Christian, Are You Playing Church?

In Imbali Township Here is a teaching that was in part preached by writer on the evening of Thursday October 15, 2015 at Imbali Township upon invitation by Brother Lungisa Joctrey. The transcript has been expanded upon and the audio is a later private recording Internet Archivedone today. Please press the icon to the right to listen while you can  read the transcript simultaneously. (Duration 49:49) > > >

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Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I come to you in humility and believe that this is a teaching from our Lord Jesus as we will deal with our responsibilities as Christians – more precisely as disciples of our risen Saviour our Lord Jesus Christ; those who follow after His Way!

We will look briefly at the three times the word Christian appears in the Holy Bible, before we will look at what is required of a disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ. A Christian is a Christ-follower.

Firstly, we read in the Book of Acts, that “. . . the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26). During that time we read that Barnabas had departed to Tarsus to seek Saul (who is Paul),

26  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. ~ Acts 11:26

The questions to be asked, are: a] Are you not neglecting the assembling of yourselves with the ekklesia, the assembly of believers? (see Hebrews 10:25) and b] Are you teaching much people? (see Matthew 28:20)

Secondly, we also read in Acts 26:28 of another account where the word “Christian” is used and that is when the apostle Paul is laying his case before Festus and king Agrippa, as we read:

28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. ~ Acts 26:28

Christian, are you persuading non-believers to become Christians through your witness to them?

And Thirdly, we read in context the following portion of Scripture, in 1 Peter 4:14-16,

14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. ~ 1 Peter 4:14-16

Christian, are you being reproached for the name of Christ and experiencing His sufferings for the glory of GOD? (see Matthew 5:10,11)

In modern church circles much learned men will tell us we must have an outline and possibly three or four points when presenting a sermon. This teaching has an outline and i will be drawing an example from the greatest sermon every preached, by the greatest preacher who ever walked this earth, when He preached the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 through 7). Our Lord Jesus raised 10 points alone in the Beatitudes from what we read as verses 3 to 12! So go do the math in your study time for there are 111 verses! The point is, we will hear many Scriptures, for we will allow GOD to speak from HIS Word!

To reiterate, here is the question again: Christian, Are You Playing Church?

As a Christian, what is required of you? To be a Christian, a disciple of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, you have to be born again. We read in John 3:3,

3  Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Are you born again by the Spirit of GOD? There are many who say, they said a prayer one time and now they are “born again”. But are you truly born again by the Spirit of GOD? You see there is an account of Nicodemus, a man of the Pharisees, a ruler of the Jews, who came to Jesus by night, and Jesus deals with the main issue straight away, “. . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We then read further from the Scriptures in John 3:4-8,

4  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5  Jesus answered,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
6  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
7  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 
8  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. ~ John 3:4-8

A Christian is born twice – first by water, a natural birth in the flesh, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;” and secondly by a spiritual rebirth “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” In John 1:11 to 13 we read that this rebirth is all of GOD and that power is given by Him to those who received Him to become sons of GOD in believing upon the name of Jesus Christ, not by men’s devices, customs and traditions or by their schemes,

11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. ~ John 1:11-13

Scripture further tells us,

12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. ~ Acts 4:12

Dear friends, have you truly called upon the name of Jesus Christ and by faith believed upon Him? And if you have, have you counted the cost of following Jesus Christ, not just any “Jesus”, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST of the Holy Bible. The One Who is Yeshua haMeshiach, the Messiah, the anointed of GOD, the One Who is the Son of GOD.

You see dear friends, our LORD JESUS CHRIST even posed the question to His immediate twelve disciples as we read the historical account in Matthew 16:13-17,

13  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 16:13-17

You see the LORD JESUS CHRIST whom we speak of here is the One Who always existed from the beginning, as we read in John 1:1-3,

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. ~ John 1:1-3

And in verse 14 of John 1, we read,

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ~ John 1:14

The One Who spoke of Himself, and said,

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. ~ John 3:13

We are speaking and exalting and glorifying the One and Only True and Living GOD: a Good GOD, a Righteous GOD, a Holy GOD, a Perfect GOD, a Just GOD, a Merciful GOD and a Gracious GOD who is a Saving GOD, the Elohym manifest in human form, the man Christ Jesus who openly stated: “Before Abraham was I am” and because of this statement of fact the Jews wanted to stone Him (see John 8:58,59). He uses the very Name of YEHOVAH (the English spelling = JEHOVAH, see Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2, 26:4), YHVH (Hebrew Yod Hey Vav Hey ~ the Tetragrammaton YHVH), and when GOD met with Moses and spoke to him out of a burning bush before GOD sent Moses to deliver Israel from out of the bondage of Egypt, He says “I AM”, as we read in Exodus 3:13-15,

