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The Pride of the Pulpit

Quite a number of years ago, I attended a sectional convention being held in our community for pastors of the Assembly of God.  The primary charismatic speaker was there, too encourage and challenge the pastors to speak the Word of God with power and conviction.  The message was very good, except for two things.  It implied that the pastors were the glue that held the congregations together, and if any lasting revival came, it would come through the pastors.  I very much appreciated the zeal that the brother put forth in his speech that was designed to provoke the other pastors to lead their congregations in a forth right manner.  However, as important as the Gospel messengers are, they are not the glue for the Body of Jesus Christ.  God forbid that this idolatrous notion should continue, for their love is insufficient for the whole, and at best is only a reflection of God's Love that changed their own existence from one of death, to that of Life in Christ Jesus.

We can all agree that Godly instructions and corrections, coming from assembly leadership, are an important necessity for the people of God.  But unfortunately, in most evangelical churches, the pulpit has become a place of idolatry.  It is center stage and the people gather around to hear the pulpit speak.  In general, this production of idolatry is perpetuated from the pulpit, by the voice of the pulpit, and the two are synonymous.  In this setting, the pastors are the center of attention, and have displaced the worship of God in Spirit and Truth.  The pastors project their own changeable bias in the cultural agenda for the growth of their individual church, and thereby are missing God's greater picture that He designed for the wholeness of all of the individual members in the one Body of Jesus Christ.

We speak of the Body of Christ, but negate God's design in the Body's functionality.  As an example, another pastor was so sure of his position of pastor that he said; if God desired to speak to or correct the church, God would tell him first.  I asked him if God had ever spoken to him in dreams?  He said he doesn't dream because he doesn't remember ever having dreamed.  The man was mistaken in the workings of his own body, let alone the working of the Body of Christ Jesus.  For He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ: (Ephesians 4 verse 11 thru 12.) The lack or impairment of one necessary function in the body, diminishes the functions of others, and thereby affecting the wholeness of the body.

All things begin with God, and because God is Love, then it is the Spirit of God's Love alone, Who draws us into the Body of Christ, where His Love through His Spirit of Grace is to bind us together as one heart.  It is the Perfect Love of God through His Holy Spirit in His Son Jesus the Messiah that cements each of the members' hearts together as One in Christ Jesus.  Hear again Jesus praying to His Father: I have declared unto them Thy Name, and will declare it: that the Love wherewith Thou hast Loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17 verse 26.) And Paul writes of an understanding of that Greater Love: Therefore speaking the Truth in Love, we may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: From Whom the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, which makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in Love/Agape. (Ephesians 4 verse 15 thru 16.) For the Love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that He died for all, that they, which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.   (2nd Corinthians 5:14.)  So we, being many, are One Body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12 verse 5.) Therefore, from the least to the greatest, none of us have arrived on our own, for we are all dependent upon God's New Covenant Grace in Christ Jesus, and in need of His repair of our own individual spiritual heart.  God's Covenant Grace begins with our confession of need, and repentance from our self centered faults, and then the error is covered with God's cleansing New Covenant Communion Blood of Christ Jesus.  Shall we not have confidence in God's correcting Love for us in Christ Jesus?  For John writes for our sanctification: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  For if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the Blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

But, those protesting Pastors, who speak out against what they consider to be the dull spiritless liturgical services of communion, have in hypocrisy, created their own dull corporate religion, structured on self gratification being featured with a few edifying songs, the collection of money, and a meeting around the pulpit speaker.  With their acquired religious philosophy and informality with the Holy, the protesting pastors in their ignorance of the Power of the Word of creation, have in their philosophical doctrinal error of symbolism, collectively voided the Covenant Words of Jesus Christ for all of His disciples.  So then: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose you worthy, who has trodden under foot the Son of God and has counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith he was [being] sanctified, a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?  (Hebrews10 verse 29.) The Word of God, at His Table of Grace, is not in a symbolic gesture or metaphor, but is in the Power of the Word of God, Himself, to deliver the Creator's substance of faith into the Personal Provisions of His spoken Word, given for the spiritual edification of His people in need of His Grace. 
And when Jesus had gathered unto Himself His disciples at the Pascal Feast, He said: "Drink all of you; for this is My Blood of the New Covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sin."

The Eternal Word of God, created the substance of all things in His universe,
and all things are subject to His Word of Power: Selah!

In the first century church, the gathering together was called the Agape Feast, and the Lord's Body and Blood should only be received by baptized believers.  Today's Table setting, with the Lord's Holy Word of Sanctified Provisions, should be the same as the first century church, and only be given to the Lord's covenant people, who profess their faith in the Word of God.  We are all forgetful hearers, but Gods' Spirit of Holiness illuminates our Faith so that we would understand that the unseen Presence of the Lord God, and His loving mercy and forgiveness, would be with us in the receiving through the Spirit of God the New Covenant Provisions  of Life in Christ's Sanctifying Body and Blood.  This Holy Table is only for the Lord's new and older disciples, who have followed the Lord into the baptism into His death, and understand that they have risen together into His One Holy Body, through the resurrection power of God's Holy Spirit of binding Love.

