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Is It True That Christians Shouldn’t Judge

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But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:11-13).

 

It has been said that the most quoted scripture in the Bible is John 3:16. I dispute that and say there is another scripture that is quoted more often, not just by Christians, but by the world too. To be fair, the scripture that I am referring to is not quoted in entirety and it is paraphrased. Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Here is how it is most often said, “Thou shall not judge,” or “Who are you to judge?” If you would ask most people if it is alright to judge anyone, most would say no. Christians and sinners alike, are growing more resistant to the idea of anyone judging their life. I can understand non-believers hate being judged, but true followers of Christ need to understand that it is biblical to judge the body of Christ.

Many Christians have a hard time with the whole thought of judging others. One of the biggest reasons is they do not judge themselves. If believers never evaluate their walk with the Lord, then they may feel uncomfortable with judging others in the body of Christ, and rightfully so. There is nothing that makes one a hypocrite more than rebuking others for sin, when the one who is rebuking everyone is himself living a sinful life. No doubt we have way too many so called believers who live carnal lives and yet are judging and condemning other believers for their short comings. No one appreciates these kind of people speaking into their life.

Even for Christians who do live godly lives, they still may find it hard to judge the body of Christ. That is the reason for this article. Good righteous judgment is very important for the body of Christ to help keep her healthy. It is meant for the good of the individual believer and the whole of the body of Christ. Any of us can get drawn away into idolatry or some other sinful thing. It is a beautiful thing, though not comfortable at first, when a brother or sister sees a saint who is overtaken by sin and lovingly confronts them with the hope they would repent and get back to right standing with the Lord.

Before any believer should judge another they need to remember this important thing. Judging needs to start with yourself first. This is one time you can put yourself first. You need to examine your own life before you speak up to others about theirs.

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 3:5)?

 

When you do examine yourself, don’t see how you stack up against man, but see how your life lines up with the word of God. Ask God what He thinks of your walk, not man. I am sure many people appreciate the medical experts teaching us different self-examination techniques we can perform on our bodies to detect unwanted growths that could lead to death. How much more, should we as believers, be thankful that we can examine our walk to see if there is something there that could lead to spiritual death. When the Holy Spirit does put His finger on something in our lives we must then confess it and forsake it. He is a loving God that is patient and always willing to forgive us by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The Christian who has sinned at times and then made it right with God, will understand how a believer can fall into sin, and will be much more patient and loving in their judging a brother or sister. They won’t be doing it with a self-righteous spirit. They will do it in such a way that even the one who is being judged should recognize the love. We already read Matthew 7:1, now let’s look at the next two verses. We will see how this speaks to the thought that we can judge only after we dealt with the things in our life.

 

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye” (Matthew 7:2-3)?

 

Verse two tells us that when we do judge, we are opening ourselves to be judged the same way. So if you don’t want to be judged by self-righteous people, then you better not judge in self-righteousness. If you don’t want people condemning you for your sinful failures, then don’t go condemning anyone else. In verse three we learn that it is alright to judge another believer, after we get the beam out of our own eye. It is then that we can judge righteously. It is then we can judge in love. The true heart behind righteous judgment is always for the sake of the believer and the body of Christ.

There are those saints who are the most eager to judge their fellow brethren. If you are one of them, make sure your life is right, make sure your heart is pure and make sure it is righteous judgment. The heart of judging anyone must always be for restoration and the desire for the one being judged to live a life that brings glory to God. If one who claims to be a Christian and refuses to repent of a sinful life, then for the sake and spiritual health of the body, that one must be removed. This is a right judgment. In fact, God expects us to have such a love for the body that we should not allow any person, no matter how much they may be loved, to be a cancer to the body of Christ. If the Bible says, “…put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” then a judgment has to be made about that person living in sin. We are not even so supposed to eat with a brother or sister who is living a sinful life. This does not mean that we can’t eat with any Christian who sins. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be able to eat with me. I have sinned many times since I have become a believer, but the difference is that I have confessed those sins to the Lord. It is the person who refuses to repent and continues to live in open sin that the body of Christ must put out. This isn’t an easy thing to do. I have done it a few times in my church because I love Christ and His body too much to allow any individuals to spread their sin amongst the church. So to conclude; Yes judging is right, as long as it is done right.

 

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).

Who Do They See

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One of the biggest problems we have today, is that when sinners and saints alike, look at the church, they see man more than they see Christ. They see the personality of men; not that men shouldn’t have personalities. They see the agenda of men; not that men can’t have agendas. But it is the Lord’s personality and agenda that must be seen. The problem is, there is not enough of Christ in many of our churches to catch the attention of people. Fleshy, earthy saints sit on the throne.

What people see the most of when they enter a church is that which stands out the most. They hear what is the loudest. The prevailing attitude and the spirit of a people who are gathered together is what will impress those who have come to participate. If there is no Christ, then He is not seen or heard. I am not saying there is not a measure of Christ in many of the churches. If that were the case, they would not be churches at all. In some cases, maybe many, the gathering of so-called believers is nothing more than a formal obligation that is just a part of their weekly routine.

One thing the Lord has made known to me is that His heart burns for His church. How do I know that? I feel it every time I draw close to God in heartfelt prayer. It is there that He exposes me to the burden He has for His people to love Him with all their heart, soul and mind. Some of you saints may not be accustomed to thinking that God can have a burden. We usually attribute that to our lives. We think, “I am the one that has burdens.” However, Jesus did say that we should take His yoke upon us and that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

There is one thing that I think all men experience, who have been given a special burden from the Lord. It is a feeling of frustration, or inadequacy in the seemingly impossibility of ever seeing that burden fulfilled. Questions like, “What can I really do about it” or “How could I possibly make a difference,” can rise up in the mind of those who share in the Lord’s burden.

