TO CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP
Defines the Apostolic Emphasis
chapters one and two of his first letter to Corinth Paul presses a very
important foundation point. This particular emphasis stresses the difference
between a Spiritual (a supernatural message) contrasted to a conceptual
one. In chapter 1 verse 17 he states that his gospel emphasis is not
based upon words of human wisdom (analysis or philosophy) but in power
supplied from heaven where Jesus Christ is enthroned. It was on the
cross of Jesus' crucifixion where the exchange of righteousness was
made. The cross of crucifixion is where the sacrifice was made. The
cross of crucifixion is where God paid the price in blood for every
doctrine of the cross does not end with a man's death but with a
divinely-empowered resurrection. Thus the doctrine that Paul speaks
of includes the death and the resurrection of Jesus. Foundational to
the Christian faith was that Jesus who was crucified, dead, buried and
in glory. The holiday we call Easter fulfilled the Jewish festivals
of Passover, Unleavened bread and First Fruits.
It is truly unfortunate that so few Christians understand and honor
the Jewish roots of Christianity, including the fact that Jesus (Yeshua)
and most all of the first disciples and apostles were Jews. Yeshua rose
from the dead, ascended on high, took captivity captive, and gave
gifts to all who would believe. Paul's
statement of the cross addresses the ultimate victory of life over death,
not sorrow or loss. The resurrection speaks of the power of an endless
life laying a foundation of that inheritance for all believers.
It tells about the Father's plan to extend grace and peace to every
man, woman and child. It speaks about the ability to become a new
creation in Christ. Too often we find
people who profess to be Christians do not experience the Power of
G-d." Without a resurrection there would be not supernatural
church. Question: How many Christians could live out their lives with
the saMe lifestyle and beliefs even if there was NO RESURRECTION? Christianity
is predicated upon the supernatural. The power of G-d derives from the
dunamis that G-d supplies. The Gospel is the Power of God. See:
Romans 1:18; 1 Peter 1:5; and Romans 1:16. These are some of the
most powerful proof texts that direct believers to believe in a supernatural
of God Versus Human Wisdom Paul, in the opening chapters of 1 Corinthians,
introduces the theme of "wisdom." Paul contrasts human wisdom
to divine wisdom. He explains that a man who deems himself wise through
the power of reason, struggles to accept the wisdom of God. God's wisdom
is framed in paradoxes and conundrums. For example the paradox of the
least being the greatest; the weak being the strong; the first being
last; the wise being foolish; the living being dead; while the dead
are being awakened to live. If
these concepts make any sense to you, perhaps God has already opened
your eyes in a very significant way. G-d has framed truth in such a
way that statements of Truth sound preposterous, unbelievable or irrational
and become a stumbling block for many who are worldly-wise. The
world says, "Be someone, do your own thing, express your individuality."
God says, "Decrease your self importance, take your cross. We are
told to let the outward "you" be crucified so that the Spirit
of Christ can have effective sanctuary and expression in you.
The ways of the world and this world's thinking are at enmity to
The scientific mind requires proof. The eye measures and discerns the
things which they call real or reality. Yet Christians are entreated
to disregard outward manifestations the objectified world. The mind
is not the highest faculty to lead and direct. Sons or daughters
of God are led by the Spirit, (Romans 8:14 -- For as many as are
led by the Spirit of God- -", these sons of God." Where spiritual
truth is concerned the only reliable and eternal truth is the Word of
God. 1 Corinthians 2:14: The natural man (man
without the Spirit) receives not the things of the Spirit of G-d for
they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they
are Spiritually discerned.
God's truth requires faith on our part. Paul,
in the same letter talks about how to make Spiritual realities manifest.
"I did not come teaching and preaching with enticing words of
man's wisdom but with demonstration of the Spirit and of power that
your faith should not stand upon man's wisdom but upon the power of
God. (1Corinthians 2:4,5) The
Spiritual life only begins to manifest because of the grace of
God. It is actually God who gives us the ability to act in faith.
gospel states with respect to the Kingdom of God that we are all pressing
into it. (Luke 16:16) The Lord stands at the door knocking, the
action of faith opens that door to him. Again, grace is the initiatory
cause, it is God's hand in matters concerning our life that stirs, directs
and empowers. Grace is the hand of God outstretched to us, beckoning;
he bids us to come forth. We respond to him and we press in to the world
of Spiritual life that awaits. The
hand of grace is outstretched in love. Grace speaks in the voice of
love, kindness, compassion and giving. This love is caring and constructive
in nature. Love builds and empowers the body to grow. Love builds the
bonds of those who come together to share their faith experience. Love,
not knowledge defines the character and the parameters of the spiritual
is always a knowledge component involved in studying God's word. But
from mere information, precepts grow as the Spirit of God gives 'understanding'
and connectivity to the whole of scripture. Scripture reminds us that
knowledge alone ultimately has the affect of "puffing up"
our egos. We find that knowledge without compassion becomes a deficit.
We will always find that the "knowledge" aspect of Christianity
is closely linked to "religious systems." In the religious
realm knowledge and expertise defines God knowledge and not so much
personal revelation that the Spirit of God provides in the study of
the word of God.
much do we have to know before we become Spiritual?
Apostle Paul continuously emphasizes the power that G-d provides.
