God's plan for his people in this Age of Grace is to use their homes for outreach. This is because we're a family and we're to treat each other as family. We're all children of God, we're all brothers and sisters together in the church of God. Just as families grow together in the world and new brothers and sisters are born into them, so it is with the family of God.
This of course can only happen if each home church is the centre of outreach for the move of the word in its area, not some headquarters of temples made with hands. Just as each family in the world is headed by the parents without any interference from without, so each home church is to be headed by the home church leaders without any interference from without. The worldwide network of families meeting together as the church in people's homes make up the body of Christ.
Understanding this, it's easy to see why God wants home churches to be self governing. To put it in plain language, each home church is to be the headquarters for the movement of God's word in that area.
The very term self propagating, by definition, implies that each home church has a responsibility to teach and minister the word in their area without any interference from without. For a home church to be self propagating, by definition, demands that home churches grow from within by way of their own efforts as a family. Only then can the church of God function with Christ as its head without any meddling or interference from patriarchs and councils of men. This, of course, does not mean help from without may not be sought and given, we're simply talking authority and control here. This is a family thing, not a patriarchal thing. Just as parents know best how to raise their children and it's no one else's business, so it is with raising God's children. We run churches in our homes and raise disciples in a family setting. As we walk with Christ as our head, God energises in us to will and to do of his good pleasure so we know how best to care for his children.
Regarding increase, we know that it is God who gives it, but without us doing some planting and watering, there is none.
1 Corinthians 3:6,7
I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Any home church that faithfully lives the word will see increase, growth from within. It is axiomatic then, that if a home church is not producing increase, it is not God's fault. Sure, go ahead, blame the world, blame the economic situations, blame the environmental situations, blame the politicians, blame everything and everyone, but the truth is, if you are doing things the word's way the increase will be there.
1 Corinthians 3:8,9
Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own [idios] reward according to his own [idios] labour.
For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
Just as we need to plant and water to grow flowers, we need to plant and water to grow disciples. God gives increase as we labour together with him. As people grow and mature spiritually, they learn how to labour together with God for themselves, and so increase continues from generation to generation.
How the devil suffocates spiritual growth in this Age of Grace is by having men construct temples made with hands and installing patriarchs and councils of men to run them. Having a religious organisation take control of God's people is how the devil suffocates and chokes outreach.
Paul states very clearly in Corinthians that every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. I could teach a whole class on every man receiving his own reward according to his own labour, but I don't have time. I'm just going to spell it out and you can do what you like with it. Paul put it this way in Galatians.
But let every man prove his own [idios] work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Here's how it works. A man walks by the spirit, lives the word, teaches the word and ministers in his area. God gives increase and a home church family is born. Together they live the word, teach and minister, and God's children grow and mature. The home church leader is an example and walks by the spirit. God is a lamp to his feet and a light to his path, and he teaches the people God has entrusted to him how to walk by the spirit for themselves. Christ is his head because he operates the gift of holy spirit and God teaches him how to move the word in his area, keeping him wise as to what's going on spiritually so he can be an effective minister. The home church leader labours together with God, he walks by the spirit with Christ as his head.
Regarding daily fellowship and its relationship to outreach, the word is clear.
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
And fear [awe and respect] came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved [sozō - made whole by receiving the gift of holy spirit].
The book of Acts is God's blueprint, God's plan, God's manual on how to conduct home church families and move the word in outreach. This first section of the Book of Acts explains the foundations upon which home church families are to be built. In other words, without living the principles set here, outreach will never happen because there is no family foundation.
These principles for running home church families and raising disciples are continuing daily in one accord (with one mind, with one passion), eating together from house to house, praying together, and praising God, which is a reference to speaking in tongues. Just as life begins with breathing, so spiritual life begins with speaking in tongues, praising God by worshipping him in spirit and in truth. I mean, really, if you've read my class this far and still think praising God means singing stupid congregational songs in church, it's time you got out of the ditch.
In Acts, each home church lived life together every day as a family. They went shopping together, went to the amphitheatre together, went into town together, enjoyed meals together, went out into the countryside together, enjoyed sports together, and they lived this way every day. If we live this way as families, God will give increase.
Yes, it does say they met in the temple, but remember, Paul wasn't around yet and the revelation of the Mystery, part of which was that God no longer dwelled in temples made with hands, had not yet been revealed. Later on in Acts, you won't find any believers meeting up in the temple or going to the synagogues unless they were looking for an open door to speak the word.
When new people come to our home churches and get born again, we are to welcome them into the family of God. We are responsible to take care of them and look after them as they learn the word and grow. We are to invite them to our homes for meals, we are to meet up with them and do things together with them, when we watch a movie, we are to invite them round. I mean, what's your interpretation of a family? Would you leave a baby unattended for a few days? Folks, we have to learn to love people and start taking care of them if the word is to live.
