Will the Real Church Please Sit Down?

pregnant-womanToday there is much activity that is generated and perpetuated by the visible “church.” But is “doing church” being the real church? Does God need OUR creativity and action to accomplish HIS plan? “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that you build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” says the Lord. Yes, where IS the place of His rest?

I recently have been communicating with a brother in the north-eastern U.S. about what it means to be the church and he wrote:

“there are a whole bunch of folks out there now… all  somewhere along on the journey… and He is doing the connecting… encouraging us all that this is how it will be… your life touches mine… mine touches yours… and all of it encourages  us to keep pressing into Him…. it’s real… it’s His way… He will do it… just need to keep my hands off of it”

 It is as simple as LIFE IN Christ. Those who live IN and draw their life from Him are Christians (Christ ones). This is what the Gospel of John is all about. Jesus is the True Vine and we who abide in and obtain all our sustenance from Him are the branches, members of the Vine. Once we are abiding there, the fruit bearing is automatic… not something we do, but something that HE makes happen as we rest IN Him. Does a woman make a baby in her womb grow by giving thought to it and striving? Many women are barren because they are trying too hard to have a baby! No, a woman has an intimate relationship with a man in a position of rest and a child is conceived and grows until it becomes a living manifestation of that union. The Church that abides in Christ is that woman and Jesus Christ is the man. Jesus said, “Abide in me and I will abide in you and you shall bring forth much fruit.” It is all about abiding– making Jesus our abode. He also said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” We rest IN Him. “Labor therefore to enter into that rest.” That is when God moves. What is the church? It is where two or three are gathered who abide in His name, IN His personage.

T. Austin-Sparks wrote:

When you touch these things, human language is a vain instrument for expression. “The exceeding greatness of His power” – the superlatives in this realm! Oh, for this enlargement by a new apprehension of the greatness of Christ in His Person, in His death, in His resurrection! Well, then, the supreme thing the New Testament shows is that the Church on its true, spiritual basis corresponds to Christ risen. Not “the Church” that we know here on earth, for it does not. But God’s thought about the Church is not an impossible and merely idealistic one. It is a practical thing. Two saints, simple, humble and unimportant in this world, but really meeting together in the Spirit, can be a functioning instrument of Him to whom has been committed all authority in heaven and on earth. With them all these old limitations can be dismissed and they can at one moment touch all the ends of the earth. Do you believe that? That is really the meaning of our glorying in Christ risen. It has to be something more than emotion, and more than glorious doctrine; yes, more than a truth to which we give some assent…. If it is true that we are one with a risen, enthroned Lord, it ought to have tremendous repercussions. May it be so!

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20 comments on “Will the Real Church Please Sit Down?

  1. Ed Carter says:

    The picture on the blog gave me a jolt! Is this not a picture of us, the bride of Christ having been impregnated with the seed of Christ,feeling the growth of that child Jesus Christ being formed in us. Wow, what a great picture of the Real Christmas message!!!!!!!…. Ed Carter

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  2. bill says:

    greetings Michael and others IN THE NAME above all names!!!

    What you shared here Michael brought to my attention a portion of scripture that has *haunted* me over the years…….Colossians 3:1-4

    So if you have been raised with the Messiah, seek what is above, where the Messiah is, SEATED at the right hand of God. Set your minds on what is above, not on what is on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I can’t get past the idea that we the ekklesia, the Body of Christ, are a conduit between Heaven and earth. And to the degree that we seek that which IS above, is the degree that that REALITY will be registered/ manifest here on earth. Jesus at the right of the throne of God seated spells SO much. It spells the utter defeat of satan.

    I think a big problem is that the church is so earthbound. Everything is tangible and physical. Heavenly places in Christ are not even considered in most instances, and if it is considered, it’s usually just some dead doctrine and not a living reality. Heaven is God’s throne, and the earth is His footstool. His feet are on the earth through us who are IN Christ

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    • Thanks, Bill. You have said it so well. Once a “pastor” accused me of being so heavenly minded that I was no earthly good. It seamed that I was not envolved enough in the building of his church. I took it as a compliment for Paul wrote, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus…”(Phi 2:5 KJ2000). Peter wrote, “Since therefore Christ has suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.”(1Pe 4:1-2 KJ2000). So many who claim Christ are so worldly minded that they are no good to the kingdom of God. Many of these mistakenly believe that to be focused on “the church” is to be heavenly minded. This is only true when the “Church” is that conduit between God and men IN Christ for HE is the One Mediator God has chosen as HIS conduit.

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  3. Mike Messer says:

    This was so well done Michael! Hit the nail on the head!! Thank you for sharing what is so much on my heart as well!

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  4. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    It is the most beautiful analogy, my brother. Oh, I remember with what love and tenderness I carried my two sons and I am just an earthly mother. How much more does our Pappa cherishes His little ones abiding in Jesus! And He is the perfect Parent. His one great desire is that not one of us will ever be lost.
    Much love to you and Dorothy
    Blessings XX
    Mia

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    • Dear Mia,
      “Love and tenderness” of our Father… thanks for bringing that forth, dear sister. You added a woman’s touch to what I wrote that was needed. Yes, not one of us will be lost.

