Corinthians 2:6 - 1 Corinthians 2:7)
UNDERSTANDING THE BODY - TOPICS
Encounter With God
Christianity is not a philosophical belief system. Christianity is not an ideology. Christians are not Christians by virtue of their attending a particular church or denominational fellowship. We are not a Christian because our mother or father told us that we were. We are not Christian by default because we are not Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim. God has no second generation Christians. We are not even a Christian by virtue of an act of your own will or choosing! We are a Christian because Almighty God in heaven enabled you to believe through His Grace and with his hand upon you, brought you into the fellowship of the son of his love, Jesus the anointed.
The Gospel message teaches that believers are supernaturally called (elected) into one spiritual body of Him, The Messiah, Jesus. Our names have been written in the Book of Life. Our names are not written in the Book of Life by God in heaven without our knowing it! The day we become converted to become a believer is the day that we encounter God! In this encounter he touches us in an unforgettable way. Then he proceeds to transform us, and he fills us to overflowing, we will never walk in the darkness of unbelief again! "Behold all things become new!" (2 Corinthians Chapter 5;17.) In the years that we live in this world we see a lot of religious behavior and a great amount of 'church-related' activities but we have witnessed very little of the 'manifestation of God,' within the context of the 'church.'
Forms of Godliness without Power
Writing in the second letter to the Corinthians in Chapter 6.14, Paul exhorts believers not to be "unequally yoked" with unbelievers or idolaters and to have no associations with the devil and his domain. This admonition also concludes that we should withdraw ourselves from any religion that has an appearance of Godliness but is without (spiritual) power! Indeed the true gospel is the preaching of Jesus the Messiah crucified upon the cross and resurrected. A Christianity without a resurrection would be a vain philosophy lacking the promised power of God to regenerate us and to make us into a new creation.
We see Christianity most often depicted in modern media as a formalistic, tradition-bound religion. It fails to portray either the power of God or the nature of his fellowship with us. Unbelief takes upon itself many form and flavors. Doctrine is taught and modeled by the first century apostles and remains the template for future believers. As the centuries passed Christendom began to depart from the faith. Latter day deceptions continue to appear with "other gospels" to draw us away from the simple truth of God's gift of transforming love made possible by Christ's sacrifice on our behalf on the cross.
Here are some practical definitions of religion. Man's attempt to explain God or God's ways; Second hand or third-handed accounts about God or the truth revealed in his Word; Rituals and customs which are seen to gain favor with God; Forms of Godliness without manifesting God's presence or power; Most every programmatic thing that happens inside of church buildings.
The Greek word "Eklessia" is the word translated "church." Its definition refers to those who are called out, "the called out ones." In the writing of Peter's letter, Peter a disciple and apostle declares: " You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a special and peculiar people, that may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (1 Peter 2:9.)
The "Church" is a special called out people who share God's gift of life and righteousness. The word church has come to refer to a building or a place of worship. Some habitually call the church building "God's house." However, the true church is a NOT a building but the spiritual body to which we gave reference. The apostle said, "Do you not know that you are the temple?" When believers come together even as few as two or three, and we gather in Jesus' name, he promises to manifest himself in their midst. Thus the body of Christ gathers itself together in fellowship. This is the church, the body of believers.
Jesus walked the earth and ministered in the flesh. He is now walking in the flesh but he is indwelt by all of us who believe. Any who do not believe that Jesus has come in the flesh is anti-Christ. (1John 4:2,3)
has come to live and manifest his life within
The reality of Christ in the flesh has got to impact our theology! I found that the phrase centered above above is so amazing, so wondrous, that for it to even penetrate our minds is hard due to our spiritual deadness.
The Body of Christ is comprised of many members, many parts and many useful giftings which God chooses to impart. Each member has a part to play, each member is needed and has significance. We are members of him. Each is a part of Jesus Himself. He loves his Body. He is one with it as a husband and his bride are one. The union of the body is a great mystery. Christ is the head over it. The fullness of the spirit which filled Christ is fully and freely available to every member of The Body. We honor the Body. We love it. We do not declare war against ourselves by speaking evil against a brother or sister in Christ. We also are given the task of sharing in its growth and edification, therefore each of must contribute of our gifts and substance to its health.
A Mystical and Spiritual Life
The true church is a spiritual body selected (called out) from heaven and connects to heaven by the Holy Spirit to the enthroned Christ. In the book of the Acts, people heard the Gospel, believed the word preached, and made a public witness confirming that they believed that Jesus was the one begotten Son of God who was given as a sacrifice for them. They were given power (authority) to become "sons of God".
When this public confession is made, the Spirit of God comes upon them with transforming power and they experienced the miracle of the New Birth. Old things change and pass away and new things come. (2 Corinthians 5;17.)