We know from the scriptures that it is God that brings about increase, we don't, so if there is no increase it is not God at fault. God is the one who causes flowers to grow, but if we don't plant and water there will be nothing but weeds, get it? There are conditions to be met in order to grow flowers, and when we meet those requirements by planting and watering, God gives us flowers to enjoy. We don't make the flowers grow, God does. When we live life as they did in the first Century, we will have the joy of watching disciples grow. Just as flowers will only grow when we plant and water, God can only entrust us with people if we apply these basic principles for outreach outlined in Acts 2:46 and 47. That's why God wrote the bible in the first place, so we could know how to do this thing. These principles work.
Each home church is to live life together as a family every day. That is God's plan for this administration. This is a family thing. Successful families live life together every day. Living life as a family is how you raise children, and living life as a family is how you raise disciples. If you don't live this way, there will be no outreach. You just want to live your life all by yourself and never meet up with your brothers and sisters in Christ? Fine, you will never see the word live and you will never experience the joy of raising disciples in a home church family. You will also never experience the joy of meeting people at the Return of Christ who you got born again and taught the word to. Have you any idea how thankful they will be to the person who got them born again? You have no idea how much joy you're missing out on if you don't live the word. Home church families is where all the joy in life is.
Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
1 Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
The home church leaders who walk by the spirit with Christ as their head set the spiritual pace for the home church family, just as a father should set the pace for any earthly family. A father leads by example, and gives his life for his family. As God adds to a home church family, the home church leaders are responsible to raise them as disciples. Each person in a home church is to care for everyone else as a family, standing in the spiritual competition together as a family, submitting themselves to their home church leadership.
What parent would leave their young children unsupervised for a few hours, let alone a few days or weeks? We have to love God's children as we would love our own children. God needs good men and women to look after his kids, so if you want to run a home church, you need to learn how to be a good brother or sister to them so you can protect them in the spiritual competition, while teaching them and showing them how to be disciples by being an example.
Here's a question for you, how can home church leaders raise families if a council of men sends someone with a flashy nametag to take over the running of their home church? That is not how families work, not in the physical realm and certainly not in the spiritual. Those you father in the word are your responsibility, and it's your duty to look after those people until they can take care of themselves. God gave those people to you, and as you assume that responsibility God will work within you both to will and to do of his good pleasure to keep his children protected. That's why it is imperative that we learn to walk by the spirit with Christ as our head and not men.
Now, of course, this doesn't mean we have to be perfect, any more than successful parents in the world are perfect. We have Christ in us so we are sufficient to do everything that God asks of us, and we are still holy and without blame before him in love regardless of how many times we fall short in that duty. Faithfulness isn't measured by how few times we fall, it is measured by how quickly we pick ourselves up and get back into the spiritual competition after we fall. A man who falls down half a dozen times a day, but who picks himself right back up and moves forward again is more faithful than a man who falls down once a year and drowns in self pity, guilt and condemnation for weeks. This isn't about striving to become perfect because spiritually we already are.
The words of the bible with which we plant and water are just words on paper, but they change lives. Why? Because God breathed life into these words. These words, according to Timothy, are theopneustos, they are God-breathed words.
2 Timothy 3:16
All scripture is given by inspiration of God [theopneustos], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
The five English words given by inspiration of God are translated from the one Greek word theopneustos, God-breathed. All scripture is God-breathed. God breathed life, spiritual life into his word, just as he breathed physical life into man back in Genesis.
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
God breathed life into the bible, that's why these words give us life. When we speak these words to people, we speak God-breathed life to them and if they hear, they receive spiritual life.
Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.
There is life in these words, that's why this is the word of life. That life is spiritual and you receive that life when you receive the gift of holy spirit. You manifest that life, you begin your spiritual breathing when you energise that gift of holy spirit and speak in tongues. As we live life together with our brothers and sisters in Christ as families, then the word will move.
Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
We speak these words of life so that others also can have life. As we speak life, people are raised from the dead and are made whole by receiving spirit. Every time we speak the word and someone is born again, we literally raise them from the dead. We really can do greater works than Jesus Christ did.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
This light is the Christ in us, the gift of holy spirit. When we energise the gift of holy spirit we shine spiritual light into this dark world. We speak the word so others can receive the gift of holy spirit, and we continue speaking these words of life so they too can learn how to energise that life and learn to walk by the spirit for themselves.
