I am keenly aware that a phrase in post 2 on this topic, "I say with
assurance, I believe that God’s will and purpose has nothing to do with
religion in all its variances, and His purpose can never be accomplished
through involvement in religion nor religious rituals or practices",
sounds heretical to the religious denominated mind. I believed as most
people still do that religious denominated buildings is where one goes
to find, participate with and work for God. After all isn't in the
religious services where God is talked about? Aren't they the ones who
claim to represent God. Isn't it their buildings that have God’s name on
them? Aren't they the ones who mention God’s name in every other
sentence they speak (at least in their Sunday-go- services?) I am not
convinced I was living in deception and under-minding the plan of God
for both His community of the redeemed and the community of humanity.
I believe God’s desire is to have a personal, individual, intimate
relationship with you. He wants to reveal Himself to you personally
through His Teacher...the Holy Spirit, not through some pastor, priest
or clergyman that is appointed be some denominated hierarchy, but to
just you. He wants to conform you to the image of Christ, not conform to
the image that religion has of Christ.
Having a personal
relationship with God is not a religious denominational exercise. It’s
not a mind exercise. It’s personal, individual and real. It’s not
based on religious participation in Sunday-go-meetings, but a daily
relationship with God as He works through you and empower you to show
forth His glory. Jesus never told the crowds to go back to their
villages and join denominated affiliations and go to Sunday-go-meetings
and get involved in the religious programs there. He talked about their
individual responsibilities in relating and submitting to God in the
community of humanity as the community of the redeemed living the Gospel
of Grace, His good news. Nowhere, ever, will you find Him talking
about the concept of a denominated denomination being responsible for
them. They were all responsible for themselves.
Is there a
traditional religious institution that understands what the real purpose
of God is. is there a denominational church with leadership that talks
of nothing but the will and purpose of God and then demonstrates a
practical understanding of that purpose by being an example of it for
the pew-warmers to follow. Is there a man in institutional religion
that can honestly say what Paul said when he told others to imitate him
and actually understand what he’s talking about. The purpose of
religious institutions is to perpetuate the institution and further the
careers of the leaders. It has little to do with the purpose and plan of
God for the community of humanity.
In Matthew 6:24 Jesus makes
the statement that man cannot serve both God and mammon. The meaning
of mammon is commonly misunderstood to be money. However, "the Aramaic
word mamonas has a wider range of meaning and is used here by Jesus to
represent anything, either tangible (wealth) or intangible (religion)
that men might rely on for safety either for this life or the next."
Real safety is only found in God and in His purpose. Traditional
religion is man-made. Without realizing it they avoid God’s purpose by
redefining it. That is why I believe Jesus was opposed to religion and
clashed with its leaders, and why the community of the redeemed should
be free from religion today.
I believe that if Jesus came to
earth today He wouldn’t get along with the leaders of religious
Christianity any more than He got along with the leaders of Judaism in
His day. Religion would reject the idea that He could be the Son of God
at all because He just wouldn’t fit the religious concept of what God
should be like.
Let me conclude by reposting a poem I wrote some years ago.
If Jesus Came to our Town
If Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street. And viewed the buildings we call churches so elegant and so neat. Which church would He visit? The one who believes, our doctrine is so right? As we sit in padded pews dressed in our Sunday best, so appealing to the sight?
Would He visit people who deem that our model of doing church is so true? Wouldn't that include all religions, seeing through the denominational hue? Would He visit the splendorous edifice with its high ceilings lined with gold? Would He visit those with riches gained by the religious gimmicks they sold.
Would He visit ministries who sell His graces and promises through TV? Healing, salvation, peace and joy, “just send your money to me.” Would he be pleased with all the accolades we ascribe as worship unto Him? While those who disagree with us, we so quickly and easily condemn.
Would He pass every church building, no matter the name tag over the door? And mingle with the common folk, the lonely, the broken, the hurting and the poor. He would administer kindness, love and healing, seldom found in the denominational pen. And show people the grace of God by His kind deeds and by loving all men.
He would show people the Church that He heads is not about buildings, Sundays, or creeds. But about giving, helping, living loved and gracing people with sincere and loving deeds. Would He wonder why how far from His Church, religion really is as we sing our favorite hymn. While absorbed in selfish agendas and programs that are attributed as coming directly from Him.
The Church that Jesus is building is a community of believers with only Him as head. A people who throughout their daily living, by His love and Spirit are led. Showing the love and compassion of God, to the people that they meet. By being the Church daily instead of just attending it one day out of the week.
Yes, if Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street? Would we walk with Him, allowing Him to make our life full and complete? Would we trade seminary head knowledge and only knowing about Him that leaves us blind? To knowing Him relationally by heart knowledge that extends much deeper than the mind.
I wonder, if Jesus came to our town and walked the Sunday morning street. Would we leave our programmed meeting and follow Him, to see how people He would treat. Or would we say: “that can't be Jesus, for surly He would want to spend time with us here”. And as Jesus walked away from our church, from His eye we saw the falling of a tear.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25), is a common verse cited by Christians who believe that if you're not attending weekly meetings or plugged in a church denomination that you are somehow out of sync with Scripture and, for all practical purposes, "backsliding". Some refer to the out of church crowd as rebels, or the walking wounded and this verse is often given as the prescription. But is "attending church" really what the author of Hebrews had in mind here?
YES THE BIBLE SAY’S NOT TO FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLING TOGETHER? NOTICE IT DOES NOT SAY DO NOT FORSAKE THE "ASSEMBLY" OR CHURCH BUILDING.
First of all, it is essential that we understand the meaning of the word "church" as it is used in the Bible. These comments, while being historically and biblically sound, are not meant to suggest that Christians should not meet together, share fellowship, pray or preach the Word of God. If that is the conclusion you…
Came across this on the net, no author cited to give the credit to. Whoever he or she was...did an excellent job!
The trial of Pastor Jones
Judge: Mr. Jones you have been charged with multiple counts of
extortion. Your crime spree covers 20 years and thousands of victims.
You have defrauded people out of their money with fear and manipulation,
telling them they had to tithe 10% of their income to your church and
that God would bless them if they did. You also told them that if they
didn't tithe God would curse them. How do you plead?
Mr. Jones: I
plead not guilty your Honor, I have done nothing wrong. I have only
preached what the Bible says. In the Bible Abraham tithed to Melchizedek
and God blessed him for his faithful giving. The Bible even says he was
rich in silver and gold.
Judge: Is it not true, Mr. Jones, that
in Genesis chapter 13 verse 2 the Bible says Abraham was rich with
livestock, silver and gold?
Mr. Jones: Yes, you are exactly right, that's what I j…
“Reprobate infants are vipers of vengeance, which Jehovah will hold over hell, in the tongs of his wrath, till they turn and spit venom in his face!”
Elsewhere, Edwards asked the question:
“Can the believing father in Heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in Hell?”
Now, a bit of clarification: Edwards is not referring to God when he speaks of the “believing father in Heaven”. Rather, he is speaking an earthly father who enters Heaven, while His children are sentenced to an eternity in Hell. One would assume that Edwards’ answer to this question would be something akin to, “Nay! And a thousand times nay!”.
Unfortunately, his answer was as follows:
“…it [the sight of his children in Hell] will increase rather than diminish his bliss.”
To be honest with you, I’m not sure if I’ve ever read more demonic, and putrid words in all of my life. I have a level of respect for Jonathan Edwards, and kno…