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My Search For The Church (Part 1)

My Search For The Church (Part 2)

 


Ephesians

Jacob

Meeting Together

Forerunner


Fellowship

Caleb

Whose Pasture


Let The Bridegroom


Zechariah

God's Family

Hosea

AMOS, THE PEASANT-PROPHET

New!Signs and Wonders

 

 


The Crucial Question

The True Vine

Leadership In The Church - Part I

Leadership In The Church - Part II

A People For His Name

The Way Forward

New Temple


My Search For The Church (Part 1) [click to download] Back to Top

Here Jack Chronicles his search "for a manifestation of Church that would reflect what I had read in the New Testament about it" as God challenged his preconceptions about church and stretched him to live differently.

Excerpt:

"I felt the Spirit say that church life as I had known it was to go to the Cross, to die, totally expire and be buried. Then, and only then would God give us new resurrection life, which He so desires us to have. There would be no new wine church life until the old had completely run out. I saw that our fiercest temptation also concerns going to the Cross. We will protest, like Peter, very religiously and very spiritually, 'God forbid, Lord, that will never happen to our church or our fellowship. Put our beloved programs and projects to the Cross; do to death our wonderful charismatic services; let our music and drama groups die, and our teaching times expire? Never! Don't you know, Lord, they are all about you.' And I heard the Lord say, 'Get behind me. You are a hindrance to me.'"

"These days marked the greatest transition of my life as a Christian, a beginning of the dying out to church as I had known it, to allow God to reveal Church as He would have it. That death has not been sudden and clean, but slow, sometimes painful and progressive. The religious habits of a lifetime and the mind-set of years do not expire easily. The months that followed were not easy, but we constantly received encouragement from the Lord in various remarkable ways, and over the past three and a half years we have been coming to a new understanding and experience of the Body of Christ. What we perceive as yet dimly, and what we are experiencing encourage us not to look back, but to press on."

 

 

 




My Search For The Church (Part 2) [click to download] Back to Top

Jack's journey continues as he shares what he has learned about the church that God is building and how he now lives in that reality every day:

Excerpt:

"No longer am I a member of any religious organisation. My name is on no church roll here on earth. I do not "go to church." I have no Minister or Pastor in the official sense, and church services , for me, are a thing of the past. How then, you may well ask, can I profess a longing for the Church ? What is my relationship to the Church ? My answer would be that I believe I am now more in the Church than I have ever been, and for this position I have sound New Testament confirmation."


 

 

 




The Crucial Question [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

“It required the explosive of revelation from the Holy Spirit to bring down the entrenched strongholds in my mind of traditional views of the Church, and to begin to raise up, in their stead, God’s view. What a day it was when that happened to me, when, as it were, the moment of detonation arrived, and I began to see and understand for the first time something of the wonder of the Church as the Father intends it to be, and I walked away for ever from the rubble and dust of the now-exploded old conceptions to which I had clung for so long.”

 

 

 



The True Vine [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"Now Jesus was making the amazing claim to be the true vine, replacing that degenerate plant that had failed to fulfil God's purpose. Through and in Him God would raise up a people who would bring forth much fruit for His glory. The true vine was Jesus and those who belong to Him in organic union." I am the vine, you are the branches." When the truth of that simple sentence begins to dawn upon our hearts it will utterly revolutionise our conceptions of Church. It is a death blow to all institutional Christendom. As individuals are incorporated into Christ, as they abide in Him and He in them, so they become, as branches, integrally part of the Vine. The life flowing in the branches is the life of the Lord Jesus. The branches have no autonomy, no vitality apart from Him. Severed from Him they can produce nothing. The Lord Jesus is the root stem branches leaves and fruit of the Vine. His life pervades every part. Of the Church it is true that "Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11), and that it is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Ephesians 1:23) These truths are staggering. The Church is Christ in living union with His people.

How may we enter into the experience of life in the true vine? How may this living organism, wholly vitalised by the Lord Jesus be rediscovered and restored? We will only make this rediscovery when we are willing to let go of the other, the humanly organised and the institutional. While our hands are full of that other we cannot receive the true. We need to come to zero point! "Apart from Me you can do nothing."


 

 

 


Leadership In The Church - Part I [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"In this living organism which was the Church there was order, as there is in any living thing. It was not anarchic. Part of that life-rooted order was in the realm of leadership, but never was leadership confused with headship. The sole Head was the risen, exalted Lord Jesus Christ exercising direction and authority through the Holy Spirit and humbly obedient people. There were no denominations with their pyramidal hierarchies, no Pope, no Archbishops, Right Reverends, Presidents or super-star Pastors. No para-church organisations existed. There were Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, elders, deacons. Now 1 Corinthians 12:28 says,” God has appointed in the Church" these various functions. They were all exercised by men gifted through the life of the Holy Spirit within them, functioning under the direction of the Head, and raised up by Him. They did not appoint themselves, or choose themselves. The life of the Holy Spirit flowing freely within the new-born Church produced its structure. It is most important to recognise this order of things, life producing structure, and not structure producing life. One of the fundamental errors of modern church life is to think that, if you can imitate New Testament structure, you will have New Testament life. But it has become very evident that simply to have men designated Apostles, Pastors, Elders etc. does not of itself give rise to such life. Giving men these titles does not automatically reproduce the New Testament equivalent, because, as we have shown, the churches of today do not reflect the one Church of the New Testament."


