Gathering of the Body (1 of 3)
* Remember to read the previous parts of this series first
As I am well aware that I often address this issue, I will be as brief as possible as to not repeat what I often speak of on this matter. I just cannot honestly get away from it – I can't help it. I believe with all that is within me that this is perhaps the greatest error within the Body of Christ, for most "ministry" flows from it. We must know how a Gathering of the Body that is pleasing unto God functions.
"However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 'HEAVEN IS MY THRONE, AND EARTH IS THE FOOTSTOOL OF MY FEET; WHAT KIND OF HOUSE WILL YOU BUILD FOR ME?' says the Lord, 'OR WHAT PLACE IS THERE FOR MY REPOSE? WAS IT NOT MY HAND WHICH MADE ALL THESE THINGS?'" Acts 7:48-50
"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands." Acts 17:24
"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built!" 1 Kings 8:27
One of the main issues that I have with "attending church" is that it becomes a special occasion, not a daily lifestyle. Attendees dress differently than they would if, say, they were going to the grocery store. It is validated by saying that it is "honoring the LORD's house". It is understood that you are to sit quietly (usually in the same place) and listen to someone "feed" you. You stand when you are told and you sit when you are told. You sing when you are told to sing. You sing what you are told to sing. You give your tithes and offerings and it will be assigned as the "leadership" sees worthy, unless you designate its use otherwise. You know what is coming and when. It is ritualistic religion rooted in pagan practices and age old doctrines of men. Call it what you want, it does not change what it is and it does not fit the biblical mold.
There are contemporary services, services at 8:30, 9:45, 10:30 and 11:45 AM. Services after lunch, services on Saturday nights, family-friendly church, modern church, emergent church, traditional church, denominational church, non-denominational church…. just "make it out to the service" and "go to church"! If I could choose one church sign that sums up the biggest fallacy in commonplace Christianity it is this, "Home Improvement: Take your family to church!" My friend, we have exchanged the real thing for a form of godliness. Masses of Believers meet again and again and again, following the same "orders of service" and wonder why nothing ever changes. If the "church", as most know it to be, is so fantastic, then why are so many of them all over the place yet we see virtually no fruit from any of them beyond some community-minded efforts that "secular" organizations are already doing… and doing better?
Again, I urge you, return to what God deems as acceptable, what He deems as worthy. He desires His Body to be a real, living Body! When did you last distribute Communion? When did you get up in front of anyone and teach what God is teaching you in the Word? When do you ever exercise your "Body part"? Do you not sit "under" someone week after week after week, always listening to what God is telling them? At best, you might have a ten minute window to share what you thought about what they just taught you. In the current order, a small handful of people do the "ministering" and the rest? Well, they should just pray silently, I guess.
The Body has been disqualified!
They have been reduced to volunteers, nursery workers and Sunday School teachers! My Bible tells me that if you are in Christ, you are a royal priesthood! Too many people say today to their pastors, leadership, disciplers (call them whatever you wish) what the Israelites said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, or we will die!" (Exodus 20:19) I personally feel that it is spiritually detrimental to rely on someone else to be your primary source. If one does not mature into capably handling the Word of God on their own, how does personal, first-hand revelation ever come? I challenge you to be willing to let go of relying on someone else to tell you what to study and how to study it. I'm not saying we don't need shown how, but many have already been shown how but lazily continue to be "fed" rather than feed themselves.
Until one willingly lays down their reliance upon others to be taught, they will never know the depth and width to personal discovery with the LORD Himself as their Teacher.
Will we always need instruction? Yes. Will we always need godly examples of other who have gone before us? Yes. Will we always need a teacher to hold our hand and tell us what God is speaking? I personally don't think so. Some might say, well then why do you take the time to write and "teach" others then? Is this not contradictory? I don't think it is. My entire goal and purpose is for regular people like me to understand that they too can study the Word and allow it to define biblical Christianity. I desire to be an example of how anyone can discern what the LORD is speaking when they hear what the Spirit is saying. My whole purpose is to say, "You can do it! Yes you!"
Next up, we'll see what God has said in the past about ritualistic services and vain traditions. Can we continue to approach God on our own terms and expect Him to approve of it?