Here, thinking maybe… just maybe we can give less energy to planting and maintaining physical churches — as there are already so many church buildings, denominations etc that need to submit their various religions and doctrines in repentance and acknowledgment of the truth that the Body of Christ is One just as the Spirit is One.
Thinking maybe we can redirect the afore mentioned energy to building up and strengthening individuals spiritually — while trusting Holy Spirit to do His work — by using online streaming, messaging, video, phone platforms which are currently advantageous especially for the times were in, equally effective for fellowshipping and require not as much capital as lands, buildings, equipments, maintenance, staff etc.
Before we start to argue for not forsaking the gathering of saints and how people prefer the physical church experience, lets first consider that the saints gathering ought to be a product of individuals allowing Holy Spirit to develop them on a personal basis. This inner work Holy Spirit does should precede gathering — which really is for perspective and possible deeper understanding or correction if need be. In case we still want to argue for not forsaking the saints, let’s consider that some of us haven’t physically seen our families, friends, or foes but we’ve been able to still communicate with them. Or we can try to remember that not too long ago, there were lockdowns all over the world yet we still found ways of interacting.
The truth is, saints and sinners gather irrespective of proximity. Truer than this is the eventual reality that even though we have proximity and technology for now, there’d come a time when we won’t have access to either as well as other amenities such as constant electricity, internet, equipment and other communication aiders. At this point, I’m not so sure how this will affect the saint that’s capitalised solely on gatherings to be able to dwell in God’s presence.
This brings me to a needed segue in my line of thought. Thinking maybe we can help people understand that Emmanuel literally means “God with us”. God is present in us not just in church buildings and we need to really believe this… believe in His in-dwelling presence. His Word says “where two or three are gathered in my name, I Am with them”. The Trinity comprises of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, meaning: when I’m living a lifestyle of worship, praying, praising, fasting, reading and meditating on the Word by myself, coupled with the understanding that I have God’s in-dwelling presence; there’s actually 3 people with and in me.
Back on track. Thinking maybe we can go beyond just preaching the Good News in churches as most “church” people have heard about Jesus Christ.
“Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body.” — Ephesians 4:21-25 NLT
We need to add that just like we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, He sparks an innate need in us to acknowledge, invite, receive and start partnering with Holy Spirit — who is God’s power on earth, our help, guide, advocate, heart and sin convicter Who also brings us into repentance, mind renewer, spirit transformer, prayer filterer, truth revealer, teacher and so much more — to do the work of transformation in us. He’s the One Who maintains our new lives in Christ. He is the One who then gives us the power, helps us courageously believe and equips us to carry and spread the gospel outside of the church walls. He’s the One who teaches us the will of the Father, giving us His heart and giving us the mind of Christ.
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:19-20 NLT
“But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’” — John 16:7-8, 13-15 NLT
“Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment….” — 1 Peter 2:2 NLT
“While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them. “No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.” Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.” As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.” — Acts of the Apostles 19:1-6 NLT
I hope we’d hear this freely however darty it sounds; let’s be honest and admit as the church that:
The church has tried to package other gospels and experiences that have nothing to do with the Good News as Good News to the flock — a flock that wallows in an enablement lifestyle, latching on like babes to the tits of “men and women of God” instead of growing from drinking the milk of the Word to eating its meat, thus becoming mature Christians themselves who enabledly go out to the world to spread the Gospel that has transformed them.
“There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” — Hebrews 5:11-14 NLT
The church has been essentially robbing God and funding the luxurious lifestyles of its leaders at the expense of foreigners, immigrants or refugees, orphans, widows, less privileged and others who really should be joint beneficiaries of tithes and offerings… partakers in what’s rightfully ordained by God to be their portion. Think about it however hard a pill this is for anyone to swallow.
“Then you must declare in the presence of the Lord your God, ‘I have taken the sacred gift from my house and have given it to the Levites, foreigners, orphans, and widows, just as you commanded me. I have not violated or forgotten any of your commands. I have not eaten any of it while in mourning; I have not handled it while I was ceremonially unclean; and I have not offered any of it to the dead. I have obeyed the Lord my God and have done everything you commanded me. Now look down from your holy dwelling place in heaven and bless your people Israel and the land you swore to our ancestors to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.’” — Deuteronomy 26:13-15 NLT
“Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. “You ask, ‘How have we robbed you?’ “The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse—the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this…” — Malachi 3:8-10 MSG
Till we admit we’ve been running amok. establishing structures, systems, doctrines and recurring cultures that feed the world’s agenda and take us farther away from God’s will and agenda; we won’t wake up to the truth that we instead need to start running the right race, being about our Father’s business and partnering with Him to establish His Kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in Holy Spirit on earth as it is in Heaven.
- Beyond salvation, let’s equip people for spiritual growth.
- Let’s focus less on just developing and maintaining physical buildings.
- Saints should gather, however the prior spiritual growth of the individual is pertinent if not more important.
- God is present with and dwells in us, not just amongst a select few or on the pulpits and pews of physical church buildings.
- Tithes and offerings should not be centred on luxurious lifestyles of religious leaders but should be extended to the groups of people God listed out. Maybe the change can now be used for building maintenance if need be.
- Jesus truly has saved us.
- Holy Spirt is really our advantage.
- We all get saved and transformed to help others get saved and transformed. This commission isn’t just for religious leaders or those ordained by humans. We are all appointed by God.
- Heaven’s business is the real family business and it’s sweet.
This is not arguing for the extinction of the physical church just yet, for that time is coming and has even come. This has been enabledly shared so we’d finally be able to lose the grip that these hinderances have had over our spiritual growth and Heavenly calling. This is intended to nudge us to start living out lifestyles of worship, which really ought to be from the heart, in Spirit and in Truth with the help of Holy Spirit and God’s Written, Living Word, Jesus Christ.
“But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers. God is spirit [the Source of life, yet invisible to mankind], and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”” — John 4:23-24 AMP
Thankful that it’s You — Your Power at work in us — Who does all this through us for Your glory to be seen, acknowledged and proclaimed in all the earth and for the sake of Your Son.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” — Ephesians 3:20 NLT