Well, there is one thing that can be done every time the burden of the Lord is felt and that is to take it to the Lord in prayer. This is exactly what I do when His burden is placed on me. What I am doing when I pray is this: as God puts His burden on me, I put it back on Him. That does not mean that I am refusing to accept the burden, it means that I realize I cannot accomplish one breath of that work without Him doing all that He does. He wills it, He leads it and He anoints it.

I heard stories of men who had such incredible burdens. Of one preacher, it was reported that while he was traveling on his horse to minister from town to town, he would get so burdened that one time he stopped to pray and the snow around him melted. Robert Murray McCheyne, a Scottish preacher, could be heard in the streets weeping for the lost. I have to confess I have never had God’s burden come on me that strong. Does that make me feel bad or even somewhat uncommitted? Yes, but I find peace when I am reminded that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. It also helps tremendously that the spirit helps me to pray. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).

Anyway, getting back to the church and the lack of Christ being seen. Have you ever had to explain to someone that such and such a person, who is connected to you in some way, really does not represent you? Contractors are often criticized for shady deals. Yet, that doesn’t mean every contractor is a cheat. Lawyers are often criticized for being crooked and many jokes made about them, yet there are attorneys who have much integrity. People are quick to make others guilty by association. So too with the church. Many true saints of God are looked upon as hypocrites just by their being associated with the church that has in many ways turned fleshy and carnal. So we must be more mindful of that and pray and work toward seeing our association with the carnal church severed. What you hear from people today is, “All the church wants is my money.” Or, “If that man I work with is a Christian, why would I ever want to go to his church?” Another sad thing that people see is the church fighting amongst themselves. How could they possibly see Christ as the center? I know a man who several decades ago was powerfully delivered from drugs. His brother had already died from an overdose and this man, who has since become a good friend of mine, was headed in the same direction. Well, after he was marvelously saved, you would think the church would be overwhelmed with God’s delivering power. Of course some were, but the church started to reject him just because he parted his hair down the middle.

The devil has been very effective at getting the church to be about other things or people instead of being about the main person who is Jesus Christ. Imagine if you would, when you take all your bad church experiences, how different they would have been if every situation was approached with this thought: THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME, THIS IS ABOUT CHRIST. That would mean that man’s ideas and agendas would be secondary, if there was any room for some of them at all. That would mean that at the expense of your hurt feelings, Christ would be exalted. I am not saying every time your feelings are hurt Christ is exalted, but there are many times He could and would be. If He is exalted when your feelings are hurt, I would hope you would open yourself up to any onslaught of criticism and rejection. After all Jesus said, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake” (Matthew 5:11).

People don’t see the church being about Christ because those in the church don’t make it about Him. The point of this whole article is to challenge us all to be determined to see the church once again reveal Christ to everyone who will enter a fellowship of true believers. Now to see Christ, does not mean that men will not be noticed. One of the most influential men in my life was Brother B. H. Clendennen. When he visited our church, he stayed at my house, I ate with him and I can tell you he was as normal as you or me. When he preached I heard him and I saw him, yet my testimony is that when I heard him preach, I saw Christ. I was given a revelation of Christ that I never had before.

This is what the church needs in this closing hour. She needs to be able to reveal the life-giving, sin-forgiving, Son of God to all who come looking for Him. Don’t let men walk away from your meeting just seeing you and the brethren. You may be real nice people. But people need the power of God. Pray that people will walk away knowing they have been in the presence of Almighty God.

The Church Has A Hole In It

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Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes” (Haggai 1:6).

 

There are a lot of activities churches are engaged in these days. There are loads of programs inside the church setting and there are evangelistic and social outreaches of various kinds that go on outside the church. I am speaking for the most part about the church in America. There is also the other side where a large part of the church membership is happy to go and fulfill their little Sunday morning commitment and then go on the rest of the week with their worldly business as usual. On one hand, we have a church that is busy with doing a lot of things like the church in Ephesus who lost their first love. “And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:3-4). Then on the other hand, we have a church like the one that is seen in Samaria when the king of Assyria sent men from Babylon and other nations to go and dwell there. “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof…. . They feared the LORD, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence” (II Kings 17:24,33). The last verse of the chapter says, “So these nations feared the LORD, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day” (II Kings 17:41). So from generation to generation, we have had a church full of Babylonians who claim they fear the Lord, but they serve their graven images. People may not literally bow down to statues, but when men seek after riches and success, instead of God, then they are serving false idols. Come on saints, you know there are those who say they love God, but yet they still serve their appetites and seek acceptance in this world. They go through the religious rituals on Sunday morning and then live like the world from Sunday afternoon till church starts again next Sunday.

With much of the church in the condition that she is in, she is like a bag with a hole in it. I have lost some change because I put them in my pant pocket that had a hole in it. What if the church were to experience a great successful season of evangelism and lost sinners were coming to Christ. If the church continues to have a hole in it, those new members of the body of Christ will enter the church, but will eventually fall out of the church.

I am convinced that this is the reason the Lord has put such a strong burden on my heart for His church. That is why the focus of ministry today needs to be concerned with the spiritual health of the church first. Ministers, as well as the whole body of Christ need to once again understand the reason the church exists. To make as simple of an analogy as possible, I ask this question. If you were going berry picking, but discovered your container had a hole in it, would you not close up the hole first before you went to pick the berries? Of course you would. In the same way, don’t you think the Lord wants the church to be strong and healthy with no hole in it before He is going to put a fresh picked harvest in it?

