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OF THE APOSTLES
The Apostolic Foundation of the Gospel
has provided that each believer who is born of the Spirit may
grow in the Spiritual life. Learning Christ, in a general sense
is becoming familiar with God not only through His word but also
through His presence, thus gaining familiarity with His character
and personality. We, in the process of time, should become
partakers of His glory and His character. As it is written, we go
faith to faith
1:17.) We learn to hearken to the voice of His Spirit and respond
accord to the way we are directed. I call this learning Christ.
God's model for learning Christ is imitation
the first born Son of God, Jesus Christ. We are to model his
manner of thinking, and his manner of acting. We are to duplicate
his interacting with the Heavenly Father and his Spirit-directed
ministry. The first disciples were given a living model but they
were only able duplicate his Spiritual behavior after they had
received the enabling Baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Christ's life within us, we submit our egos and wills to him. We
aim to become as
he was in this world.
(John 16:16; 1John 4:17)
total spiritual inability and helplessness of the natural man or
woman, places huge limits upon him. We can not be the light of
the world if God's light does not burn within us.
many nominal Christians experience a religion
that could function just as it is without a
We can not be witnesses
his resurrection if we have not been touched
by the mighty hand of God that raised Jesus
from the dead who also made our own body and
spirit come to life. We can not reflect the
goodness of God if he has not remade us to
be righteous saints who were once reprobates.
greatest hope as we come into this world is
to know God. This is our first calling. Sadly,
some come and go from this world not having
fulfilled that calling. If we are fortunate
to have God reveal himself to us then we must
press on to the next stage, that of being a
functional witness of the Kingdom of heaven.
It is also unfortunate that many are thwarted
in this second stage by incomplete or ineffectual
teachings of religious tradition.
we have noted, the institutional church has either lost sight of,
or failed to actualize the provisions of the New Covenant which
comprises the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Time has eroded true
understanding, and spiritual subterfuge authored by an
unrelenting adversary has come in to subtlety sidetrack our
spiritual lives and foster human understanding instead.
am not interested in presenting any kind of private methodology
that is contrary to Biblical teaching.
What I am sharing
in this writing is not a unique revelation but simply a
restatement of the
was revealed by Jesus to his servants the apostles following
Pentecost, in the beginning of the church age .
church or teacher (including denominational groups) who are
attempting to mentor or direct others into a spiritual life are
under divine obligation to be accurate. Private interpretation
risks wrong doctrine. Since there is always a danger of
deception, it is important that we proceed cautiously, both as
teachers and learners. We are obligated to discern all things
with the wisdom, the help, and guidance of the Spirit
of Truth who
is the Holy
has told us through the Word that we may ask for wisdom and for
truth to be revealed to us. He further instructs us to have
confidence in this asking, knowing that God is willing. God is
willing! God is willing to give good
bring fulfillment and blessings and not sorrows. When seeking the
revelations which are of
it is up to the seeker to be on guard against deceptions and to
discern the true from the false. In
asking for anything from God it is very important to invoke the
name of Jesus Christ. This
name is the name above every name and above every spiritual
entity or authority. This name will consecrate or make pure
anything which may transpire. It will guarantee that anything
which will be revealed or imparted spiritually will be free of
any corrupt or deceptive influence. If you ask in the name of
not work his way so readily into the workings.
True Gifts and not Counterfeit Ones
instructs us about receiving gifts from God, especially the gift
of the Holy Spirit. He teaches us that the God of heaven gives
not evil, hurtful or perverted ones. Christ also characterizes
the fact that there are two kinds of gifts which might be
tendered, the true and the false, but God's gifts are good and
true. The scripture is found in Matthew 7:8-11 and in Luke
every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and
to him that knocketh it shall be opened." :8; "Or what
man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him
a stone?" :9; "Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a
serpent?" :10; "If ye then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your
Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"
:11. KJV The
two objects which are sought are bread and fish. God gives things
which are life-giving and safe (bread, and meat.) Luke chapter
eleven restates the same teaching about asking from God the
Father but expands the emphasis, toward the gift of the Holy
Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the living gift of God's power and
ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a
stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a
serpent?"; "Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer
him a scorpion?" "If ye then, being evil, know how to
give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your
heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"
-- Luke 11:11-13kjv.