      For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
      (Rom 8:14-18 RSVA)

      Father, make these precious words penetrate into our hearts.

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  5. Ken Blake says:

    Michael,
    About two years ago The Lord Jesus called me out of a “Bible Study/home church” that my wife and I had been attending for several years. He called us out to learn to rest in Him and learn to hear HIS voice.

    I am sixty-eight years old and am still learning. Although I had worked in teaching high school students, I am now working with several lower elementary students by individually tutoring them.

    Most of them have difficulty learning because they are easily distracted and cannot focus on their work.

    The Holy Spirit is showing me how much I have been like my students – so easily distracted by earthly things to hear His voice. The really neat thing is that as I listen to Him, he is teaching this old teacher how to be earthly good by hearing His voice and enabling me to help my students.

    Part of this process is the encouragement from the things you and others who post here have heard from The Lord and shared on this blog!

    Thank God for you and my other brothers and sister who are sharing the love of Christ!

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    • Ken, Thanks for writing and sharing Christ’s life with us. Isn’t it amazing how God has to call us out of church fellowships unto Himself so we can learn to hear His voice? Elijah had to be called out of the midst of the people of Israel after doing many miraculous things into the solitude of a cave so he could learn to hear God’s whispering voice. Today seekers surround themselves with man-made earthquakes, wind and fire in their church services and think that is how God will speak to them. I had to learn the same lesson as you, the same way, by isolation. How often Jesus would escape the admiring crowds to get alone with the Father and hear His voice. The crowd, especially an admiring crowd, can be a very addicting and dangerous thing.

      It is good you are learning from THE Teacher about what a real teacher is. That is good to hear. God has been trying to teach me how to listen to and speak to the hearts of individual, not just their heads. The heart is where REAL learning takes place and to just address their head questions is to miss the target. Jesus always spoke to the heart issues of those He addressed no matter what their intellect was asking or saying.

      I am glad you are finding encouragement from our postings on here. Those who write and share are a rich group of saints, for sure.

      Your brother in the Son (who just turned 69),
      Michael

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  6. vic says:

    Hello Michael,
    Quote :- “It is as simple as LIFE IN Christ. Those who live IN and draw their life from Him are Christians (Christ ones).”

    Did Christ and the prophets come preaching the Kingdom of God?
    Not the kingdom of Christ.
    He became the first born pioneer and Prince of the Kingdom of God and all faithful believers from Abram Gen 15:6 etc, are become sons and daughters of God the Father. Brothers and Sisters of Christ.

    Christ said he had no power except from the Father.
    He said he would send the blessing of God’s Spirit from the Father on the day of Pentecost. Did this blessing inaugurate the Kingdom of God on earth?
    Or the Kingdom of Christ on earth.

    The NC is in the heart and mind of the believer in God and in His Son.
    Jer 31: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
    Heb 8 and 10. It is not external in or at “church”

    Hopefully Your brother in the Kingdom of God and our High Priest and friend Jesus Christ (I turned 75 this year).

    Vic.

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    • Is Christ divided?

      Those who are one IN Christ are also ONE in the Father. Jesus Christ was sent by the Father to restore all things and tear down all the walls of separation that resulted by the fall of Adam and Eve and this happens as we abide in Him. “If you have seen me, Philip, you have seen the Father.”

      “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: for you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (Joh 17:21-26 KJ2000)

      What a complete and wonderful salvation we have IN Him.

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      • vic. says:

        Hello Michael,
        If we are in the Father. Then we will acknowledge that God the Father is greater than Christ. 1 Jn 5:1 We are born of God.”Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ (Saviour, Messiah) is born of God : Our Spiritual birth is because we believe God as Abram in Gen 15:6.
        Can Christ save us? No – .Christ’s sacrifice is so that we maybe saved by God.
        Who did Christ sacrifice voluntarily too.To God the Father our Father and His Father.
        Our Salvation is by God the Father because of Christ’s voluntary sacrifice.
        We can not be saved without God the Father accepting Christ’s voluntary giving of His life.
        Are we in Christ as brothers and sisters.?
        Ae we in God,” born of God” 1Jn 5:1 1Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: V2 -3 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

        Are we in HIM – God the Father. Christ in the sample prayer said we are to pray to our Father and His Father, Our Father who art in heaven…

        Our Salvation is because God loves us when we believe God.

        Vic.

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      • Vic, I don’t divide Jesus and the Father, they are one. Jesus told Philip, “If you have seen me, Philip, you have seen the Father.” He prayed in John 17,

        “That they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me. And the glory which you gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and you in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that you have sent me, and have loved them, as you have loved me.” (John 17:21-23 KJ2000.

        Christ came to restore man back into perfect unity with the Father and we have that unity first by being ONE in Him and because He is ONE in the Father we have it with our Creator as well. The key revelation here is not Christ divided, but a new creation that is ONE in the Father AND in the Son.

        “Whoever goes beyond, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that abides in the doctrine of Christ, he has both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” (2 John 1:9-10 KJ2000)

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  7. Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

    Michael,

    Thanks be to God, we have entered His rest!

