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My name is Basie Martins. I trust that you are all well and I want to thank you again for listening to this program. For those of you who do not know, we are currently discussing house churches. This series of teachings are aimed at helping house church planters to plant proper and Biblical authentic house churches just as Jesus Christ and the apostles did in Biblical times. It also helps church planters to assist and support house church congregations to develop and grow spiritually.
In the previous sessions, we discussed the Luke 10 method of evangelism which is all about finding a man of peace, making him and his family and friends disciples of Christ whilst practically equipping the previous outreach’s new converts. We also discussed the importance of Pentecostalism. It is one of the most important requirements for planting proper and successful house churches. We also analyzed and discussed the reasons why new converts are such a powerful resource in the hands of God and such a great help to church planters? We also discussed the power of the baptisms. These are all “tools” that God gave us to plant and maintain strong and Holy Spirit infused congregations that are literally managed by Jesus Christ and literally led by the Holy Spirit.
In this session, we are discussing spiritual development and spiritual growth in house churches. We are going to look at all the different aspects of spiritual growth and we are going to answer questions like the following: What is spiritual growth and development, in other words, what is the real definition of spiritual growth? How do house church congregations and the members of these congregations grow and develop? How does the five-fold ministry equip the congregations? How do the members of the congregations equip each other? What factors improve and cause spiritual growth?
So let us start this session with a question, “Is proper and Biblical spiritual growth and development the ability to eventually lead a congregation?” No, to manage a congregation in the organized church is no different from managing a business. This does not mean that a person has reached spiritual maturity. This is not how it functions in an organic church. In a living organism, like a plant, birth, development, and growth take place automatically by being exposed to the natural ingredients in the ground and the air all around it. Just as a plant is exposed to the natural elements of nature all around it, both types of elements, those which have a negative impact and those which have a positive impact on the plant, so it is with the living or organic living creature called the church.
The church is part of the spiritual kingdom of God and therefore exposed to the living creatures that are part of the kingdom of God and the spiritual world. God is in the church and He influences the church from the inside. The church is also exposed to the other citizens of the spiritual world, the angels, and the demons and both have some impact on the church. It is also exposed to the physical world with all its dynamics and problems and positive and negative influences. Everything has an impact on the church and on Christians and everything influences spiritual growth and development.
We already know that spiritual growth or development has nothing to do with the ability to manage or control something. Jesus Christ informed the church that control and positional authority is how the world does things but that it should not be like that in the church. A person may be excellent in managing a company or a business and he may attempt to apply his skills by managing a church or a congregation similarly. However, the results will be completely different. With the company or the business, such a person will be very successful but with the church or a congregation, the same person will be a disaster although it may appear that he is successful, and people may even think that he is successful, based on what they see or observe with their physical eyes. The exact opposite is the truth. The physical side of the congregation might appear healthy but in reality, the people, the real church, sit on that church pews, as poor and as spiritually undeveloped as can be.
What is spiritual development and what is spiritual growth and what does a person look like who is matured and developed? It is quite easy to explain this question. Just look at the person’s life and compare that with the life of Jesus Christ when He was walking this earth. How did Jesus live and what did He do and what did He say? How did Jesus deal with everything that happened all around him and how did he interact and deal with people? How did He react to challenges and undesired events and incidents?
Let’s look at the life of Christ for a moment:
Jesus Christ was focused on being obedient to his Father. He relentlessly pursued holiness. He was so successful with this that He managed to abstain from sinning completely. That is why He could pay for the sins of the world. And make no mistake, the possibility was there that He could sin but He did not.
He was so obedient that He even became like a servant. He took on the attitude of a servant and He did not only serve God, but He also served people, even bad people.
He never even once decided to do anything out of himself. The Bible says that He never used his own initiative, which is not considered to be a good thing in the organized church by the way. He only did and He only said what He saw the Father doing and what He heard the Father saying.
Jesus therefore said, ‘When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me…
Jesus never defended himself. He was always humble.
