Do any of you ever have a sense of aloneness, even when you’re surrounded by those you attend “church” with? Do you ever sense that you see things, in almost every way, differently than the other believers around you: cognitively, emotionally, experientially and scripturally? You are there in that building (“church”) with them, but doesn’t there always seem to be a sense of aloneness, a sense of something missing, which is ever present in you? Do you sense that the something missing is the presence and power of God visibly working in you and those around you? Do you ever cry out to Father, “Why, Lord, with everything so blatantly messed up in this world, are these people I ‘fellowship’ with (for one hour every Sunday morning) so blind, unaware and/or uncaring? Am I losing my mind, or do I truly have the mind of Christ, and if so, then am I beginning to see the world and others with Your vision, discernment and heart? Is this the reason I am experiencing this sense of aloneness and disconnection with the world and those I attend ‘church’ with?”
If none of this registers with you, then I guess you’re either far ahead of me, spiritually speaking, or not looking for the same Spiritual thing I am. For the last ten+years of my life, I have been experiencing this life of aloneness, uncertainty and questioning, and Father’s answers to my questions and pleading haven’t always immediately been there to bring relief and peace. This has been more than difficult to say the least. I have not walked this path completely alone, and the brothers I have walked with have had almost the same experience. But we have had to break off from each other at points and seek these answers on our own: alone with Father in much pain, fear and trembling.
The other day, a brother was telling me that he had just reread 1st Corinthians 1, and that he had been moved and edified by the Lord’s word through Paul. So I picked up my bible and began to read. As I read, I sensed the Lord revealing to me some things that I had truly lost sight of over the past few years. Here is a portion of 1st Corinthians I. Please read this passage before you read what I have written at the end:
10Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11For I have been informed concerning you, my brethren, by Chloe’s people, that there are quarrels among you. 12Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one would say you were baptized in my name… 17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void.
18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
19For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, 24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29so that no man may boast before God. 30But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.” (1st Corinthians I)
Here are the points in this scripture that have reinforced my decision, many years ago, to come out from organized Christianity; and to know that God has truly chosen the weak, foolish and based things of this world to shame the wise.
1) “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be NO DIVISIONS among you, but that you be made complete in the SAME MIND and in the SAME JUDGMENT… Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
Do I really need to explain to any child of God why this scripture resounds so clearly in my mind and heart? We are not to be divided (factions), it is as simple as that: no divisions, no denominations or non-denominations, or as Paul states:
“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3BEING DILIGENT to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is ONE body and ONE Spirit, just as also you were called in ONE hope of your calling; 5ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, 6ONE God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4)
We are to be ONE in Christ, not three thousand separate and opposed factions that are at war with each other over who Christ is and what our response to Him is to be! The true Church, the Body of Christ, is ONE with Christ: there is no Catholic, Presbyterian, Methodist, Unitarian, or whatever, in the Body of Christ. There is Oneness and unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace in the true Body, the true Church of Christ. I never found this Oneness in Christ in organized Christianity, and I sought it out diligently. If we are taking part in this kind of religious disunity, this division, this factionalism, then we are separating ourselves, whether we are aware or not, from the Life and Truth the Lord came to give us. Organized Christianity cannot possibly be according to the Lord’s will, for if it is, then His word to us is very unreliable.
2) “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.19For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.
20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God MADE FOOLISH the wisdom of the world?”
The man-created “churches” of organized Christianity (denominations: religious institutions, just like synagogues, mosques and temples) have been putting forth, for almost two thousand years now, a completely false picture of Christ and His Body (His Church). In particular, the American version of Christianity acts, for the most part, as just another leg of the American government; a corrupt and almost Satanic government that wouldn’t know our Lord and Savior from a serpent. This kind of “church”, this man-made religious institution, puts forth the false notion that God works through those who have never sinned badly and always “tithe”, those who are admired in the community and love America, democracy and capitalism more than anything else; since God has (according to the clergy) ordained America to be that “city upon a hill.”
A religious institution that preaches love of the world system: “God wants you to be rich! He wants you to be successful! Your success is a witness to the pagan that you are of God!” American-organized-Christianity supports and promotes political activism: demanding “political rights” for its laity and openly promoting civil disobedience. The American “church” promotes patriotism (idolatry) and even encourages young American men to go to war and murder others made by God. Of course, all of this is directly opposed to scripture. In fact, scripture, over and over again, warns us not to be yoked with the unbeliever and that we will, if we truly belong to Christ, suffer as he did. Scripture paints a picture of the true believer as an outsider in this world: a child of God who is hated by this world-system (ruled by Satan), a person who despises the things of this world-system and thus has nothing in it. A child of God who is longing for a “better country,” his true home with the Lord:
18“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (John 15)
14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6)
…13All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11)
This is the true picture of Christ and His Body (His Church, His Bride)! This is not the truth that one will find in the “churches” of Christendom (organized Christianity). So if one wants the way, truth and life the Lord came and died to give them, then, I believe, they must come to a hard decision at some point in their life; and this hard decision just may be, as the Spirit leads, of course, to come out from among them and seek what the Lord has for them here and now. But they should know up front that this life will not be the cozy, ungodly life “preached” in the false temples of Christendom. Oh no, this will be a life of true separation, in the mind and heart, from all the ungodly things of this world, a life filled with sojourning and pain, but with the peace that surpasses comprehension. The person who hears the Lord’s call and responds will immediately become the weak, foolish, based and despised thing in this world, because Satan rules this world-system and hates the true child of God! Christ was not kidding us when he stated:
24Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25“For whoever wishes to save his life WILL LOSE IT; but whoever loses his life for My sake WILL FIND IT. 26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and WILL THEN REPAY EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. (Matthew 16)
A brother in Christ just sent me the following quote from T. Austin Sparks. Sparks has said in two paragraphs what I was trying say above:
“…It pleased God… to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him.” (Galatians 1:15,16)
Since Paul’s day so very much of Christian activity has been the furthering of a movement, the propagating of a teaching, and the furthering of the interests of an institution. It is not a movement, nor to establish a movement in the Earth and to get followers, adherents, members, support. It is not an institution, even though we might call that institution the church. The church has no existence in the thought of God apart from the revelation of Jesus Christ, and it is judged according to the measure in which Christ the Son of God’s love is in evidence by its existence. It is not a testimony, if by that you mean a specific form of teaching, a systematized doctrine. No, it is not a testimony. Let us be careful what we mean when we speak about “the testimony.” We may have in our minds some arrangement of truth, and that truth couched in certain phraseology, form of words, and thus speak about “the testimony”; it is not the testimony in that sense. It is not a denomination, and it is not a “non-denomination,” and it is not an “inter-denomination.” It is not Christianity. It is not “the work” – oh, we are always talking about “the work”: “How is the work getting on?” – we are giving ourselves to the work, we are interested in the work, we are out in the work. It is not a mission. It is Christ! “…That I might preach Him.”
If that had remained central and preeminent all these horrible disintegrating jealousies would never have had a chance. All the wretched mess that exists in the organization of Christianity today WOULD NEVER HAVE COME ABOUT. It is because something specific in itself, a movement, a mission, a teaching, a testimony, a fellowship, has taken the place of Christ. People have gone out to further that, to project that, to establish that. It would not be confessed; nevertheless it is true, that today it is not so much Christ that is our work. Now beloved, an inward revelation is the cure of all that. Am I saying too hard a thing, too sweeping a thing? The existence of all that represents the absence of an adequate inward revelation of Christ