Just Who Is Really “Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves”?

FamilyGatheringI wish someone would show me in the New Testament where it says we are supposed to “go to church on Sunday.” My Bible says we who are Christ’s ARE the church. How can I go to something I am already part of because I am attached to Christ who is my Head, not to Paul, or to Apollos, or Peter or Pastor Wonderful? The best thing that ever happened to me was finding my sufficiency in Christ instead of in educated men.

I am sure that someone will try to answer the above “going to church” question with the trite answer, “Brother, we are not to forsake the gathering…” I agree, but since when is sitting in rows, staring at the backs of hundreds of heads while being lectured by one man being gathered together into the fellowship of the Father and the Son?  THAT IS the context of this verse:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having a great priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in fulness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience: and having our body washed with pure water, let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not; for he is faithful that promised: and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works; not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh. (Hebrews 10:19-25 ASV)

As you can see, we are to gather together by passing through the Veil–the torn flesh of Jesus Christ–and boldly enter into the presence of our Father, where Jesus stands forever making intercession for us as our ONLY High Priest. It is in this kind of intimate fellowship with the Father and the Son that we are called to assemble ourselves to as members of HIS body. It is in this realization of our high callings IN Christ that we can truly exhort one another as a kingdom of priests and not just fill a common building one day a week, listening to a paid Christian lecture.

The next question that might be asked is, “If you don’t go to church on Sunday, then where DO YOU fellowship?” Do we come together with other saints on a regular basis? Absolutely! We spend more hours per week by far, fellowshipping around Christ with the local fellow saints, than those who go to meetings under the control of a single man and sit there as passive listeners! Is it always on Sunday in a steeple house that we gather? No. But Jesus said that “wherever two or three of you come together IN my name, I am there in your midst”… and it doesn’t get better than that! He directs our hearts as to when and where to come together and the only overhead that we have to deal with is restaurant meals and tips or contributing to a great home-made meal we share together as we speak often together IN His name.

Am I bitter against the organized religious systems of men? Not at all. God delivered me out of that systematized religious order. In fact He about had to drag me out of it. My wife, Dorothy, and I had gone to at least twelve different churches in the years following my birth into God’s kingdom. I was constantly “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” who walked in humility as Jesus did, but all these “church leaders” absolutely loved to have preeminence over the relationships that these saints had with one another and their Lord. They cast their own shadow over everything that happened in their churches. These religious leaders could be counted on to quench the Spirit if He tried to get a word in edgewise or in any way disrupt their pre-planned agendas.

God finally said to me one Sunday as I sat in a “service,” “Why do you keep seeking the Living among the dead?” Well, THAT got my attention! He showed me that unless Jesus is the functional Head over a body of believers and its members individually, and they are led by His Spirit in their daily lives, that “fellowship” is dead because those body members are disconnected from their Head. I had to come out of that system so I could learn to hear His voice as my Shepherd instead of constantly listening to the voices of men taking His place. For me it was like being “dried out” from an addiction. Now that I know His voice it is easy for me to discern when something preached or taught is askew. John put it this way:

“These things have I written unto you concerning them that deceive you. But the anointing which you have received of him abides in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it has taught you, you shall abide in him.” (1 John 2:26-27 KJ2000)

Is going to a Sunday church bad? No, unless you settle for a relationship with a church leader instead of submitting to Jesus as your Spiritual Head. Paul wrote:

“For as the body is one, and has many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-13 KJ2000)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 KJ2000)

Being divided along party lines (called a “party spirit” in the New Testament) is not natural to the kingdom of God, but it is expected and accepted among the kingdoms of men. The Spirit of Christ is the supply we drink from if we are truly His. We who drink from that ONE Spirit are ALL members one of another and rest in the unity of the Spirit of Christ and the Father before the throne of grace and fellowship around their love. We are truly ONE in the Spirit from which we drink.

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38 comments on “Just Who Is Really “Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves”?

