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Saturday, June 18, 2016

Why Jesus Never Pursued After People or Bothered with Membership

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Even when I was already actively doing ministry the denominational way, I'd been questioning some things we were doing. My question was, why didn't Jesus do them?

Sure, the things church denominations were doing resulted to increased church membership and increased church income, plus increased number of churches planted. But I saw that these increases didn't really mean the Gospel was being spread and people really getting to know the King and his Kingdom. Often, it only meant people were becoming more aware of the church denomination and gradually getting involved there.

What I saw more was the spread or expansion of the church denomination using God's Word as cover or front. Honestly. And I was beginning to be disappointed. The goal then was really to get more people into the church so there would be more money to build more churches elsewhere for the denomination and be able to say, "Hey, look how our church denomination is growing!"

It's all to feed denominational pride.

But the Gospel wasn't really being proclaimed. I mean, you saw the life of Jesus Christ nowhere in church. You heard about it in Sunday school and sermons yet all around you saw nothing but the world. You saw the same things you'd see in the secular world--church politics, pride and arrogance, corruption, selfish ulterior motives, stiff competition, stage exhibitionism, grandstanding, dog-eat-dog, back-biting, divisions, and partisanship.

Even the music sounded like the ones played by your favorite secular pop or rock stars.

You also saw wrecked marriages and broken families, sometimes even worse than what you see in the world. Worse was that there were times when  churches covered up everything, justified it or acted as if the problems weren't there.

Why was all this happening?

Because the church was built by pursuing after people. Going after them than going after God.

Pastors (and other church ministers) pursued after people so they could start a church, often so desperately that they were willing to compromise the standards of Jesus. If you carefully observe, you'd never see Jesus in the Gospel going after people, doggedly inviting them to come to his church or visiting. Many pastors today beg for an audience. They panic at the thought of having no members or losing them.

Jesus' principle was different---his actions told people, "pursue me or nothing." Often, you'd see how he hinted that people who heard him should take it or leave it. He even sometimes discouraged people from following him. Have you ever seen a pastor today do that? You probably won't, because they were trained to desperately pursue after people. To grab people and push them to become church members.

And many become "born-again" through that method. But later you'd see that they're more mere church members than real born-again followers of Christ. You see no new creations in Christ, just new converts to another religion.

One time, Judas (not Iscariot) asked Jesus: "But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?" [John 14.22]. In other words, why won't you go after the world? Why won't you pursue after people? Why focus on your disciples? Don't you want more church members?

Jesus replied: "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them."

In other words, if you're really serious about him, pursue him! That's what "obey my teaching" means. But pastors today obey their congregations' demands and caprices and please people they're eyeing for membership. They'd do anything for them. While the congregation obeys only their desires.

One book I read boasted about how the author started a church that grew big and became known internationally. The pastor went around the community to ask people what they want from a church. And the pastor built the church on that basis. It grew fast, indeed, and became a model mega church worldwide. It's a pastor's dream church.

Not my dream church though.

If you pursue after people, your church would probably experience a boom. But the real result?

It may be a big church because you pursued and pleased a lot of people, but it will never result to the church Jesus Christ is building:

"...on this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it." [Matthew 16.18]
Most churches today are easily conquered by the powers of hell. They have lots of members and money, but they're weak and confused, entangled in the systems of this world. They have systematized their doctrines, but they're useless doctrines because they're collections of how men adulterate the Word of God to suit their designs.

These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt--completely useless! [Jeremiah 13.10]
I don't want a big and moneyed church with lots of programs and accomplishments and where "many souls get saved," but is also "completely useless" in the eyes of God. Anything of this world (or birthed by the world) is useless to the Lord.

You have to do church the way Jesus did it.

Most mega churches are nothing but towers of Babel---they agree to build a tower that reaches heaven to make a name for themselves [Genesis 11.4]. They do it all for the name of their denominations.

The moment you pursue after people and concern yourself with membership, your standards are compromised and you'd end up building a synagogue of Satan rather than the glorious church of Jesus Christ, which is without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish, holy and pure.

Once, they tried to make Jesus king by force [John 6.15]. That would've made lots of church members for him. But he declined. He didn't want people to put him in power. As a principle, Jesus never pursued after people or allowed people to put him in ministry. He would have had a mega church by doing that. but a mega church that is worldly and anti-God (and anti-WORD) in the end.

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