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Houston! We Have a Problem!

Posted: October 29, 2009

Submitted by: Russell White
Houston! We have a problem! Or better yet. Church of Jesus Christ, we have a problem! The current teachings and structures of the Church in America today have nearly strangled the true mission of the Church.
We see teachings like the purpose-driven life, the prayer of Jabez, the shack, your best life now, a gospel that says that Jesus died only for a pre-selected few, and a gospel that promises a “better” life if you join a certain congregation or give to a certain ministry. We see church structures that resemble worldly business organizations that have layers of “top-down” management or structures that resist any type of leadership having many opinions and no direction.
To the spiritual, it is layers and layers of confusion designed by the spirit of religion to keep the body of Christ from its real mission, Going!
(Mat 28:19-20 NKJV) “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, {20} “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We must stay focused. Let’s review the fundamental issues that keep us from getting to mission. We must see the obstacles, see them as obstacles, repent from the obstacles, and then remove the obstacles. Finally, we start and continue in the biblical direction for which we were intended so that we can accomplish His work.
Doctrine made Simple
Doctrine is our system of belief regarding Christianity. Where do our beliefs originate? Are they born out of our church affiliation, our parents, our favorite author, or are they simple ideas that we have created over time to justify our way of living?
Let’s keep it simple. A Christian’s doctrine should be born out of the Bible and the Spirit’s witness i.e. (John 4:24 NKJV) “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Where then can we locate the basic Christian doctrine in the Bible? In short, the sixth chapter of the Book of Hebrews provides the building blocks of the Christian faith.
(Heb 6:1-2 NKJV) Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, {2} of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. The Lord was adamant that those who were sent out did so two by two. In the same way, we see the three “pairs” of Christian doctrine. Repentance and Faith work together to produce a believer forgiven of sin, crucified with Christ, and Risen with Him. Then, we see baptisms and the laying on of hands where the progressive work of baptism works in the believer but also he is expected to produce fruit becoming the baptizer. Lastly, faith, hope, and love are undergirded as the Spirit would emphasize the reality of the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.
Continually working through these doctrines keeps the believer on solid ground not straying with strange teachings.
(Heb 13:8-9 NKJV) Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. {9} Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Once believers are feeding on the right spiritual food, they grow up into mature believers ready to do the will of God.(Eph 4:14-15 NKJV) that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, {15} but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ.
Why Structure Matters
Did you ever wonder where our current church practices originate? Are they biblical constructions or men’s inventions? Some to think on: Meeting at a building, sitting and listening to a speaker, elevating the five-fold ministry to “higher” callings, praying the sinner’s prayer, having a democratic form of church government; having a “pyramid” or hierarchal form of church government, and providing an event-based form of Christian living. These are just some forms of church structure that keep the body of Christ from Going!
The first three centuries of Christianity happened in believer’s homes. From that point forward, the church was forever changed through the hands of Constantine and the papal reign. Protestants may have broken from the “Catholic” faith, but they kept the church structure which continues to impede the mission of the church even today. Some have ventured from the norm but often were unable to sustain the biblical model. John Wesley charged out the doors of the Church of England and was disdained for his acts. Wesley’s class meetings stirred believers to not only live holy or set apart for the Lord but made them witnesses to all the earth. Yet, though a great effort, Methodism has dwindled to another denomination with weak doctrine and weaker believers. Neither denominationalism or non-denominationalism is the answer, Christianity is the only solution.
Suppose then we have corrected our doctrine and our structure according to Biblical standards. What then should we expect when it comes to our great commission of making disciples, baptizing them, and teaching them.
The New Testament Mission: from Baptized to the Baptizer
There’s no other mission. There is only one. Go and make disciples. This commission is to all disciples. He equips us by giving us His Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts tells us why we were given the Holy Spirit:
(Acts 1:8 NKJV) “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The Holy Spirit came and is present to witness through us. Not to perform as some exotic dancer on a stage providing sensual satisfaction for a few bucks. God Forbid! The Holy Spirit has come for outside the four walls of the Christian hideout called the church building or the house church for that fact. Any meeting without the mission of witness will morph from encouragement to entertainment to extinction. We must go!
Where is the urgency to tell others what the Lord has done? Where is the manifestation of the Spirit? In the book of First Corinthians, the twelfth chapter, the Apostle Paul instructs us regarding the gifts of the Spirit. The expectation should be that all are given a manifestation of the Spirit. Whether on the street or in the store, He may desire to manifest Himself through you to others.
(1 Cor 12:7 NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:We must expect and prepare to manifest the Spirit as He wills. Are we prepared? Are we willing? What may happen? You may see either a plucking up or a planting. The Book of Jeremiah gives us insight into what may transpire:
(Jer 1:6-10 NKJV) Then said I: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” {7} But the LORD said to me: “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak. {8} Do not be afraid of their faces, For I am with you to deliver you,” says the LORD. {9} Then the LORD put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me: “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth. {10} See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, To root out and to pull down, To destroy and to throw down, To build and to plant.” When the Lord sends us out, we may be found rooting out, pulling down, destroying, throwing down, building, or planting. It is a diverse work. Isn’t a peculiar thing to see four out of the six actions in Jeremiah’s call seem to be destructive rather than constructive? Many people today have wrong belief systems and exist in non-biblical structures. The Spirit of God seeks to gently extract the person from the problem. We are the ones that He desires to perform the extraction.
Are we not all commissioned to be the watchmen of the souls of men? Do our hearts hurt for those not experiencing the grace of God in doctrine or body life? Ezekiel was addressed in a stern way. This warning is our warning. We are all watchmen!
(Ezek 33:2-6 NKJV) “Son of man, speak to the children of your people, and say to them: ‘When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their territory and make him their watchman, {3} ‘when he sees the sword coming upon the land, if he blows the trumpet and warns the people, {4} ‘then whoever hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, if the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be on his own head. {5} ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But he who takes warning will save his life. {6} ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.” We may say, “ well that call is only for the fivefold ministry.” The full time ministers of the Gospel. Another lie! We are all “full time” ministers i.e. witnesses for Christ. There’s no delineation. Believers may have different functions in the body but no one is exempted from the commission to go. Case in point, what is the difference between Jesus’ disciples in Matthew Chapter ten first one and His apostles in verse two. Is not that they were called? We are all disciples and are all apostles because we are all called? No exclusions, no exemptions. (Mat 10:1-2 NKJV) And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and allkinds of disease. {2} Now the names of the twelve apostles are these:” … Okay! So we are convinced that we must go. But what should be happening? Well, the Spirit of God will manifest Himself to those around us. The intent is that He will guide everyone into the Truth. He bears witness of Christ. He has a convicting work. The apostle John pens this in his Gospel:(John 14:17 NKJV) “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. (John 16:13 NKJV) “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come (John 15:26-27 NKJV) “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. {27} “And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 16:8-11 NKJV) “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: {9} “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; {10} “of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; {11} “of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.As you can tell, this is a sobering and daunting task. Yet, the Holy Spirit promises the joy of doing the Father’s will through it all. It is the commission of the Gospel to all believers.
Remember, right the doctrine, right the structure, and ready the witness. The Holy Spirit will manifest Christ’s glory through you and I.
All believers have a calling and a grace given according the measure of Christ’s gift.
(Eph 4:4-7 NKJV) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; {5} one Lord, one faith, one baptism; {6} one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. {7} But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. In Christ, the mission is Go!
Russell White

October 29, 2009

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