Scriptural challenge (Part 2)

Yesterday, I gave the challenge to find in scripture were the church organization we have today is taught us in scripture.  I gave evidence from scripture that we are ignoring what has been passed down to us from those who have been guided by the Holy Spirit.  It is my conviction that one of the reasons we do not see the Holy Spirit in our lives like we do those in the book of Acts or 1 Corinthians is because we have left scripture. 

Of course we all think that we have stayed true to scripture and the message of the gospel, but yesterdays post glaringly shows we do not.  Everyone who is part of the local church will defend to the death what we have today.  Heck, I would have done the same thing at one time.  But I can not get past this glaring difference between what Paul taught us and what we do.  Can you?

The scripture I chose for this comes from Paul when he is teaching how a local assembly of believers is supposed to conduct themselves.  His goal in this teaching is so the church can be instructed and encouraged.

For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.[1]

But that is the job of the pastor right?  After all what is he there for on Sunday mornings if it is not for those two basics purposes?  If not for those two basic purposes, then what is he there for, to oversee what he is over?  And if he is over, is he not in charged?  And if he is in charge, has he not become the head?  And if not the head, have we not rejected God as our king, just like the jews?

If we are to deny he is their for the purpose of being the head, then it is for encouragement and instruction then, right?  But if he is there for instruction and encouragement, then he again has usurped what the Holy Spirit has given to us as instructions to obey, concerning how the church is to function when we assemble.

It is not taught in scripture that this is for the office of the pastor to do.  This is for those who speak in tongues, interpret tongues, prophesy and have a revelation.  This is two be done orderly and with no more than three who speak in tongues, no more than three who prophecy, but everyone can in due time encourage and instruct in the local assembly as the Holy Spirit leads.  You know, like everyone does everyday outside of the assembly in everyday Christian life.

Again it is not to be taken that those who God has given a heart of a shepherd can not do these things.  On the contrary, all people who function in all the offices can participate.  What we expect from church, encouragement and instruction, is not an office driven activity, but a move of the Holy Spirit activity that can come from any Spirit filled believer in the assembly.

Which now gets me to my point.  We will never become what we read in scripture if we ignore scripture for what promotes our own spiritual laziness and apathy.  I don’t care if we are “Spirit filled”.  If we refuse to do as we see instructed to us by the Holy Spirit, do we really think God is pleased?  And if not pleased, is He willing to give us what we say we want?  Not when we the “Spirit filled” can’t even follow the Spirit so the Spirit can be in our midst.

Sadly I think many of us have not one bit of desire to do these things as part of our lives in Christ.  Does this make us hot for Christ, but certainly not cold, but lukewarm doesn’t not.

Since we will continue to refuse to obey scripture, and grieve the Holy Spirit, we will willingly keep those whose hearts are hard from being convicted by the Holy Spirit, since we absolutely refuse to obey the Holy Spirit.

But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you![2]

How is it that at many churches we sing the song Breath without a thought to the words we worship with? 

“This is the air I breath

This is the air I breath

Your Holy presence living in me

This is my daily bread

This is my daily bread

Your very word spoken to me”

We do not and never will have the presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst like the verse above, because we will never do it the way the Spirit of Christ tells us.  We will never experience the Holy Spirit in our midst like this and nether will the lost.  We refuse to do what we are instructed by the Holy Spirit.  We will not for the benefit of our own spiritual well being, nor those of the lost.  Instead let us feed our spiritual laziness and apathy with scorn towards the instructions from the scriptures we say we follow.

So let us meet on Sunday and let us worship to the song Breath and tell the Lord how important His presence and word is to us.  Let us speak to him how desperate we are to have him in our lives, but by God keep Him at bay, because we are not that desperate to obey Him!

“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”[3]

[1] 1 Corinthians 14:31

[2] 1 Corinthians 14:24-25

[3] Matthew 15:8-9

Yeah local church, forsake not the fellowship

Those who attend local churches are always so quick to instruct those who do not. They are more than happy to quote the following verse to show the error of those who choose to stay away from the local body of believers.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,[1]

When I am confronted by those who so dogmatically instruct me in the better way, I always ask them to quote the entire scripture.  As of yet no one has been able to get past the little sound bite they so easily regurgitate, and be able to quote me the whole of the scripture.

Did you know there is a second half of the verse that every Christian tardy officer quotes, but they don’t realize they only have half the picture?  They are more interested in a legalism birthed in the local church than what scripture teaches us.  There is no interest in what makes a fellowship of believers, that being two or more, or what we are to do in that fellowship.  Rather they think this scripture is about a head count.

In order to make sure we actually have the right kind of fellowship when we come together, scripture has surrounded this verse of incrimination to those who do not attend the local church, with the purpose of that fellowship. 

In the verse before we have this statement.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.[2]

Then the verse in question actually finishes by saying.

but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.[3]

It isn’t the pastor’s job of doing the fellowshipping.  It is the job of every member of the body of Christ.  Everyone is to be spurring one another and encouraging one another with our hope found in scripture.  Not the pastor.

Which brings me to a sad state of affairs.  In every body of adult believers I have attended we talk job, sports, hunting, real estate, movies, anything but scripture.  And this while attending the church.  And in the believers home it is no different.

When I was confronted by those long time church associates about my tardiness from the local assembly, by the half a verse in question, I would ask them the last time we talk the book.  They came to realize it was never, it was always something else, but never the book.

So what of it local church?  You have a large head count, but no one is spurring or encouraging one another as scripture has told us to do.  Every individual who reads scripture should know what we are instructed to do when we come together.  Oh, maybe that is it.  This fact is evident only to those who read scripture.

You have heard it said.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.  Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.[4]

But we say.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing.

How about next time someone wants to play the trump card on the believer who has “forsaken the fellowship”, how about them asking themselves if they have encouraged with scripture those they fellowship with towards love and good deeds in Christ.  Or how about encouraging with scripture those they fellowships with concerning the approaching day of our Lord.

Sitting in a large gathering of believers listening and leaving is not fellowshipping.  Nor is coming and going without individuals using the word of God to encourage and spur each other on.  So what of it local church, quit forsaking the fellowship!

[1] Hebrews 10:25a

[2] Hebrews 10:24

[3] Hebrews 10:25b

[4] Hebrews 10:24-25