Pitfalls On Your Walk With Jesus – Part One

Paul, an apostle whose life was totally transformed by his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, tells us – no, stronger than that – exhorts us to “redeem the time because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

On our journey with Jesus we have much to learn and it takes time to get to know Him better as each day comes. It takes time to learn how to live a life pleasing to Him. It takes time to learn to live before Him. It takes time to grow in His life – learning to release His life from within and allowing Him to live His life through us. And, I observe that a lot of believers are wasting their time. And, let’s admit it, our time is limited and each day seems to have more to do than we can accomplish. So, we cannot afford to waste time.

Here are some ways I see that we waste our time as believers and disciples of the Lord…

1> We allow ourselves to be bitter against someone who has hurt us

Bitterness rooted in unforgiveness will destroy your spiritual life and take others down with you. You will also defile many as a result.

Hebrews 12:15 “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…”

Here is how that works. Someone offends you or hurts you. God immediately pours out His grace upon you. If you grab hold of the grace you will forgive and go to the person who offended or wounded you and deal with the issues. If you “fail to obtain the grace” you will go to others and share your hurt and tell them your side of the story. Of course, it is only one side and only a partial truth. The person, being a good Christian, loves you, listens to you, and prays with you. You feel better. They feel good that they were able to help you.

But, the root is still there and it will fester and grow again – the spiritual pressure and anger will grow inside of you and then you will go and seek someone else out who will listen and “minister” to you. This can go on for months even years. Then, one day you wake up spiritually and realize you need to go to the person who offended you and deal with the issue or issues. And, the grace is there to enable you to do so.

However, every person you have spoken to now has a different picture of the person who hurt you. They have a twisted view of this person. And, although you are now reconciled and doing great…those you shared with and who ministered to you do not have the grace nor, most likely, the opportunity to deal with what they are feeling towards your once one time enemy. So, you are good and many are defiled.

Such a total waste of time and so destructive to both your spiritual life and the many relationships which will be adversely effected by your actions.

2> Use your time, your money, and your resources only for yourself and your needs.

Being selfish and being the center of your life (self-focused) is never healthy or beneficial to your walk with the Lord. We need to be Christ-centred and focused on others. There are 59 “one another” verses in the New Testament. Love one another, forgive one another, pray for one another, bear one another’s burdens… you get the idea. You cannot and will not fulfill any of these “commands” if you are the center of your own universe. And, when you don’t fulfill these commands then this has an adverse and negative effect on your relationship with Jesus.
3> Spend little to no time with the Lord in solitude – just you and Him alone.

Christians fill their lives with all sorts of activities staying busy from early morning to late at night. Most times these are good activities and even necessary things that need to be focused on and accomplished. However, maybe we need to slow the pace of life down somewhat and make room for the most important thing – your relationship with your Lord and Saviour, the living Jesus Christ.

This means taking a hard look at your daily schedule and weekly routine and creating some margin. Everyone today lives on the edge. They are filling their calendars full. They are spending everything they are earning and then some. They are emotionally exhausted. There is no extra (margin) at the end of the day. So, we need to slow things down, prioritize somewhat, and then schedule time with the Lord first before everything else. Then, never fill a day full (or spend to the limit, or emotionally give till you are empty and stressed out… step back a bit and fill 90% of the waking hours … giving you some margin. Spend 80% of your money, save 10% and give 10% (tithe) and thus create margin (space to breathe). You get the idea.

So, the third pitfall in our journey with Jesus is living on the edge and not prioritizing and creating margin in every aspect of our life as we do so.

More next time….

A Personal Reflection / Observation

I attended a service recently where after the main event and lunch we took some time to listen to the voice of the Sprit and then report back to the others in attendance what we believe God was speaking to us as an assembly.

The main event did not end with a knock out. It was your regular Sunday morning assembly. It had decent worship and a decent, Bible-basic teaching. The lunch following the main event was good, the fellowship was better than the meal. Good conversations. Some honest and open dialogue with a number of people. Refreshing.

One conversation I found intriguing was with a mother of a teenager. The teen had stopped attending church some time ago. The young man had recently attended for one Sunday. He saw that, in his mind, nothing had changed and so has not returned since. 

