For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” ~ Matthew 18:19-20
FAMILY – DAD, MOM AND CHILDREN ALL FOLLOWING CHRIST TOGETHER. NONE WITHOUT SIN BUT ALL PERFECTLY IN ORDER. TRUE GOVERNMENT WITH GODLY SUBMISSION AND THE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD!
Free EBook: Church What it is & is not
THE VERY HEART OF CHURCH – ITS PUREST “CORE” FORM
JESUS loves the church. Let’s see if we can find the very heart and core of the church. First: let me minister to you a personal word on listening. He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit has to say, be careful not to miss the most simple.
“…I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” ~ Matthew 16:18-19
“Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” ~ Matthew 18:19-20
Let’s take a close look at Ephesians Chapter Five. Reading through this passage the first time, Paul almost sounds a little confused because he swings back and forth between the family and the church. Read it through a few times and you will see that he is not confused, the truth is he cannot separate the church and the family, they are the same. We will discuss this passage in detail later in the book but for now let’s read this passage very slow starting at Ephesians 5:18 and “listen” for our Lord to minister.
Marriage is Like Christ and the Church. Marriage IS the church?
“…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” ~ Ephesians 5:18-32
Ok, back to Matthew 18:19 with Jesus building His Church and then add this scripture along with it.
“…every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself…”~ Ephesians 4:16
These passages show us that we are all meant to minister to each other! Not just one man to minister to an organization of sixty, which is the average “church” size in America. Not 20 men to minister to three or four thousand people, which is the average “mega-church” size. If Jesus said it only takes two to get Him to show up and manifest His miracle working presence, then odds are, that one of those two is going to get to minister! Praise God!
We now understand that the church is not a building, but we had to also realize the church is not even a “place!” Even those following the “Cell” Church pattern or a “House to House” model, may start believing that the house is a Church. Jesus never intended His church to be a place where people come to. The church IS people. It was never intended that we be restricted by giving or receiving ministry at a certain limited place or time.
Whenever two or more believers find themselves together or plan to meet, we have church going on! For example: two believers run into each other at the grocery store, one shares a need, the other takes the believer by the hand, (no show, make it look like you are shaking hands, and stop that religious yelling), and prays a prayer of agreement. This IS Church! No waiting for a Sunday or Wednesday “Holy Day”, no limitation of going to a certain, “Holy place at a Holy Time with a Holy Man.”
TOO RADICAL OR A LITTLE TOO “FREE”?
You are probably asking the same questions right now that we did at this point. This sounds a little dangerous, removing restrictions and giving people all of this freedom. Who is going to oversee the “doctrines” and make sure people don’t “get off track”? What about accountability? The most used question that I have heard has been: “Who are you under?”
We had to let Jesus and His Word answer these questions, He is the Head of the Church, isn’t He?
“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” ~ Mark 16:16-18
Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” ~ John 14:12
Who is the he that Jesus is talking about? Who is the he that will do the works that Jesus does? Who is the he that will do greater works than Jesus!? The priest, preacher, rabbi, pastor, evangelist, bishop or holy father? Maybe, but the only qualification is; he who believes in Jesus. That could be you. If you believe in Jesus, you are the “he” this scripture is referring to.
Besides, what is the greater thing that Jesus says you will do? The very next verse tells us: Prayer is the greater thing!
“Whatever you ask (pray) in My name, that will I do…” ~ John 14:13
“…and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.” ~ James 5:15
Many people have and will read these scriptures with the picture in their mind that all of this only happens in the church buildings with a professional clergy. Pray and ask Jesus what original picture He had in mind when these scriptures were written. The expansion of the church was not done temple to temple or synagogue to synagogue but house to house. These home fellowships were led by mature believers in Christ, the older ones, the elders. The Apostle Paul later addressed the house groups as the church in Colossi, the church in Ephesus, etc. From Acts 8:1 we no longer see in scripture the church meeting in temples, (buildings). We see relationships thriving together under the Headship of Jesus, and with the demonstration of the power of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 2:4!
“And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” ~ Acts 4:32
“For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales and lay them at the apostles’ feet, and they would be distributed to each as any had need.” ~ Acts 4:34-35
Still sound radical or a little to free? Does this seem a little dangerous, giving people all of this freedom? Sure it does. Why did Jesus use the term “New Wine” that needed a “New Wine Skin”? Because the new wine is explosive! It is bubbly, and in constant motion. New wine doesn’t taste smooth with a flowery bouquet. New wine tastes a little vinegary, makes your eyes water and your cheeks pucker up until it feels like lock-jaw has set in!
If new wine is poured into an old dry cracked wine skin, the old skin will explode and all the wine will be wasted. Jesus said we have to become new wine skins that are pliable, flexible and strong enough to handle and contain this explosive new life! Remember the “new wine skin” is the way we handle the “new wine”. It is understanding that the old temple system cannot handle this new explosive wine. Like putting a new patch on an old garment, putting this “new wine” will rip and tear everything and everyone who clings to the old system. You and the “new wine” will be rejected and thrown out as evil, demonic and disruptive.
When was the last time you stretched your “wine skin” and prayed for the sick to be healed and believed it would happen or cast a demon out of a person? When was the last time you sold a house and gave the money to an apostle so he could make sure there were no needy persons among you? Or have you bought the deception that we are to pay the professional clergy to handle all of that “messy” behind closed doors stuff? We will discover in the next chapter that Saul/Paul had the same problem.
What have we discovered in Chapter Four?
18. “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” ~ Matthew 18:19-20
19. The family and the church are the same.
20. Prayer is the greater thing.
21. Each one a minister.
Personal Journal Insert:
Truly the name of Jesus is above every name! This week I have been humbled by the word “resist”! In praying for a young sister in the Lord who had been attacked by an eight inch cancer attached to her heart and lung, I found myself running around a conference table yelling at the top of my lungs:
“Satan I resist you in Jesus Name on behalf of my sister, I resist you in Jesus Name. Cancer, the Name of Jesus is above your name, cancer you must yield, you must bow your knee. I break your assignment off my sister and demand that you let go of her and leave her in Jesus Name! Cancer gone, my sister lives and all Glory to God!