WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Frank Coleman – 02/19/2012
I have a word of encouragement for y’all today.
Some might take it as encouragement, some may take it as a challenge. But whatever you do with it is between you and God.
God is unleashing immense power worldwide and business as usual will no longer do!
There are riots and bombings everywhere. Chicago is gearing up for the G-8 & UN Summits this May. You’ve seen & heard reports of the special shields that are being purchased for the police to cover their gas masks. Chicago is getting ready for a major battle.
I’m looking at this as a sign; as a warning. The “Business as usual church” isn’t any closer to being battle ready as they were before the Biblical church was replaced with what we have masquerading as the church today.
We, simply, have to stop “playing church.”
The “church” today is not developing disciples. We have audience based gatherings that go from week to week with no true spiritual growth. The people in the audiences wouldn’t know a spiritual gift, if it ran up and slapped them in the face. And what they are being fed as gifts, are watered down versions that they believe are only available to a few “special” people. As a result, that few “special” people are lifted up to do the work that any and all believers were meant to do.
It’s kind if like going into a war with 10,000 soldiers but only 50 are actually fighting. The rest are on the sidelines “observing.” Some might shout. Some might holla “go-on bro. fight that fight.” The majority are content with the meager results they are getting in their lives all the while complaining that God hasn’t moved like they want Him to move.
Let me contrast this view with another reality:
When the church began, there was a communion of pure worship; strength was gathered directly from the Holy Spirit & they shed the 1,001 cares that weigh upon the human heart.
Once transformed, they dispersed out into the community as witnesses of the life and truths of the gospel message for the rest of the week.
One of the main problems I see, in the church today is, the greater the pastor, the more dependent the laymen! [Can I say
“lazy-men”] The greater he/she becomes, the wider the gap. It’s sad but true.
Unless he/she is that rare exception who can transform followers into leaders, his/her followers will remain hunched in his/her shadow.
Lets take a look at what the communal meeting of the early believers may have looked like. I took this example from what I read in Scripture.
Here’s what I got from my studies:
- An Elder usually called the meeting to order by announcing that someone had encouraging words to share.
- That sharing was done informally from where they were seated.
- Everyone expressed joy at the exhortations.
- The floor was now open to anyone that had something to say.
- After each comment/exhortation/encouragement, statements & questions were fielded.
- Occasionally one of the overseers (shepherds) interrupted to maintain order or to clarify a point.
In other words: THERE WAS FREEDOM FOR ALL!
- Voices of concern, love & compassion were heard. No one was denied the freedom to share words of comfort & exhortation with the group.
- There was no platform to mount or pulpit to lean on.
- A song of praise may have gone forth.
- Special prayers were lifted up.
- Gifts of the Spirit were in operation
- The Lord’s Supper was shared.
- No money was collected to pay for an edifice.
God’s people were “able to instruct one another” (Rom. 15:14) and to “teach and admonish one another” (Col. 3:16).
There was mutual exchange of praises, teaching, sharing & singing; no one person did it all. (1 Thes. 5:11)
The Gifts of the Spirit were in operation as the Spirit led.
Lets start in 1 Cor 12:1
1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.
12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
Just imagine that same army of 10,000, ALL operating in various forms of warfare, ALL being led by the Spirit of God to occupy the areas of battle best suited for victory!
That’s what I would call “battle ready.”
What has happened?
WE HAVE GONE “PROFESSIONAL”
We have abandoned common ground in Christ in favor of skilled specialists. We want the world to know how sophisticated we have become, so we go all out to import the best speakers with “credentials” and build elaborate edifices.
Bottom line: WE HAVE ACCEPTED IDOLATRY.
So, what is the answer?
I don’t have one sure answer to this situation. I do, however, have some things I look for in my communion with the saints:
- Pure Worship
If you have to be “pumped up” to worship or to be told “everybody shout/clap/stomp your feet/enter in, etc.” you’re not worshiping, you’re being “motivated” from the stage.
- True Sharing
Are you sharing your heart with your brothers & sisters or are you just sharing the “safe” things in your life?
- Free Ministry
Are the gifts of the Spirit free to operate by whomever God inspires or are the “gifts” only preformed by “approved” holders of specific ministry offices?
- Time To Share
Are people waiting for the “service” (performance) to end so they can get back to their lives or is there time taken to share with each other?
So, that leads me back to my initial question:
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Are you here to commune with the body of Christ and exercise the gifts God has placed in you through exhortation & encouragement?
Are you here as a spectator watching the “special” people do their thing. Waiting for the whistle to blow to go back to your own special brand of “Business As Usual?”
The “answer” is up to you.
The future of the body of Christ is up to you.
Victory or defeat is up to you.
As you are led by the Spirit.