  1. Good article. Thanks for posting it.

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  2. Scarlett says:

    Oh amen and amen! My dear friend called me last night from the bible belt state I left behind. She was so very upset, and told me her pastor had called her and kicked her out of church. It seems some anonymous person had called him and told him some gossip about her which he apparently was eager to believe. And it was on that basis that she was being “disfellowshipped”.She said he told her that she was not welcome at his church anymore. And oh, she was ostracized for not be a tither. She is disabled, but th pastor threw it in her face that she was not as prosperous as her finances family was.
    Of course, I wanted to comfort her, but after she poured out her heart, I told her that if she could look at this rightly, she would more than likely see that, painful and humiliating as it was, that God was in this. That he was making the previously hidden things to be manifest, and was pulling his called out ones…..out. Out of the bondage of these man made “churches”, where they can begin to learn to live in the liberty of the Holy Spirit,
    I have been praying for this sister for years to be delivered out of what was a “church addiction”, which so many are afflicted with. In a way, I can understand it because many have been thus afflicted from early childhood, that the accepted norm is that they are obligated to “go to church” in order to be good Christians. But, you know, it’s almost a given that “church” goers are going to end up in a form of godliness, in one way or another, simply because of the way the system is constructed. When Christians actually believe they “must” go to church, they are serving a vision, an illusion really, based on a false premise.Therefore, how can it be the truth of Jesus?
    I gave her Acts 7:48, “For God does not dwell in a house made with hands”.Somehow she began to grasp that for the first time.
    I suppose for some, it takes something as painful as this to wake a Christian up to understand that all “church” had been to them was a farce, and built on the wrong foundation. So, although I am praying Jesus will bind up her wounds and give her beauty for ashes, I am praising him for his goodness to deliver his children from the bondages of institutional religion, pastors, pews, platforms, “leadership/clergy/laity” and into freedom to worship him in spirit and truth. I will talk to her again soon and pray with her. I hope to encourage her to not try to rush out and find another “church”, but rather to begin meeting with her friends at home, sharing Jesus and his word.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scarlett, sorry to hear about your friend, but God knows what it takes to get us to quit following those of the antichrist (Greek meaning – instead of Christ) spirit in these churches and to seek Him as our only Shepherd. Jesus told us that He would never leave us alone and He hasn’t. Once we learn to listen to His wonderful voice, listening to others who claim to represent Him is like eating sucker fish when you can have Copper River Salmon!

      I once had a pastor that said to the congregation, “If you can’t get behind MY vision for the church, then find another pastor who’s vision you CAN get behind.” At that moment I wondered if it had ever occurred to him that we are not called to rally behind the visions of charismatic leaders, but rather to inquire what the Lord’s vision is for His called-out ones? As I pondered this myth among men who promote “their visions” [and all the books, tapes, conferences and all that goes with it] I came across this passage in Ezekiel,

      Then came certain of the elders of Israel to me; and sat before me. And the word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their hearts [John Gill in his commentary writes – “their idols… they have them in their fancy and imagination, and their hearts are after them”], and set the stumbling block of their iniquity before their faces [alternate reading – “They put up evil things that cause people to sin”]; should I let myself be inquired of at all by them? Therefore speak to them, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: Any man of the house of Israel who takes his idols into his heart and sets the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and yet comes to the prophet, I the LORD will answer him myself because of the multitude of his idols, that I may lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel, who are all estranged from me through their idols. (Ezekiel 14:1-5 RSVA)

      These overlords set up their visions from the imaginations of their hearts and ask all to bow down and toe the line behind them and buy into it. This is nothing less than idolatry and taking the affections and attention of the people of God unto themselves and away from Christ. That is the definition of antichrist.

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    • Scarlett, that must have been so painful for your friend and I join with you in praying for healing for her. I also pray she will be comforted by the revelation of having been rescued by God.

      I think the phrase “he told her that she was not welcome at HIS church anymore” sums it up really. There are way too many institutions where man claims the church as their own and will not let Christ in.

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      • Scarlett says:

        Living Liminal,
        Thank you so much for your compassionate words. I’d asked her if any of her brethren at church had called to comfort or minister to her, and she said , no they had not. I will share your words to let her know there are true brethren who care about the suffering of others. And this is a true suffering that she has experienced, especially when it comes from those she trusted and called friends.
        In His Keeping,,,
        Scarlett

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      • Scarlett, you are welcome. Please pass this on to this sister you wrote about…

        I have been through all these rejections in my life from the apostate church. This is true to form. This kind of coldness and shunning is what proves that we were associated with a cult, not the ecclesia of God. Jesus and Paul were emphatic about keeping the unity of the faith and maintaining fellowship through thick and thin. Yet, in a system that is marked by schism (43,000 different denominations and sects) which is constantly dividing against itself, it easy for people to divide from one another at the first sign of disagreement, especially when the head wolf (“pastor”) is involved.

