Bill, please continue to tolerate my ‘generally speaking’. Thank you.
I want to reiterate what I believe to be a formula, the only formula, to become an overcomer christian. It is so important. It is so simple. Some things should be repeated over and over and over. Amen?
Guaranteed blueprint for victory: First, abide in Jesus, second, submit to the leading of the Holy Spirit and third, sign the bible.
I think christians are blind to the fact that Jesus is not “first love”. He who was is no longer. Pastors assume their congregation, under their influence, love Jesus supremely. They don’t. (“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.”) Pew-people assume Pastor Whoever loves Jesus supremely. He doesn’t. (“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.”)
Everybody can verify or invalidate because everybody can look around. Is the name of Jesus acclaimed or ignored? Are multitudes being saved or are salvations rare? Are people bowing to the lordship of the Holy Spirit? Is there freedom? Are there “wonders and signs”? When is the last time someone mentioned Christ’s Great Commission in conversation?
Now onto the second requirement, submit to the Holy Spirit. Pulpit-people couldn’t argue that “He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit”, but I can hear them choke over the second….
What! Be lead individually by the Holy Spirit? Without our oversight? Bypass our leadership? Be an independent? You gotta be kidding!
Objection: How can we be accountable to each other if we all try to be individually lead by the Holy Spirit?
Accountability…. let’s look at it from the perspective of the bible. Let’s go to Bible Gateway, type in a-c-c-o-u-n-t-a-b-l-e and see what comes up…. hmmm…. nothing…. okay then, let’s type in a-c-c o-u-n-t…. that’s better. There are many instances of christians giving an account to God but never a christian giving an account to another christian. James was not accountable to Peter who was not accountable to John who was not accountable to….
Objection: How can one trust his/her ability to be lead by the Holy Spirit without the discernment of the local church?
I do not trust my ability to be directed by the Holy Spirit. Nor do I trust that of others. I certainly do not trust Little Moses’ capability to hear from God; he has proven himself quite languid in his allegiance to God’s bible. My trust is not in my ability to be lead, but the Spirit’s ability to lead. If I am patient, if I am not compulsive, if I am prayerful, the Holy Spirit can and will communicate. Like the Father and like Lord Jesus, He is faithful and able.
Objection: How can a pastor create a team of workers if they do not adhere to his leadership?
God never called Little Moses to be a little Moses. Jesus never relinquished His place as “head of the church”. Pastors must learn to mind their own business. A true pastor can teach but not build, oversee but not interfere, influence but never coerce.
A pastor once told me that he wants to oversee any and all bible studies of everyone attached to his church. I should have told him to mind his own business. What goes on in someone’s home is between him/her and Jesus Christ.
Objection: How can we trust that someone really is being lead of the Holy Spirit and not by “flesh and blood”?
Again, it’s none of our business unless it affects us directly. Should a pastor say, “I feel the Lord is directing us to expand our building to accommodate the influx of people”, everyone should pray, “Lord Jesus, I will support this expansion if You so direct me personally. If You do not speak to me I will not invest one dollar or one hour of my time. I bow to Your lordship.”
In my opinion most pursuits and activities are not in response to the Spirit’s leading. I see christians selling and buying and investing and building to satisfy their itch to do something. I’ve been there, done that.
The Holy Spirit is always leading us deeper into Christ. That’s just what He does. That’s what He is doing at this moment. That’s what He will be doing tomorrow and all our tomorrows. Pursuits and activities must be the outcropping of relationship. Only the branch abiding in the vine bears fruit. The fruit we bear is relative to our relationship with Lord Jesus.
We must relate to Jesus by His terms. We don’t dictate the terms; He does. His ways are non-negotiable. He decrees, we obey.
Let’s go back, way back, to Old Testament saints. God related to the Israelites through His chosen man, Moses. The divine order was
GOD…. MOSES…. ISRAEL.
The individual would not dare approach God on His own. God did not communicate to the individual directly. He spoke through prophets. That’s just the way it was. “Fear of the Lord” was having a profound respect for the way it is of that era.
And then Jesus changed all that. The old order, though divine, was no more. It was exchanged. In the new order there is no Moses. One could say the Holy Spirit replaced Moses. Or, Moses was a ‘type’ of the Holy Spirit. Now the divine order is
JESUS…. HOLY SPIRIT…. CHRISTIAN.
