x528......Conviction

 

In the Roman church system which we operate our churches by, there is unnecessary conviction.

1. the 1st step is to assume that the leadership--the priest--pastor--bishop--elder--(WHATEVER HE OR SHE IS CALLED)--has the God given "authority"--to be the person who has the message for all the people all the time. This is disobedient to the Bible......

 

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
(1 Corinthians 14:24-26, KJV).

The commands for Christian church activity as laid out in 1corinthains 14 plainly state that we are all to seek to prophecy--that we all are to have the right to speak the word of God freely within the church meeting. There is never one person who is "ordained" to be the person who has the exclusive right to give the message to the church all at once----all the time.


Now, is it Biblical to speak to large group of people? Yes--occasionally is the answer. However it is so imprtant to notice in the bible that most of the times when a large group of people were being addressed--it was usually to the unsaved.

The best a example we have of church activity in this area is Acts chapter 2. In his chapter it describes church acitivity at its' absolute fullness. An entire group of people are filled with the Holy Ghost--they all then carry out the immediate purpose of God--they all go out a witness the Gospel (miraculously--in the languages of the people present ---notice that God is always most interested in meeting the immediate need of the unsaved--which should also be the central purpose of the church at every level!).But then we see that Peter gives an "altar call"--he addresses a large group of people--he gives a great "evangelical sermon"---BUT HE KNOWS THAT THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT ALL THESE UNSAVED PEOPLE NEED!


Biblically, this is the most common place where a large group of people are taught. Jesus' teachings of large groups was also for this same purpose--the Gospel being the central concern--healing and deliverance going along--BUT JESUS ALSO TAUGHT WITH A BEGINNING --A MIDDLE AND A PURPOSEFUL END TO HIS TEACHING--THE END BEING RELEASE--THE END BEING THE "SETTING AT LIBERTY" OF THE PEOPLE TO FREELY SERVE GOD. In the Bible, once people were saved--they did not continue to receive evangelical altar calls over and over again as is so often our church experience. They realized their ministry--they realized they were now servants to God--priests unto His needs and purposes--not continually in penitence--always "half guilty" of sin and needing constant repentance. The end of Acts chapter 2 tells us of the full operation and function which God intends for the church to have--all the church--freely operating together--as equals--in apostolic groups--praying together--receiving the word from God--and going forth and ministering to the needs that He gives--feeding the poor--witnessing the Gospel--praying for the sick. Doing these things by the example set by Jesus--working together as the body of Christ--not meeting together in Sabbath worship--under the "authority" of a leader--who has rights greater than the rest of the church.


Now lets try to understand why we do things the way we do.

The fact is that when we operate by God's rules--things will work. The closer we come to biblical operation--the greater God will be able to work through us and do His miracles and build His kingdom. The fact is that the best type of preaching is an altar call--to bring people to salvation. The problem is that we talk mostly to ourselves--we preach over and over again the same message to one another--and believe by tradition that we constantly need to to hear preaching over and over again.

Feel sorry for the pastor. The pastor of the church has been handed a job that God did not intend! No one in the Bible had such a tough and irrational job. He is faced with trying to come up with a message that will meet the needs of all the people--every week. This simply does not make sense (although many people convince themselves that the pastor does exactly that). Think about this--the pastor faces his large congregation (perhaps a group of 3,000 people as was the case with Peter) however--99% of these people are already saved---but perhaps there are a few unsaved in the bunch--how to reach them--who has the priority? The Holy Spirit will probably lead the pastor to give an altar call for those who truly need it. Usually the many saved people will "lump themselves in" with the altar call. (have you ever sat in church and asked yourself " is this call for me or not?--have you ever gone up for an altar call just because you wanted something to happen in church that week?).

Doing things God's way makes so much more sense! People need to have a place where they can ask questions--where they can disagree with teaching. Saved Christians need to sit down and break bread together and reason with one another--and learn together--and ask questions together. The Gospel, preached to large groups of unsaved people is logically a specific message that will have Godly impact. Certainly this type of evangelism is one of the most effective things we do in Christianity (thank God for Billy Graham!). But once saved, the people in the bible--the people whom Jesus worked with--became apostles. People who were "set at liberty" to freely serve God in their own gifts and anointings. They worked in small apostolic groups--in their homes--in the street--the place or time did not matter. They knew they could enter into the presence of God--and come away with the specific instructions for their ministry. And they had the result that we all certainly would like--the church added to on a daily basis. (they added to the church daily by "being" the church daily!). They understood and operated by what Jesus had told them--that wherever 2 or 3 were in gathered in His name--He would be there. This did not mean to them that they could simply sit back and enjoy His presence--it meant to them that they could operate in His anointing--

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
(Luke 4:18, KJV).


