In John’s Gospel we saw last week that Jesus was a safe person….
The Church – is God’s people gathered together
God’s people – born again believers / disciples
The Church – is empowered to be a witness
Acts 1:8 … “you shall receive power and be My witnesses…”
The Church – is here to complete the task Jesus began
Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:19-20
The Church – is to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom everywhere
The Church – is to demonstrate that the Gospel is true Read more
Jesus is currently building His Church
Matthew 16:18 “On this rock (revelation) I will build My Church…”
He is doing this through planting new expressions of the Gospel in every nation
A major move in most nations towards house churches
He is also revamping any existing church – regardless of their size, shape, or tradition – through shaking it so that only the essentials remain Read more
God is bringing us back to the biblical pattern for the Church. He is preparing a new wineskin for a new move of His Spirit which will bring many into the Kingdom. Some say, we are being prepared for the end-times harvest of souls for the Kingdom.
The Church has tried following man’s ideas, but man’s ways have not produced results and has resulted in a lot being done in the flesh. We have been faithful but somewhat fruitless. God is bring us into a new season when there was will be a return on His investment and much fruit will be seen. Following God’s plan the Early Church moved in a continuous time of harvest that reached the known world in one generation. We can learn from their example.
A key element in the success of the Early Church, as we have seen, was the establishment of apostolic regional centers. They were placed strategically by the Holy Spirit so they could have the greatest impact in spreading the Gospel of the Kingdom and in training, equipping, and releasing the saints to expand the Kingdom to the end of the then known world. Apostolic centers were not randomly placed. God planted them where they would have the greatest impact to penetrate the world for His Kingdom. Read more
We have been looking at biblical regional centers or apostolic centers as found in the New Testament…
We have looked at Jerusalem, Antioch, and Ephesus… The forth one of five is found in the city of Corinth
Today – the Lord is stirring something in the harvest fields. He is placing a hunger in people’s hearts for a reality – a spiritual reality leading to a new physical reality – beyond anything they have previously seen or experienced.
- He is preparing His Church for a great end-times harvest that will soon be upon us.
- He is preparing us to receive that harvest as well as be labourers in the harvest field bringing the harvest into the Kingdom and the Church
- He is planting “new wineskin” churches in nations around the world
- He is renewing existing churches that are willing to move into a new future
And, I believe, He is walking away from churches who determined to continue to hold to their lifeless traditions and religious rules that hold people in bondage and control them. Read more
Jesus defined “success” in three key words
Matthew 25:21 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”
Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
John 15:8 “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples”
3> Finishing well
Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…”
2 Timothy 4:6-7 “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God,
which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
If these are the three things Jesus is looking for to determine our success as leaders in the Church that He is building
Then our PRIORITIES should reflect them
And, these three signs of success in the Church and in our ministry are all directly related to relationships that we form and develop.
Yes, we have placed so much emphasis on tasks – in fact, an overemphasis – often at the expense of relationships
I believe it is our relationships that ultimately reveal our success or lack of success in the eyes of our Heavenly Father if not in the eyes of the Church world
Christian LEADERS fell obligated to fill a vast number of roles – a tremendous variety of roles in the Church and thus in their ministry
Diagram of the ministry of Jesus as it related to His priorities, His relationships, and His impact At the top of the chart are the roles that He fulfilled
We have a spectator model of the Church here in North America and in many others nations of the world. People come to the service on Sunday and watch the experts fulfill their calling as they lead worship, teach, minister, and pray. Then they go home having fulfilled their Christian obligation for the week. Most denominational churches and many Charismatic and Spirit-filled churches function in this manner.
It is an Old Testament model of the priesthood where those select few are ordained and anointed to do the ministry – celebrate the Lord’s Supper, bless the people, minister God’s Word. The New Testament Church did not continue that model of ministry after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ who is the head of the Church. Instead it taught that every member is a minister because every born again Christian belongs to the priesthood of all believers. (1 Peter 2:9)
In the New Testament there was no such thing as the clergy and the laity – simply believers. Yes, there were some specific tasks certain people were called to fulfill – five-fold ministry roles, deacons, helps, administration… but fulfilling one of these roles did not make you “clergy” and if you didn’t have one of these callings then you were “laity.” That is a man-made system and not a God-given structure.