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
Going around knocking on doors, chattering out scriptures and annoying people isn't shining as a light. That isn't moving the word. When salesmen knock on your door to try to sell you double glazing, do you enjoy the experience? Oh, you might argue that knocking on doors sells double glazing. Sure it might sell a few windows for that company for a while, but it is counter productive in the long run. How you sell double glazing successfully in the long term is by providing excellent windows, having craftsmen fit them, providing excellent after sales service, and caring for your customers. Word of mouth will do the rest.
Think I'm wrong? I was a Branch Manager for a number of double glazing companies so I know what I'm talking about. Those who employ large canvassing teams to go around knocking doors and annoying people never last. I've seen hundreds and hundreds of double glazing companies go broke and I know door knocking is counter productive. Pissing people off in their homes is not how you move the word. There may be exceptions to the rule in specific cases, but that is up to each believer who walks by the spirit to decide, not for some council of men to mandate.
Regarding how we approach unbelievers and speak the word to them, Peter sums it up very nicely.
1 Peter 3:15
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear [respect]:
Paul also gives us a clue as to how we approach the world and speak these words of life.
2 Corinthians 3:2
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
We are to be ready to speak when people approach us with questions. This is the key to planting and watering which brings about increase. Knocking on doors without an invitation is not moving the word, it is annoying people and giving God a bad name. The quality of your life should open doors. If it isn't, then take another look at your life. The quality of life enjoyed by the believers in the 1st Century was their epistle, their witness which was known and read of all men. They lived life as families and that was what attracted people to them, which in turn opened doors to speak.
As Peter says, sanctify God in your hearts, walk by the spirit, and be ready to speak the word as you live life and people approach you. It is God who gives the increase and he will open doors for you to speak if you are living the more abundant life. A light in darkness is attractive without it having to do anything. You don't have to knock doors or annoy strangers in the street to move the word. If that's what you think outreach is, you're an embarrassment to the God who gave you the ministry of reconciliation. This isn't difficult, just do what it says in Acts 2:46 and 47, live life as families, and enjoy the more abundant life. Get that Christ in you energised and shine.
Paul is an excellent example of moving the word. Did he go around annoying people in their homes? Show it to me in the bible. I don't see it. From the very moment he began his ministry, he only spoke where he was invited to speak, where he had an open door. When Paul went to the synagogue he knew he would have open doors. He didn't just march in there and arrogantly push the local synagogue leaders aside. Had he done that he would have been thrown out into the street. This isn't about forcing doors open where there are none, this is about being alert and being ready to speak when one opens.
And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
When Paul and Barnabas went off together to move the word, they began in the synagogues where they had open doors. They knew that if they went to the synagogues they would be invited to speak because it was a Judean custom to invite visitors to speak. If you go to a church today, you will not be invited to speak to the congregation, so this would not work in our culture. Paul and Barnabas only spoke where they had an open door. When Paul and Barnabas began the work of the ministry in Antioch in Pisidia, it was because they were invited to speak.
But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
Before that, Paul and Barnabas were invited by Sergius Paulus to come and see him because he wanted to hear the word. They didn't knock on his door and annoy him. If you want to speak to people in their homes, then find ways to get yourself invited in and stop annoying people.
And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews [Judeans]: and they had also John to their minister.
And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew [Judean], whose name was Barjesus:
Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
Let me put this another way, you require an open door to speak the word or you are not labouring together with God. If you're trying to force doors open, you're walking by the senses and doing things your way, not God's way. If your idea of outreach is cold calling by knocking on doors, you need to step back and take a good look at what you're being taught because you're not walking by the spirit with Christ as your head. If your home church leader is walking by the spirit and God inspires him to go out knocking doors, fine, follow his lead and you will enjoy the experience. However, if he is getting his instructions from a council of men at the head of some religious temple made with hands, more than likely you're just going to make a fool of yourself in public and head home feeling guilty and used. And don't tell me I don't know what I'm talking about because I've knocked more doors and annoyed more people than anyone reading this teaching.
Now yes, Philip did approach a total stranger in Acts 8, but guess what, he was walking by the spirit when he did it.
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Occasionally, God may inspire you to approach a stranger or knock a particular door, but these are isolated and specific cases. This is not something any council of men or any patriarch can pass legislation on. The key is to walk by the spirit with Christ as your head and labour together with God. That's walking circumspectly and not as a fool.
Look, Paul didn't just chatter out scriptures everywhere he went to everyone he met. You have to walk with wisdom, you have to walk circumspectly when you're dealing with people. Many times Paul didn't speak a word to anyone.
Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost [pneuma hagion - holy spirit] to preach the word in Asia,
After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered [allowed] them not.