As people shared what they heard the Lord saying it was, in my humble but experienced opinion, that we should continue on being faithful. God confirming what we were currently doing.  How we are faithful as believers because we continue to worship, pray, and hold services. It was the regular “God is pleased with us” and we need to keep Jesus at the center of what we do comments. Nothing challenging or stretching. Little that was truly biblical. 

I mentioned that maybe we need to change some of what we believe and most of what we do as believers. The focus became the technology. Not what I was referring to. I mentioned that although the message – the Gospel of the Kingdom – has not changed, the methods by which we communicate the message must change. Some became defensive as if we were attacking them personally. Maybe we were. Others wandered off into sharing their own thoughts and feelings about things not related to the topic currently under discussion – escapism or simply a wondering mind … one comment led to a new thought led to a rabbit trail excursion.

But, the point was missed – even after I mentioned the story of the young person who had seen no outward change to the way we “do business” (after being away for a number of years) and, as a result, has not bother to return. 

One young man – husband, father, and business owner – mentioned that in his opinion the church of the future was going to be directly connected to the business world that he was involved in. You know, build community among the staff of the company, begin to win them to the Lord, and then have a daily or weekly gathering in the business facilities where they could share and pray. Another business man agreed. Others – by their comments and by their faces and body language – were certainly not in agreement. For them it was “business as usual,” church business that is.

It was good to air our thoughts on what the Lord was saying to us in our time together. However, there were a number of things that I observed.

1> There is a definite divide between the younger generation and the old timers.

2> Some old timers are moving forward in the things of the Kingdom . They are the ones who are readers and who are interacting with believers in other geographical areas and from other flavours of the Church and who are also involved in reaching the lost.

3> In general, believers do not want to change. They may not like what they have and are experiencing but it is better than the “unknown.”

4> The heart for the lost is missing in most believers. They are focused on what they want, need, like, desire or already have. It is a series of unending “what’s in it for me” comments without that phrase being spoken.

5> Most believers think they are hearing the voice of God but they are not. When all you hear is that things are okay, it is usually not the Lord speaking. When what you hear is not challenging you or stretching you spiritually, emotionally, relationally, even physically then it is most likely not the Lord. Believers have not taken the time to sort out which inner voice is the voice of the Spirit.

6> Believers who have been raised in a traditional setting for church will usually not be flexible when it comes to doing things a new way. Oh, there may be small concessions and minor changes but basically the format and content of their experience and the expression of their faith (the church service) is not going to see any changes. It may be time to move on and start something new.

7> The local churches are dying. This is seen in the definite lack of life in the services. Not to mention the declining numbers, the decreasing income, and the increase in the average age of those in attendance. 

8> There is a “protect the fort” mentality and little sign of a desire to attack the gates of hell and rescue the lost. The lost seldom come up in conversations between believers. 

I walked away somewhat frustrated even though everything I heard and experienced during the day I have come to expect. I work with many groups in many areas of my country and elsewhere in the world. What I experienced yesterday can and does take place in every country and in a lot of churches. 

In the book of Acts, chapter eleven we read “Who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” 

Well, many should be asking themselves that same question because in the church today many are standing in the way. Yesterday was simply one small example. 

Just a personal observation.

Hungry For More?

The Message Version… Colossians 1:5-6

“The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn’t diminish or weaken over time. It’s the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you’ve been hungry for more.”

If you are a Christian, it is in your spiritual DNA to hunger for more of Jesus. That hunger can be chocked by other pursuits. Even religious pursuits. But that hunger is always present if we will simply stop long enough to recognize what it is. 

That hunger is always present. It just needs to be watered a little. Reading a book that reveals Christ … or hearing a message where the riches of Christ and the deep things of God are unveiled … causes that hunger to be watered and even awakened. 

It is that very hunger that causes many to leave the institutional church and to seek the experience of the true body of Christ, the organic Church, where they experience body life. Boiled down to the basics, a longing for a real church experience in a real body of Christ is really a hunger for more of the Lord.