13  And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
14  And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
15  And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. ~ Exodus 3:13-15

Do you know this LORD JESUS CHRIST? where GOD’s Word says in 1 Timothy 3:16,

16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. ~ 1 Timothy 3:16

And in Philippians 2:6-11, for it is written,

6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 
9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:6-11

Dear friends, now that we have established the LORD JESUS CHRIST that GOD the Father speaks of, and Who we know, He also warns us to beware of what you hear and from what source, for our LORD JESUS CHRIST said that there would be many deceivers, false prophets, false apostles, false teachers and a false gospel. There would even be those that would come in His Name and say they are Christ! Do not be deceived Christian!

Do you know the true Gospel – the Good News of the LORD JESUS CHRIST? And are you following this True LORD JESUS CHRIST?

In Luke 9:18-22 we read a parallel portion of Scripture that we dealt with earlier in Matthew 16:13-17, where Jesus asks His disciples, “Whom say the people that I am?” Luke goes on and records that the apostle Peter said Jesus is, “The Christ of God” (Luke 9:20), and Jesus Christ continues,

22  Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. ~ Luke 9:22

Immediately after this verse Jesus Christ goes on to lay down what is required of being a follower of Him, as it is written in Luke 9:23-27,

23  And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
25  For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?
26  For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.
27  But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
~ Luke 9:23-27

Have you counted the cost of your life as a Christian? If not, are you busy weighing up what it will cost you to follow Jesus Christ? You see, to follow Jesus Christ will cost you everything . . . yes, EVERYTHING! Have you counted the cost of your discipleship? Now here comes the hard sayings of the LORD JESUS CHRIST. In Luke 14:26-33 Jesus tells us the conditions to being His disciple and who are disqualified:

Luke 14:26  If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

Does your love for GOD the LORD JESUS CHRIST far exceed the love for your earthly family, and all your earthly affections? The ‘love’ you have for them will appear as hatred as Jesus confirms in Matthew 10:34-37,

34  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
35  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 
36  And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.
37  He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
~ Matthew 10:34-36

Our love for GOD must be first and foremost (see Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 5:7). Nothing else, even including family must take precedence to the love for our Creator GOD! Anything that takes our affections, our heart and our mind from the love and worship of GOD is idolatry! (see Exodus 20:4-6; Deuteronomy 5:8-10). Or,

Luke 14:27  And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

The cross is one of death. Do we consider the cost of it requiring us to mortify our sins and that it will even possibly cost you your life. Today preaching the cross might be foolishness to them that are perishing, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God unto salvation (see 1 Corinthians 1:18 and Romans 1:16). However, in the second epistle of Paul the apostle, to Timothy, he writes,

11  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
12  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. ~ 2 Timothy 3:11,12

We might not be experiencing persecution here in South Africa to the extent of what the apostle Paul and the disciples went through, but our Brethren in the Middle East in countries like Israel, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, on the African continent, in Asia, South America, in Australasia, are being persecuted and even martyred, and yes, persecution and violence has even come to neighbourhoods in Europe and in North America. A case in point was the recent shootings at Umpqua Community College in the USA where a shooter asked who was Christian and those that answered in the affirmative were shot in their heads. Students who remained silent or answered not as Christians were shot in their legs. We are living in an evil and wicked time when Christians are being beheaded and taking bullets for being disciples of our LORD JESUS CHRIST! Have you counted this cost?

The remainder of Luke 14:28-33 deals with two examples of how it will cost you to follow Christ and it ends with Luke 14:33 which reads as follows,

33  So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. ~ Luke 14:33

Have you forsaken all to follow Jesus Christ? Have you given up on the things of this world which makes you an enemy of GOD? (see James 4:4). In other words are you holding to the things of this world that are spiritually meaningless. Our LORD JESUS CHRIST said, for it is written,

26  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ~ Matthew 16:26

Or as we read in Proverbs 11:4,

4  Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death. ~ Proverbs 11:4

Are you being rich toward GOD as to where you are storing up your treasures? as we read,

19  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 
20  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 
21  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21

Further, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, are you keeping His commandments and forsaking all else? For He said in John 14:21,

