Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kingdom Purpose for the Church


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This is how Jesus envisioned the church: "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it." This gives us a picture of a fierce battle, with the church in the offensive and hell in the defensive. And Jesus himself will build this church for this purpose---for war.

Clearly, the church is an army of believers. More than singing and Sunday worship programs and performing traditional rituals, the church is for training warriors. Specifically, believers should be trained how to wear and use the armor of God and eventually become experts at it. This is the only real use of church---or the gathering of believers in Jesus' Name, nothing more nothing less.

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Singing, choir, Sunday programs, concerts, and other traditional church activities are really of no use. You cannot attack the gates of hell by perfecting your tenor or bass voice or by making the different voice ranges in a choir blend well. But these are the things church has been focusing on for years, especially how to sing and play musical instruments on stage which is what they often mean by "worship."

God's Kingdom purpose for the church is really simple---put on the full armor of God---the helmet, breastplate, shield, sword, belt and sandals. The true church focuses on nothing but these. Sadly, a lot of church people are naked except for their helmets and some aren't even wearing any (yet they believe they are). The rest of the armor, they don't know what to do with.

The breastplate of righteousness, for instance. They've been taught for years that accepting Christ will make you "righteous" even if there's no real change seen in you. So, the church newcomer claims this righteousness which he was supposed to have received by grace and thinks that's how it works. You get to be declared "righteous" even if you remain rotten. He is never taught the other truths about righteousness. They just keep him active in church.

Now, notice how righteousness is a "breastplate." Breastplates are designed to protect the "breast" or chest, and specifically the heart of a believer. Remember, the Lord really looks at the heart, and the heart is also what the enemy targets, not the quality of your singing in the choir or worship team, not your church attendance (a lot of pastors still don't get this concept that church attendance has no real power in the spiritual realms. They still equate Hebrews 10.25 with church attendance), not your instrument playing and definitely not what you call your "ministry" in church.

Spiritual warfare is all about the battle for hearts and minds.

Now, imagine if church people don't wear their breastplates. Worse, if pastors don't wear them, too. God declares believers "righteous" by grace through faith alone. But true believers would automatically and naturally manifest the evidence or fruit of righteousness. Jesus said, "You will know (or recognize) them by their fruit. The fruit of the Spirit should be seen daily, especially outside the church (it's so easy to manifest "fruit" when you're inside the church). A lot of churches and pastors belittle this teaching in the bible. Some even mock it. Thus, a church may be full packed with people but in the spirit they wear no breastplates.

So the enemy easily shoots them with fiery darts and hits the target accurately---the heart---because the victims don't know anything about the breastplate of righteousness. God designed church for this---to train believers for spiritual warfare, and yet nothing like this is happening in church.

Thus, you see people active in church with wrong hearts. They have wrong motives. They harbor hatred, jealousy or envy even while "serving" God or doing a church "ministry." They become active in church to impress their crushes. They crave to be applauded when performing on stage. They need to be recognized. They want so much attention. If the pastor fails to recognize or notice them, they feel hurt.

They think the devil is defeated by their singing, activeness or ministry.

I've seen a lot of church leaders---titled or degreed pastors and church board leaders---easily get hurt or offended when not greeted properly.

Why this phenomenon among "born-again" church people supposedly declared "righteous" by God? Because church is just focusing on entertaining them and keeping them busy so they won't go to other church denominations. They never train them to be God's warriors, expertly wearing and using God's full armor. Not even their bible schools or seminaries teach these. All they teach are useless and powerless human theologies.

Mind you, this is God's full armor. God wears it himself. We saw Christ wearing it in the Gospel. This means this outfit is very important as far as God's Kingdom is concerned. In fact, it is crucial when doing anything for God. If you wear the breastplate properly and know how to use it, the devil has no chance of hitting your heart with his fiery arrows, especially when the breastplate is used in conjunction with the shield of faith.

You see the connection between breastplate of righteousness and shield of faith? It's not enough to just claim that you're righteous by faith. Make sure your righteousness is also protecting your heart. If your heart is rotten (rotten character), your "righteousness by faith" is just a figment of your imagination.

When God declares you righteous by faith, it means you are given the breastplate of righteousness which protects your heart so that it becomes invincible to the attacks of the enemy. No matter what, you have the right heart that God looks for, which is the heart and character of Jesus Christ.

The church should be teaching and training believers in the expertly use of God's full armor, especially during actual deadly warfare.

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