WHAT IS A BIBLE BELIEVING NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH? — OR — WHERE’S THE POWER?
In the New Testament the word “church” never refers to a building. It always refers to at least 2 or 3 people gathered in the name of Jesus (Matthew 18:20, 1 Corinthians 16:19). In the classical Greek language of the first church the correct translation of the word church is “assembly”. That means a group of people gathered together. Jesus Himself said that where 2 or 3 are gathered together in His name, He would be there. So how would we know if Jesus was really there? In order to answer that question we have to look at gatherings where we know Jesus was. Thank God we have a lot of evidence of gatherings where Jesus showed up. We have it documented in five books of the New Testament. They are referred to as the four Gospels and the book of Acts. And since they are in the Bible and many of us call ourselves Bible Believing Christians, by our own admission we would have to believe it to be the truth.
Many of us claim that the Bible is the Word of God and that no matter what people, situations or circumstances say the word of God is always “the Truth”. We also like to say, “God never changes” (Malachi 3:6). Oh yeah, we also love to quote Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever.” We love to talk about it, but are we really seeing it? Because if we are not seeing it, all we are doing is being “religious”. That is what “religion” is all about, just a lot of talk, but no power.
So let’s look at the Word of God and see what happens when Jesus shows up.
Matthew 4:23-25 tells us what happens when Jesus shows up, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and HE HEALED THEM. Great multitudes followed Him—from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond the Jordan.”
Mark 1:32-34 says, “At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city was gathered together at the door. Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.”
Luke 4:40-41 says “When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them. And demons also came out of many, crying out and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew that He was the Christ.”
Oh, but that was Jesus. He was the Son of God so of course He could do those things. So what would Jesus say in response to such a statement? Just so happens that we know what He would say. In John 14:12-14 says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER WORKS than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” In the literal classic Greek the word “works” means “actions”. Also in the literal classic Greek the word “ask” is translated ”demand”. So apparently we should be demonstrating greater works (or actions) than Jesus. Are we?
Let’s look at the book of Acts. The book of Acts covers the years immediately following the ascension of Jesus into heaven. In Acts 5:15-16 shows us that Peter got it, “so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”
Well, you know, that was Peter. I mean he lived with Jesus for about 3 years so naturally he picked up some stuff. Oh and we all know that after the apostles died the power died with them. But there’s that guy named Stephen. If you study it out you will find out Stephen never met Jesus personally. But apparently Stephen got it. Acts 6:8 says, “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.”
And then there’s that other guy named Saul, who changed his name to Paul. Now he did meet Jesus, but in a different way. When he met Jesus he was engaged in a very “religious” activity. And he was really good in this activity. His mission was to find out who among the Jews believed in this “Jesus”. Once he found out who they were he would arrest them and if they did not recant their belief in Jesus publically they would be put to death. Paul was a professional “widow maker”. He was also an “orphan maker”. He was the instrument that was used by the religious elite to try to eradicate this new religion called Christianity. God did some amazing things through Paul. All you have to do is open up your Bible to the book of Acts and read it for yourself.
What we are going to say next IS NOT A CONDEMNATION TO THOSE WHO REALLY LOVE JESUS AND PROVE IT EVERY SUNDAY MORNING. They don’t just prove it on Sunday morning, but every day of their lives they prove it. They are doing the best that they can based upon what they are being taught by their leaders. SO THIS IS NOT A SLAM AGAINST THEM. But this is definitely a challenge to Christian leaders everywhere. If the ministries that they are in charge of are not healing the sick, casting out demons, performing miracles and most importantly seeing people born again, baptized in water and baptized in the Holy Spirit, they need to go out and get real jobs. And they need to do it soon because God is getting ready to replace them.
We don’t often say this in our postings for a variety of reasons, but we are going to say it here. This is what is going to occur in the very near future in America. Gay marriage is going to become the law of the land, abortion on demand is not going to be stopped, recreational use marijuana will be legal in all 50 states, and this coming September (2015) there will be another shaking of the world’s financial systems. That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news. God is moving through the “people in the pews”. He is stirring in the hearts of men, women and kids a hunger and a thirst to see His power. And they are getting VERY hungry and VERY thirsty. And they, just like the first church, are going to do whatever it takes to see the glory of God, in tangible form, in front of them. They are the ones who are going to cast out the demons. They are the ones who are going to lay hands on the sick and see them healed. They are the ones who are going to be raising people from the dead. And they are the ones who are going to bring about the biggest harvest of people into the family of God in the entire history of mankind. Now is their time. Not the professionals.
If what you’ve just read has stirred something in you, guess what, you’re one of them.
With love, Cincinnati Christian
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