Institutions vs. Organic
Have you ever thought about the fact that the nature of the Church is that if I don't love and have a relationship with Jesus, then I don't have a basis of existing in the Church? There's no other way IN to Jesus' Church than a relationship with Jesus or at least a hunger for Jesus. There has to at least be some desire to please Jesus because of this Person--Jesus of Nazareth. That's so different than "I think I'll become a Christian, or I think I'll attend this church." The very basis of our relationships together in the Church is centered around our Love of Jesus.
When we miss that, and we institutionalize ourselves in any way, it creates these other avenues in...things other than this Love of Jesus. And once we're institutionalized, we can't tell who loves Jesus and who doesn't anymore.
When one man stands in a pulpit and is the official presenter of all Truth, you have no idea what's in anyone else's heart. Not only does it disobey scripture, which says, "When the second has revelation, let the first one sit down." Not only does it disobey - flat, plain and simple - a simple command of the scriptures, but the reason that command is there is because God intends that the motives of the heart would be laid bare.
The beauty of an Organic Church is that it strangles the carnal man. People who want to "have church" on their "own time" and in their own way? People who want to know "what time the meeting will be over" so that they can have "THEIR day" back? People who love their lives... won't want it.
God has designed things the way He has with no props. The same way that Jesus lived with the twelve. The same way the twelve lived with the three thousand without any props, without anything to hold onto, without any official designated thingamabobs :) He designed it that way so that people who don't really love Jesus feel some sort of tension there. There's something that is exposing about it.
The only way you'll ever know if someone else loves Jesus is by what a person does when the Shepherd's voice is applied to their LIFE and heart on a daily basis. That's the only way you'll ever know. And this can only really be walked out in an organic environment. You can't tell it from a pulpit. You can't tell in a Bible class. You can't tell in a series of "house church" or "cell group" or "organic church" meetings. If it's an institutional environment, it's hopeless. It's totally hopeless. In a Sunday morning, Wednesday Night, Friday Night small groups existence, you can't tell who loves Jesus. You can't even tell if the preacher loves Jesus on Sunday morning--because all you hear is words. There's no way to tell who loves Jesus outside of organic, devoted relationships with one another -- the body of Christ being knit together and needing each other, living for each other, glorying in each other's gifts rather than just their own, and receiving each other's gifts rather than fearing the lack of their own.
What they could get away with for forty years in a Sunday, Wednesday environment with a clergyman they can't get away with day in and day out in an organic environment. And our assumption is, of course, that they don't want to get away with it. They don't want to be dull. They don't want to be cut off from Jesus. They don't want to be disConnected from the Head. They want to have a love affair with the Master Teacher. Our assumption is that everybody, if they really knew what that was, would want that. And so our job then as the Church looking at things from the helicopter is to have such a climate or such an environment that if I'm not doing well - there's a Nathan some place close by to say, "You are that man." There's somebody right there around me. "Admonish one another daily so that none are hardened by sin's deceitfulness." And "as long as it's called Today" make it happen. That's God plan for building his Family and keeping us from being hardened and deceived, which is such a common situation in just about any generation.
In an institution, in an organization, what happens is that the traditions of men blind us so that we're not grieved when the Spirit's grieved. If something is grieving the Spirit, doesn't it make sense that it would also be grieving the Church? If the Spirit of God lives in the Church and a person is grieving the Spirit in their personal life, doesn't it make sense that it would also grieve the Church, if the Church is really in tune? Is that all fair and reasonable?
We're supposed to be the pillar and foundation of Truth - the Household of God - according to Paul and yet we're misrepresenting God or under-representing God. We make people feel comfortable even though their lives are very grievous to God on a personal level. Do they want to be grievous to God on a personal level? If you asked them I think they'd say no. Most people, I think, want to be in a place of pleasing God and living for Him and serving Him. I mean, we can make that assumption, but they're not getting the help they need because the environment does not provide the food they need. "My people perish for lack of knowledge." There's a famine in hearing the word. These are very old themes of God that "without revelation the people perish. They cast off restraint." If the revelation of God is not before God's people, then they're going to perish. They're going to wander. They're going to go astray. They're going to be wounded and their wounds are going to become infected rather than bound and healed.
I'm not really interested in giving details and specifying tremendous amounts of things. It's just paramount that we keep sifting and sorting. Where does it end? It doesn't. It never will end. There's always going to be things that we're relying on because of our flesh, because of our blindness from the past, because of our fears, because of our lack of revelation. We're going to keep finding things as the days go by that are not like Jesus - that are not part of the Son of man and the Son of God's way to approach the Father and to approach other people. I just want to give you the flavor so you can taste the difference between Ishmael and Isaac, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge, the Spirit and the flesh, and facilitating our own needs and desires and propping up our flesh to protect us and all of that. I just want you to see the difference between that and a vulnerability before God that allows us to not need any props, to not fear anything, to not fear our memories, to not fear what people may think - which I'm afraid to say drives a whole lot of things in our world.