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The Absolute Number One Priority Of The Church?

May 10, 2016

Greetings,

“…. And now I will show you the most excellent way.  13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”              First Corinthians 13

Last week when I was driving home I was flipping through radio stations and landed on a John MacArthur program.  He is a famous preacher and he and the announcer were discussing the “absolute number one priority of the Church”.  Their claim was that the “teaching and preaching of the Word Of God” took total preeminence over anything else that the Church ever does.  As they were discussing this topic I felt very grieved in the Spirit and my heart was greatly saddened.

In that moment three things struck me pretty hard as to why what they asserted was such a lie from the enemy.  Since that moment I have prayed and sincerely pondered the magnitude of their complete lie and this is what was revealed to me.

Number one….  They perpetuated the myth that the bible is “the Word of God”.  The bible is a great book and I believe it to be God inspired and extremely beneficial to the life of every follower of Christ.  However, the bible NEVER, EVER claims to be “The Word of God.”  In fact the bible clearly states that Jesus is The Word of God and not a mere book about God and HIS will and ways.

Number two….  To elevate the “teaching and preaching” of the book to the very first priority of the Church places the Clergy ( Pastors, Preachers and Teachers) on the highest possible pedestal; totally re-enforcing that there is a human hierarchy and spiritual caste system in the Church.  It destroys the concept of true unity among all believers and the fact that we are ALL equal peer siblings in the Body of Christ.  And in a very real way it affirms that those who deliver the message in Church are equal to or greater than even Jesus.  Think about it?  If their job is delivering the utmost important thing it by default makes them, and not Christ, the most important person in the Church.  Yikes!  No, make that major Yikes!  We in the simple, organic, home church crowd try to avoid this problem altogether by having free flowing conversations rather than sermons and monologue.

Number three….  The flat out truth in love is that neither preaching, teaching or the bible are God’s priority.  Because LOVE and LOVE alone is the greatest and most excellent way.  The number one call of the Church is to LOVE God and LOVE one another and one another includes the “least of these” whoever they may be.  In the end only three things remain…FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE, but the GREATEST of these is LOVE.  Giving ANYONE ANYTHING LESS THAN LOVE falls WAY short of God’s plan for us.  We are to always walk in LOVE and to LOVE is THE Greatest command that The Lord has ever given us and ever will.  Yes, I am very passionate about this and I often fall short of loving others as I should; but that does not negate this message.  If the Church at large fails at love is it really HIS Church to begin with?  THE ONE thing we utterly need to get right is loving others.  Love opens the door to all the other things we can do or say to help others in their state of need. Evangelism, teaching, equipping, and healing can NEVER truly happen if we don’t lead with LOVE.  I need to end now and get on my face before Jesus.  For I cannot escape the conviction this has brought to my heart and mind.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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21 Comments
  1. David permalink

    Good blog… HERETIC! Seriously, I agree, and personally embrace the label, as the term means to think for ones self. Glad they don’t kill us for that at the moment in the western world.

    The focus on the Bible as “Word of God” is the elevation of a human construct into an Idol. It is sad that the fact that the Bible says that it is all about Love and the Holy Spirit will “write the Law on our heart” isn’t enough to discredit biblical idolatry. Ironic that those who elevate the Bible to “Word of God” refuse to let what the Bible actaully says lead them away from idolatry.

    • Thank you David for affirming what I was led to share. Love is THE ANSWER! The bible clearly makes that statement over and over again. Yet some still refuse to acknowledge that simple profound truth. IN the end the issue is control and many want to hold that bible in their hand rather than hold HIS True Love in their hearts. Then they dissect the written text and boil it down to rules of morality and behavior rather than the Truth in Love it really is. So sad, so very very sad.

  2. Sue heumann permalink

    Such a clear concise truth you have pointed out! Thank you, Capn! I’ve heard this spoken too, over and over in my years…….duh……we read the Bible, I Cor 12, 13…… But could I put two and two together? Not till Gods timing, and I thank him for allowing me to have eyes to see, finally.

    • Thank you Sue for being a source of great encouragement to me. I rejoice with you that now you have Spiritual eyes to see and your Love for Christ and others is extremely evident. He is putting your life on display and the Truth in Love within you is overflowing to many. So glad you feel safe enough to share here and contribute your portion.

  3. daryl permalink

    I think study of the Scriptures is very important so that we rightly divide or correctly handle the word of truth,as Paul instructed Timothy.An ignorance of the Scripture will not help us love God or others.I do not know MacArthur’s heart….but often it seems to me,that men like him make much importance of their importance. I can’t help but think of 1 Cor.12 where Paul writes that the parts of the body that SEEM to be weaker,are indespensable,the less honorable are given special honor,and God has given greater honor to parts that lacked it. Much “teaching and preaching ” we hear is false and rarely reminds believers that we ALL have an annointing and do not need that any man teach us. When men make their living as a teacher or preacher, they will always gravitate toward teaching things that seem to them to favor their own well being or agenda and regularly distort the Scriptures to do so.They tell people “the answers”(lol) rather than encourage them to find out for themselves. Love is definitely our top priority,acted out in variety of ways,seen and unseen,led by the Spirit. God so LOVED the world!

    • daryl, you have definitely “spoken” the Truth in Love here my brother and I deeply appreciate every word. Thank you for the encouragement and affirmation.

  4. Tom Ball permalink

    Your heart is right, Brother Chris. . I do get what you are saying.
    For me, however, to elevate MY understanding of what God wants over what the scriptures say, is to put me above the author of those same scriptures.
    Plainly, that simply will not do.
    Trust not in thine own understanding, the scriptures say.
    That’s likely a good idea.
    Perhaps.

