"Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." (1Cor. 2:12-13)
Thursday, April 24, 2014
A Look At The Ministry Of Death
To regard no one in the flesh is to be passionately conscientious of sharing the love of God to the world. But it is so much more than verbalizing the written word of God. It is Christ in us, rivers of living water, that quenches the parched hopes of the lost, and refreshes the path of the believer. Below is something a dear sister in Christ recently shared with me.
"We are at a place right now where maturity in Christ means a willingness to recognize and acknowledge validation and love from Christ through each other - not just vertically - and as if we are receiving from Christ Himself! The age of "just me and Jesus" is over... if there ever was such an age."
So many of the western churches today are stuck in a life of devotion to the written word alone. Bible-olotry, if you will. The leaders, themselves having very little intimacy with the Lord of the written word, obviously can not encourage the congregation toward the Spiritual relationship of these words. So, what we witness is a lot of socializing in the name of God. The Spiritual intimacy practiced in this type of "church" is exclusively between an individual and their own perception of Jesus. Why would I say it's only a perception and not a real relational faith?
Individual faith is afraid to extend itself out to their fellow saints because the truth is, they are still in darkness. They are afraid to come into the light because they know, "...their deeds will be exposed.".
What is the darkness? It is a refusal to confess sins to one another. Now, confession is so much more than simply admitting something in the presence of others. There has to be the conviction of the Holy Spirit that brings about a Godly sorrow, not simply admitting short comings. This is where true repentance is experienced because we have emptied ourselves of our own strength to overcome our pride. In this way, we fulfill in the flesh how, through the Spirit of Christ, God reconciles us to Himself.
The purpose of "church" is that it becomes the power of God to those He has exposed, revealing the desolation of their own flesh. We will find we have so much in common with others if the Spirit of the Lord that dwells within our fellow believers has the same opportunity with their weaknesses . "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them." Our pride should convict us to come alongside others so they may pray for us, encourage us. The power of God is manifest in His church when we become transparent and authentic with one another, beyond superficial relationships. Unfortunately, this is the light that so many adamantly avoid.
Selfishness finds it so much easier to hide in the masses of religious functions and performances, pretending that religious intimacies belong to the appointed clergy. Natural human leadership recognizes the opportunity to take control of such crowds and strategically cultivates a form of godliness that will appease them. However, it keeps the masses in bondage, a state of ignorance, communing in a false pretense of what is commonly referred to as "church".
Church-goers have been trained that faithfulness to Jesus is accomplished by obeying His commands; that fellowship means "going to church". Church leaders are constantly telling the congregation what the written word commands us to do. And we find the fruit of the work of the professional clergy to be the mass production of religious orphans.
Much of today's "church" fails to understand that the work of self denial is the cause of sanctification that will enable us to truly follow Jesus. This is what He meant when He told us to pick up our own cross. Without this, we can only do what comes natural to humanity. We socialize in the commonality of the written word and call it fellowship. But true fellowship exists when the Spirit of Christ in one recognizes the Spirit of Christ in another. In this way, we come together into the fellowship of Christ, working together as the body of Christ, and becoming prepared as the bride of Christ.
Surrender of self is rarely spoken about in church assemblies, but that is the only path to Spiritually intimate fellowship as Jesus has so directed the church to know and participate with. The upper room is where He got on His hands and knees, demonstrating the physical example of what is to be Spiritually accomplished in us. This was very disturbing to Peter and it will be to us as well.
There is a misconception about the Lord's supper that has diluted it to a sacred ritual instead of a real life experience. Drinking His blood and eating of His body...the wine and the bread...has nothing to do with a religious ceremony. "Do this in remembrance of me" does not mean we copy the physical ritual of drinking grape juice and eating bread. Everything in the flesh is a shadow of what exists in the spiritual realm. In the matter of the Lord's supper, we are to remember Jesus by following Him to the cross, and we do that by denying ourselves, just as He did.
We're not called to act like children, mimicking what we have been taught, but through the allowed work of the Holy Spirit, we will become like little children, freely expressing ourselves, innocent to love others as we love ourselves, and trusting our Father enough to lay down our lives.
"Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, (the law) came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory?" (2 Corinthians 3:7, 8)