WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES

 
 
TUESDAY TEACHINGS
 
 

 

TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH

Changes God requires in His church today in order to produce the perfected 'bride of Christ'

 

 

INTRODUCTION

A look at the relationship between God and the church.

 

 

 

BACKGROUND

CHURCH
CHURCH
CHURCH GOVERNMENT

 

The full background to this teaching is available online at this link
DEFINITIONS (For serious students only)

 

 

Online links to scriptures (New International Version [NIV] unless otherwise stated) are shown in blue

 

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GOD AND HIS CHURCH

 

When we have a child, we show our love not through allowing he or she to do and have anything they might desire, for our role is to teach them how to cope with the life situations they will face in the future. Some parents understand this better than others. So our love is to be expressed both positively in affirmation and through discipline.

This same relationship exists between God and me and God and His church.

 

 

 

I love God. God loves me. As part of this love relationship, God points out to me various aspects of my life and behaviour that are wrong, that do not honour Him. He calls upon me to 'repent', seek forgiveness for, and permanently turn from my ungodly ways to His way.

 

 

 

I love the church (yes I do!). God loves the church. As part of this love relationship God reveals various aspects of church life and behaviour that are wrong, that do not honour Him. He calls upon the church to 'repent', to seek forgiveness for, and permanently turn from its ungodly ways to His ways.

 

 

 

Yes, Jesus loves me, loves you, as we are, with unconditional love. Sin repented of is both forgiven and forgotten by God. But He still desires us individually and as a body to be transformed into His image, the image of Jesus. To become the pure spotless bride (Photo of a Jewish bride) for which Jesus is to return.

This involves a change in the church from a 'kings' to a 'kingdom' mindset.

 

 

 

The focus of a king is upon himself. The focus of the church today is upon itself. The best way to illustrate what our true heart is, is what we do with our wallet! Let us see what we do as a church.

Globally, one-tenth of one percent (ten cents per hundred dollars) of all Christian income went to global foreign missions, estimates David Barrett in his annual “Status of Global Mission” report for 2005.

Seven-tenths of 1% went to churches and another 1.2% went to parachurch organizations globally. Fundamentally the issue is stinginess among Christians (at least nominal ones)—churches being composed of Christians—and even more fundamentally, the issue is failing to avail ourselves of the grace of God.

As Barrett put it, “Though Christians number only 33% of the world population, they receive 53% of the entire world’s annual income—and spend 98% of it on themselves.”

 

 

 

Ninety-eight percent of church income is spent on the people of the particular church to which it is given. Two percent is given to missions and helping the poor, the supposed focus of the church.

While you may argue about the detail of the figures, it is obvious that our church is focused upon itself, the characteristic of kings. Spiritually we preach unconditional love, prosperity, good health, an easy life upon earth. All based around self.

 

 

 

In the kingdom age however, our emphasis changes from satisfaction of self to the unconditional love of God and others. This means that our money and efforts will be spent on helping others, particularly the poor and in taking the gospel of our lives as well as our tongue, to all non-believers. The spiritual keys to this change are repentance, holiness and righteousness, all items avoided, or at best given lip service, in the church of kings today.

There is only one place for this to start and that is with REPENTANCE. The call of God today to me, to you, and to the church is to repent of our selfish ways! Genuine repentance requires change. A change of heart! A change of actions! Including a change in both the amount and the way we spend the money the Lord has entrusted us with!

This applies to me too, as well as you, and the church as a whole.

 

 

 

Twelve years ago we had a minister friend visit and he, very intelligently, although scarily for me, asked Kathy what she thought the main focus of the ministry entrusted to me was. Now Kathy has heard me speak often, and naturally is my greatest critic for she knows me best. Her answer surprised me - which she can still do sometimes, even after 38 (now 50) years of marriage! I thought her reply would be something about pointing the way ahead for the church. She said to our friend Rodney, 'it is a ministry of repentance.'

I had to think about that! She was exactly right - as she is wont to be in many matters. For repentance is the key to the kingdom. Without repentance, both body and corporate, we, the church, will not be transformed into the bride Jesus desires us to be.

Thank you Doll, for your insight.

It follows the themes of, not only the ministry of John the Baptist;

 

 

Matthew 3:1-3

 

 

but also of Jesus. 

 

Matthew 4:17

 

 

Repentance is the compulsory foundational step in inheriting the kingdom. 

 

 

Today's testimony is difficult for me to write. You will likely think that I am stupid, mad, weird, or perhaps, ridiculously super-spiritual! For I want to talk about the role of money in my life and my change, over time, from a 'kings' to a 'kingdom' attitude towards it.

I am a businessman both by nature and nurture. I was brought up in a family where my father was successful businesswise and I obtained a commerce and administration degree at university.