Activation in all spiritual matter derives through Christ Jesus' Spirit.
This spirit is given to empower our lives and relationships.
The attribute of spiritual relationships within the body of believers
lies closer to the center of Spirituality than any other factor. The
koinonia, fellowship and relationship of believers becomes the life
of the body of Christ on earth. It was the foundation principle in the
apostolic first century church. In order to glimpse the New Testament
church of the Book of Acts, "They continued steadfastly in the
apostles doctrine and fellowship and breaking of bread, and with prayer."
(Acts, Chapter 2:42) The
apostles who knew the way of God in the richest measure served to guide
novices into the same area of common experience. By witnessing through
first hand experience; the community grew dynamically. The Kingdom of
God expands in their regions gaining more and more converts. A community
grows and stands in the midst of a world of unbelief, carnality, and
calls us into a family-like community in which God is not only
glorified but in which God continuously interacts with the
disciples of this community. Genuine affection and fellowship is
what this community is about. This 'family' is characterized by sharing
the joy of redemption (salvation is the first step in pressing into
this community.) This intimate fellowship of believers is the closest
thing to heaven God has for us on earth. We share a common mind, a common
testimony, a common hope. We are baptized into one Spirit into a common
destiny. This community is redemptive owing to the fact that deceptions
that tarnish this world can not endure in the presence of the Living
God, neither can the things which defile the flesh stand in his presence.
welcome those who enterr this community of faith where we find restoration,
strength and edification. We come together in fellowship to repair the
bumps, bruises, and blemishes that life in this world inflicts upon
those who are "not of this world."
The life of that body is 'organic' and natural. It is not defined by
laws of human organization or the dogmatic requirements of religion.
The only limitation is defined by the authenticity of the personal
redemption that is experienced by each. There are always a few who
are masquerading as believers who try to maintain their lives by the
strength of their own will and abilities. The natural man (without
the Spirit) primarily, continues to value worldly matters which are
at odds with the God life.
chooses people with a diversity of human gifts and abilities
we gather in the body we soon realize that there are so many different
life experiences. These display the diversities of gifts and abilities.
There needs to be a welcoming of these unique gifts that these individuals
offer. We are not meant to be like another. However, the path to discipleship
is a long and gradual process. Some progress more quickly owing to the
grace of God. During the continuous process of discipleship we must
be open and teachable. We need to respect the mature and seasoned in
matters spiritual. Spiritual experience among the mature may be broad
enough to demonstrate a total range of spirituality and anointings.
See Romans Chapter 12; 1Corinthians 12; and 1Corinthians 14, and Ephesians
4. We are reminded that Paul is so bold to admonish his own disciples
to "imitate him as he imitates" Christ Jesus.
Learning Christ according to the Apostles Doctrine requires:
be spiritually renewed by faith in Jesus Christ
receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
renew your mind by studying scripture
seek personal fellowship of God
seek the fellowship of God's family - - where your loved and
imitate those who have mature spirituality
walk in faith, (the knowledge that God cares for us in our present
minister to others, the same gifts and wholeness that we have
received from God
POWER OF PARADIGMS
essential questions asked by philosophers:
Thinkers and sages attempt to bring their best insight and understanding
to these questions:
Who are we?
Where do we come from?
Where are we going?
Where do we go to seek wisdom and the answers to the meaning of life?
Do we inquire according to secular wisdom, or religious teachings? Or
is there another?
How does Godly Wisdom contrast to secular wisdom?
How does Godly Wisdom contrast with "religious" wisdom?
THE PARADIGM OF WORLDLY WISDOM
wisdom extols and rewards self-exaltation and individuality G-dly
wisdom (the Truth) says deny yourself take up your cross, die to yourself.
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom no man is "good "Worldly
wisdom is based upon observation and the appearance of things
wisdom (the Truth) The unseen things are eternal and have a substance
yet to be known by human reason.
Worldly wisdom is based upon "scientific" principle and measurable
Godly wisdom (the Truth) teaches that if you believe in the unseen you
have faith and will see the results manifested.
Worldly wisdom features the domination or rule of the strong and the
mighty. Godly wisdom (the Truth) teaches that God chooses the weak and
the insignificant to shame the wise and strong. Worldly wisdom devalues
humans with few assets, childlike meekness and simplicity. Godly wisdom
(the Truth) reveals that the greatest in the kingdom of God are like
children. Humble, trusting, and meek.
Worldly wisdom values and rewards intellectual achievement and scholarship.
Godly wisdom (the Truth) teaches that the wisdom of man is foolishness
Worldly wisdom recognizes classes as inferior or superior rank and class,
this is respect of persons. Godly wisdom (the Truth) teaches that those
who are poor shall eventually receive the blessings of the kingdom.
The proud and the mighty he scatters and turns away.
Worldly wisdom's view of the "vast timeless universe" diminishes
or negates the need of a savior. Godly wisdom (the Truth) teaches that
God created the heaven and the earth by wisdom and all things that are
in it. And he called his creation "good."
Worldly wisdom features "self preservation" as a principle
wisdom (the Truth) speaks of self sacrifice as a divine virtue
Worldly wisdom believes life may well be over when one dies Godly wisdom
(the Truth) we are eternal beings who retain our own soul's personal
identity forever. Some will inherit eternal blessings and others will
inherit eternal separation from God.
