A Church More Powerful Than The Early Church?
We often hold up the early Church as an example of what the Church should be like today. But the last day's RE-FORMED Church will be even more powerful
and glorious than the Church portrayed in the Book of Acts. It was said of this first Church... "These who have turned the world upside down... " (Acts 17:6). Can
Jesus' new Church be more powerful than that? Yes! Because this RE-FORMED Church is the culmination of God's eternal desire and Jesus passion to have a Church that is one (John 17:21). His Church will be glorious and most powerful. It will be the very thing He will use to usher in His final Kingdom purposes. This to previous generations had always been a mystery. The Church will be used to make known the vast, many-sided wisdom of God, to the spiritual principalities and powers of the earth! (Ephesians 3:9-11)
(By the way. In using the word "reformed" or "re-formed," I am NOT referring to a denomination called the Reformed Church. Please don't read into anything I'm saying a connection with a particular denomination. We are talking throughout this article about God's blood-bought Church, headed up by Jesus. This is the supernaturally conceived, nurtured, and ultimately bought to full maturity, Body of Christ - Ephesians 1:18-23).
God's RE-FORMED CHURCH will have Jesus as its Head. His life and light will flow in it, and through it, destroying the darkness of the enemy. God's people will be re-presenting Christ, the Light of the world. (Colossians 2:15; Revelation 2:26)
This Is Not Fantasy!
It's not some triumphalistic aberration of someone's mind. This is a description of a Church we can all see, experience, and be a part of, just like it's described in the New Testament. It's a description of the Church Jesus WILL have in the earth, in these last days. (John 14:12; Matthew 18:18-20)
This RE-FORMED Church will operate with supreme power and authority. It will be inhabited by the Godhead (John 14:23). His PRESENCE will make all the difference, as this is the very thing that's missing (the Presence) in our modern church systems. How we desperately need it! But it will ONLY come when we decide to submit to God's eternal purposes and become one, unified Body.
I realize what I'm saying here may not be for everyone. It will test everyone's honesty and willingness to know what is God's perfect will. Not some watered down version mixed with some person's opinions or traditions thrown in. To accept what I'm sharing here will require a large amount of willingness to "lay down" personal agendas and pre-conceived ideas. It will require a great deal of courage to turn from, and "come out of," centuries of tradition. It will also require a strong commitment and resolve to do things God's way, ONLY.
What I'm sharing with you today is not some treatise based on study and research so much, (although there has been plenty of that) but rather, what God has laid on my heart. I'm unable to escape the fact that He is calling for His Church to become one united Body in every locality on earth. And, as I search the scriptures, all I can see is that this is God's way. Oneness is the very character of God. It's written all through scripture, plain to see, albeit not so easy for us to attain to.
It's Crunch Time!
This will sound harsh, but it's time for us to become what God wants us to be, rather than some man made version of God's intention. It's time to shape up or ship out! How can Christ's Body be anything less than Christ's own perfection? How can we say that we are the Body of Christ when we have divided ourselves into 34,000* separate denominations and independent groups?
It's incongruous isn't it?
Everything about God is based on spiritual laws. The Father, Son and Holy Sprit are ONE. Just as there are physical laws which are immutable, so God cannot be changed. It makes no difference how hard we try; we cannot shape Him into our image. Man was created in His image, not the other way around. So, if we are to truly be the Body of Christ we must become more and more like Him. Paul said, "There is one body...one Lord...one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." (Ephesians 4:4-6)
God has been laying this theme on my heart, on and off, for 40 years. It's only just now (2011/2012), that I have felt free to bring it to the attention of those who will listen. What you do with it, is between you and God. All I know is that it's time. The time to rise up and be the true, authentic Body of Christ has come.
Some of you will label what I'm sharing as "impossible" or "idealistic" or "not practical" or, "it will never work!" Will you however, be willing to give the Lord an opportunity to reveal to you His will in the matter? It's the Truth that makes us free! Do you want to be truly free? To write this off without asking God what He thinks about this message, would be foolish. At one end of the spectrum a fool is either easily led astray, or, at the other end, they are inflexible and unwilling to learn from others and especially from God. They also have a habit of deceiving themselves. Anyone not checking with the Lord about everything is foolish. Especially in this day and age! We cannot afford to be foolish any longer, can we? (Ephesians 5:15-16). So, rather than jumping to conclusions and missing the will of God at this critical hour, please, will you enquire of Him about it, and search the scriptures concerning it?
Having said that, let me ask you this question:
"Do you believe God's Word... all of it?"
