This effort is presented on the World Wide Web in the hope that it will fill a present need, and be a blessing to people everywhere. It is written to provide comfort and encouragment to the body of Christ, and especially for those who feel they must stand alone.
May He gather us together.
We will consider the meaning and purpose of fellowship, of the Church, and of our role within the body of Christ. Let us consider a biblical alternative to what most see. The message is most simply, Christ is come to declare "God is with us." We are not alone, and together there is work to be done.
God is Love. Not everyone has eyes to see, and this has implications for our day, but we must begin here if we are to glimpse God's plan. This is a Christ centered message that touches all of creation. All of us are included in the body of Christ. It was all finished by God. He destroyed any of the barriers that may have separated us. We have a relationship with God and each other. There is even now that of God within all people. He is the light that lightens all people. All are included. Everything and everyone is connected in God, even if not all sense that connection. He broke the barriers down. The kingdom of God is spread over all the earth even though men do not see it. No decision or conversion is needed on anyone's part to be included. It is a finished work accomplished and revealed in and through Christ by God.
In his Gospel Christ declares, "It is I who am the all. From me did the all come forth, and unto me did the all return." No thing and no one is excluded. From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things. God sent his Son for everyone. He is the Savior of all men, not just those that believe.
You are invited to consider and celebrate the mystical oneness of "Christ in all, and all in Christ." In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth. From him, through him, and to him are all things. In Christ is all. In this sense, all are members of the universal body of Christ which God has created and is still revealing.
This universal and all inclusive understanding of the church is foundational, even before we consider the usefulness of separation. The idea of "foundation" is linguistically linked to understanding Christ as the "Beginning" in whom All things were created. This recognition of the body of Christ as a preexistent foundational reality is necessary to a proper understanding of the present day church and our role and responsibility within this current age in which we find ourselves. Recognizing this subtle play on words, the scriptures portray Christ as the Chief Cornerstone of this "Church" whose foundation is the Apostles and Prophets who have followed Christ and his way; denying self, forsaking all, and taking up the cross.
As a present experience, God is still gathering all things and all peoples together into this one body. Many are still in unbelief, "having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart." As such they remain separated. As Christ is revealed, we all come one by one, every man in his own order. As each one is reconciled back to true fellowship, there is a new creation and all things are made new.
This is why we labour: For the building up of the body of Christ, till we "all" come to maturity, to the knowledge of the Son of God, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, and to a Perfect Man. This is The work of the ministry.
Speaking of this "Church" and this foundational authority, Jesus says, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them... Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," Matthew 18:17, 20. And again, speaking of this authority, Jesus says, "Where there are two or one, I am with him." Thomas 30. With this Christ, the Beginning from whom are all things, and in whom are are things, the chief cornerstone joined together with all the building which is fitly framed together is the one in whom we have fellowship. For truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son, Jesus Christ.With this Christ, we all meet together, wherever two or three are gathered in his name. Even where there is only one, with this Christ in our midst, still we all meet together. This is the mystic univeral oneness of the church. How else could Paul pray that "Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God" Included in all this love is our fellowship with "the whole family in heaven and earth"
Realizing that fellowship with Christ, who is the all, is also fellowship with the all is foundational to understanding the mission of the church to reach out to the lost sheep, those who have become alienated from the life of God, that they might be reconciled. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled," Colossians 1:2
The Role of Revelation - And the Foundation
For those who have become alienated because of the blindness of their hearts revelation becomes vital. I believe that Jesus modeled and teaches those who would follow him to deny themselves, forsake all, to take up his cross, and not look back.The Scriptures were given as Holy men of God spoke being moved by the Holy Spirit. The Old and New Testaments inspired by God are a revelation of His will for the salvation of humankind. Indispensable in the proper approach to these and other revelations from God is The Gospel of Christ. Under the guidance of "This Testimony of Jesus" and his Spirit they present an example of Christian faith and practice.
Central and essential to this Gospel Message of Jesus is his call to discipleship. Jesus calls those who would follow him to deny self, to forsake all, and to take up the cross without looking back. Foundational to the giving and receiving of revelation is this call to discipleship. Living luxuriously and delicately is not the way of Christ, 2 Peter 2:13. If any man would follow we are to let him deny himself. The intinerant ministry of those who have forsaken all is a necessary gift given for the building up of the body of Christ, to bring the Church into knowledge, unity, maturity, and perfection. What is done to the least of these brethren is done to Jesus. As each believer receives these gifts into their lives, and into their homes, and into the church in the home they receive Jesus, and those who receive Jesus receive the one who sent him. Those who receive these messengers and this message of Jesus, according to the measure of faith, then minister the same one to another.
Renunciation and Ministry
The Eye, Hand, Foot, and Likeness Alignments (A Summary)
Jesus said, "Whoever does not hate his father and his mother cannot become a disciple to me. And whoever does not hate his brothers and sisters and take up his cross in my way will not be worthy of me," Thomas 55.
for the seeker in the pursuit of this reconciliation,
completion, and maturity, Jesus says to him,
"If thou wilt be
perfect, go [and] sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come [and] follow me," Matthew
and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee;
what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them (the
disciples). Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in
the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his
glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes
of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or
brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or
lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall
inherit everlasting life," Matthew
Church, I implore you at the command of almighty God...
"Open your doors to these Holy Apostles."Christ Centered
Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."