 

 

 


Leadership In The Church - Part II [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"Is it not evident that present church divisions and denominations have grossly distorted the Church as it was first created by the Spirit? This is one of the reasons why I believe God has called me to come completely out of all these confusing systems, to cry to Him to restore His way of Church, and to hold myself in readiness to obey him, come what may. More and more are the Christians who are being led to take this step. As yet they are widely separated, but increasingly they are being joined together by the Holy Spirit. There is a sense of expectancy that God is moving, and that there will be again on earth a heavenly Church, without earthly headquarters or organisational hierarchy, but with the functioning structure of a living Body, depending on the One appointed by God to be "Head over all things for the Church which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." In such a Church I have no doubt that true elders will emerge, and that the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4:11 will be restored."


 

 

 


A People For His Name [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"I believe the Lord is confronting us with this foundational statement concerning His Church. As we stand in the light of this revelation of a God-initiated, God-glorifying- community, taken out to bear none but His name, how tawdry and grubby our divided denominations seem in their efforts to extend their respective domains. How we need to have engraved on our hearts this simple, yet so perfect definition of the Church, "A people to bear His name." How quick the great apostle Paul was to rebuke the Corinthian believers taking to themselves other names. "Is Christ divided?" was the agonised cry rung from his heart. (1 Corinthians 1:12-13.)"


 

 

 



Ephesians [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"All of us, when we read the Bible, tend to do so wearing coloured spectacles. The colour of these glasses depends on our church affiliation, or on our doctrinal stance. The spectacles serve to blind us to those things in Scripture which do not line up with our way of thinking, and to emphasise what accords with our own particular denominational or theological background. I am personally aware that this has been true in my own life, and I have changed the colour of my glasses a number of times, finding, each time, truths which had been hidden before, and fresh meaning in things which I had previously thought, mistakenly, that I had fully understood. No doubt I am still seeing through spectacles which are not totally clear and free of colour, but, having laid aside all church system associations, and coming to the Epistle to the Ephesians afresh, it has again been my joyous experience to see some of the truth of this wonderful Epistle of the Church in new and exciting ways, and I find myself saying, “Why didn’t I see that before?” And I realise that it was because it had been obscured by those very spectacles I have been referring to.

Could there be any more comprehensive revelation of the utterly complete provision which Christ has made for His Church? These glorious facts lay the axe at the roots of all institutionalism, of all human headship and control, and call us into a relationship of simple faith-dependence on Christ our Head, secure in His love, His constant care and provision, and looking to Him to fulfil His word to present to Himself a Church resplendent in beauty and holiness. Where are those who are willing to come out of the ecclesiastical organisations and institutions, putting away dependence on men and casting themselves in self-abandonment into the arms of the wholly-sufficient Husband of the Church, His body of which, by grace, we are members? Only those who have the courage so to do will be in a place to prove the truths of this altogether blessed revelation. Are you ready to say, “I will” to this Husband?"


 

 



Jacob [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"If you are homesick for the true Church of the New Testament, chafing under the manipulative demands of the religious system to which you belong, stay until you hear clearly for yourself the Shepherd’s voice “Come out!” But, when you have once heard, let your response be as Jacob’s, instant, decisive and irrevocable. I cannot stress these things too strongly. Mere frustration with the church or something like a personality clash with the pastor, or boredom with the religious routine, these do not justify getting out, and will not provide enduring motivation for the long road home. Jacob only got out after God had so commanded and assured him “I will be with you.” It is solely when our coming out is one of obedience to the heavenly call that we have the strong assurance that the Lord is with us. Any other basis of leaving may see you on your own and struggling to survive. Many have made shipwreck by leaving on insufficient grounds. On the other hand, I also know some who have heard the call, knowing that it was from God, but have not obeyed. They have said to me things like, “I can see what you are saying is true, but I cannot take that road.” Sadly they remain the captives of the systems they serve.
We Are Pilgrims on a Journey
So, at last Jacob was on the long road home. This brings me to another important point. On stepping out from the institutional church I am not instantly home. There is a journey to be made, a pilgrimage in which we will be under the discipline of the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the fullness of that to which we have been called. I was impressed in spirit by something I read some months ago about the difference between “wanderers” and “pilgrims”. Pilgrims have a goal in their hearts. They are prepared for a hazardous and lonely trek. They will not give up until they arrive. Wanderers however lack that driving motivation. They are easily diverted and side-tracked. They try this and try that, and they arrive nowhere. It is my observation that some who no longer go to church are simply wanderers. They have no clear view of the goal. They are spiritual vagrants drifting aimlessly from place to place, trying this and that, and they may easily be inveigled back into the service of Laban. Jacob was from this point on a true pilgrim. True, God had yet much work to do to overcome the natural strength of the man, his reliance on his own schemes and plans, but the journey had begun."



