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HAPPY SIXTH BIRTHDAY, REAL CHRISTIANITY

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       As of today, Real Christianity has completed a full six years and begins year number seven. My thanks and sincere appreciation goes out to all of you for your gracious and faithful support.

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         It means a lot. I remember well when I was a rookie Christian brimming over with the Spirit of the Lord and wanting to give everything I had. I was in the process of devouring the Word of God. I could not get enough. I was breezing through the Bible and was forever continually amazed. I distinctly recall the day when I read 1Corinthians 14:1 for the first time:

         “Pursue love, yet desire earnestly spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”

         The apostle Paul made it very clear in this passage that there was something very special about the prophetic gift. I knew next to nothing at the time but was learning fast. I really did not understand the full impact of the request I was about to make, but my brother Paul appeared to be talking directly to me. I took his advice personally. I figured that if the prophetic gift had the word “especially” attached to it then I had better seek it. It seemed that Paul was saying it was needed the most. I had some understanding of the gifts at that time since I read 1Corinthians 12 before I got to 14, and I had also seen the gifts in action.

         But again, when I saw 14:1 I went directly to the Lord in prayer and told Him that if the prophetic gift was what He wanted me to have and it was needed the most then I wanted it. I was seeing the bigger picture. I wanted to be of greater service.

         “For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries. But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” [1Corinthians 14:2-3]

         After about a year I was preaching in a pulpit. I did most of my preaching outside the church building, however. Yet, in my estimation at the time, I wasn’t really preaching out there, and it was not preaching in the conventional sense. Instead, it was what I may term anointed witnessing. And Boy Howdy, I was witnessing to everyone. It was not at all unlikely for me to go 45 minutes at a time. I had so much to give and the Lord just kept on anointing me to keep going. Those poor people! I know many appreciated it but I also found out early on that many did not. I started getting called “Reverend” and “Little Jesus” and other names I forget but you get the gist. I caught some flack but not all that much. Most of the flak came from a few.

         What I discovered was that the majority of the people were very open and respectful. The ones who caused me the greatest grief were those in closer proximity, if you get my drift. It seems the people who are connected relationally understand without really knowing why that the relational connection put an ongoing pressure on them to consider the truth, whereas people I didn’t know could simply walk away and would likely never see me again. It is easier to be polite that way. The Lord summed it up as thus:

         “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” [Mark 6:4]  

         Most Christians never make the connection that one’s “own household” is often one’s own church. This is in part why church as we know it doesn’t work past a certain point. Whoever wants to get in deep with the Lord and go all out like every real disciple should finds out that after about two years or so he or she will come to a previously unseen spiritual fork in the road. One will either continue to move on with the Lord and stay strong and continue developing or one will succumb to church life.

         Since you just read something considered by some to be quite pejorative, a caveat is called for: Some Christians outside of the preaching profession are meant to serve long term in local churches. Therefore, I am not saying that one cannot find their ministry and exercise their calling within a local, traditional body. The problem is that most can’t. And the problem there is that there are only a few places where one can. So even if one wants to serve there is most often no place in which to serve except on a very limited basis.

         But the Lord did not call us to limited service. He demands our entire heart, our entire life, and our entire everything. If a Christian holds back he or she is limiting God and can never become a fully developed and mature disciple.

         “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” [Luke 6:46]

         This is why He used a different method from what most Christians are used to. He had to create a venue in which every single one of His children could minister in exactly the way He called them to minister. This is also why He created diverse spiritual giftings. Again, in reading 1Corinthians 12 and 14 we see many of these giftings and also several different places of service. However, there is no room whatsoever for the vast majority of these giftings and places of service in traditional local assemblies.

         “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the new wine will burst the skins and it will be spilled out, and the skins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into fresh wineskins.” [Luke 5:37-38]   

        And there it is. That’s the key. The key word is FRESH. An old wineskin might be good for something but it is never good for new wine.

         In my six years here on WordPress I have met a great many people doing exactly what we were all called to do—that being whatever the Lord has placed on our hearts. It is limited to putting digital words on a screen but is unlimited regarding what those words are. The Lord sees it all and will judge it accordingly. We should all be seeking His approval but that can only come through faithful obedience. The great thing about venues such as this is one can preach or teach or write or witness to their heart’s content without any limitations save for those coming from the Lord.

