In the last segment I expressed a concern about how we preceive the Church today and, a desire to give my take on the true will of God concerning the actual foundation its’s built upon.Let’s look at a couple of scriptures before we begin to unfold this.
( Matthew 15:9 )
But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
( Ephesians 4:14 )
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
We’ve looked at these verses before however, it’s ever so important to understand that there is a vast difference in what a man might teach and, what the Holy Spirit would truly have him to say. If we simply go back to the last segment and remember that we seen in scripture that there is ( one truth ) and ( one Spirit ). Common sense would tell us then that the very fact that we have different denominations would say that many people are not listening to the ( one Spirit ). I suppose the next question might be; do you truly desire to know truth and, allow the very Spirit of God reveal that truth to you?
Now let’s look at two different scriptures in ( Acts 6 ) and discuss them.
( Acts 6 1-2 )
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. ( 2 ) Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples together unto them, and said, it is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. ( 3 ) Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
( Acts 6:7 )
And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priest were obedient to the faith.
Just to make a point, I don’t believe that; just because we read something in scripture, decisions made by men, means that they were wise decisions. As it relates to spiritually building a Church, it works the same way. every decision made by man does not mean that God’s Spirit has anything to do with the choices we make. We must ( try the spirits ) of what sort they are and, that even as we read scripture.
Personally, I do not believe that the decision to allow the multitude to pick seven men was something that was led by God’s Spirit. At the same time I say that; I also realize that ( all things work together for good, for those that love God, the one’s called according to his purpose ).. It’s actually the same way in our lives. The question being; how much do you love God and, are you willing to be called according to his purpose?
The second verse we seen where ( the priest we obedient to the faith ), I can see there where we might have a problem as well but, in all things ( Romans 8:28 ) still comes into play. When we look at these priest, were they willing to drop their minset of authority and, submit to the apostles and, also the Holy Spirit? When we see the phrase: ( doctrines of men ) that is exactly what brought those ( doctrines ) about. The fact that people didn’t understand the leadership of God’s Spirit and, built their version of Churches.
This is a point that many people don’t understand. In order to yield to God’s Spirit you must be willing to forget everything you have ever been taught by man to to so. God’s Spirit, if you follow him will take you to places, mindsets that many people don’t want to go. One of the greatest problems in the early Church was understanding that fact, I believe it’s still the same problem today. Often, we can’t see the spiritual aspect of our lives because we are so wrapped up in the worldly mindset or, way of doing things.
The things I say here are things just to provoke thought. to cause you to seek leadership of God’s Spirit to open your understanding into Spiritual things. One thing I notice here is ( the Grecians ) were complaining. Were these people ( Jews in Greece ) or truly Greeks? It really doesn’t matter but, I just wonder.
Now, I want you to consider something here. In the mind of the Apostles, it was twelve of them. Mattias being numbered with them. Aren’t these men ( preachers )? What would have been wrong with each of these men, ( Apostles ) taking a part of these new believers and allowing God’s Spirit to guide them in the teaching of Spiritual things? Do you see what I’m saying?
With that thought in mind, look at what it says in ( Acts 6:7 ) ( AND THE WORD OF GOD INCREASED ). When we consider this phrase, I truly believe we must allow this to be seen as a ( pivot point ) in scripture as we seek to understand ( the Church ) and how it’s built and, on what foundation. This phrase simple means that there were more and more people sharing God’s word and, what had transpired in their lives.
When the Apostles said ( not reason that they should leave the word of God ). They we referring to the known word of God at that time. At that time none of the New Testament had been written. We know that every person that believed had the Holy Spirit within them. Although there was no written word at that time, they each could share ( what they had seen and heard ) inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. This is where a problem might come in. There are actually eleven Apostles at this time. Jesus Christ hasn’t revealed who the tweleth one will be yet. We now know that he will be ( the Apostle Paul ). He is the Apostle that God will reveal the ( mystery ) of the Church, ( the dispensation of the grace of God ). Since he is the last one chosen, will these eleven be able to yield to his leadership? How about the priest that are now saved, will they hear what he has to say and, yield to his leadership?
