Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Nailing it to the Door Part 4

Thesis Two: Church meetings must be conducted as shown in 1 Corinthians 14:26-31

"What is truth?" This question defines the current period of American culture. We have become a culture of skeptics and cynics. Everyone seems to have their own truth. Everyone living in their own reality. We have come to a precipice in time where our society is defining whether the very concept of truth is tangible or something of our own design. But in a world of absolutes such as death and gravity, how could the emotional and spiritual side of life function as if they do not follow the same laws that the bodies in which they reside do? Can we really do away with all "traditions" and the "old" way of doing things? Or is what was true 2,000 years ago still true today?

It seems to me, that this would be an easy question for Christians. We do have many different twists on minor theological concepts and I do not think that is a bad thing necessarily. Jesus left somethings unsaid because what works for one person may not work for another as Paul taught in Romans, "...One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind." But, somethings are very clear and are given as a command. They are foundation stones upon which the grey areas are built upon. If your foundation is lain properly there is a lot of leeway in how the buildings can be arranged. But, how is it that the people think they can unseat the foundation stones of what makes Christianity what it is by rationalizing it away and manipulating it by man's logic. The very thing that brings us to faith in Jesus is trust in what cannot be proven because He has proven himself faithful in what we do understand. I am not being naive. Modern theologians and philosophers have woven very complex and convincing arguments. They are smart, articulate, and well rehearsed. But they have a gaping flaw that we, as Christians, should be bolstered by because of our faith in Jesus and the way He says life really is.

I feel like I am going down a bit of a rabbit hole here, but stay with me if you will. I'm not real sure how to explain this concept, but I will do my best. Life is like a game. A game that requires twelve dice to play. The world is only playing with three dice. These three are simple and standard. They are dice of the flesh. The world knows these three dice well. They have examined them. They have studied them. They have memorized their every facet and dimple. They are a part of Jesus' creation but only 1/4. The other nine dice are only clearly visible to those who love Jesus. The world senses their existence but cannot grasp them like they do the three fleshly they have and so they logically refute the nine's existence because they cannot define, govern, and prove their existence. These nine dice are brilliant and mysterious in color; boundless in shape and ungoverned in appearance by any laws of nature we know. They are preposterous in form; and we can barely begin to grasp the information that they add to the game, but their presence is undeniable and steadfast. The world is trying to write the rules for this game only using the three dice they see and understand. And in this we gain some understanding of their lack of belief in the concept of truth; truth being the whole game with all it's pieces. This maybe why the world does not believe in truth. They deny the very existence or three-quarters of reality.

So the question that is left for you and I is this, "Do we really believe that the other nine dice actually exist?" Is there really a God who, "chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise"? And how important is it that these other dice effect the way we play the game? Is it enough to play with the three simple dice and just believe in the other nine? Are the simple three even that important and relevant to the game in light of the majestic nine? To answer these questions read Jesus' own prayer to the Father in John 17. Jesus' desire for us and specifically his disciples was that the Father would, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." I have said all of this to show without a doubt that Jesus commands cannot be changed or ignored without sickness and ruin comming upon. Yes, even us who desperately love Jesus as Paul described in 1 Corithians, "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep."  Let's look at this truth in reference to his Church, the Body.

"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. For God is not a God of disorder but of peace...Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anybody thinks he is a prophet or spiritually gifted, let him acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. If he ignores this, he himself will be ignored. Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."

Now picture in your mind the normal Christian Church service. What would happen if you stood up in the middle of the Church service and corrected or added to the speech that the preacher is giving? Members would be appalled. The clergy would be incensed. You would most likely be escorted out. You might even spend a night in the jail. You who would do this type of thing would be considered crazy and disrespectful. The preacher and staff are said to be the only qualified persons in the Body to teach and instruct. The worship leader, the only one with the right to arrange and decide which songs will be played. Sure, there are guest speakers and guest music, but the messages and songs must be approved through the staff. Where is that found in scripture? These leaders consider themselves gatekeepers of the Body. The Holy Spirit is the gatekeeper. He has proved himself faithful and capable.

