Sky Diving Communion
This is awesome. Check out this article about extreme church. (Remember it is april 1st).
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A Look at the Christian American Religious System
The writers of the NT, as the prophets of old, were not looking for a new Religious System. Nor are we. We have a Christian American Religious System are we happy with it? The writers of the NT, as the prophets of old, were looking for something still to be obtained… (sound like you?)… Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is (I Jn 3:2); And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my unto the end of the earth. (Isa 49:6) et al. So… in a very narrow, yet real, sense, one may consider certain conditions of the New Testament as types and shadows. I say that one can find types and shadows in the NT, principally because there are found in abundance pervading notions of a condition of perfection yet unfulfilled.
As the OT shadows are come to light and fulfilled in Jesus and in certain cases in the saints, so one finds parallel in the Apostolic / Prophetic words concerning their presumed ‘near’ coming or better stated the appearing of the Lord. There are clear parallels in the current, and, possibly just as presumed, calling unto Zion that some of this age would purport to hear. If one understands the idea of OT types and NT anti-typical fulfillment, then there should be little problem with some passages that are yet to be fulfilled being viewed as types. These types will manifest as an anti-type some point in the economy of God. Although in the truest sense of types and shadows, it would be quite a stretch to say that all of the NT is merely a shadow of what is to come. Some things have come to into the light, and recognized as fulfilled. Yet as a whole, the completion things God has planed for those who love Him are not even, on a good day, remotely imaginable. Things that are made available to us in this age ‘in Christ’, are seen in a vastly limited fashion when compared to what we find that we should be according to Scripture. So much limited as they are referred to in the Greek as katargeo. Ref: For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (1 Cor 13:9-10) That is: When the full revealing of the expression of the life of God is made available with out limit, that which is rightly perceived to be the current available portion, will be katargeo. The idea as stated in 1 Cor 13:9-10 is as: the outskirts of the City of God were the only dwelling place allowed to us. However inaccessible the fullness of this city is, there is now being made an entrance to it. What is more, we shall be removed from our present place of the designated outer limits or suburbs. Not to be counted as mere dwellers of that City, but we shall even be a part of it… forever. Consider the following verse… Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God and I will write upon him my new name.: (Rev 3:12a) This 2 fold writing (of the name of the Lambs God and the new name of the Lamb*) upon him, known as the Overcomer, will cause this knowledge (relationship) and prophesy (divine expression of that relationship) of 1 Cor 13:9-10 to be as stated above: katargeo. Katargeo is to cause a thing to be rendered inactivate, or inoperative with no influence, power or efficiency. The coming position relative to the nature Christ will sever to the point of extinction remembrance or indication of any former relationship.*Note ref: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Rev 14:1) with; And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. (Rev 22:3-4)
From the light of the Cross, the shadows of the Old are seen as being fulfilled in the New. Without that light, for those who were in the shadows before the Cross, there was only the hope to receive some approval of faith. Their hope rested in that one day the Hope would come making the promise reality. But in that ” one far-off, divine event” God who would present His eternal Self-Son in order that all those who placed their faith in something that was not able to be seen, vindicated their life that was so much built upon a lack of evidence. Understand that these men of old, the elders who obtained a good report, would, be a portion of the thing which we now have apprehended. They are a part of the means of the Christ that is produce in us… And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Heb 11:39-40) In the plan of God, both the fulfillment in us of the thing promised and the hope of the fulfillment in them would be impossible without the others part. Both were dependent upon the other for completion of each. The relationship between the OT and its saints and the NT is symbiotic.
We see here a system in which the reveling of the plans, purposes, and person of God is not preformed at once. Rather that He should be reveled in successive ages of His own choosing. How should we or for that matter the writers of the NT fit any less into that same system of revelation as whole. The idea of some of the truth presented to us by the inspired words of the Apostles, should be considered as a type of things to come, boarders not upon heresy. Moreover, the idea of things of the NT being types, should serve as revelation, to show us, who do not yet appear what we shall be, the things that will be, cannot come, without the things which now are.