And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
See, Paul walked by the spirit, not by his senses, and that's what we are supposed to do. If you don't walk by the spirit with this thing, you are not walking circumspectly with spiritual accuracy and precision, you're walking by the senses and making a religious fool of yourself. Paul didn't just chatter out scriptures everywhere he went, he looked for open doors and only spoke when he had them. Well, we are to be followers of Paul, remember?
1 Corinthians 4:16
Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers [mimētēs - imitators] of me [Paul].
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers [mimētēs - imitators] of me [Paul], even as I also am of Christ.
Paul followed Christ. Christ wasn't literally there, so this is a reference to the Christ in him, the gift of holy spirit. Paul walked by the spirit with Christ as his head, and that's what we are supposed to do as well. We are to imitate Paul's example of walking by the spirit with Christ as his head. Most religious dungeons use these verses to teach the opposite of what they actually say, to teach patriarchal principles that manipulate people into blindly following some egotistical wanker at the top of their temple as if he was getting all the revelation for everyone. Well, I think you know where that's coming from by now.
Walking by the direction and council of men is a garbage way of life. Get out of those damnable churches, those crappy temples made with hands, those imprisoning ministries and cults, and start moving the word and have some fun in life again. Living in constant fear of leadership watching everything you do so they can pick on you for every little mistake is not the more abundant life. That's not the freedom Christ came to make available. When I was involved in man made ministries I was constantly afraid of reproof for not checking everything I was doing through my leadership. All the eyes watching me made me afraid to walk by the spirit. Fear is the devil's language. Fear is a dungeon, and I don't care how much of the word you think you're being taught. Christ came to make us free and we can only truly be free if we disentangle ourselves from temples made with hands and walk with Christ as our head.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
Being entangled again in the yoke of bondage isn't just a reference to obeying the old testament law, it's also a reference to being entangled in old testament principles such as being a part of temples made with hands. Folks, God wants you free and he wants you living a more abundant life. It's your choice. I've been entangled and now I'm free and I can assure you my life is far more abundant living with Christ as my head than it ever was when men were my head. I thought last year was the best year of my life. The previous year I'd thought the same. This year my life is overflowing with even more abundance and power. It seems as if every minute of every day is overflowing with good quality life. And the amazing thing is, even though this year is so brilliant, I'm expecting next year to be even better again. I wouldn't change my life for anything. Walking by the spirit is the way to go. Paul sure enjoyed a more abundant life too. It wasn't a life of great riches or a life without challenges, but he was more than a conqueror in every situation because he walked by the spirit and he had all his need met. If you follow his example and walk by the spirit, you will enjoy a victorious life and you will have no need.
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
When Paul was in Athens, as well as the open doors of utterance he had in the synagogue, he also went to the market every day, but note that he only spoke with those who met with him, those who wanted to hear what he had to say. He didn't just go around the marketplace annoying people, poking his nose in where it wasn't wanted, understand?
Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews [Judeans], and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
Paul didn't always have it his own way in the synagogues though. At Ephesus, spiritual adversity forced him to move from the synagogue and teach in a local school. So we have to be adaptable. That's why we are the new dynamic church, ever changing and adapting how we do things.
And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
But when divers [many] were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way [the way] before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews [Judeans] and Greeks.
The key to outreach is to be a living epistle, known and read of all men, shining as lights by energising the gift of holy spirit, and speaking all the words of this life as you have open doors to speak.
So how do we move the word today? We have to be around people, that's the key. The devil has everyone stuck in crappy jobs they hate all day, and hunkered around televisions watching his garbage all night, so how can you reach them? Knock their door? Any brainless idiot can knock a door and annoy people, that takes no talent and it certainly requires no walking by the spirit. Getting yourself invited into someone's home is going to take some labouring together with God, some walking by the spirit with Christ as your head.
Regarding the winning of neighbours, a Korean man of God once told a story of one woman living in an apartment in a block of flats who he appointed as a home church leader and told her to get the neighbours involved. The woman prayed and asked God for ideas, because she did not know how to reach the people living in the other flats as she never saw any of them. God asked her how people in flats reached their homes. She replied by way of the elevator, so God told her to ride the elevator for a while everyday and that's what she did. From that day on she would ride up and down in the elevator for one or two hours just to meet people. She didn't annoy them by chattering out scriptures, instead she would offer to help carry a small child home or help older folks carry their groceries. Eventually, she got to know most of the people living in the flats and they began to invite her into their homes. That's walking by the spirit and working together with God to get some doors open.
This is about people, so spend time where there are people. If you're into running, join a running club. Share their passion and make some friends. If you make a few friends, don't be surprised when you're invited around to their homes. Whatever you do, don't be an asshole and just go there to annoy everyone by quoting scriptures at them. Just be human and enjoy life. If doors open, be ready to speak, that's all. If no doors open, great, enjoy your running with them. By now you should no longer be part of any ministries made with hands, so you no longer have to worry about phoning some prick leader to tell them how many people you spoke the word to and annoyed today. What a load of horseshit that is.