         The greater impact is that internet communities are formed. Friends are made. Brothers and sisters come together. Truth is disseminated. There is no one telling you that you must comply with some traditional outlook or force you to believe a certain way if it conflicts with what God says. If we make mistakes the Lord is forgiving. Children make mistakes. Do we hold it against a child for not knowing any better? Neither does the Lord. He loves us no matter what we do. But if we are fully dedicated we will learn. We will grow in wisdom. We will come upon truths we never saw before. The Lord can open our eyes.

         My hope for each one of you is to continue growing ever-closer to the Lord Jesus and being even more effective for Him and one another. We know what happens when we achieve it: We help each other to change for the better—we all minister to one another. This is the essence of true koinonia. The Great Awakening is being driven by all those who are fully committed, insist on appropriating the full spiritual liberty the Lord died to give us, strive to fulfill their callings, and never look back.

         “What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification. If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God. Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment. But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted; and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets…” [1Corinthians 14:26-32] [1]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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Reader Comments: January 2016

         The following are Comments from the Real Christianity Community from my January 2016 posts. Thanks to all of you for reading and for your support. Please see comment section of each post to meet and greet your neighbors and enjoy some blogosphere fellowship! You can also read my responses. I’ve included embedded post links for your convenience. Be blessed.

From:

HIERARCHY HIRELINGS: How Incompetent Posers Gain Authority (Doh!) :

         (1) “This is exactly what I needed this morning and am thankful for the words. I am currently going through a valley in life. Sometimes rugged words like this are what a man needs during a trial.”

         (2) “Oh yes. Indeed yes. We have watched a young but arrogant “pastor” destroy a thriving work, which has gone from 100% to about 25% since he came. He was highly recommended, and we believed in him. He rose to the level of his incompetence, and we learned that God’s Word was right when it tells us not to elevate a novice. We’ve moved on, as have 600+ other people. One of the saddest experiences in our lives.”

         (3) “Great teaching….strong meat, well seasoned, and not drowned in extravagant but needless sauce. Just right, and so very true. I’ve often thought about the “Peter Principle”. To be sure, we reap what we sow. We ought to at least, to be honest with ourselves. If we didn’t start out that way until the Lord got us by the collar, we need to start now. Very encouraging word for today and every day. Be blessed.”

From:

Overcoming Clergy Dominion: BREAKING FREE (5) :

         “‘Religious hybrids,’ an interesting analogy, and food for thought. Kind of weird, thinking about these creatures; one doesn’t know whether to avoid them, or pray for them, or if that doesn’t work, to feel sorry for them. I have noticed that some folks simply don’t want their eyes opened, and they won’t believe even if you tell them the absolute truth. They were born and raised in the system and in the system they will stay….. no matter what LIGHT they are exposed to. However, they should know that whatever Truth they have received, they will be responsible to work out in their lives.”

From:

Defining Fruit: THE PARABLE OF THE TREES :

         (1) “This is excellent. People don’t want the Lord to rule in their lives, they want man to rule over them. They don’t want to live by faith in God, but faith in the flesh or human convention. Mankind by its very nature likes to negotiate man with man. We are not here to negotiate with God, but to OBEY HIM. Obedience is a narrow path.”

         (2) “Here’s a vision I had 2 years ago that fits in with what you’ve posted here: https://tpuccio.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/when-you-come-together-the-body-of-christ/

From:

You Will Know Them By Their Fruits: WOLVES IN WOOL :

         “Even though that excerpt (from Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church ) may be twenty years old it’s the most prophetic utterance I’ve heard lately, and has confirmed itself many times over, just like the truth always does. I’m not trying to flatter with words…I’m just saying. I’ve tried to warn “Christians” of the same thing……few listen, and almost no one understands. Why? Because the cultural and doctrinal traditions, (brainwashing), has seeped so deep into the collective conscience, it goes in one ear and out the other. No ears to hear.”

From:

Divide and Conquer: THE CLERGY-LAITY SPLIT :

         (1) “Yes it does sound familiar, and frankly I don’t understand why the churchaholics don’t get it. If I as a relative newbie in churchianity “got it,” then it seems it should be relatively simple for others to as well. I mean, the Lord gave us His instructions in the New Testament with an example to follow. Thanks for the blessing…good stuff!”

         (2) “Familiar indeed! At the root of the topic is the Edict of Milan: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan When the early Church was co-opted in to be given rights from the Roman government. Certain inalienable rights to receive tax free status, rights to own real and personal property (read copy write laws). Subsequent to them agreeing to this type of governmental homogenization the Church in this compromised state began a downward spiral from “Glorious” to sleep walking, sleeping, and finally dead which has been happening globally for quite some time since. Thank God for remnants! It is this Glorious Church which Yeshua returns for and not the ones that harken back to a nationalized mindset based upon a governmental foundation guaranteeing certain inalienable rights based upon co- opted belief systems. This kind of “earth based” non heaven-non kingdom belief system is the very kind responsible for mobilizing the Muslim faith along with hundreds of others in to believing that man can re-establish a government aligned to that as King David once was given. There are two passages of scripture that address that King David’s tent will be re-established but this event is not tied to anything that either a real Christian or a fake one will do through governmental rights derived from these earthly realms.”

