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Gems from India

 Indian gems

The following are some thought-provoking one liners from the pre-conference sessions at the World House Church Conference in India.  They are from talks given by the leader of a church planting movement that baptized more than 300,000 on the Day of Pentecost in 2009.  Worth taking note!

Jesus never said, "Be baptized."  He said, "You baptize." 

You disciple–you baptize.

Jesus baptized Peter–but only his feet.

You will not see a movement without signs and wonders.  Ninety five percent of our house churches have signs and wonders.

Apostolic teaching is the teaching to GO.

There are 19 commands of Jesus to be found in the New Testament.  All lead to the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Hospitality is the secret to precipitating a movement.

Sit and soak, and you stagnate.  Eat and chat and you will multiply.

Goat prayers are "meeee" prayers.  They focus on me and my needs, my family and my situation.

Use the newspaper headlines as your prayer list.

Theologians think, not from Genesis to Revelation but from genetics to evolution.

We need a problem-based theology.  In our house churches we solve problems–finances, sickness etc.

A Declaration of War

Teachings from India (13)

Matthew 16:18 is a declaration of war:  "Upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it."  Building the church is a declaration of war because it involves a transfer of power.  The responsibility for this transfer of power belongs to the church, and she has been given the keys of the Kingdom to effect it.

It is the business of the chuch to destroy the gates of hell and to bring about the Kingdom.  When Jesus cast out demons, he could say that  the Kingdom of God had come among them (Matthew 12:28-30).   There are different levels of hierarchy among the powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:10).  According to 1 John 5:19, the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.  The strongman is territorial, and we are to bind him and plunder his goods (the people and the land).

The primary battleground is in our minds.  According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5, there are strongholds of human reasoning and false arguments, proud obstacles that keep people from knowing God.  These strongholds in the mind are our mindset, ideologies and traditions, logic and worldview.  We fight these things with spiritual weopons that include the Word, the armor mentioned in Ephesians 6, and truth and righteousness. 

In a nation like India, there are many idols.  Demons are invited to
inhabit the idols when they are installed. It takes binding the spirit
behind the idol to loose the people who are in bondage to that idol.

Jeremiah 10:11 says "Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did
not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from
under the heavens.”  This is a powerful verse to use in dealing with idols.


Why Did Jesus Come?

Teachings from India (12)

There are four statements in the New Testament that specifically describe why Jesus came.

  1. John 10:10  The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I
    have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
  2. Luke 4:18-19  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.
  3. Luke 19:10  For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.
  4. 1 John 3:8  But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.

Can we say the same?  For this reason I have come…

Jesus said, "As the Father sent me, so I am sending you (John 20:21)"

Know your vision and write it down (Habakkuk 2:1-3).

How Jesus Changed the System

Teaching from India (11)

Jesus Christ changed the system:

  • From a temple of stones to a living temple
  • From a Levitical priesthood to a royal priesthood–the church is an assembly of royal priests where the sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken and contrite heart
  • From a Sabbath day to every day
  • From incense to intercession
  • From an offering of sacrificial animals to an offering of repented and baptized people
  • From a Beth Midrash (literally a study hall) to learning on the streets and in homes

Taking our Inheritance

Teachings from India (10)

Every Christian has an inheritance from the Father.  God gave Adam the Garden of Eden for his inheritance, but he lost it all for one piece of fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.  Esau sold his inheritance as firstborn son for a bowl of lentils.

We sell our inheritance too–to our job, or busyness, to the TV or the pursuit of more possessions.

God gave Abraham a territory from the River Euphrates to the Nile.  Abraham circled the land and built 7 altars around it.  God gave him the land plus ten nations.  The covenant was for the people and the land.

We need to ask God for people and land.  What territory is he giving us?  We need to know our inheritance in order to take possession of it (Josh 1:3-9). 

The territory is currently under enemy control.  We need to dislodge the enemy in order to take possession of our inheritance (Luke 11:22).  First we have to destroy the strongman, then we can plunder his possessions which are both the people and the land.  A farmer destroys weeds before planting a crop.  We need to get rid of the enemy's weeds (Romans 16:20) before taking possission of our inheritance and planting a church.

What is True Worship?

Teachings from India (9)

In the Old Testament, worship was always accompanied by sacrifice. Solomon once offered 22 thousand bulls and 120 thousand sheep and goats (2 Chron 7:5).  The temple was primarily a place of sacrifice (2 Chron 7:12). When a person in the Old Testament sinned, he confessed his sin and took a bath of purification.  Then he took an animal who was a substitute for his sins, and the animal was slaughtered as a sacrifice. A person was not allowed to offer his own animal as a sacrifice, but the priest did it for him.  One of the main functions of the priest was to offer sacrifices. 

