What you are about to read may be new to your understanding about the way Christians are supposed to do “church” and live out their Christianity. Most of what you are about to read will not be taught in the typical local church or Theological Seminary. Most Bible Colleges and Seminaries exist to only emphasize their distinctiveness. In effect they are there to teach why they are different than the other teaching institutions across the country. This isn’t all bad, but it is also not all good. We will show you why in a moment.
We will show you Biblical truth that heretofore hasn’t been taught with the preeminence that the Bible teaches it. We will also try to explain along the way why it isn’t readily taught by most of our current leaders. We do this with the hope of removing the religious and psychological barriers hindering the advancing Church of Jesus Christ. Hang on, this is a road less traveled. It is a little bumpy, but you are going to love the view. Jeff Krall
It Was God’s Idea to Comprise the Nation of Israel from 12 Different Tribes
All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them; he blessed each one according to his own blessing. Genesis 49:28
In the beginning God created His people, the Nation of Israel from the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. Each of these tribes had a specific identity and calling on them. They were unique and played a different role in the national affairs of Israel. They conquered different parts of the Promised Land. They had their own inheritance they were to fight for and settle. From this observation we can also see how the many Denominations and Independent Christian groups are simply tribes in God’s family; they are tributaries that comprise the Great River of God. Each one of these groups are stewards of the manifold wisdom of God as it is being unfolded through the centuries (Ephesians 3:10). They were given some truth or revelation from God for their generation. They aren’t supposed to be like the other tribes. In fact the only two areas where they were supposed to be unified, is in worship and warfare. They worship the same God, Jehovah; and they fought the same enemy, Satan and his imps.
The reason this is important to see in our contemporary setting is that there are many Christian leaders today who fall into two extremes. The first is to think their tribe or religious organization is the only correct one. It is good to be proud of your spiritual heritage. It is good to be a faithful steward of the particular scriptural emphasis God has given your organization. But there is a dangerous kind of pride that results in elitism and territorialism. This results in an arrogant superiority complex that insists on everyone being like them before they will fellowship and work with them.
Be Careful – Don’t Start Another “Anti-Denomination Denomination”
The second extreme is the belief that all denominations are wrong and not of God. This results in some starting their own organization. Remember, the prideful separatist spirit that often comes with denominations is unhealthy; but the truth or revelation that God has revealed through them is not. People who believe that all denominations are bad usually end up starting their own movement, which unbeknownst to them results in another denomination called the “non-denominational denomination”. The same separatist spirit they criticize in other organizations results in them forming another separate organization, church or network that isolates itself from the rest of the Body of Christ.
Our point here is God likes and designed unified diversity in His creation, in Israel and in His Church. Let’s not try to make everybody like us. Let’s also realize we need each other to be the whole Body of Christ, the whole Nation of the Lord. We are here to complete each other, not compete with each other. Therefore let’s lessen the hyper criticisms about denominations and ask ourselves, what are we currently doing to unite the Body Christ?
There Must Be Unity Before There’s Power
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is; For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing— Life forevermore. Psalm 133:1-3
These three verses of scripture hold a powerful key the Church in our communities is missing. The place where the brethren dwell together in unity is the place where the Lord commands the blessing. In Acts 2:4, they were in one accord before the power fell. Peter’s shadow could heal the sick because the Church was in one city in one accord. Just like Jesus who was all together in one place in His human body did awesome miracles, so we will see the miracles again when we assemble all the parts of Jesus’ body today in one place in our town. Concentrated Jesus is what is lacking in our churches and communities.
Think about this scenario. A father comes home from a day of work and walks into his house to hear his children fighting and screaming at each other. One stole a toy from the other. One smacked the other and the third one is cussing and calling the other one terrible names. Do you think their father is about to bless them and take them out for ice cream? No way! Blessing isn’t what is about to rain on them … a swift paddle on their back side is more likely to come into their world. Yet much of the Church is treating their brothers and sisters the same way and are praying and expecting God’s blessing. No sane father blesses his children when they are fighting and attacking each other. However when they love on each other it pleases him greatly, resulting in him giving great reward. So whether it’s a home, a church or a city, to the degree there is maturity expressed in oneness there will be power released from the Lord.
That’s Not Satan We Are Fighting; It’s God!