         (3) “Isaiah 29:9 They are dumbfounded and amazed; they are troubled and stagger; they are drunk, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. 10 For Yahvah has poured out on them a spirit of deep sleep, and it has closed their eyes, and also the eyes of the prophets and rulers, and the seers, who see the hidden things. 11 And the vision of all is become to them as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is learned saying, Read this, and he says, I cannot; for it is sealed; 12 and the book is given to him who is not learned saying, Read this, and he says, I am not learned. 13 Therefore master said, Since this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their reverence toward me is taught by the precepts and doctrine of men; 14 therefore look, I will proceed to set apart this people by a great wonder, and in a marvelous manner, and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be taken away.”

         (4) “This is why Jesus said He hated the work of the Nicolaitans. Nico is ‘over’ and laitans is ‘laity’ so the term means conquerer of laity. Here’s a dream I had about 6 years ago that fits with your posting:

https://tpuccio.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/the-end-of-the-church-as-we-know-it-a-second-dream/ 

         (5) “The world crept into the church and ruined it. Worldly/carnal people love class divisions. You might like to read this book: PAGAN CHRISTIANITY? by Frank Viola and George Barna:

https://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/pagan-christianity-by-frank-viola-and-george-barna/

         “Speaking of Greek words (I know very little Greek), I met a guy named Harris Himes while I was hitchhiking in Montana and he has studied the Greek New Testament for a number of years. He said that the Greek word pisteuo means ‘continuously faithing.’ Rather than say ‘I was saved 20 or 30 years ago’ I think it would be better to say ‘I abide in Christ’ or ‘I believe in Christ’—present tense, not past tense. I told Harris that I have met certain ‘Christians’ who have told me that they were saved many years ago. But their lives did not bear witness with my spirit—they had no witness—they were conformed to the world. So I have always wanted to ask them, ‘So when did you reject Christ’ or ‘Why are you so conformed to the world?’ http://biblehub.com/greek/4100.htm

From:

IDENTITY Politics and the Fracturing of America :

         (1) “‘United we stand, divided we fall’ is just as true a motto as it ever was. But America is more divided than it ever has been at this critical time. The Lord Jesus said, “A house divided cannot stand.” The household of God, now apostate for the most part, is also more divided than it’s ever been and is crumbling to the ground, except for the true and faithful remnant not part of the well dressed harlot.”

         (2) “Although I kind of get where you are coming from, I am somewhat disturbed by your mixing the political system with the belief system. Didn’t Messiah say, ‘My Kingdom is not of this world?’ We are also told, ‘Judgement begins in the house of YHVH.’ Being American is not synonymous with being a believer in Messiah. Our country is not divided because ‘Christians’ are divided, It is divided because its foundation (democratic republic) is anti-God. The founders and proponents of the USA were Deist, Unitarian, Freemason, etc. The principles this nation were founded on which guarantee Christians religious freedom were originally intended to allow the architects of this government to operate unhindered in their anti-YHVH philosophies. Their intent was to create a system where they could freely promote their agendas without state control. The only individual right we are guaranteed as believers of the One True Living God is the right to become the sons of God, members of His household, and citizens of His kingdom.

         “I do not believe the US is being judged by God. What I see is the law of sowing and reaping. Consequences of bad choices. The country has become the god. The only national unity under God’s design is the individual parts of the Body of Messiah recognizing their piece of the body and fitting in to become a Kingdom not of this world. Until we get this, there can never be peace – not individual, not corporate, not national.

         “The houses, communities, congregations – whatever you call them – that claim the Name of God but usurp His glory, is where He will focus His attention for discipline and judgment. Thank you for bringing the stuff that makes me think.”

         (3) “Revelation 3:18: ‘I advise you to buy of me gold refined in the fire, that you may become rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, so that the shame of your nakedness may not be seen; and anoint your eyes with salve, that you may see.’ This is a prayer for those who have suffered from the blinding fog of religious paradigms, doctrines and mindsets.”

         © 2016 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

Real Christianity—The Nature of the Church

Happy Fourth Birthday, Real Christianity!