        Yet, in all this seeming negative experience we are given a chance to go beyond hurt and bitterness and go through an open door in the heavens and obey His call to “come up here” (read about Laodicea at the end of Rev. ch. 3 in light of the beginning of ch. 4). Jesus does not stand outside that closed door church system forever begging to be let in, but calls us unto Himself out of it. It is in this NEW relationship with HIM in heavenly places, as the One who truly loves us, that we are healed and then can be used to comfort others who go through the same things. As Paul so rightly shared from his own experience…

        “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.”
        (2 Corinthians 1:3-7 RSVA)

        Remember it is the sharing of Christ’s suffering which we are allowed to experience that we grow in love (Just read Isaiah ch. 53 and compare it to your life as well and you will see what I mean). This is the deepest form of fellowship, “the fellowship of HIS sufferings”(see Phil. 3:10). Churches think that “fellowship” is a time when we get together, put on our plastic smiles, share empty platitudes as eat snacks with one another in a special room called “the fellowship hall.” How empty compared to sharing the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and the comfort we receive from Him as we do. Comforting another with the same comfort we have received from Him is REAL fellowship.

        Love you all,
        Michael

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  3. If someone asks me “so where are you going to church now?’ I’ll say that’s like asking me where do I go to Devon now. I’ll also tell them ‘me and Kathy are aleady gathered together at 3306 Ave A. We are waiting for others to assemble with us…..according to His word.’ I’m gonna get the ‘deer in the headlights look from them’ i just know it. Can’t wait.

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  4. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    I felt so incredibly sad when I read at the comments at your previous post how you and your family had been mistreated by the church system. I recall a time about 12 years ago while I was teaching Sunday School to 16 year olds at church when I heard God asking me, also an audible voice, what I was doing and to get away from there. After a week I resigned from teaching Sunday School, but then God told me to resign from church. Then I also joined three other churches after that with the last one being a Pentecostal church. It was as member of the Pentecostals that my family and I received the most horrible abuse. I was even accused of being a witch when I was became ill and could not even feed myself. You can imagine how things went in a church where your health is being connected to God’s and/or Satan’s curse. I am so sorry that Dorothy and you suffered so much.
    Much love XX
    Mia

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    • Mia, no need to be sorry. Like Joseph told his brothers after being reunited with them in Egypt where they sold him into slavery (interesting parallel here), “What you meant for evil, God meant it for good.” I just hope to be an encouragement to all who have had to follow the same path to finding their freedom IN Christ, and if possible head-off some of the saints from having to go through the same things.
      Thanks, my sister, and sorry to hear that you had similar abuse. I agree, the Pentecostal types were among the worst with their hyper-spirituality that cloaked the evil in their hearts. BUT we learn obedience to our Lord through the things that we suffer.
      Love you IN the Son,
      Michael

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      • Michael, that’s exactly the verse I held onto after I was driven out of the institution! What was meant for evil, God has turned (and is turning) to great good 🙂

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      • L.L., Yes, and He will continue to do so for “ALL things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS purpose.” The more experience I get in this walk, the more evident this truth becomes and the easier it is to rest IN Him.

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  5. oikoskrk says:

    Very true words my brother. You don’t really get true fellowship by listening to sermons. You get it when there is a free & open exchange of dialogue led by the Spirit. We are to relate to one another eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder and heart to heart. That just doesn’t happen when we are sitting in neat little rows with all our attention given to a pulpit.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pat Orr says:

    Amen and amen.

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  7. Mike Messer says:

    I always enjoy quoting this word by Isaiah 66:1&2;

    Thus says the Lord,
    “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is a house you could build for me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things. Thus all these things came into being,” declares the Lord. “But to this one I will look. To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at my word.”