Worldly wisdom presumes that God regards each religion or faith democratically.
Godly wisdom (the Truth) reveals that one nation is the chosen
people of God. The Bible established upon infallible promises, states
that there is only one mediator between God and man. Jesus the
son of God, the king of the Jews.
Worldly wisdom presumes that God does not favor any one nation over
another. Godly wisdom (the Truth) reveals that one nation is the chosen
people of God. There is only one mediator between God and man.
Jesus the son of God, the king of the Jews.
Worldly wisdom would suggest if there is a God he is simply called by many
names. Godly wisdom (the Truth) though there are many gods there is
but one God who is above all and we can hold no god higher than He.
Worldly wisdom presumes that God is essentially impersonal.
wisdom (the Truth) says that we can become sons of God. Adapted
into the family. We are called to inherit the blessings and partake
Worldly wisdom believes that all of the human race are automatically
of God" Godly wisdom (the Truth) Whoever believes on the Son of
God, Jesus Christ has eternal life. Whoever has not the son has no life
condemnation of God remains upon them.
! Worldly wisdom is Self Directed, It extols and rewards self exaltation
! Worldly wisdom is focused on acquiring, having and getting.
! Worldly wisdom is based upon observation and the natural appearance
! Worldly wisdom is based upon "scientific" principle and
! Worldly wisdom is not likely to believe in spirit beings who are unseen.
! Worldly wisdom tends to believe that the human race is evolving and
becoming more enlightened.
! Worldly wisdom features the domination or rule of the strong in mind
and body and devalues childlike meekness and simplicity.
! Worldly wisdom rewards those with leadership personal strength, intellectual
achievement and scholarship.
! Worldly wisdom recognizes classes of humanity denoting some to be
of inferior or superior rank and class.
! Worldly wisdom's view of a 'vast universe' or "infinite time"
diminishes or negates the need of a savior.
! Worldly wisdom features self preservation survival of the fittest.
! Worldly wisdom allows that life may well be over when one dies.
! Worldly wisdom reasons that if we are not "caught" there
is no consequence.
! Worldly wisdom presumes that if there is a divinity that each religion
or faith be valued democratically
! Worldly wisdom would suggest there is one God who is simply called
by other names.
! Worldly wisdom presumes that God is essentially impersonal.
! Worldly wisdom believes that all of the human race are automatically
'children of God'
1Cor:1:19: For it is written, I will destroy
the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding
prudent. (KJV)1Cor:1:21: For after that in the wisdom of God the
world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness
of preaching to save them that believe. (KJV) 1Cor:2:14:
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for
they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them,
because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)
Paradigm of Religious Wisdom
formal religions feature some of the following descriptions of the orthodox
way they minister the "Truth of god"
to people. In
the religious paradigm the religious life occurs in or centers around
a temple or a 'church house.' In the religious paradigm
the church house is called "the house of God" Children are
taught that this where the god/God lives. In the religious paradigm
traditions include various church features or components such as:
FOLLOWING ARE SOME
OF THE FAMILIAR ELEMENTS OF RELIGIOUS CHRISTIANITY
pulpits and pews
stained glass windows
organs and "sacred music"
solemnity and formalism
robes and apparel
orders of worship
rituals, sacraments and ceremonial routines
ranks of credentialed authority
priest hood, who meet with God for us
human oversight, accreditation and approval
the religious paradigm a formally trained priest or clergy "officiates"
over the "services"
In the religious paradigm a formal address or sermon is called "preaching"
In the religious paradigm one or two hours a week fulfill requirements
of personal involvement
In the religious paradigm only the clergy are the only ones qualified
In the religious paradigm there is disparity due to "respect of
persons" in spiritual rank / authority
In the religious paradigm members may be totally disassociated from
worship or prayer
In the religious paradigm God was glorious and supernatural in times
past but not today
In the religious paradigm a person's spiritual life is governed, directed
or sustained by another
In the religious paradigm the exploits of God and Saints occurred only
in the past
In the religious paradigm people are taught how to please God by performing
deeds or obligations In the religious paradigm one often does
not experience God but hears about God
In the religious paradigm one often does not know if he/she is saved
In the religious paradigm Bible doctrine plus traditional teachings
form the core doctrines
IF NOT ALL OF THE ABOVE ELEMENTS OF RELIGION ARE ASSOCIATED WITH BIBLICAL
Support For Contrary Views to Some of the Above Paradigms
1. The church is comprised of each person who believes and has been
born into the kingdom of God. Each believer is described as a 'living
stone' that forms the greater house, also known as the body of Christ
2. You do not go to a church rather each believer is a component of
the the Church (Ekklesia Christ's called-out body.) You and others are
called to come together in Jesus' name. Whenever two or three gather
in His name, you become an assembly of believers Christ the Messiah
is manifested. The Ekklesia. He has called us OUT of darkness into the
glorious light of the sons and daughters of God. (See link: Why Should
3. The Jews sought to stone Jesus when he inferred that God was his
father. There was no such designation as 'children of God' until Jesus
pronounced this doctrine on our behalf and taught his disciples to pray,
" Our Father... " Furthermore, no man comes to the Father except through
Jesus Christ, the door. Others in the world are not children of God.
