For the Body of Christ 2
by Steve Dines
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Part 1. Are we on the right track? Is what we are doing taking us where we want to go?
Cwmbach is a relatively small village not far from Aberdare in the Cynon Valley. At the beginning of 1993, I began attending an independent Pentecostal fellowship. The congregation numbered about twenty adults with about sixty or so children attending Sunday School classes.
It soon became apparent that all was not well in this fellowship. The congregation was split into two main groups; those that were related in some way to the Pastor and his wife and those that were not. The “relatives” did not question anything that was said or done by the Pastor, the other group questioned everything (that is, we compared it to scripture). I was part of the latter group.
The astonishing thing was that our group was convinced God was working amongst us, desiring the best for us all despite the manipulative exploits of the leader and his family. For several months I would come home from each meeting asking the Lord to show me what was going on in the fellowship. If He was working there, why weren’t things changing, why was the fellowship in the same “dysfunctional” condition it had been in for many years?
Through 1993 I read scripture and made notes of my thoughts and what I belived to be revelation from the Holy Spirit. In the late summer of 1993 I assembled those notes into a “book” of sorts. There were ten chapters, each chapter based on scriptures to show how our little fellowship could never be successful with God, we were breaking ten Biblical truths that rendered us useless to God. Before the end of the year I left that fellowship, determined never to fellowship in a Valley’s chapel ever again. But things worked out quite differently. In 1995 I began attending another Pentecostal fellowship about five miles from Cwmbach, in the village of Hirwaun.
Between 1995 and 2005 many things happened in this fellowship, again, I was convinced that God was at work with us. A new Pastor had taken over the leadership of the church a couple of years before I got there. The changes he initiated were amazing. Here is a list of the ones I can remember.
• Moved to a larger building
• Name of fellowship changed
• Fellowship grew from about 30 to over 150
• New leadership team formed
• Home groups introduced for Bible study and fellowship
• Cell group strategy adopted
• Partnerships with three other fellowships formed
• All four congregations renamed as “Living Way Church” (one body with four different local expressions)
• Pioneer church plant in a major city 30 miles away (the fifth expression)
• Links formed and developed with groups in India, Uganda and Ukraine.
However, when the Pastor of Hirwaun fellowship wanted to relocate to Spain, partly due to ill health (stress related) and hand the day-to-day operations over to the leadership team he had formed and nurtured, a sort of “rebellion” occurred. To cut a long story short, that work fell apart.
After the Pastor resigned and moved away, new leaders were recruited and everything went back to how it was before; the old name, the old structure, the old ways of doing things. If it wasn’t for the fact that the old building had been sold they would probably have moved back there too. It was as though the fellowship was like an elastic band that was stretched to its limit, and just before it snapped (transformed?) it pulled back into its original condition.
The “Living Way Church” was terminated. As I looked at what had happened I could see that the same ten things that had made the small fellowship useless to God had made the larger fellowship useless also.
Here are the ten reasons with primary scripture reference:
1. Failure to take God at His word (2 Kings 7)
2. Failure to comprehend the plans and purposes of God (the two baskets of figs in Jeremiah 24)
3. Failure to willingly cooperate with God (Deuteronomy 28)
4. Failure to relate to God on His terms (Book of Hosea)
5. Failure to learn from God (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
6. Failure to relate to people according to God’s will (Isaiah 58)
7. Failure to enter God’s rest (the Israelites who perished in the Wilderness)
8. Failure to exercise God’s authority in the spiritual realm (Joshua 7)
9. Failure to employ God’s wisdom (King Saul, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel)
10. Failure to build according to God’s design (Ezekiel 13:1-16)
I think it’s safe to say that there is nothing new under the Sun, human nature is the same today as it has always been, and the people who are called by God’s name are prone to the same errors and deceptions today as they were in Old Testament times.
All the scripture references above are based in the Old Testament, yet each of these truths are also shown in the New testament. For example, the story of the unbelieving soldier in 2 Kings 7; Jesus said that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. James said that the tongue is like the rudder of a ship, able to steer the course of our lives to slavation or judgement depending on what we say. Paul said that if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths then we are right with God in the same way that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness (Abrham’s confession was that God had power to do what he had promised despite all evidence to the contrary.
Then we have the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. We cannot possibly comprehend God’s plans and purposes without revelation from the Holy Spirit. It was impossible for God’s people to comprehend a Babylonian invasion of Judah, but that is exactly what happened. Today, it is impossible for God’s people to comprehend destruction at the hands of Antichrist’s one-world government, but I think that’s exactly where we are headed unless we repent.
