TRADITIONS & TRUTH
Spiritually, my life has been sort of like that. Started out with the Anglican Episcopal Church as having St. Peter’s Keys to the Kingdom but unlocking very little. Then the Methodist took a turn at it when 16, lasted about 9 months. Then I studied all kinds of religious stuff and finally made up my own “Cosmic Glue Theology” Which did not work either. At age 22 I finally met a real Christian. I am sure Floyd was not totally perfect yet at 19 but he was the best example of Christ that I had every seen to that time in 1955. He was walking a walk that I would have expected from Jesus and it sure grabbed my attention.
Floyd was able to answer some of my many questions and help me come to a place of seeing that I needed a Savior like Christ Jesus and in about 6 months I got in the door but then also into a holding pen of a little box church which had it’s own traditions. After 13 years in that little box a painter came to paint my house and spent more time with me sharing on the need to make Christ Jesus LORD and receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit for power. Of course the infusion of power was based on my capacity and faith and the Holy Spirit. But that experience in 1968 drastically changed my life and placed me in a growing ministry that I still feel to this day. Of course during that interum I checked out the Quakers, Nazarene, Full Gospel, Baptist, 4 Square, Brethren, Congregational, Orthodox and Roman boxes as well as the Eastern Religions. Most was discarded but some of what I have learned now at being 87 is as follows.
1. God’s love is never in a box or limited or fearful. It is always seeking to help the lost to find Jesus and bring them into a living unity of truth, peace and joy in HIM, no one is ever rejected due to smell. John 3:16-18: “For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] [a]only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior and Lord] shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Whoever believes and has decided to trust in Him [as personal Savior and Lord] is not judged [for this one, there is no judgment, no rejection, no condemnation]; but the one who does not believe [and has decided to reject Him as personal Savior and Lord] is judged already [that one has been convicted and sentenced], because [b]he has not believed and trusted in the name of the [One and] only begotten Son of God [the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind, the One who alone can save him].”
2. With God there is no disunity, no division, no confusion God’s TRUTH is Yea and Amen!!! Divisions come through man’s pride and ego with the Ivory tower kingdom building of denominations. There there is but one Church of Christ Jesus and all who truly love and obey HIM will seek loving unity and be confirmed members of HIS Kingdom by their actions. 1 Cor. 14:26-33 “ What then is the right course, believers? When you meet together, each one has a psalm, a teaching, a revelation (disclosure of special knowledge), a tongue, or an interpretation. Let everything be constructive and edifying and done for the good of all the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be limited to two or at the most three, and each one speaking in turn, and one must interpret [what is said]. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, the one [who wishes to speak in a tongue] must keep silent in church; let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak [as inspired by the Holy Spirit], while the rest pay attention and weigh carefully what is said. 30 But if an inspired revelation is made to another who is seated, then the first one must be silent. 31 For [in this way] you can all prophesy one by one, so that everyone may be instructed and everyone may be encouraged; 32 for the spirits of prophets are subject to the prophets [the prophecy is under the speaker’s control, and he can stop speaking]; 33 for God [who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order.”