Jn 1:12 - for those who believe on His name he gives the power (exousia
= authority) to become the sons (children) of G-d.
4. The priesthood has actually been eliminated in the new covenant Gospel
of the Kingdom. In the days of Moses, the people of Israel rejected
God's plan to become a nation of kings and priests (Exodus 19:) and
demanded that Moses and Aaron become the intermediaries before God on
their behalf. Since the founding of the church (also the day of Pentecost)
The fire of God fell on each believer and they received the Power (Gk.dunamis)
to be witnesses of the wonderful works of God. Gradually after the original
apostles passed from the scene, the priesthood insinuated itself back
into the world of Christianity and has held believers captive until
this time. The ecclesiastical traditions of formal religion dominate
the whole world of Christendom today.
5. Heaven. Jesus prayer among other matters, include every petition
that is essential to the life of faith. It begins, after glorifying
the Father, with the theme of connecting the realm of the heavenly (The
Kingdom of Heaven) which is the realm of the Spirit with this world.
Let thy Kingdom come. Let Thy will be done. On earth as
in Heaven! This revelation of the Kingdom can be experienced two ways;
First, in this present dispensation, while we live as people 'born of
and led by the Spirit.' We have overlooked that which is that which
prevails at the present most fundamental in the religious experience.
(The Lord's prayer or the Disciple's prayer.) Heaven is a continuing
reality but on a Spiritual (non intellectual) plane. Heaven was presented
by Jesus as accessible by his disciples. How can heavenly things become
accessible? Only through a Spirit-born and spirit-governed life in which
the natural man has been transformed. The "new man" with his natural
limits subdued and crucified by the POWER OF G-D. Access to heavenly
things is gained by losing one's self awareness, self-identity and self-governed
life. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you, that where I am
you may be also. - -" To be absent from the body is to be present with
the Lord - - I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day - - I heard - - and
behold - - I see - -. Physical death is the ultimate loss of self control.
"Carrying the cross" is about losing our preoccupation with self so
that Christ's life may manifest within us.
6. The concept of pastoral authority (or covering) is a feature of the
tradition-bound, priest-led institutional church. From early times priests
were designated clergy and the general congregation of pew-sitting listeners
was designated laity. In this system the laity functions primarily as
a personal support system that supports the institutional church. (Ownership
of a flock of God permits the overseers to make merchandise of them.)
Pastoral leadership should not be a distinctive superior class but as
examples to disciples who are maturing in their own leadership. John
writes regarding this misuse of authority: Read about Diotrophes in
3 John and in The Revelation see: (Nicolaitinism. See Rev. 2 and Rev.
3) This answers the question of human headship; The Lord is my shepherd
- My sheep hear my voice - - "There is one mediator between God
and man, the man Christ Jesus." Also we are told in " Matt. 23:
to call no man master; call no man Rabbi; call no man Father. "I
extend the assumption that the term "pastor" fits the criterion
of religious titles that set leaders apart. We do not follow a man (person.)
Servant leadership is the correct model.
7. We who believe and have received the transforming gift of New Life,
are called to be Saints, for we are all called to be "in Christ Jesus",
seated in heavenly places. We are exhorted to grow up in the knowledge
of Him until we reach the fullness of Him. (Ephesians 4:13.) The only
question is how do we grow and how are we discipled? The pastoral leadership
(discipleship) paradigm is only partially effective as it does not prepare
all brothers and sisters for leadership and full participation in the
things of God. There is a continuing notion that some are called into
the ministry and then seek to be trained in "the ministry." I have heard
this countless times. Discipleship is what the great commission seeks
to produce. "Make disciples of all nations - - ." (Matt. 28:19) Discipleship
is best realized through Koinonia meaning mutual participation and sharing
of the God life in fellowship. (It is my position that there is no Ekklesia
without Koinonia!) Those called out of the world into the body of Christ
have within them the essence of Jesus' love. These believers are drawn
to value and share their fellow brothers and sisters that make up the
body. A number of authors are adding to the same message that I promote
here. We see liberty in the body being promoted and the trend to come
out from institutional religious systems." Mega Shift" by James Rutz
and other web published writings which teach the full gospel message
free of institutional religious connection: One of my own published
titles is found under the title, "The Gospel
8. Signs and wonders and miracles are either part of your religious
doctrine or they are not. Those who exclude this from their doctrines
do participate in the living reality of a church that is that first
delivered to the saints. (Jude 3) Miracles and supernatural that was
part of the Pentecostal awakening movement that began in the recent
century in 1906. But experiencing the supernatural seems to be waning
among the Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians today. If your paradigm
does not allow for the supernatural you will not see it because you
are essentially saying No to the experience. Today more supernatural
signs and wonders are in evidence than ever before. There is no more
powerful key concepts to understand than Paul's statement that the gospel
is the "POWER OF G-D" I have never heard a substantial teaching on this
phrase. Yet it is a key to our understanding the promise of the gospel.
The Power of G-d is all about what G-d does, is doing, and will do.
It is not about our ability to understand the Bible, solve problems
or transform ourselves. The "new creation" is a product of the power
of G-d. Spiritual gifts are a product of the power of G-d!