have emphasized the word son to emphasize that relationship is
the key to receiving from God. There are a whole lot of different
kinds of seekers; some sincere and some less sincere. If a
dabbler negotiates to receive a spiritual manifestation from God,
it is uncertain what may transpire. But God wishes to emphasize
that he is for blessing His
He is the giver of Good gifts. Counterfeit
gifts are a peripheral issue. The above reference represents the
fact that there is the possibility of receiving a bad
kinds of exceptions bear upon the setting and environment where
and with whom the "ministry" occurs and the sincerity
of the hearts who seek the gift. We
have a common enemy, Satan who is always ready to move in to
deflect the gift of God or to substitute a counterfeit. He does
not give good gifts, nor does he give valid revelations. His
gifts are not life giving, they give neither joy, nor health nor
liberty. Yet it is possible that he will try to come in unless
you exclude him from any part of the seeking and asking
transaction Satan's gift is characterized as a stone instead of
bread, as a serpent instead of pure food, something infused with
poison instead of food. Jesus
has portrayed Satan as the deadly counterfeiter who will
insinuate himself into the seekers life subtly and at any
opportunity. Forewarned is to be forearmed; for this reason, it
is wise to initiate safeguards and precautions as I suggested
above in order to keep the deceiver out of your life and out of
every spiritual transactions. There
was a time when our lives were entirely under his (Satan's)
control. We may not think that this was the case but the apostle
is very clear about it. A couple of apostolic letters bring
attention to the nature of the unredeemed life, which includes
each and every life before the renewal In
letter to Ephesus, Chapter 2, verses 2 and 3. "Wherein
in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that
now worketh in the children of disobedience; Among whom also we
all had our conversation (lifestyle) in times past in the lusts
of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the
mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others."
letter to Collosae, Chapter 1 verse 21. "And
you, that were sometimes (before now) alienated and enemies in
your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled"The
apostle contrasts the previous unredeemed nature our previous
lifestyle with the redeemed nature. In the letter to Corinth,
Chapter 1 verses 10 and 11, he lists a number of these life
- thieves, - - covetous, - - drunkards, - - revilers, - -
extortionist, shall inherit the kingdom of God.; And such were
some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are
justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our
of the Apostles
Believer Becomes a Disciple
Apostles were first disciples.
Disciples walked with the Lord in an intimate way. They learned
his ways by first hand observation, through hearing his word and
knowing his voice. The disciples while they were growing in the
knowledge of the Lord Jesus were also participants
work of Jesus' ministry. It was they who announced, 'the
Kingdom of God is at hand."
They showed that the Kingdom could be demonstrated by both the
spiritual power and the authority
impact the afflicted, the oppressed, the poor and the broken
were and are called to be partakers of Jesus Christ's ministry.
Each of us continues to share the same access to Jesus Christ. We
share the same Spirit, we share in the same commission. "For
this reason the son of God was manifested, that he might destroy
the works of the Devil."
(1John 3:8) We
aspire to attain to the same
unity and inclusiveness
the original fellowship of disciples. There was no member of the
original circle of disciples who was just like another. Yet,
there was a unique niche for each of those Jesus called.
of the first disciples had a divine destiny and an unlimited
opportunity for growing up in the fullness of the Lord.
chose the original disciples. He singled them out and called them
aside to walk with him and to have a face-to-face relationship
with him. Descriptions indicate that each had attributes which
could label them as plain folks
ordinary people. Some associated with Jesus more intimately than
others. Each disciple had unique traits and attributes of
character; Matthew a worldly businessman, a publican, a tax
collector; Peter a robust, headstrong man who generally spoke
without thinking and was always competing to be someone; John a
warm, compassionate and trusting youth; Nathaniel innocent and
open; Thomas a scientific minded pragmatist who had to have
things proven before he could be persuaded and so on.
twelve included men who we might not have chosen, including Judas
the deceiver and betrayer who Jesus also called a robber. Outside
of the twelve were a multitude of other disciples including
traveled extensively with Jesus though were not part of the inner
group of the twelve.
It is possible that those who were
reasonably close and connected to Jesus may have been about 500
apostles were men with whom Jesus visited, taught and broke
bread. He also imparted his life and Spirit into them. After he
had risen from the dead, he breathed upon the disciples saying to
them, "receive Holy Breath (Gr. pneuma)."
The word breath and spirit are the same word in the original
text. This is the same as to say, "Receive the Holy Spirit."
It was this action which imparted Holy life within each disciple
this afforded, I believe the new heaven borne experience that we
believers today call born again or spiritual renewal. The eleven
and Judas Iscariot's replacement Matthias were born from above or
conceived as a new spirit being at this time.
apostle Paul (originally Saul) came on board some time later
being called by Jesus for a particular revelation and ministry.
Saul of Tarsus was a Jewish theologian, a Pharisee of the
strictest sect of Judaic fundamentalism of the day. Saul was an
intellectual of supreme discipline and credentials. The zealous
Saul, set out to destroy the disciples of Jesus, persecuting and
imprisoning all who preached Jesus as Messiah and the doctrine of
the resurrection from the dead. Saul was added to the order of
discipleship but in a special way after
did Saul become a disciple and an apostle? Paul recounted and
retold his account of the encounter several times, but the
original encounter is described in Acts, Chapter 9. God
supernaturally intervened in Saul's life, on a journey to
Damascus. His travels were interrupted by Jesus appearing to him
in a brilliant light. Saul was blinded and knocked him off his
horse onto the ground. The voice spoke to him saying, "Saul,
Saul, why are you persecuting me?"
answered this voice saying, "Who
are you, Lord?"
and Jesus replied, "I
am Jesus who you are persecuting."