Jesus made it clear that He chose us, not the other way around, yet we are to bear fruit otherwise we are in danger of being cut off and thrown in the fire as a fruitless branch. And there is no other way to relate to God apart from the finished work of Christ.
The Northern Kingdom of Israel represents the origins of church system, men setting aside the righteousness of God to establish their own and the Kingdom of Judah represents the body of Christ, a people who should have known better than to follow the ways for the church system but that is what we have done and more.
Today we have a false Christ, who does not require us to bear the fruits repentance. We have a false preisthood that act as mediators for the people. We offer false sacrifices on a false altar (effort, time and money spent on self-serving efforts in the name of Jesus) and preach a false gospel that is works based (faithfully attending meetings and services and trying to do good works in the community). We are now beginning to see all this falsehood be confirmed with false signs and wonders (Toronto Blessing and so called “revivals”).
The way things stand at the moment we are in danger of being caught up in powerful delusion, sent by God as judgement on all those who practice falsehood and deceit. The harlot and her harlot daughters are about to be reunited ready for their destruction. It’s time to get out.
Where are we now and where are we going?
The church system is not the body of Christ, but a large part of the body of Christ is caught up in the church system. This is an unholy mix of wheat and tares, sheep and goats.
Also, those of the body of Christ that have left the church system, many have no other paradigm by which to relate to God and others, so they default back into the systems ways. They may be out of the system, but the church system is not yet out of them.
So at this point in time, much of the body of Christ are in a “useless to God” state, myself included. The body of Christ cannot fulfill it’s purpose at the moment.
But things are not going to stay that way much longer. That is why you are reading this book.
God has been holding his people in the church system until the right time to be delivered, like the Israelites from Egypt, or a baby from the womb. Not only will He bring his people out from the church system, He will bring the church system out of them.
In the not too distant future we are going to see the church system undergo a false “transformation”, a makeover so to speak. Perhaps the “Emegent Church” is a forerunner for this makeover, combining different belief systems and a variety of spiritual practices, in the name of Jesus.
Perhaps it will be through the Emergent Church that the harlot and her daughters will be reunited. This will set the scene for a one-world religion that will probably be based upon a kind of “Cosmic Christ” that we see promoted in New Age and other “spiritual” book stores.
The world is going to see a false body of Christ that will rebuild the tower of Bable. All religions joining together for the purposes bringing a global (false) peace and a global (false) unity. All done in the name of Jesus, every message confirmed with false signs and wonders.
What is God doing?
Paedophiles being brought to light in the church system is not God cleaning house. He is showing the whole world how corrupt and perverse the church system has become; He is showing the body of Christ that we should have nothing to do with the church system at all, apart from helping His people come out.
How can the body of Christ be linked with such things as we see in the church system today? Surely the yeast that was introduced in secret has now worked through the whole batch for all to see clearly?
When Babylon invaded Jerusalem and took captives away, those left in the city felt God was with them, the “chaff” had been removed form the “wheat” so they thought. But it was exactly the other way around. It was the poor and the weak that were taken out of Jerusalem, the rich and powerful remained, reserved for destruction. He who has ears to hear let him hear.
It is the poor and the weak that are coming out of the church system today; no money, no power, no status, no influence. Nothing, nada, zero, zilch. This is why Jesus was born in a stable. Why should His body expect any different?
How are people reacting to what God is doing?
Unfortunately, most of us in the body of Christ are digging our heels in. We cannot conceive of “church” not being the body of Christ. So we excuse sinful behaviour and spiritual corruption, seemingly without limits.
We don’t want to give up our concept, our current paradigm, of the body of Christ, because this would mean admitting we were in error and therefore repentance is required from us. My personal “paradigm shift” occurred not so much because I knew to leave the church system to find a new and living way. Rather, the church system chewed me up and spat me out.
In a nutshell, how we are reacting to what God is doing at this time is either hardening our hearts towards Him or softening them. The church system is resisting God but the body of Christ is slowly but surely yielding to Him, whether they wanted to in the first place or not (God has His ways of doing things like that). It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance.
How are things changing over time?
The church system is preparing itself for destruction, gathering the dead branches ready to be burned. But the body of Christ is preparing (or should I say being prepared) to experience a new and living way of relating to God and each other.
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