 

 

 


Meeting Together [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"Jesus said, "Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them." The verb, "gathered" is in the passive mood. Do we trust Jesus to do the gathering, or do we arrange gatherings? We are finding that, as we allow Jesus to do it, He provides times and occasions of rich intimate fellowship and times of mutual encouragement, quite often when we have not expected it. I look forward to the time when there will be a restoration of that original creation of God, a pure unified Church, unified, not by the ecumenical schemes of men, but by the Holy Spirit of God, released in fresh Pentecostal power among us. Then, I have no doubt, there will be large "family reunions", joyful gatherings with wonderful fellowship, but no religious services conducted by men. These gatherings will be creative events directed and orchestrated by the Holy Spirit."

 

 



Forerunner [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"All this has its parallels in what I believe God is calling us to. The day will come when those who have been receiving the word of the Lord in the wilderness will become a voice crying, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”, and people, moved by the Spirit of God will come, eager to hear. They will be people who have come out from the Jerusalems of men’s denominations and religious systems, as well as non-religious people who are hungry for reality. At such a time we may well be surrounded by many enquirers, and our task will be to call for repentance and to direct people to the Shepherd. He, the Good Shepherd, and the Great Shepherd of the sheep, will call His own by name and will bring them out of the multiplied folds of Christendom into His flock. Peoples’ security will then no longer be in the safety of the organised folds, but in the person of Jesus, leading His flock. All John had to do was to prepare people to hear and follow Jesus. It was not his ministry to tell folks to come out of the folds, nor is it ours. Jesus Himself will call His people out. Ours will simply be to be gate-openers for Him."

 

 

 



Fellowship [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"I have recently been stimulated to look into the original New Testament meaning of the word “Fellowship”. The stimulus came from various sources. Firstly it came from the question that is so often asked when Christians meet one another, “Where do you fellowship?” meaning of course where do you go to church? Secondly I hear Christians talk sadly, and sometimes disparagingly, of this one and that one who “is not fellowshipping”, meaning they do not go to church. Thirdly, I have been wondering about the designation of Christian organisations as “Fellowships”. In the minds of the vast majority of Christians this word “fellowship” implies belonging to some organised Christian body and regular attendance at its meetings. This all caused me to ask myself, “What do the New Testament Scriptures really mean by the word, ‘fellowship’?"


 

 

 


Caleb [click to download] Back to Top

Excerpt:

"It is my conviction that we are entering a time of testing for those who have come out from the familiar old territory of the systems of Christendom. If you like, we are at a Kadesh-barnea. What is going to be revealed here is what is in our hearts. Our Father has shown us in His word a Church and a Church-life radically different from that which we see in the denominational organisations collectively perceived as “the church.” Such revelations are given in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, or in 1 Corinthians 12-14, or in 1 Peter 2:4-10, and of course in such a vivid way in the early chapters of “The Acts”. Have these revelations been burned into our spirits? Are we going to cling with the fiercest tenacity of faith to what God has said? Are we going to hold on whatever happens around us to the belief that what God has promised He is able also to perform, and that there is an experience of Church and of fellowship that far transcends anything we knew in that old and tired system. If the ancient Scriptures concerning Caleb have anything to say to us it is supremely this: only those of the Caleb-heart will make it through to the promised inheritance. May I ask is your heart settled, as was Caleb’s?"


 

 


Whose Pasture [click to download] Back to Top

 

 

 



Let The Bridegroom [click to download] Back to Top

 

 

Zechariah [click to download] Back to Top
Man has an inveterate need to measure and demarcate. He wants to define, to limit, to bring everything within the bounds of his human understanding, to organise and to control. It is this "measuring line" mentality which has quenched the Spirit so often, when God has moved to revive and renew. Just when the fresh life and vitality infused by the Spirit begin to burst beyond the predictable bounds of previous experience, someone steps in with some doctrinal or organisational measuring line. Before long the life is confined and boxed in and quenched within the boundaries of another denomination or organisation. There is a strong warning here for us. If we are going to experience restoration God's way, we must be prepared to throw away our measuring lines. God will not confine Himself to the limits of our conceptions.

 

God's Family [click to download] Back to Top




The Way Forward [click to download] Back to Top

 

 

Hosea [click to download] Back to Top

 

 

New Temple [click to download] Back to Top

 

 

AMOS, THE PEASANT-PROPHET [click to download] Back to Top

 

Signs and Wonders [click to download] Back to Top