Jesus then gave Saul brief instructions about who he was to visit
to received further ministry and instruction. Jesus began to
tutor a new disciple after this. Jesus did not give Saul any
information that he did not need to know at that time, but he
told him the first thing to do. Paul was told where to go in
Damascus to get further help. God likewise does not give us more
information than we need to get started. He does list all of the
stages of our journey, including both the trials and the
victories. The journey of faith is an hour by hour, day by day
journey of discipleship begins with a first step forward into a
new life. In the first chapter of his letter to Galatia, Saul who
has been given a new name, Paul, to go along with his new nature,
accounts how he was taken aside and how he began to be instructed
face-to-face, personally by Jesus. For three years in the deserts
of Arabia, Paul learned
being discipled as one "out
of due time a
description of his apostolic commissioning found in 1Corinthians
should we place an emphasis on the apostles and the disciples?
we wish to be connected to the same authentic and pure doctrine
and the same spirit and the same
manifested spiritual life
was brought forth in the beginning of the "church". It
must breath the same purity, power and the same divine order. The
apostolic teachings have been described as the foundation upon
which the house of God is constructed. We who continue to build
the Kingdom of God must continue building upon the same
foundation which is true and sound. The foundation is the
apostle's doctrine. It is based upon the essentials of the true
faith. The "promise of the Father" a nation of kings
and priests through Jesus Christ, designated as "the
firstborn of many brethren."
the Apostle's Doctrine
writings of the apostles constitute practical, uncomplicated,
hands-on teaching of how to live a Spiritual life. The Apostles
who wrote in the Bible include Peter, James, John, Paul and Luke
is generally credited with authoring the Book of acts as well as
the Gospel of Luke, Paul is generally credited with writing most
of the other epistles. Theologians
fine tune and over-process questions of authorship and have vain
debates over endless issues of scholarship, but such debates bear
little relevance to living the Spiritual life if we merely accept
the epistles as true.
apostle Paul has a unique revelation.
are a number of commonalities that all the apostles share. The
original disciples (apostles) received the power to become sons
and daughters of God through the Spirit of adoption and the
release of the Spirit of God to bear witness that we are the sons
of God. The Jews of Jerusalem who believed were prejudiced to the
Jewish religious traditions and the establishment of the Kingdom
as a Jewish prophetic event.
is given a revelation from Jesus that is directed to the
The emphasis in Paul's teaching is directed to the entire world,
a Gentile world. With the other apostles he enunciates the power
of the crucified and resurrected Jesus.
The Messiah's resurrection is a legacy for all mankind, not just
the Jews in Jerusalem, the promise of sonship and new life as a
Spiritual Creation in
Paul's revelation speaks to a different audience, the gentile
world and the concept of the “Church.”
(Ec-cles-si'-a) Paul goes so far as to call this revelation
The original apostles, while they began outreach beyond
Jerusalem, maintained a focus on the Jews and Israel. Messiah's
resurrection denoted the identity of Jesus as the Son of God and
the King of Israel who would eventually restore the Kingdom to
Israel. Jesus as the risen son on God was the corner stone of
both group's gospel message consistent with the revelation of
Christ's grace shared by Peter, James, John or Luke.
is clear however, that Paul was not taught the Gospel by the
apostles in Jerusalem but given unique revelation and instruction
by Jesus personally, for 3 years after his conversion on the
FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE FOUNDATION APOSTOLIC
the outset, I do not want to neglect the important
foundation of the Christian faith which is
its Judaic roots. Jesus, Yeshua, The Messiah
came to fulfill all of the ante-types which
are portrayed from Genesis to the Prophets
and the Psalms. Jesus has fulfilled the first
four appointed feasts of Levitus 23 and shall
one day fulfill each unto the last. The apostate
position taken by both the Roman church that
forbade the recognition of the roots and prophetic
future of Judaism as well as the reformers
who followed in doing the same pernicious path
have separated Christianity from its Jewishness.
The Messiah is the Messiah of Israel; the apostles
were all Jewish followers of Moses who never
discarded the scriptures which were the first
and only texts they taught from before the
New Testament scriptures came into being. Apostolic
foundations merely gave credence to all that
was written pertaining to the Son of God who
would come into the world to be a light both
to the Jew and to the Gentiles.
