the old church new church

The preachers say, “Go to church on Sunday and don’t forget to bring your money!” Jesus said, “Go out into the highways and the byways and compel them to come in!” And he wasn’t talking about a building; he was talking about into the kingdom of God, into the love of God! Luke 14:23. The average church preacher says today‚ “Be sure you feed me‚” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep!” John 21:16.  The average church today says, “Let’s build a great building!” Jesus said, “Go out and make disciples of all nations.” Matthew 28:19 the average church says today, “Let’s organize a big denomination!” Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. The average church today says, “Be good, go to church and you’re a Christian!” Jesus said, “He that keeps my commandments, he it is that loves me.” And they said, “What are the greatest commandments?” he said, “to love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself.” wow!—nothing about going to church! The greatest commandment of the church today is, “don’t miss church on Sunday!”  Jesus said, “Don’t miss the will of God! Go out after the lost. Don’t wait for them to come to you.”

There are a number of important issues that Jesus and the modern church don’t see eye to eye on.

There is also no mention of a church BUILDING throughout the entire New Testament. Jesus never once taught that His followers were to meet in a specific BUILDING or the “house of God”, as they’re wrongly called today. In fact, He taught just the OPPOSITE! When He was asked WHERE people should go to WORSHIP, He answered, “Believe Me, the time is coming, and now IS, when you will worship the Father neither (at the temple) on this mountain, nor (at the temple) in Jerusalem! For the TRUE WORSHIPPERS will worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH! For the Father SEEKS such people to worship Him!”–John 4:23,24

We are told in Hebrews 1O:25, “Let us NOT FORSAKE the ASSEMBLING of ourselves TOGETHER, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us ENCOURAGE one another, and all the more as you see the Day (of Jesus’ Return) approaching.” The Lord knew that we needed united fellowship with other Christians for our own inspiration and for spiritual refreshing, and for being strengthened by His Word. There’s just something about UNITED prayer and fellowship that really brings down the Lord’s BLESSING!–See Acts 4:32-33.

It’s important to understand, however, that meeting together for fellowship and spiritual renewing–whether it is done in a church building, a great Cathedral, a private home or a thatched hut–is NOT our “SERVICE” for the Lord. Many people have the mistaken impression that by merely going to CHURCH and giving an offering, they have FULFILLED their obligation to God.

Obviously this is not all, because a Christian’s obligation, as Jesus COMMANDED us, is to “PREACH the GOSPEL to every person”!–Mark 16:15. Our actual WORK and SERVICE for the Lord is in our everyday LIVING for Him, in our WITNESSING to others, showing them love and pointing them towards Salvation. THIS is our service to God!

In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus sent His disciples out to minister to the people. It was a great deal of work, and when they’d FINISHED their SERVICE, Jesus said to them, ‘Come ASIDE into a QUIET place, and REST a while.'” Likewise today, there is a great difference between our SERVICE for the Lord and our “gathering ourselves together unto Jesus”, and “coming aside to REST” to be re-inspired! Verses 3O-31

Another interesting point brought out in this passage is the fact that it isn’t necessary for Christians to have a fancy religious building, cathedral or so-called “house of God” to meet in for fellowship and time with the Lord. For its first 2OO YEARS of existence, Christianity had NO buildings, and Christians just met wherever they could. Jesus said, “WHEREVER two or three are gathered together in My name, THERE am I in their midst!”–Matthew 18:2O.

All throughout New Testament times, the Church thrived and grew and got along fine without any church buildings or “houses of God”! Apart from holding secret meetings in forests, catacombs etc., the only meeting places that Christians had were their HOMES. Repeatedly the Apostle Paul refers to “the CHURCH that is in your HOUSE”.–Romans 16:5; 1Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2. Note that the house itself was not the Church, but the “Church” MET in their houses!

Mr. Pastor, is filling your heart with the things of this world, cars, building huge buildings, and making business out of religion and 

calling it “prosperity” or “God’s blessing”, the true message of Jesus Christ found in the Gospels? If you want to be a businessman, fine, do it with all your heart, but don’t bring your business to church, or worse, make church your business! Jesus whipped the money changers out of the temple that day.  Don’t you remember reading that in your Bible? Today many of those money—changers have become the pastors and spiritual leaders of our communities. If Jesus was here today, how would He rate your church in this matter? Has that spirit of business entered the true temple of your heart. 2 Corinthians 6: 16. If  the upkeep of your church and salary and car or cars takes most of  your congregations hard-earned  savings, then who is going to pay for their children’s food, clothing and schooling? Is your church only for the rich? 

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock”. (1 Peter: 5:2,3)

Make Jesus your first and true Love today by praying the following prayer.

“Dear Jesus, please come into my heart, I believe you died  and were raised from the dead in payment for my sins and mistakes, please give me Your free gift of eternal life in Jesus Name, Amen”.