The tradition of repeated altar calls for the already saved leads us to the strong tradition within most churches of false conviction. Many Christians believe that their walk as a Christian consists of them going to church once a week--and crying and repenting for being out in the world the rest of the week. They may or may not have been in sin--however we still receive guilt and conviction over and over again and can easily convince ourselves that "since we do not seem to have any 'real' ministry in us we must not be truly or fully saved"---I call it being "half saved"--we know we are saved once and for all by the blood of Jesus--and yet--we believe and hear that convicting voice and have the feeling of not quite being all that we can be in God--as we attend church over and over again repetitively for years every Sunday. Wecan conclude that God is judging us--that every thought we have is sinful and preventing us from what God really would like from us. Perhaps the truth is that since we have accepted a church operational plan which comes from the dark ages--that says that we are "sheep"--slaves to the leadership--"peasants" under Roman rule--and most of us don't have "real ministry" within us--and since we have not made our meeting together into a time when "all can prophecy" when all of us can set our hands toward the purposes of Christ (feeding the poor--witnessing the Gospel--praying for the sick)--but rather we waste so much of our time with tradition that exalts an authoritative ruler within the church--and makes ministry into something that it was never intended to be and we have a very narrow definition of ministry--most of us become caught in a kind of false conviction.

The older church denominations prove this out. The longer a church has been in business the more this style of thinking comes into play. The ultimate example of this would be the catholic concept of confession. Somewhere in the dark ages, the catholic church got the idea that it was necessary for the people to confess their sins to the priest in order to receive the communion bread. Now we scoff at this ritual in our churches--yet when we have altar call after altar call--presuming that there are always people who need to repent--and repent --and re-re-repent week after week--aren't we building in the same Roman direction of guilt?


This false conviction operates through some of our other incorrect ideas about what "church" is supposed to be and look like.


Sabbath purpose

13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.
15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
(Exodus 31:13-17, KJV).

The purpose of the old testament Sabbath was for sanctification. Israel was told by God to rest on each 7th day--to stop work--and do their best not to sin--to do their best to sanctify themselves before God. The Sabbath was all about cleansing from sin--all about purification from sin.

Israel did not have one thing that we as Christians have--the blood of Jesus.

11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
(Hebrews 9:11-15, KJV).


The new covenant is different --and specifically in these points. The things that sanctified Israel were the blood offering of animals--and the strict adherence to the laws which sanctified--and one of those laws was the Sabbath ritual.

Now we understand why Jesus healed on the Sabbath--as it is so often recorded in the Gospels--and the Pharisees and priests of Israel were so indignant about His doing this type of activity on the Sabbath. We have often been taught that they were just being legalistic--and that it makes perfect sense to do good works on the Sabbath. But Jesus was bringing a new covenant--which had different rules--specifically about what sanctified--no longer the blood of animals (which was the tithe--!!)--no longer the laws of sanctification (such as the Sabbath or the eating of "clean" food)--but His holy blood--once for all--which cleanses--saves, heals and delivers us--and allows all to come into the holy presence of God--to enter boldly by the blood of the lamb of God which was slain for all mankind.

think about this: Jesus healed on the Sabbath--and did work on this day--direct disobedience to the OT law. But He did not need the Sabbath--He was without sin--right?

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16, KJV).

Jesus, being sinless, obviously did not need to do any of the rituals of the OT which sanctified. But He was also showing that in the new covenant, believers did not need to do these sanctifying rituals. The fact is that the new covenant church in the Bible did not have a specific Sabbath day--they did not operate by any of other Sabbath laws or rituals. They worked 7 days a week serving God--without a specific day of rest of purification.


(testimony from an old testament expert.......)

the Sabbath was for purification--so that man could enter into the holy presence of God. It had the purpose of cleansing people so that they can enter into God's presence.


It is the blood of Jesus which allows us Christians to "enter boldly" to the very throne of God. It is not the Sabbath day--it is not the special sanctuary which we build--these are old covenant concepts which have entered into the church and changed us--turned us backward--to confuse us with old covenant ideas--ideas which Jesus and the new testament clearly tell us are obsolete--and in fact subvert the full purpose of His blood sacrifice.

There is much spoken of in churches today about how that we can "enter into the awesome presence of God"---in church. People go to church Sunday after Sunday--entering into the presence of God--over and over again--and then just go home and live out their lives to a large degree. WE are taught that this presence will "change us"--a subtle teaching which presumes that we really have a lot of sin in our lives and need constant teaching (sheering of sheep) guidance--in essence the ritualistic cleansing of the Sabbath day.