Jesus is the way. His is a safe path. We recognize with respect those on this road by their fruits. Nevertheless, we don't deny the benefit of another's religious journey. Since Christ is all and in all, we see Christ in everyone, and involved in the midst of everyone's journey, and every man's journey within the work of Christ. The godly one and the seeker all have access. Whether we realize it or not, we are all on a journey back to God. We look to the Light that lightens every man, and dwells in every man, to guide us on our path. And this Light leads us all back to God. All are from Him and through Him, and to Him.
Jesus is the truth. All truth is God's truth wherever it is found. We look for him everywhere. And since Jesus is the truth, wherever we discover truth we have found Jesus. He is in all. All of life's discoveries become a sacred encounter with the divine. This Truth becomes God revealed to us in our daily life. As we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ we grow in our knowledge of God.
God is the source of all life. Since Jesus is the life of God, as life is lived we all experience the gift of God in Christ. All of life becomes a meaningful encounter with God.
Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life. This does not make believers an exclusive club, but rather everything and everyone becomes part of an all inclusive and complete connection with God. We see Christ as all and in all, that God may be all in all. This is what we mean when we say we are Christ centered.
Still we must test the spirits. Not everyone yet sees this connection. And so, still and yet, for our own protection, there can be a separation. God has given the ministry to bring us into this maturity, and to discern the role of separation in this process of growth and completion. The church benefits from the participation of this foundational ministry in testing and discerning the proper present day balance between inclusion and exclusion.
We believe Jesus is the truth, and that creeds could never fully represent all revelation and could limit or confine our perceptions of truth. It is in Christ that the fulness is revealed.
There are many reasons to remain non-creedal. We want to be open to further revelation. We want to avoid unnecessary divisions. We don't want to rule over others, or dictate to them, or try to control their beliefs. That is not the way of Christ. The main reason we want to avoid man made creeds is that "God and Christ has come to teach his people himself".
1. We want to be open to further revelation. Personal
confessions of faith grow and develop as light is revealed and
as time passes. Jesus once said "You have heard it said by them of old
time...but I say
We want to avoid unnecessary divisions. Creeds tend to be
divisive. They demand conformity. They are not a
patient guide. It is the Spirit that guides us into all truth.
Imposed creeds tend to exclude some, for whom Christ died.
and contrary to the Spirit of unity in Christ Jesus. Using doctrine to
divide the body of Christ is the definition of heresy. Christ is not
divided, nor is he a divider.
In a similar way, the honest seeker and the believers
alike are able to recognize truth, and to discern who is speaking
It is appropriate to acknowlege the voice of those who deny self, who
all, and who take up the cross not looking back for the sake of Christ.
Those who receive
this message will speak the same thing. Through the mind of Christ all
things are known and
recognized. There is an anointing of
God that abides within so that mere man is not needed as
teacher. God is
teaching his people. Revelation still unfolds
There is no need to resist the Spirit's teachings by restricting learning, by imposing, or submitting to the static constrictive creeds of men. Instead Christ, and each member of his body is available to all.
Each of us has received a level of insight and to our own master we stand of fall.
This means believers are free from the control of any
denomination. They can meet spontaneously without the
oversight or permission of any ecclesiastical body, free to
and listen to the Christ within. This freedom is often exciting and
liberating, allowing the pursuit of a
simple apostolic form of worship.
The Reunification of All in Christ
"The Christ, the Son of the living God, and Savior of the World." "Thou art the Christ" is not a statement of dogma to be believed or adhered to, but a revelation to be experienced. Experience him as the Christ, living in the Spirit. Know him as the Son, demonstrating close relationship with the Living God. See the Savior, bringing salvation in every sense of the word to all humankind.
Through Christ all humankind is touched and filled by the Spirit of God for He fills all things. Through Christ any walls of division are broken down. All have access and fellowship with God and with one another in the Spirit. Christ is the salvation given to everyone?
In Christ is every blessing imaginable is given, and some not yet imagined, and some yet to come. Christ is everything. He is living his life through his body, which is everything, and filling everything. He is prophet priest and king. As prophet, he is teacher imparting truth. As priest, he removes any sense of alienation from God. As king, he bestows the power to live the very life of God. In this way, know and experience Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and Savior of the World.
Starting a meeting
Thinking of starting a meeting? What is needed? A time, a place, and two or three gathered is all that is needed. Christ will dwell in the midst. Some have found that meeting in a home frees from many of the entanglements that might distract from a focus on Christ.
What is not needed? You don't need permission. You don't need money. You don't need a building, a budget, a preacher, a hierarchy, a Sunday school, the sacraments or catechisms. You don't need a choir, or a pulpit or anything else you can see. Christ is our life. He is all we need. We worship in Spirit, and in Truth.
Keep worship simple, minimizing distractions. Test the spirits. Do not be forgetful to entertain the strangers, welcoming those who come to you in the name of Christ, bearing the fruits of those who forsake all, and bearing his cross. Enjoy the benefit of gathering simply, with Christ in the midst. As you gather your friends together, may God bless you, and guide you.
As you meet with others, or alone with Christ wherever you are, no man is an island. We are all together, included in the Christ. Together let us seek fellowship with other like-minded friends, with the lost sheep, and together let us us pray that He would send forth labourers into the harvest.Blessings.
P.S. If you are also seeking I would be happy to hear from you.