He completely trusted God the Father. He knew that the Father loved him and that the Father will always do what He promised. He knew that the Father would not leave him to die in hell but that He would send the Holy Spirit to raise him from the dead.
So He had a steadfast faith in the abilities of the Father, the might and power of the Father, and the love and faithfulness of the Father.
He knew that the Father is a “rewarder” of them that diligently seek him. He never doubted in God and his word. Because of this, Jesus had faith, He was obedient and He was patient.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
1 John 3:22
And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Any child of God that experiences these three Scriptures in his life, really trusts God and such a person possess the faith that is required to live like Jesus did. They can wait on God patiently because they know that whatever God said will come true no matter how long they wait for that.
Jesus Christ knew who and what He was in God. He knew that He stood in perfect righteousness in God the Father. He knew that victory was always guaranteed. He knew that God could never fail and therefore He could never fail. Jesus Christ knew that he could do all things through the Father which strengthened him.
Although Jesus Christ had a powerful ministry, He knew that it was more important to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in his life. He allowed God the Father to live in and through him.
People often forget that Jesus was not God when He was walking this earth. The reality is that Jesus was a mere human being and He had to grow and develop spiritually as well, just like we have to. Let’s read Luke 2:52 which supports this statement:
And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
So Jesus learned and He was made perfect. He never sinned but He learned obedience, He was made perfect and He increased in wisdom and stature. This implies that Jesus Christ grew and developed spiritually and that He eventually reached maturity or reached the full stature of God the Father.
Jesus was sent by the Father and we were sent by Jesus. As Jesus was on this earth, so we need to be. God sent him to save and heal and restore. He sent us to lead the lost to salvation, heal, and restore. So except for the cross, we have to do everything that Jesus did.
To do that, we need to increase in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with man. We need to learn obedience and we need to be made perfect. He was the author of eternal salvation and we minister onto people the things that He has put in place. This is true spiritual growth and development. Not to manage people or to manage a denomination.
To do this, to grow spiritually, we need to experience what the disciples have experienced. As they did, we need to see somebody in action. It is called on-the-job-training. This is how the disciples learned and developed. People are good at mimicking other people. This is why it is the divinely implemented Biblical method of equipping people. It is also naturally the best method of equipping people that exist.
We need to see somebody living the Jesus-life right in front of our very eyes. By observing such a person, we will be able to start doing the same things just as effectively as that person does it. Unfortunately for us, only a very few people lived that way. The early church had no problem in this regard. They saw Jesus Christ in action. They learned the Biblical way by observing him in action. As I said, that is on-the-job training.
After Jesus Christ, the early apostles or the fundamental apostles carried on with the Jesus-life. This carried on for a few hundred years until Constantine and the Orthodox-Roman Catholic church destroyed the church as it was known. They killed the living organism and they created a man-made worldly structure to replace it.
About everything was changed. Nothing survived until the reformation age appeared. Very slowly and with tremendous effort and at a very high cost, God slowly started to restore the church. People paid with their lives to start the restoration process. So one Biblical principle and Biblical aspect and Biblical doctrine after the other, God slowly but surely proceeded to restore the church. I am sure you all know what God has restored through the years. I am also sure that you all know that God is not finished yet. There is still a lot that needs to be restored. I believe we are now entering the phase of restoring the Biblical church structure which is house churches.
This phase entails the following: Showing people how to meet in houses, showing the five-fold ministry how to function in the body of Christ, and showing the members of the congregation how to do the work of the ministry. So spiritual growth will include these aspects and the demonstration of these aspects. The Biblical way of equipping is not preaching, it is a demonstration. It is on-the-job training. So spiritual growth and development in the organized church is almost impossible because of people refusing to be obedient in this regard. If you do not embrace the divinely implemented church structure, you are going to be left behind and you will not develop to the full stature of Jesus Christ.
How does a person look like, that is spiritually developed and spiritually mature?
Fist of all, you will find such a person in the streets and in the market place. You will immediately see that such a person is busy fulfilling the great commission. He is preaching the full gospel of Christ, he is healing the sick, he is raising the dead, he is baptizing people, he is laying his hands on people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, he is casting out demons, he is planting house churches or he is visiting house churches to equip the saints for the work of the ministry and he is partaking in the shared community-life of the church.
