Friday, April 23, 2010

The Reason Churches Don't Work Like They Should

Why don't churches function the way they should? Why don't we see the spiritual power of the Lord today like they had in the first century church? Why don't teachers have the annointing they should so their words are sharper than any two-edged sword and penetrate to the bone and marrow? Why do we see so many proud and materialistic pastors who are misleading (or even not leading) their flocks? Where are the true shepherds of the Lord? How come the churches are so cold or lukewarm? Why are the churches so devoid of love?

The reason that churches are so messed up is because we have built them on man's order of authority, not God's.

God's order of spiritual authority is: Eph 2:20 "The church is built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.." Nowhere does it say that the church is built upon the foundation of the pastor and/or the elders.

1Cor 12:28 - And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues.

Eph 4:11 "It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers...."  This is the only verse in the Bible where pastors are mentioned, one time and one time only. Yet we have made pastors the kings of the churches.

In every instance in the Bible the apostle is the one who is mentioned as the head of spiritual authority in the church. Paul often spoke of using his apostolic authority over the churches - 2Cor 13:10 "This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority." The apostles were also the ones who appointed the elders in the churches - Acts 14:23 "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church", Titus 1:5 (Titus was an apostle) " The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished, and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you to".

Acts 15:6 "The apostles and elders met to consider the question", Acts 16:4 "As they traveled from town to town, they delivered the decisions reached by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem for the people to obey", Acts 15:23 " The apostles and elders, your brothers ... to the Gentiles ....." All these verses speak of the apostles’ authority in the churches and how they are set apart from the elders – for it doesn’t say just “elders”, but “apostles and elders”, making them a separate entity from the elders.

Gal 1:1 "Paul, an apostle sent not from men nor by man, but by Christ Jesus and God the Father". Today's concept of an apostle is "one sent", referring to missionaries sent by churches, usually to foreign countries. This is in direct conflict with what Paul says, because he was not sent by men, but by God. Nor was he a "missionary" in the way we think of that term today. He was sent by God to found churches, appoint elders and to have spiritual oversight and authority over those churches. If he was simply a missionary he could not speak about his authority over the churches, nor would he have the authority to appoint elders.

We see "type" of apostle in the O.T. in Melchizidek, he was a king and a priest. Jesus was called a high priest to the order of Melchizedek, in other words a king/priest. The apostles of today are also king/priests and are the head of spiritual authority in the churches. They are given a very special overview of God's plan for the churches, something that is given to no one else. They see God's whole plan for a church, as opposed to bits and pieces that others see. They are given God's authority to found churches and choose elders. That's quite different from the way churches operate today, isn't it? "And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets...." How far we have strayed from God's plan for the churches .

Prophets are given special abilities to see specific problem areas in churches and to point these out to the spiritual authorities in the church. We are also given the authority to anoint people for service. We work very closely with the apostles in the church.

I have never yet met a proud apostle or a proud prophet, but I have met many proud teachers, pastors and evangelists. God puts his apostles and prophets through the fires of affliction while He is raising them up. He humbles and breaks each and every one of them. A person does not mature spiritually except by suffering, and apostles and prophets suffer a lot so that they can be spiritually mature. We share in the fellowship of His sufferings, literally, so that we will be mature in Christ.

Where the churches got the idea that the pastor was the head of the church is beyond me, it is not scriptural, it is not the way God ordained for it to be. The term "pastor" is only mentioned once in the whole Bible, yet the churches today have raised up the pastors to be their kings, their idols whom they have given control over the churches. Nowhere in the Bible is this authorized, it is completely out of God's order. God's order is "first of all apostles, second prophets...." Mark 7:8 "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

Matt 23:8 "But you are not to be called "Rabbi", for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth "father", for you only have one Father, and He is in Heaven (I believe that this was written specifically for Catholics who call their priests "Father"). Nor are you to be called "teacher", for you have one Teacher, the Christ". Can we not say also "you are not to be called "pastor", because you have only one Pastor, Jesus"? Mark 7:8 "You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men".

99.9% of the churches do not have apostles and prophets because they don't want them. The pastors either don't believe they exist or they are afraid of the authority of apostles and prophets. The few churches that do have apostles and prophets still have a hard time functioning properly because the apostles don't understand their authority and responsibility. They try to be the pastor and the teacher, as well as the apostle.

I have seen the office of the apostle function properly on three occasions in my travels to the churches over the past 27 years. The apostle began the service, then after a little while he turned it over to the pastor or teacher. The apostle went over to the side and was out of sight for all practical purposes. But while the service was going on the apostle controlled the spirit of the service by his spiritual authority and prayers. No one noticed him, nor paid any attention to him, but I saw spiritually what was happening.

There are apostles and prophets of the churches - they sit in the office of apostle and prophet in the church. And there are apostles and prophets to the churches - they are like consultants whom the Lord uses to look at the operation of a church from an outsider's perspective and who can see problems that the ones in the churches cannot see.

When will we see the church operate like it is supposed to, under God's order of spiritual authority? Probably not until the Millenial period, which is coming shortly. We are beginning to see bits and pieces of it now, but I do not believe that we will see it operating properly until Jesus comes to rule and reign. Now man rules and reigns, that's why the churches are so pathetic.