Please see link below - an amazing, challenging, and stimulating essay to ponder before considering the following questions!
Do we have anything in today's "Corporatized Christendom, Inc." that resembles this ongoing work of manifesting the fullness of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, amidst that which is supposed to amount to the entirety of the kingdom of priests which He would make of believers (not just the gifts of the Spirit, but also the fruit of the Spirit that comes from abiding in Him)? Instead it is largely still a clergy versus laity paradigm.
A life of Christ-like love and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit has been in many cases supplanted by doctrinal haggling and nit picking. Not that truth is unimportant! But it seems that the focus has largely shifted from the reality that is His will for us to what we think He wants, and then going about to offer it to Him in the flesh. And this is not based in Bible truth! The phrase "offering of Cain" keeps coming to mind.
The questions then become:
Does the church in the 21st century bear any resemblance to what Jesus and the Apostles advocate for?
If so, how?
If not, how?
And what is the Scriptural directive as to how this may be remedied?
The following would make an excellent study guide for any who wish to explore what is often not faced in organized religion.
God's New Thing
by T. Austin-Sparks
Chapter 3 - By the Spirit
As usual, the following T.A. Sparks quote of the day addresses, in simple down to earth terms, so much of the attitude of today’s pop Christianity. The article itself was much longer, but these few sentences jumped out as the heart of the matter.
"In such experiences (my note: the ones where we 'claim' promises but nothing happens and we become frustrated) we learn that the promises are not for us as things for our personal interest, but wholly and utterly for the glory of Christ, to bring about a greater measure of the fullness of Christ in us. Thus, once more, through an ordeal, we have come to the place where it is 'no longer I, but Christ.' That is God's required ground for the fulfillment of His promises."
This is so spot on, since per 2 Peter 1: "His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”
Doesn’t sound like the cake walk easy believe-ism, name it, claim it, and frame it hyper grace religion of today’s Christianity. We are to apply all diligence to make manifest here in real time all that already has been granted to us in our Lord Jesus Christ. He has made it possible to walk in newness of life!
“It is because of Him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom fromGod: our righteousness, holiness, and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.’” 1 Corinthians 1:30,31.
Come, Holy Spirit! Let Christ be glorified in us. Let Him increase as we decrease. Amen.
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Analysis of the consequences of a decision – not just on something involving yourself, but where others are vulnerable – is not a “he who hesitates is lost” proposition. It could be more along the lines of “look before you leap,” for he who leaps before he looks is more likely to experience loss than the one who hesitates long enough to WISELY assess something, especially where others are deeply concerned and involved. We live in a self preening, ego driven world where too many people sing in the key of me. There are even some “Christian” religions that also encourage this kind of mindset, with their bless me club mentality. Where there’s a demand for ear tickling, there will be suppliers. It’s the nature of the beast. But at some point, there is going to be an accounting. This is a form of spiritual roulette: just because the m.o. has worked in the past, and you’ve been bailed out before does not mean it’s going to work forever. The odds are less and less in your favor. If this shoe fits, wear it. And be forewarned.
Has it entered the general consciousness yet that our planet is and has been run by a cabal of basically psychopathic personalities? Ever wonder how that happened?