jesus in the churchWhat you are going to read is going to sound alien like it came from outer space but deep inside your spirit will resound a hearty Amen. I take it for granted that the Lord Jesus has providentially led you to this article and that your heart has been aching for the answer to this question for years. I thank God for you and pray that His Spirit will help you hear and read those things you need to further your Christian growth and discipleship.

Isa 64:5 You are indeed angry, for we have sinned – In these ways we continue; NKJV

The reason these words will sound so alien is described above. We have sinned and we have been sinning this way for a long time. The longer our sin remains the longer we become callous and hardened to them.

History reveals man always wants to do more than he wants to obey. It’s in our Adamic nature to perform externals when what the Lord is after is our hearts.  Listen to the Lord speak to us today;

Isa 1:11-14

“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” Says the Lord. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. 12 “When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? 13 Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies — I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. 14 Your New Moons and your appointed feasts My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. NKJV

All you have to do is replace whatever liturgy (religious practices) you do during your services. You say “we have no liturgy!” Anytime people know what comes next in our services we have a liturgy. It doesn’t matter how spirit-filled you claim to be or how many times you repeat that God is leading this service from the pulpit. God is not in charge if your order of service is.

What does the Lord want? you ask. Great that you ask for that is the question that should direct everything we do when we come together as the Body of Christ.

Ps 51:17  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart These, O God, You will not despise.

A contrite heart means a heart broken before Him in true repentance. It’s a position of total abandonment before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. It’s a place of total surrender. When was the last time you shed a tear before Him because of your sinful condition. Fall before Him now or be prepared to fall before Him on Judgment Day.

The difference we are discussing here is between our external Sunday morning performances (with lots of bells and whistles) and the very habitation of the Lord in our daily lives. New Testament Christianity need not offer any more sacrifices and rituals to please God. His Son said “It is finished” and it is. All He asks is that we love Him with all our hearts instead of our toys and our selfish selves. He asks too that we love one another in such a way that others would be drawn to what we have. Sounds simple but Oh… how far we have strayed.

Is Jesus in the Church?

Let’s look at a few ways we have strayed;

Going to Church

We are the Church. The Church is not a place you go to. The bible says Christ in you, the hope of glory and the kingdom of God is within you. How much clearer can it be than that?

The Building

Today’s church is found (on Sundays) scattered in all kinds of venues, denominations, independent churches, institutions, houses and halls. Not everyone in any of these settings is necessarily a new creation—living in Christ. Don Atkin

You say “We go to the building because the Glory of God is there. That is where I feel His presence.” Really! Why don’t you “feel” Him at Wal-Mart? Where did He go? The Spirit of the Living God is not a coat you put on when you enter “the church” and then hang on a coat rack as you go out the doors until next Sunday.

Building Design

Buildings created with the performance in mind and designed so the spectators can get maximum effect. The System has done a good job to make sure that it doesn’t allow or give much participation to the people. From the moment you enter you know your place and don’t even try to speak or you will find security escorting you off the premises.

Clergy-Laity Division

Officially created by the Catholic Church in the 1500’s to stem the tide of normal people reading the bible for themselves for the first time and finding out that these terms do not exist in His Church. Evangelicals have redesigned the clothing and the names but have the same divisions. In essence it’s the teaching that there are those who are qualified to interpret scripture (or perform) and the rest are not. Clergy are professional paid religious employees. It doesn’t matter if you call them pastor or priest. It’s all same thing. Jesus not I calls them hirelings. “How will it look if we do it biblically?” You ask.

1 Cor 14:26-32

26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.

What part of ALL do we not understand?

Worship

Worship is not a preset music time led by professional singers before the preaching on Sunday. Worship begins in the morning when we get up everyday. Worship is obedience to the will of God for our lives.

1 Sam 15:22 So Samuel said:” Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices  As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

It doesn’t matter how many effects, sounds, lights, dancers, videos and musicians we use if it is not done for love. It doesn’t matter how much we spent and how professional the performance was., It was just that a performance. Christian Worship isn’t like the MTV Video awards. It is each person doing his best with what God has given them. It is all done for the “Audience of One” and he doesn’t hear the on key people more than those that sing flat with a monotone voice. He does say this ;

1 Cor 13:1 Though I speak (sing or play) with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.

The Lord says it doesn’t matter how professional it is without love it is just NOISE!

Offering

The Lord has a problem with the way we do it and the purpose for which the money is used. These are things we know but we continue to do them because we must feed the System. Collecting offerings, offering plates, offering bags, offering pails and Kentucky fried chicken buckets are all ways of passing the hat. The System needs money to survive and we are more than happy to feed it as long as it produces the entertainment for which we gave it. The bible says;

1 Cor 16:2 On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.

God is speaking about proportionate giving according to how we prosper. There is no mention of tithing. To require the tithe is no better than multi-level marketing and Ponzi schemes that require a certain amount of skin monthly to stay in the game.

There is nothing in the above verse about giving mention and special privileges to those who give the larger amounts either. God help you if your name is on a pew, a paver, a building or inside of some hymnal. What part of there be “no collections” do we not understand? Collections are public and God is in to secret.

Matt 6:1-4 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.  3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,  4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

Now to discuss what the money is used for.

James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

The Bible emphasizes over and over in the New Testament the importance of taking care of the poor. Have you seen a church budget lately? Remove the hireling pay and the building expenses and there is nothing left for the widows, the orphans and the poor. The most shameful thing is we send our needy to the government for help. I am not talking about unknown visitors. I am talking about dedicated workers and givers who are experimenting a season of difficulty in their life. Ninety percent of those coming to our food pantry come from fat and happy congregations who refuse to help their own but pride themselves in how many members they have and how “anointed” their services are.

Time

How dare we tell God when to start and when to finish. If the Lord is really in charge how dare we presume to advertise the time for the end of the service? Is it just so we can usher in the second group or get to the restaurants on time? When the Lord is really in charge the clocks go out the window no matter when the football game starts. Sounds difficult? No, it sounds all too real for eighty percent of our current church membership to put up with.

If by now you are grinding your teeth in anger chill you shouldn’t get mad at the mailman. He just delivers and by the way his aim is only to please Him who is His only Source.

These are just a few of our problems as the 21st century Church of the Living God. In the end the world has pegged us perfectly. We are all about the money. The only mistake they have made is that there is a remnant that is not. This remnant is the very fear of darkness because history has shown the Lord doesn’t need many. May his tribe of radical lovers increase!

Jose L. Bosque

jose_bosque

Jose Bosque is Editor in Chief and founder of Viral Cast Media which oversees GodsLeader, JaxChristian now ViralChrist and 15 other websites. He has ministered in Jacksonville since 1987 and served the city since 1992 as a citywide servant leader. Jose is considered a resource and a spiritual father to many leaders in the city and in the 54 nations where the Lord has sent him to serve. Originally born in Cuba, Jose has resided in Jacksonville since 1966.

Contact Him at: www.RevivalPartners.net or  ForRevival@aol.com

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