At the beginning of time, Adam and Eve didn't believe all of God's Word. 4000 years later, just before the Day of Pentecost, only 120 out of the 500 or more, waited in the upper room as instructed by Jesus. The rest of Jesus' followers and disciples were not there, because they didn't believe Him. They were probably all sincere. But it's possible to be sincere, but sincerely wrong. When judgements and assessments are based on one's own opinions, intellect, feelings, experience, or traditions, we are acting as mere men, rather than God's family who are following His commandments and instructions with a listening ear.
(1 Corinthians 2:12-14)
Doers of The Word
In his epistle the Apostle James says, "But be doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22)
With all the weight of scripture concerning unity, about not being divided, about having the same mind as Jesus, and in light of His prayer to Father for all those Father had given Him to be one as He (Jesus) and Father are one, plus, the fact that the very essence of God is oneness... what is our responsibility in following the scripture (and our heart) and making it our business to come together as one Body in every city on earth, without any schisms? How can it be explained away?
Isn't our obedience what it means to be a doer of the word?
If we are unwilling, or, we are locked into a traditional denominational or independent mindset, and are unwilling to change, we are hearers of the word only, and not doers.
This is serious isn't it? This not some nice doctrinal treatise to tickle our minds, this is a call for us all to become what God has called us to be, His disciples.
Have you ever wondered why the modern Christian Church is so ineffective in carrying out her mission, and largely lacks power? Power that is, to destroy Satan's activities like the early Church did?
Have you ever wondered why, out of 7 billion people on planet earth, only 770 million* (11%) are "born again" Christians? Is this not strong evidence of just how ineffective the Christian churches and ministries are, at fulfilling the great commission given by Jesus?
This is in stark contrast to the early Church, who were adding to their numbers, "daily." (Acts 2:47)
Has it ever occurred to you that something might be wrong with the current model of scattered, fragmented, and competitive Christian groups in the world? Does the fact that there are an estimated 34,000 separate, largely disconnected Christian groups in the world, concern you? Isn't this out of kilter with the description of the Church in the New Testament? Of them it was said they were of "one heart and one soul." (Acts 4:32)
Do you think our current system of separate churches and groups, each with different names and identities, might be the reason why the people (we are trying to win to Christ), look at us with derision and scepticismÖ if they look at all?
And consider this. Why would God, who was so pedantic to the nth degree about the measurements and materials of the tabernacle built by Moses in the Old Testament (in which He desired to come and dwell), have an indifferent view of how the Church (His dwelling place) should be today? (Ephesians 2:19-22)
Are the 34,000 separate, different and competitive expressions a place that He would want to make His habitation today? Compare these with the Old Covenant era, where the tabernacle and the temple were filled with His glory.
(Exodus 29:46; 40:34-38; 2 Chronicles 5:13-14; 7:1-2)
If you will read Ephesians 2:19, you will see that He does indeed want to have a place to inhabit today. And that's His Church, "...built together for a habitation of God in the Spirit." Yes, God wants today's Church to be a place where He can come and live. A place that can be filled with His presence and glory!
Do you think He has changed from being particular, to casual and unconcerned about our modern way of doing Church? Do you really think He is happy to dwell in 34,000 separate groups with different doctrines, emphases, constitutions, names, structures, prejudices, and in some cases, exclusive beliefs? (Believing they are the only ones who have it right).
Is Christ Divided? (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-23)
In the passages above the Apostle Paul was shocked in his day that the Corinthians had starting showing signs of division, and he quickly addressed it. What do you think he would be saying if he arrived on the Church scene today in the 21st century?
Consider this. Is it possible for a separated, divided, human body to live? No, obviously it would be dead! Is the current, (so called) "Body of Christ" alive or dead? Is Christ divided? No, nor can He be. Therefore, the current plethora of thousands of different, separated, Christian groups cannot be said to be the authentic Body of Christ... can they? Therefore, we would have to say that in our present state, we are dead...spiritually dead, "Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof..." (2 Timothy 3:5)
Why do we speak about "going to Church" (a building) when clearly the Church described in the Bible is made up of people (Grk. "ekklesia" called our ones, a congregation, Christian community, or members on earth, or in heaven). The Church is not a building! Why then do we speak of "our church" or "my church" when these expressions have no scriptural basis whatsoever?
Can you see how the word "Church" has been distorted to mean something other than its proper meaning described above? That company of people who will ultimately become the Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem?
Why do we think it's appropriate to plant separate "churches" all over the world that bear no resemblance to the biblical pattern of the Church provided for us in scripture? In the biblical pattern there was only one Church in a locality, overseen by elders and visited by ministering apostles from time to time. And, if God's people were separated by distance, they were still a part of the same, singular Body. They also had no national or international headquarters.
*(See David Orton's excellent work, "A Statement Concerning The City-Church" on the home page of this website as a resource for what the biblical pattern of the Church is).
Corporate Brand Names
What about all these church systems today having individual names and on them, when clearly there is only one name that can be on Jesus' Church and that's His name?