    Those who gather IN the name of Jesus, are those who are humble and contrite of spirit. Just how much of that attitude do we see in organized churches? The testimonies here speak for themselves, and I identify with them. Good job Michael! Well spoken!!

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    • Michael, it is always a blessing to hear from you, my brother. You know that it was when Stephen quoted this passage, the temple guardians killed him! Oh well, I would rather go down walking in this truth and His Spirit than to be a man who builds great monoliths to his own greatness and calling it “church.”

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  8. Devon says:

    I personally see that ‘going to church’ on Sunday morning with duct tape on your mouth isn’t a good thing.
    However God can direct you to do so for a purpose and a season.

    We went back to our old ‘church’ a while back after being out for years. God said go. So we went. God moved me to talk to the titled one about teaching on the first century gathering. Possibly on an off night. I told him ‘ I’ve been waiting to do something like this for 34 years, am I moving to fast?’ Jokingly but also dead serious. He didn’t say anything.

    About 2 weeks later he told me he couldn’t allow me to do it. Shocked I was….just kidding. I guess I’ll try again in about 30 years…if I’m still alive. Smile.
    He said this to me in a camp ground. There was a metal awning on his camper. About 5 minutes later the wind picked up and twisted that awning into a pretzel. We fought trying to save it as the ‘hurricane’ wind had its way.

    This is after years of heartache with the corruption and control we were subjected to under this hierarchical boss. We loved him and still do. Just can’t hang out with ‘church folks’ anymore.

    About a week later the Spirit spoke to us ‘you are done here’. So we picked up our bag of marbles and quietly departed.

    Our ministry has been one of ‘rejection’.

    Michael, did those that rejected you come unto an untimely disaster?

    Here’s a concise list of those that stopped my ministry.

    One was arrested later for keeping a family member locked in the basement.

    One was caught molesting young boys.

    One was caught flashing himself on a highway.

    After holding a successful revival, after waiting 19 years before doing anything, this 35 year old pastor who rejected me died of cancer. He kept me out of his church. Jealousy.

    Another revival in the same year at another church, the pastor threw me out. Jealousy. He lost his church.

    Another avoided me at the end of the service after I did a couple of songs whereby the Holy Spirit anointed in a big way. Jealousy. Couple of years later his wife and a church lady were killed in a car accident.

    I must say this. I conducted myself humbly around these men. I was not head strong. I honored them respectfully……to no avail. I received the right foot of fellowship from them and just about every pastor I have met.

    I do not take pleasure in this calling. I am a worm. i grew up,feeling like i was less than nothing then when churchianity tells me i am nothing the pain continued on and into a full blown nightmare. I’m ok today for I now know the truth of things by much study and seeking God on all this mess. But boy it was a hard row to hoe for the first 27 years. My family is still not right with God because of what they saw us go through.
    My ministry, so far, is to raze churches to the ground by merely showing up, get the shunning from the wolves which God brings judgement and an end to their false positions and sham mammon lifestyles.

    Pain still lingers some. Yes I have forgiven all, as we are called to but the aloneness does get to you sometimes.

    In a but shell as it were. Devon and Kathy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devon and Kathy,
      I could write a book about the cause and effect that has taken place as I came to these leaders in the love of the Lord and was rejected by them, There were deaths in their immediate families and of themselves, jail terms, they were purged from their pulpits, caught in adultery, their churches dried up and ceased to exist, etc. I know of what you speak, my brother. Jesus said, “What you have done unto one of the LEAST (this is key) of these, my brethren, you have done unto me.”

      I have often thought about Christ’s final words to the leaders of Judaism and how they apply today…

      “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and adorn the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, ‘If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses unto yourselves, that you are the children of them who killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the judgment of hell? Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, you shall not see me again, till you shall say, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” (Matthew 23:29-39 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

      Jesus comes to these false shepherds in this New Covenant as one of His least ones not some mighty prophet of old. He tests them and gives them a choice to make… will they receive Him or reject Him and His words of warning. Some pass the test and repent, but most because of their own elevated opinions of themselves, fail the test and the consequences are dire. At the very least, the Spirit of the Lord withdraws from their churches and “Ichabod” is written above the door. Until Jesus can come to them in a humble form of a lowly servant and be accepted by them in humility, they will not see Him again and their houses will be left unto them desolate.