9. The most amazing thing any believer can ever discover is that God
can and does reveal himself to us individually. The miraculous and revelation
awaits any who through the power of the Holy Spirit seek first the kingdom
and knock at heaven's door. Hebrews 11:7 is a powerful key concept in
realizing that some seem to never believe or receive the gift of salvation.
"- - whoever comes to G-d must FIRST believe that he is and that he
WILL REWARD those who diligently seek him. (!) Hebrews 11:7
10. The paradigm of the Old covenant (Judaism) is the root into which
Christianity has been grafted. Christianity is actually nothing more
than Messianic Judaism in which we discover the wholeness and fulfillment
of God's word in which the Mashiac was foretold and depicted in typology,
from Genesis to the prophets and in the Psalms. He fulfills the promise
of the "One new man," Jew and Gentile joined under the Messiah. It is
unfortunate that the terminology of the Messiah was traded in for the
Greek term Kristos (the anointed one) This designation has reinforced
the deception that Judaic foundations has been replaced by Christianity
with a rejection of anything Jewish. We Gentiles by the grace of God
have been grafted into the vine of Israel. To disregard this HERITAGE
of our root and foundations is unbiblical and damnable. The Gentiles
in the age of the church is a distinct chapter and expression of God's
planned time-table in restoring his people Israel, The physical kingdom
and rule of the Messiah upon the earth is the culmination of G-d's plan.
It will be the reign of the Messiah for 1000 years upon the earth.
11. Religious studies have prepared scholars to ordination thus to qualify
to become priests and overseers. They erroneously give the laity to
understand that they posses a particular power and authority that the
church goer does not have. We may well place our faith in a priest to
communicate with God on our behalf. If only the Christian world knew
and understood that there is but "one mediator between God and man,
the man Christ Jesus."
The Paradigm of Godly Wisdom, (Modeled by Jesus)
Spirit-led model of wisdom presents paradoxes to natural instincts or
wisdom of man;
the least shall be greatest in the kingdom; greatest are servants, etc.
presents humanity with paradoxes like; the first shall be last;
through natural ability and understanding can not come to God or
called but few chosen;
must die to our selves in order to fully live;
must not value, love or seek the rewards only in this world;
must be like a child, open, teachable, and innocent, not trusting
in our own abilities
has hidden wisdom from the wise; personal brilliance does not equate
to Spiritual wisdom
Kingdom of God is unseen but, for the faithful, a greater reality
than that which is seen.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, man is not essentially good
but fallen, and unredeemed;
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, mankind is born outside of
man is under the ruler of Satan, the god of this world
race of humanity is under the limitations of a "curse"
which has been in effect since Adam and Eve
human being can be recreated by God's power and be changed his innermost
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, the focus is upon others
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom no man is good (approaching
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom a natural man can do nothing
of eternal value.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, the spiritual man is totally
dependent upon the guidance of the Spirit.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, the body is the temple of
the Spirit of God.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom we are in a perpetual spiritual
battle for survival and dominance in life.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom there is eternal life beginning
with the moment of Salvation
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom the Kingdom of the Heavens
is ours with promised rewards
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom there and consequences for
words spoken and deeds done.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom only those born of the Spirit
and led of the Spirit are the children of God.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, God rewards with wisdom those
whose hearts are right toward him.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom all disciples are called,
matured and charged with ministry.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom ministry is directed by the
leading of the Holy Spirit.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom true worshipers worship in
Spirit and in Truth.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, Truth and wisdom is hidden
from the double minded and the unredeemed.
the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom we could memorize the Bible
and not fully understand truth - only the Spirit reveals heavenly
of Religious Wisdom
In the religious paradigm the religious life centers
around a "church house"
In the religious paradigm the church house is called "the house
In the religious paradigm the church building is called the "Church"
In the religious paradigm traditions include various church features
or - -
traditions such as: pulpits
and pews, stained glass windows, organs and 'sacred music'
solemnity and formalism, ecclesiastical garb robes, orders of service,
ritual, - - designated ranks of clerical authority.
In the religious paradigm a formally trained priest or clergy "officiates"
In the religious paradigm a formal address or sermon delivered to the
faithful is called "preaching"
In the religious paradigm one or two hours a week meets the requirements
of personal involvement In
the religious paradigm only the professionally trained clergy are qualified
In the religious paradigm there is "respect of persons" relative
to spiritual rank or authority
In the religious paradigm members may be totally disassociated in worship
In the religious paradigm a person's spiritual life is governed, directed
or sustained by another
In the religious paradigm the exploits of God and Saints are in the
In the religious paradigm people are taught how to please God with certain
deeds or obligations
In the religious paradigm there are duties required to attain "good
In the religious paradigm one often does not experience God only hears about
In the religious paradigm one often doesn't know if he/she is saved
In the religious paradigm Bible doctrine plus traditional teachings
form the core doctrines
Paradigm of Godly Wisdom, (Modeled by Jesus)
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom there are paradoxes to the
or wisdom of man:
the least shall be greatest;
the first shall be last;
many called but few chosen;
we must die in order to live;
we must devalue the things of this world;
we must be like a child, G-d has hidden wisdom from the wise;
the unseen things are a greater reality than the seen. etc.
