Thursday, 31 December 2009

Calling on the Name (part 2)

17 Tebeth 32/40

We have already concluded that the name should be held in honour by those it was invoked upon. And it is a matter of fact that where two or three are gathered together in his name, he is in the midst of them (Matt. 18:20). On one hand, notice the word ’where’. This does not need to be a place where a claim is made to be the ’house of God’, specially built for meeting purposes. It may be in the houses we live (Rom.16:5; 1Cor.16:19; Col.4:15; Phm.1:2). The house-churches are simply people of God gathering together in fellowhip. If there is no such chance in a house we may go to the ’river-side’, where and if there is not too much disturbance (Acts 16:13).The main purpose of any gathering is the apostles’ doctrine, fellowhip, breaking of bread (eating our food together with delight) and prayers (Acts 2:42). Alas! There are many professed Christians who do not even pray in their families, even as believing, married couples. Their houses are very divided on this matter. What a nightmare! I remember a lady who, several years ago, divorced her husband, saying „he is not walking in faith, but in hope”. And she claimed that her pastor actually talked about this in church. What sort of asinine infatuity! What a mere craziness! The believing husband and wife, including their children, if any, are the smallest group in which the promise of the Christ is in effect, when they are gathered in his name. Most of them neither fellowship nor pray together, until they go once in a week to their designated ’spot’, which is actually a building. However the worship of the Father is meant to be „in spirit and in truth” and not restricted to any type of edifice. As saints of the Most High, we are „...not to forsake the assembling of ourselves ... (Heb.10:25). While aseembled, we get to know one another, share things, weep and rejoice together. We simply share one another’s burdens. Yet there are instances when one belonging to a mega-church or a bigger gathering think that what makes a church is how plenty they are. But this is absolutely wrong. The situation prevailing in John Mark’s mother’s house reinforces the word of the Lord and through their prayers a miracle took place (Acts 16:16). Is that not a fellowship? Hence the church of God may convene at any place. The fellowship of the saints, based on the apostles’ doctrine, is what defines a church – wherever that may be - and the local church is only one in any settlement by name, but fellowhip may take place at several places within that area. Look at how our Lord addresses the churches of Asia in the revelation God gave him! We cannot have two types of churches in any one settlement, and still expect both to belong to the Lord, while they have noting to do with each other. That is contrary to the spirit of Christ. It is either only one or none is of the Lord. On the other hand, this promise of our Lord (Matt.18:20) is true irrespective of whether or not you have certain sensations, as it is usual to say in mega-churches, where there is little or no trace left again of a real fellowship. There are occassions when the Lord is present with more power and glory, for example, to heal the sick or the broken-hearted, but this does not mean each and everyone experiences him in the same degree. Someone sitting-by may not be experiencing anything, and to make inferences that such a person is not devoted to the Lord enough is pure madness.

All the above sound true of two or three gathered together in the Lord’s name, but what is the situation with an individual? Every act of turning to the Lord whether in thansgiving, praise and worship, or in intercessions and requests is an equivalent of calling on the name by those who trust in him. This is much more true of people who are always on the move – on errand or because of the nature of their daily activities. We are here not talking about self-appointed busy-bodies who call themselves ministers and they suck-out (by force) the milk, even the life-blood of the sheep. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Elijah and others (cf. Gen.12:8; 26:25; Ex.17:15; Judg.6:24; 1Kings 18:32 ) called upon YHVH by building altars to Him. Those who belong to YHVH cannot forget Him, not even when they are moving from one place unto another.

I was, with my wife, mistakenly at a Christian service (should I have said fellowhip? Nay, it was not one) more than two weeks ago and there was ’praise and worship’, in which the designated leader was, at a particular time, telling the choir what song to sing with what musical instrument. He came to a point where he commanded a song to be accompanied only by piano. Then the manipulation was complete. They were all trying to conjure up something, in mantra-like format, repeating the name of Jesus many many times, but fortunately nothing much succeeded, only with a handful of individuals, one of which was healed in her right ear. The question is, would this miracle have happened without their mantra? I do not know. One thing is that repetition of the name of our Lord may make things happen, but that does not mean they are from God. In such a circumstance as the above miracles, freedom from demon possession and prophecy may all take place in the name of Jesus, but should the conclusion always be that the Lord is using the speaker? On the face of it nothing can happen unless the Father sanctions it. But to conclude that it happens because it is the will of God may not be the right mindset. We have heard many a people saying they believe an individual to be of God because mircacles happen through them. They may as well accept either Simon the magician or the witch of Endor or Balaam the man of divination.

We have encountered on many occassions when an usurper of authority (an anti-Christ at heart who calls himself a chief pastor) was even issuing commands to the holy Spirit to heal and fill certain individuals by name, in the name of Jesus. Such people have turned themselves into ’intermediary controllers’ of the Spirit, a role which only belongs to the Christ after his resurrection, when all authority was given to him in heaven and on the earth (Matt.28:18). This is blaspheme at best, of which there are plenty. Haven’t you heard in certain circles that at the start of their service they do bind the Devil in the name of Jesus? Who can bind the Accuser for now? Is it yet time for him to be bound? (Rev.20:2) To which place are they binding him? What a blaspheme and waste of energy and time? Still some are often ready to make a throne for Jesus or crown him as king whenever they come together. You cannot make him king - he is already one under the Father’s authority and he sits on the Father’s throne, and rightly so whether this fact is accepted or not.

Matt 7:
21 . Not everyone saying unto me, Lord, Lord!, shall enter into the kingdom of the heavens; but he who is doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens. 22 Many will be declaring to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out demons and in thy name done many powerful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you! depart from me, workers of lawlessness.

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