Another example of how we are often far from God’s full blessing can be illustrated by some intercessors and pastors who were praying and fasting for revival in their city. One of them said the Holy Spirit told them the name of the principality hindering the move of God in their city. Its name was “Yahweh”. The Lord showed them that God Himself was actually resisting the Church in their community. Why? God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God was showing them they didn’t need to worry about the devil and his crew. If He was displeased by their divisions and strife in the Church, He was the One who they should be concerned with.
The Bible states in Psalm 133, that God will command the blessing “there”! Where is there? There, is the place where the brethren dwell together in unity. God commands it because of the nature of spiritual warfare fighting against this unity. He commands “life evermore” because “life” is what we need in our churches and cities. Life is that essence or force which stops atrophy, decay and death. Life is the one commodity man cannot produce in spite of all of our sophisticated religious knowledge. We need God’s life to manifest, to sprout in our midst and push back the death and demonic power in our families, our churches and in our communities.
Look Where the Oil Goes
We see from the Scriptures that when there is unity among the brethren the sacred anointing oil representing the precious Holy Spirit descends upon the leadership (the head of Aaron) of the Church or community. It is God’s endorsement that the organization’s leadership pleases Him so much that He anoints it with blessing – life evermore. Dear leader, could this anointing oil also represent God’s acknowledgement that we have effectively led the people of God into a mature understanding of unity? Do we have the necessary humility and maturity that qualifies us for more heavenly endorsement?
It’s About Our Father
Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven… Luke 11:1, 2
Here we see what is commonly called the Lord’s Prayer, but is really the Disciples’ Prayer. The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. It is important for every believer to realize that when addressing God, Jesus wanted us to remember that He is OUR Father, not just My Father. The very model of prayer Jesus gave for every believer starts with an emphasis on our relationship to God and one another. Jesus wants us always mindful that when in prayer we have brothers and sisters with whom we need to be in right relationship. Everything about God’s being reflects relationship.
The Godhead itself screams diversified unity as the very essence of God’s nature and being. We cannot escape the fact that our Christianity is irrevocably connected to other brothers and sisters in Christ. The Bible has over 30 “one another” commands which show us that we can’t be an authentic Christian who is isolated from other believers.
Your Will Be Done On Earth As It Is in Heaven
Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Luke 11: 2
Perhaps one of the most astounding blind spots in the Church today is the disconnection between what is going on in heaven and what is happening here on earth. What is going on in heaven? Discerning what is going on up there is the key to what we need to believe for down here. First of all, at the risk of sounding like a “space cadet” out of touch with reality I will tell you that I have been to heaven. So have you if you have read your Bible with a heart of faith. Have you experienced the Holy Spirit and discovered the language of the Spirit, visions and dreams? Have you seen yourself seated with Christ in heavenly places? Has your inner man breathed heavenly atmosphere? All believers who have been born from above will at some level experience heaven before we get there. Let me tell you what I have seen in the Spirit, I trust it will bear witness with you and the scriptures.
First of all, there are no divisions and strife in heaven. No one is jockeying for the head position for it has already been filled by Jesus Christ Himself. Not one leader is seeking to promote themselves or is insisting to be the preeminent pastor or bishop or apostle in the room. The Lordship of Jesus is so glorious and all consuming no one even considers exalting themselves above another.
There is complete forgiveness among everyone in heaven as the reality of the depth of each one’s sins have been found out yet met with God’s amazing grace. There is immeasurable gratefulness and humility for even being allowed to be there. There is unalterable unity and appreciation among its citizens as they work seamlessly together for the glory of God’s expanding kingdom. There are waves of liquid love and joy unspeakable as the reality of Jesus and His benevolent reign saturates every corner of the heavenly realm in perfect peace. And there is unfettered, explosive worship from everyone whose focus is on the King of kings and the Lord of lords. It is clear; heaven has one star, one leader and it is the LORD! This is not a fairy tale. This is the real reality of our universe.
This is Our Bull’s Eye, Our Touchdown, Our Finish Line.
This is what we are to pray will happen here on earth, in our communities and churches. Anything less would be ignorance and unbelief, or worse, downright rebellion to the Lord’s rightful place in our midst. Thy kingdom come is more than a verse we hang on our refrigerators, this is a command for us to pray and believe for. This is not a vain exercise without an expectation to see results here. This is our bull’s eye, our touchdown, our finish line. This should be the reality our efforts are working towards.