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom man in
his natural self can do nothing of value for the kingdom of G-d
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, the spiritual man is totally
dependant upon the guidance of the Spirit
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom we are in a perpetual spiritual
battle for survival and dominance in life
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom there is eternal life, promised
rewards and consequences
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model Jesus preached to those outside pertaining to
the Kingdom of G-d and taught his followers
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom only those who are born of
the Spirit and led of the Spirit are the Children of G-d
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom people are discipled, disciples
are matured and then charged with ministry
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom ministry is through the leading
of the Holy Spirit
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom true worshipers worship in Spirit
and in Truth
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom, wisdom and insight is hidden
from the double minded and the unredeemed
In the Jesus, Spirit-led model of wisdom we could memorize the Bible
and not know truth- only the Spirit reveals it.
WE GATHER AS A BODY (KOINONIA)
eternal purpose of the triune G-d was to expand that triune intimacy
to the human race.
Jesus prays his intention to that end in his priestly Prayer to Father
God, (recorded in John 17.) We achieve fellowship in G-d as when that
Word that takes root in us. Jesus is the living "head of the church"
for all believers. He has designed a way for us to follow him, even
as the original twelve disciples followed him. They walked at his side,
talked with him, and were both witnesses and partakers of his spiritual
ministry. They new his voice; saw his power; and marveled at his wisdom.
They new him! Though I fear that few nominal Christians
are able to say they know him. Yes we have heard some things about
him, but do we know him? Perhaps the greatest thing to be revealed in
the "gospel" is that we may not only know him, but have fellowship
with him even to the extent that we can partake in his nature and his
ministry. In the gathering of believers in a place of meeting
can we say that we leave that meeting, knowing him better? Today can
we say that we have heard his voice, felt his presence, or were Empowered
by his touch?
ALL BELIEVERS CALLED TO MINISTER?
Ministry Edifies, strengthens, and blesses. G-d gives each human
being potential and promise with gifts and a field of influence in the
world according to his own measure of Grace. These gifts may or may
not be focused upon ministry to an tradition church body (as in church
centered pulpit ministry.) The gifts of G-d are designed to bring glory
to G-d in any setting. When members of the ecclessia (the called out
ones) come together whether few or many it is to exhibit the gifts and
to edify one another in a community of affection and sharing.
would be good for religious eyes to see what things can and do happen
in a New Testament meeting. G-d can make his glorious presence known;
lift people out of their fears and oppression; bring joy and healing;
restore broken hearts and broken relationships and save peoples souls.
liturgy began to replace the ministering body of koinonia very early.
Before the 3rd or 4th century of the 'church' age formalism had already
begun to materialize. The formalizing of service into ritual occluded
the kind of glorious liberty and fellowship known in the days of the
apostles. Who knows what were the motivating intentions behind formalism?
Perhaps it was for the purpose of preserving some of the truth or glory
of those earlier days. Maybe they wished to insure the manifestation
of G-d's presence and to provide a platform to disciple those who needed
to under stand the truth of Christ's eternal ministry. The
manifestations of G-d's glory and anointing finds new ways to manifest.
G-d does not always do the same thing the same way; to insist upon formalization
and repetition of what worked before, easily leads to becoming a religious
Bible shows that G-d's presence can not be captured and preserved. The
Israelites of old tried to do so, but when G-d's Glory departed they
were left with a relic; as in the case of Mose's brazen serpent, which
became a lifeless idol. The temple remained but God's presence was gone.
Whether G-d's glory and fellowship remains with us is determined by
the hearts of those who gather to worship him. Yes, through the years,
churches preserved catechism, but remained but the glory had been lost.
The ritual remained and the liturgical trappings remained but the presence
of G-d vanished. Ritual happens, I believe, when men try to duplicate
a behavior which once brought forth the glory of God through faith.
preserved by the Roman church substituted mystery and iconography for
G-d's presence. "Ministry" became the focus of a very small
body of liturgical experts, called the priesthood or the clergy, when
it was always to be the domain of every believer. Just as G-d wishes
each believer to be a ministering priest, he wishes us to become a true
worshipper. What is a true worshipper and what does it mean to worship
the Father in Spirit and in Truth? (John 4:23) G-d is always looking
for True Worshippers. He looks at the hearts and determines sincere
devotion and thankfulness. He does not regard the man with the religious
more highly than a common person whose heart is open. He does not favor
a cathedral over another location whether a meadow or humble home. As
Jesus told the woman at the well of Samaria, it is not where you worship,
not upon this mountain or another mountain, but what and how
we worship. He said to her that some do not know what they are even
worshipping but the truth is that salvation is connected to worship,
it is through the foundation of the Jews. The time was coming, Jesus
explained, when men and women women would worship the Most High God
in the Spirit of Holiness. Those who do not have this Spirit can
not have the authentic and true revelation and witness of G-d.
Disciples, Learn the "Way of God"
The foundation of the life of Christ procedes after becoming a disciple
of Jesus. Just as he made disciples in the time of his earthly ministry
so he continues today. (John 8:21 ; 17:20) The Christian world, through
religion, has made the life of the accounts in the Bible remote and
impersonal. It has made Peter, James and John or John the Baptist into
dead icons or religious folk heroes. The sense of their being our brothers,
sharing the same life of trials and faith has been all but lost. In
our minds Bible days were another time, another faith, another dispensation.