It must be referred to as "Jesus' Church," not some corporate, denominational organisation's name, slogan, and logo given to fit in with our modern worldly "branding" ideas. What an insult to the God we are called serve.
Oh! How we have fallen and lost our vision!
The Name Of The Church
LET ANYONE LOOKING ON AT WHAT WE DO, KNOW, WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT, THAT THE PEOPLE THEY ARE OBSERVING ARE JESUS' CHURCH AND THAT JESUS IS THE HEAD OF THAT CHURCH!
NOTE: There is no earthly central headquarters to this plan other than heaven itself where God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit rule and reign. All I'm trying to do as a representative (ambassador) of Christ, is bring to our attention that which God has laid down in His Word, and remind us of the things which I believe are vitally important to Him at this time. AND, "Jesus' Church" must never be a registered name with the government. If we ever do that we will be going straight back into a corporate, denominational, sectarian way of thinking and operating.
Making a Name For Ourselves (Genesis 11:4)
Just like those who built the Tower of Babel and said, "Let us make a name for ourselves..."). By promoting the name of our denomination, our group, our senior pastor, our music team, our wonderful programs, our building, our great location etc., aren't we doing just that... trying to make a name for ourselves? Don't you know God got angry with that original bunch? How long will He put up with us promoting OUR name instead of His?
Some of you reading this right now are probably getting quite angry with me because I'm attacking current Christian trends and as well hundreds of years of tradition. I do understand how you could feel angry, particularly when so many good things have happened, and many people have been helped spiritually and practically, through a church, group, or ministry.
I myself am a product of faithful men and women in a mainstream denomination. As well, I have been fed and taught over the years by several ministries. So, I identify with what you may be feeling. I wouldn't be writing this today if it weren't for their prayers and faithful ministry over many years.
But here's what we must all face. We have settled for less than God's best by adopting man's ideas on how Church should be done, rather than God's ideas. This is the reason we are largely ineffective in reaching a dying, chaotic world with the message. And, most importantly, the Presence of Christ is missing.
It's time to move on to where "the cloud" is. Let's have done with the pseudo, and become authentic.
Discipleship Jesus' Way (Mark 8:34)
It's time to follow hard after Jesus, denying ourselves, taking up our cross, and following Him. This is the ONLY way we can truly call ourselves Christians, and collectively, the Body of Christ.
Our efforts are scattered and dispersed and our ideas of what the Church is, distorted. We have been influenced by a master diabolical schemer and he has 'nobbled' us to prevent us from winning. We have willingly played into his hands.
Our traditions have made the Word of God of no effect. (Matthew 15:6-13) It's just like it was when Jesus was physically ministering on the earth. Back then they wanted to kill Him because He was speaking in opposition to their traditional pre-conceived ideas and personal power bases. He was "counter culture." Today, He is speaking to us again. But, are we willing to listen, as what he is saying doesn't fit with our current "Christian culture" and ideas?
What I'm endeavouring to do is break down our warped perceptions of what the Church is. Our current systems have been formed by nearly 2000 years of man-made ideas, doctrines and dogma. Most of it, we just go along with, and don't bother to question.
It's time to get back to basics and what the Word says, not the latest church growth fad being promoted!
So What Exactly Am I Proposing?
I believe we are being called to lay down our independent, denominational, sectarian ways, and to come together in true humility, and unity. Laying down our lives for the Lord... each other... and the world. One Church in every locality on earth. A place that is a fit habitation for God to come and fill with His sweet presence.
Will you pray and ask the Lord about your involvement in this grand quest? Would you be willing to give leadership to this call in your area, if the Lord directed you that way?
What lies before us is a most glorious destiny! I believe it will be the forerunner to the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth! I'm asking you to pray and seek the Lord about whether what's been presented here, is Truth.
If you agree that it is, then I'm asking you to join us in the most exciting and fulfilling existence we as Christians can ever know. Truly becoming, and being, the Body of Christ... in every locality on earth. Being a Temple where God will come and dwell! And, ultimately, becoming the Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem!
And in light of what I've just said, consider this:
Every Christian is a part of every other Christian!
Helping Build The Church
Here's a scripture the Lord led me to read 30 years ago when I was seeking Him about what His will was for my life.
"Even so you, since you are so zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel." (1 Corinthians 14:12)
In the version I read at the time it said, "...make sure you help build the church."
This was a revelation to me at the time because I was under the impression that this was Jesus' role... the building of His Church. But I was reminded that He always uses people to do His work. We are His Body and He's calling you and me right now, to HELP BUILD HIS CHURCH.
If this is true (and it is) then let's join together as one Body in our various localities and seek the Lord as to what we do next. And, let's dialogue together across the globe (as the Lord leads us) as to how we can help, encourage, and build up and edify one another.