If you're into hill walking, join a hill walking club. If you're into canoeing, join a canoeing club. If you're into sports, get along to your local sports club. If you love rock climbing, go join your local rock climbing group. If birding is your thing, or you would like to get into birding, go join your local bird group. If photography excites you, get along to your local photography group. Whatever your passion is in life, go and spend time with like minded people who share that passion. Be the best you can be in your field, enjoy your time there, and get to know the others who share your passion. Get yourself out into life and enjoy it, and just be ready to speak when folks ask honest questions. As home churches live this way, doors will open, and you will have the chance to plant and water.
As home churches grow, spiritual specialities and long suits will emerge and develop among the believers, and people will soon learn who to go to for help in specific categories. Some people will be strong in believing, so when folks need help with believing, they will know who to go to. Some people within each home church will be good at ministering healing, so when folks need ministering to for health issues, they will know who to see to get the help they need. Some people will excel at working heartily, living within their means, and staying out of debt, so those within that home church or just added to it who need help with money will quickly learn who to go to for help in getting out of debt. As home churches live this way, God adds to his church daily such as should be saved, made whole, those who are being born again, those who are given the gift of holy spirit and have eternal life.
In contrast, this is not how it works. A man walks by the spirit, lives the word, teaches the word and ministers in his area. God gives increase and a home church is born. He joins a temple made with hands and they send someone to take over his work, a man to whom God has given no increase, a man who walks by his senses, a man who bitches and gossips about people behind their backs, complains about everything, thinks evil continually, and refuses to hear reproof and correction when it's given by a man of God who walks by the spirit.
Selecting a home church leader cannot be determined by how many bible classes someone has taken. That was how the Pharisees appraised people and how religious people today still appraise people. That is not how this thing works. Just because someone is a graduate of some crappy advanced bible class and struts about wearing a nametag is no qualification for leadership positions. The word clearly states that every man is to prove his own work. This does not mean you look at how many bible classes he's taken, you look at his life. If you can't see past a person's nametag and perceive whether or not they're walking by the spirit, then you are blind and groping around in a ditch.
The word is clear on being able to know if someone is living the principles of the word by their life and by their believing. If a home church lives the word, the increase will be there. If they don't live the word, there will be no increase. God gives the increase, so if there is no increase, there has been no labouring together with God. There may have been plenty of labouring together with other men to build and maintain a religious organisation, but that is not labouring together with God because he does not live in temples made with hands. Argue with the bible all you like, but if you have no fruit to show for your labours, then your labours are in vain. It's time to stop labouring in man made temples and get back out into the world and labour with God to move the word. That is what terrifies devil spirits and that is what they fight so hard to prevent.
Regarding gift ministries, God sets them in the church as it pleases him. The church of God, as we know, is not some temple made with hands, it is everyone who is called out from among both Judeans and Gentiles. Everyone who is born again is in the church of God, regardless of any religious affiliations. The body of Christ, however, is made up of those who walk by the spirit with Christ as their head, and you are not going to be able to do that if you're a practicing catholic doing what the pope tells you or you're a follower of the Way International doing what their board of directors tell you.
See how this works? When someone in the church of God learns to walk by the spirit with Christ as their head, they become part of the body of Christ. You don't become part of the body of Christ by joining some temple made with hands and taking all their classes, you become part of the body of Christ when you learn to walk by the spirit with Christ as your head. You can know the whole bible and memorise it, but if you don't energise the gift of holy spirit and walk with Christ as your head, all that bible is of no profit to you. Paul didn't care how much bible someone knew, he looked for people who energised spiritual power.
1 Corinthians 4:19,20
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power [dunamis].
For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power [dunamis].
Dunamis is one of a number of Greek words translated power, and it means inherent power, implying that we all have the power source but that it's up to us whether or not we energise that power. Our English words dynamo and dynamic come directly from dunamis. We all have this potential power resident within the gift of holy spirit, but we must energise it. Paul wasn't interested in how many bible classes someone had taken, only in how much spiritual power they were manifesting. Knowledge without power is all you will find in temples made with hands, and that knowledge will be corrupted because they twist scriptures to prop up their particular creaky brand of religious horseshit.
1 Corinthians 2:4,5
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power [dunamis]:
That your faith [believing] should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power [dunamis] of God.