So as soon as you see a person who does all these things that I have just mentioned, you have met a person who is matured in Christ. You have met a person who has reached the full stature of Christ. This is what the church needs and this is what the Activation Teams of the GCR Global Activation and Mobilization Network need to do. As members of the GCR Network, you are members of the five-fold ministry and this is what you will be equipped to be or equipped to function. We have made all the necessary resources available to you and the GCR Support Team will equip you to equip others. We are not perfect yet but we will start the process and we will mature and we will be made perfect and we will grow in wisdom, stature, and obedience.
I can name quite a few people who were matured Christians. People like Paul and Peter and many other apostles and disciples of Christ. However, I am afraid, all these guys lived before the great apostasy that was caused by Constantine and the Orthodox-Roman Catholic church. I do not think this world has seen a matured Christian ever-since. Yes, we have seen people who had powerful ministries after that but all these people lacked quite a lot of aspects and characteristics and obedience in their lives. If these people had the right person to equip them with the true word of God and who could teach and show them the true will and the true ways of God, many of them probably would have reached spiritual maturity.
The church lacks the true Biblical-type of five-fold ministers that God needs to equip the church to grow spiritually. This is the reason why the planting of house churches is so challenging today. God needs people who know the truth and who know how to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. During the past fifty years, God has raised people who slowly but surely understood the truth. God slowly but surely taught them the truth. They interacted with each other and they did influence and develop each other. Fairly recently these men of God reached a place where God was able to start to use them to restore his church like He intended it to be, and to function as He intended them to function in the body of Christ.
This is what this series of teachings are all about. It is to help you to equip the church to do the work of the ministry. So buckle-up, it is not going to be easy but it going to be very fulfilling and an amazing experience. It is going to be the time of your life.
So how does God equip the members of the house church congregations? I can tell you now that it is completely different from the way that the five-fold ministry in the organized church does it. As you already know, in house churches, preaching does not play an important role. On-the-job training is huge in house churches. But, on-the-job training is different from the on-the-job training of the corporate or business world. In the church, on-the-job training is not an intellectually prepared method. It is life-lessons that come automatically and naturally and even unexpectedly.
It does not take place in a classroom or a staged environment. It is real-life situations and real-life experiences. For instance, the apostles take the new converts out with them immediately and they show them how to find a man of peace, how to preach the gospel of Christ to him and his family, how to baptize them in water, how to pray for the sick, how to lay hands on people to be baptized in the Holy Spirit and how to plant house churches and how to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. It all happens “live”.
The new converts, the babes in Christ, are part of everything immediately and they learn very quickly. They learn quickly because they observe real-life situations and they experience everything physically and literally. They see, they imitate and they do. This is the secret of successful spiritual growth and development in the church. This is the reason why the new converts become such an extremely powerful instrument in the hands of God and why the new converts or the laborers are such a huge help to the five-fold ministry. They learn in a matter of weeks.
To reach maturity in Christ though is a different matter. That takes time and it takes a bit of an effort. In the right environment, it can be done within five years or even quicker. So the new converts will almost immediately be ready to do the work of the ministry, but, to be like the apostle that they have seen in action, will probably take a few years. So the new converts become part of house church congregations, where they start learning the community-life or the Jesus-life that is so characteristic of a Biblical-based New Testament church.
And this is where the most difficult aspect of Christianity becomes a part of their lives and that is called the “shared community-life”. The shared community-life is particularly difficult for the western world. People naturally want to live by their own rules and naturally want to look after themselves only. They do not even want to hear about other people and their troubles. This is a problem because what people do not know, is that it is impossible to reach spiritual maturity if they are not part of a house church congregation and actively taking part in the shared community-life of the congregation. It is really not that much of an effort and the longer we allow ourselves to be part of this new way of living, the more we enjoy it, and the more we love it and the easier it gets. The problem is that many westerners reject this way of life from the start. To their own detriment, they do not even try to be obedient to Christ in this regard.