I have a thought that I want to share with you. It is certainly not a conventional thought of our day. What if the Lord is postponing the conversion of souls until the church seals up the hole that is in her? What if the Spirit of God is keeping conviction down, in particular lost souls, until He has a church that is ready to receive them? Could it be that the Spirit is withholding His power to save souls until the timing is right? Just as you would not be so foolish as to collect berries in a container with a hole, God as well would not be so foolish as to save people only to put them in a place that they would just fall out and be lost again. Haggai says, you sow much, but bring in little. This could be the very reason much sowing is being done by the church, but little has come in. It could be the very hand of God that keeps the lost reserved for a day when His vessel, His church, is mended and ready to be filled with souls.

I suppose there are some skeptical Christians who would think that the church will never be mended. I am not one of those. I have the highest hope that God will have for Himself, in this generation and this nation, a church that will fully represent Him. A church that represents Christ and has an abundance of His presence amongst them, is a church that has no hole in it. It is a safe place. It is a place where God can send freshly saved souls to grow. A place He knows they will be discipled and perfected into real genuine men and women of God.

I have run into many so-called Christians who don’t believe in church any more. Some of them are just rebels against authority or not even really Christians. But then there are those genuine born-again believers who have been hurt by the church to such a point that they no longer attend. There are those people who were saved, but then brought into a church that has a lot of false doctrine or a lot of bickering and it eventually left them on the outside all confused. I know of a precious elderly sister in Christ who found herself, after many years of faithful church attendance, being rejected by some of the saints in her church. They would force on her some false doctrines that had come in. The church developed a hole and she fell out. She was so frustrated that she said she would never attend church again. Thank the Lord that she was not true to those words and did find a healthy church. Now she flows with such love she has become a patch to close up any hole.

When churches forget that they are called to make disciples, not just converts, then a hole is created. The main reason the church is to gather is, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12). When the ministers and elders of any church understand this, then it keeps their churches from having a hole in it. It is then that they can begin to sow much and reap much.

I understand that any believer can fall away from the church, but let it not be because the church has a hole in it.

Is It True, That Christians Shouldn’t Judge?

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“But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (I Corinthians 5:11-13).

 

It has been said that the most quoted scripture in the Bible is John 3:16. I dispute that and say there is another scripture that is quoted more often, not just by Christians, but by the world too. To be fair, the scripture that I am referring to is not quoted in entirety and it is paraphrased. Matthew 7:1 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Here is how it is most often said, “Thou shall not judge,” or “Who are you to judge?” If you would ask most people if it is alright to judge anyone, most would say no. Christians and sinners alike, are growing more resistant to the idea of anyone judging their life. I can understand non-believers hate being judged, but true followers of Christ need to understand that it is biblical to judge the body of Christ.

Many Christians have a hard time with the whole thought of judging others. One of the biggest reasons is they do not judge themselves. If believers never evaluate their walk with the Lord, then they may feel uncomfortable with judging others in the body of Christ, and rightfully so. There is nothing that makes one a hypocrite more than rebuking others for sin, when the one who is rebuking everyone is himself living a sinful life. No doubt we have way too many so called believers who live carnal lives and yet are judging and condemning other believers for their short comings. No one appreciates these kind of people speaking into their life.

Even for Christians who do live godly lives, they still may find it hard to judge the body of Christ. That is the reason for this article. Good righteous judgment is very important for the body of Christ to help keep her healthy. It is meant for the good of the individual believer and the whole of the body of Christ. Any of us can get drawn away into idolatry or some other sinful thing. It is a beautiful thing, though not comfortable at first, when a brother or sister sees a saint who is overtaken by sin and lovingly confronts them with the hope they would repent and get back to right standing with the Lord.

Before any believer should judge another they need to remember this important thing. Judging needs to start with yourself first. This is one time you can put yourself first. You need to examine your own life before you speak up to others about theirs.

 

“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates” (II Corinthians 3:5)?

 

When you do examine yourself, don’t see how you stack up against man, but see how your life lines up with the word of God. Ask God what He thinks of your walk, not man. I am sure many people appreciate the medical experts teaching us different self-examination techniques we can perform on our bodies to detect unwanted growths that could lead to death. How much more, should we as believers, be thankful that we can examine our walk to see if there is something there that could lead to spiritual death. When the Holy Spirit does put His finger on something in our lives we must then confess it and forsake it. He is a loving God that is patient and always willing to forgive us by the blood of His Son Jesus Christ.

The Christian who has sinned at times and then made it right with God, will understand how a believer can fall into sin, and will be much more patient and loving in their judging a brother or sister. They won’t be doing it with a self-righteous spirit. They will do it in such a way that even the one who is being judged should recognize the love. We already read Matthew 7:1, now let’s look at the next two verses. We will see how this speaks to the thought that we can judge only after we dealt with the things in our life.

 

“For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye” (Matthew 7:2-3)?

 

Verse two tells us that when we do judge, we are opening ourselves to be judged the same way. So if you don’t want to be judged by self-righteous people, then you better not judge in self-righteousness. If you don’t want people condemning you for your sinful failures, then don’t go condemning anyone else. In verse three we learn that it is alright to judge another believer, after we get the beam out of our own eye. It is then that we can judge righteously. It is then we can judge in love. The true heart behind righteous judgment is always for the sake of the believer and the body of Christ.

