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Friday, May 08, 2009
The true purpose of REAL church!
We must understand that the church’s purpose is to equip it’s people to deepen and/or establish their walk of faith, and relationship, with God. This is a two-fold purpose as it entails their calling (walk of faith) and their discipleship (relationship with God). All can claim daughter/son relationship once they embrace Christ, but none can claim discipleship without being taught, without searching and studying scripture, and without living what they know.But if you don’t know it you can’t live it. This is the function of the church and it’s pastoral ministry.The post-modern church seek conversion through evangelism. This is not it’s purpose, as this falls to apostolic ministry and not pastoral church. The church is the vineyard in which faith grows. Evangelism is where you procure those that need planting. The harvest is God’s! Once it is understood what is needed, by whom to whom, then you can revive the faith, reform the church and build discipleship in the body.There is too much “enjoying church” instead of “deepening the faith”. I have been to the on-fire churches and they are VASTLY different than many we see today. They promote a deep and real relationship with God, and strive to teach discipleship from the pulpit. However this is the exception rather than the rule. We need only look at the third world churches to remember HOW it should be. This is what they do in most all of their churches.I have been blessed that on my site to have many Indian (India) Pastors who share their burden and give insight into what they are doing for the Lord. Remegio Blanco (Philippines) is also a pastor with a burden to not only evangelize, but to build the body of Christ. More of an apostolic approach, he has ministries as well as churches, the work is on both fronts, one to bring them into the fold, two to teach them how to have and build a disciple’s relationship in and through Christ.Here in the USA I see too often pastors ostracized for actually teaching, and believing, the Word as written. To truly take a face value the authority of God, and His tenets, in their lives and the lives of their congregants. Budgets, new buildings, outreach ministry (while their own is floundering), and other concerns, precludes the instruction of the body into discipleship, and some can’t instruct because they themselves don’t know.The question has always been “what do you do AFTER they enter the fold?” Too many congregations just don’t know!The church is not the body of Christ, even though there are churches IN the body of Christ. What you have is individual relationships that constitute the body of Christ, much as the hand, ear, nose, etc. constitute our physical body. There is unity, and unified purpose and action, but each part is singular and of a specific and particular action.The body of Christ is failing because too many decide that there are only two parts necessary to function, those who lead, and those who follow. That is a great misinterpretation as you follow only Christ, and that unction is to ALL that are of the body. But when we recognize the functioning areas of the entire unity in Christ, then wholeness can restored.“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death (of the body of Christ-added for emphasis)” Proverbs.And it is most true that “my people perish for lack of knowledge…”The goal of Christianity is to be like Christ (Luke 9:23) and to walk in discipleship NOT just son or daughtership. It is like the monk who follows a revered Master. We follow Christ who is, and was, and shall always be, no less than God on earth. Each one takes that journey individually, and it is not for us to discern whether a person is at a place of maturity to reproduce their faith in another. That requires a judgment beyond our own capabilities.God plants the seed, God reaps the harvest.We, by the very living of our lives, show the example of what our journey enfolds in us. In other words as we progress, our faith deepens, and our actions bespeak the relationship we are forging with our Father God. This then will ignite a flame of desire within the hearts that God has already prepared to follow Him. We do not do it, nor can we, the work is His. Christ told His disciples “you will reap where you have not sown”. This is to the church as well.But we must always remain “instant in season”…. that God can use us as He wills.Different tools (Bible seminary, et al) reach different people. That is why different churches, pastors, ministries, speak to a different audience than each other. My sister always prays “God speak to me in a voice that I can hear…” There are many voices, but we only hear that which speaks to our souls and strengthens our walk. This is how it should be.The church is to speak to those who need, and desire, discipleship. To, in essence, move beyond redemption and walk fully in the promises under Grace. A different church should only be a different voice, and not a different theology. But when you proscribe to the offices of men the authority of God, you fall away and teach a different gospel, and fail at bringing in a harvest of disciples before the Lord. A church that does this blasphemes God.I have had countless arguments with those who proclaim that the reformers all agreed on that person’s point. I always ask “but does God?” Many manmade theologies out there, are entrenched into the character of the church. They are proclaimed truth, and the way a Christian should believe, eschewing the truths of God. That is why most, though not all, churches are no longer in the body of Christ. You must preach, teach, and beseech Christ in order to have Christ.Anything less is another doctrine, of another God.Be blessed, be loved, and be at peace.Jonathan