      Keep walking in humility and brokenness, my brother, and rest in Him (Rev. 6:10-11).

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    • Dear Brother Devon, I am tardy for this conference but I felt like replying your comment with a few of my own..just my 2 pennies worth.

      I would like to start by saying I enjoy reading your comments here. They speak a lot of truth.

      This particular statement (part of your comment) below just resonates with me as it has been something I lived:

      “I personally see that ‘going to church’ on Sunday morning with duct tape on your mouth isn’t a good thing.

      However God can direct you to do so for a purpose and a season.”

      So true, my brother.

      Also another part of your comment:

      “About a week later the Spirit spoke to us ‘you are done here’. So we picked up our bag of marbles and quietly departed”

      Also has happened to me.

      I was about to click on the “like” button for your comment when I kept reading and found some statements which I think don’t sit well with me.
      I had decided to ignore it and move on especially as it is not my blog and I am not in the business of “correcting” as I don’t feel qualified to do so but I simply couldn’t ignore it.

      I am sorry dear Brother, Michael but I promise I am not trying to start anything here..it is definitely not in my nature to do so or even to do this type of replies or comments.

      So here is what I am saying:

      Your comment:

      “Michael, did those that rejected you come unto an untimely disaster?

      Here’s a concise list of those that stopped my ministry.”……

      And further….

      “After holding a successful revival, after waiting 19 years before doing anything, this 35 year old pastor who rejected me died of cancer. He kept me out of his church. Jealousy.

      Another revival in the same year at another church, the pastor threw me out. Jealousy. He lost his church.

      Another avoided me at the end of the service after I did a couple of songs whereby the Holy Spirit anointed in a big way. Jealousy. Couple of years later his wife and a church lady were killed in a car accident.”

      Devon, What I read gave me a sense of “They rejected ME and God punished them for rejecting ME. If they come to ME and accept ME, things will go well for them.They are all jealous of ME because God is using ME”…

      Do you see where i am going with this my dear brother?

      From some of your comments I have read, I don’t believe you meant to come across as ME – centered, instead of JESUS-centered but that is how it screamed at me.

      Also, i don’t believe those disasters/tragedy came upon them because they “rejected you” and somehow got punished for that. It could be that the Lord has warned them several times of their folly (for example) and sending you was the last resort, after which His Hand would be removed or they would fall into their ditch.

      It could be that their folly has gotten them out from abiding under the shadow of the Almighty Father and therefore are not under the shadow of His Wings (protection). I am just guessing here, dear Devon and don’t claim to know it all as I am not in this situation.

      I just simply don’t believe God is in the “strike them down because they didn’t accept ME” business. Ofcourse, there are exceptions and cases where that has surely hapened. Afterall, He is our vindicator. Vengeance is his and He will surely repay but I have often found His vengeance to be different from what we woud like it to be; which is often, “stike them down and show them that I am right”.

      My dear Brother Devon I have not written this to cause any strife. I only felt the NEED to address this incase you are of that mindset or just so you know you came ACROSS this way in this comment….maybe it is just me seeing things.

      I welcome correction of any misinterpretation I may have done.May the Lord guide us here and always.

      Sister in Christ,
      Ngozi

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Michael, you seem to have been through the same feelings my wife and I went through with the organized church. We have been out of the modern-day religious show for about a year now. We meet with a few people now and then for fellowship, but still looking for a small group of people who meet outside the four walls. Thanks for the encouraging article.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. showgov says:

    Some scholars believe Paul was speaking of a sect of Jewish converts (The “some” in the text) that had a “custom” of actually living in a type of commune that he did not want the Jewish reader (who the letter was meant for) to align themselves with. He was admonishing the new converts to NOT segregate themselves from society like this sect had a “custom” of doing. He was not telling every believer to “forsake” the gathering together. He was using the sect’s practice as an example of what not to do. This passage is always taken out of historical context by the corporate church promoters.

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  11. beholdason says:

    Something I’ve noticed a couple times in the comments in the use of “his church” when describing the Pastor and his flock of followers.

    Capital P Pastors love to think these little social clubs are theirs.

