Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Yes, You MUST Go to Church!

This is a message for those who are called to ministry, but have abandoned Christian assembly...

My heart has really been grieved concerning the state of the church, meaning the physical assembly of God’s people, in relation to what we consider to be true ministry. God has been dealing with me about how we as leaders, often try to fulfill our call to ministry OUTSIDE of His will and plan. Never before in my life have I met so many Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers with no affiliation to a physical church body or local assembly. Yet, everyone has a reason, or an excuse.

As a prophet, God has dealt with me harshly about this, because I am called to speak forth His heart and set order. Yet, not only have I become passive about the issue, but I’ve even allowed those who move outside of God’s order to rebuke me and shut my mouth. Shame on Joy Allen!

First, let me say that I empathize with the situation faced by some. Many of us have gone through or will experience times when we feel, for whatever reason, that we cannot commit to fellowshipping with a local body of believers. It may be a sick family member, a move to a new town, a life-changing event like the birth of a child, or even just a moment of rest to seek God and hear His voice for the next move. I believe God allows these seasons for some, in various situations and for different reasons. Yet, the Word of God and its commandments are still true. We must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. At no point in anyone’s life should an individual become comfortable or content without regular assembly with other saints.

Heb 10:24 And let us consider {and} give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love {and} helpful deeds {and} noble activities,
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking {or} neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching

So many times, we need to separate for a time, but then begin to reason away the need for fellowship. This is very dangerous - a ploy of the enemy that is attacking the Body of Christ. When in these situations, we must continue searching for a local body, consistently praying that God will provide our need for fellowship and lead us to a place of worship.
This is the bottom line - God's Word does not lie. We must do as we are commanded. It saddens and frustrates me to see so many who have taken on active roles in “ministry,” but refuse to surrender under the authority of a church body. This is an epidemic that must be addressed, as God is revealing it.

Acts 13:2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, Separate now for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.
Acts 13:3 Then after fasting and praying, they put their hands on them and sent them away.

Acts 13:8 But Elymas the wise man--for that is the translation of his name [which he had given himself]--opposed them, seeking to keep the proconsul from accepting the faith.
Acts 13:9 But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with {and} controlled by the Holy Spirit, looked steadily at [Elymas]
Acts 13:10 And said, You master in every form of deception {and} recklessness, unscrupulousness, {and} wickedness, you son of the devil, you enemy of everything that is upright {and} good, will you never stop perverting {and} making crooked the straight paths of the Lord {and} plotting against His saving purposes?

Often, God brings me back to this Scripture when dealing with the issue of whether people should have a spiritual "covering". One thing we can gather here is that the church of Acts was set up as a foundation, an example, of how the New Testament church should look, behave and operate. The Bible says that God moved and spoke through His Holy Spirit when the people worshipped in unity. Then, He gave instruction for the Apostles to lay hands on particular persons and send them out. So many today feel that they can anoint themselves, just as Elymas did in the Scriptures to follow shortly after. Now, I have met some mighty men and women of God who may not have been "ordained" by the traditional, physical laying on of hands, but the people of God knew their spirits. They could bare witness to the calling and the gifts within them, and would frankly ordain them if asked. Why? Because they bore fruit. Their testimony was sure, and they operated in order. Part of that fruit is understanding SUBMISSION and SERVANTHOOD. Yes, one is truly called of God WANTS to submit and DESIRES to serve.

PEOPLE OF GOD, STOP PLAYING THE ROLES THAT GOD HAS NOT CALLED YOU TO. THIS IS THE BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU SAY YOU ARE AN APOSTLE, A PROPHET, A TEACHER, A PASTOR, AN EVANGELIST - YET NO ONE BEARS WITNESS WITH YOU IN THE SPIRIT, CHECK YOURSELF! We are too busy with trying to carry an office. Who can vouch for you? Where is your accountability? Who sent you out? Yes, it is necessary! This is the Word. Why do we think we know better than God? We don't!

God is so awesome. He’s so thorough, that He even set up a system of “checks and balances” for the church. Yes, everyone knows the Scriptures regarding the Ascension gifts or the "Five-Fold" ministry: Ephesians 4:11-12 and 1st Corinthians 14. All the gifts rely on one another. They bare witness with one another. Most importantly, they are operational within an assembly! Yes, somebody ought to bare witness with you. Somebody ought to be willing to send you out. Someone should want to share in your ministry.

Now I understand we must allow no man to lay hands on you suddenly. Some just want credit for your anointing, so you must be careful. Yet, if God calls you, He will provide the avenue to send you out - ACCORDING TO HIS WORD and within His protocol. No shortcuts!

To those who operate in the church, I pray that we can seek God at a new level. There are so many who feel there is no church with which they can fellowship – no one with whom they can pray and seek God. The Body of Christ, oftentimes, is not prepared to deal with the true needs of God’s people. Unfortunately, the churches are not reflecting the original plans, as demonstrated in Acts. We must continue seeking God, and restore the Christian assembly back to the place it should be.

James 1:27 External religious worship [religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit {and} help {and} care for the orphans and widows in their affliction {and} need, and to keep oneself unspotted {and} uncontaminated from the world.

Back to the original point: There is no reason that any minister of the Gospel should attempt to minister and operate outside of God's plan. Frankly, that requires a fellowship of local believers - not the internet, nor a virtual network on MSN, Yahoo! 360°, or a phpBB discussion board, but a physical church family that offers teaching and accountability. The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. It then goes on to ask, how can they hear, except there be a preacher? Get under somebody's voice that is willing to be accountable for your soul and your ministry.

Lastly, in the way of tithes and offerings, please don't send money to anyplace where it cannot be accounted for. Be a good steward and send it only where you can bare witness that it is good ground. That should be in your own local church as well. Anyone who doesn't feel their church body is good ground needs to be praying. I'm not saying money cannot be planted in other places, but again, are we TRULY seeking God for direction according to HIS WORD or our OWN comfort zones?

Leaders and ministers of God, be encouraged and get in order. If God has truly called you, He will accommodate your ministry within the confines of His own plan. If you cannot operate in your gifts according to the instruction manual, sit them on the shelf. AMEN. Time is running short. Judgment comes first to the house of God. Imagine how many will be condemned just for not being in the proper place when the Savior shows up!!!

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