It is in this environment that we learn eighty percent of the important stuff that we need to know to grow spiritually. It is in this environment that we become like Christ. At first, we become part of such a community and we allow Christ to live in and through us like He wants us to. So in this environment, we slowly die in ourselves and we allow Christ to do what needs to be done in and through us. Paul said that he became less and Christ more. He said that it was no longer him but Christ that lived in him. It all became a reality because of the influence and impact that this shared community-life has on people.
However, as we mature, we become like Christ. To become like Christ is greater than merely allowing him to live in and through you. This is why Peter could act the way he did when he healed the lame man at the temple by saying …but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.
Peter revealed a few interesting things here; he said what I have and he said I give thee and then he healed the man instantly.
This is very significant. He became like Christ because he knew Christ and he knew the will of God and he knew what he was in Christ. When he saw the lame man he knew that he did not have to wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. He knew that he did not have to wait for Christ Jesus to live and work through him. Instead of that, he immediately acted in the power and the ability that was in him by being what he was and by doing what he could. Just think of it, “What I have I give you”. This is a man who is matured in Christ and who became like Christ.
So from heaven, God looked down on Peter and He was so proud. I can imagine how God felt at that moment and what He probably would have liked to say to Peter. I think He would have said: “Well done my son! You have become like me. I did not even need to lead you to heal that poor man. You did it all by yourself. You just stepped out in faith and you healed that man. Well done!
So Peter knew who he was in Christ and what he possessed in Christ. He knew that he could not heal that person in his own strength. He knew that the healing in him is actually in Christ in him. But he also knew that although healing is in Christ, that it also belonged to him to give to whoever he wants to give it. He knew that because it belonged to him and because he stepped out in faith, God would work with him and that the person would be healed.
This is spiritual maturity. A person who did not yet reach the full stature of Christ will not be able to do what Peter did. Can you remember that I mentioned in the first session that God in us is like the powerful engine of a Ferrari? When we step on that pedal, a split second after we do, that engine will perform as you have never seen an engine does. But, this only happens if we have faith.
I was also misled the first time that I heard somebody say that the “what would Jesus do” slogan is not Biblical. He argued that we should rather allow Christ to live in and through us. We should not act unless the Holy Spirit leads us. We should wait until Jesus in us or the Holy Spirit in us acts before we act. We should stand and watch that sick person until the Holy Spirit leads us to heal him.
The reality is that these statements are not Biblical. God works with us. When we act in faith, He works with us. He already gave us an instruction to go out, preach the gospel of Christ, and heal the sick and cast out demons. We never have to be led by the Holy Spirit to do that. Like salvation, healing is in the atonement. Deliverance is in the atonement and that is why we cast out demons. We do not even need the permission of the person who is demonically-possessed to deliver him. We are followers of Christ. We imitate Christ, We do and say what we have seen and heard him do and say.
Take a look at this Scripture:
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
So Jesus was an example so that we can imitate him and do as He has done. Let’s read further:
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.
Luke 6:40 says the same:
A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
Isn’t this amazing. If anyone asks you what spiritual development or spiritual growth or spiritual maturity is, tell them what the Bibles says. Is says here that the disciple will become like Christ and when he is fully trained, he will be like Christ, his teacher. This is exactly what Luke 6:40 says. A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone, when he is fully trained will be like his teacher.
And then the word “everyone” says it all. It says that everyone who is a disciple becomes like Christ and everyone, who is fully trained is like Christ. No wonder Christ said, go out and heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and as the Father has sent me, even so, I send you. All of us should be able to do all those things because when we become like Christ all of us can do what he could. God did not create an exclusive club of blue-eyed boys and girls who are the chosen ones who will be like him. God is not a respecter of persons. We are all the same in his eyes.
Paul rightly said the following: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. Walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.