In my opinion, if a ministry is not utterly centred upon and revealing Jesus Christ in ever-greater depths, it will eventually wear out in your life. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing that never wears out. Everything else grows thin eventually … and that includes the 1001 religious and spiritual things that Christians chase after today.

In my personal experience, I have inside me a hunger to know more and learn more. It is a hunger that is tangible. I can feel it. It cries out to me, “feed me, feed me.” Whenever I stop reading for a few days – reading my Bible AND reading other books (see below) there is this deep cry inside to learn more, know more, and to grow. My inner man needs feeding. 

Whenever that feeling rises strong on the inside I can look back and realize that it has been a week or so since I last made time to sit and read a book. And, I can look back and discover that I have been surface reading my Bible and not digging deep into the truths contained in the Word of God. 

I hear myself and others say that time is lacking in our daily schedules to regularly read. I don’t believe it. We always find time for what we deem to be important. I recently realized that some evening when I am home and not on the road ministering I watch two episodes of a series we are working through on Netflix. That’s 3 hours of television. Good program but not a good use of my time. So, I have taken up watching just one episode and then excusing myself, going to my study, and reading for 90 minutes. There is always time for what is important to us. And, feeding the hunger in my spirit is important to me.

It is simply a matter of priorities and setting goals. 

It is easy enough to take a new book off the shelf on Sunday, see how many chapters there are (or pages) and divide by seven. That is what you need to read each day to finish a book in a week. Think about how much you would grow if you read 52 books a year. It is really not that difficult to imagine reading that much if you make it a priority in your life and then plan how it is going to be accomplished. 

Try it – you just might like it.

I mentioned ‘other books’: 

I read classics (Currently reading Phantom of the Opera). 

I read current novels so I stay current with what non-believers are reading (currently reading “Camino Island” by John Grisham).

I read books on the Church so I am growing in my understanding and seeing ‘church’ from someone else’s vantage point (currently reading “Irresistible” by Andy Stanley)

I read books on leadership (currently reading “Integrity” by Henry Cloud)

I read books to help with my teachings (currently reading “Wisdom of the Jedi” by Dick Staub)

I read books on Jesus (currently reading, “The Challenge of Jesus” by N.T. Wright)

I read biographies (currently reading “Bruchko” by Bruce Olson)

And on the list could go. And, yup, I have more than one book on the go at the same time.

Personal Reflections – The Church #9

We have been looking at the New Testament expression of the Church that Jesus is building.

These 14 images of the Church that Jesus is building give us a fairly clear picture of who we are – for, we are the Church. Each picture of the Church shows us that the church is a close-knit, shared-life community of people who exalt Jesus together in everything they do. Remember, Jesus said that if we would lift Him up (exalt Him) He would draw all people to Himself.

God has chosen to make His Son knowable, touchable, visible, and locatable on planet earth through only one vessel – the ekklesia, the ‘gathered and separated ones,’ the Church. Jesus Christ – His very nature and heart – can be seen only through the Church. The Church that He is building is God’s designated instrument for the expression of His Son. And, it is the very heartbeat of God’s ultimate passion.

As we live life connected to the Church, God’s passion, every aspect of our lives should be influenced by what He is passionate about, His Church. The Church should add texture and richness to our spiritual experience. It also delivers us from a passionless Christianity, a shallow walk, and a purposeless faith. The overwhelming passion of our Lord is to obtain a strong following in every city of the planet. A Church that expresses the Gospel of the Kingdom and the salvation message. A bride who dearly loves Him, a House where He can dwell, a body that freely expresses Him, and a family that brings Him delight.

In this light, it is the supreme calling of every Christian leader to equip God’s people to see the mystery of God’s ultimate passion with spiritual eyes … to hear it with spiritual ears … to handle it with spiritual hands … to taste its sweetness and smell its fragrance. 

God is looking for those who will burn for His ultimate passion and allow their lives to be shaped by it. This is the true Church.

Personal Reflections – The Church #8

As we continue the series of personal reflections on “The Church”…

13> A Temple

See: 1 Corinthians 3; 2 Corinthians 6; Ephesians 2; 1 Peter 2

We are living stones designed to be assembled together with other living stones to form God’s house. Jesus Christ embodies the house of God – His holy temple. Christ is the chief architect, the builder, the foundation, the cornerstone, and the capstone of the building.