The word ‘laity’ means amature. When I go to the doctor for a medical issue I am going to someone who is the expert and I am certainly a bit of an amature having never even taken high school biology. So, I am expecting him to be the knowledgable one as I am certainly not well informed. But, this was never meant to be the way the Church functioned. Jesus wants everyone in His Church to have a ministry and fulfill the call on the Church to “go into all the world…” (Matthew 28:18).
In the Church Jesus called certain people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. The task of these five-fold ministers (Ephesians 4:11-16) is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. It is not their task to do the ministry. Rather it is their job to teach the believers how to minister supernaturally and touch others with the love of God. They are the coaches and believers are the players on the field. However, in most churches it is the coaching staff playing the game on the field while the team sits in the stands and watches. And, we wonder why so many (1,500 a month in North America) are leaving the ministry.
Every believer is called into the ministry and is called to touch lives with the love of God. Every believer has a call and an anointing from God. Every believer has a specific task that they were created and called to fulfill (Ephesians 2:10). Every believer is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and do what He did. He told His followers just this. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (John 14:12)
Now, when you look around and see the people in your world – the needs and the pain in people’s lives can be overwhelming. Don’t look at the big picture. Focus on the one person the Lord has placed in front of you and minister to them. Touch their life with the love of God as found only in Jesus Christ. Malcolm Bane once said, “If you wait until you can do everything for everybody, instead of something for somebody, you’ll end up not doing anything for anybody.” So each day find that one person and touch their lives as a minister of the Gospel and as an ambassador for Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and help them to cross the line of faith and be reconciled to God because that is YOUR calling (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).
Each One – Reach One and we will soon see multitudes coming into the Kingdom of God.
The church of my dreams will be one that is founded upon prayer. Not religious praying but a deep seeking after and crying out to God. This begins with me as the one helping to plant the Gospel in a new area. Nothing can be done until I have first prayed. And then only what the Lord has revealed would then be done. This is how Jesus worked when He came to plant the Gospel. He did what He saw the Father doing and spoke what He heard the Father saying to Him. This is basic. Foundational! Essential. Non-negotiable.
I believe that this means the first part of every day will be spent in prayer with God. Not in the office. Not on the streets evangelizing. Not working my contacts and contacting my network of people. Simply sitting quietly before God waiting on Him and listening for His voice. He will initiate. He will speak first. I need simply respond to what He says. It will be His agenda each morning because it is His Gospel being planted and He is the One building His Church. I will need to pray as if everything depended upon God – because it does!
In the church of my dreams – all those won to Lord will also be taught, right from the beginning of their walk with the Lord, to “be still and know God.” Foundational! Essential. Non-negotiable. All activities of the church will be centered on, grounded upon, surrounded by, covered with prayer. Long before the activity becomes public and takes place many hours of prayer will have soaked the gathering in the power and presence of God. Every detail dictated by the Holy Spirit. Not asking God to bless what we are doing but finding out right from get-go what it is He is doing (or wanting to do) and getting involved because it is already anointed, empowered and blessed by Him.
In the church of my dreams – before any decision is made it have received considerable prayer so that we will know that “it seems good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” (Acts 15). We will be in agreement with one another before moving forward because God blesses when there is unity and oneness of heart (Psalm 133). But, we will first make sure that what we are in unity about is in line with the will of God and the purposes of the Holy Spirit.
Prayer meetings will be daily. But they will be real prayer meetings. Not times of fellowship -but simply times of seeking the Lord together. If we want to fellowship we do so after the time with the Lord. These meetings will be led by God, empowered by God, He will speak and we will respond. Until He speaks we are simply quiet and being still in His presence. These are not times of intercession, prophetic intercession, petitioning, praise and worship – these are times to “seek the Lord” and hear what He has to say. This may give us fuel and focus for another “type” of prayer meeting later in the day or week, maybe even with different people present. But, these daily times of prayer will be singularly focused.
Prayer will be essential, foundational and revolutionary for those who want to be a part of the church of my dreams (hey! it’s my dream) and certainly for those who are called at a later time into leadership as this church grows. But, radical biblical prayer and not religious prayer as seen so often in so many churches.