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

I can’t do it alone, can you?

Here on the internet we would be scholars and teachers of men spend much time and effort to be the most impressive with our understanding of scripture.  We volley back and forth with our ideas of spiritual understanding and enlightenment.  We give off the impression that our walk with the Lord has brought us to a place of spiritual maturity if not perfection, for personal imperfection is taboo when we are trying to gain a following of what we advocate.

Let me be the first to say that I am not what I should be in the Lord.  I have not arrived and at times I feel like I lose ground.  I am aware that I am in a spiritual battle.  All is not quiet on the western front for me.  As Carmen says in one of his song, “My flesh and spirit had a race and Satan went full throttle.”  But with this confession how, can I become what I need to be in Christ.

I looked for it in the local church and I did not see what I was promised.  I have looked for it here on the net and saw no evidence of it here either.  Where do I go to be part of what every believer needs?

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.[1]

When I go to the local body all I see is the pastor, worship leader, Sunday school teacher and the guy who gives announcements, church administrator, sound ministry etc.  I can find all kinds of titles and positions in church except for what God has ordained for us, to benefit us in our walk with our God. Where are the prophets that speak into our lives and keep us on the path with God?  Where is the Apostles and the evangelist with their leadership and spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ?

On line we are like players of Monopoly trying to gain as much following as possible to be that which we desire to be.  Yet where is the Spirit of the Lord?  We on line are no better off than what we are at the local level, maybe even worse. 

How does one get past what is so glaringly lacking in what God Himself has given the church, so we can become mature?  I know for me that I do not want to be full of head knowledge and yet miss what I could have been in Christ, because I never became mature in my walk.

Who else is with me in acknowledging we can’t do it ourselves.  Who will acknowledge with me we need the prophet too?  Who will admit with me we need more than just the pastor, but the apostle and evangelist too? 

Is there any hope for a people who are denied the existence of every office God has ordained for our benefit excluding the office of the pastor?  Is there any hope for a people who have been so sheep herded, that we think only one kind of bleating sheep (the pastor) is good enough for us.  Most of us can’t even recognize God not only wants, but needs us to bleat out his message in all the offices and gifts of the Spirit as He has ordained for us.  For those of who think we have arrived and are a light to men, what office of the Spirit are you, another pastor?

I need you to help me become what I desire to be in Christ.  I need your accountability, wisdom, prayers, spiritual understanding, spoken word of knowledge, timely rebuke and correction.  And somehow have this in the biblical context of what Paul preached, the testimony of the Law and the prophets.  Not something close to the real thing, but the real thing.

In the natural I feel this is hopeless, but with the Spirit I have hope.

[1] Ephesians 4:11-13