To protect itself from worldliness, Acts church disciples (or followers of the Way) devoted themselves to the apostles' teachings [Acts 2.42]. The modern church doesn't. In fact, most church people today do not know what apostolic teachings are. In these last days when the devil is hellbent on deceiving even the elect (if that were possible), the church ought to devote itself to the apostles' teachings more than ever. [Photo above from Aditya Romansa, Unsplash]
The ignorant think you have to be an apostle to be apostolic. Worse, they think the apostolic invents new gospels or adds new teachings to the Word of God. Fake apostolics may do that, but not the genuine ones. The apostolic simply means taking Jesus seriously and applying his spiritual principles to daily life and ministry as the apostles did--nothing more, nothing less. God's Word and ways alone. Nothing whatsoever of the world.
Like the least being the greatest. It's a powerful teaching of Jesus [Luke 9.48], and because Jesus is the apostle and high priest whom we profess [Hebrews 3], it's an apostolic teaching. But sadly, nobody in church today really believes in being the least. They all want to be the greatest--most mega-est church of all, biggest denomination of all, most degreed and titled pastor, most top ranking in church or in the board, most peopled and incomed church of all, etc.
And especially, the church with the widest mission outreach globally. It's a silly race to honor and enthrone man and his achievements. They claim to be spreading the gospel, but it's their empires and doctrines and denominations they're really spreading worldwide, not Jesus' Gospel and Kingdom. But Jesus promised--this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached worldwide. Very few churches actually do this today. The rest preach their own gospels.
What's Jesus gospel? Basically, his life and sacrificial death and resurrection--plus everything you see in his Gospel in the bible, nothing more nothing less. The preaching of the Word to send souls nearer to Jesus and familiarize them with his Kingdom on earth, to make them one as the Father and Son are one, to live holy lives, to train them to be guided supernaturally by the Holy Spirit alone, to empower them for supernatural signs and wonders, spiritual gifts, miracles and healing. And everything else we see in the bible.
But today, you see church people merely doing gimmicks and church activities to attract people to their church and other things that have no resemblance, whatsoever, with what Jesus did in the gospel. Look at how they try to understand the bible. They say that unless you go to bible school and seminary to learn human theology you won't be able to interpret Scriptures correctly.
But Jesus said all we need is the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit will teach you all things."
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. [John 14.26]The Holy Spirit will teach us ALL THINGS. All things we need to know! And in Jesus' ministry we see this happening through discipleship, not bible school or seminary. Jesus didn't ask them to pay tuition fees, pass exams or do research works or thesis. These are NOT God's ways. His ways are all supernatural, through the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father," [John 14.12]. The context talks about the supernatural ministry of Jesus. It's one of Jesus' apostolic teachings. Is the church doing what Jesus did in the Gospel? Where are the awesome signs and wonders, miracles and healing that astonished the people?
And attract people to church? Jesus and the apostles never did that. People came running to them desperately without Jesus and the disciples luring or forcing them. No visitations or follow ups. Granting that their miracles were done to attract people, but they were done solely through the supernatural power of God, not gimmicks. Where is this in church today? They lure people with gimmicks and entertainment and dole outs--the same way secular organizations do it. The showbiz industry does them, too. Nothing is supernatural about church anymore. What Jesus did were all supernatural. The church is going a different direction. Why? Because it has lost the apostles' teachings.
The church is no longer apostolic. It's become a commercial enterprise offering franchises in localities, and branching out abroad. They call this "church planting." It has nothing of the Kingdom of God but everything of man and his ways and systems. What's worse is its money-value system where something becomes of value only if it translates to big church income. This is why they're crazy about increasing church membership--not to obey the great commission but to be moneyed and peopled and be the greatest, not the least.
The least is the greatest, says Jesus, and the least members in the body should be given more honor and importance, said Paul the apostle. This is a powerful apostolic teaching the church is alien to today. Watch this:
"...those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty," [1 Corinthians 12.22-23]This is in the gospel of the Kingdom--least is greatest. For instance, small churches should be given greater honor. Not at all meaning we encourage them to remain small or that churches should be small, but we should not look down on them but treat them important or "indispensable." See that? INDISPENSABLE. Ponder on that and let it sink in. Where is this in church?
Today, church people and leaders look down on small and poor churches and their pastors, and leaders judge them as "dead." No wonder most pastors work hard to grow their churches big to avoid the disparagement. Pastors with small churches do not work hard so more people would know the Lord, but because they hate being small. Because small can never result to being the greatest. So evangelism is not done in obedience to Christ's command anymore but to save one's image.
Do small churches get this special treatment today? Or are they made a bad example of what a church shouldn't be? Again, watch the passage in the KJV:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.The money-value system in church (the Babylon system) makes it drift further from Jesus and his apostolic teachings. Church people today marvel at mega churches and those that are peopled and moneyed. But they despise small ones. The same with church goers. Would Christians prefer to attend a small, dilapidated, and ugly looking church building or a mega building with full air-conditioning, comfy seats, fancy interiors and hi-tech sound systems and musical instrument? And which church would they say is truly blessed by God?
This is the problem when apostolic teachings are utterly unknown in church. People begin to see as the world does because there\s nothing more important than to be the greatest, not the least. Value is seen only if things translate into big income. Jesus taught nothing like that. Instead, Paul said:
"...while our presentable parts (of the body) need no special treatment." [1 Corinthians 12.24]To Jesus and the apostles, mega churches are NOT special. Small churches are. But the contrary is what you see in churches today. The big and moneyed churches get special attention. Because of this wrong church culture, people flock to mega churches. Every pastor and church leader bows down to big and rich churches, this mindset fast becoming a kind of modern idolatry in Christendom. But the Kingdom has a different thing in mind:
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.Equal concern? One suffers, all suffer? Is this true in church today? If one church denomination suffers decline, what do other denominations do? Do they lend a hand to help the other get back up on its feet? If a local Pentecostal church suffers financially, would a Baptist or Methodists local church nearby offer financial assistance? Nope. In their minds they'd say, "We're of a different denomination." This is how churches today are worlds apart from Jesus' church in the book of Acts. It's because they are not apostolic--not possessing the true teachings of Jesus the Apostle.
The apostolic move of God makes churches worldwide in Christ one in Him, as the Father and Son are one. It demolishes self interest and alienation from the rest of the body of Christ. It empties you of yourself and destroys self-importance so you easily treat the least as the greatest.
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