3. And with God, HE resists the proud and give HIS grace to the humble. That prior to honor is humility. That as Jesus had no concern about HIS reputation in doing the works of God that neither should we. That our obedience to HIS TRUTH is much better than any sacrifice. That GOD is looking for those who will humble themselves and obey HIS Word regardless of the consequences in this temporary dimension of time and testing. That we become obedient to sharing HIS word with even rebuking if needed and in being long suffering and with sound doctrine as well as to speak the truth in love to build and to comfort each other. 2 Tim.16: “ All Scripture is God-breathed [given by divine inspiration] and is profitable for instruction, for conviction [of sin], for correction [of error and restoration to obedience], for training in righteousness [learning to live in conformity to God’s will, both publicly and privately—behaving honorably with personal integrity and moral courage];”
4. That we follow the ABC direction in the WORD OF GOD for the building of HIS CHURCH. That we take the scriptures in context from the NEW TESTAMENT and place them on a table and move them around until they all fit into place with each other in showing us what HIS Church really looks like. Today we do many things that are traditional that prevent the Holy Spirit from moving in power. St. Paul gave a prophesy for our time about this in 2 Tim. 3:1-7: “But understand this, that in the last days dangerous times [of great stress and trouble] will come [difficult days that will be hard to bear]. 2 For people will be lovers of self [narcissistic, self-focused], lovers of money [impelled by greed], boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy and profane, 3 [and they will be] unloving [devoid of natural human affection, calloused and inhumane], irreconcilable, malicious gossips, devoid of self-control [intemperate, immoral], brutal, haters of good, 4 traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of [sensual] pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of [outward] godliness (religion), although they have denied its power [for their conduct nullifies their claim of faith]. Avoid such people and keep far away from them. 6 For among them are those who worm their way into homes and captivate morally weak and spiritually-dwarfed women weighed down by [the burden of their] sins, easily swayed by various impulses, 7 always learning and listening to anybody who will teach them, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5. Salvation is a gift through faith in Christ Jesus as LORD and is the gateway for us to learn about righteousness so we can be changed to be able live with our Holy Creator for eternity in HIS righteousness. This process is called Sanctification or to actually learn to be HOLY. John 17:16-18, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth [set them apart for Your purposes, make them holy]; Your word is truth. 18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned and sent them (believers) into the world.” Eph.5:26, “so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God].” 1 Thess. 2:13: “But we should and are [morally] obligated [as debtors] always to give thanks to God for you, believers beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through the sanctifying work of the Spirit [that sets you apart for God’s purpose] and by your faith in the truth [of God’s word that leads you to spiritual maturity].” 1 Peter 1:2, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by the sanctifying work of the Spirit to be obedient to Jesus Christ and to be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be yours in increasing abundance [as you walk closely with God].”
And there is much much more where we as Christians who have made Christ Jesus Lord need to learn to come into obedience and unity with each other and help each other get really free from this world’s manipulative forces of which many are to be found even in the so called church. JUDE.
6. A pastor has to know and be known of his flock, Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2. This differs with the gifting of each pastor but just how many people can a pastor know and be known by while making a disciple? The disciples trained under Christ Jesus were at 120 by Pentecost after 3 years of HIS ministry. These were not a membership these were disciples who could train another disciple as needed at Pentecost. The Early House Church was the number of believers who could fit comfortable in a home and called a church. But not one word for building buildings or making collections for buildings nor for paying a pastor for that matter. So we need to see how and where “disciples” were being made? That was our LORD’s Command, that we should learn to be and also be able to make disciples. A disciple is one who is obedient to the Master’s Truth as per the “Word of God and can train another to be a disciple.” Comes from the word disciplined.
7. Funding for the Early Church was not by tithing but by heart faith giving: “6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: 2 Cor.9:6-8… And think of how many “rob-God” sermons have been preached under the Old Testament Law for securing money from the saints for projects?
Even our seating today is mostly Pagan in most church experiences as a theater. There is a difference in preaching to the multitudes as a Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist & Teacher which can be theater style. But the ministry of a Pastor in training disciples, to be effective, has a group limitation of about 25-30 souls or so. So the larger apostolic ministries are now starting to have mid-week pastoral services that are smaller and more intimate to be effective in leadership training. In the Early Church the larger gatherings would be on the side of a hill or in the Temple Courtyard at no expense. The Early Church would Evangelize on Saturday morning at the Temple and invite those interested to an agape meal on Saturday evening. At the meal there would be testimonies, teaching, The Lord’s Supper, Prayers and the supernatural ministry of the Elders as subject to the Holy Spirit and the faith of the House Church and the Elder. “ More and more believers in the Lord, crowds of men and women, were constantly being added to their number, 15 to such an extent that they even carried their sick out into the streets and put them on cots and sleeping pads, so that when Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on one of them [with healing power]. 16 And the people from the towns in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing the sick and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all being healed, Acts. 5:14-16.”
Seems to me that this kind of a ministry is what Christ Jesus bought for us in HIS death and resurrection. Only we need the LOVE, HUMILITY and Unity to put it together in the Holy Spirit for HIS Glory. Ken Smith<>< 10/10/19 The Church at Kealia
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