God does not possess us as demonic spirits do. He does not act in and through us in this way. He wants us to act, and He works with us. What a wonderful feeling it must be for God, to see a person act just as He does. He does not have to force him or lead him to do that. That person acts that way because He became like God. He looked at God and he said, “You are awesome, I want to be like you”. And then he learned everything about that God, he renewed his mind and he changed his own ways of thinking and behavior and ways of doing things by imitating that awesome God. I think this magnifies God. That is a wonderful compliment and it surely honors God.
Now how do we imitate Jesus Christ? First of all, we know Jesus Christ by the word of God. We know what He did and what He said, by reading the Bible. And that is how we know how to imitate him. But that is not all. We also keep our spiritual eyes on the risen Jesus. This is the core ingredient or element that promotes tremendous spiritual growth and development in house churches and in the lives of the members of house church congregations. Proper Biblical house church congregations are only focused on one thing. They only talk about one thing and that is Jesus Christ and what He has done and said and they do the same. They live, speak, laugh, sleep, and play Jesus Christ and him only. Jesus revealed God and that is why whatever Jesus did or say is so important. We do not really spend too much time with the Father and we do not really spend too much time with the Holy Spirit. We spend time with Christ Jesus. He is the Groom and the Husband of the church. He is our first love. That is how the Father and the Holy Spirit want it. People who spend too much time with the Holy Spirit are making a mistake. If you do, you should read a post that I have written titled: Can I pray to the Holy Spirit?
When it comes to the Sunday meetings though it is completely different. Or when it comes to the gifts of the Spirit and the workings of the Holy Spirit, in the meetings and wherever Christians are gathering for whatever reason, the Spirit of God may and will manifest amid the congregation or the saints. This is when house church members act according to the leading of the Spirit of God. The house church planter needs to equip the house church congregation with the necessary knowledge and ability to understand the difference. We act without the leading of the Holy Spirit when it comes to fulfilling the great commission. We are obedient to the instructions of Jesus Christ at all times under all circumstances. We are like God and we act like God. We do not have to wait for God or on God. In fact, He is waiting for us, ready to work with us when we act or step out in faith.
With the workings and gifts of the Holy Spirit, it is different. At any time, the Holy Spirit may manifest in our midst and then we follow his leading. But make no mistake, do not be under a false impression, even then we need to step out in faith to do what God wants. And then, when we do, He works with us. It is a bit confusing but when you have grasped this aspect of our faith-walk in Christ, you will know how to be like Jesus and how to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. You will be able to please God in both ways without even thinking about it.
As part of the five-fold ministries, the apostle or the church planter, in other words, the GCR Team Leader, need to make sure that all the members of the congregation understand this. Otherwise, you will experience Sunday meetings where one person ministers completely in the flesh by chattering and babbling completely irrelevant stuff and by doing so, hindering the flow of the Spirit. This whilst the other members of the congregation, who have received a prophecy or a tongue or a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge or a doctrine sit there waiting for the opportunity to release whatever the Holy Spirit wants to do through them. And so they wait whilst this person is babbling until they become frustrated and the Holy Spirit unction leaves. This is sad.
People need to know the difference. Going out to preach the gospel of Christ, healing the sick, casting out demons, raising the dead, baptizing people, laying hands on people to receive the baptism in the Holy Spirit, caring for people, taking some food to people who are in need, helping people, planting churches and so forth are all instructions that we must do whenever we can and as often as we can. God will not lead you to do those things. You must be like Jesus and do those things. God commanded us to do those things.
The members of the house church congregation experience life together. They meet regularly, most of the time on a Sunday to exhort each other and to experience Christ together in unity. This is when Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit fellowship with us and this is when we express Jesus Christ to each other through the gifts and the workings of the Holy Spirit. The focus is never on the Holy Spirit but always on Christ. The Holy Spirit will never attract any attention to himself. The Spirit of God always points to Christ.
During the week, the members of the congregation experience life together as well. They go out on a weekly and even daily basis to fulfill the great commission and everything that it entails. They also share their private lives with each other. They do not hide their hardships and challenges from each other. They know a whole lot about each other. They share life and they help each other to get through challenging circumstances.
