Paul, the Apostle, Comes to Town 2015

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According to Harvard Institute, there are roughly 350,000 religious congregations in the United States. Of those, about 314,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 24,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches. Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000 members. Looking at these numbers and how we as a Church body have evolved I wondered to myself what it would look like if the Apostles came to a weekly service at one of our assemblies. This is not meant to offend any group or any minister or priest of the gospel but it is intended for us to look at this with new fresh wine skins.

So I ask you, what would happen if Paul showed up in your town today and wanted to go to church. I decided to do a small allegory involving any ole Christian and the apostle Paul…

Paul: “So where do they hold the meetings?”

Believer: “Let me see, “Well, Paul are you Catholic or what Christian denomination do you prefer?”

Paul: “Catholic or Denominational?”

Believer: “Yes, what doctrine do you believe is best?”

Paul: “Doctrine?”

Paul: “You mean God’s Word, the Torah?”

Believer: “No, no, no, (Shakes head) Paul, what type of Christian are you”? Are you more laid back and quiet or are you more the Pentecostal type?”

Paul: “Christian? “Pentecostal? You mean the day of Pentecost/ Shavuot right? When we celebrate the harvest and when the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) fell in cloven tongues of fire?”

Believer: “I guess so” (Shrugs shoulders).

Paul: “You mean the day I wrote about in Acts right”?

Believer: “Um, I guess so? Well, let’s see, maybe we should approach this subject matter differently. Do you want to see a live skit? They put on a very good show at New Builders light of Grace church.”

Paul: “A show?”

Believer: “Oh, I know what you may like is a sermon done in Latin! Father Donatella does have quite the service.”

Paul: “Father? You call him Father?”

Believer: “Yes, Paul we do.”

Paul: “But Jesus said, “Do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.” Matthew 23:9 NIV.

Believer: “Really, He said that?”

Paul: “Yes he did.”

Believer: “Well Paul, pastor John Peach Tree Thomas, is mighty anointed! Why, once he made every hair on my arm stand straight up when he preached. On second thought… never mind, the board voted him out.”

Paul: “Board?”

Believer: “Yes Paul we have boards. We have to maintain order. There is no way this whole church thing could operate without having all the people in place.”

Paul: “Yes, of course. Do you think they would let me speak this morning; I have a word I wanted to bring. I believe it is a word for the times and one of urgent need concerning idolatry and the Sabbath.”

Believer: “Well, Paul they would have to go over that with the priest or pastors and have a meeting about it. They’d need to see if your style of preaching is a good fit for their congregation. Then you could read their statement of faith, you know “what they believe” and see if it goes along with what suites you.”

Paul: “This reminds me of when I wrote a letter to the congregation in Asia.  Diotrephes loved being number one; he gave himself the title of bishop and magnified himself. It is sad really because Christ is the head of the church. I wrote about it in 3rd John. Have you read that book”? In Chapter one I said, “I wrote a letter to the congregation. But Diotrephes, who loves to be in charge, won’t accept us” 3rd John 1:9 ISV. Even Jesus said, “…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave, just as the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve…” (Matt. 20:26-28 NASB)

Believer: “Yes, ahem (clears throat) Paul you have brought up some really good points, nonetheless, you see we have been doing things a certain way for so long, goodness, probably almost 2000 years. It certainly would be hard to change them now. Nonetheless, I am quite sure I can find you a really good church to go to if you just give me a chance! I know some dynamic speakers.”

Believer: Paul, what style of worship music do you prefer? Do you like old hymns or more upbeat styles? I know, I bet you would go for the Christian rock music? It’s really popular.”

Paul: (shakes his head) “Rock? You mean Jesus right? He is the rock of our salvation.”

Believer: “Yes Paul He is. Walk with me Paul and you’ll see right here on the corner is a Lutheran church to attend.”

Paul: “Lutheran?”

Believer: “Yes named after Martin Luther.”

Paul: “Wait, you name churches after men? But we are the church.”  I wrote about that in Acts 17:24 when I said, “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands.” NIV.

Believer: “Look Paul, across the street is a Methodist church and then just a mile south is a Baptist church and then two miles north is a Southern Baptist church.”

Paul: “Why so many in such close proximity? Are they all full of believers and cannot hold anymore?”

Believer: “Oh no, the Lutheran church only has 15 members and the Methodist has about thirty in their congregation.”

Paul: (Looking grieved) “Why don’t they meet in the same place then? And what do you mean by members? We are all members of one body; I wrote about that in Ephesians. “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4-6 NIV.

Believer: “Paul, with so many different beliefs systems it just works better this way. They can’t seem to agree and are divided on certain topics.”

Paul: “But Yeshua said “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Matthew 12:25 NIV.

CURTAIN CLOSES! SHOW IS OVER.

God is raising up Jonah’s and John the Baptist’s in this hour and I believe revival, true revival that doesn’t require an evangelist or a prophet or a sign out front. Light in Goshen is going to break forth. It will not be one of signs and wonders, shaking, healings of disease, laughter, and so forth, but it will be one of repentance and I see assemblies all across this land weeping over the condition of our nation and The Church.

