Looking For A Church (Author : Seriousseeker)
« Tue May 17, 2011 - 18:18:22 »

Is one looking for a church?  There is no where to look except to God and His Word to find the church. 

The truth is that there is only one church ---all "born again" believers are in it, so real "born again" saints should not speak about finding the right church, rather finding the expression and fellowship of the church.  It is shown plainly in Acts 2 and the Epistles, but most professing Christians are not studying the Word, and are looking for some innovations that will make a local fellowship pleasing to them and their interests. That is a wrong spirit!  Let us not pervert God's testimony in the world, but be in submission and learn to conform to the mind of God.
If one means to say:  I want to find the scriptural expression of the church in the world, which is apart from traditions and man’s innovations, that will open the way to be helped to find what God has given us.  God has said:  "...ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13).  That means to know God and His mind for us. 

Some of us believe we have found what God intended for the church, and if we are wrong we can be corrected (if we are honest, not looking to man, not holding our own ideas, and are crying to the Lord to teach us and keep us from going astray).  Are we willing to be honest and open to God's leading, or are we satisfied with what pleases us and refuse to look any further?

For me, I have been settled and happy in a worldwide and very scriptural fellowship for over 40 years, that appears in every way to me to be what God has intended for mankind.  If one can show me why it is wrong and not according to God's Word, I would be ready to leave and go where God shows to be the truth. Where is that?  Truly not everywhere.  After 50 plus years as a believer, I have not seen anything more true to the Word than what I have found.  Can we all honestly say that before God?  If one is still unclear, is it not time to "search the Scripture" and be down before God in much prayer?

I am not judging anyone, but calling all real Christians to be open and honest.  Do we all want to walk in unity?  The universal church must be fully scriptural and with no additions and innovations or deletions.  All the various Christian gatherings I know of are man-made with rituals, ceremonies, traditions, programs, entertainment, ideas and innovations;  and they are ignoring the Word of God.
   The great heresy today in Christendom is to hold and say that God wants us to "go to the church of our choice", which I am convinced is a lie of Satan.  There is no church of our choice in Holy Scripture.  It is divisive of God's one testimony of the "one body", dishonoring Him, and shows a determination to do what pleases self.  A faithful believer surely should not think that way ...right?
   Well, surely "the time is short", as God says, so we need to be on the right pathway as we walk with the Lord Jesus home to heaven.  We will then receive the commendation:  "Well done, good and faithful servant".

- Seriousseeker

Reply #1 by fruitofhisdeath
« Fri May 20, 2011 - 04:22:45 »
God bless you for an extremely refreshing, open-minded and constructive initiative to which I am hopefully responding to in kind.

There is no better way to help all true seekers of all time to find for keeps what Jesus referred to as "my church"   than a prayerful study of the complete series of passages: (a) Matt. 16: 13-28; (b) Ibid, 17: 1-13 with parallel in Luke 9: 28-36; (c) Matt. 22: 29-32; (d) Ibid, 26:64; (e) 27: 50-56; John 19: 30-37 on conclusively answering Jesus' question, "Who do you say I am?"

For discussion, here is a 10-point outline of progressive extracts. 

1. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (16:16 SIMON PETER, by the Spirit)

2. "On this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it." (16:18 JESUS CHRIST, refining further the concept of "Son  of the living God")

3. "I must go to Jerusalem and suffer much from the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. I will be put to death, but three days later I will be raised to life." (16:21 JESUS CHRIST, proposing in typical altruistic language and "figure of speech" the upcoming event of his suffering and death as litmus test his divine identity and absolute authority over death and life John 10: 17-18)

4. "God forbid it, Lord! This must never happen to you!" (16:22 SIMON PETER, in collision with Christ)

5. "Get away from me, Satan! You are an obstacle in my way, because these thoughts of yours don't come from God but from man." (16:23 JESUS CHRIST, severely rebuking Peter's presumption including many of us)

6. "If anyone wants to come with me, he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (16: 24-25 JESUS CHRIST, laying the universal condition for following him)