Christ, the True Son of
God Almighty, Jesus Christ,Virgin
born, fulfilling the Messianic
Scriptures of the Old
Testament, Christ Jesus,
Christ, the only
mediator between God and
Christ, the lamb of God,
He becomes our Passover;
Christ, offers Redemption
through the blood God's
of Lamb (Jesus Christ)
the perfect sacrifice;
are offered the promise
of The New Creation in
Holy Spirit provides enablement
and reveals truth in Christ
believer is given authority
against spiritual powers;
Deliverance and discerning
of the spiritual world
potentiality of the children
of God. Widely unknown
or untaught who we are
as children of God.
law of the Spirit, has
bought us liberty and
freedom apart from the
Law of sin and death
Church calls for Unity
of all believers; All
blood bought believers
are one in Him,
Unity produces synergistic
power, peace and potentiality.
believers must learn to
discern matters of the
Spiritual life and maintain
unceasing vigilance over
matters of the common
have been forgiven therefore
we must continuing to
walk in Love and Forgiveness;
and unbelief will be dealt
with at the hand of the
returning Jesus in divine
judgment before &
at His second advent;
is a culmination of the
church age; Thereafter,
this evil age will also
conclude after the false
prophet and deceiver are
revealed and the deeds
of the wicked are met
vigilance must be maintained
against False doctrines,
false messiahs and anti-Christs;
Rampaging ferocity of
ascendancy of the final
need to be alert to false
teachers; and Aware of
doctrines of Demons that
take believers into bondage
redemption of Israel becomes
a praise in all of the
earth; With the second
advent Israel will become
the head of all nations
and Christ will rule in
the Holy City.
Insights into the Gospel
an intellectual's intellectual and a theologian's
theologian, set aside his natural credentials
when he began to minister the Gospel. Paul
presents some of the most powerful insights
into the conflict of intellectualism and theology.
Paul experienced a total turn around in his
life. The features of his traditional achievements
were discarded as were the merits of his classical
education. Paul declared that the things which
he once esteemed and considered meritorious
were now no better than "dung".
Holy Spirit drew a line of division in Paul's
life. He clarified the difference between the
fashion of this world and the world of God.
He revealed the matters which pertained to
mind and soul and matters of spirit; the
thoughts of the mind
intents of the heart.
longer had a place in his life. Personal pride
and striving for status was cast down he was
given another job description. A "slave"
It is Paul who addresses two points of doctrine
which are at times in tension or contrast.
First the purely Spiritual nature of the Gospel
and the God-connected source of life; and secondly
teachings on leadership, headship and government
impacting the long-term course of this entity
called "the church," the body of
have occurred in this respect, that individuals
are placed in positions of leadership and authority
who do not have spiritual credentials but merely
human approval. Spiritual enablements allows
the kingdom of God to be manifest according
to the apostolic model.
in the first years of the church age we hear
accounts of men like the apostles Paul and
John struggling with individuals who have assumed
leadership though there motivation were entirely
wrong or their doctrine was corrupt. We hear
Paul describe associates who tried to undermine
or destroy his ministry, or who departed because
their hearts turned again to the world; or
of the associates who preach for personal gain;
or the associates who wanted to be pre eminent
and gloried in having control over people.
1Timothy 1:19,20 1Timothy 4:14)regarding Alexander
the Coppersmith; 2Timothy 4:10 regarding Demas;
3John 1:9 regarding the person of Diotrephes.)
Defines the Apostolic Emphasis
his first letter to Corinth Paul presses a
very important foundation point in the first
two chapters. This particular emphasis stressed
the difference between a Spiritual 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 but
in power generated from the cross of Jesus.
The cross of crucifixion is 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 sinner.
doctrine of the cross does not end with a man's
death but with a divinely-powered resurrection.
Thus the doctrine that Paul speaks of includes
the death and the resurrection of Jesus. It
was Jesus who was crucified, dead, buried and
resurrected. The holiday we call Easter concludes
three Jewish Festivals; Passover, Unleavened
bread and First Fruits speaks of the resurrection.
As Jesus became the first fruits of those who
have died. (1Cor.15-2) It is truly unfortunate
that so few Christians understand the
Jewish roots of Christianity,
including the fact that Yeshua and most all
of the first disciples and apostles were Jews.
Jesus (Yeshua) rose from the dead, ascended
on high, took captivity captive, and gave gifts
to the human race.
statement of the cross does not address sorrow
or loss, it addresses rather, victory, effulgence
and power. The resurrection speaks of the
power of an endless life.
It speaks 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.
of God Wisdom Versus Human Wisdom
going on in his first letter to Corinth, introduces
the theme of "wisdom." Paul contrasts
human wisdom to divine wisdom. He explains
that man who deems himself wise through reasoning,
can't 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; the dead being awakened to live.
these concepts make any sense to you, perhaps
God has already opened your eyes in a very
significant way. God framed truth in such a
way that when they are articulated sound preposterous,
unbelievable and irrational.
world says, "Be someone, do your own thing,
express your individuality." God says,
"Decrease to yourself, take your cross
and let the outward "you" be crucified
so that the Divine (Christ) can have effective
sanctuary and expression in you.
scientific mind requires proof. The eye measures
and discerns the things which we call real
or reality. Yet Christians are entreated to
disregard outward manifestations, the outward
world. Neither is the mind the highest organ
to lead and direct, children
of God are led by the Spirit,
by acting purely out of reason. The truth is
not determined according to science and rationality.