We are supposed to enter into the presence of God--and come away with His purposes--come away with our ministry.

the blood of Christ is what forgives us--right? (not our Sabbath ritual--not our tithe--not our works of the law)

the blood cleanses us that we may enter boldly to the throne of God--since we can know that all our sin is fully forgiven by His blood--and not our on works. (Israel had to depend on their works to a large degree--since their sacrifice was nor perfect like ours)

but what are we supposed to come away with?

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14)

The blood redeems us--allows us to enter into the presence of God (not the Sabbath or anything else of our worldy obedience)--we are thus made priests unto God. Only the high priest in Israel couldd enter into the holy place--only he was allowed to be covered with the blood to enter into the holy place.

Since we are all priests unto God.....

5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hash made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
(Revelation 1:5-6, KJV).

5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
(1 Peter 2:5, KJV).
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
(1 Peter 2:9, KJV).

WE--every one of us a priest--has a ministry to fulfill.

We are purged to serve....

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Hebrews 9:14)

1 Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all;
4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
(Hebrews 9:1-10, KJV).

We enter into the holy place--by the blood of the lamb--the perfect sacrifice of our high priest. All of us--when we are covered by His blood--can certainly enter in--yet we are not there for our own thrills and pleasure--or to continually have our own sin forgiven (it was the blood that cleansed us once and always in the first place!). We are to enter in and come away with our service toward God--our ministry.

Remember the example of the people at the day of pentecost? They received the power of the Holy Ghost--having been cleansed by the blood. The have now entered into the full presence of God--and what do they do? do they all say "Let's come back again next Sunday and do that again?" No. they immediately take on the purposes of Christ--they all go out and witness the Gospel--in miraculous languages--and 3,000 are saved in a day. (God cannot perform miracles if we will not first be obedient to His calling--which means to follow the example of Christ--respect one another as a true body--and go where He tells us to go).

Jesus lived out His life and ministry in the very same way

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
(Luke 4:18, KJV).

Notice--Jesus says that the Spirit of the Lord is upon Him--He, sinless--has been anointed with the power of the Spirit (just like the people on the day of Pentecost--and just like us today--if we will only believe!)--But He comes away with service--not rulership or authority over others--rather authority over the enemy! He takes on the purposes--the ministry which the Father has set out--preach the Gospel--feed the poor--heal the sick--pray for deliverance from the devil--and "set at liberty" (Greek "apostello"--"apostlolic liberty"--ministry for all believers!)--this describes exactly His ministry plan. Teach the Gospel--of the coming kingdom--heal the sick--cast out the devil--feed the poor--and release the people who have been saved, healed, delivered and fed--to go and do the same in His name.

This is the purposfull operational plan of Christ--and exactly that of the church in the Bible. The Holy Spirit is for witnessing--not for thrills--the indwelling of the Spirit is for empowerment of ministry--service toward others--not for repetitive rituals. The entering into God's presence is not for our own sake--it is to release us to serve Him--in His purposes and His ministry--to spread the Gospel (but ALL of it--including release!).

8 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, KJV).


Jesus did not just "send away" the crowds

Mr 6:45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.

The Greek word translated here as "sent way" is "apoluo"--which means to release. Jesus was setting these people "at liberty" (see Luke 4:18)--He was releasing them to their ministry and purpose in God--which was the ultimate aim of his ministry. An intrinsic part of the Gospel that Jesus preached was this release--this "setting at liberty"--literally, "apostolic freedom"--it is the God-given right to serve God--to minister.

But we in our church tradition send everybody home each week--we "dismiss" everyone--send them out to sin--to live out in the world--(with zero organization into ministry-!!) so that they have to came back again and re-repent--and enter into the presence of God again--and NOT come away with their ministry--since the format of church doesn't allow this--does not encourage all to prophecy--or all to have ministry--or all to serve God---only "some"

The word "mass" in latin means to dismiss. The Roman concept of church disallows ministry in all the body--and one of the ways this is accomplished is the dismissal by man's authority--the control of where and when Christians will meet--and the control of what they will do when they meet. This is the central aspect of what we call "church authority". Roman emperors of hundreds of years ago determined where and when Christians will meet--that we will all meet under man's authority--on a "holy-day-of-obligation" Sabbath day---and that we will leave when the leader tell us to. We teach that Jesus did this when we look at Mark 6:45--yet we misinterpret His ministry and his purposes--subverting them to our experience of what "church" is supposed to be. Dismissing by control--rather than releasing to freely serve.

Conclusion: we get close to God to serve Him; created for fellowship; also created to serve Him;---these things are never taught.