The Holy Spirit has helped me to identify several challenges that face churches in America today. Many churches have already succumbed to most or all of them. That is sad in that one or two of them is probably sufficient
to defile the whole lump. Nevertheless, there may be a few elders, pastors or other five fold leaders who will hear the warning and heed it. Judgement begins in the house of God and these are the things He will be looking for.
This was presented in our meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ meeting in Broward County, Florida on Sunday, March 22, 2015. Our meetings allow free participation of all members. Member comments are presented after each point where significant comments were made by members.
2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
God has called His church to be salt and light. We are to bring purification. We are to hold back gangrene and decay in the society. We are not to lead the world into that rot and decay.
a) Let your light shine bright enough to blind the enemy. In that way, you will turn the confusion around that he seeks to unleash on you.
b) Rotten things leave a bad taste in your mouth. Many people have their first christian exposure in such a rotten place and they are turned not only against church, but against Jesus as well.
c) Watch the inputs to your soul: be careful what you see, hear and say. Jesus said that those things that defile us come from within.
d) The scripture says that lust is in the world and that we must escape it. If we do not, we become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. You cannot participate in the divine nature unless you escape and overcome these lusts.
e) A corrupt church can result from rot in the leadership or defilement in the members. Either one can cause the communion cup to be dirty. You can become sick, unable to receive healing, or worse.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
The word "necessity" (Grk Anagke) has in it the feeling of compulsion. The giver is placed under some pressure to give. He or she literally is made to give. It is turned into a legal obligation, rather than a loving expression. I tell you by the Holy Spirit that this scripture should be properly applied to all giving by members of a New Testament Church. This includes the imposition of tithing. There can be no adding of a tithing law to Christians. Addition of one law makes one an obligor to keep the whole law.
a) Some churches are requiring members to bring in pay stubs for examination by the pastor. Such pressure is driving many people away from the faith entirely.
1 John 3:18
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
Many are gathered around a first family famous for flashing the pearly whites and turning on the biggest smiles you have ever seen. They are talkative and aggressively friendly but is all that apparent love the real thing? It's got to be real, right? Real love in the church amounts to more than a smiling greeter at the door. Look deeper. Are those who struggle really helped? True love has a cost. Are there those in your church leadership who are ready to pay it? I know that no one will listen to you if they do not believe you care about them, but do you REALLY care about them?
a) When you are in the house of your friends, real love will flow to you. They want to do things for you and they do not want to take your money from you. Are you in a house of friends or in a business enterprise?
b) Real love flows naturally: it is never forced.
c) God says that without love (charity), you have nothing
God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
The worship God is looking for is true and honest. We are not to put forth a presentation, completely lacking of the presence of God and then proclaim to everyone just how wonderful the presence of God is in this place. He is either here or He is not. The true worshiper will know. We must worship with intentionality: doing anything to come into and to remain in His presence. We must develop an aversion to those things that drive Him away and grieve His spirit. Place the announcements at the beginning, anyone?
a) The real need is for the genuine worship, not acting. We MUST worship in Spirit (what is that?) and Truth (what is that?). Do we really know? God demands this but only of those who make the decision to come after Him. For those, He requires that we must romance Him. He wants not just worship words and worship songs but worship actions and deeds flowing from us 24:7.
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
One man exercising all structural and functional control of a church is not biblical and not Godly. Somehow, the top has got to be lopped off of the pyramid or Jesus will do it for us.
a) Today, ministries that used to operate from inside of the church now spring up outside of it, like intercession training, prayer, evangelism and other things. These things do not operate as well on the outside because they operate without the unity of the Spirit that commands the blessing from God.
b) We are limited today because we limit ourselves: three or four can preach on Sunday morning, others can give comments. But risk is involved and discernment must be high.
c) Moses could not do it all by himself and neither can you Mr. Pastor. It caused Moses to miss out on the promised land. What will you miss out on?
d) Organism is what a true church is, but the devil always wants to turn it into an organization.
e) A few of the pastors have the true function of the five fold in mind and you have made some progress in that area. They desire the glory and the manifested fire of the Holy Ghost but they will never attain to that which they seek if they cling to the senior pastor/sole bishop structure, for the pyramid structure alone is sufficient to bring defilement that will block any special manifestation of the presence of God. Hence, the miracles will be held back until structure and function are both in place in accordance with the design of Jesus. How sad is it that a church might meet every other challenge arrayed against it that we have discussed and still fall short of God's glory because the church still clings to the pyramid structure of the Pastor/King ruling over God's people?
Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
We must pray. What we pray must be led by the Holy Spirit. We must watch for all things God is doing. We must also keep an eye on what is transpiring on the Earth. We must pray God's will and avoid a focus on praying to satisfy our own lusts and desires.
2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
Cotton candy sermons are doing no one any real good. Sin must be confronted. Warnings must proceed from a Godly pulpit. Prophecy is not only for the prayer room
a) Preaching today is a program and the result is that it is programming the people. The goal is to turn them into tithe paying robots who have no need to hear from God about how to give the resources that God places into their hands.
Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
It is not for no reason that the scripture declares "quench not the Holy Spirit, despise not prophesying". Our natural inclination is to hate any hint that what we are doing is wrong and offensive to God. The Holy Spirit willingly takes charge of our sanctification, but woe to the man who believes the process is complete.
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
God gives discernment to those who diligently seek Him and ask Him for it. We need so much more of this than we presently have. We need to be able to look and listen beyond that which we can see with our eyes and hear with our ears: to look down under the hood of a man's life; to be able to see those desires and lusts he has within him that will suddenly break forth to destruction.
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
Repentance and conversion: the most ignored requirements for eternal life and salvation. The whole bible is true, not just a few verses quoted out of context. We cannot focus on those parts of salvation that are quick and easy and completely performed by God and ignore those elements where He has clearly stated that something is required of us.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Church growth and filled seats is not the only assignment Jesus gave us. Are we developing and equipping the saints?
Stephen L. Bening
Bening Prophetic Archive
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