What congregation has two or three prophets that speak at every service? What about members sharing their hymns, words of instruction, or  tongues and interpretation? Find for me the role of a modern all-in-one preacher in this scriptural instruction. Where is the clergy? Where is the staff? This matters! The modern church service is a performance, not a meeting; carefully scripted and rehearsed, literally. It is the three simple dice.  It is how the world would run their church. To take ownership and governance so it doesn't get out of their hands. Robots perform in this manner, organisms do not. A living, organic Church and church meeting are the 9 mystical dice with some of the three simple dice. What is called Church is an abomination against Jesus. He arranged and commanded his Body for a reason and with a purpose. But, it has been hijacked by self-righteous men and women greedy for power, security, recognition, and even money. Everyone can sense something wrong with Church as we know it and some have even attempted to hash out what that is. I am speaking at the Lord's command. How we arrange the body is killing us. The heart is in the head and the liver in the hand and the foot on the neck. It is a grotesque perversion of the beautiful form the Bride is supposed to be.

The deception of the Enemy is so cleaver and so devious. Not only has he convinced many to follow after other gods that our fathers, the early church, did not know, but he has also disarmed those in pursuit of Jesus with social and cultural morals that have no foundation in scripture. We are called to be in the world, but not of the world. And yet, we play by it's rules for fear of criticism and ostracization.  The Enemy has convinced the world though constant berating and mudding of the waters of theology that there is no way to be absolutely right about anything. That everything is up for personal interpretation. The Word is true and right. It is not up for discussion or suggestion. No one owns the Church and no one has the right to dictate it, no matter how innocently they smile and throw up their hands in  denial. It is through submission to the Holy Spirit that the Body is governed and disciplined. We must trust Him to teach us truth and that what he teaches is truth no matter what anyone tells us. We must trust Him to sort out the liars and guard the gate of our hearts and homes. And when he does give instruction and warning about a poisonous person we must have the courage to deny them entrance into our body. Remember the caution of Jesus, "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees..." Their teaching and their presence is poison to the Body and we are not immune to it. Guard your hearts and minds!

The world uses the scientific method to discover truth. That method says that all truth comes though personal discovery. And this truth is only true until something comes along and disproves it. Therefore you can never be sure anything is true. Their is a universe full of all the things that you do not know.  And because of this, it would be wrong to demand others live according to your theology because you might be wrong and would then be responsible for their failure, spiritual injury, or death. It places every human and their life at the center of their own personal universe and makes personal preservation the ultimate moral. This is where the world derives it's doctrine of "Do not judge anyone else's decisions or beliefs." Though they don't actually live according to it. They mean live according to their theology. But, Paul  gives a much different command.

 "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked man from among you.'"

Do not sit back and allow his children to be harassed and abused. I encourage you to bring this to those who call themselves leaders of your church. If they repent and return to the Lord, Amen! But do not be surprised if they quickly throw off their sheep costumes and come after you with their wolf-teeth.

I  do not understand why anyone who loves the man Jesus would either a) read over what the scriptures say, b) invert what it clearly teaches, or c) allow anyone to blaspheme the truth. Where do your affections lie? The pattern and model that has been and is used by almost all churches as services for the last couple of hundreds of years or so is nothing more than man replacing the commands of Jesus with the traditions of men just as Jesus accused the Pharisees of doing in Mark 7. In every church is a thespian, traditionally a man, but now sometimes a woman, who claims scholarship of the Bible and has a piece of paper hanging on their wall that testifies to the notion. There are most likely at least a few in the congregation who hold similar, equivalent, or even greater degrees in the institutional study of Truth. And then there are countless others who have spent many hours of personal study of the Bible and may even boast of it. So tell me scholars: How is it that you conduct your meetings in direct violation of the commands of the Word  you so adamantly insist you are masters of?

"I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."

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