21  He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. ~ John 14:21

Are you keeping GOD’s commandments? Or are you continuing in your sin, grieving and quenching the Holy Spirit? Go to the Scriptures that deal with personal sin that can also affect the organic Body of Christ. We can examine them, and bear in mind these Scripture portions were written to the Churches of believers:

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 we see a whole host of sins. Do you find yourself in the following list, as we read,

9  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or are there still sin in your life as contained in Colossians 3:5 to 10, as we read,

5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 
6  For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 
7  In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 
8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 
9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 
10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: ~ Colossians 3:5-10

To mortify is to utterly destroy. To put to death. Christian, be killing sin, or sin will be killing you! There are so many more Scripture portions where you can go and examine yourself, like the following two Scriptures,

2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Are you dead to sin? In the great doctrine Book of the Bible, Romans, in chapter 6 verses 6 to 13, we read,

6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 
7  For he that is dead is freed from sin. 
8  Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 
9  Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 
10  For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. ~ Romans 6:6-13

Then in Romans 6:18, we read,

18  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. ~ Romans 6:18

Dear friends, if you know GOD, you will not sin! Live in victory, for in 1 John 2:29, we read,

29  If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. ~ 1 John 2:29

The enemy Satan loves to twist Scripture. Know this, you can live a sin free righteous life. Hear these stern warnings in 1 John 3:8-11, as it is written,

8  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
9  Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 
10  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 
11  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. ~ 1 John 3:8-11

You see, our reasonable service to GOD is found in Romans 12:1 and 2,

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Romans 12:1,2 

You see if you have sin it also affects the other believers in the assembly. That is why Church discipline is so important. That is why the Lord’s Day meeting – any day that you esteem unto the Lord (see Romans 14:5,6) – should be for believers only. Allow our Lord to add to His Bride and let us not get ahead of ourselves for the filling of seats. Is the “tithe” the reason for growth in the meeting? then pastors and teachers you need to repent! Are man-made programs being implemented to increase growth in the assembly? then there must be repentance! GOD adds to His Church! We are not saved by works. Works righteousness is found in the Roman Catholic movement, by Muslims and Hindus, and the 37,000+ denominations and cults that men have made. Our faith certainly must be active with works, but we do not work to obtain our salvation. Works are ordained by GOD and will be a result of salvation!

In the general epistle of James, chapter 2 verses 17 and 18, we read,

17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. ~ James 2:17,18

We also read in Ephesians 2:8-10,

8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:8-10

Are you about GOD’s business here on earth? Those who do the will of the Father are His children. We are even told to walk as Christ walked.

The early ekklesia – which is the assembly of believers which we know as “church” – turned the world upside down. Through persecution they went everywhere preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see Acts 8:4). Are you sharing Christ Jesus with this evil and wicked world? Or are you keeping Him to yourself? You see, if you have the true Jesus Christ, and He is Lord and Saviour of your life, you wouldn’t be able to remain silent whilst your neighbours, colleagues and family walk headlong towards Hell! Do you understand the gravity of this issue? If not, then you need to search for GOD! Or maybe, certain practices that are unbiblical have crept in to the assembly, like women pastors and those who usurp authority over men in meetings, as we read,

11  Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
12  But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
13  For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
14  And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
15  Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. ~ 1 Timothy 2:11-15

The assembly of believers is not to be a P.C.S.C., i.e. Politically Correct Social Club! It is not about pandering to ‘women-libbers’ and their fleshly wants! It is all about what GOD ordains for His Bride, for a woman cannot be the “husband of one wife” (see 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:6), not even in the evil and wicked practice of lesbianism! Look, women find their place in the Church teaching younger women, as we learn from Titus 2:3-5,

3  The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 
4  That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 
5  To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. ~ Titus 2:3-5

Or maybe it is the dumb-downed Bible translations that are a plethora (i.e. overabundance) of ‘butter-knives’ that are perverse and contradict one another. Corrupt men have corrupted GOD’s Word for the love of filthy lucre! We need to stand upon the infallible, inerrant, inspired and preserved Word of GOD which is the sword of the Spirit (see Ephesians 6:17)! The LORD commands us neither to add to nor take away from HIS Word – which is the Holy Bible. We see this in Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 4:20,21; and Revelation 22:19. We also read in Proverbs 30:5 and 6,

5  Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. 
6  Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. ~ Proverbs 30:5,6

And in a Psalm of David, we read, as it is written,

6  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.
7  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. ~ Psalm 12:6,7

In Psalm 119 we read, for it is written,

Psa 119:140  Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Psa 119:160  Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

And in Psalm 138 A Psalm of David, we read, for it is written, that the LORD GOD’s Word is magnified above all His name,

Psa 138:2  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

It is for this reason that we should agree with GOD’s Holy Word in all points and echo what the Scriptures declare: “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” (Psalm 119:11).