 

Read: Matthew 23:1-10

.The Great Deception (Tract) 

The Great Deception   The Great Deception   The Great Deception  The Great Deception

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OLD CHURCH NEW CHURCH

 part 3

01

utter dependence

Faith isn’t some great thing, some glorious feeling, or some wonderful sensation‚ as many may think. It’s simply taking God at His Word. Faith is utter dependence on the truthfulness, the faithfulness of God.–Virginia Brandt Berg

02

expect to see results

Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). Therefore, if you expect to see the results of your faith, you have to show that you have confidence in your faith and are willing to put it into action and take steps in that direction.

03

faith requires action

Some people look on faith as magic–that they just say that they have it, and whoosh, the miracles happen. But that’s a bit of an unrealistic outlook on faith, because faith requires action. You must put feet to your faith and do your part. Sometimes “doing your part” is taking practical steps and doing something in the physical. Sometimes it’s taking action in the spirit, by using the spiritual weapons and by laboring in prayer.

 

04

faith is a muscle

Faith is a muscle you work, you tone, and you strengthen–and each challenge you face is another chance for your faith muscle to grow and stretch.

05

faith is more than a prayer

Faith will do more than just pray a prayer asking for God’s help; faith will seek Him for the requirements, the action on your part that will help bring about the miracle–whether that is physical action or spiritual action.

06

trust & faith

Faith and trust walk hand in hand, and very seldom do they walk alone.

07

faith and love are similar

When you decide to do something loving, or reach out in love to someone, do you wonder if you’ll have enough love? Love is an action muscle, and it grows the more you use it–just like faith.

08

the reward of faith

And as far as what you can do toward exercising your faith: don’t be afraid to welcome tests and experiences that stretch your faith. And even if afterwards you look back at the situation or challenge and feel that your faith didn’t really quite meet the mark, so what? You still haven’t lost, because you’ve grown from the experience. You may not see or understand how you’ve grown, but you will nevertheless receive the reward of faith no matter what the outcome, and the reward of faith is growth.

09

real faith

Real faith isn’t contingent on results. You don’t strengthen your faith by the events around you; you strengthen your faith through trusting Me despite the events around you.

10

faith is endurance

Faith isn’t manifested only in your ability to receive immediate, miraculous answers to prayer; it is also manifested in endurance, longsuffering, and the ability and patience to keep on fighting even when you don’t see immediate responses or action as a result of your prayers and claiming the keys (Mat. 16:19). So let patience have her perfect work, so that your faith can be whole, and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4).

                                                              
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How do you strengthen your faith?   How do you strengthen your faith?   How do you strengthen your faith?

 PART TWO

eradicate fear and doubt

 You must not entertain fears that your faith will fail if you put it into action. Fear and faith cannot coexist; if you pray a prayer of faith, but harbor fear in your heart, then you lack real faith. Will you feed your faith or your fear? Faith is not surprised when Jesus answers; faith expected it. Faith doesn’t even consider the possibility of defeat or failure. Faith knows. Is your faith that strong‚ that durable? If not‚ maybe your heart is too full of fears and doubts. Those must be eradicated through the fumigation of God’s Word if you really want your faith to grow and flourish.

Accept Jesus’ love and expect great things

 You can’t have faith if you don’t feel worthy of asking for more or greater things from Him, or if you figure that while He may have done a miracle for so-and-so, He can’t possibly do the same for you. Jesus doesn’t play favorites; what He did for others, He will do for you too—according to your faith (Matthew 9:29). Every promise in the Bible can be yours, whether you feel worthy of it or not. If you do your part to have faith and meet the Lord’s conditions, Jesus will do His part to fulfill the promise. Why don’t you apply some of those promises despite your feelings and give Him a chance to prove Himself to you? You are worthy simply because He has deemed you worthy. Now‚ expect great things from Him!

rise above physical situations and conditions

 Do not allow the way things seem in the physical realm to overwhelm you and hinder your faith. You must focus on Jesus and His power instead. There are difficulties, there are impossibilities, there are huge needs and sometimes setbacks. Then there’s the God of the universe, Who supplied the entire world with water, plants, animals, life‚ time, order, seasons, and much more‚ in only six days. Weigh your needs against His greatness and remind yourself that He is more than able. Then ask of Him, focusing only on His ability‚ and the promise that there is nothing too hard for Him to do.

allow the lord to work in your life in the way he knows is best

 Learn to recognize the way that Jesus uses things in your life to strengthen your faith, and yield to them. Grow through the tests that come your way. Hold on when you’re going through tough times, and let Him strengthen you. Choose to get the most mileage that you can out of whatever battles you face by looking to Him, by hearing from Him, and by fighting, and then receiving the enhanced faith and confidence that He gives you once the battle is over. If you make the right decisions, then the battles and tests and trials of life strengthen your faith rather than weaken it.

How do you strengthen your faith?   How do you strengthen your faith?   How do you strengthen your faith?

  

Here are some of the main ways that you can strengthen your faith and rise above the circumstances that might try to drag it down:

  • Take the Word into your life. Drinking in the Word, absorbing it deep within you on a daily basis, and allowing it to become a part of your life is the most important thing that you can do to boost your faith. “Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).
  • Live the Word. Living the Word plays a huge role in the strengthening and effectiveness of your faith. Your faith will be as active as your obedience to the Word. On the other hand, disobedience encages your faith—confines and limits it. When you’re disobedient, you cannot have faith that God will bless you or that He will answer your prayers. Disobedience locks up your faith, but confessing your faults‚ asking for forgiveness, and starting fresh will set your faith free to once again expect great things from the Lord.
  • Employ willpower. Faith requires action. Faith means effort. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:26). It takes work to put your faith into action, to take a stand of faith. So don’t take the easy way of letting things remain as they are, but have the willpower to put your faith into action.