The functioning, energised body of disciples who walk by the spirit with Christ as their head, those who demonstrate the power of God make up the body of Christ, regardless of any organisational affiliations. The body of Christ is absolutely not any man made temple, it is comprised of the church of God, those called out from among both Judeans and Gentiles, who energise the gift of holy spirit by speaking in tongues and who learn to walk by the spirit with Christ as their head.
As everyone within a home church lives this way, there will be increase, and as this increase grows, God places gift ministries where they are needed. These gift ministries are for the perfecting of the saints, the believers, ensuring they are fully equipped and in good repair with everything they need to be successful in the spiritual competition. The gift ministries are also for the work of the ministry (the ministry of reconciliation which is moving the word at the home church level), and they are for the building up of the body of Christ, not for the construction and maintenance of yet more man made temples.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
For the perfecting [katartismos] of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
This word perfecting is quite something. It is the Greek word katartismos which is derived from katartizō, a compound word made up from kata + artios. Thayer defines katartismos as a complete furnishing, a complete equipping, and katartizō as to mend what has been broken, to repair; to fit out, to furnish, to equip; and to strengthen, to complete, to make one what he ought to be. Katartizō can be seen in Mark.
And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending [katartizō] their nets.
What use is a broken net? It won't catch fish. Fishermen keep their nets in good repair. The gift ministries are there to keep the believers in good repair. Artios can be seen in 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:16,17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect [artios], throughly furnished [exartizō] unto all good works.
Thayer defines exartizō as to complete, to furnish or equip perfectly. An excellent way to get a good feel for what a word means is to check other uses of it in the bible. Anyone can pick up a concordance, look up an English word to find its Greek equivalent and then track that Greek word through the new testament to see how it is used. However, if a particular word is not used very often, a good way to get a feel for it is to look at literature written at the same time. Greek writers used exartizō to describe a ship fully prepared and equipped for a long ocean voyage. Before a ship sets sail, it has absolutely everything stashed aboard it will ever need for that voyage. All God-breathed scripture is given that the man of God may be fully equipped, fully furnished with everything he will ever need to voyage through life.
2 Peter 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
However important the word is, it is the Christ in us, the gift of holy spirit, that makes us complete.
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
is a rare fourth conjugation of the Greek verb
and could be translated as totally, utterly, absolutely filled to
capacity. In what or whom are we totally, utterly, absolutely filled to
capacity? We are complete in him, Christ, a reference to the gift of
holy spirit, the Christ in us. We are fully complete, equipped with
absolutely everything we could possibly need to voyage through this
thing called life. We have the word and we have the power of God, and as
if that wasn't enough, God even gives gift ministries where they are
needed to keep us in good repair. What more could God do? There is no
more he can do. He has done everything. Now it's our turn. We have to
switch on the power and manifest this more abundant life.
Now, how these gift ministries help people to become disciples is by living real life with them every day. That was how Jesus Christ moved the word. Jesus Christ didn't lock himself away behind a desk inside a temple constructed by men and grow fat on the tithes and offerings of the people, he moved out in real life and demonstrated God's power in real everyday life, bringing deliverance to God's people. The gift ministries are to be out there in real life, where they can be energised and put to God's work, preaching the word, healing the broken hearted, preaching deliverance to the captives, recovering the sight of the blind, and setting at liberty them that are bruised.
If your idea of being an effective minister of the Lord Jesus Christ is locking yourself away from the world at the headquarters of some religious organisation and sending out magazines, tapes and DVDs to subscribers, you really have no concept of the spiritual competition. Stealing the energised gift ministries from God's people and putting them to work maintaining the headquarters of a temple made with hands strips God's people of the very help they need to grow as disciples. Those gift ministries are given to ensure God's people are in a constant state of good preparedness and repair in the spiritual competition, not to labour away in administrative roles stuck away in offices at the headquarters of temples made with hands.
By the way, gift ministries are given by God, they are not doled out by councils of men just because someone attended some stupid seminary or biblical college. If you think God only gives gift ministries to people at the head of temples constructed and maintained by men, who follow the direction of councils of men rather than walk by the spirit, you really are blind. I don't see anyone anywhere in the bible calling anyone reverend. If that's what you think gift ministries are... well, I don't know what to say. Get out of the ditch.
While we're here, it's time to set a few things straight regarding gift ministries. There are five of them. Pastors is only one of the gift ministries. Everyone loves a pastor hey, because they're so personable and sociable, great to be around, kind and gentle, good at binding up hurts and making people feel good. Sure they are, that's their job, but there are also prophets listed among the gift ministries, and they are just as important as pastors. The problem is, prophets aren't as personable and sociable as pastors, so people don't tend to like them very much, and often regard them as trouble makers. Samuel was a prophet and the people in Bethlehem trembled at his coming.
