In our last message, in the last paragraph, I spoke a bit about the church. I want to continue along that vain in order to help us understand how us as individuals, becoming His Bride, relates to the His true church becoming His Bride. It is important or us to understand the purpose of the last day church and what our mission is. We can learn what we are to become by looking at where we are currently at and by some of the mistakes we are making. First of all, I want you to know, I am not a church basher. I am part of the church and I love the church but we need to recognize where the Lord intends to take us. Most of what we call church, is not really His idea of church for one simple reason. Our primary emphasis is on doctrine and denominations, instead of Jesus and His presence. To be sure, many so called non-denominations are just another form of denominationalism that is built around the government of man instead of the Government of God.
Some of the common obstacles to our being transformed into the image of Christ, thus transforming our world are, but not limited too;
1. Theological misperceptions. The majority of the church is steeped in christianism, arguing over doctrines and what they believe the bible says and trying to live for God through manmade religion. There emphasis is on doctrine, truth, living in truth, through EXERNAL methods and programs, instead of living in the power of Holy Spirit focusing on the ONE, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
2. Reliance on programs. Humanistic ideas, mans ideas, programs, and formulas. Preaching the gospel without understanding sin, intimacy and our basic need for His
3. Lowered expectations. We are accepting “substitutes” to real revival and the true power and nature of Jesus Christ. We are depending on “self-reliance” instead of
the power of Holy Spirit within us.
4. Misplaced motives. Our true motives reveal everything. Are we a church, with a “form” of godliness, that denies His power? Do we truly understand that we can do
nothing without Him but that all things are possible with Him? Jesus was not given for the church, the church was given, for Jesus. Are we really committed to lay down our own lives for His sake, becoming His Bride?
5. Lack of true hunger for God and His Kingdom. Are we building His Kingdom, or are we building our church? Our emphasis is on personal church or ministry building
instead of on His Kingdom building, which involves an intimate relationship with Him. We are distracted by “the cares of this world” and ourselves. We are busy
building our own lives and churches based on our own wants, desires and needs instead of on what God wants, desires and needs. We must rid ourselves of
Only Jesus can build His church. We must learn how to attract God as individuals before we can learn to attract Him corporately. If we are building anything personally or corporately that does not attract His presence, we are building it in vain. It will have no real Holy Ghost power. Accepting God’s Word, promises and blessings without learning to die to self is nothing more than idolatry. We must exhibit Christ in all things, as a way of life. Are we converts, or are we disciples? To be a dwelling place of God is His ultimate purpose and our ultimate calling.
We must demonstrate and reveal to the world the true character and nature of Jesus Christ. Unless Christ be formed in each one of us, that will be impossible. Death is the path to life in Christ. In true faith, there must be the sufferings of self-denial. Self-denial must be our nature. Our time on earth is not for our own personal happiness but for “the will of God”. We live by the sacrifice to the flesh, not for salvation or even acceptance of Christ, but so we can be “conformed to His image”. Why? So we are able to give out spiritual life anywhere it is needed.
We will not experience Kingdom living without sufferings and tribulations. We must learn to value and esteem sufferings, in there true context. The foundation of the church is Jesus Christ, not just teachings about Him, but it is the Lord Himself moving in our midst. We must have His Presence moving and living and being within us and among us. The true accuracy of any doctrine is, are we demonstrating the power, love and dominion of Christ? Is the gospel about talk, or is it about power?
What does any of this have to do with building personal intimacy with God? EVERYTHING. We need to understand God’s intent and purpose for us becoming His Bride. It is not for our individual selves. It is for the building of His true church, and His Kingdom. A true Bride carries His nature, power, love and presence, into His church, where the Corporate Bride worships Him in Spirit and truth. Jesus responds to that genuine worship and adoration of Himself, with a corporate outpouring of His heavy weighty manifest Presence, and we take it out of the four walls of the building, into the world, representing Christ to them, in word, in deed, in power and in love. I know I am not explaining the full meaning and reason for us becoming His Bride but I hope we can see the basics. Of course we are to reign with Him in the Millennium as His Bride. To put it plainly, part of the reason is so we can perfectly represent Him to the World, so we can bring them into becoming His Bride as well.
In the next lesson we will move on into, ” running after the Bridegroom”. Love Mark and Catherine