    The following quote from T. Austin-Sparks made my heart burn more and more:

    “Two saints, simple, humble and unimportant in this world, but really meeting together in the Spirit, can be a functioning instrument of Him to whom has been committed all authority in heaven and on earth. With them all these old limitations can be dismissed and they can at one moment touch all the ends of the earth. Do you believe that?”

    Do I believe that?

    No doubt, I do.

    Every blessing,
    Susanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne,
      YES! Relationship and rest, two ingredients that must happen between two saints IN Christ before He comes into it… it is here that He commands a blessing, not in our doing, but in our BEING and that Being is Jesus Christ… the One who said “Apart from me you can do nothing.” A brother named Bodie in Florida and I have been fellowshipping around this very thought lately. Good to see God has you on the same page, my sister! It is like the two guys walking along on the road to Emmaus…

      “And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they discussed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.” (Luk 24:13-15 KJ2000).

      They had met together and spoke to one another in simplicity with hurting hearts about the Lord and what had been happening and Jesus showed up. We can be talking along and all of a sudden something will be spoken that is like a bolt of light out of heaven and both people are astonished! It is not about the “paid Christian” having all revelation and we line up in neat little rows facing forward like something produced by a machine, an assembly line. It is always organic in God’s kingdom and family. “I came that you might have life…” and when we share that life in and from Him, Pow!, synergism, “two put to flight 10,000” and we see the fruit of “life more abundantly.” The harder we try the more we destroy the chances of it happening…Christ moving in our midst. It is always in rest where He shows up. “The heavens are my throne and the earth is my footstool, What house will you make for me, and where is the place of my rest?” His rest is not found in our building programs, whatever form they come in, but in rest and abiding and even this truth must enter into each of us by divine revelation of the Spirit.
      Thanks Susanne, we are members one of another IN Him.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Susanne Schuberth (Germany) says:

        Michael,

        WOW! Thank you for writing such a powerful and passionate reply. 🙂
        Great, this Emmaus example, speaks to my very heart. And indeed, my dear brother, “two put to flight 10,000″… 😉
        As you mentioned your brother Bodie in Florida, I heard something ringing in my head. Just thinking about DOING vs. BEING in Him, I was reminded of another brother, Tullian Tchividjian, who lives in Florida as well, and who wrote a Spirit-led entry about the necessity of self-forgetfulness (which must be received through the Spirit of God, of course). Maybe, you’d like to check the link which is as follows

        http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tullian/2011/12/05/the-gift-of-self-forgetfulness/

        Thanks, Michael, indeed, we are one in Him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Susanne,
        I just checked on that Gospel Coalition URL you put in your reply on here it is no longer functional. “The Gift of Self-forgetfulness,” as I remember it, would be good to read once again. I have come to know you a bit in the fellowship we share and I bet you have that article saved on your hard drive or did you quote from it on a blog of your own? If so, maybe you could put a few pertinent excerpts from it on here or the URL to what you wrote about this in a reply

        Over the last two years since you first commented on our blog, I have seen you put up your own Blog site and encouraged you to pull your article-length posting from all over the net and put them there so people could more easily find them (https://enteringthepromisedland.wordpress.com/). As we have communicated back and forth on our blogs we truly have found a unity in what the Spirit has been showing us and even have written a few blog article together. It has been a wonderful fellowship to be in the Spirit with you, dear sister, and even share one another’s joys and pains, praying for one another and our families.

        Today, in my morning devotional time, I read the latest posting from T. Austin-Sparks and there it was again!!! That same quote that you included in your comment above here two years ago! I had forgotten that you had done it. God once more confirmed in my heart that He has put the two of us together in the fellowship we enjoy. We might be separated by 5500 miles, a continent and a half, the Atlantic ocean and nine time zones, but God as made these powerful words come true in Christ…

        “Two saints, simple, humble and unimportant in this world, but really meeting together in the Spirit, can be a functioning instrument of Him to whom has been committed all authority in heaven and on earth. With them all these old limitations can be dismissed and they can at one moment touch all the ends of the earth.”

        May our Father continue to use us to speak and write what is on His heart as it goes out on the internet unto the ends of the earth.

        God bless and keep you in His arms always,

        Michael

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael,

        As you might know, Tullian’s blog has been deleted and his sermons are no longer available on the net (at least, not officially).

        I am very thankful to God that this promise about unity He made back then when I wrote my first comments above has been fulfilled. And I am very grateful, too, that He chose you, my brother, to become one with me in the spirit. Thank you very much for being YOU.

        Every blessing to you and Dorothy,
        Susanne

        Liked by 1 person

      • Michael says:

        Susanne, Yes, it has been a wonder to watch our Father make this relationship in the Spirit and His love happen. We have learned so much about life IN Christ together over the last two years. I am so thankful to Him for you as well. Thank you for being you, my dear friend and sister. You have been a great inspiration to me as to what it means to be one with the Father and the Son. I pray that we may meet someday face to face in God’s timing and will.

        Blessings to you and your family as well,
        Michael 🐻

        Liked by 1 person

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