Let me give you a few examples of how the ekklesia of God lives the shared community-life and what they do for each other:
They honor each other, they love each other, they accept each other, they pray for each other, they exhort each other, they build each other up, they support each other, they help each other in times of need, they are patient with each other, they visit each other and fellowship with each other, they wait for each other, they teach each other, they serve each other, they motivate each other, they tolerate each other, they forgive each other, they do not ignore each other, they carry each others burdens, they confess their sins to each other, they discipline each other, they are hospitable toward each other, they are warm and friendly toward each other, they submit themselves one to the other, they are humble toward each other, they live in peace with each other, and they care for each other.
This is a mouthful but this is exactly what the Bible says that the members of the congregation should do. All these things are taken from Bible verses. Paul wrote about these things over and over again in his letters. All these things cultivate a sense of belonging to each other and a sense of unity as a family. The reality is that Christians are family because all Christians are born of God. We are the children of God.
All these things make us all responsible for each other and accountable to each other. We live in unity and we accept the good and the bad. We laugh together and we cry together. We are always there for each other. When one rejoices we all rejoice with him and when one mourns we all mourn with him. We celebrate life together and we face the challenges of life together.
As you can imagine, this is not always easy. Sometimes people step on each others toes and sometimes people are rude to each other. Sometimes we hurt each other. It is just like a natural family. What happens when two brothers in a natural family fight about something or disagree about something? Does the one move out of the house and ignore his brother for the rest of his life? No, they sort out there differences, forgive each other, makeup and carry on with life. This is exactly how it should be among members of a congregation. We should deal with each other like family does because we really are family.
It is when we live together as one family and when we face the challenges in life together and when we learn to love each other as a closely-knit family, that we grow spiritually. This aspect of house churches promotes tremendous spiritual growth in the body of Christ. People who refuse to be part of the shared community-life hurt themselves tremendously because they hinder their own spiritual growth and development because of that. We just cannot develop spiritually the way that we are supposed to when we distance ourselves from this aspect of Christianity.
It is like a few friends who decide to build and manage a holiday resort together or a few ladies who decide to start a bakery together. From the start, they all know that it is going to be challenging. They understand that it is going to take hard work, a lot of planning, and a lot of patience. They have all invested everything they owe into the venture and they know if they do not commit and stick to their guns and do what needs to be done, they will lose all their money.
Yes, they are all very excited and they are all looking forward to establishing what they have envisioned together for such a long time.
However, they all have different personalities and different ideas and they know that it is not going to be easy to sort out their differences and all the challenges and the crises that will surely be part of their lives in the future. They all know that a lot of difficult decisions will have to be made and that they probably will disagree on many issues.
They all know they will have to work through all the issues responsibly. They will have to accept accountability and they will have to be open-minded. If they want to make it work they will have to consider each others desires and ideas and that they will have to tolerate each other and be patient with each other. They know that there probably will be a few unnecessary bad incidents but they also know that they cannot allow undesired incidents and events to derail them. The well-being and future of so many people depend on them acting and behaving like adults are supposed to. They have children and families to take care of and they cannot afford to fail with this venture.
House church congregations are exactly in the same boat. Just as these business partners, they are all partners of Christ and they all have the same goals. Just as the business partners, they will also have to learn to die in themselves if they want to protect the house church community that they are part of. If they want to succeed and build a “house” for God where He can live as “comfortable” and as “welcome” as can be, they will have to sacrifice a lot of their own ambitions and desires and even their own will. Many times one member will have to watch his “ambitions” and his brilliant “ideas” disintegrate right there in front of his very eyes without feeling disappointed or sad. Why not? Because he died in himself and he sacrificed his own desires for the greater good.
We have to be imitators of Christ. We have to learn obedience through a bit of suffering. We also have to take up our cross every day of our lives. So, make no mistake, the challenges and the tests will come, as surely as I live you will see them come and go and you will see how it changes people and how people grow and develops spiritually because of it. You will also see people refusing to die in themselves by being selfish and rude and destroying the work of the ministry. The shared community-life will expose us all.