Failure to discern what is going on in heaven is an indication we have not been fellowshipping with Christ in heavenly places. We have been too immersed in our religious kingdoms. We have become shortsighted, earthly minded. Your focus is your future. It is time we focus on what Jesus told us to focus on. Let’s focus on His kingdom come; His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
I often ask ministers what is the greatest example of the Lord’s presence among us. The common responses are usually people being saved, manifestations of healings or other spiritual gifts. These are great things to behold. I submit the greatest manifestation of the Lord being in our midst is when the elders, the pastors and leaders of our community throw their crowns at Jesus’ feet and fall on their faces in humble worship. There is no greater indicator that the true King is among us then when people who are lesser kings and lords fall on their faces in humble adoration of Jesus. In our minister’s gatherings the tangible presence of the Master is always proportional to how much we are willing to cease from self promotion, preferring the Lord. It is true of our churches and communities as well.
Jesus Recognizes His Church by Its Geography Not By the Signs on Our Buildings
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. 1 Corinthians 1:2
Throughout the Scriptures we see God speaking to cities and regions. Epistles were written to the Church of Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Philadelphia, Thyatira, Laodicea etc. What can we learn from this? Jesus recognizes His Church by their geography not by the signs over our buildings. He speaks to the city elders or messengers of these cities and charges them with the spiritual well being of the Church in that region. If the Lord only recognizes His Church by its geography, shouldn’t we? Do you discern the Body of Christ outside your four walls? Can you see it? As we said before we often become myopic and develop tunnel vision when we only work on what’s going on inside our ministries. The maturing saint will see what Jesus recognizes as His Church.
We are Babies and Even Carnal, If There are Divisions Among Us
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions among you. Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 1 Corinthians 1:10-12
Scripture tells us to speak the same thing. There should be no divisions among us. What are we doing to obey this? Why do we let divisions to continue? Is your God powerless to do something about this? Have you become part of “the great falling away” the Scriptures warn us about? What I mean by that is: “Have you fallen from the faith that believes the Lord is going to bring His Church to maturity”? Where are the fathers and discerning leaders in our ministries and in our communities who can mediate these situations as they arise? Remember, when the Church is in unity we automatically win the battle with Satan and his hordes. That’s why he fights so hard to create divisions, and that’s why God’s leaders need to fight even harder to expose his efforts.
And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Four times in this text the Bible calls us carnal or fleshly because we are allowing divisions instead of Christ to rule the day. Regardless of how we think of our religious status or our prominence within our religious institution or church, the Bible says we are “in the flesh” when we are divided from one another. It doesn’t matter what we say to each other to justify our condition … the Bible makes it clear who we really are in light of Scripture. I pray we all find a healthy dose of humility from the diagnosis of the Word of God.
We Don’t Make Unity, We Keep It
I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. Ephesians 4:1-6
It is important to note that we don’t create unity; we are to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace that already exists. The discerning believer recognizes the unity of the Spirit and cooperates with it anywhere on planet earth. There is a present unity of the Spirit no matter where you are in the world. Heaven’s atmosphere is available to everyone in every place. We don’t try to work hard to manufacture this unity; it is already in existence because it is the nature of our God who is everywhere. It is like your favorite radio station. It is transmitting through you right now as you read this book. All you need is the equipment to tune into the right frequency. The same is true with the unity of the Spirit (heaven’s atmosphere). It is transmitting through the walls of religious bigotry and legalism in your situation too. It just takes a little teaching on how to tune it in. The fact that you are reading this material will greatly help your reception.
If Jesus Ordained You Then You Will Work to See the Body of Christ Joined and Knit Together
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God … joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16
We need to evaluate if our ordination for ministry comes from heaven or from a man made organization. Beware; if your ministry organization “ordained” you, you will often work to see it grow up into maturity instead of the Church of Jesus Christ. This is called building “my kingdom” in Jesus’ name. If your organization ordained you, you will inevitably work to build it up.
If Jesus ordained you, then you will build the Body of Christ. It is that simple. For many, this distinction doesn’t become apparent until they go through God’s school of preparation and die to their self-life. We write about this process in our book “Roadkill Seminary”. This breaking causes the Christian leader to have a wakeup call to the real ministry instead of just being a company man.
If Jesus Christ ordained you, you will have an unquenchable desire to see the whole Body of Christ grow up into Him and become joined and knit together. That’s why Jesus gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers to the Church in the first place. Please look at these verses with fresh eyes. Have you been building a denomination or a religious company all these years? Or have you been building the “spiritual house” of the Lord in your area? Are you connecting the body parts?