         The great blessing of this blog is communicating with so many awesome people hard at work for the Lord Jesus! Very encouraging! Thanks to all of you for reading.

         Real Christianity is now four years old. I have posted 280 articles.

         You can locate every article prior to this year through the above Article Archives tab, organized both by category and calendar year.

         There is also the Reader Favorites tab right next to it listing links to the 30 most popular articles.

         All 2015 posts are in the Latest Articles—Feed Your Spirit column to the left (scroll down).

         On the top left is the About the Book tab which gives a brief description of the book I wrote that this blog is named after, as well as many comments.

         Speaking of which, there have been many excellent comments made by you guys through the years, including as of late, which are greatly appreciated. Actual real Christianity involves real community and all of us must communicate what the Lord has put on our hearts. The one rule I have is obey the Golden Rule.

         In my recent posts we have discussed the presence of spiritual strongholds and spiritual blindness. Loyalty is a great quality but loyalty to the wrong thing will cut one off from greater truth. One way or the other, for the real Christian and dedicated disciple, the Lord Jesus will eventually strip away everything from one’s knowledge base that is not true. THAT is a painful process. But much more painful is the loss of brothers and sisters who refuse the process.

         This dynamic is certainly Biblical. God sent prophets to correct Israel and Israel responded most often by killing them. Yikes. That’s a fine how do you do. We see it in the New Covenant also in the life of Paul, who suffered greatly at the hands of detractors. We apparently must be reminded continuously that all the original apostles except John died violent deaths at the hands of spiritual enemies, and this, of course, happened to the Founder as well. It is apparent they always put truth above togetherness, which is not at all the same thing as New Covenant fellowship, or koinonia.

         Perhaps that is why most Christians settle into denominations and/or denominational beliefs and forego the journey into greater truth and a closer walk with the Lord. Perhaps most Christians would rather surround themselves with a congregation of “like-minded” believers. The spiritual frontier is tough, and rejecting the spiritual frontier for a comfortable parlor back east is more socially acceptable. Rejecting an ever greater understanding of the Lord’s real curriculum—the real Word of God—that is not added to and subtracted from by religionists with an opposing agenda is much more comfortable.

         And then there is the absolute unwillingness to do the equivalent of what the rich young ruler was supposed to do. The Lord told him to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor and the man refused. So do Christians refuse the fact that they or their leaders, dead or alive, are wrong in some way. They would rather support a false belief and the mere humans who inspired them than scrap it all and learn directly from the Lord Jesus. Why is there this all-consuming need to stay grabbed on to a deteriorating life raft in a stormy sea while continuously rejecting the Lord’s seaworthy ship?

         It has been said that the price of freedom is death. Not only will the TRUTH make one free, it will also cause spiritual attacks, some quite severe. It caused the Lord’s death, but praise God He didn’t stay dead, and because He rose again we can all rise again, both in the here and now and forever.

         The TRUTH will cause backbiting, slander, gossip, and rejection. It will bring about a strong reaction from evil, unregenerate flesh. The flesh hates the TRUTH and is convicted easily. Most people would rather rage against the TRUTH, fight it, and go to hell than surrender to the Lord.

         There are a few well-intentioned Christians who think the receivers of these evil things are somehow responsible or have a screw loose, as they take a purely non-spiritual approach to perceived remedies. Their arrogance is solid, often off the scale, and they are sold out to any number of false diagnoses and relative witch doctor remedies.

         “Tell me, Jesus. How does it make it you feel when people hate you? Ahem, ahem… Does it bother you that people think you’re fake? Ahem, ahem…”

         But the Lord Jesus stated very clearly that whatever His enemies do to Him they will do to His disciples. It is therefore not the fault of the disciple to be the recipient of evil. It goes with the territory.

         It is enlightening to know that the Lord Jesus was and is rejected more than any man. During His time among us He was:

  • Accused of being an illegitimate child
  • Accused of being a glutton
  • Accused of being a drunk
  • Accused of being crazy, including by His own mother and siblings
  • Severely second-guessed by none other than John the Immerser
  • Accused of being demon-possessed
  • Accused of being a false prophet
  • Accused of being a false teacher
  • Accused of being a false messiah
  • Rejected by everyone, including His own disciples and close apostles
  • Rejected by the entire religious establishment
  • Rejected by His nation
  • Rejected by the world
  • Killed illegally by demon-possessed religionists whose father was the devil and who did everything in their power to rid the world of Him, including lying, cheating, character-assassination, and threatening Pilate to the point that the otherwise very strong man and Roman leader was reduced to a wimpy sissy completely under their demonic thumb. Their power trumped Roman power. Think about that.