This is where the modern ecumenical church has lost its way with humanism, abortions, homosexuality including gay-clergy infiltrating GOD’s assembly. These practices are an abomination to GOD and we must defend our Christian liberties! Do you contend for the faith and warn against the practice of these evils?

Further, do you evangelise the lost with a Biblical message? Or do you peddle a man-centred gospel that has absolutely no power what-so-ever? Or do you leave it up to the evangelist to do all the work in our LORD’s harvest field. Jesus Christ summed it up clearly,

2  Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. ~ Luke 10:2

Sadly, many inside the churchianity system do exactly that, and only that. They pray – for “others” to “go”! You see it is easier to speak to GOD about men, than to speak to men about GOD! At this hour, at this day, we need real men – soldiers of the cross – who will report for duty and “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” (Jude 3). Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a 19th century English preacher, said: “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.” Dear friends, where do you stand on this quote?

Have you read and understood Ephesians 4:11 through 16,

11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. ~ Ephesians 4:11-16

Is there unity in your faith with the ministry of reconciliation, by the word of reconciliation where the members are ambassadors for Christ? (see 2 Corinthians 5:18-20). Or has the assembly where you attend rather become more concerned about getting ‘fat’ on the Word, than exercising your faith and putting feet to it by going and sharing the Living Word with this heathen and pagan generation? The “church” of today – not to be confused with the pristine and beautiful remnant Bride of Christ – the “church” of today is lukewarm and asleep and very much heretic and apostate! A “holy huddle” up on the hill, and not as our LORD JESUS CHRIST declares in Matthew 5:14-16,

14  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:14-16 

If you have truly been saved through “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21), then brethren you will be urgent about the will and purpose of our Heavenly Father!

There is so much more that can be said, but in closing we will look at what the Church really is! The problem is, is that people in general have a wrong understanding of what “Church” is. Here is the deal – you cannot go to something that you are! The ekklesia – assembly, congregation of believers – are the Church! We are lively stones. In Scripture there is a beautiful revelation of the Bride of Christ. She is living, praising, praying, active, worshipping, glorifying and organic, where fellowship is had with the Father and Son by the moving of the Holy Spirit! No discussing the latest fashions and fads, ipads and technologies, or sporting and entertainment events! It is organic and alive. GOD does not live in buildings made with hands. Nor in idols of silver and gold, wood and stone. He lives in people! In 1 Peter 2 and Ephesians 2, we read, and i will explain the “spiritual house”, that is reliant on every member part as a living body, this is the Judeo-Christian meeting of the first century – and why should it be different today? – as we read,

42  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. ~ Acts 2:42

26  How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. ~ 1 Corinthians 14:26

1  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 
2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 
3  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 
4  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 
5  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. . . . 
9  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. ~ 1 Peter 2:1-5 and 9,10

18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
19  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 
21  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
22  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. ~ Ephesians 2:18-22

As with any building being built, a cornerstone needs to be laid perfectly and then the foundation will be also sure and perfectly laid. However, if the cornerstone is askew then the foundation will also be askew because of its alignment and as a result all the walls built from the askew cornerstone and the askew foundation will also be askew! The same principle applies with the spiritual house of GOD. As Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone who is a Perfect Foundation and the Rock upon which we need to stand, and as He is Upright, Sure and Perfect, we as the lively stones – living stones – are joined to our Chief Cornerstone “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit”, this is the spiritual house that is made not with hands, not a brick and mortar building, but this spiritual house is the true ekklesia – assembly, congregation, Church – of GOD! As the living stones (spiritual walls) we Christians will be upright, erect and perfect being aligned with the Chief Cornerstone and Foundation of our LORD JESUS CHRIST!

Therefore, as the Body of Jesus Christ, we need the Spirit of GOD to move mightily in each of us in unity! And if we want to see the power of GOD’s revival, it must start with us by humbling ourselves in repentance of sins! Before we can get the community in order our spiritual house must be in order!

17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. ~ 1 Peter 4:17-19

Christian, Are You Playing Church? And Church, Are You Missing What Church Really Is?

May we urgently examine where we have been derailed and get back on track to the Glory of GOD Alone!

Soli Deo Gloria! Amen!

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