Every church seems to have its own rules and ways of doing things
which separates us from each other but what is the common ground?

Common Ground - What we have in Common with all Christian Religions

November 6, 1998

Ephesians... 14For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
19Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

This teaching is going to be more off the cuff then some of the others. So let me begin by saying that this is from the heart and not so much the head.

No matter what Christian denomination you belong to, whether catholic, protestant, or Messianic or those of the old testament Jewish faith, there is only one person who can redeem us from the penalty of sin and His name is Jesus. With so many differing ideas as to what is the true faith we have separated ourselves from the body in parts and hang on to our turf as if it was ours to begin with. Understand it is never ours but His.

In the scripture verses above we see Paul trying to address the problem of division. In his day and still in ours we find a peculiar problem that keeps arising and we are quick, too quick, to condemn it in others and turn a blind eye when it comes to ourselves. How is the church to be led and who or what governs us

Here is the problem... we have ceased to be led by the Spirit of God and embrace tradition and ritual in His place. We hold to the law!

I firmly believe that every christian must read the scriptures (all of it) and gain some knowledge of what the bible contains. Please understand what the law, statutes, ordinances, etc... have done. The temple separated those who belong to God from the outside world. Inside the temple we have the Jewish section separated from the court of the Gentiles. We have the Levites separated from the rest of Israel. We have the priests separated from the Levites. The high priest separated from the other priests. The high priest separated from the Holy of Holies except for one day a year when he enters to sprinkle the mercy seat with blood. That my friends is a lot of division and with each division, places people in different levels, with different rules, further and further away from the Holy of Holies.

It didn't matter how right his heart was with God but rather was he doing the things expected of him. Was he obeying the rules according to the station that he held. Was he " with the program ". The same can be said of the church today. If you follow the rules you can get ahead. Betray the rules and you will be demoted or thrown out. The less that the Spirit of God moves in a church or someone's life, the more the church or those persons will be under law. They must enforce it to keep order and control. Doing so gives them the appearance of holiness.

Are we christians, born again and Spirit led. Guess what?

Laws are made for the criminal.

Rules are made for the disobedient.

Etiquette for the graceless soul.

SOP's for the spiritually dull.
(SOP's - standard operating procedures)

If we are led of the Spirit why are we bringing pressure upon each other to behave, to conform to the norm. Why must we hang on to traditions and give up the freedom that Jesus bought for us.

Do you know that there are people who have such strong discipline that they can keep their bodies under subjection to their will. They can follow all the laws and rules. And we think that they are spiritually mature. But! Their heart can be so far from God that they don't know Him at all. They can't judge where the Spirit is moving. They look good on the outside (Pharisee) but inwardly they could be hungry wolves. Their hearts are not changed, just their thinking.

If a person's thinking is changed but not their heart they are empty. Here's a secret... change a person's heart and the thinking will follow. For out of the heart the mouth speaks, leads to action, growth, and all the fruits of the spirit.

Discipline without regeneration
the code without growth.

My friends if you have ever truly been in the presence of God and tasted of Him, you would do anything to be in that presence and have that presence in you. If when reading the word your eyes are opened to something that is getting in the way of your relationship with God you would rid yourself of it as soon as possible. But understand... it is God himself that must do the opening. God does so in His timing not ours because each person is unique in His sight and only He knows what the person needs to do next for spiritual growth. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are there to aid... but they must do so as God leads and not necessarily " the way " they think it should be. Please let us refrain from making " cookie cutter Christians ".

Does that mean that " anything goes ". No... The Spirit of God is not the author of confusion.

My goodness then.... How are we to change? What are we to do?

Worship God in spirit and truth. The Holy Spirit is in us to help us approach the throne of God, not through rules but from a loving heart. Not through ritual but through a yielded spirit. Not according to selections of the word of God but all of the word of God*. (as God gives him light)

My friends... if you are really spending time with Him you will change to be like Him in heart and mind. If you do not spend time with Him you will never be like Him or know Him. Prayer is good... Study is good... but we are created for worship. Come spend some time in His presence in true fellowship with Him and worship will flow from your lips. It can be no other way.

Begin to seek Him and
His love will change your life.

There are now no borders between anyone who believes and others, for we must all approach the throne through the blood of Jesus to worship in spirit and truth...

May the Lord our God create in you a new heart that will seek Him first...

not through the law - but by the blood

Not through tradition or ritual - but by worship in spirit and truth.

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