1 Peter 2:4-5 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

So, as a local church … Are the members of your church being built together? Or do they have little to do with one another outside of church gatherings? Is your church a rock heap, or is it a building?

14> A City

See: Philippians 3; Hebrews 12; Revelation, chapters 21 and 22

We are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of God. Jesus Christ is the prince of the city. He is also the light of the city. One of the central characteristics of the heavenly Jerusalem is that she is born in freedom (Galatians 4:26). Old Testament Jerusalem was discarded by God because it was enmeshed with the bondage of legalism, religious duty, and guilt-ridden tradition. The heavenly Jerusalem is free from all of that.

Philippians 3:17-21 “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

So, in your local church … Are the members of your church free in Christ, or are they in religious bondage? Are they inflicted with an incurable headache of guilt, or are they secure in God’s love and liberated to love Him back freely? Are the practices of your church based on human tradition, or are they built on the spiritual principles of the city of God?

Next time – we will summarize this series of “personal reflection”…

Personal Reflections – The Church #7

The Church, in the New Testament, is described many different ways. We have been looking at the various names and expressions for the Church in the past week and a bit. Let’s jump in and continue…

11> A Vineyard

See: John 15

Jesus Christ is the Vine and we are the branches. The vine and the branches cannot be separated from one another. In a real sense, the branch is in the vine, and the vine is in the branch. When the branch is in the vine it bears fruit. The branch is the assembly of believers that we call the Church.

In any cluster of grapes, some grapes will be green. These green grapes will not bear fruit until they ripen or mature. But, these green grapes must remain in the cluster in order for them to ripen. If a grape is removed from the cluster and left on its own, it will crinkle and wrinkle. That is, it will become a raisin. So, the vine is Jesus, the branch is the Church, and the gapes are believers who are relationally connected to Christ and to one another. This then is the Church.

Our fruitfulness as a church (the branch that bears fruit – grapes) is directly connected to the depth of our personal relationship with the vine – Jesus. So, we must focus on Jesus and take the time and make the effort to have a deep, personal, intimate, ever-deepening, daily, unique love relationship with Jesus (the Vine). We must never let anything hinder the development and deepening of that intimate relationship. 

Romans 6:23b “The gift of God is eternal life”

John 17:3 Defines the gift called ‘eternal life’…

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

So, in your local church … Is your church like a vineyard where the cluster of grapes lives and grows together? Or is it made up of ‘raisin Christians’ who live outside the cluster? Is your church extending outside of itself to influence others or is it insular and ingrown?

12> A Sheepfold

See: John, chapters 10 and 21;1 Peter 2

Jesus Christ is the Great Shepherd, and we are His beloved sheep. Sheep are the only animal that requires the existence of a human being for their survival. Sheep are the most helpless of God’s creatures. A sheep left on its own will die. Sheep also travel together. If one of them moves independently from the flock, they will be raw meat for predators.

So, in your local church … Do the members of your church seek and follow the direction of the one Shepherd together? Or do they blindly follow a human being? Do they all move together as a flock with one mind? Or do they move independently and individualistically, as sheep without a Shepherd?

Personal Reflections – The Church #6

There are a few descriptive names for the Church that are not well known. This is the case with the next two…

9> One Loaf

See: John 12; 1 Corinthians 10

Jesus Christ is one grain. When He was put into the ground (buried) and rose again, He produced many grains (believers). Those individual grains are not to stand alone or be isolated from other grains. The Christian faith is not about rugged individualism. Christians do not survive spiritually outside of the Church. A lone sheep is a prime target for the wolves. 

Those individual grains are useless unless they are crushed, have oil (the Holy Spirit) poured upon them, and are baked in a fiery oven (persecution) to create one loaf. In the process of becoming one loaf, each grain loses its individualism and independence. 

1 Corinthians 10:16-17 “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”

John 12:23-25 “And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

So, in your local church … Are the members of your church so connected together that they have lost their independence and individualism? Or do they live as independent, individualistic, uncrushed grains of wheat?

