I'll summarize this series first, then share some things the Lord has told me for the body of Christ.
In this series I've talked about spiritual people: People who call themselves Christians, yet really aren't. Jesus said on the last day there would be many who call Him Lord and claim to have moved in charismatic gifts like prophesying and casting out demons, as well as claims of doing things for Him, yet He will admit to them He never knew them, and in fact they lived unrighteous lives.
I shared about Gnosticism which we see all around us today. It is the demon inspired belief that a person can be spiritual, believe in Jesus, yet live sinful lives because the body is inherently evil and the spirit is inherently good and saved, therefore you can live sinfully because you are a born-again Christian. This means we have people among us claiming to be charismatic, claiming to prophesy and cast demons out and doing good things for the Lord, yet He doesn't know them, as per Jesus' teaching about false brethren in Matthew 7:15-22.
I shared a bit of history how the Great Commission is relationship based about others observing and doing what He commanded us to do, and how when the church moved out of homes and into the auditorium, Greek thought took over which turned relationship based knowledge into mere concepts and principles. And that is how we ended up with 'believers' who aren't truly born again disciples of Jesus.
If a person is truly born again, the New Testament indicates there will be a change in their lives as they become more Christ-like. If you look at the sins listed in Ephesians 4 they were struggling with, ranging from sexual to stealing, it is clear a person can be a Christian while struggling with sin. The key indicator is progress and growth in the struggle to overcome these sins.
When a person claims to be a Christian yet lives a sinful lifestyle is where Jesus said to judge people by the fruit of their lives. Not judge their heart, but judge the fruit of their lives.
In I John 1:1-3 it says "Now are we the sons of God and it isn't revealed what we shall be, for when He comes we will be like Him and see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself..."
There are many who are spiritual, claiming to know the Lord, yet are not purifying their lives because they don't have that hope in them - their lifestyle and their growth as people and as Christians isn't motivated from wanting to see Him, they love the world and all that is in it, and want to be more like it, not Him.
People are wondering and wandering...
About 10 years ago during one of our house church meetings we were in the midst of worship and suddenly the Lord came walking through the closed sliding glass door to my right. He stood next to me as I was seated during the worship.
He started talking immediately about what I'd see in the body of Christ in the coming years, but while He was talking to me a woman stood up and began singing a worship song at full volume out of her heart, but her voice was as finger nails on a chalkboard - horrible! She had the kind of singing voice that only her shower should hear, and it was very distracting.
I interrupted the Lord and asked if He would tell her to be quiet so I could concentrate on Him. That may sound either incredibly callous or maybe bold, but when you are in the Spirit things seem so natural and normal that you don't realize you are in the Spirit, and being around Jesus is as relaxed as being around your best friend. That is why Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration suggested they build shelters for Moses, Elijah, Jesus and the 3 with Jesus - It all seems so normal you don't realize you are in the Spirit.
The Lord replied, "I will not, for you don't know what she has come out of and been through, and is worshipping me from her heart. Her voice sounds wonderful to me, and I suggest you adjust your heart so her voice sounds wonderful to you too." Ouch. "I'm sorry Lord, you're right, go on."
And He continued talking about how people were going to be leaving the churches, many that considered themselves cutting edge because those people are looking for fulfillment in Him and not finding it. He said friendships would be broken as some stayed and some left, but He said many of those who left their (traditional/auditorium) churches were going to leave without knowing what to do next, just that they could not continue where they were.
Over the last 10 years we've seen that happen with many Christian headlines talking about how the traditional church is losing membership and so forth, and my email in box certainly fills up with people searching online for what to do next and hearing about us and house church in general.
So far in 2014 the Lord has visited me 6 times, 3 of those in ministry situations in which others also saw or felt or knew He was there ministering to them, and 3 that were direct to me. In each of those 3 visitations and 1 of the other that was in a home church/ministry situation, He spoke of the body of Christ now. The first time this year He said this below, and has repeated the same general message each time, meaning it is important. By repeating the point to me it is like the gospels when he said 'Truly, truly', the double 'truly' meaning it is especially important. He reminded me of that visitation of 10 years ago and then said:"Hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. The time is coming and now is, for my people to know to whom they belong." I asked for an example in scripture to know what He meant, and He said "In Acts 4:23 when Peter and John were released they went to their own. They knew to whom they belonged."
"The season now is for my people to know to whom they belong. They have had time (these last 10 years) to wander here and there, to examine fads that rise and fall only to discover they are not lasting, to discover in many cases by process of elimination, what is not for them. Many have wandered, searching where to belong, only to learn more where they do not belong than where they do."
"Many of those who have wandered some or most of these past 10 years or more are now ready for the real, for what I told you that February; 'As it was in the beginning so it must be now, I am moving in relationships'. This means it is time for my body to grow up and know faith, know me, know who they are what they believe. This is a season of growth for many in my body, for times are coming in the west when those who thought they knew what faith is, will discover they knew nothing of faith, but only formulas and ritual. For those who have an ear to hear, they will be ahead of the times and be prepared, others will have difficulty because they have lagged behind in what they've known they were supposed to do."
I'll share more in my e-newsletter around the 20th of the month, plus another word He gave me, but for now...
Being spiritual versus being Christian
It is time in the body of Christ to drop the spirituality and become real, humble, certain in Christ but always willing to learn and adapt and change. When Jesus said in Matthew 25 that at His return He is looking for a church who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, visited the sick and imprisoned, the context was us - home based, family based, real people - He wasn't saying a church prison ministry did it, or a church hospitality program did it, or a church clothing drive did it. He said WE do those simple tasks of taking care of the needs of those we are in relationship with. It if simple, humble, and very much like our Lord as we lay down our lives for each other.
Being spiritual puts people above all that, for they know too much, they are too spiritual and will argue their point endlessly and make great claims, and never apologize nor take the higher ground for the sake of peace. Disciples of Jesus will back away from arrogance refusing to join in, in order if needed to be poorly thought of by the super spiritual that they may become more like Christ.
The season is upon us, as the Lord has told me now consistently this year, to know to whom we belong, to be serious about our faith, and to be serious about our relationships. Make disciples by teaching them by our lives to observe and do all things He commanded us.
New subject next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org