    Pretty sure Jesus said he was building HIS church. Ever hear Christians referring to a Pastor and saying, “his church”? I hear it often and I cringe within.

    I imagine God must feel the same.

    Funny you never read Paul or Timothy or Peter referring to themselves as Elder Brother Peter or Senior Pastor Paul. Ugh. Tragic isn’t it?

    It’s been 8 months since my family left the religious social club called church. All in search of Christ’s Ekklesia. The bondage has gone and Sunday morning breakfasts out have never felt better.

    The Bible makes so much more sense when you don’t read it through the lense of religion.

    God is so good.

    Indeed, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.

    He dwells within His called out ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Dear Tolik,
      I agree, these overlords you speak of are not all that different from those of 2000 years ago when the Vineyard Owner’s Son came to collect the harvest and they took Him and killed Him so they could claim the vineyard as their own.

      Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it out to tenants, and went into a far country for a long time. And at the harvest season he sent a servant to the tenants, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the tenants beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty. And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out. Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will respect him when they see him. But when the tenants saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these tenants, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid. (Luke 20:9-16 KJ2000)

      I would not want to be standing in these false shepherd’s shoes come that day. It is not that they are killing Christ this time around, but they are still denying Him access to the Father’s vineyard, the ecclesia, His called-out ones. This is easier to understand when we look at meaning of the Greek word for “anti-christ,” antichristos. W. E. Vines defines it this way,

      Antichrist

      can mean either “against Christ” or “instead of Christ,”

      Like you said it is Christ’s church, but when a man stands up and claims it as his church or stops Christ’s Spirit from freely moving in the gathering of His saints with his own agenda, this man is of the antichrist spirit. This is why at the end of the first century John said in 1 John ch. 2 that there were already many antichrists. Paul warned of then with these words, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”(Acts 20:29-30 KJ2000). John goes on to identify one of then by name writing, “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, receives us not. Therefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he does, speaking against us with malicious words: and not content with that, neither does he himself receive the brethren, and forbids them that would, and casts them out of the church.”
      (3 John 1:9-10 KJ2000).

      Thanks for writing, my brother, I am glad you and your wife are free of these false shepherds and following Jesus.
      Michael

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  12. jacqui says:

    Thank you for linking me to this article Michael I’ve always thought when people say ‘Do you GO to church?’ ….. My answer is “Why would I go to church when I AM the Church. We are the church. If we remember Paul was in prison on his own often isolated but he was part of the Body of Christ and as you rightly say Jesus is the Head. I have seen in my own life the LORD has removed one by one and yes some have actually died as I have walked in the Spirit going where He would have me go. I’ve loved these people but God knows those whom are for destructrion…. the truth is they will have reaped what they sowed. By their own actions and mouths and acting in unbelief and pride above Jesus judgement was upon them.

    As Jesus says ‘If they reject you they reject the one who sent me’. These are tough times and judgement is pronounced already, Paul has many words to say to those who do not believe who spoke the very words of God as of God and not man.

    I believe the seriousness of judgement from God has been watered down I have seen with my own eyes the LORD moving in a powerful way against those who work against God’s annointed those humble and as Devon said humble and in true humility submitting but not under leaders but unto Christ Himself. They have been a witness to Christ himself. I believe God has sent many in the churches to pull them out of the fire as it says in jude

    Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh…. Jude …..

    It has been for the sake of mercy God has sent many into the churches and they repented not. Many have said ‘oh God will not do this’. But the warnings even in the Old Testament speak of disobedience and that the same plagues will come upon them and they have and are doing so now.

    I have seen a whole church which I attended fall one by one all with cancer. The LORD spoke to me about the God Dagon and the cancerous tumours. Well this church had one funeral one after the other. I was sent two years previous with a stern warning not once but twice and I know others that went in to and they rejected not the person but Christ Himself. Many see this as ‘just part of life’. But I believe it is the Hand of God but many are afraid of this side of God and see just the loving merciful God …. which He is but His Holiness demands absolute obedience against sin. I had the words many years ago and I wrote briefly on this from the LORD ‘They think it is all a game!’. It is true. A light footed dance. But the other side, the anger of God people do not take seriously at all. This is the fear of the LORD and I believe we are to see more of this. I have felt it and it is terrible….. it is terrible because of God’s mercy. Because Hell is real and God is snatching many through his people out of the fire. The days are to get worse and worse and many will fall.