There are those saints who are the most eager to judge their fellow brethren. If you are one of them, make sure your life is right, make sure your heart is pure and make sure it is righteous judgment. The heart of judging anyone must always be for restoration and the desire for the one being judged to live a life that brings glory to God. If one who claims to be a Christian and refuses to repent of a sinful life, then for the sake and spiritual health of the body, that one must be removed. This is a right judgment. In fact, God expects us to have such a love for the body that we should not allow any person, no matter how much they may be loved, to be a cancer to the body of Christ. If the Bible says, “…put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” then a judgment has to be made about that person living in sin. We are not even so supposed to eat with a brother or sister who is living a sinful life. This does not mean that we can’t eat with any Christian who sins. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be able to eat with me. I have sinned many times since I have become a believer, but the difference is that I have confessed those sins to the Lord. It is the person who refuses to repent and continues to live in open sin that the body of Christ must put out. This isn’t an easy thing to do. I have done it a few times in my church because I love Christ and His body too much to allow any individuals to spread their sin amongst the church. So to conclude; Yes judging is right, as long as it is done right.

 

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” (Galatians 6:1-3).

 

Be Filled With the Spirit

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And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

 

So, have you been filled with the Holy Spirit yet? Do you think it may be a little abrupt to start off with such a question, especially when there are so many other important topics in the Bible? The apostle Paul didn’t think so. That was the first question he asked the disciples he found in Ephesus.

 

He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts 19:2).

 

Evidently, it must be of the utmost importance for a saint of God to be filled with the Spirit for Paul to immediately ask this question. So again I ask, have you received the Spirit since you believed? I know some teach that you get all the Spirit you are going to get upon salvation. If that were true, then Paul would not have asked them this question. If that were so, then the elders in Jerusalem would not have sent Peter and John to lay hands on the new believers in Samaria that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

One day I was talking with another preacher about being filled with the Spirit. He then asked me, “How can you just have some of the Spirit?” I could not give him a suitable answer that day, but I do know the Bible speaks of this second work of God referred to as the baptism of the Spirit or being filled with the Spirit. Most of us know that baptism means immersion, so the baptism of the Spirit means an immersion into or of the Holy Spirit. Who can explain it? We don’t have to be able to explain something for it to be true. Who can explain the triune God? Who can explain that God always was? It is very clear in the Bible that Jesus commanded His disciples to wait until they receive this baptism or filling of the Holy Spirit before they went to make disciples of nations. The reason is because you can’t win souls unless you have an enduement of power from on high.

John 20:22 teaches us that the disciples received at least a measure of the Spirit when Jesus breathed on them.

 

And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).

 

What happened to those disciples when the resurrected Jesus came into their room that day is similar to what happened in the second chapter of 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” (Genesis 2:7).

 

Just as God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living soul, Jesus breathed on His disciples and their spirits came alive. They were the first people to be born again. They were the first to be a brand new creature. Adam was born on earth, the disciples were born from above. Adam was earthly, the disciples were heavenly. In the garden, flesh was born, in that room with Jesus, the spirit was born. Hallelujah! Fifty days later they became filled with the Spirit. May I remind you that ALL of those 120 were filled with the Spirit that day? That tells me there was not a wolf or goat in the room. There was only wheat, no tares. Since there was both men and women in the room it teaches us that the baptism is for both men and women. Since there were more people than just the apostles, it teaches us that all believers can be filled with the Spirit, not just ministers. Acts 2:4 says, “And they were ALL filled with the Holy Ghost….” That Spirit-filled church in the upper room is our ideal pattern. Do you believe the church can be like that again?

Jesus commanded His disciples to go and wait in Jerusalem until they receive power from on high. Before Jesus ascended to heaven he told His disciples:

 

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

 

The disciples may have thought they were ready to take the gospel to the world, but Jesus knew that going forth with head knowledge, convincing arguments and eye witness reports was not enough. They needed a special power that can only come from the Spirit of God. Jesus said He needed to go so the Spirit could come. Peter could have said to those in that upper room something like this. “Now gang, you all know that Jesus told us to go and preach the good news, but now He wants us to hang around in this room. Doesn’t Jesus see that there are souls going to hell every minute? Doesn’t He see the urgency of the hour? What are we hanging around in this upper room for? We walked with the Lord, we know what to say to the lost.” We know Peter did not say such a thing. The disciples obeyed the Lord and assembled in that upper room in one accord in prayer. If there was anytime lost in the work of evangelism while they were waiting in that upper room, it was made up for in a few moments on the day of Pentecost. The Spirit came and baptized those 120. Peter preached a scorching message under the anointing of the Spirit and 3000 souls were saved.

Bible teachers have taught that the filling of the Spirit is needed for a lot of different reasons. I am not going to get in a dispute over that, but Acts 1:8 does teach us that the primary purpose of being filled with the Spirit is to have power to be a witness. Just a little side note here. Did you know that one of the meanings of the Greek word that witnesses is translated from means martyr? To be this kind of witness, you definitely need power.

I think it is pretty clear that if we are going to be effective “witness” for the kingdom of God, then we must be filled with the Spirit. Paul said don’t be drunk with wine. Don’t be under the influence of alcohol, but be filled with the Spirit and be under the influence of the Spirit. You may not think it is that important for you to be filled with the Spirit, but it is imperative for the lost. Anyone who preaches to them needs to be filled with the Spirit. When a Spirit filled believer ministers, then it is the Spirit of God bringing the conviction and the revelation. When a person preaches without being filled with the Spirit then they are just preaching a logical message to try to convince the mind of men. It takes the Spirit of God to minister to the spirit of men. It is the Spirit who gives life. If you want your message to be full of life, then you have no option, but to be filled with the Spirit. “HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?