         We could go on. The point here is that the devil threw everything he had at the Lord and not only did none of it work and never stopped Him, the Lord actually worked that much harder and fought all the more so that we could all be set free from the evil around us.

         He was thinking of you and me.

         Regardless of everything against Him, HE WON THE VICTORY.

         He never quit, would never quit, and walked right through all the sordid slinging flying garbage and innuendo that came His way to the great disillusionment of His many detractors. They wanted Him STOPPED but could not get the job done and it frustrated and scared them to no end.

         Therefore, one of the clear marks of a real Christian must be the same. One must have the same experiences. And one must overcome them all.

         We are fighting a spiritual war. If you want the Lord to be proud of you, you must fight. You must go forward. You must attack the enemy. You must overcome. You must do the job He put you here to do. And we will overcome if we do things His way, even in the face of the most vile and disgusting attacks, often at the hands of “friends.”

         The Lord found out who His friends were. They were the ones who repented. They were the ones who returned. They were among the relative few who showed up for Pentecost. They were the ones who put their lives on the line.

         We are getting closer to a time of Christian persecution in America like this country has never seen. We are also getting closer to the greatest Great Awakening this country has ever seen.

         You must remember, though, how things will go. At first, many people will appreciate it. Then, with the advance of greater truth, the resulting conviction, and the lack of desire to repent and accept the TRUTH, they will begin to get miffed. Then, they will do an about face and turn on you like a rabid dog. This process is perfectly captured in the following account:

         And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

         And He said to them, “No doubt you will quote this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we heard was done at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’”

         And He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.

         “But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

         And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. [Luke 4:22-29]

         They loved Him and spoke well of Him but moments later tried to kill Him. Go figure. They failed to kill Him then and failed in every other attempt also. They only succeeded in finally murdering Him because He allowed it FOR THE SAKE OF OUR SALVATION.

         “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” [Luke 6:26] [1]

         At some point, a Christian will have to make this connection and figure it out. Until then, such a one is subjected to deception by false prophets (alive or dead).

         Whatever the case, I am most thankful for all of you. We have much to do. May the Lord Jesus bless you abundantly.

         Onward.

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         If you’re interested in gaining some perspective regarding the last four years, I’ve included links to each prior anniversary, as follows. Thanks.

         Happy First Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/12)

         Happy Second Birthday, Real Christianity (5/10/13)

         Real Christianity: Three and Free (5/10/14)

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

FELLOWSHIP

         The following is an excerpt from Real Christianity, The Nature of the Church © 2001 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.

 

FELLOWSHIP

         This word is taken from the Greek word koinonia.[1] It general, it means ministry within community. It denotes the active participation of each member in the body. Koinonia stresses body life, the functioning of each person according to the Lord’s will in a specific manner. This is how a person carries out his or her calling and finds personal fulfillment. By ministering to one another, each member can give and receive. Yet, such giving and receiving is not confined to the intangible, but to the material also. True fellowship is possible only within the body of Christ, which is expressed well in the following passage:

         For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.

         For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be?

         But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; or again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.

         But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it. [1 Cor. 12:12–27]

         This excellent illustration goes a long way in explaining the comparatively curious lifestyle of the early church and why it appears so foreign to much of modern Christianity. Those people were the real deal. Their community life was not burdensome, however, nor was it strained, but quite the contrary. Because the Spirit of God was present and greatly welcomed, life flowed and brotherly love came naturally. And that was the key—since each member took on the nature of Jesus, care and compassion for one another was almost effortless. The community was quick to react to the needs of others. They lived to serve, to help, to build up, and to strengthen. Maturity was gained by helping others, and each matured by receiving help. The more one delves into the genuine love displayed by our forebears of the distant past, the more one should recognize how infantile and disorganized we are in the present.

         Our principles of organization are largely based on human perception and tradition. Many of our practices are never questioned. We simply continue onward with our faces pressed against the invisible barrier apparently constructed to restrict the invasion of heresy, but which actually forces our ignorance and disobedience. True fellowship recognizes the great worth of each person. It expresses a complete understanding of the fact that Jesus is the Owner and Creator of all things, and yields to His dominion. This is why the first Christians held all things in common. They were selfless. Jesus taught them to be always willing to give to one another and the less fortunate. And contrary to “sensible” thinking, they learned that proper giving would not exhaust their supply, but actually cause it to increase.


[1] Koinonia (koy-nohn-’ee-ah): Fellowship, community, joint participation, association.