Somewhere underground in a foreign land many are living in fear over their belief in Jesus/ Yeshua. Not only do they have to hide their faith but also the small amount of bibles they have access to. When they meet they don’t have special lighting except His light. They own no sound system, just their voices lifted in praise. Their clothing, is but humble apparel. I pray that one day (The Church) not the harlot church in Revelations, but the pure bride of Christ comes together in unity. A church where He is First and Last and evermore and no man will get HIS GLORY or has to try and stir up HIS RUACH HAKODESH because He abides in all of us. Genocide is happening in other countries. Christians are being slaughtered as I type this and I am sure that in the face of ISIS or other terroristic groups, none of us would be worried about our titles, our denominations, or appearances, but join together as one with a bond that is incomprehensible. Do not forsake the gathering together for His Sabbaths and His Feast.

Again this is not an attempt to butcher pastors or priest or teachers…this is not an attempt to be right or religious…this is an attempt to see the Body come together in humility and power and unity.

shalom.

Sources:

http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

Photography by Ândrēw Yīsrâ’Ęl

8 thoughts on “Paul, the Apostle, Comes to Town 2015

  1. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad — what we have done, what we have become. The problem might be addressed more often if people would read their Bible more often. All we have to do is compare what the Bible people did with what we do, and it’s pretty easy to figure out that we are off the beam. But just as they did in the time of Jesus, people are lovers of their traditions more than they are lovers of their God. Keep hammering, Bonnie Ruth. Hammer out danger, hammer out a warning, hammer out love between the Brothers and Sisters all over this land!!

    • Yes it would be funny if were not so dreadfully sad! Char Char, I love the 60’s or even earlier tune of hammering…God’s word is a hammer that breaks the rocks in pieces! I love you…

  2. That bride that loving beautiful bride, that only has eyes for her first love Jesus Christ, where is she in all the churches, oh my heart aches as you talked about the bride, oh but wait a minute , SHUSH, SHE’S BEEN IN THAT SECRET PLACE, HIDING IN THE CLEFT OF THE ROCK, JESUS , AND WHEN SHE COMES OUT, SHE IS GOING TO BE SHINNING GLORIOUSLY , AND SHOUTING HIS PRAISES, FOR HER REDEEMER LIVETH, EVER MAKING INTERCESSION FOR HER, I CAN SEE HER NOW, AS SHE PUTS HER ARM IN HIS SAYING COME , ALL THINGS ARE READY!!!!! What a day that will be when myJESUS I WILL SEE, THANKS HOLY SPIRIT AND BONNIE I NEEDED THAT JUMP START!!!!!!!

  3. Bonnie, after the past 3 years of working with pastors in the purchase and sale of their real estate, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to get up close and personal with men in robes. I thank God for this has truly been one of the most revelatory experiences in my business career of the state of the church. The apostle Paul, being all things to all people, would more than likely have visited each of these present day churches you describe, and found a common thread, but at the same time may have also issued an epistle, or letter, just like he did in the early days of the church. Woven in each of his letters, his encouragement as well as reproof make it sound like the original churches were every bit as imperfect as what we have today. I like the way you have quoted Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 14:26, because we see those things in many of the modern churches in America, i.e., singing, teaching, and interpretation of tongues and prophetic revelations. What we saw even in Paul’s days through his epistles is a modern day occurrence as well: the personalities of men overriding the personality of Jesus in the pulpit. It’s too bad, because the members suffer. Those men will be treated more harshly on the day of judgment, I’m sure. I like what Jesus said in Matthew 5:20, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” His discourse in Matthew 23 further reveals his distaste for the leaders of his day, but his commandment was always on us not judging those religious leaders, but to rather focus on our own love walk. His final example to us was of letting the ones who were appointed by God to be his earthly ruler openly murder him for an accusation of blasphemy, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He never defended himself; he was humble, and gently allowed them to do to him what they desired, never rebelling against their authority. In doing so, he wanted us to know that God our Father was the ultimate judge, not only of our own selves, but also of every person on earth, including the pastors of our day, right or wrong. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond. Bless you, Bonnie, I think you’re on to something here.

  4. Bonnie I really like the way you wrote this. It makes it very easy to compare the instructions the Bible clearly gives us all on gatherings of believers, with what happens in most churches. Most churches I am very sad to say are run by humans, humans who make their own rules and doctrines that are not biblical based. It is up to all of us as Christians to get to know the word of God and to ask questions of our spiritual leaders. It is hard to ask those questions and scarey. I don’t understand why any churches need their own doctrine of rules or other then the Bible books that their teachings are based on??? We all know that the Bible came from God. Any other book came from man and therefore may very well not be divinely inspired, so why not simply teach out of the Bible and follow the rules set in the Bible. I understand there would still be churches interpreting verses differently, but at least they would all be trying to truly teach Gods will instead of teaching some of Gods will and some of mans.

  5. Great post that we’ve shared concern over for a long time. So glad you finally put it into words the way only you can do. Love you sweet lady.

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