About Denominationalism

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“Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul” (I Corinthians 1:12-13)?

 

Before I even get started on this article, I want to respectfully say that this article is not meant to bash ministers or churches who are members of denominations. Just as Jesus spoke of His disciples being in the world but not of it, in like manner, you can be in a denomination just not of it. You are of Christ. My hope, through this article, is to convey that the Bible is sufficient, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, to order a body of believers to come together and have all the accountability, leadership, unity and order to function in a true New Testament fashion. I even asked myself, “Is it necessary to put out such an article? Won’t this just alienate me from ministers and saints who belong to a denomination?” Then I realized as I have done so often, if I can’t talk open and honestly about such things amongst the body of Christ, when and where can I? Should I go instead and complain to the world?

I want to note that when I refer to denominationalism, I am also referring to all groups who organize like a denomination, but prefer to use a different term to describe themselves. For the sake of convenience, I will use the word denomination throughout the remainder of this article.

Now as I get started you saw in our text, that Paul asked, “Is Christ divided?” The answer to that is, of course not. However, the church sure is. Some years back, in one of my articles, I stated that there are over 900 denominations in America. As I think about that statement, I have to yield to the fact that we can’t really know how many there are. A few websites say there are over 30,000 Christian denominations in this world. In America, the Baptist Church is the largest protestant denomination. Wikipedia gave a list of all the different Baptist denominations there are in America. I counted seventy nine of them. So we just don’t have differing denominations, but also differing factions inside one denomination. Hold back your criticism, you members of the Pentecostal / Charismatic churches. I counted thirty two different denominations in your ranks. One question looms large in my mind; “How can a people, who all say they read and believe the same book (the Bible), be so divided?”

Have you saint of God, grown so accustomed to denominationalism that you never bother to consider if it is even biblical? I know it seems the norm for the church. Have you ever asked, “Where in the Bible does it teach or promote denominationalism?” If we are honest, which we believers have no choice but to be, you will have to agree that you cannot find a scripture that teaches that we should create such organizations. In fact the opposite is true. Paul rebuked the Corinthians for picking favorites and identifying with a specific group (“I am of Paul; I of Apollos…”). Are you of Wesley, are you of Luther? Do you follow the ways of the Anabaptists or the Puritans? Is your religion Grandma and Grandpa’s style? Or are you of Christ? Are you a follower of Christ? Is the Bible your rule of Authority?

I am sure you surmised by now that I and the church I shepherd, do not belong to any denomination. Churches of the sort that I pastor are usually called non-denominational or independent. (I like to refer to my church as “dependent,” dependent on the Holy Spirit.) Even using these terms can take on a denominational feel as well. Why do we have to have labels anyway? Why do we look for another way to identify ourselves other than to have our identity in Christ and have the word of God as our authority? I ask you, why is it that the churches who incorporate seem to be the norm and those churches who don’t are considered illegitimate? I get it that there are a lot of troublemakers in the church who have rebelled against denominational authority and started their own little “us four and no more” non-denominational church. When I was a young believer, I used to think that those who were in non-denominational churches were all rebels. I have learned there are plenty of rebels to go around. They aren’t just in the non-denominational churches, but the denominational ones as well. In fact, there is very powerful politics in some, if not many, denominational churches. I have even heard a story from several people, of a high official in a denomination who openly lied to a church body. He did it for the sake of the denomination’s interests. That is what politicians do. Politicians lie, men of God promote truth, no matter the cost. Ministers do not have to lie to keep the saints faithful, but church politicians often lie to keep their denominational agenda on course. I am not saying that ministers who are good strong leaders in their church are a part of church politics, for I assume many are not. However, it is heart breaking to see the church operate like a political machine.

So what is the solution? Can we the church, really come together in love and unity, with true leadership in place and let the word of God truly be our final authority? Can we exist together without having to draft bylaws and corporation papers? Can we all really be members of a church body without having to take several classes and then sign a membership card? Absolutely, positively we can and we must. It starts with believing that it is God’s expectation for His church to be united as one body and then determining in your heart to see it happen in our generation. Again, all Christians will say they agree that there is only ONE body, but our hundreds of denominations tattle on us. They testify that we don’t believe what we say.

 

“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:3-6).

 

Seven times you see the word “one” in this verse. What don’t we get about that? What we all need to do is quit saying that we believe the word of God to be our final authority and simply let it be. That means that every Christian who belongs to a denomination, as I said earlier, must refuse to be of it.

I have asked some people if they are a Christian. It is not unusual to get an answer like, I’m Catholic, I’m Baptist or I belong to such and such a church. Let me ask you. Do you really believe the word of God? Are you, saint of God, willing to believe the whole truth as the Spirit reveals it to you, even at the expense of being cut off by your church or denomination? How about you, ministers of God? Are you willing to face losing your credentials, if that is what would come about if you were to preach a truth that is contrary to what your denomination believes? I know of some ministers who left their denomination and lost their retirement all for the sake of preaching the truth. What do you love more, your denomination or the truth of God? If we would dare believe the truth, our denominations would be considered irrelevant overnight.

Learning By Revelation

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“The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29).

 

Some Christians are afraid of the word “revelation.” The devil is glad of that. The devil understands that we learn Christ through revelation not intellect. I understand why some wince a little when they hear the word “revelation.” We have had our share in the Christian community of those who declare to us that they received a new revelation from God. In the early 1800’s, Joseph Smith claimed to receive new revelation and today we have the Mormons. Whenever someone claims to receive a revelation, that is contrary to the word of God, you can be 100 percent certain that it is false and you must without hesitation run from it. However, just because there are those who claim they have new revelation, does not cancel out that Christians can receive revelation from God. Yes, even centuries after the books of the Bible were compiled, God still does reveal himself to mankind.

