Adopting God’s ways inherently opens up the gates for His power and authority to be established in the earth. This seems so elementary in theory, and yet historically, man and “Church” have often not followed God’s ways.
I believe God wants us to start asking more questions as to WHY we believe certain teachings, or why we accept certain ways of organized “church.” Is what we believe consistent with the blueprint that is written in the Bible? Let’s explore one just example.
Jesus tells us that His foundation begins with the apostles and prophets; Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). If this is the blueprint, then the question one may ask about the Church is: Why have “pastors” been leading the church? Why are many apostles and prophets kicked out of the church because their anointing threatens the pastors? Could this be one of the reasons we have a dysfunctional Church, because we have members in the wrong place, doing the wrong thing, with the wrong titles? It’s like asking a hand do the work of the foot, while the foot is doing the work of the head. What? Confusion!
Christian churches are typically led today by a “pastor,” a title that is recognized as the person in charge, overseeing their staff, and usually teaching behind the pulpit every Sunday. But Jesus, who is our example, started building His Church serving 12 disciples, who were later charged to build the Kingdom of God. They then became known as Apostles, not Pastors.
The Apostles of the New Testament were chosen to be the greatest servants to the body of Christ. Are the Christian leaders in your life more more interested in elevating their platform than elevating others? A good question to ask for sure.
The true blueprint of the Apostle is to actually decrease, while the others he or she serves increases (launches) into their gifting and calling. Jesus set the example to follow:
“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:14,15).
God’s apostles are builders following the blueprint of Christ’s truth and His ways. This building is a temple not made of hands, but each stone representing a person God saved by grace where His presence dwells.
In the process of serving, Christ the Apostle laid the groundwork for others to spring into their God given identity, purpose, contribution, and relationship with the Father so that ALL who chose to follow Him would be fitted together to display God’s glory on the earth.
“..in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 21,22).
Alongside the Apostles who are called to build, are the Prophets, who are chosen to see and speak God’s Word. Their main purpose is to confirm God’s heart, His truth His timing, His identity and purpose, and to encourage the Apostle who is building.
Alongside the Apostle and Prophet, there is the Pastor anointed to care for the needs of the people. Pastors are appointed to “Tend My sheep” (John 21:16), encouraging and supporting the flock through their “sanctification process.” They are not necessarily teachers, although they naturally are given teaching moments as they mentor and support the “sheep” through life’s challenges and triumphs.
God also included in the foundation Teachers who are gifted to “Feed My Sheep” (John 21:17). Teachers are NOT primarily called to be pastors who are off tending to the needs of the sheep. Teachers spend a lot of time away and alone, digging for treasure through the scriptures. The nuggets they discover are found through great searching efforts that their gift can simplify when sharing to those who are hungry for the truth.
And lastly, the Evangelists are purposed to GO! Evangelists have no problem being gone from home because their primary purpose is to connect with the those who need salvation; boldly sharing a message of hope and the good news of Christ to those in darkness. They are the “outside” intel to the Apostles, prophets, teachers, and pastors, and are equipped for the adventure.
God tells us why we are all a part of the family, but each family member serves their own unique role:
“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craziness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into His who is the head – Christ- from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes grown of the body for the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:11-16).
God also has an order He builds the blueprint:
“And God has appointed these in the church: FIRST, apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administrations, variety of tongues” (1 Cor. 12:28).
The building of the kingdom of God is not limited to a 5-fold “ministry.” The scripture above establishes that. However, the 5-fold ministry is the primary foundation.
Many people have made the error as well that the 5-fold ministry is just inside the four walls of the church. But this primary foundation can be seen outside of the 4 walls of the church in any organization or body of people called together for a single purpose of heart.
Whether in or out of a church, the key to building something significant for the Kingdom of God is in the submission to the Chief Cornerstone, the Head of the Body, the King, the Anointed one that rules and reigns:
“having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:20).
God makes it clear that in the New Testament, no man is chosen to sit in that HEAD seat, nor should any man put someone in that seat. God designed His New Covenant so that the Holy Spirit would lead and guide and write God’s truth in our hearts and give us all the ability to follow His lead. God will then use men and women gifted in the body of Christ to affirm His lead.
“And He is the HEAD of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have pre-eminance. For it please the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell. And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:8-10).
The Church over the past 2,000 years has mirrored a similar pattern the Israelites chose when they cried out for an earthly king, rejecting God as their king (leader) when they were living in His Promised land. WHY? Have they forgotten how sad God was when they rejected Him?
“Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Sam. 8:7).
God relented, and gave them King Saul. Saul had flawed leadership that affected everyone, but the people still favored this over God’s rulership Himself because they wanted to be like the world. But through Christ, God changed the mediator from a sinful leader to a sinless sacrifice so we can boldly enter His throne of grace and hear from heaven. We now have access to God’s heart directly so we can follow His lead. How amazing is that!
Unfortunately, as time has past since the disciples birthed the Church, the New Testament Church soon adopted a Saul mentality, leaning on a pastor to hear what God had to say. More often than not, Christians even today will put their trust in their church leader over hearing God’s voice for themselves. But the buck doesn’t stop there. Church leaders over the ages have craved the power and control they create through their religious systems that elevate them “lording” over the flock.
This Saul mentality has not only bred an unhealthy codependent relationship between the church and their leaders, but also misplaces a believer’s identity with a denomination or man instead of in Christ alone. God is waiting for us all to become dependent upon HIM FIRST, and see Him as our ruler with our identity as a son/daughter of God; not a Lutheran, Methodist, Assembly of God, etc, etc.
God has been training us to run Him and hear HIS VOICE FIRST! Afterwards, we can trust and respect the gifting and calling in each of the saints who will encourage, confirm, support, connect, serve, and strengthen each other to build His kingdom here on the earth. We have to see our Christian leaders functioning as just one part of the body, not as the Head. We have to respect ALL for their part, not just the pastor of a church.
In this month of AV, we are reminded to listen to God’s voice, and to obey what He says. In taking the time this month to do so, we will enter into the next Hebraic month ready with His instruction on how to unite and join for the work ahead, like a troop that has learned how to follow their Commander in Chief.