God requires faith
our part. Paul,
again in the same letter speaks to the matter
of making 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 first begins to manifest, because
of the grace of God and secondarily by acting
in faith. The gospel states with respect to
the Kingdom of God that we are all pressing
(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,
stirring, directing and empowering. 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 of loving kindness, compassion and giving.
This love is caring and constructive in nature.
Love builds the bonds of faith and defines
the character and the parameters of the spiritual
is not knowledge that defines the spiritual
life although there is a knowledge component.
Scripture reminds us that knowledge ultimately
has the affect of "puffing up" our
egos. There is an adverse relationship to our
character when knowledge becomes pre eminent
in our orientation to God. We will always find
"knowledge" being closely linked
to "religious systems". It is a realm
defined by expertise and expertise is usually
defined by knowledge.
How much do we have to know
we become Spiritual?
began to describe the Apostle's doctrine by
mentioning doctrinal content, followed by emphasizing
the power (Gk.
that God provides, through his Spirit, to empower
our lives and relationships.
attribute of spiritual relationships may lie
closer to the center of Spirituality than any
other factor. The apostle's doctrine has fellowship
and relationship within the very heart of it.
Here is a glimpse into the New Testament church
of the Book of Acts, "They
continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine
and fellowship and breaking of bread, and with
(Acts, Chapter 2:42) The
apostles who knew the way of God fully through
first hand experience were to guide the novices
into the same area of common experience; the
community expands, the Kingdom of God is entered
by more and more converts. A community is being
built and stands in the midst of a world of
unbelief, carnality, and unrighteousness. God
calls us into a family-like community in which
is not only glorified but in which God continuously
interacts with the community.
True fellowship is what this community is about.
There is a sense of family, it is characterized
by the joy of redemption (salvation, 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
and into a common destiny. This community is
redemptive owing to the fact that the smoke
and tarnish of this world can not endure in
the presence of the Living God, neither can
the things which defile the flesh stand in
his presence. We
come together in 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."
and Ministry as it Pertains to Community
have been conditioned by a religious world
go to church
receive ministry. After all, the church is
where the minister is. I believe this is a
viewpoint which needs to be reexamined in light
of true fellowship and the
question of what true ministry ought to be.
Those to whom church
is a place
be ministered to, are still conditioned to
think in terms of priest (clergy) and laity.
In this model which has been the tradition
for the past 17 hundred years, we are taught
that we need someone else to do our spiritual
work for us. We come to the priest; we have
him pray for us, teach us, bless us, absolve
us. We presume that ministry is what happens
in a church (fellowship,) and this kind of
ministry is some kind of a "Band-Aid"
to help us salve the current bruise.
believe there is an alternative, apostolic
way of viewing the community of fellowship.
It is the notion of coming to a place of restoration
and strengthening; some have called this a
"spiritual filling station." In this
setting of fellowship there is rest, repose,
and encouragement. There are occasions for
teaching but the manner of teaching need not
be formalistic. Those who know and who have
experience victory in one kind of challenge
or another, are able to share and encourage
others with less knowledge or experience. Edification
can occur without formalized, programmatic
services. There is sharing of food and the
life of God. Spiritual
fellowship provides a redemptive community
in which the bond of fellowship is not the
bond of obligation but of the heart. Love is
true and not an affectation. This kind of fellowship
is far less structured, yet there is common
motivation which guides everyone to seek first
the things which are from God. God is purposely
the focus and reason for being of all of the
people who gather. God is not necessarily first
in the lives of many, but in the right community
this will change.
I do not see this kind of fellowship either
taught, practiced or encouraged within the
institutional church. Those who come to church
for a formalistic program come in unsatisfied
and they leave unsatisfied. They come feeling
estranged or alienated from God and they leave
feeling just as far from him. They can however,
pretend to be listening while they sleep; or
they can pretend to be praying while they dream
of their next adventure with the girl at the
office or the guy at the club. The actions
of formal ministry can not touch the heart
of those who need to have a spiritual heart
Learning Christ according to the Apostles Doctrine
requires that we:
spiritually renewed by faith in Jesus Christ
the empowerment of the Holy Spirit
your mind by studying scripture
personal fellowship of God
the fellowship of God's family - - where you
are loved and valued
those who have mature spirituality
in faith, (the knowledge that God cares for
us in our present moment)
to others, the same gifts and wholeness that
we have received from God
How Much Do We Have to Learn
We Become Spiritual?
