Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Mission of the Church

The ultimate purpose of the church is to establish an alternative nation to those who are in the world, based on the life and teaching of Jesus. It shall not be established by carpenters, city-planners or rulers. Rather, it will be established by God’s power and revelation.

The current Mission of God’s church is to restore God’s people to himself.
God’s people who are:
The lost
The poor
The destroyed
The demonized
The mentally ill
The sick
The oppressed
Those who are taught wrong
In other words, all who are downcast and lacking in faith, and yet are soft-hearted toward God. There are Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus who want to be restored to God—they just don’t know how. There are Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mennonites, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventists, Catholics, Orthodox and those of every Christian stripe and kind who want to be restored. It is our goal to seek out the soft-hearted—wherever and whoever they may be—and restore them.

The church’s mission is not to:
-Keep the faithful entertained and interested in God
-Call those firmly against the Lord (This is the Lord’s arena, not the church’s)

There are churches and missions who train people to be hard-hearted to God and to God’s Spirit. They are training them in superiority, in judgement, in self-exaltation, in focusing on the idols and tasks of this age. They are all rejected. Most Christian rehabs are trainers of the soft-hearted to be hard-hearted.
A few true training facilities: Some Amish, the Bruderhof, Jesus People USA, Reba Place, etc.
But they need to realize that their purpose is not to maintain a community of brothers and sisters in the Lord. Their purpose is to have a community which will train God’s people how to live, behave and work in God’s kingdom.

The Lord rejects:
Plush facilities
Expensive conferences
Christian concerts
The entertaining and care and feeding of the hard-hearted “faithful”
The church is pouring out money into efforts where they can see a “bottom line”—usually in terms of numbers of people or of financial resources. In God’s work there is no “bottom line” apart from the work of the Spirit and the living out of God’s word.

The purity of the church is important, but it is not the purity of the perfect that God seeks, but the purity of the soft-hearted, those moldable by God. Those who are soft hearted will be conformed, in time, as long as the trainers are not too impatient. But the hard-hearted, although they seem to conform in all the outward ways, will never be God’s.

There is a way to tell the difference between the soft hearted and the hard hearted—by looking at their devotion and faith.

The soft hearted are devoted to God and to his ways.
The hard hearted are devoted to their principles and to their desires.
The soft hearted are obedient to God and obey his commands.
The hard hearted are obedient to principles that do not focus on God’s command. They are usually more strict than God’s commands, and insist that others follow their decrees.
The soft hearted are dependant on God and on his power.
The hard hearted will pray, but are dependant on the ways and power of mankind.
The soft hearted believe in God’s promises and will do anything to receive them.
The hard hearted desire their own goals and are often angry at God for not fulfilling their desires.
They speak of God’s promises, but do not think that conformity to the conditions will gain them the promises.
The soft hearted love others and help them toward the Father and with their needs.
The hard hearted think that it is enough to focus on God, and find reasons to judge other followers of God. The hard hearted see their own needs and desires and use them as an excuse to not help others.
The soft hearted are humble, recognizing their own lowliness before God and mankind. They rejoice in that humility and seek to be lowly.
The hard hearted believes that humility is a tragedy at all times and they complain, mourn, and cry every time they are dishonored or suffer. They reject those who reject them and seek self-exaltation at every opportunity, proclaiming it the blessing of God.
The soft hearted are persistent in their devotion to God—obedience, faith, love and humility—and no circumstance or sin against them will turn them away from this way.
The hard hearted are double-minded—desiring both the ways of God and the ways of the world. They often seem to change their minds in what they really want, but what they really want is the ways of the world. In the end, the judgement of the world is what they will receive.

Bringing Back the Lost

We need to go out to them
We need to coax them back
We need to teach them the truth
We need to encourage them to be devoted to God
We need to pray for them and listen to the Spirit for them
We need to train them in focusing on the One Voice, not the multitude of voices around and within them
We need to maintain them (but the focus of the church should not be in matainance, but on restoring.
We need to train them to take up the cross.

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