The word “revelation” is translated from a Greek word meaning “a disclosure.” It is like taking the cover off of something so you can see what it is. Whatever it is that is being revealed or disclosed, is there already, you just need to see it. It is the same with God and His word. God is, and He has never changed. His word is settled in heaven. Revelation from God gives man the ability to see this great God and to understand His word.

Millions of people who claim to be a Christian, think they are saved because they have an intellectual understanding of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for them. They think they are saved, but have only come to believe with their natural understanding that Jesus died to save them from their sins. My whole life from about five or six years old, until I got saved at twenty seven years old, I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died on the cross to save me and take me to heaven. Yet I was as lost as the next guy. It wasn’t until the Father was revealed to me that I had the ability to believe Him with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. Believing in God with just your mind is not good enough.

 

“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him” (Luke 10:22).

 

When you read the gospels you read how the disciples, at different times, received revelation from God. In the sixteenth chapter of Matthew, we read where Peter made His confession that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus responded by saying “…Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but my Father, who is in heaven.” Up to this time Peter may have had a general understanding of this truth, but it wasn’t until the Father revealed it to Peter that he could make such a bold declaration. You could say in a sense, that this truth became his. Today, our Heavenly Father is still revealing things to us. Not new things, but eternal things that have been there from the foundations of the world. The Father wants to reveal things to you, dear saint of God. He wants, through the Holy Spirit, to reveal the word of God to you. The Bible says that the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit. It takes the Spirit of God to open one’s eyes to the truth of the word of God. Revelation comes by the Spirit of God. Without the Spirit, there is no revelation.

There is a work that the Holy Spirit constantly wants to do for each of you, if you will let Him. HE WANTS TO REVEAL CHRIST TO YOU. Paul prayed for the believers in Ephesus, “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Ephesians 1:17). Paul prayed this prayer for saved people. This makes it clear that God wants to continually reveal Himself to us.

Today, so many Christians are drawn to academia. They would rather hear nice outlined teachings than listen to a message that comes forth with conviction and power and speaks to the spirit of man. It seems more and more Christians consider a sermon delivered by Spirit filled preachers as legalism. People hate conviction, including some Christians. Some of our big name Bible teachers draw from their intellect, but carry no anointing. May I even dare to say, some of them may not even be saved. They have a head full of knowledge, but have never had the word of God laid open to them by the Spirit of God. It is the anointing that makes a minister effective.

It is the anointing that makes you effective. No doubt, God gives a higher intelligence to some people. If you are one of them, I challenge you to use it for the glory of God. Just remember, you need the Spirit of God working through you, if your words are going to go any further than just the minds of people. The word of God will never become life through understanding words alone. “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (I Corinthians 4:20). Words are cheap. Men are liars. “Let God be true, but every man a liar.” Therefore, let GOD SPEAK.

 

“But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12).

 

The great Apostle Paul, who was an incredible intellect, declared that what he received didn’t come through men’s teaching, but through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Whether you realize it or not, anything you have learned of the word of God that got deep into your heart was through revelation and not by man.

 

“Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life” (II Corinthians 3:6).

 

One of the reasons we have a backslidden church here in America today is because many of those who minister to her, lack the Spirit and therefore can only preach and teach the letter of the law. Ministers kill the church preaching the letter without the Spirit. Without the Spirit revealing the word of God, the Bible just becomes a book of principles to live by, a mere instruction manual. Jesus said to the Jews, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40). The religious leaders searched the scriptures, but never found eternal life because they refused the revelation from the Spirit. They wanted the written word of God, but not the living word of God. They accepted the scriptures, they thought, but refused Jesus, who is the Word.

Saint of God, seek out the Lord with all your heart and he will give you continued revelation of His word and His greatness.

God Said

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GOD SAID

By: Terry Fischer

 

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

 

January of 2017 marks the fifteenth year I have been a pastor. I have ministered in the same church all these years. Without much thinking, I can tell you the one thing I have stressed more over the pulpit than anything, and that is the need for the saints to read the word of God. I believe I have preached and taught every main fundamental truth of the Bible numerous times, yet there is nothing I have mentioned more than the need for every believer to read the WHOLE word of God for themselves and read it regularly. Let me add, there is one more thing I probably mentioned as much and that is the need for the saints to have a real quality prayer life.

The third verse of the whole Bible has these two words, “God said.” That dear saint of God, is where discipleship must start for us all. If you have been a believer for awhile and you have not started with what God has said, then you can just delete what you have learned and start from the beginning. The reason there is such a lack of like-mindedness today amongst God’s people is because when people get saved they are taught more of what man says than what God says. They are taught man’s version instead of the Spirit of Truth’s version of what God says. Imagine what a powerhouse the church could and would be today if she lived by what God said.

The Holy Bible is what God said. It is a record of the words that God has said. You can be certain that He is still saying those words and that they still speaks into the life of the believer today. There is one very disappointing thing that I have discovered through the years and that is the infrequency that professing Christians read their Bible. There are numerous, probably more than fifty percent of Christians, who have not read the whole Bible all the way through. Not that they would have to read it in chronological order, but that over a few years would have managed to read all the books of the Bible. There are Christians who have given little, if any, attention to the Old Testament. Paul, in referring to the Old Testament said, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come” (I Corinthians 10:11). If you believe what Paul said, you should be eager to read the Old Testament, in which are the very books Paul was referring to,that has so many examples for us to learn by.