1 Samuel 16:4
And Samuel did that which the LORD spake, and came to Bethlehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
They were right to tremble. Prophets are the men who face up against the attacks of the devil to protect God's people. Devil spirits energise and operate through people, so it is no surprise then that prophets are in your face if you're not walking by the spirit. As prophets constantly deal with stuff like arrogance, pride, hard heartedness, stubbornness, laziness, and a few other nasty little attitudes, this tends to make people who have those attitudes afraid of them. Prophets don't have many friends.
Conversely, when things are going well and people are living the word, prophets tend to blend into the background, and often you wouldn't even know they were there. They can even seem recluse, watching everything from a distance. They are not generally social men, and often prefer their own company. This is actually a good thing, but to understand it, you have to understand the nature and depth of the spiritual competition.
Consider the white blood cells in the human body. Observing them in a healthy body, one would consider them sluggish, ineffective, lethargic, and useless at patrolling territory much less repelling attacks. That is, until an attack occurs. You see, white blood cells are the body's military special forces.
When the body is punctured, muscle cells contract around the damaged capillary walls damming up the loss of blood. Clotting agents halt the flow of blood at the skin surface. Scavenger cells then appear to clean up debris. Fibril blasts, the body's reweaving cells gather around the injury site to begin repairs. However impressive this all is, the most dramatic event involves the listless white cells. As soon as the human body is punctured, they parachute in from all directions. Using their unique shape changing qualities they can ooze between overlapping cells of capillary walls and even pass through actual tissue in their haste to reach the war zone. When they arrive the battle begins in earnest. White cells contain granules of chemical explosives and as soon as any bacteria are absorbed, the chemicals detonate and destroy the germs that would kill the body. Within a minute, the only cells remaining on the battle field are the white blood cells.
Strip the human body of the white blood cells and that body is going down at the first attack because it has no defences. Stripping home churches of its prophets, getting rid of them because you don't like them is the devil's work. Just because they are in your face when you walk away from the word doesn't mean they're trouble makers. Like white blood cells, their job is to protect the body of Christ and they will smash through walls to take on spiritual attack. Without them, there would be no body of Christ because it would be destroyed. Put all your trust in pastors because they're so nice to everyone and you're going down hard. You prophets out there, you need to understand this stuff too. You are a spiritual warrior and you have a duty to perform, regardless of social acceptance.
William J Bennet stated in a lecture to the United States Naval Academy:
Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?
A Vietnam veteran, a retired colonel once said:
Most of the people in our society are sheep. They are kind, gentle, productive creatures who can only hurt one another by accident. Then there are the wolves, and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial. Then there are sheepdogs, and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf.
Lt Col Dave Grossman wrote in his book, On Combat:
If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen: a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath--a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? Then you are a sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed.
We know that the sheep live in denial; that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools. But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are dozens of times more likely to be killed, and thousands of times more likely to be seriously injured, by school violence than by school fires, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their children is just too hard, so they choose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, cannot and will not ever harm the sheep.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, 'Baa'.
Until the wolf shows up.
The sheepdog is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.
The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, 'Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes.' The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, 'Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.'
Okay, we know we're not referred to as sheep in the bible in the Age of Grace, but it gets the point across. People were referred to as sheep in the old testament because they had no spirit and needed a shepherd with spirit upon them to look after them. In this administration everyone has spirit, so we are no longer sheep in need of a shepherd, but we do need the gift ministries to keep us in good repair.
You prophets out there are to confront spiritual attacks on the body of Christ, so do your job and don't be afraid of social suspicion, distrust and even revulsion among God's people. Do your fucking job and kick butt when butt needs kicked. You believers out there who claim you love God, when a prophet is in your face you had better shut up and listen.
Are you listening? Try this then - telephones are not God's plan for ministering. Telephones serve only to keep God's people who have not been taught how to walk by the spirit enslaved in man made temples. Going to a man or woman with spirit upon them to get help from God was how they did things in the old testament. It is not how God energises in the Age of Grace. If you want answers, go directly to God yourself. You have holy spirit, you are more than a conqueror in every situation, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you, so what do you need a telephone for? Rather than put your trust in God, you'd rather put your trust in a man who is too lazy to get out of bed and come round and see you when you need help? Geez, no wonder the word died.
As a home church leader practices the principles of the book of Acts, God will give increase and eventually he or she will need help to minister and teach effectively. How big does a home church need to be before it branches out? Well, how much work can you handle effectively? Is everyone in your home church having all their need met? If not, it might be time to start thinking about establishing another home church. If you're walking by the spirit, you will already have an assistant who is trained up and ready to handle the responsibility.