As the Law (the natural) was fulfilled in the work of Jesus (the spiritual) so this imperfect must give way to the perfect. This corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality etc. Taken as a whole the NT and the OT will sort of blend together to form one larger type of the intention of the Father. This is not to propose that in some way the Word will pass away. God forbid… Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:32-33) But this is to say; that all of the ‘tills’ in the NT will mingle together into Present Truth with all of the prophetic of the OT resulting to manifest in the Glorious Christ in us absolutely… Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Eph 4:13)
In order to make any lucid deliberation of the Church weather it be the Christian American Religious System some other aberration or the Ekkleesia proper, one should define what Church is under consideration. It simplifies my limited capacity for understanding the general problem to view the term in two ways. One church is visible. One Church is invisible.
The visible church may be defined (and indeed has been in the past) as the collective outward expression of people who in varying degrees profess rightly or otherwise some quality of personal character attributable to Christ. Notice the important or operative term here is profess. Remember that at this juncture I am merely defining one of the two as a means of perspective.
It would be a crime of oversimplification and or in some cases predictable naiveté to merely state the Church is simply the first definition we run into when we open our trustworthy Strongs Concordance. There it is: 1577 ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah); from a compound of 1537 and a derivative of 2564; a calling out. So the Church are the called out ones. Not really… but,… yes really. The idea of both an assembly (natural ones) and the called out (spiritual ones) are in view and both are found with equal validity in scripture. The rest of the Strongs meaning are as follows… i.e. (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): KJV– assembly, church. Thayer informs us of the various uses of ekklesia. In the profane Greek it is used as any gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place, an assembly of the people convened at the public place of the council for the purpose of deliberating, any gathering or throng of men assembled by chance. There is an allusion to the assembly of the Israelites. In a Christian sense: a company of Christian, or of those who, hoping for eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, to observe their own religious rites, gathered for worship, who hold their own religious meetings, and to manage their own affairs, according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake. And, generally for the whole body of Christians scattered throughout the earth as well as the assembly of faithful Christians already dead and received into heaven. So much for Strong and Thayre. They don’t seem to help much: save for the fact that these are the ways the term is use in the Bible—if that counts for anything and be sure it does.
There is this invisible connection that is constituted on the union of the indwelling Christ in each of it’s individual members. This is the church invisible.
One is impelled to consider the whole notion of the Church or church if only for no other reason than Our Precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did. Jesus thought that there was going to be an entity He called the Church or church and gave some indication as to its future existence. He twice and only in Mathew directly used the term ekklesia. Let look at both instances.
The first in Chapter 16… And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matt 16:17-18) Here is what we should classify the invisible church.
We know that the invisible Church is a progressive entity that will come to perfection. The phrase I will build is referring to the Spiritual Israel, the foundation of which is Christ Himself. Through the progressive revealing of Himself, His Church should be progressive perfected.
The idea of a congregation of Israel was undoubtedly familiar to Jesus. Ref: A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD. (Deut 23:2) (Note I am not even going to attempt to address that one. Too many allusions to the true sons, sheep and goats, the chastening of the Lord, spiritual maturity, not to mention defining the requirements of being part of His body etc. etc. etc, what a blessed and divine can of worms, but it certainly would “preach”); and I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee? (Ps 89:1-8) It is clear that what is intended here and elsewhere in both Testaments is an invisible assembly of men who have been placed in the heavenlies as a united group.
What about the visible expression, if any, of this heavenly body with commonality of the expression of Christ in the earth? Jesus addressed such an expression, Again in Mathew we find… Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. (Matt 18:15-17) Issues of this nature spoken of by Jesus were to be taken to the church. Church here is the same word ekklesia translated assembly or church. The context would indicate that Jesus intended the existence of some local assembly or ekklesia wherewith issues of this nature were to be settled. One also would assume that Jesus intended other valuable functions would occur at such a gathering.