The lack of Bible reading leads to a lack of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children” (Hosea 4:6). David craved for the word of God and believed every godly man delighted in the word of God, even when it seemed to be more of the law than anything else. “But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).

Christian, you are fooling and depriving yourself if you think that it is not that important to be in the word of God daily. It should not be something you have to be legalistic about, it should be something you desire to do. If you don’t, then you need to make a commitment to discipline yourself to have a determined time that you will read the word every day. You may miss a few days here and there. You may get a little behind, but nonetheless, you are reading your Bible. I hate legalism in the church, but I do see the need and value for a disciplined life. After all, doesn’t everything we do in life require some discipline? Some more, some less?

Reading the word of God is not sufficient in itself. You must believe that which you read. You must believe it truly is the word of God. Even then, that still is not enough. You have to read it with the desire or at least the willingness to be changed by it. One of my favorite quotes is from a Chinese man, Brother Yun, who was put in prison for his faith. He said, “No one can ever really understand the scriptures until they are willing to be changed by them.” How true it is. If a person is not willing to be changed by the word, then he has to be reading the word with a hard stubborn heart. He has to refuse to open his heart to let the Spirit of Truth work in his heart to change him from a carnal to a godly man.

It is amazing to me, in a bad way, when I hear of people who have been Christians for many years and they tell me they have not yet read the Old Testament. A man, who was a deacon at one time, told me that he was reading the Old Testament for the first time in his life. Don’t get me wrong, I was so glad that he was determined to read it, but it made me wonder how does someone become a deacon and they haven’t even read their whole Bible?

Saint of God, I can’t say it enough. YOU NEED TO READ YOUR WORD; YOU NEED TO EMBRACE THE WORD; YOU NEED TO EAT THE WORD. And then let it do the work it does. Fools reject and doubt the word of God. But for believers, THE WORD IS LIFE. If you don’t read the word for yourself, then you will fall prey to believing what people tell you it says. Even worse, they will tell you what they think it means. If you read the word for yourself, the Spirit of Truth won’t tell you what He thinks it means, He will tell you what it does mean. If all Christians would submit to the truth of the word of God as the Spirit of Truth reveals it, denominationalism would collapse overnight. There would come an unbelievable unity to the body of Christ as we would all come to “speak the same thing.” Denominationalism is accepted as the norm in the Christian church today. Denominationalism is not a biblical principle. It is accepted, not because saints read and believe their Bibles, but because Christians don’t! For the most part, when someone gets saved, they are brought into the denomination of the person who led them to the Lord, and there they stay for the rest of their lives. Never questioning what the church believes. Never honestly checking it out to see if everything the church believes lines up with the word of God.

Unless it Dies

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“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” (John 12:24).

 

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

 

Modern Christianity does not like the message that is declared in these verses of scripture. Many Christians today want smooth words, they want the easy path and they want the assurance of things above, while they yet have their affections set on the things here below. They don’t want to hear about dying. After all, isn’t salvation about life? Yes indeed it is, but it is life in the Spirit that salvation refers to. If there is going to be spiritual life, there has to be death to the carnal life.

That is what Jesus was talking about when He said, the “corn of wheat” must die if it is going to bring forth fruit. You see, a seed when it is planted in the ground, if the conditions are suitable, will bust open and the plant will begin to take root. It was the brokenness of the shell of the seed that resulted in the plant to start growing. If the seed were to stay intact and just lay there on hard ground, or be buried in dry ground, then there would be no growth.

Jesus is applying this principle of the seed to our lives. He is teaching us that if we want to produce life and we want there to be fruit, then we too must be like a seed that must die and break open. Again, I will say that there are not to many believers who want to hear this kind of talk. The ones who do are those who desire to bring forth the life of God and the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.

Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost. The order for that deliverance of mankind is first the crucifixion of Jesus, His death on the cross, His burial in a tomb and then His resurrection from the dead. There has to be a death for there to be a resurrection. First, there has to be a surrender, then the victory. First must come humility, then an exalting. We humans are used to it being the other way around. We see first the life of a baby at birth, and then later a death of that person. Just as each of us was born, then later we will face death. Some baby’s die just moments after they are born, some go on to live to a hundred years old and even longer. The principle of spiritual life is the opposite. First is the death, then comes the life. First, we humble ourselves and die to self, which is what it means to being crucified with Christ, then flows the life.

Some may ask, “If what you are saying is true, then how could we ever get born again? How could I possibly know as a heathen, that I have to die to self if I want to receive a brand new spiritual life?” Those questions are not that hard to answer. When a man does get born again, it was because he did humble himself and recognize he was a sinner and that he had a need for a Savior. He humbled himself to such a point that he surrendered his life to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Though he did not die a physical death, he died to the life he was living. When this is genuinely done, it is then a person is born again. I know modern Christianity teaches that if a person repeats a sinner’s prayer and understands with their intellect the message of salvation, that they then become a Christian. That may be true if they are joining a social club or a religion that just calls themselves Christians. Christianity is not a religion to belong too. You can religiously follow Christ. You can enjoy the social benefits of belonging to the true body of Christ, but a person only becomes a true Christian when they are BORN FROM ABOVE.