The christian who faithfully abides by this new divine order is a Jesus-and-me christian. He is on his/her way to abundant rewards to be dispersed at the judgement seat of Christ.
There are plenty of examples in the Book of Acts whereby christians were directed by the Holy Spirit…. “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them”…. “they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Holy Spirit by which [Stephen] spoke”…. “Then the Spirit said to Philip”…. “The Spirit told me [Peter] to go with them”…. “Paul was compelled by the Spirit.”
As the centuries rolled by, this divine order was woefully disregarded by religions’ salaried officers. Thousands and thousands and thousands of Little Moses pastors stationed themselves between the Holy Spirit and christians. Now the very un-divine order looks like this
JESUS…. HOLY SPIRIT…. LITTLE MOSES…. CHRISTIAN
It is not wrong to speak candidly of Little Moses. It is wrong to not speak candidly of this fellow who shapes the evangelical more than anyone.
Is he a blessing to the evangelical or an interfering third party? Is he causing the branches (“You are the branches”) to bear much fruit or little fruit? Is Christ’s Great Commission being honoured or ignored? Will his people receive “the crown of righteousness”?
How did Little Moses become a little Moses? I suppose it started in one of evangelicalism’s seminaries. I have little doubt that the graduate had less fervour for Jesus than when he was the plebe. He walked in the door a Jesus-and-me and walked out the door a Jesus-and-us. He graduated with a headful at the cost of a heart-full. The disciple of Christ was fashioned into a disciple of his denomination.
The denomination gave him permission to collect a salary. He was never coached to build on Paul’s example – “Nor did we eat any man’s bread without paying for it, but with labour and hardship we worked night and day [to pay our own way] so that we would not be a financial burden on any of you [for our support]”(AMP)…. “You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me”…. “Having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”
It is certain these teachers do not highlight these verses in a manner equal to “the labourer is worthy of his wages” and “you shall not muzzle an ox”. Is this not blatant compromise? (It must be said – because the salaried won’t say it – that the wages Jesus referred to was food, drink and shelter.)
How can seminary teachers instruct their student to do what they themselves would never do? So the salaried cookie-cutter compromisers beget another salaried cookie-cutter compromiser who will soon demand his share of the fleece.
Little Moses has been taught that he is to be the intermediator between the Holy Spirit and all adherents. To do this he must bunch the bunch. Thus the creation of team players…. a family…. a home church…. accountability…. discipleship (inverted discipleship). How does Little Moses do all this?
The seminary taught Little Moses that he was to be king of the very powerful pulpit. There is a condition of course – he must adhere to denominational policy and doctrine. And he is to steer the entire congregation to that same devotion.
From the pulpit’s high ground Little Moses convinces his weekly audience of their need of him. Obviously only he, as God’s appointed leader, can rightly discern God’s direction for the congregation. It is so easy and natural for the bunch to assume this man is spiritually superior to the common folk. Is he not credentialed?…. is he not eloquent?…. is he not titled?…. is he not salaried?
But, but, but…. he is not superior. Average, maybe. More educated in the bible, definitely. But not a spiritual heavyweight. A true disciple of Christ would never demand a salary…. would never be an ardent Jesus-and-us…. would not be a bible-plus-plus-plus christian…. would not bow to the lordship of man.
And he, obviously, is not Christ’s appointee. Jesus never stationed anyone as mediator between the Holy Spirit and the christian!
Am I the only one who sees the obvious? Is the way it is so powerful that one dare not demand biblical evidence of authenticity?
So many can be wrong. Every sizeable religion proves it. Christ wants to govern us individually via the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants us to cut the umbilical chord attaching us to religion. (“I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”)
I never had the trouble most have separating themselves from religion. I don’t know why. I certainly credit Lord Jesus. I attended but was not attached, or, more accurately, I was not as attached as most. Many years ago when still attending a catholic church I said to friends, “I am not a catholic, I am not a protestant, I am not a charismatic, I am not a pentecostal. I only am what Christ made me to be – a christian, a child of God.”
God never made us a baptist or a mennonite or a charismatic or a protestant or a whatever. If we are one it’s because we have made ourselves one.