Built On The Right Foundation Of Apostles And Prophets -
The Building Grows
"...having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone..." (Ephesians 2:20)
It's important we do it right, according to the biblical pattern. Apostles and prophets are the foundation (base) of the building, not the superstructure. This foundation principle is laid down by God concerning His Church. Apostles and prophets are the foundation, and Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of the building...not the senior pastor as is the case in our own humanly devised systems.
Being the foundation, apostles and prophets may be visible or largely unseen. But, they make the building solid, safe, and able to withstand the greatest storm that may rage against it. Apostles may also need to travel to lay correct foundations in various localities. Elders will need to be raised up to administer Godís work in their locality. Preachers and ministers do not need to necessarily be apostles, prophets or elders, but each one should minister according to their gifting. EVERY member of the Body must be equipped to minister, not just a select few. (Ephesians 4:11-12). The gifts should be operating in each member everywhere they go, not just in a meeting but at home, work, or play, or in the marketplaces of the world.... just like it was at the beginning!
And, we together, must constantly remind ourselves, that Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone and that it's His Church!
In time I believe we will need to drop all "corporate" names as they reek of worldly organizations, exclusivity, difference, competitiveness, and worldly marketing concepts. And, they draw the focus away from the One whose Church we are.
We Are of a Different Kingdom
This world's kingdom (government) is headed up by Satan. And, the large bulk of the world is deceived by him! (Revelation 12:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4).To be enamoured (charmed) by the world's way of doing things is to be admiring what Satan is doing and how he is doing it! (1 John 4:5). Jesus' Kingdom is NOT OF THIS WORLD. (John 18:36). We are not of this world. (John 17:14; 1 John 2:15-17). And for this reason we shouldn't be trying to adopt the world's ways to build God's Church!
Using worldly marketing ideas to market the Church will NEVER get the job done.
It's Time For The Final RE-FORMATION of The Church!
Should you listen to me? No, you don't have to, but you would be wise to listen to the Lord. Please, will you pray and seek the Lord about this call?
For further insight please get hold of my book, "The Power Of Unity In The Name." In it are contributions from a number of other brothers; Francis Frangipane, Ed Silvoso, Don Atkin, Greg Austin, Steve Crosby, David Orton, Don Nori Sr, Ron McGatlin, Marc A Dupont, Jeff Hammond, Kevin J Conner, Jesse Rodgers, Watchman Nee, and others. I'm indebted to them for their willingness to be co-contributors which has all added to the whole. I believe this is what is on God's heart right now! Also at the back of the book, a number of recommended books are listed that you should read on the grand theme of God's last days' Church. You can get a copy of my book from this website: www.JesusChurch.info
(By the way, this is not a ploy to sell books. It's about getting the message out there, and as well, getting practical advice into the hands of God's people on how God's RE-FORMED Church, will operate in the critical days that lie ahead).
The book has been a 30+ year journey for me of breaking down long held concepts and getting a clear understanding of Godís intention. And a similar story could be told by all the other co-contributors. It's been a gradual unfolding and there is no doubt, a lot more to come. The book is a sum of what the Lord has been bringing to my attention (and the others) of what is on His heart for His Church. It's been written for you. Because you are of vital interest to God in His economy right now, even if not to men in their economy!
I can tell you this right now with assurance...
He is longing for His Bride. And, He is calling her to become one with Him. That's the call for you and me right now. The challenges for the world and the Church over the next few years will be enormous. It's absolutely imperative we become one, in every locality on earth. This is the place of safety, provision, peace, and a haven for those who are lost and hurting.
And, most importantly, it's home for the Presence of God!
Please leave your details in the newsletter sign-up box on the home page of this website. This way we can keep in contact.
Jesus is Lord!
To God Be Glory in the Church!
A servant of Jesus Christ
Perth, Western Australia
P.S. For further revelation regarding God's new Church, read the articles on the home page by the different brothers and watch the videos by Kriston Couchey. In particular, make sure you look at David Orton's excellent article, "A Statement Concerning The City-Church." Anyone called to help build God's Church at this time will need this valuable resource. It's an inspired, biblical, practical overview of how the re-formed Church will operate. Also look for newsletters coming your way as things develop throughout the earth. And keep praying about God's Church. It's the vehicle He intends to use to fulfil His Kingdom purposes.
P.P.S. As long as I'm able, I'm happy to be a liaison coordinator for this new reformation move. If I'm not available, God will raise somebody else up to take my place. Amen!
* According to David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopaedia http://www.religioustolerance.org A comparative survey of churches and religions - AD 30 to 2200," there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. 34,000 separate Christian groups have been identified in the world.
* According to One World Missions: World Population: 6.7 billion people. Approximately 11% of the population confess to be born again Christians. www.oneworldmissions.com