I was very successful, firstly in the corporate world, becoming the Marketing Manager for one of New Zealand's largest, and very conservative, insurance company's, at around age 30.

Having always had a hankering to work for myself however, I left this job to set up businesses on my own account. By 40 I was, on paper, a millionaire. A great example of the success of the prosperity doctrine - except I wasn't a Christian!

In the 1987 share market crash I lost everything. I gave my heart to Jesus as I stood in the queue waiting to register for the dole, the unemployment benefit that we are fortunate to have in our social welfare state of New Zealand. I had come to the end of my tether.

My values changed - at least partially. Now I knew that money wasn't everything. The sun still comes up in the morning even when you have none!

The Lord was gracious to me and I built up another successful business. We double tithed. We also gifted a lot of money to the church. Distributed a discipleship course free of charge on a large scale. Classic prosperity doctrine stuff this time! We gave lots of OUR money to God! Did lots of good.

One day, the Lord told me He would bring along a buyer for our business within 1 month and then I was to go into fulltime ministry. On the last day of the month, the buyer came. I did the logical 'king thing' and invested OUR money in a property development designed to provide us with an income so that we wouldn't be a burden on others in ministry.

The Lord however had other ideas! Costs went up, prices came down and once again, I was declared bankrupt! Oh dear, not the way it is meant to happen according to the prosperity preachers.

Through this experience however, I learned the 'kingdom way' in regards to money. I came to understand the meaning of that difficult to explain line in the Lord's Prayer;

 

 

Matthew 6:11

 

 

For then, and now, we became dependent upon Him for our daily provision. We own nothing but our household furniture. I haven't personally earned any income for more than 15 years. We have lived on Kathy's salary as a Theatre Nurse at our local hospital. She is amazing, for women do like security.

Last time I went to Africa, the Lord provided the fare, but no spending money. I went through Africa literally on 50 cents a day. I took away $30 for 2 months. After a week I was down to $2 before the Lord started providing. It was not easy. Particularly for one used to making money through my own efforts.

But what I have now learned is that everything I have is His. It is all HIS money, not mine. Even though we now had nothing and couldn't support all the good causes we previously had, we were walking more deeply in faith and in God's will. Under my previous 'kingly' understanding and life I would have been welcomed with open arms into any church in the world for we gave liberally with no conditions attached. Now however, as we endeavour to live a 'kingdom' lifestyle, financially, we can't. The value in this is hard to understand in a kingly world but it is kingdom understanding.

 

 

 

The harsh reality and fallacy of the prosperity doctrine is that some people have the ability to make money while others don't, irrespective of whether we are a Christian or not. This ability is inborn rather than learned. In our clothing operation we have an 11 year old volunteer, who can't spell, cannot get on with people because of an inherited condition, yet who is an amazing trader, one who will make money when he grows up, despite all his handicaps.

It is true though, if we apply sound Biblical principles to our life, we should be better off than the average, as we will develop different priorities to those we had when in the world. However, the poor will never magically get rich through 'giving to get', the principle of 'kings'.

 

 

 

God is calling us to the understanding of the 'kingdom', that EVERYTHING WE HAVE BELONGS TO HIM, to spend His (not our) money, not on ourselves but primarily for the extension of the kingdom.

I am not saying that you must choose the financial path Kathy and I have taken. But, particularly for those of us who live in the affluent West, we need to take heed of the warning contained in the Parable of the Rich Ruler. I will leave you with the words of Jesus:

 

 

Luke 14:33 Amplified Version

 

NEXT WEEK: TRANSFORMATION OF THE CHURCH: 3. FROM KINGS TO KINGDOM continues.......

 

....... as we go more deeply into stewardship.

 

 

A NOTE FROM DAVID

 

You may well ask why there is so much concentration upon money when we are looking at God and His church. The reality is that what we do with our money is a very good reflection of where our heart is at.

Jesus understood this with His many teachings on money and our motivation in the use of it.

Our words are proven by our actions with our wallet!

Chief Priests, Priests, and Levites

THE CHIEF PRIESTS

The high priest stood at the apex of an elaborate hierarchy of temple personnel. Directly beneath him in rank were the chief priests, an exclusive group of about 200 highborn Jews. The most important of them was the captain of the temple, second only in rank and power to the high priest. His duties included supervision of the whole body of priests and of all temple activities. Other chief priests had charge of the daily and weekly temple services, the temple treasury and the maintenance of the sacred vessels.

 

 

So until next week.......
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD!

His servant and yours

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Previous parts of this Series (When applicable) are available to be read at:
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A DAVID'S DOODLING

111. Earthly achievement’s are fleeting, a heavenly investment eternal.

David Tait         

 

 

 

Earlier Series of "Tuesday Teachings" can be read at:
www.wwj.org.nz/tuesday-teachings

 

 

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