If the members of the congregation are committed and die in themselves and if they make the necessary sacrifices, they will grow and develop as individuals but also as a congregation. When this happens, they will starts to experience Jesus Christ in their midst. They will become less and less and He will become more and more and bigger and eventually they will experience Jesus Christ like they never did before.
It will be amazing! Their faith will grow and grow and they will start to be like him. Their love for each other will grow and grow until they become willing to fall on a hand grenade for each other. The love of Christ will flow through them and the power of Christ will flow through them and they will start to have a big impact on each other and the rest of the people in the community all around them. They will become stronger and stronger and they will grow and grow. As a congregation, they will increase in wisdom and stature and favor with God and with men. Miracles will start to happen in their midst and among them that they have never experienced before.
As I said, the shared community-life makes all the difference. When we are part of the shared community-life we develop spiritually. We become like Jesus when we share our lives with the rest of the body of Christ. God builds his character into us when we are looking after our spiritual family. This lifestyle makes us perfect and it promotes love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. When the fruit is part of our lives, the power comes. As a closely-knit unit, we do life together and we fulfill the great commission together.
One of the greatest lessons that the house church planter needs to teach the new congregation, is to gather around Jesus Christ only. Not only when they meet on a Sunday but every day of their lives and with all church activities. Everything that they do together as a congregation is centered around the person of Jesus Christ. Like the Holy Spirit, the congregation and every member always points to Jesus Christ. It is all about Jesus Christ and what He has done and what the implications are. Together the congregations seek the face of Jesus. Together they seek the mind and will of Christ. Together they reveal Jesus Christ to this world. Together they minister Jesus Christ unto people.
SM Lockridge described Jesus Christ as follows:
“He is the King of all kings, He is the King of righteousness, He is the King of the ages, He is the King of heaven, He is the King of glory, He is the Lord of lords, He is a sovereign King, no means of measure can define His limitless love, He’s enduringly strong, entirely sincere, eternally steadfast, He’s immortally graceful, imperially powerful, impartially merciful, He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world, He’s God’s Son, He’s the sinners Savior, He’s the centerpiece of civilization, He’s unparalleled, He’s unprecedented, He’s the loftiest idea in literature, He’s the highest personality in philosophy, He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology, He’s the only one qualified to be an all sufficient Savior, He supplies strength to the weak, He’s available for the tempted and the tried, He sympathizes and He saves, He strengthens and He sustains, He guards and He guides, He heals the sick, He cleanses the lepers, He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, He delivers the captives, He defends the feeble, He blesses the young, He serves the unfortunate, He regards the aged, He rewards the diligent, He beautifies the meek, He’s the key of knowledge, He’s the wellspring of wisdom, He’s the doorway of deliverance, He’s the pathway of peace, He’s the roadway of righteousness, He’s the highway of holiness, He’s the gateway of glory, His life is matchless, His goodness is limitless, His mercy is everlasting, His love never changes, His word is enough, His grace is sufficient, His reign is righteousness, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, He’s indescribable, He’s incomprehensible, He’s invincible, He’s irresistible, You can’t get Him out of your mind, you can’t get Him off your hand, you can’t outlive Him and you can’t live without Him, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him, Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him, Herod couldn’t kill Him, death couldn’t handle Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him.
– SM Lockridge
The success and power of the house church congregation depend on the stature that Jesus Christ reaches in them as individuals and in them as a congregation.
The members of a house church congregations become like Jesus Christ because we, the five-fold ministry, teach them the truth about Jesus Christ. We teach them the true word of God. We teach them how to gather around Jesus Christ in the meetings. We teach them how to gather around Jesus Christ whatever they do during the week. We teach them to love Jesus Christ with all their hearts and souls and power and might. We teach them to sing and laugh and live and sleep and play Jesus Christ. We teach them how to serve and worship Jesus Christ in spirit and truth. We teach them how they, as a congregation can and should become so full of Christ that they cannot keep him inside. What is in the heart comes out of the mouth.
This is a very important aspect of house churches that church planters cannot neglect.
This is all for today. See you next time.