Loving our neighbors, forgiving our enemies, washing the feet of our brothers and sisters. We are self supported ministry devoted to being followers of Jesus Christ. We share the simple Gospel of Jesus the King.
When Paul prayed for “God’s holy people in Ephesus, who are faithful followers of Christ Jesus” In Chapter 3 of his letter to the “Faithful followers” He asks God for the congregation, “Power in the Spirit” that the “Love of God ” can be understood. Too bad he did not pray that we could understand theology then we would not have a problem understanding how silly the stuff we argue over. Some do not argue they simply walk away confused, hurt, damaged by the very people that should be sharing healing and comfort. People try and forget they are a Spirit created by God for His pleasure. Our Ego screams “Me” “Mine” “All mine” God tolerates no opposition to His Love, He remains a Jealous God. It is easy for them to slip back into the world. The “Root of Bitterness” grows fast in poor, rocky soil of discontent, Sheep will wander into those places when the shepherds are more focused on the rules, rituals, and tithe than the one the “tithe” was to benefit. These are the “Hired Hands” Jesus spoke of that are in charge for power and the control of others. Some people are so done with the “church” of today they are never going back to a structured religion unless someone drags their coffin into one. The hype, the divisions of men and many other reasons, the “Dones” are done. Most “Dones” and “Nones” will never see the inside of another grand church building. This one prayer of Ephesians 3:14-21 has all the necessary elements of Ekklesia. This prayer of Paul for the Christians of the Church has all of God’s Power the Church needs. Read it here, click on the underlined text. “I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” Ekklesia /Church,Greek root word. Not a location in use of text.
Do you believe this humble prayer? Does everyone around you know these Truths that Paul asked for to equip the “Royal Priesthood” of the “Living Stones” Some will only be happy with traditions and build on sand with straw. Be radical build on the Rock with living stones? BTW The “Church” in some translations is the congregation, the people, the Ekklesia, never a location or organization state/political type church in the first century. What are you to do? Peter sez,https://www.biblestudytools.com/1-peter/2-12.html
Jesus was above the Jewish norm of the day in the treatment of women. Looking at the big picture, In the Gospels I see that Jesus was very respectful of women, treating them as equals as much as the social setting allowed. Using them as reliable witnesses, perfect choices as servants for God’s plans, and faithful disciples, as we see in Paul’s letters.
A Feminist Hebrew professor of Theology looks at the Old Testament. We don’t agree with her personal views but the fact she presents asks a lot of questions we did not know to askLike Dr. Bart Ehrmans, who we don’t agree with on several levels, the facts he presents cause us to ask a lot of questions that many will never ask, following what ever messiah of the week, has promised them what ever they want. Does not matter if it is David Koresh or the latest rich pop star, Oprah Guru, tele evangelist claiming to be an apostle with the message. You must test the spirits for many are in the world to deceive and separate you personally from the blood of the Lamb. https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/revelation/1.html
In an Elders meeting of a small Restoration Movement congregation we were serving back in the 80s, an elder asked; for some of our members if our teenagers, young women and men, could serve the communion, and help with some of the worship meetings. Of course, several elders protested that that was not right. “We never done that!” and so forth! Of Course, Elders should question and investigate every thing the congregation does as a Body of Christ. However, Carried to extreme, this can result in nit picking and bickering over stuff that the deacons should be doing. See Acts 7 for what the disciples had to do. This is why you involve the Holy Spirit in selection of elders and deacons. Jesus should be the only High Priest at your meetings anyway. We do not see the rise of “Clergy” until the 2-3rd century. The idea of ranks, titles, or “hired hand’ staff is an after thought some good some bad. Without the Holy Spirit leading all decisions of the elders and service of deacons about the “Club” they control may make it a great, well run, benevolent organization but it is not the Ekklesia (Congregation, Assembly, not a location or building). The Church is made up of the followers of Jesus. Unless He, the Holy Spirit is allowed to direct and is obeyed the group will never reach its potential no matter how well oiled the action or educational training. If your group does not have Elders- Shepherds, you need to ask God if He changed the model and practice of the early gatherings? https://www.biblestudytools.com/nas/jude/1.html
He did not tell His brothers about latter day changes? Who has the authority to add man’s eloquence and man’s ideas, wisdom to the Ekklesia? Jude 1:3, Galatians 3:1, 1 Cor 3:4, Eph 4:1-6
The Ekklesia may be found as individuals serving by the Light they have in those organizations but they are not representing His Body, Ephesians 4: . Followers are the Church of God that has no man made temple or building for a home, but is found in many homes/hearts of many people that love one another because of Jesus. I asked the people gathered at our meeting this question for the elders. “What kind of former sinners do you want to serve the Body? The teenagers are just as we are, forgiven sinners.” “We (that board of elders and deacons) decided then that a follower (Gal 3:26-28) of Jesus could be a servant at any position the Holy Spirit qualified them for as long as they were obedient to the elder’s( always plural number of men in NT) decisions for the congregation.( we don’t see the rise of the Bishop and division of Clergy until 3rd Century corruption, Cardinals and other offices are much later) In other words all the teachers, every one of the preachers regardless of gender are under the supervision of the shepherds of the flock, If not, they are not in a flock that is following God’s commands to appoint Elders in every congregation as was the practice by the measures we see there, not by man’s measurements. When you have one man as the pastor of a congregation, if he is in control, He must be driving the flock or if the sheep are in control, the flock is driving him. He will be surrounded by people that support him for what they get. If the needs are not met, people will go where they are met. Do the people need entertainment, warm milk and have itching ears? Do they need the living Word and seek Jesus? If the preacher is a humble man and wants to please God he will lead his flock to springs of pure water of life and protect them from the doctrines of men and pagan religions.