10> God’s Field 

See: 1 Corinthians 3

We are the crops that have been planted and have grown up in God’s field (the Church). Jesus Christ is the seed. God the Father causes the growth. The DNA of the seed is the very nature of Christ Himself. When the crops grow appropriately, they express Him.

Someone shares this example:

“Think of a bouquet of roses. In a bouquet, each rose has the same life. They are part of the same species. But they are not vitally connected. So they don’t grow together. Compare the bouquet of roses to a rose bush. In a rose bush, the roses are one organic whole. Each rose possesses its own individuality, but none are individualistic. They grow together as they share the same root. The bush passes through seasons of death and resurrection together. They are one organism. The Church that the New Testament envisions is a rose bush, not a bouquet of roses.”

1 Corinthians 3:1-9 “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”

So, in your local church … Are the members of your church growing more into the likeness of Christ, and are they doing it together? Are the people changing while being in the church? Is their character being molded into the image of Jesus? Are they passing through spiritual seasons together? Are they a rose bush or a bouquet of flowers.

Personal Reflections – The Church #5

Let’s continue our look at the names associated with the Church that Jesus is building

7> A Holy Nation

See: 1 Peter 2; Revelation 1, 5

The seventh descriptive name for the Church that Jesus is building is that we are “A Holy Nation.” In every country we are a ‘nation within a nation.’ We are not just citizens of the nation where we were born or have chosen to live and identify with … when we are born again we enter into a new nation – the Church, which is called to be holy as Jesus is holy.

Holy simply means that we are becoming more and more like Jesus. This is accomplished by spending time with Him daily in prayer and in His Word, the Bible. Holiness cannot be achieved by following a man-made list of rules, a compilation of dos and don’ts that man has made up in an attempt to please God. That is religion – maybe a born again religion, but religion nonetheless.

The word “holy” carries the idea of being uncommon and set apart. In this holy nation we are kings unto God. Christ is the King of our nation. In the words of Peter, we are a ‘royal’ priesthood – thus kings. Regrettably, the church in every age – starting in the third century – has sold out to the culture. Contrary to what some believe, the Church is not the religious department of the culture. It is a colony from heaven – a holy nation standing for holy values in a devalued world.

Often the Church is viewed as a sub-culture of the dominate culture and thus often resembling the culture in which it is found. As a result, the Church is neither holy nor influential. What we are called to be is a counter-culture to the current dominate culture in which we find ourselves.

1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

In your local church … Do the members of your church see themselves as part of a colony that belongs to another realm? Do they see themselves as resident aliens on this planet? Do their values reflect that of the Kingdom of God or this present culture?

8> A Golden Lampstand

See: Revelation, Chapters 1 and 2

We are little lights joined together and made part of the same lampstand. Jesus Christ is the light, and the Church bears His light in the world. Jesus is also the High Priest who cleans the wick and pours fresh oil in the lampstand so that it has the potential to always burn brightly. 

The Bible teaches that it is the “life of God the Father” in Jesus that is the light. John 1:4 states, “In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” The word ‘life’ here is the Greek word ‘Zoe’ which is the life and nature (essence) of God. This was the light. So, for the Church to have a bright witness in the culture in which it is located it needs to have this life flowing in and through it. Every believer needs this ‘life’ moving in them. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) so it is the ‘God life’ in us that allows us to the light as Jesus was the light.

In your local church … Does your church bear the light of Christ? Does it bear a corporate witness, or is witness viewed as the individual’s responsibility? Do people see the light of Christ through the Church, and is it extinguishing darkness on any level?

Personal Reflections – The Church #4

Let’s continue our look at the different pictures used in the New Testament to describe the Church – what the Church is and the work that the Church is called to accomplish for it’s head, Jesus Christ.

5> An Army

See: Ephesians 6:10-20; Colossians 1:13; Revelation 19:19

As followers and disciples of Christ, we are in a war against God’s enemy. When you were saved you were immediately removed from the domaine of darkness and firmly planted in the Kingdom of God (Colossians 1:13). You immediately became part of God’s army that is waging war with the devil and his demons. The war has been going on since the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is a war for the souls of people. 

