“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and the recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
Isaiah 64:1, Luke 4:18
“A threefold cord is not easily broken”
In 1968, while spending time with the Lord, I received a vision. I was talking to the Lord about the divisions in His Church and why there were so many rock throwers. It was early morning as I was driving to an FGBMFI (Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship International) prayer breakfast through a beautiful little park in Eugene, Oregon. My son David, 14, loved to go with me and was asleep next to me in the car. While driving in the early morning as the street lights were beginning to be turned off, I began to see something unusual in the Spirit (it did not at all detract from my ability to drive). What I began to see in the Spirit was an old three-legged milking stool, like on the farm where I was born in Kentucky. It drifted down through my car’s front windshield, very gently. Then a very powerful hand and hairy arm grabbed a leg from the stool and broke it off. As the leg was taken away, I could read the lettering on the wooden leg and it said “LOVE.” Next, another leg was violently ripped off of the little stool by another mighty arm. As it went by, the lettering spelled out “HOLINESS.” Finally, the remaining leg was violently removed from the stool by still another strong hand, the lettering on this last leg spelled out “POWER.” As the seat part of the stool fell to the floor and settled in a rocking motion on the floor, I could see the letters written on top of the wooden seat spelling out the word “CHURCH.”
It has been over half a century now, but the vision is still as vivid as ever. Over the years it has become very obvious that the reason the church is so impotent is due to the lack of love, faith, unity and obedience in how we need each other so very much in the balance of the building of the Body of Christ. Our Lord gave us an eleventh commandment, “A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another” (John.13:34). Faith, Hope, and Love are very necessary to follow the basic guidelines as set out for us in the Bible. Paul also gave us a snapshot: Eph.4:11-16.
It seems we have generally left the “first work” and have even embraced the “Nicolaitans” (Rev. 2:1-7). With any major change or restoration, there needs to be a clear mission statement. And, within that mission, the principles upon which the vision of the mission may be brought into life. Jesus, the Christ, went to the heart of His mission in quoting from the prophecy from Isaiah 61. He began His ministry with the words of the prophet Isaiah, and our Lord continually used the writings of His prophets to set forth the vision on which He is to build His Church. It is not possible to improve upon His vision and it would be presumptuous to try. Further, it is impossible to improve upon the basic directions given by the Holy Spirit in the building of the Church of Jesus Christ which began at Pentecost. Some reformers have cried, what is not supported by scripture should not be required for faith and practice, “Sola Scriptura.” It is time to return to the prime directives. It is time to move from megachurch theater and the buildings of man’s ego to the simple liturgy of God with Jesus Christ as the center of our worship.
To experience the Glory of Jesus, the Christ, it will be necessary to restore the basic faith and the primitive apostolic doctrines of the New Testament to the Church, including only such historical traditions as can be supported by Scripture. Within those apostolic teachings of the New Testament there is a deep need to bring unity to the Church through the balance of God’s supernatural nature in His love, holiness, and power as found buried as jewels in the evangelical, liturgical and charismatic expressions of faith. “A threefold is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Each stream has a wealth of spiritual truth to offer to the disciple, but there are also many sacred cows that must be slaughtered. Being religious or being spiritual are totally different points of view: the religious leaders murdered the Lord of Glory.
The Early Church was cautioned by our Lord concerning the pitfalls of Babylon (Rev. 17:18) and of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-19). Babylon is the negative example of a religious dictatorship in the process of demonic-kingdom building for self-glory, while Laodicea is an example of the democratic “voice of the people,” voting church, for the glory of man. The Lord said to remember that the wheat and the tares (weeds) grow together so to be very careful not to harm the good seed. But, for the glory of God, we must find it in our hearts to purify ourselves through Christ the Lord, i.e., “For His wife hath made herself ready” (Rev.19:7). We must learn to trust the Holy Spirit in this end time to help make us ready for “the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
The Early Church enjoyed a powerful success through the Holy Spirit in love, holiness, and power due to this balance. The servant rule of the local elders in a consensual relationship of loving influence made this possible. All who came to Jerusalem in the Early Church were healed and delivered (Acts 5:15-16). It appears that unity was always primary in the mind of the elders; action was always secondary in importance to unity.
The elders of the Early Church were those holding the Holy Spirit imparted ministries in (Eph. 4:11-16). These men were very serious about our Lord’s teachings as found in (John 17:20-26) concerning unity. The glory of God in Christ is revealed when the Saints love one another and are of one mind and one spirit, however, even this can work on the negative side (Gen.11:6). This is important, take time to read the scripture and consider the outcome.
To agree to disagree can never be used by our Lord to build His eternal kingdom. We must learn to speak the truth in love and always keep our doctrine on the altar before the Lord. We must do this for His correction and further revelation in context with the Holy Scriptures that have been once delivered. We must openly admit that we see through a dark glass, (1 Cor. 13) and therefore we must walk in humility and love and trust the Holy Spirit to ultimately confirm the truth as the Servant Elders come together in His great love and mercy.