There can be little question as to the reality of the Church invisible. And should be no question as to a Biblical basis for a church or assembly of some sort that is visible. There may be concerns that remain respecting the visible church. What form it should take, the nature of its government, the scope of its authority and overall function etc. are completely different issues. What should be established in our minds is the answer to the question of ‘Does God generally intend there to be a visible and local expression of His Body?’ From the above verses in Matt 18 one can safely assume that Jesus thought there should be such a visible expression of Himself.
The lateness of the hour for the present age (aion) of which we are presumably witnessing could be a further concern. I hesitate to bring this verse up since it may only serve to cloud the issue even further, but…. Let’s look at… And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Heb 10:24-25) The Greek term used here for assembling is 1997 episunagoge (ep-ee-soon-ag-o-gay’); complete collection; especially a Christian meeting (for worship): KJV– assembling gathering together. It is rendered as a gathering together in one place particularly in the religious assembly of Christians. Again, the duel use of the term in the Scriptures points to yet another visible and invisible scenario. We find the invisible or spiritual use of episunagoge in… Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, (II Th 2:1) No I am certainly not promoting a Rapture!
Still, since there is the visible aspect to the term, we must include it in our discussion. Would it only be for the portion of the passage which commands us to not frosakeing the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; one might find justification in adhering to a more spiritual application. One could take the phrase to mean the drawing unto a place of perfection in Christ where the sons will be manifested. However given the whole context by the phrases… And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works with exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching, a purely spiritual gathering must somehow include a visible expression. And, if not to include a visible expression, at least one must consider a possibly parallel but certainly concurrent application.
This idea of parallel and concurrent visible and invisible churches brings us to what was on my mind at the start of this article. That is to consider the visible church in the light of a New Testament type of thing to come. I propose that verses in the later portion of Galatians to be instructive as to both the nature of the current visible church and the response to it from the invisible Church.
With regard to the above, especially the New Testement as typology, let us examine Gal 4:1-7. Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
I offer that we are, in some aspect, viewing the defined CARS here in Galatians. This heir-servant pattern is unfortunately the system which we are all in varying degrees laboring under in this age. We are all placed under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. True as in the natural there are some tutors and governors better equipped and have a purer heart than others. However, I do not know nor have I heard of any, yea could there be any in this point in Gods economy, who are not in some way still in some dimension in bondage (at least some sort) under the elements of the world.
We all know what is our position in Christ. We all know that we have these great and precious promises available to us. We all know that our access to the Throne Room and the Holy of Holies has been opened by our Beloved Lord and Savoir Jesus Christ. We all know of and in varying degrees are operating and participating in these benefits. Still who on this planet with a body is functioning with a fully saved soul? (Which would, as I understand it, put him in line for a fully saved body) Who has yet ceased from sinning? We are, in an experimental sense, a type, only a shadow of what we will become.
We are all in a process of entering into when the fulness of the time was(will) come. A time when God sent(will send) forth his Son(in His Sons). The frustrating portion of this picture is that these sons will be… made of a woman. Oops! And worse yet… made under the law. Ouch!
The wondrous and mighty part of this picture is that this son is to… To redeem them that were under the law. Not only those who are still in bondage to the law but the entire creation will be gloriously effected through this adoption of sons… Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Rom 8:21) The manifesting of these sons will produce the oneness of purpose, intention and function of a full-grown heir wherewith the continual and perfect proclamation of testimony of these sons will be Abba, Father. When this type comes to fulfillment he will no longer in truth act as a servant but appropriate his inheritance of his sonship. When the inheritance is once realized this son is truly then an heir of God through Christ. They as the type will become the anti-type through Christ Jesus.