But that war is fought by a corporate army. The armour described in Ephesians 6 is put on the Church, it is not given to an individual. We are soldiers in God’s army, and Jesus Christ is our Captain, Commander, and Chief. Spiritual warfare is a corporate exercise. The weight of it belongs on the shoulders of the Church, not the individual soldiers. 

The Church has been given spiritual authority to do the work that Jesus came to do. We are to complete His work of telling every human being of the love of God and the offer of forgiveness and salvation through Jesus’s death and resurrection. Spiritual authority is based on growth in spiritual life. The more maturity in spiritual life that a church experiences, the more spiritual authority the church wields in the war we are called to fight. 

Ephesians 6:10-20 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

So, as you look at your local church … Do the members of your church see themselves as part of one army that is growing in spiritual life and understanding. In practical ways is your local church a growing part of the worldwide army of God? Does your church understand that true spiritual authority is linked closely to growth in things of the spirit and in the spiritual life of the local church? In your church do they view spiritual warfare as an individualistic or a corporate call? Is the church making an impact on invisible realms in the heavenlies? 

6> A Holy Priesthood

See: 2 Corinthians 5:18, 20; 1 Peter 2; Revelation 1; Revelation 5

Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest, and we are priests unto God through Him. This truth was rediscovered by Martin Luther at the same time he had the revelation from Ephesians 2 that we are saved by grace through faith and not by good works. However, although the first discovery brought about he Reformation, the second truth was not embraced and generally was lost once again. However, in the Kingdom today the Holy Spirit is revealing this truth once again.

Everyone is a minister or a priest unto God. As priests, we minister the the Lord at any moment of the day. We function as ministers and servants in the church’s corporate gatherings. But, we are also called to minister daily in the world in which we live, work, and play. In the Bible we are called “ministers of reconciliation” and ambassadors of the Kingdom.” We are to be building relationships with those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus and as opportunity arises within that relationship we are to share the love of God as found only in and through Jesus Christ. We are to share the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14). 

2 Corinthians 5:18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…”

2 Corinthians 5:20 “Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

So, as you look at your local church… Do the members of the assembly function in the meetings of the church? And, do they reach out on a regular basis as ambassadors of the Kingdom and ministers of reconciliation sharing the Gospel of the Kingdom during the week?

Personal Reflection – The Church #3

We are looking at the Church that Jesus is building and what the New Testament has to say about the Church. We have seen that it is called “A New Race” of people. Second that we are called “A Family.”

3> A Body

See Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12

We are members of the Body of Christ and members one of another. Jesus Christ is the Head as well as the very life of the Body. The Church is inseparable from Christ. Just as one’s physical body is inseparable from one’s head.

And, nature teaches us that the members of the Body of Christ are subject to the head just as is true of your physical body. And, in the same way, just as each part of the physical body is dependent upon all the other parts for health and wholeness; the same is true for the Body of Christ – we are dependent upon one another for health and wholeness.

For example, the disease of Multiple Sclerosis appears when the physical members of a physical body act independent of the body’s head. The disease of cancer appears when a human cell acts independent from the other cells.

1 Corinthians 12:12-18 “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.”

So, as you look at your local church … Do the members of your church see themselves as part of the same organism? Does the church submit to the headship of Christ in its meetings? Do the members of the body function when the church gathers together? Do the members depend on one another, or do they live independently and individualistically?

4> A Bride

See 2 Corinthians 11; Ephesians 5:22-33; Revelation 21

We are part of the most beautiful woman in the world. Jesus Christ is our bridegroom. There is an unending romance going on between Christ and His Church. She was made first and foremost to be the recipient of Christ’s torrential love and unbridled passion. In turn, she loves Him and expresses His beauty in the earth.

Revelation 21:9b “The angel came to me and said, “Come on! I will show you the one who will be the bride and wife of the Lamb.”

Revelation 22:17 “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Everyone who hears this should say, “Come!” If you are thirsty, come! If you want life-giving water, come and take it. It’s free!”

So, as you look at the local church …Do the members of your local church see themselves as part of the fiancé of Jesus Christ? Are they actively engaged in being loved by Christ and loving Him in return?