When we consider the building of the Church and, that on the proper foundation; these things must be considered. I want you to notice a verse of scripture that ( I believe ) relates to the building of the Church and, why we see so many different mindsets as we see; even today.
( Luke 13:30 )
And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
This is a spiritual concept that runs all the way through scripture. Within each person’s ability to except that concept is where we find the true power of God. The farther we get away from that very concept, the weaker the Church becomes.If you will simply apply this concept to your own personal life, you will see what I mean. If, by chance you are born again, washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. Then common sense tells us you were physically born first but, the power you now depend on was born within you last. Your personal spiritual victory has to do with your willingness to allow that ( second born ) within you to have control over your body.
When I look at the events recorded here in ( Acts 6 ) we see the very possible ability of a lack of hearing and, yielding to the Holy Spirit by every person involved. When we look at an average Church setting, we can see how much more difficult it can be to get a number of people on the same page spiritually rather than simply one person yielding to that same Holy Spirit.
As we look at a whole Church, just as a single person; we can never give up on the quest to completely yield to that Spirit. I always like to point out that ( the pastor ) in a Church is that single person in a local Church that must set that presedence. When any pastor lacks the ability to yield or hear that Spirit then the whole Church suffers.It’s like saying that Jesus Christ is not yielding to God’s Spirit and, we know better that that.
Just as it’s easy for any individual to get tired and weak in the flesh, so can a local Church. The Holy Spirit within you is the force that draws conviction on your very being when that begins to happen. Can you see how the responsibility of a pastor can be overwhelming? Why? Because the complete spiritual strength of a local Church rests on this very willingness to preach with the power of God’s Spirit every time he stands behind that pulpit.
This is something that many will disagree with me on. But, can you see in the picture I’ve sought to paint? ( I BELIEVE ) that means, you don’t have to but, the apostles would have been far better off if they would have seperated the disciples into eleven different groups and, each apostle truly seeking to hear what Gos’d spirit was saying to them as the new found Church grew.
Friends, I’m telling you, even what happened here in ( Acts 6 ), with the picking of these seven men, it all works for God’s glory. No matter what we might think about, ( Acts 6 ) or any one local Church, it still all boils down to how willing you are as an individual, born again believer to seek his perfect will and direction for your own life.I can’t stand before God one day and blame the apostles, deacons or any pastor for my ignorance of his will for me. If those people make mistakes then, it’s up to me to find his will for my life.
Just as what I’m teaching about the fact that these eleven apostles struggled to find all the answers, at least they were seeking to do so. We, as ( what we might call ) believing people are far too willing just to except the doctrines taught by men, such as pastors, even denominations. We, as individuals need to be more agressive against men and, more willing to study ourselves beyond what we might hear from pulpits.We often fall in love with pastors or, local Church buildings or groups. We walk into spiritual darkness because we allow people to tell us their version of truth rather than seeking true guidance from God’s Spirit.
In reality, can’t you see how as we look at these eleven apostles, the priest that were now saved and, even the seven men that they pick could struggle within themselves as God’s Spirit attempted to guide them? I can! That’s why I always seek to make people understand the importance of ( individual spiritual leadership ).We’ve already looked at the verses seen in ( Ephesians 4 ) where God called apostles, evangelist, pastors and teachers. These people are there to help us as we seek God’s will, however that doesn’t mean you can trust every person that says they are in one of those positions, That’s why ( 1 John 4:1 ) is in scripture, We must try the spirits of any person that is seeking to share with us.
By way of closing this out, I’d like to point out something I’ve spoken of often. If I were to put these things into my heart felt way I believe and, stand on that God, by his Spirit desires for the ( Local Church ) to work, this is what I say. God desires for a man, with the passion to preach is word; led by God’s own spirit to stand before people and relay what God has to say to those people. This, being the pastor; never wavers from that heart felt desire. No amount of money, no outside influence or, even being tempted to be popular with other pastors will cause him to sway from his desire to always follow God’s Spirit.