Another may ask, “If my previous life of a sinner has died, how come I still have some impulse and desire to sin? Doesn’t Galatians 5:24 say, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts?” Yes, our affections and lusts have been crucified with the flesh, however Paul goes on to say, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:25-26). If Paul says, “Let us not be desirous of vain glory…,” then evidently that old flesh is still hanging around that presses on us to be desirous of vain glory. The crucified life is a life we have to choose to live every day. You know why? Because your flesh and my flesh are still alive. We will not lose all desire to sin until this body is forsaken and we are given a new glorious body. In the meantime, you must reckon your flesh dead. That means to consider that your flesh is dead, even if it is demanding your attention. When your flesh rises up in all its ungodly attitudes and immoral thoughts, you must ignore it. You must resist those desires that are contrary to the life of purity and holiness. The Bible tells us to take all thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. Therefore we can. Therefore through the power of the Spirit, we can reckon that old flesh crucified.

 

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it” (Mark 8:35).

 

“He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (John 12:25).

 

Do not give your ear to religion that tells you that there is no sacrifice involved in being a Christian. Refuse to hear those who tell you that there is no cost on our end. Without question, Jesus paid the debt for our sin, He finished it on the cross. He forgave us of our sins so we could enter into a relationship with Him. Now that we are in that relationship, we are called to willingly hate and lay down our carnal life. It is then that “we shall keep it unto life eternal.” If you want to gain life, you must be willing to lose it.

The reason that life is so boring and even difficult for some Christians is because they have refused to surrender their old life. They are trying to hang onto it, thinking that they can yet find some value and satisfaction in it. They refuse to lay down the very life that Jesus died and rose from the dead to rescue them from.

 

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).

 

The choice is yours. What life will you choose? Do you want the carnal life or do you want spiritual life. Do you want to experience spiritual life right now, not just when you get to heaven? Then let the seed of your life die.

Christ Must Have The Preeminence

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One of the most glorious portions of scripture, when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ, is found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

 

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:  For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:13-18).

 

The last word we see in this portion of scripture is the word, “preeminence.” It is translated from the Greek word proteuo which simply means to be first (in rank and influence). So to state it very simply, for Jesus Christ to have preeminence, He must be first in our life in every way. He must be first, before our family members, even our spouses. He must be first before our careers. He must be first over every interest in this life we might have.

We read in the book of Revelation that the church in Ephesus was commended by the Lord Jesus Christ for their good works and other things that they did. Yet, the Lord warned them that He would remove their candlestick if they did not come back to their first love. Sometimes Christians miss quote Revelation 2:4 by saying the Ephesians have “lost” their first love. What it really says is they have “LEFT” their first love. It is something the believers in Ephesus did on their own, whether they were conscious of it or not. What really happened to these believers is that the preeminence of Christ was fading, even though the work they were doing seemed to be for God.

When you look at the state of the church today, I think it is pretty easy to say that Christ does not have the preeminence within the church as he should. There are so many other things that attract the attention of the saints. One of the biggest reasons I am personally against all the gimmickry, attractions and entertainment that the church offers today, to lure people into their buildings, is because it is promoting and establishing an interest in something other than Christ in the hearts of the unsuspecting lost souls. They are introduced to things that are appealing to the flesh and thus it conditions people to think that the church is there to cater to all their emotional needs. They are conditioned to expect the church to be like a community center, where all social programs are offered. Many years ago one pastor told me that the Lord called him, not to have a church, but to have a life center. I was respectful of the pastor so I did not say anything to him at that time, but I knew that he did not hear from the Lord on that. God has called none other than His church to represent His kingdom. Jesus said that he will build His church, not His life center. You can mark this down, if Christ will again be preeminent in the church, the church will flow with life. Not because it is made into a life center, but because life flows from wherever Christ is the center. Saints, there is not a greater testimony that can be said about any fellowship then when those who enter that fellowship say, “There is life in this place.”

There is one thing I tell couples during marriage counseling. It is the same thing I tell every married couple who will listen to me. I say to them all, “If Christ is the center of your marriage it will be impossible for your marriage to fail.” For it to fail, one or both have to backslide, and if they backslid then, of course, Christ is no longer the center of their marriage. He is no longer the center of their life as well. In all things Christ must have the preeminence.

For the most part, when Christ ceases to have the preeminence in a church, it usually happens in a very subtle way. When ministers and elders, who oversee the church, start putting their focus on other things, then the church will be led away from Christ. Again, this happens in a most unsuspecting way. Most often the intentions are right for the many things that are done in the name of the Lord. However, nothing is really accepted in heaven if it isn’t the will of the Lord. “…Thy will be done on earth as it is IN HEAVEN.” The thing that happens when a work isn’t the will of the Lord, is that the work starts to take precedence in the church and Christ loses His preeminence. On the other hand, if there is a refusal to do the will and work of the Lord, then He has already been denied His preeminence. Whenever the church loses sight of building the kingdom of God, she starts to build her own kingdom. Pastors who lose sight of Christ start building their own little empire, all along thinking they are smack dab in the will of God. They do not realize that they have robbed Christ of His preeminence. Acts chapter six is a good reminder for ministers of what their chief focus should be. “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). If pastors would commit themselves to this simple life of seeking God through prayer and the word, there would be a lot of ministry things that would drop off. There would be a lot less effort by man and much more dependence on the Holy Spirit. There would be a lot more, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This is when Christ is getting the preeminence.

Saints of God, just because you may not be called to the ministry, does not excuse you from being in prayer and in the word of God. Though you may not be afforded the time to often be shut in with God, it is of the utmost importance that you have a daily time of prayer and Bible reading. If not, you will find Christ to not have the preeminence in your life. You will also make yourself more subject to being led away from Christ into and after other things. A life of prayer and a steady diet of the word of God goes a long way in helping every believer to let Christ have the preeminence in all things.