This is not the case. Religious tradition places men on pedestals and
this should not be the case because it is contrary to every apostolic
and Christ-uttered teaching. God does not show favoritism nor does he
show respect of persons.
Believer Becomes a Disciple -
in Matthew's description of Christ's
GREAT COMMISSION 28:19
IS NOT JUST ABOUT PARTAKING OF THE LIFE OF GOD BUT TO PARTAKE IN THE
MINISTRY OF Yeshua (JESUS)
KOINONIA: SHARING, COMMUNICATING, AND PARTAKING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
is the living "head of the church"
for all believers. He has designed a way for us to both know him
and follow him, even as the original twelve disciples followed
him. During the Lord's earthly ministry, they walked at his
side, spoke with him, and were both witnesses and partakers
of his Spiritual ministry. They knew his voice; saw his power;
and marveled at his wisdom. On a strictly physical level they
knew him! This was not considered adequate for these original
disciples and were exhorted to receive an additional supernatural
empowerment (Wait in Jerusalem until you receive power from
above- -) in order to demonstrate and build the Kingdom of God.
Today I suspect that few nominal Christians are able to say they
know Jesus on a personal level. Yes, although they have heard
about him and have studied doctrines or teaching, how much
do they know him in the power of his love and in the power of his
Perhaps the most astonishing thing revealed
in the "gospel" is that we not only may know him,
but that we may have both fellowship with him and partake
in his divine nature and in his ministry. When we gather
as believers at any particular place of meeting can we say as we
leave that meeting knowing him better? Can we say that we have
heard his voice, felt his presence, or have been empowered by his
touch?" 1 Peter 4:10,11 defines God's idea of the
importance of sharing the gift that is unique to each believer
for indeed each has received a gift or many gifts to be shared
from his or her life. Tradition has had the negative effect of
barring or at least, discouraging the ordinary believer from
ministry even though apostolic scripture consistently prohibits
are exhorted as believers to mature. We are not to ramain a
novice, a baby in the faith, but that we exhorted to attain "unto
the stature of a 'mature man' even the stature of Christ."
(Ephesians 4). The exaltation of a single voice in the role of
authority to disciple us may be limited and limiting.
Pulpit ministry is an unfortunate self- perpetuating legacy of 17
centuries of the "Church" age. Those who in fact have
experience in Christ's life and ministry, made possible by the
power of the Holy Spirit have a title in the Word of God; these
individuals are called "elders." Certainly
church denominations use this same term within some context of
their doctrines. But those who Jesus calls elders may differ from
what religious traditions might label as elders. The apostle
John, the disciple who Jesus loved, begins his letter by talking
about Spiritual experience as the qualification
(credentials) that we must look to and lean upon. He noted what
he had seen, touched, looked upon, and handled in the Word of
life. (1John1:1)That which was from the beginning, which we
have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have
looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life,
these things we declare unto you - -;
is elusive and hard to achieve since religious traditions tends
to condition us to quite a different picture of church life. The
very form of the clergy dominated church house builds a picture
of individuals ranked and separated by pulpits and ranks of pews.
Formality and program diminishes our sense of intimacy and
feeling of accord. Correction long established tradition is
almost impossible to correct, unless we have had personal
revelation or have maybe survived some control and abuse that has
sounded and alarm. For we are to have the same Spirit that is
Christ's and "- say the same thing - ", endeavoring
that there be no schisms, walls, or disharmony among us. * (1Cor.
Edifies, Strengthens, and Blesses
pertains to the edification and maturing of the body Christ. This need
not be the formal sort of ministry experienced as the normal Saturday
or Sunday fare in a typical congregation. In the form presented by the
apostles it is the living, pure, peaceable, and entirely informal sharing
of the life of Christ and the acknowledgment of the revelation of the
Word of Truth, among believers. We pass through various stages as we
grow. Just as in the natural, we begin as babies, then children,
the strong young 'men', then mature sages expressing the character and
spiritual nature of Jesus Christ. So is it in the matter of Spiritual
growth. The Bible shows how we each are called to minister
our individual Spiritual gifts to one another. (Rom.12; 1Cor.12. 1 Cor.
14, and 1Pet 4:10-11)
The proper time to edify and grow and mature is when believers come
together in koinonia (fellowship). When two or more true believers get
together the natural result is to share their common salvation and to
have "fellowship" to share or minister "edification"
to each other. When two or more gather, Jesus joins them and becomes
a co-participant! This fellowship process is not complicated, and the
least formal the better. If there are leadership gifts, this should
not result in domination by one individual to take authority over others.
It is not adversarial. Discipleship happens as we share the several
gifts given to each believer. Koinonia is about participation, communication
and sharing. It begins with actual experiences given as a witness of
Jesus' life and resurrection. It is about the revelation of Christ within
each person and how he is living through our lives and doing his work
through us. Koinonia is about sharing what Christ has given to each
believer and ministering that gift to others.
have various of testimonies and experiences from day to day. Some
have more of this, some less depending on the pressures of life.