As this man, this pastor speaks to the people that listen, then each of those people that hear that self same spirit speaking to them and, willingly surrender to that word that is being taught in truth. Therefore, every person knew and understood God’s Spirit and never wavered from that teaching. In other words, God’s is teaching every person that very same thing. If someone comes in and doesn’t except that teaching then; they leave.This man, this pastor is not tied to any other pastor, that is, not as far as it concerns what he teaches or preaches.What a blessing if other pastors around teach and preach with the same Holy Spirit power!
As we consider this, let’s look at a word used at least twice in ( Revelation ). The word is ( Nicolaitans ).We see this in ( Revelation 2:6 ) ( Revelation 2:15 ). We see this presented as deeds and doctrine. We can also find this term ( Doctrine of Balaam ) or ( error of Balaam ).( Revelation 2:14 )( Doctrine of Balaam ) ( Jude 1:11 ) ( error of Balaam ). The reason I chose to mention ( Nicolaitan ) is because of Laity. As you look at what either one of the men believed, seeking to understand it, it really doesn’t matter. What happens it becomes ( doctrine ) and that often led by Laity. A simple way to put that is ( organized religion ). It’s when a group of people begin to dictate what is taught in more than one local Church.
I personally don’t believe it has to be organized. We could even look at what I would call ( a pastoral click ) where men begin to stand on spiritual concepts simply to be friends with someone or, stay friends with someone.Either way, it sets up a situation where God’s Spirit is not in the leadership role.This mindset is what is being taught in ( Revelation 2 ) and God says ( he hates it ).
If we take God’s desire to speak to people on an individual level to the utmost point, this would be it. It all starts with the husband seeking to be a great spiritual leader of his ( individual home and family ). When God’s man speaks to each husband in the congregation, then God’s Spirit speaks to each of of them as well. That husband, father, then goes home and allows that same spirit to filter what has been taught through the word of God as he seeks to reveal truth to his family.
We often get lost in the concept of a local Church when; each man and his wife is a local Church. The Bible says this:
( Matthew 18:20 )
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them.
A man that rruly loves his family and has a desire for them to know ( truth ) ( Jesus Christ ) will come to realize that a local Church; while they are important and, an asset to every community cannot be counted on for truth at all times. God’s Spirit that dwells within us will always reveal absolute truth. We simply must be in tune with that spirit to hear what he says and, act on what is is teaching us.
When you act, as a husband, as a father on the concept that I am speaking of then you have Church basically everyday. That’s not just as designed by some person or denomination. Satan, and the religious world loves it when we get caught up in a ( big Church mindset ). That mindseet doesn’t have anything to do with the number of people but, the idea of a single man or group instructing us in righteousness. We simply go to Church, listen to a pastor or teacher, except what they say and go home then, we cannot say we are being led by God’s Spirit. When we allow our children to go to Sunday School of any local Church but, never discuss what they are being taught at home then, we as fathers are neglecting our spiritual responsibility.
I’ll make this statement and we’ll move to another segment. This is something we truly need to consider. God’s word is truth! What does that mean? If we look at the apostles as in, the situation in ( Acts 6 ) what they did is absolute truth, it actually happen. Therefore, if we read where a man lied in scripture, that actually happened as well. The word od God is an inspired book. With that being said; if your Bible, right this minute is laying on the coffee table, where is God’s Spirit? The word of God is exactly like a local Church. The Spirit of God doesn’t live in a Church building or in God’s word. His Spirit lives within you once any person is born again. The Spirit within you will point you to absolute truth; whether you are reading his word or, sitting in any Church. You consider that through, that mindset! God uses his word, his men to bring the Spirit of God alive within you, to teach you to totally surrender yourself to that Spirit.
In the next segment; I’ll continue to teach this same concept in ( Acts 6 ). I’ll call it this: ( CAN A BIRTHRIGHT BE STOLEN BACK )? We’ll be using Esau and Jacob and, the twelve tribes of Israel to make a spiritual point. I feel compelled to teach this before we leave this part of Acts. We must consider the leadership role and, each person’s willingness to except the leadership of God’s Spirit!
May God bless us as we study!
2 Timothy 1:7