In the first visitation of the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost in the upper room in Jerusalem, power came from on high; new love came; new fellowship came. They gathered into houses and praised and worshiped God, men and women prophesied, The Scriptures were read with enlightenment and they knew God and Christ were in their midst. This was the church of the Book of Acts. Since that day his body has never left it was only added-to. It is the same spiritual body that we may join.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." (1 John 3:1) "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)
The power and redemptive quality of God's love has to have a place to manifest and to shine as a light. It is in this body of believers that it shines. Those who see enlightened believers who are Spiritually aflame see kindness and affection, that is unlike the rest of the world.
In the fellowship of Christ there is openness (or bond) of affection among true believers not mere civility. There is a sense of care and sharing because we have the nature of God's love within us. Perfect love, the Scripture says, casts away all fear.
The self consciousness of the unredeemed man or woman does not allow freedom and openness in shared affection. While the unredeemed person is fearful of being hurt or looking foolish of such openness and vulnerability, these fears vanish in the life of the Spirit of Christ.
All of us crave companionship and fellowship. Believers crave and hunger for the fellowship of others of like faith. It is not only this inner desire fueled by God's nature but the fact that "we are edified through love" in this fellowship. Thus all are prepared to share this common life with others. This is why that fellowship is essential.
The word for this fellowship that God initiates in us is called in the Greek "Koinonia."
Koinonia has several important meanings associated to it; sharing, fellowship, communion, support, and participation. All of these things describe the fellowship we have with God and through God.
Because of the power and grace which God supplies we are first able to share his Spirit and his nature, we therefore have fellowship with Him. We become partakers of the Divine nature of God. We become "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh," an expression used to describe 'marriage.' It is this "Bond of Love" that is Jesus' description of the church, His Body (Ephesians 4) and His Bride, (Revelation 21).
are each are given unique gifts, supernatural
enablements to allow doing the Lord's work.
dunamis power from God (the Holy Spirit
baptism at Pentecost) enabled all of the
disciples to receive supernatural abilities:
Many theological traditions exclude this divine
enablement from being in force today. They
see the time of the apostles at the time of
the Bible book of Acts as unlike God's operation
in the present day. This 'cessationist' doctrine
is extremely unfortunate. A doctrine that
is denied or excluded, can not be received
by faith. My friends be assured, God does
not change nor does His word become obsolete.
Take the word of one who has seen, touched
and tasted the reality of the present manifestation
of God's power, that this spiritual enablement
enablement is available for anyone who can
set aside his or her own natural abilities
to seek, with faith, and to receive the "down
payment of our divine inheritance,"
disciples of Jesus saw and heard many wonderful
things as they walked with the Master, the
Son of God. But after 3 years of walking with
Him and seeing all the wonders and hearing
all the teaching, they were told, " -
in this city (Jerusalem) until you are supplied
with POWER from heaven.-"
Jesus' disciples needed a power which was above
their own, a power divinely enabled by God,
to minister with the intentions that Jesus
required of them.
The Holy Spirit provided power, love and a new mind. The disciple who was to minister needed a Spiritual transplant so they could be after His image.
Making Disciples E-book, A disciples Handbook.
Disciples were chosen by Jesus as He walked the shores of Galilee. He is still making disciples today. He chooses men and women. He reveals himself to them. He changes their nature. He prepares them with wonderful gifts from heaven, freely given by grace.
Disciples reach out to make other disciples, Christ's Spirit works in them to reveal a love and compassion which cares about the lost and the hurting; to have a heart for those who are oppressed and bound.
We do not minister with the objective that we are enrolling a candidate for church membership. We meet their needs and share the promises of Christ. Love is God's best for each person. Ministry is what we do to provide or make possible for God's best for each person.
We follow the doctrine of the apostles; the way of demonstrating the reality and power of the Kingdom of God.
We are invested with Powers granted through Christ Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit. We share a bond of fellowship with those who we rescue from the fire.
We bless them and instruct them in the way of God. We remove the grave clothes from their lives just as Jesus instructed his disciples to do after Lazarus was called forth still bound from the tomb.
We share the joy of salvation with singing and rejoicing, and making melody in our hearts. We praise God with songs, hymns and spiritual songs. We share and rejoice in the wonderful testimonies of deliverance.
We lay on hands to heal the wounds of the afflicted and we take authority over demonic powers which would attempt continued harassment of a the fledgling believer, who is still struggling to sort out things which are spiritual from things which are soulish or psychological.
We feed the young with milk and the old share meat. We are not owned by any other but hold another's interest in common with our own. We know the ruthless operations of a spiritual enemy who is always at work to enter into the fellowship, to steal the glory, to divide and conquer, to steal our confidence and our joy.
are not ignorant of the devices of the enemy.
We stand against him. The zeal of the father's
house has eaten us.
Church should not a matter of scheduled meeting times for the believer, the doors are never closed in the temple of the human heart. The altar is not mortar or wood, it is a place within us, a holy place sanctified by God by the blood of a lamb most Holy, A lamb without spot or blemish.
DEFINITION OF LOVE
Next Mystery, Chapter 6
Understanding Home Fellowships