It's Time to Be the Church
by Sylvia Huffnagle
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Eph: 4:1-3: I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2: With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3: Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4-6: There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5: One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6: One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
7-10: But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8: Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9: (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10: He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 11: And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12-16: For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15: But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
(Paul says there is one body, one faith, one hope of our calling, and one baptism. One thing I see about how churches are run is that they have given place to individuals. Thatís right. Everyone does their own thing. I do not want to put down or criticize any ministries. That would be a wrong thing to do and besides, I have never been in their shoes. Iím just trying to magnify what the Bible says because I think the Bible is the place to find out how the church should be and what it should do.
So first, I see that the church does not appear to be one body. It looks to me like the leaders have been trying to keep unity and a bond of peace by shutting up those who desire the church to be as describe in this chapter and they have appeased those who are out of line. How can this be remedied? By adhering to the Bible in all of church functions. The Spirit of the church--I mean all those who confess that Jesus is their Lord--is supposed to be a holy spirit. This means all the members are endeavoring to walk by the spirit and not by the flesh. The New Testament reveals the mind and spirit of Christ which is to be the churchís spirit. But before I share the root cause of the missed mark letís see what else Paul has said about the church.
Next, Paul admonishes us to walk worthy of our calling. What calling? The call to be His witnesses. How are we to walk worthy? With all meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another in love.
So itís the five-fold ministryís job to perfect the saints. Itís been over 2000 years--where the fruit? What went wrong? For too long churches have claimed to be the place to go in order to grow spiritually, yet the facts are in and they declare that most Christians donít know very much about the Bible or how to be a Christian. That makes a statement. Something is wrong with the way things are being handled. Letís read on and see if we can discover what could be done better.)
17-19: This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18: Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: 19: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
20-24: But ye have not so learned Christ; 21: If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23: And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24: And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
(Notice that Paul does not say try not to walk as the Gentiles do. He did not say a mature Christian does not walk in the vanity of his mind. He says henceforth do not walk that way. To sum it up in my words--you have confessed that Jesus is Lord, now live like it.
How did he say one accomplishes this task? By learning Christ and putting off your carnal man and putting on your spiritual man. YOU have to put off your old clothes and YOU have to put on your new clothes. The FIVE-FOLD MINISTRY is responsible for making sure you know what belongs to the old man and what belongs to the new man.)
25-29: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27: Neither give place to the devil. 28: Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29: Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30-31: And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31: Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
(So Paul lists the things we need to do to interact on a godly level, but thereís more to the Christian life than what goes on at church. The Bible teaches us how to conduct our affairs so that we will be able to live godly and holy lives--thus be effective witnesses.
That includes who you hang out with, what you listen to, what you watch, and so on. These important exercises are not addressed on the level that they need to be and that is why a lot of people who chose to be Christians have not gotten rid of their carnal ways.
I am going to address it. You cannot partake of carnal music, movies, magazines, friends, etc and still have the power to exercise godliness and holiness in every area and relation. [Check out 1Jn: 2:16. Ps: 1, Prov: 4:23, Rom: 13:14 to name a few.] Since many Christians are not exercising this very important teaching, they are still living and thinking carnal and they, along with those who come to church and havenít made a commitment to Christ, have brought this worldly junk into the church.
It was supposed to be saints gathering at church to learn how to live godly and holy lives so they could be effective witnesses. And so that they would become a part of the answer instead of being a part of the problem.
So I hope I have made my point that the church was expected to be the center of Christiansí spiritual life for the purpose of living as one body--the body of Christ--and growing into His fullness in order to carry on His ministry in this earth.
Todayís church is little more than a nursery for baby quote unquote Christians. I said I wanted to share the root cause of this dilemma. It is that the gospel itself has mutated. It started out to be a way to be reconciled to God--be His child again--Adam and Eve were His children crated in His image and then they hearkened unto the liar and dies spiritually. Satan became their spiritual leader and they were lost. Jesus came and did all that needed done in order for man to be born again of the Spirit of God and be His children. Itís the gospel of the kingdom of God, not the good news of a way for sinners to go to heaven.
The good news mutated into a plan God came up with to have a relationship with man even though they do miss the mark so often. This is why Christians have a form of godliness buy deny [cannot access or display] the power of it.)
© Sylvia Huffnagle
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