The point of all this that the CARS is one small and odious phase of the training process of the servant. In Galatians we are instructed that the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant. If God ordained some element of the childs training to be under the particular tutoring and governing of the still imperfect and largely Babylonish Church how should we, through the dissemination of our own doctrine, seek to inhibit his training.
There are numerous other issues that should be considered. The Church in Jerusalem the Jewish Religious System was a matrix in which the Apostles operated. It was only after persecution, did the early fathers abandoned interaction within the Jewish Religious System… And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, (Acts 2:46); Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms (Acts 3:3); Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life (Acts 5:20); For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me (Acts 26:21) etc. It is true that they probably did not directly interact with the many outward ceremonies and did not directly associate with the JRS hierarchy but the scope of their activity was not of but in the system.
Please do not misread the thought here. It is not my intention to wish or pray the CARS back to the original condition of the early Church. Jesus is not looking for a reformed or renewed or even a resurrected ‘Book of Acts Chruch’. He is looking for a people in which He may tabernacle forever. All of the Epistles, except possibly Philippians, were written to the early assemblies, addressed some grave problems in these local bodies. How many local congregations and even whole denominations are plagued with the same problems as were addressed in Galatians or even, God forbid, Corinthians. Some of us might have even been a Pastor in one of them with the same short comings. A former assembly we do not now attend does not have a ‘pastor’ it had a ‘team leader’. We had practiced as a good team does every Sunday morning and Wednesday night) This thing I call Normal Christianity aka. The CARS has certainly degenerated into a monster. At least this seems to be the case in these United States…. Hence the term CA(American)RS
What I am saying is that the response to the CARS by us should be the similar to what was offered by the Apostles to the JIRS. The response taken, seems to be to stay… until they either run you off or they kill you. The greater point is that there are sheep in there and if we are to be like Jesus we must feed them. There are lambs in there and we must in some way, if we are at all able, by the power and grace of our sweet Jesus, protect them.
We must remember what we are to be about. We must be laboring to enter into His rest. Which brings me to something I never thought would be produced under my fingers and in print. Here is my mission statement. (The phrase is a real struggle to type) What I desperately want to do is first be conformed into the image and likeness of Christ. Secondly and as an inseparable part of the first: assist in love others to be formed into the image and likeness of Christ.
The problem is that if you are given by God to see what is happening there is some greater accountability attached to the burden of being able to see. If any have given some deeper perception then we must prayerfully act on what we have seen. In some ways the responsibility of the Watchmen is the dirty job that somebody has to do.
Consider the words of the Biblical scholar Bob Dylan…
‘What good am I if I know and don’t do If I see and don’t sayIf I look right through youIf I turn a deaf earTo the thunder in the skyWhat good… am I?’
What good am I? from the album ‘Oh Mercy’ Check it out.
The following is a collection of verses that detail the severity and responsibility of watchmen. If they impact you as they have me, there should be little need for much commentary.
Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. (Ezek 3:17) Commentary: Ok…
I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, (Isa 62:6)Commentary: Can I be not weary in well doing?
Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. (Ps 127:1)Commentary: I probably should have left this one out.
But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. (Ezek 33:6) Commentary: Ouch
The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. (Hosea 9:8) Commentary: Apparently they ain’t going to like what I see and say.
For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. (Jer 31:6)Commentary: Glory to the Holy One of Israel!
Admittedly, the condition of the CARS has come to a dreadful state. There are many other issues which there is not enough time to consider. We all over the years have received some very sobering revelations concerning this visible expression (mis- expression) of the Church. Not the least of them carrying some horrifying speculations. It could well be (and we think that is it is) that this CARS that is so evidently flawed is merely the first hint of the great Apostate Whore. Or the soon to be anti-typical fulfillment of the Babylonian captivity. I don’t even pretend to know. But what I do know is that God is still on the throne. And I must trust that… sing along now… “He got the whole Church in His hands”
Sometimes the only thing one can do is ‘Love them all and let God sort it out’