Therefore, if it were possible for revival to come through the pulpit preachers, then first they will have to confess their own heresies of unbelief and other sins of self serving flesh that brings forth death. Then secondly, they need to establish the efficacy of the Real Provisions of the New Covenant of God, and to receive of the Blood of Jesus Christ in faith, which will begin to bring to a death and obliteration of their own sins that are shackled to their self idolatry. (See 1st John 1 verse 6 thru 10.) No flesh shall glory in the Presence of the Lord. (See 1st Corinthians 1 verse 18 thru 31.) But as it is written, he that glories, let him glory "in" the Lord. For you are "in" Christ Jesus, Who of God is made unto us Wisdom, and Righteousness, and Sanctification, and Redemption.

The pastors must decrease, even as we all must decrease, so that there would be the supreme increase of Jesus Christ in the Life of the church.  In our Communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, we must wait on the Lord in our prayerful supplications, and Worship of God, so that the Perfect Love of Christ Jesus, may increase the effectual workings of His Body of believers on earth.  It is only then that the Holy Spirit of Prophecy will begin to make alive, and to prosper abundantly all hearts, within the midst of the One Body of Jesus Christ, thereby bearing the Fruit of His Spirit.  The Spirit of prophecy is the Spirit of Jesus Christ, and the Word of our God is fertile in the abundance of the Power of Love and of Life, which is to be received within the heart of the thoughts of the  mind and spread abroad within the soul of our being.

It is important for the reader to understand that in prophetic scripture, both Israel and the Church are depicted as a woman.   Consider for your selves these God given spiritual illustrations.

In a night dream, Wisdom, as a prosecuting female attorney, depicted a certain protestant church as being like the female attorney, an emaciated woman whose chest was flat with no apparent breast for proper nourishing.  Momentarily, superimposed over the female attorney's figure was a large face of a cavalier man, with an emphasis on an opened mouth with eyebrows, rather than a moustache, arched high over that smiling orifice.  So many churches are married to their pastors and their doctrine, but not as the bride of Jesus Christ.  I heard nothing coming from the mouth of the church, but it may as well been saying, "We are rich in our understanding, and have no need of prophetic rebuke".  Pride comes before the downfall and is deaf and blind to its coming destruction.  Most importantly, Wisdom, in the dream, made it very apparent that the chasteness of the church was wanting, for there was a lack of evidence for the cleansing Blood of Jesus Christ that would make the church in the perfection of His Love, holy His.  In this church, the Word of our God in the Communion Covenant was inert, because of the lack of the substance of faith, emanating from the leadership of the pulpit.

In another dream, I was in a church similar to the previous one, where the preacher lamented from his pulpit that "even the walls know, and are declaring our sins to us."  In the dream, the Spirit of Prophecy declared God's great waiting mercies in His Son's Word for the remission of sin. (See Psalm 85.)

This church is very typical in its cavalier approach to the Communion Blood for our Sanctification.  The church is couched in the security of their own dogma, and sin is left uncontested, and continues to imprison so many minds and hearts of God's people. The Apostle John says; "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us". And again, "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us".

Do not be deceived!  Because of the deceit and darkness of unconfessed sin, we walk in darkness, and are liars to the Truth in God.  Seeing and examining the Truth in John's letter; --- If the Truth is not in us; because of sin, --- and His Word is not in us, because of sin: --- then Jesus and the Holy Spirit is without, knocking at the entrance of the heart with His provisions of Communal supper. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My Voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3 verse 19 thru 20.)

Although this scripture in Revelation is utilized in a salvation call for the lost, the principle message is meant to be in context with what preceded it.  For God's Spirit of Grace speaks to the churches, which have lost their first love, and thus the scripture addresses the covenant people of the Lord's church body. And now, even though we may be saved through God's merciful grace, we should understand in humility of our helplessness to sins onslaught in the flesh, and see our great need for God's Love and Mercy.  Then "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse His temple from all unrighteousness, with His Blood and the Sword of His Salvation".  When we open the door of our darkened heart, darkness is overcome with the Presence of the Light of Life, and now we have fellowship (that is Communion) with the Lord and with one another.  If we have darkness prevailing in our hearts, and we love our darkness, leaving the door closed, then we make no room for the perfection of the Love and Light of God to come in, and we remain dead in our sins, without the abundance of His Light of Life within us.

"And they shall overcome the evil (accuser) by the BLOOD of the LAMB, and the Word of their testimony, and they loved not their life unto the death."  (Revelation 12 verse 10.)

To proceed to the next chapter, please click on How Great a Love is This?

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Robert Glenn Pratten