What God has ordained who can alter or destroy? He has created the vast sea and formed its boundaries. Who is it that can overrule God and declare that disciples and the church are something He never intended? The Lord has called his disciples to crush Satan and his church to tear down the gates of hell. If all the pastors together oppose what Jesus taught, will that change the divine plan? Success stopping the great sea’s rolling waves is more probable than altering one part of God’s definitions for disciple and church.
Fear God and keep his commandments for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13b ESV)
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of this age.” -Jesus, (Matthew 28:19)
The above unequivocally pronounces God’s will, thus his people have two opportunities to display their allegiance to their King. Two principles identify true believers: Reverential fear and full obedience. These are confirmed throughout the Bible, so why are teachers reluctant to drum the fear of God and obedience into our head? Are either optional?
In Luke 10:1-21, the followers of Jesus heeded his instructions. Even though they were like lambs in the midst of wolves (10:3), the disciples learned that rewards are theirs for doing things Jesus’ way. Their names are written in the Book of Life. They witnessed miracles. They saw demons flee. They experienced rejoicing (10:17-20). Perhaps their biggest thrill was seeing pure joy in Jesus’ face (Luke 10:21).
The disciples received a blueprint for going out into the world and building the visible church of God on earth. Generations of disciples later, the borders of Christianity had expanded far and wide in every direction. Satan was in full retreat. Then he launched a counter-attack well-behind the front lines. In the early fourth century, Roman Emperor Constantine the Great altered the definition of Christ-follower and of the church. A disciple became a loyal attender of the brick and mortar building called the church. Leaders were appointed. With the Emperor’s edict that Christianity was the state religion, peace was declared. Everyone could return home to live their life, yet is anyone aware of a peace treaty between God and Satan? The idea is ludicrous. Their sides have been at war since before the earth was formed.
Man changed the Lord’s blueprint. Kingdom expansion stopped. In “Christianized” Europe, the dark ages of ignorance and superstition descended. With the exception of the evangelistic efforts of a few, the pattern of Luke 10 was forsaken. The world was to enter through the front door of the church, rather than the church penetrate the world.
Jesus’ command to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations fell on deaf ears. What we have inherited is not really Christianity but Churchianity. The latter focuses on a building, numbers of attenders and budgets instead of Christianity, which is all about making disciples of all nations.
The time is coming when those who claim to be disciples must yield to God, and do what he commands, or be exposed. Those refusing to leave the warm, cozy confines of the building risk Jesus’ rebuke. He cannot be pleased if we ignore his Great Commission, are declared missing in action and fail to join the other disciples (the church) on the front line.
Is this the reason for Christ’s surprise rejection in Matthew 7?
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (7:21-24)
Never forget that it is God’s definitions that count, not man’s. It really is church Jesus’ way or its the highway.