Acts 13:1 “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.”
Is the church an organism or an organization? I think most of you who are reading this would say that it is an organism. And you would be right. An organism has life in itself. An organization has no life in itself.
There is one church, but many fellowships because of geography, but we are still one organism with one Head: the Lord Jesus Christ. What we see today is many organizations called churches and with their many heads.
We have seen in the Scripture that the church is a family, a building, a temple, but now it is time to see the church working as an army called to battle. We are in a spiritual battle that is being raged more and more as the Day of the Lord approaches, and we are involved whether we know it or not. There is no such thing as surrender, retreat or home-leave. We are in this battle until the trumpet sounds and the Lord Jesus Christ calls His Body home. This is how we need to think, train and prepare the next generation.
Like in any army we are to be united and connected to the Head for our instructions, our encouragement and our empowerment for the spiritual battle. The enemy will try and destroy this line of communication that we have with our Chief in Command. If the communication lines are broken then it will result in confusion, fear and ultimate defeat. Isn’t this what has been happening with God’s people?
The last temptation that Satan threw at Christ in the wilderness was to take Him to a high mountain and show Him all of the kingdoms of the world. He said to our Lord: “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 4:9) Jesus knew something that Satan did not know. The kingdom of God was about to invade the kingdoms of the world. After the temptation of Satan and Jesus returned full of the Holy Spirit – He started to preach saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near,” and at hand. (Matthew 4:17) Jesus Christ is the Kingdom of God. And, He is the only way in. No one comes into the Kingdom of God, but by Him.
We see that Satan has locked the entire human race into separate little kingdoms that are always conflicting with one another. People are kept in these prisons through Satan’s lies of acceptance and rejection. Fear is far greater and stronger than bars of steel. A human need that we all have is to be accepted. A human fear we all have is that of being rejected. This strategy of the devil has been very successful in the world throughout time.
When Jesus came into our world the kingdom of heaven invaded these worldly kingdoms and has been calling for prisoners to be set free in Him. Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” We read in Ephesians 1:6, “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” This need we all have for acceptance is fully met in Christ Jesus who accepts us when we come to believe in Him, according to His own Word.
Satan separated the human race by appealing to the fleshly desires of man, and so we see the continual conflicting kingdoms of this world. And so it also seems to be the same in how Satan has been successful in separating the Body of Christ through conflicting denominations of religions. Our denomination becomes our identity. This should not be. When we talk to people we talk about the church we go to. This is not what Jesus taught or expects from us.
When this happens the world will see a power unleashed that has not been seen since the first generation of Christianity. We read and see that the first generation of Christians were all of one mind and purpose. Jesus prayed: “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:23) When this happens (complete unity) the result will be this prayer from our Savior being fulfilled.
I believe that real reformation will break down the denominational barriers that are separating God’s people and gloriously set the Body of Christ free to be one as God is one, as our Lord prayed and taught.