  • Use the positive power of praise. Praise is the voice of faith. Praise invites the fruits of faith into your life. When you praise, it’s like pumping up your muscles of faith. Praise prepares your faith for the job at hand: calling down miracles and expecting results.
  • Overcome discouragement. When you’re discouraged‚ you’re not praising. Praise strengthens your faith. Discouragement puts your head in the mud instead of lifted to the sky of God’s promises. Discouragement threatens your faith and eats away at it, which is why it must be fought against with praise.

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How do you strengthen your faith?    How do you strengthen your faith?     How do you strengthen your faith? 

  Great faith must have great trials

For the contestant, running a race of faith, can be, at times, likened to running a 400-meter surge on the last lap of a marathon. There is one feature in that last 400 meters that must be unquestionable; paying no heed to the enemy who is right there at your side threatening your conquest.  

I had the privilege to spectate such a race this past week; it was a memorable race, with an extraordinary finish!

This is how it unfolded and how it was won.

The contestant—my daughter’s boyfriend, the support crew—mainly children who possessed that matter-of-fact variety of faith, the race setting -one that many of us face many times in our lives, financial trouble.

In reflection, the runner made a few key moves that I believe won him the race.  His race-end perspective may be different, but as a spectator this is what I saw. On the back stretch, with his eye on the post, his primary move was to share his fears and ask for prayer. “Asking for united prayer and being willing to share your lessons and your heart is so helpful and such a good thing. It’s good for your humility, and united prayer is a powerful force for good and change. The power that we have when we pray unitedly is tremendous—much greater than one of us just praying on our own, no matter how desperately.”

That last 400; when you are struck with the realization that what you are facing is truly beyond your own strength. The props have gone, the training, race preparation and experience are all forgotten, only you, the enemy and…the finish line! It was at this point that our brave winner let go! Have you ever watched “Chariots of Fire”? At that point in the race when you are spent and God takes over, you throw it all into the arms of your Savior. Oh the elation, the reckless, wholesome praiseful abandon, the magic formula of faith, the substance of things hoped,  the evidence of things not seen—crossing that line with raised arms in praise to a God that promised He would not fail in one of His precious promises—was realized in the last 400.

“These battles of faith should show you that you need to move higher in the spirit so that the things of the world don’t have such influence on you. It is entirely possible because Jesus has given you spiritual weapons that are stronger and have much more power than that enemy breathing down your neck. This is how Jesus teaches you how to use them.”

Our story unfolds as our young man, experienced in business and making money, finds himself in a situation where his experience, training and preparation miserably fail him. It was one of those measured frustrating defeats that come upon one slowly and almost hopelessly. The extenuating circumstances could be blamed on others, the situation, or whatever, but in this case, our man of faith realized he was in line for a lesson. Wisdom begins to reveal a maker behind the cookie on his plate. The past and the future all rush into one single point of focus, “I gotta get out of this hole, but how? I have nothing left; what I thought was possible is no longer what it once seemed.”

 At what point in the marathon he came to me, I don’t know, but it truly looked like the last 400 meters to me. He had stepped out by faith and booked his and my daughters airline tickets without any physical means of supporting the idea. “God showed me to do it” is what he told me. Well, for me, that was like a green light. We gathered those “crazy faith” kids of ours, explained the basic battlefield layout. The war room was set up and the fight began. There was money owed, but it was not happening. The prayers continued unabated hourly for one week—zero results.  The last 400 meters was coming into view, it was time to “let go”.  “Oh God I can’t do this!” “No, you can’t, because this race was designed in such a way that only I can”, God replied.  Our man of faith crosses the magical 400 meter barrier,  and with two days to go, God takes over!  Some money arrives at the door, part payment from someone who owed. The next morning another domino falls -a friend agrees to take on the burden of retrieving another debt after our man leaves the country, and hands over the money still owed! Victory!

But wait, there is still one day left, surely God is not finished. Where is the winner’s laurel? Where does the “Well done thy good and faithful servant” part come in? The former came as many miracles do, unexpected yet hoped for. In this case, it was found under the seat of his car in the form of a wad of cash that till that point had remained a secreted stash waiting for the right key to unlock it. Now the key was one of those special Heavenly ones called “the law of love”. And it was manifested by a good deed. Someone’s car had broken down outside his house and he went out to help them, and during the operation needed a spanner, which he remembered was under the back seat of his pick-up.  He reached inside the toolbox only to find a bank note in his hand!! He went in again, another and another and yet another bank note emerged.  Forty-one high denomination bills came forth from the window of Heaven.

“I promise to lead you through to a place of victory that cannot be taken away from you.”

The Last 400   The Last 400    The Last 400     The Last 400     The Last 400     The Last 400