    Like

    • Michael says:

      Dear, Jacqui,

      I also know of what you speak. I have seen the judgement of God come down on churches who did not “receive a prophet as a prophet,” but rather spitefully abused them. I have seen three church fold in short order in our local area because of His judgement upon them for not heeding His warning. One local mega church pastor in our town, out of pretense, when to a rich widow woman who was dying of cancer so he could get her valuable estate left to “his church” in her will under the pretense of praying for her healing her. Like Gehazi, the servant of Elisha, she was later was healed and HE died of cancer (see 2 Kings ch. 5)!

      Jesus spoke some stern warnings before He went to the cross about the way the religious establishment would seal their own fate saying,

      “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth… Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'” (Matthew 23:29-39 RSVA)

      But one important thing must be observed if God it to use us in this manner. Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep among wolves.” He did not say, “I send you forth as proud and critical self-styled prophets.” God can not add his power to our pride for He resists the proud and gives grace to the humble. Jeremiah wept over Israel after he prophesied their doom. God does not will that any man should perish, but that all might come to repentance. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they did not know their day of visitation. God must humble and break us first and give us His great heart that feels His pain for those who oppose themselves and His Spirit. We entreat them in love for them, not as those who stand judgement over them.

      As soon as Moses took a judgmental attitude against Israel in the wilderness and failed “to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel”(see Num. 20:17-30), his fate was sealed to die in that wilderness with them. His sin was not in striking the rock twice as the blind guides teach, but was in these words, “Hear now, you rebels; must WE fetch you water out of this rock?”(Numbers 20:10 KJ2000). He portrayed himself and Aaron as the ones doing the work and took on himself a spirit of judgement over them instead as their priest and intercessor as he did in the beginning(see Exodus 30:30-32).

      In His love for you, Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ann says:

    It is a year later that I am reading this post for the first time seeking reassurance and strength for coming out of the 501c. 3 corporate church three years ago. Having sat under abusive and deceitful leadership, it has been quite a journey in seeking Jesus and loving His teachings through the Holy Spirit’s leading and instruction. Everything Jesus shows us and teaches us is in direct opposition to what I have witnessed and experienced within organized religion called “the church,” and there are times, I must confess, that I still feel the pull to go back and sit under dead men’s bones. It strikes me as odd how people “go to church” and yet have no genuine love, care, nor heartfelt compassion for one another, unless of course, you are involved in “leadership.” What about those who are sick, what about the poor, what about the widows and the orphans…..and what about those trying times when all of us are desperately in need of a tender, kind word in this cold and lonely world? The Scriptures posted here come alive as if with a sharp edged sword!

    I want to sing praises to our LORD for the genuine fellowship on this blog. Thank-you LORD for prompting Michael and others to share what You are showing them in edifying the Body of Christ on this blog. The blessed assurance from these believers has been a blessing to my soul. May the Name of Jesus be praised.

    May our Great and Glorious God be with all of you.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Ann,

      Thank you for you encouraging comment. It was very timely and I needed it. It is such a blessing to see it when an older blog post is still being used by the Lord to bless His called-out ones such as yourself. I pray that Jesus by His Spirit wind continues to inspire what is written on this blog by myself and all that comment on here. I also pray, dear Ann, that you find Jesus’ Spirit as your constant comforter in spite of that dead self-centered thing out there calling itself “church.” As you have discovered, a time comes in our lives where we like Moses must make a choice…

      “By faith Moses, WHEN HE WAS GROWN UP, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; ESTEEMING THE REPROACH of the Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he looked for the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:24-27 KJ2000 – emphasis added)

      “We have an altar, of which they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle [see Psalm 23:4-6]. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, BEARING HIS REPROACH. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:10-14 KJ2000)

      I am enjoying your fellowship in His City, dear sister.

      Michael

      Like

    • James says:

      I don’t remember how I got on this page, but I’m in complete agreement with you Ann.