Mentors and Ministries
of the spiritual life is to make a connection with those who can
supply valuable connections. The joints are connections to
individuals in the body of Christ. Fellowship supplies input to
areas of knowledge which will be encouraging, and edifying.
we are born into the kingdom, we must move forward or we will
retrograde back to the old life in the world. Here according to
most voices of ministry is where one would be encouraged to get
connected to a "good" church. This should be a simple
fact but it is not. There are few church bodies of believers who
hold more than a traditional evangelical viewpoint. Most are
adhering to forms and traditions as well as doctrines which do
not advance the Spiritual life to a significant level of
maturity. Once in a church you are expected to "play by
their rules." My best advice is to search for the church and
set your sights on particular features which will allow you to be
discipled and grow not in tradition but in spirituality. If one
does provide "life" move on until you sense that it is
where God would have you. In the mean time find a home fellowship
where you can grow with others in an informal setting. God does
not discriminate against home meetings. They are apostolic! It is
how the "Church" began. If
is obvious that formalized Christian ministry is everywhere in
one form or another. As I have already described a vast majority
of these churches or ministries are a manifestation of
institutional and traditional religion in which the expectation
is at best conformity to the norms of a Saturday or a Sunday
ritual. Most offer no more than comfortable routine or ritual and
little hope of gaining spiritual knowledge and understanding.
Neither can they prepare us to fulfill Christ's gospel in the
churches, which are struggling to maintain membership, interest,
or involvement, are extremely jealous of their members going
astray or getting involved with meetings or activities which are
not sponsored by their own fellowship. There was a time when such
unfaithfulness could be met by excommunication, but today the
usual rebukes from the pulpit are just admonitions or doctrines
created out of hand which indicate an obligation to support the
local body. Yet it would seem to be close to a cardinal sin to
consider "church hopping" or being active in any
outreaches from other congregations. This is, in effect the fruit
of division which institutional religion enforces.
are many other kinds of ministries that may be accessible to us.
Among these are media ministries. Men or women who have some
special gift of teaching or evangelism or certain personal
been able to share their spiritual understandings and insights
with any who will watch or listen. If we appreciate the content
of a given message we write to them or request their tape series
or perhaps, we think that they have enough clout with God to pray
for our special needs. These
ministries, sometimes called the "electronic
are not always highly regarded by pulpit ministries.
all kinds of castigation directed toward the names of such
ministries, whether Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Robert Schuler,
Benny Hinn or countless others who fill the airwaves of radio and
television and short wave broadcast channels.
view of practical matters of church survival and management,
local preachers and church leaders need to maintain membership
and viability. 'Grandma Smith' might write a check to a radio or
television evangelist and forego giving her five dollar donation
to the church collection plate. A pastor might make the following
remark to parishioners, "Grandma Smith, if you want to
support Reverend So and So on TV maybe you should call them when
you need a trip to the doctor; or need someone to pray for you
when you are sick; or have them officiate your funeral."
has the Electronic Church ministry to offer? In some cases they
be offer better teaching or preaching than some tradition-bound
churches where so many to languish in their pews around the
world? Televangelists usually have some unique strengths and
certainly the ability to preach and persuade. There are important
matters to consider in choosing any ministry to support whether
remote or local. However,
they do subsist on donations from listeners which at times
How may media ministries provide value
and features that provide edification?
look at some attributes of ministry:
and most importantly is the message; Do we hear the correct
gospel being taught?
much of the appeal of this ministry is performance and dazzling
rhetoric which attracts us and how much is a sense of devotion
to the truth of the Gospel?
the minister seem to model Jesus Christ? The best mode of
discerning a minister or a ministry is to imagine Jesus behaving
and saying the things as the evangelist or teacher.
devotion and reverence modeled and portrayed?
the person try to draw attention to themselves through colorful
he seem preoccupied with authority and followings?
the leader indicate as we listen to his messages that he wants
influence, control, or worship?
there seem to be more of emphasis on one aspect of the Gospel
it a Gospel of power and wholeness or just continually
it a Gospel in which we can become partakers of God's life or
are we blessed because of our supporting the "Super
Ministry of Brother X?" There
are some media evangelists who I listen to and support because
they have helped to mentor me in understanding the Word of God.
I support them because they teach the full Gospel message, (more
or less) and believe in the potentialities of becoming children
of God, partaking in His Divinity. They teach what we should be
taught in the local fellowship or church but are not.
need to practice discernment and note any inconsistencies in
doctrine which place the teaching outside of norms of the Gospel
of Jesus Christ. The Apostles
recited by many denominations in the context of a worship
service, but in spite of this, the content of the Apostle's
Creed may hardly be addressed in teaching and preaching in
sermons. Based upon denominations which I have belonged to or
visited before and after I became a believer, unbelief
and spiritual deadness till characterize most of the churches
today even those who recite the Credo!
a brilliant preacher or evangelist proves his (her) ability to
move and edify people they begin to develop a following. People
follow spiritual anointings. They follow men or women who have
demonstrated their abilities to impact the lives of others.
largest churches today grow around the giftings of a single
person. People are searching for a greater revelation of God.
When they see God using an individual they naturally are
attracted to that person. Nearly every Christian I know has a
natural desire to be in the presence of "anointed"
preaching. Mega-churches are built around mega-men. I believe
there are in America today well over a hundred such
mega-churches. I have attended a few and have seen others via
telecasts and cable networks.