If Paul can entrust the letter to the Roman Ekklesia to a woman serving as a deaconess of the Ekklesia, I can trust my Sister in Christ to serve our local congregation in the gifts she is given. Under the oversight of the congregation’s Elders.
Can she serve as an Elder? Not according to what I read. Can she teach or preach? Yes, if the elders approve as with any teacher or preacher. IMHO this is what I teach quoting only New Testament. I could cite early first century writers on this. We only see women dishonored in the later centuries after the male dominated societies took control of the state churches. All of the first century in the church despite persecution, was looking up for the status of women over where the Jews and pagans had placed them, state/political based religion tended to suppress that effort because of the desire to control. Example would be requiring extreme dress rules, attendance, contraception rules or forbidding to marry. Just because the Corinthian Church had problems with the Roman/Greek culture does not mean we have a permit to act like the world in anything we do. Nor should we take up the many specific problems of the Church of Corinth as if we are them in any way except in Jesus Christ. Read Corinthians with prayer that you can see it as a Gentile former pagan would hear it read during the next Lord’s day meeting where you might consider your “church”. Pray and read the whole two letters. What would the downtown Corinthian congregation think about our lifestyle, our worship? Our acceptance of the morality of our culture? Answer these questions??????
What is your “Church” doing to use the special gifts God has blessed you with? The Holy Spirit gives these to all who ask in faith. You do have the gift of the Holy Spirit don’t you? Acts 2, Acts 5: The promise of the Father, poured out for you! You did obey Peter or did you listen to some voice shouting? Luther says, Calvin says, Wesley says, Zwingli Says, All fought each other bitterly, putting the Heretics to death, Lollards, Hutterites, Anabaptist, etc, The Ortho held power by the sword, the radicals did not have the political might or control enough gold to be right. Rev 17
Does your group/church/congregation/AKA “Church” serve the community by meeting the daily needs of the local neighbors?
Does your Church serve the needs of the widows and orphans? I will include orphans that are in the womb and out. I will include any person that is orphaned by life, alone and lost nearby, your neighbor, my neighbor. Expecting one “Shepherd” to see after the whole flock is ridiculous, God provides a structure of elders and deacons, teachers, evangelists, and care givers. What is your gift and how does your group use you and your gifts in His service?
Jesus used the sheep and the goats in His teaching. I have owned both and have great respect for what Jesus taught. Sheep are on the good side of God, goats, not so much. Seem they are always scapegoats and turned out into the wilderness because of sin. I don’t want to be a goat. Own sheep for a few years. If any survive your treatment you might consider being a servant in the court of the King. You will understand the metaphor clearly. What are the sheep and goats divided over?
Does your group grow and disciple? Pray to the Lord of the Harvest.
Now is the time to come out of divided denominated daughters of the whore of Babylon and see Jesus in the eye of your neighbor. Form community with your friends, neighbors and serve God by obeying one law Gal 5:14 all the rest is religion. Follow Jesus, love your neighbor. meet with your neighbors and pray for each other. Read God’s Word, avoid the many voices of the world. Drink the Living Water from the Spring, the Rock of Ages, don’t drink out of the Nile or the Jordan. Follow God’s Word as did Na-man the Syrian in simple non theological Gospel obedience. Reject rules and rituals of bondage.
Do you believe the statement Jesus makes? He claims to be the only way to God, the One God of Israel, The Ancient of Ages, The Alpha and the Omega. The Word of God. Does anyone find salvation in any other?
We need more conversations on where we want our Church to be in the next few years and beyond. I don’t see the answer to our problems as yet but we must have new bottles for new wine. We can allow the world to see us so divided and so scattered in our divided camps and ask them to join us??? That is absurd! Quit doing that! Get out of your comfort zone and meet your neighbors, care for them, pray with them and for them. Feed the hungry, clothe and shelter the homeless, check on and care for widows and widowers in your community. Be the Salt that savors your neighbors life, shine the Light to the lost, wash feet of your brothers and sisters.