Posted: 07/10/2014 at 8:35am
The Changing “Church”
By Ron McGatlin
God is not the author or confusion. However, God is the author of change.
Confusion often results when mankind resists God’s change and attempts to hold on to the status quo too long. Natural man is prone to desire unchanging life structure and systems. However, religious man is even more dogmatic about resisting change especially regarding religion. It is nearly impossible for a devout religious person of any faith to accept major change. Jesus referred to this condition regarding the resistance to accepting the word of the kingdom as hard rocks or the hardened soil of the heart of man that would not grow the seed of the word of the kingdom (Mat 13:16-23).
Much of what we call church today is devoutly holding to the structure and systems of the past and thereby finding difficulty in accepting and moving with the kingdom of heaven reality that is coming forth on earth in the hearts and lives of many maturing sons and daughters of God. It should not be surprising to us that often newly born again, Spirit filled people can receive the word of the kingdom before those who have spent many years in religion. In biblical terms harlots and tax collectors can enter the real kingdom life before some strongly religious people.
“Church” means a different thing in the kingdom age than it did to Christians in the passing age. This is well defined in the article “Church in the Kingdom Age.” If you have not read this article lately, please read it before reading on. As we move further into the season of change more meaning may come through reviewing the article than at the first reading.
Religious Christians around the world have been well trained by religious church traditional systems. For example, we have been trained that church was a place you went to worship God with a group of people. It was led by a vicar, priest, or pastor who did most all of the religious stuff and the people watched and agreed from pews mostly as an audience. Due diligence was done as tithes and offerings were brought to pay the leaders and provide for the facilities and some mission type projects.
In recent decades there have been changes in the systems which often opened the way to lively worship and other limited participation by the laity. The distinction remained clearly defined between the clergy and the laity. The clergy were those who were ordained leaders by the system, and those who were not ordained were just ordinary people. In some Charismatic type churches, the line between clergy and laity has blurred a bit as prophetic utterances, testimonies, and prayer ministry was opened for some participation of the laity. However, it was always under the close scrutiny of the clergy or leadership that was either ordained by a system or self-appointed.
Basically the word “church,” in the kingdom, means something different unlike what it meant to most people in the religious church systems.
Church is seen as the living breathing spiritual Body of Christ. In kingdom thinking “church” refers to the spiritual family of God on earth and in heaven all connected to the One Head, Christ Jesus. Local or regional gatherings are spiritual family gatherings of spirit beings terrestrial and celestial. The rule and order of the church (family of God) is LOVE – the pure holy love of God that consumes all of our desires, inadequacies, temptations, or any other aspect of natural life. There can no sin or evil abide in the manifest presence of God and His LOVE. The pure holy love of God filling our hearts and saturating our entire being spirit, soul, and body is the manifest presence of God in us and among us.
It is in this spiritual holy environment in the presence of God’s love that we are transformed and made whole by the supernatural love-charged environment of the manifest presence of God.
Hebrews 12 provides us with a word picture of the kingdom family gathering:
22 But you have come to Mount Zion,
to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.
You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
You have come to God, the Judge of all,
to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant,
and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
The transition from religious church systems to the kingdom of heaven age requires severe shaking to remove anything of the past that cannot enter into the kingdom of God New Jerusalem life. Anything in the religious “church systems” and anything that it has allowed to be formed in the world that is not a part of the design of God can and will be shaken. All that can be shaken will be shaken, and only that which cannot be shaken will remain. Make no mistake, it is God who is shaking our world. God is speaking from heaven in our day.
As we continue reading in Hebrews 12 warning is given, and the shaking is described.
29 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
27 Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made,
that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
29 For our God is a consuming fire.
The shaking is part of the changing to the true kingdom age church of the Spirit. All the religious man-made extra stuff that had been added to God’s original plan and purpose is being shaken away. There is a certain painfulness in the transition into the fullness of the kingdom of God church coming forth.
Even the pain of transitional shaking is needed. It becomes a blessing from God as it brings us to a state of inner brokenness that becomes the platform for God’s pure holy LOVE to fully come forth in our hearts and lives. The end result of the inner brokenness from transitional shaking is the tangible pure holy love of God that consumes and changes everything in us.
I am not sure there is any other way to truly experience this intense love for God and for one another without first experiencing the painful shaking that dissolves our strength with brokenness. Everything within us that lifts itself against the perfect way of our loving God must be dissolved. All of our self-made agendas and motives are destroyed by the painful brokenness clearing the way for the pure holy LOVE to overcome and fill our lives with the life of Christ Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
We can then say with assurance, “It is no longer I that live but Christ Jesus living by the Holy Spirit where I once lived.” Thank you, Jesus; Praise you, Father God, for life in your Holy Spirit. Amen!
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit – Gal 5:25.
Live in the Spirit, Walk in the Spirit,
Edited by Ron McGatlin on 07/10/2014 at 6:59pm