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.
“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil: No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.”
87 God is after “skilled” from Above (Ex.35:31, 36:1) men and women. These are so adept at what they do that “the eyes of their hearts” can be fully turned towards the Captain of the Lord’s Host as they do what they do with their “skills.” They are then able to respond to the variables and God’s Direction with a great amount of “Spontaneity.” Some need to concentrate on the mechanics of what they are doing because they have only a limited level of giftedness. They cannot look full into Jesus’ Face and forget about everything external. Those that cannot so lose themselves in Christ while they are doing what they are doing cannot lead others into His Presence in that area. “Practicing” or “Studying” something is not the issue. Practicing to learn, or to enhance a skill, is commendable, but never to fulfill a little pre-programmed role. Do what you do to change who you are before God: to grow into His Image, and to offer yourself to Him. But not to perform a clever ditty before men. Get who you are right, and He’ll use you as He sees fit! “Unless the Lord builds the House, its builders build in vain.” Back