Associated with Mega-Ministries
are both negatives and positives in following this kind of
ministry. A few positives: God
shows favor to his servant by anointing him (her) just as God
anointed Jesus and the Apostles for ministry.
favor indicates his approval to bring forth a minister's
particular gift or understanding to the body. God's approval
indicates that he foreknows that many will be touched and blessed
by this individual. God
allows a such a man or woman with special abilities to reach more
people with a Gospel focus than they would ordinarily hear or be
exposed to. Many
are born again through the mass media ministers.
Associated with Mega-Ministries
gifted minister may be persuasive or charismatic in purely human
terms, without necessarily walking in a divine anointing.
media evangelist may be preaching a partial or flawed gospel, a
non Christian gospel or simply traditionalism.
is no way for the novice seeker to know whether this person
teaches true doctrine or not except by natural reasoning or
mental judgment. There
is a temptation for the minister to become puffed up in mind and
think himself to be great. There
is a tendency to focus on money and self promotion.
there may be a great gift of preaching or imparting information
there are serious limitations for body ministry or
fellowship. To deal with this home fellowships or satellite
congregations are set up to allow blessings of human interaction
and loving community. Those
who study under any ministry need intimacy and a human touch. It
is not good for man to be alone.
the spiritual life is more than the acquisition of information
who attend services in a mega church are content to be a mere
audience onlooker. This is a terrible loss and limitation.
the most serious limitation is that individual believers are
never really trusted or free to lead when they have received
personal testimonies or revelation. Typically, they are told that
they must be submitted to a greater ministerial authority who
must oversee any sharing by the 'laity'.
Impression of Mega-churches
have attended worship services in several 'average size'
mega-churches with bodies in attendance numbering 2 or 3
thousand. Some great churches have numbers approaching 10
thousand and those with 10 thousand that aspire to 50 thousand.
there may be brilliant teaching and preaching and outstanding
musical worship, performance; one could not help but feel that
those in attendance came mainly to view the show or to hear the
inspired address of the mega-minister. What I saw was an
enterprise in which each person was committed to make the
mega-church even more of a mega-church.
was missing. There was little or no contact between the "pastor"
and the individual members. Individuals may have known and
recognized a handful of people in the auditorium but they did not
seek each other out for closeness, sharing, breaking of bread or
lingering in the afterglow of God's presence. It seemed that the
super Christians who were attending the super church quickly
rushed home to resume life in whatever form life that awaited
outside of church. If the members who number thousands each
give their tithe religiously, one can only imagine the amount of
revenue that affords luxury and resources of a personal and
is the Glorious Church?
Roman Catholic numbers in tens of millions around the globe.
this the glorious church?
issue of a glorious church may well be addressed in the context
of the mega-church. There is evidence that many ministries of
mega-churches teach an emphasis of the gospel that introduces the
concept of a "glorious church." Will the church
function as a dynamic economic and political force in the earth
as well as a moral power to renovate society as well? For those
who judge on externals this may appear to be the case but God
does not regard externals. How can the size of a building or the
number of people attending a mass or a service have any bearing
on Godly glory? Glorious must bear more on the quality of the
heart and the sincerity and earnestness that allows the love of
God to be shared.
doctrine of Kingdom Theology. In secular societies,
Christians have been regarded as the bane of society because of
their conservative and fundamental viewpoints but quite the
opposite is true. The true Spirit of Christianity is compassion,
forgiveness, and understanding. Moral precepts include personal
honor and righteousness, integrity and responsibility; kindness,
mutual support and family stability. Though the world does not
like to recognize sin and unrighteous behavior as anything other
than a "choice," Christians see that we humans all
having a need for a redeemer along with the essential need of
being hopelessly lost until God extends mercy upon our lives.
recent decades, Christians were too long absent and silenced from
the counsel of social values and political ideas. In the present
hour it is surely appropriate for those who have so much cause to
rejoice and give voice to the life-changing testimony in the
arena of public opinion. Men and women of integrity need to stand
up publicly and politically and exercise their rights on behalf
of issues of righteousness.
I believe that ultimately the glorious church does not extend to
exert itself in empire or political power. Why? The spiritual
life is essentially a non secular and a non materialistic life.
Social or political activism may be a Godly calling in some.