According to the New Testament, we are now a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).  The blood of Jesus has made us priests and kings (Revelation 5:9, 10).  Again the function of a priest is to offer sacrifices.  Paul offered the Gentiles as a living sacrifice (Romans 15:16)  It was on offering of 2-legged animals who had a broken and contrite spirit (Ps 51:17).  Our worship is not complete without an offering of repentant souls; it is the main business of the church. 

When Abraham offered Isaac as worship to God, his main instruments of worship were a sword, fire and a sacrifice (Genesis 22:6).  Today, our instruments of worship are the same:  a sword–the Word of God (Eph. 6:17, Heb 4:12), fire–the Holy Spirit, and a sacrifice–an offering of repentant souls.

Are Networks Important?

Teachings from India (8)

House churches should be neither independent, nor permanent.  If they are they will not multiply, but will only have shifted people from the pew to the sofa.  Instead, they should be an interdependent network.  Each house church is a debriefing center and a sending center that sends people out.

A starfish has no brain or head.  If you cut off the arm of a starfish, it will grow into a new starfish.  A house church does not require a CEO or a commander. Any of the people in it can multiply it out.  The leader is more of a facilitator that cares for the household.

Different ministries can function across a network of churches.  No single person has all the gifts that are needed, but across a network those leadership gifts will be present.

Church planting is a process.  Jesus stayed a few days in Samaria (John 4).  Philip, the evangelist, preached the gospel powerfully there and many sick people were healed and baptized (Acts 8:4-13).  Then Peter and John (apostles) came and worked with them too (Acts 8:14-25).  Different people used their different giftings to see the church there come to maturity (Acts 9:31).

What are the qualifications for leadership?

Teachings from India (7).

For an official report on the World House Church Summit, see http://bit.ly/6I8PAq 

God chose new leadership for Israel after Saul failed.  Psalm 79:70-72 says:

He chose his servant David,
      calling him from the sheep pens.
 71 He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
      and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
      God’s own people, Israel.
 72 He cared for them with a true heart
      and led them with skillful hands.

  • God himself called David for leadership.  David didn't decide he wanted to be a leader.
  • David was shepherding ewes and lambs.  God called him because he was caring, not because he was brave
  • His calling was for a purpose–to shepherd Israel.  As a shepherd he cared for the weak
  • He was skilled (competent) and had a true heart (character).

David had calling, character, caring and competence.  If any of these are missing, a person will not be a good leader.  These same characteristics come out in the Titus and Timothy qualifications for leadership.  Paul told Titus to appoint elders (calling) They were to be the blameless and the husband of one wife (character), to be hospitable (caring), to be sound in doctrine, able to show those who oppose the Gospel where they are wrong (competent). 

Eat first: meet later

Teachings from India (6)

Luke 10:5-9 is all about the importance of creating relationship.  When we have found a person of peace (who we recognize because they offer us hospitality), the first thing we do is to build a relationship.  Church is all about relationships.  This is what Jesus offers us in Revelation 3:20.  (“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you
hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a
meal together as friends.") 
First we eat with them, then, as we  get to know their needs and the needs of their family and friends, we offer to pray for them.  When God answers our prayer, they will ask what power we used to bring this about.  That is our opportunity to tell them the good news of the Kingdom.

This rebuilds the social fabric of a community.  And it gives us the opportunity to reach out to their circle of relationships too.

"If you don't work with and through local people, when you leave, the work leaves with you."  Victor

Lambs and Wolves

Teachings from India (5).  Spiritual warfare is much more obvious in an Indian village context, but the same principles apply in other places too.

"Now go, and remember that I am sending you out as lambs among wolves.  Don’t take any money with you, nor a traveler’s bag, nor an extra pair of sandals. And don’t stop to greet anyone on the road. (Luke 10:3-4)"

If you go out into villages making a lot of noise, wolves will have you for lunch!  This is serious business. You are in enemy territory.  This is not a social occasion.   Don't even stop to greet other people.  You are there to demolish the enemy's kingdom and establish the Kingdom of God as you prayer walk that village.

Psalm 2:8  says we need to be asking the for the nations as our inheritance.  God told Moses that He would give him the land of Canaan and its tribes.  When missionaries just asked for people they were thrown out of the villages–that is why they had to build compounds.  If they had asked for the land too, they would have been able to stay.

The first thing to do in a new village is to bind the strongman (Matt 12:28-29).  What are the possessions of the strong man?  The people and the land.  The land is cursed because of idolatry and prostitution etc. In prayer we can demolish strongholds and bind the strongman.  We have the same Holy Spirit to help us that Jesus had.  If we expel the strongman from the village then we can take possession of the village.  If all we do is preach, then nothing will happen.  As we use the power of binding and loosing (Matthew 16:18-19), the strongman is expelled from the village and we can establish a church there.

(We have friends in India who tried an experiment.  They picked two villages.  One they prayer walked in extensively before trying to reach out to people and in the other they just reached out without any preparatory prayer.  In the first village, 45 families came to faith.  They were thrown out of the second village.)

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