      I’m going to post a video which highlights and is in agreement with what you’re saying. You can remove the video if you like or criticise it, but it is explaining why the current church system is wrong and what it’s really founded on: thelastreformation.com/the-pioneer-school.html

      These videos have helped my faith and taken me from never praying to praying with faith. I also don’t go to church at the moment due to disability and not knowing Christians in real life. I believe the focus has to be on helping others and showing them who Jesus is through our love and compassion, and not going to some building full of people who think they have true faith.

      I’m hoping to go to a church tomorrow which I “coincidentally” found this week and heard of years ago, but I’m doing this as I *need* to find real life christians on a similar page to me, who want to be out there reaching lost people. I’ve no time for “fake” christianity, so I won’t have much patience if believers there are only wanting go to church and have little faith. Maybe that sounds harsh, but previous churches have “burned me out” and it takes me a *lot* of mental and physical effort to go out on my own. I’ll probably even take a taxi if I have to.

      Like

      • Michael says:

        Sorry, James, but whenever I go to a “Christian” website and see the same marketing technics of the world’s websites, I get a check in my spirit. As for signs and wonders in these last days, we should not let these things turn our heads, either. “The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 RSVA)

        “But there also arose false prophets among the people, as among you also there will be false teachers, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, denying even the Master who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. Many will follow their immoral ways, and as a result, the way of the truth will be maligned. In covetousness they will exploit you [KJV- make merchandise of you] with deceptive words: whose sentence now from of old doesn’t linger, and their destruction will not slumber.” 2 Peter 2:1-3 WEB
        http://www.awildernessvoice.com/Merchandise.html

        Like

      • James says:

        Fair enough, Michael. I agree that we shouldn’t let signs and wonders “turn our heads”, although we should be stepping out in faith. I agree with the principle of what the man in the video is saying, regardless of whether he as a person can be trusted or not.

        I’m aware of preachers out there who do the same thing, who have bad connections, bad ministries and bad names, but the forces of darkness counterfeit the things of God, and as Christians we can just as easily be praying for the healing of others if we have faith. We don’t need to be connected to any ministries or labels, just looking to do the will of God. I’ll note that I’ve personally never been a “pentecostal” and I don’t even trust 90-95%+ of spiritual Christians, so I’m not saying what I do without reason or blindness.

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  14. Devon Leesley says:

    You say that going to church is not a bad thing. With total respect I have to part company. Confined to a pew with duct tape on your mouth, don’t ask don’t tell policy, under the curse of tithing, under the traditions of men that make null and void His word, etc..
    All this I experienced. Destroyed my kids. When God pulled me out it was like getting released from Alcatraz. Strong analogy I know. I’m just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Michael says:

      Hi Devon, came back long enough to “part company”? Hmmmmm. You seemed to seize on one short phrase out of context and miss the whole purpose of the article. People and buildings in themselves are not evil. It is the system that takes over that is evil. The whole quote of what I wrote was, “Is going to a Sunday church bad? No, unless you settle for a relationship with a church leader instead of submitting to Jesus as your Spiritual Head.” I think you will agree that in your case the thing that made it evil was the false shepherds that controlled that “church” you were in. You want to read about abusive Christian groups you can read about the one I was in here:
      http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1988-06-21/features/8801090249_1_elders-members-parents
      But forgiving the leaders was part of me being set free to love all men, even my enemies.
      God bless you as you make Christ first in your life,
      Michael.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. “Looking for Mr. Goodbar…” Hahahaha! Got a surprise reading this one, Michael … spied Devon Leesley’s name – an old friend and prolific songwriter turned movie maker. Always hoped to get over there and meet up with him when we lived in IL but never made it that far. I’ve seen some of the same kinds of things you 2 have with those who reject Karen and I … it isn’t something I’ve spoken about other than to Karen and Dad. It’s very sobering to say the least.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Jack, he found my blog about two years ago. We are quite familiar with church abuse in its various forms. I shared just a few of the things Dot and I have been through and this one lady said, “After going through all that, I don’t understand why you are STILL a Christian!” Well, that reply in itself shows how shallow the belief structure is in many who call themselves “Christian.” The last time I check I found out that “I am not my own. I have been bought with a price.” And, “I am what I am by the grace of God.” I can’t just quit following Christ any time I want for I am dead to this world and alive IN Christ and I would not have it any other way.

      Liked by 2 people

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