Those who follow a leading to become apologists for social and
political issues it should be presumed have their own foundations
in correct doctrine and not equate activism with the gospel. The
emphasis of the Christian life can not be focused too strongly
upon the things which are social, political, or economic at the
expense of Spiritual relationships. These are not lines that I
draw, but lines that the Holy Spirit has drawn. These parameters
have been in place since Jesus spoke these words, "My
kingdom is not of this world," and
"You are not of the world." (John 18:36; John 15:19)
nature and operation of the world is contrary to God's ways and I
do not look for this situation to change until Jesus returns to
set up an unending righteous Kingdom. Just how far into the
future this event will occur is open to debate, there have been
hundreds of book titles addressing it but the Bible itself has
"sealed up" many of the answers and insights into the
"second coming" of Jesus Christ. This is another area
this "glory" refer to the size, influence and authority
of mega-church to rule upon the earth; does glory refer walking
in the knowledge of truth; does it refer to all of the above or
none of the above? Is it possible that the glorious church refers
to the whole body has among it the faithful remnant who somehow
remains separate, pure and faithful in the middle of a reprobate
generation of spiritual pretenders and flaccid, Luke warm church
as empire is not an new idea. It was in fact the goal of the
early church since Constantine's day, both in Rome and in
Constantinople, where power, influence, authority and might
married the political and the religious. For a time church
membership and theological belief was forced upon the whole
world. A person was then a Christian because of political decree
and not by the grace of God and such ordinances do nothing to
enhance the life and promises of the Gospel.
such an empire men were exalted who held the power of life and
death over others; who acted as spiritual judges over others; who
were mediators between God and man and who rewarded themselves
with worldly luxuries while being exalted to the point of worship
in their offices.
Meanwhile, certain men lust for
power, clamoring for recognition and striving to achieve self
exaltation. They lift and promote their own names as someone
great, "as the great power of God." Acts 8:10) No, I do
not think this is the Glorious church. The true glory remains
shrouded with humility. This cloud of glory can only be
penetrated with meekness, self-effacement and kindly service.
Success which comes from such is contrary to the apostolic
foundations of the Gospel which we need to follow.
for the Sake of the Gospel If
you want to experience anger, dissonance, or heated theological
debate this is the topic to broach. Giving is the bread and
butter of ministry. It is support for a man and his message. It
is the financing of the Gospel to world. It is the support of
both the local church missionary outreaches. Because men and
women go forth with good intentions and have devoted a large part
of their lives to preparing for "ministry" they proceed
believing that they are now prepared to live by the Gospel. "The
Lord hath ordained that those preach the Gospel should live of
concept of the clergy, professional ministry is a well establish
and unquestioned paradigm. (See
the power of paradigms.) The concept of Ministry
been traditionally connected to career or occupation. The concept
of clergy as a professional career extends into the dim past of
Chrisendom. The traditional church operates in accord with, and
is enabled because of the
professional clergy concept.
The question of institutionally accredited, "professional
ministry" appointed to churches and church giving is
something that I believe each of us has to examine in light of
Scripture and draw our best personal conclusion in the light of
the Word. It is not my desire to subvert a system that you may
believe in for your own best reasons, but rather to encourage
each person to strive to know God as fully as possible and to
experience the potential of Christ's Gospel, even if it means
setting aside certain long held traditions.
person should support the Kingdom
of God as
we judge it to be best
We need to see the life of God as a Divine promise and a human
potentiality. We need to see ministers bringing others into this
potentiality. Once that criterion is met, we can go on to other
matters concerning Giving. It
is not my desire to subvert a system that you may believe in for
your own best reasons, but rather to
encourage each person to strive to know God as fully as possible
to experience the potential written of in the Gospel, even if it
means setting aside certain long- held traditions.
person should support the Kingdom of God as we see it best
expressed. We need to see the life of God as a potentiality and
the people who minister bringing others into it. Once that
criterion is met, we can go on to other matters concerning
Giving is Blessed by God
should be no laws (rules) for giving in the Kingdom of God. God
has set us free from rules including rules about giving. Giving
is good. Giving supports the man of God and also supports people
who are not necessarily "ministers" of churches but who
God wishes to bless through us. Various kinds of worldly
commitments which touch upon the Kingdom of God need support,
whether it be church buildings, outreach expenses, travel or any
of a wide variety of needs which can only be met by others
sharing the cost. God wants his will to be done through selfless
sharing and contributions of money resources. Yet we need to be
able to hear God leading us in these gifts so that it is truly a
work of God for the Gospel sake and not just another good sound
cause or charity.
principles identified in the Bible shed light on the subject of
is more blessed to Give than to receive
and it shall be given unto you
up for yourselves treasures in heaven
who give to the poor lend to God
Tithe is the Lord's - (Old covenant principle)
the measure you give it shall be given to you
sparingly, reap sparing
to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven
as you purpose in your heart, Let no one give out of
loves a cheerful giver
to next book: Disciples
E Book 2:
E Book 3:
in the Bible Index
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
to all Charles Pinkney Christian Titles
Understanding Home Fellowships
Frank Viola Interviews a typical church-goer
of Open Church)
Guest, George Barna
"Moving beyond the established church"
Interview 2/20/2006 http://www.sidroth.org
Tim and Katie Mather
Subject: Open Church
Author of Book: "Megashift, "
"Experiencing the fullness of God
outside of Institutional Religion"
Subject: Open Church
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