7. "For the Son of Man is about to come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will repay everyone according to his deeds. I assure you that there are some here who will not die until they have seen the Son of Man come as King" [(16: 27-28 JESUS CHRIST, predicting his perfect and diacritical death on the cross leading to his self-revelation as a critical mass for our point of change without which "being born spiritually of the Spirit"(John 3: 6-15) is impossible]

8. "Two men appeared in heavenly glory and talked with Jesus about the way in which he would soon fulfil God's purpose by dying in Jerusalem." (MOSES and ELIJAH, Luke 9: 30-31 paying fitting tributes to the "God of the living" by some pioneers of the living as defined in John 11: 25-26; Matt. 22: 29-32)                 

9. "From this time on you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!" (Ibid, 26:64 JESUS CHRIST, serving the last notice of his imminent self-revelation in his death on the cross)

10. "It is finished!" (John 19:30 JESUS CHRIST, in supernatural and transcendental acts of dying exclusively by His own will and power, tearing into two the curtain in the Temple from top to bottom, "opening a new way, a living way into the Most Holy Place" and quickening the dead (Matt. 27: 50-56; Heb. 10: 19-26)

In conclusion, "looking for a church", according to Jesus Christ, is about moving from "not knowing whom one worships" to "true worship" of God, as he really is, in Spirit and truth (John 4: 21-26) and  in complete freedom of Christ's death on the cross, a.k.a., "the tree of life. " The stakes are challenging! 
Reply #2 by Seriousseeker
« Tue May 24, 2011 - 12:03:00 »
Yes, it is good to see what Jesus said about His church ("I will build my church -Mt. 16:18).  That happened in Acts 2, and we can see the simplicity of it in verses 41-47.

We need to appreciate God's order as in the Epistles, and forget about all the innovations and traditions that men have made.  It is imperative that believers in Christ seek the unity God enjoins us (Rom. 12;  1 Cor. 12;  Eph. 4;  Phil. 2:2;  etc.).

I have come to see there are three great foundation truths for the church:  Redemption way,  Church truth,  and Spiritual life.  They should all be kept in balance and appreciated to have "unity of the faith".  We cannot find unity in denominationalism or various religious systems.  I believe God has maintained His testimony of "one body in Christ" in accord with His Word, but it is not in mergers and amalgamations of men.

One can write me personally if they would like to chat about such a matter.

- Seriousseeker

Reply #3 by fruitofhisdeath
« Thu May 26, 2011 - 11:23:44 »
When looking for a church, it pays to put things in the perspective of the following series of sequences.

What Jesus called "my church", in its immediate and larger contexts, is a verifiably an altruistic synonym for "the Christ, the son of the living God" whom "not even death will ever be able to overcome". (Mt. 16: 13-28)

Christ's upcoming death was appropriately qualifed by Moses and Elijah, who appeared in their heavenly glory at the Transfiguration, as "a way in which he would soon fulfil God's purpose by dying in Jerusalem". (Luke 9:31)
[It is essential to note that Moses and Elijah are in the same class of "the God of the living, not of the dead" as already pioneered by Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and now propagated for the whole world  (Matt. 22: 29-32; John 11: 25-26)]

On the eve of the crucifixion, Jesus promised his imminent self-revelation of his divine identity and absolute authority (as "the Messiah, the Son of God") in terms of "seeing the Son of Man sitting on the right of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven!" (Ibid, 26:64)

And so it was!

Right at his death, "the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn into two from top to bottom" (Ibid, 27:50) inaugurating the one and only church as "a new way, a living way into the Most Holy Place" or a new order of worshipping a personally knowable God (John 4: 21-26; Heb. 10: 19-25).

Therefore, what happened in Acts 2 as well as in all the Epistles of the Apostles was a powerful application of the power of the "church" or Christ's divine identity and absolute authority resident in his death on the cross! That is why Paul wrote "make sure that Christ's death on the cross is not robbed of its power." (1 Cor. 1:17)

But, who is listening?