How do you know who to select as a home church leader? Well, if you can't see any increase in their lives, it isn't them, that's for sure, and I don't care how many bible classes they've taken, how personable they are, or how many flashy nametags they have. If you are walking by the spirit it is easy to know if someone else is walking by the spirit. If you're not walking by the spirit, you're one of those blind leaders of the blind Jesus Christ warned us about.
Each one win one should be our goal for moving the word. Each one win one - that is the word's way. If a home church consists of two people, and they each win one, you have four. Once those two new people have learned to walk by the spirit and each one wins one again, suddenly there are eight believers. Each one wins one again, and your eight becomes sixteen believers, that home church will need to branch out, and that area will now have two home churches established. Each one wins one again, and before you know it there are thirty two believers walking by the spirit in that area and those two home churches branch out into four.
The man or woman who began the work there still has a responsibility to oversee the move of the word in that area, but he or she is going to need some help. God gives gift ministries to help with the work of the ministry. So if you are a home church leader, give your people room to move and grow. Don't stifle them by trying to be the big patriarch, recognise that each of them has God in Christ in them and that God is energising in them to will and to do of his good pleasure. Your job is to oversee things, not control everything. Give people room to grow and learn to perceive when God is energising in people to will and to do of his good pleasure.
The point is, what you've built up is your responsibility, but you're going to need some help, you can't do it all yourself. Believers are going to be hurt, so there needs to be a pastor around to take care of people. The devil is going to attack, so there needs to be a prophet around. See how it works? This isn't difficult. Don't be a patriarch and stifle the spirit in everyone, thinking you are the only one God gives revelation to. Let people grow and encourage them to walk by the spirit for themselves. In this Age of Grace we're not playing follow the leader, we have to learn to make Christ our head and quit trying to be the head ourselves or making other men our head. We need to get our minds out of the gutter of the temple rut and think more in terms of the Christ in every one of us.
Look, who did God give the ministry of reconciliation to? The Way International? The pope? The Muslims? The jehovah's witnesses? No, he gave the ministry to you. The ministry is not some man made temple, it is something God gave to everyone born into the church of God. It is one of your sonship rights.
2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
Another thing, I don't see anywhere in the bible in this Administration of Grace where people were forced to join some organisation in return for being taught the word. Forcing people to join your particular brand of religion and prove their allegiance to you before giving them the word is bribery. Holding back the word until people have become entrenched in your man made temple system before giving them the depth of the word is worse than bribery. You are no better than the vatican who have locked away the word in their catacombs and would read the bible in Latin could they get away with it.
God gave to us the ministry of reconciliation. That means it's our job to do the work of the ministry. The ministry is not any man made temple. Each of us is to take responsibility for those God has entrusted to our care. Every man is to prove his own work. That's how this thing moves. We all have Christ in us, so we all have the ability to do this. God even committed to us his word, so we can move this ministry and learn to walk with Christ as our head.
2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
To whom did God commit his word? Us, collectively, we who are part of the church of God, which is who Corinthians is addressed to. Whose responsibility then is the ministry of reconciliation? God's? Jesus Christ's? The angels? No, it's our responsibility. God gave that responsibility to us. God isn't going to do it, nor is Jesus Christ, and nor are the angels. This is our thing. This is what makes us ambassadors for Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
When the Ethiopian eunuch needed someone to teach him, God didn't send an angel to do the ministry of reconciliation, he sent an angel who told Philip to go and see him.
And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.
Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
When Jesus Christ confronted Saul at the gates of Damascus, he didn't teach him the word or minister to him, that job was given to a disciple called Ananias.
And he [Saul] trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [Jesus Christ] said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Jesus Christ does not have the ministry of reconciliation, neither does God, and neither do the angels, that's why Ananias was sent to see Paul. The ministry of reconciliation is our job, our responsibility. When the angel appeared to the Gentile Cornelius, the angel didn't teach him anything, it simply told him to send for Peter because the ministry of reconciliation was Peter's job not the angel's job.
And when he [Cornelius] looked on him [the angel], he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
You see, the ministry of reconciliation was not given to anyone else but us. That's why the angel told Cornelius to send for Peter. In other words, if we don't do this thing, it won't get done.
There is a time for all things. It is time to leave the world's temples, establish home churches, do the work of the ministry and build up the body of Christ. The world has never been in such need and it is up to us to do it. We have absolutely everything we will ever need to do that job in the gift of holy spirit. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. We are totally, utterly, absolutely filled to capacity with the gift of holy spirit, the Christ in us, and God has committed to us his word. When we live life as families, energise the power we have and speak all the words of this life as we have opportunity, then we truly are ambassadors for Christ and the word will live.
Chapter 48 - Self Supporting