Maybe you, like so many other leaders, have been focused on the scaffolding rather than the actual House of the Lord in your community. There is a temptation to focus only on our ministry within our four walls because that is where we feel successful and derive our sense of value or our incomes. That is how we compare ourselves with the banker, the doctor and the dentist; by how our practice looks to others. However we should be more concern about how we are pleasing the One who ordained us for the purpose He set forth in Scripture.
This is Authentic Christianity According to Jesus
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:33, 34
According to Jesus the world would know we are genuine disciples by our love for one another. This is how they will know you and I are the real deal – Love for one another (not just love for the Lost!). Does the world see this in us? Is it hard for us to love Christians who are different from us because we are using our particular religious system to gain God’s approval? Are we still trying to make ourselves worthy of God’s love and acceptance by keeping our camp’s set of rules and rituals? Could it be we are more rule oriented than relationship oriented? Does this leave us loveless and disconnected from the other believers from different camps?
Our Relationships Reveal How Much Light We Are Walking In
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 1 John 2:9-11
The proof we are walking in the Christ’s light is revealed by our relationships with one another. The level of fellowship we have with members of the Body of Christ reveals what level of light we are walking in. If we walk in the light as He is in the light we will have fellowship with one another. If you can only get along with one other believer you have a small level of light you are walking in. Getting along with people in your home group is another level of Christ’s light you are walking in. As you grow in Christlikeness you will be able to walk in more light which will enable you to have meaningful fellowship with an entire church, denomination, city or nation. How much light are you walking in? I find it amazing as a leader in a local church that I can walk in fellowship with all who come to our house of worship, yet many within the same church will not get along with people different from them. They’ve chosen to stay at their low level of light.
I don’t know about you but I want more of God. He is light and love. He loves everyone. So if you are going to be like Him or be near Him you better plan on losing your dark areas and step into the light as you fellowship with believers from different streams.
We Are To Be the Answer to the Real Lord’s Prayer
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:20-23
The last free night of Jesus’ ministry on earth we get to hear Him pray the most important thing on His heart. The Holy Spirit records the most intimate and precious words the Son of God ever uttered in the Bible and we get to listen in. This is awesome! What would be on your mind if you were on your death bed? What would you say to your family if you only had hours to live? What would be your last prayer for them? I guarantee it would be the most important thing on your heart. What is the single most important thing to Jesus Christ? This is a very important moment so pay close attention.
The answer is, that we would be One as He and the Father is One, so the world would know He is the Savior of the world. It is absolutely astonishing beyond all belief that just about every Theological Seminary and Bible School misses the importance of this sacred point made by our Savior. Almost every Christian organization has a Statement of Faith or list of Orthodox Doctrines necessary to be considered an authentic Christian or minister. Yet according to Jesus Himself the world would only recognize we were authentic followers of His by our love for one another and our Oneness with God and each other. Did Jesus know something about the cynical culture of the last generation? Did He know in the last days the love of many would grow cold and would need to see true love before they would believe Jesus was sent by God? Or is it true that in spite of all the religious jargon we use, people know when they see a sham and when they are witnessing authentic Christian love and unity … the kind that is a foretaste of heaven?
If you are still tracking with me and believe this is the missing element or as they say the “weakest link” in our testimony to the world, then listen to this. The standard of unity we are called to is no less than that of the unity of the Godhead. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three who are one. This isn’t some surface religious unity we are talking about. This is not about fake smiles and superficial Sunday morning relationships. This is the essence of heaven’s source of life. This is the kind of oneness every true believer is drawn to like protons and electrons are drawn to the nucleus of an atom.
According to the Bible, Jesus’ method for world evangelism is our ONENESS. (The word “glory” is mentioned 8 times and “world” an astounding 19 times in the Lord’s Prayer). Jesus knows the end time generation would need something more than religious activities and buildings. To get the world’s attention, He calls us to Oneness. Due to iniquity abounding and the love of many waxing cold, only the glory of the unified Body of Christ can reveal the Spirit of Christ in a penetrating way. God’s unity of Spirit displayed on the canvas of flawed humanity will erase all the bad reputations of the Church and Christians alike. You may not have faith to believe for this oneness in your city but you can start with teaching your children, your cell group, and your church to believe and be part of the remnant Church, preparing herself as a bride.
Still unconvinced believers will get their act together? Don’t worry! Jesus prayed for this and Jesus always gets his prayers answered.
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! For there the Lord commanded the blessing—Life forevermore.
Excerpt from “Working Together For Jesus”
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