There may be some with musical gifts with which enhance worship,
and of course some have less of that ability. Some may have
verbal skills, some less. Some with practical kinds of skills,
some not so much. Some may be working through personal tragedies
or rejection, while others have already had healing in these
areas. All need to be encouraged to participate at some level so
be fostered in each. At times of spiritual fellowship, mundane
issues and distracting chit-chat kinds of conversations are
distractions. But this is not to say that questions can't be
shared about the pressures and problems of living can not be
shared among the fellowship and become a source of teaching or a
subject of prayer.
dynamics of fellowship changes from week to week as fewer or more
people are present at a house or meeing place. I believe
fellowship should never turn into something that is impersonal or
formalistic. However it can become that especially when
everything is controlled by one person. Those unfamiliar with
such kinds of fellowship need to experience what things can and
do happen in a place of meeting where the Spirit of God is given
liberty! God can make his glorious presence known; lift people
out of their fears and oppression; bring joy and healing; restore
broken hearts, heal broken relationships and save a person's
soul. The Holy Spirit administers just such actions. (See link to
Why We Gather )
MINISTRY IS A MODEL TO SPIRITUAL LIFE
Practice and Learn the "Disciples Way"
foundation of the life of Christ is laid by becoming a disciple
of Jesus. Just as Jesus set about making disciples in the time of
his earthly ministry so he continues today. (John 8:21 ; 17:20)
The Great Commission is about discipleship. Too often, the
Christian world has made the life of the Bible remote and
impersonal through religion . It has made Peter, James and John
or John the Baptist into icons or religious super heroes. It is
too easy to lose the sense that Peter, James, Paul and Barnabus
and the host of others are our brothers and our teachers. Though
now having run their race, they shared the same life of trials
and faith as we ourselves. In our minds Bible days were entirely
another time, another kind of faith life , another dispensation.
This is not the case. Religious tradition places men on
pedestals.This should not be the case because it is contrary to
every apostolic and Christ-uttered teaching. God does not show
favoritism nor does he show respect of persons. s many that have
received the gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards
of the Grace
may be interested in checking out the writing of Frank Viola and
George Barna See www.ptmin.org
and listen to some interviews as sound files describing the
return to open, house church. 1Peter: 4-11 (any that have
received the gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards
of the 'many faceted' Grace of God)
encroachment of formalism
Religious spirit in the form of domination, control or formalism,
continuously stalks the believer with the aim of transforming
God-life into dead
Church liturgy was put together in times past, perhaps following
just after the kind of glorious fellowship described above.
Liturgical forms may have started with good intentions with the
hope of bottling up something very good and worthwhile, perhaps
to preserve some of the glory of an earlier day. If only God's
manifest presence could be captured and preserved, but alas it
can not. He is moving on as the pillar of cloud moved ahead
directed the sojourners in the wilderness in the book of Exodus.
Bible demonstrates that God's presence can not be captured
and preserved. The Israelites of old tried to do so, but when
God's Glory departed it was gone they were left with a lifeless
object (an idol.) The temple remained, the glory was gone. The
brazen serpent remained, but the manifestation of its power was
gone. A cistern remained, the fount of living water was gone.
God's continued glory and fellowship with us is determined by the
hearts of those who gather to worship him. With passing years
catechism remained but the glory had been lost. The ritual
enactments remained and the liturgical trappings but the presence
of God vanished. Ritual happens, I believe, when men try to
duplicate a behavior which once brought forth God's 'glory'
through waiting upon Him in faith.
God's presence leaves it is replaced by religion. Elements and
doctrines that remain are a substitute for God's presence.
"Ministry" follows a similar transition. Leadership
becomes the domain of a very small body of liturgical experts. It
has come to pass that the priesthood or the clergy only is
trained and authorized to govern and rule over the flock of God.
But in the new covenant as it was presented to the saints,
discipleship is the domain of every believer.
is a paradigm re-think: Abolish the Laity! God wishes each
believer to be a ministering priest,
just as he wishes each
of us to become a true worshiper.
What is this true
worshiper and what is worshiping the Father in Spirit and in
Truth? (John 4:23) God is always looking for True Worshipers. Any
one other than "true worshipers" fall short in worship.
The natural mind is not accustomed to partaking in heavenly
things. These are strangers in the inner court of the temple.
Our Heavenly Father looks at the hearts he does not regard the
man who is adorned with the outward regalia of religious uniform
over any common believer whose heart is open. The natural
temple or cathedral is not the place of meeting. Our Father
does not favor a cathedral over a Holy dwelling site inside of
us. As Jesus told the woman at the well of Samaria, (It is not
about where you worship,) not 'this mountain or another
mountain,' we worship what we KNOW! Many do not know
what they are worshiping. The truth is that worship is
inseparable from salvation. Salvation is through the root and
foundation of the Jews. The time was coming, Jesus explained,
when men and women would worship the Almighty God in Spirit.
Those without this Spirit receive nothing of the revelation and
fellowship of God of which Jesus spoke. A divine meeting place
for the first priest hood was a place behind the veil into the
presence of God where no human could stand without having been
made pure by scrupulous preparation. In the presence of God man
does not utter a word nor risk the defilement of his own sweat.
in the Bible Index
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
Understanding Home Fellowships
Viola Interviews a typical church-goer
of Open Church)
Charles Pinkney Christian Studies