When I say “church in crisis”, I am not being critical or referring to the anointed “body of Christ”, the spiritual remnant of God’s people! I am crying out to the ones from all walks of life and every religious background who desire to be all that He wants us to be in this hour! I do believe, however, that even those of us who are seeking His face and turning from our wicked ways, must also humble ourselves and pray that we will not miss the next move of God that He is bringing forth!!
When I refer to the biblical definition of the church, or ecclesia, I am referring to where it starts and that is with relational leadership and authority! The church can never be the church unless it comes under the rule of God and the kingdom He as committed to Christ’s authority! The word “church” is mentioned by Jesus only three times, but they are powerful ones. Let us look at them:
1) Matt. 16:18,19- “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hades (hell) shall not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” (Nasb)
2) Matt. 18:15-17- “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (Nasb)
Jesus was telling Peter in Matt.16 that He was building His church, not only on the revelation that He was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, but also on the foundation upon which it would be built! No other foundation can be laid, than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. ( I. Co. 3:11) So, all leadership must acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the “living Head” of the body, and we must not substitute His headship, we must represent it! We only have ‘delegated’ authority!!
In the second passage in Matt. 18, this clearly shows why the church is in deep crisis today. We very often ignore what should be the basic of all believers and saints in dealing with relational problems. Yet, most often, when one has a fault with another, instead of going with a spirit of meekness to restore relationships, we usually hold resentment and tell others how much we’ve been hurt. If we cannot follow these basic guidelines, where “in the mouth of every two or three witnesses shall every word be established, how can we know what to bind or loose?”
In fact, in Mt. 18:18,19, Jesus again gives the resolve in dealing with these things: “Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall have already been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth as touching anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst.” Can we see this? When two comes in agreement over their disagreements, He, Jesus, is the third one that comes in between them, and the two can come into agreement with Him!
Of course, in some of our older days, people thought “telling it to the church”, meant telling every body in church! How ridiculous is that, after Jesus gives the pattern of dealing with offenses, and then we get up in church in testimony meeting and tell everyones sins and faults! No, He was saying, “Tell it to the church leadership, those that are in authority, so that righteous judgments may be rendered!” Where the church is, there the elders are, and where the apostles and elders are, there the government of the church is!
I see a correlation between Isaiah 1:26,27 and Acts 1:20b,25:
Isa. 1:26,27- “Then I will restore your judges (apostles) as at the first, And your counsellors (prophets) as at the beginning; After that you will be called the city of righteousness, A faithful city. Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.”
Acts 1:20b,25- “Let another take His bishoprick (position of overseer or office)…to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”
What is sad, is when leadership cannot come into agreement, which is a “divine appointment.”
To be continued…