    • Tom, thank you for discerning my heart correctly. I feel that if our heart is right everything else will fall into place when and where Christ sees fit. I am certain that I value the scriptures as much as you do, we just seem to be approaching them from different angles at the present time. That is exactly why we need one another in the Body of Christ…. perspective! There is a passage in Corinthians that speaks of monetary resources, and I believe other resources too such as wisdom and insight. It says that in turn my plenty will supply your needs and then another time your plenty will supply my needs….it is then we have equality.

  5. Hi brother. As I am one who adheres to the scriptures with the Spirit giving understanding Ihave been on a leg of my walk with Him about His Love for over a year now. I make a daily post no matter life circumstances or happenings about Love with my morning coffee. Isn’t it funny how He will use the most common thing to change you daily. He came for us out of His love, He died for us out of His love, He has resurrected us out of love and He truly guides His Spirit within out of His love. Loving your enemy is tough stuff. I am so glad I am not the only one who is having this Greatest of These worked in me. You will remain in my prayers as always! Love to saints!

    • Thanks for sharing your portion of the Truth in Love with us here Pepper. Radical Love is a total game changer. It will transform your life if you surrender to it. Rarely easy, but well worth enduring anything to have it in your life.

  6. I see your point about preaching but I don’t get your point about the Bible. You say you hold the Bible to be inspired or breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16) but deny the Bible is the Word of God? That’s not logical. In fact, 2 Timothy 4:2 calls the Scriptures “the word.” I agree that Jesus is called the Word (John 1:1) or logos. 1 Peter 1:23-25 speaks of our salvation coming from the Word which in context is the Scriptures. James 1:21 likewise speaks of this word. Jesus Himself said the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35) because they come from God. Scripture points us to Jesus (John 20:31) and without exegesis, we don’t know if we have the true Jesus. Jesus prayed that disciples would be sanctified by the truth and that truth (according to Jesus) is “Thy Word” (John 17:17).

    Just my two cents worth from a man who loves the Lord Jesus and loves His Word (2 Timothy 3:15).

    • Seeking Disciple, Thanks for sharing. In my many years of walking in Christ and serious study of the scriptures in both Greek and english as led by the Spirit I have come to understand that when the bible refers to the Word of God it is directly referring to CHrist Himself and NOT the great inspired book. Yes the bible contains words of God, but only Jesus is The Word of God. It is the Holy Spirit that guides us into ALL TRUTH and NOT the bible. That is what Jesus (The Word of God) said so I listen to HIm and Him alone.

      • Thank you for the reply bro. How do you know if you’re hearing from Jesus? By what standard do you judge if it’s the Spirit speaking to you? I’m not wishing to argue. Just not following your logic.

    • "BK" permalink

      Hello, Seeking. I wondered if we could just dialogue a little on what you wrote? Like Christopher, I also love and read and study my Bible. I am looking up each scripture you refer to and have some honest questions about them. Beginning with II Tim 4:2, I wonder where you get ‘preach the word’ refers to scripture? There was no ‘Bible’ back in that day to ‘preach’ from…..granted sometimes a verse from the Torah was quoted but most of the letters Paul writes are not sermons from the Torah but the living ‘word’ of God, from the Spirit. As I moved on to I Pet 2:23-25 I have to again ask where it even intimates this refers to scripture? I am not born again of written word, but by the moving and speaking of His Spirit within me. Same with James 1:21. John 10:35….I don’t think either Christopher or I are trying to ‘break’ what is scripture; just realize it is DEAD LETTER unless anointed by the Spirit. The Jews of His day HAD the scriptures and heard Him directly but even with that missed Him. It isn’t exegesis that brings clarity and life, it is the anointing of the Spirit that enlightens us to the true Jesus. Again, Jesus’ reference in His prayers to ‘Thy Word’ does not refer to written, but anointed, living Word; sometimes from scriptures, sometimes not. Lastly I will add that Jesus never said after His departure a book of scripture (no matter HOW true) will lead you into all truth but, rather, THE SPIRIT would do that. Can we talk about this? Just a woman who also loves Jesus and His Word, “BK”

      • Thank you for stepping up to dialogue with The Seeking Disciple and share your portion of the Truth in Love here BK. What you have shared certainly rings true to me.

      • Thanks BK. 2 Timothy 4:2, in context, is referring to the all Scripture in verse 16 which would include the letters of Paul as well as the OT canon. I am not denying that Paul was referring to the OT canon but he was also writing under the inspiration of the Spirit. Notice in verse 16 what he says about the breathed out word as well as what he writes in verse 2. The context is clear that “preach the word” is preaching the breathed out Bible.

        Secondly, in 1 Peter 2:25 Peter quotes from Isaiah 40:6, 8. It is clear that his intention is the Word of God and not a mere experience of the Word. The preaching of the Word of God brings salvation and life (Romans 10:17). The Word of God shows us our sins (Romans 7:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-11) and reveals our need for salvation that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:22-26).

        Thirdly, it is true that Jesus said TO HIS APOSTLES that the Spirit would lead them into all truth (John 16:13). If you read John 14-16, you’ll notice that Jesus is speaking to His chosen apostles (John 15:16) and the Spirit would indeed lead them into all truth (John 15:26-27). The Spirit did this not just through the preaching of the Apostles but the written Word of God that they wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21). We now have the Apostles word in the NT and can abide safely in their teachings (Acts 2:42).

        I do appreciate your interaction. There is no doubt that the Spirit is our teacher and He opens our eyes to the truth of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). We have the mind of Christ through the Word of God for God has spoken to us clearly in His Word. It is the standard by which we judge all things, to know if we are truly hearing from the Lord Jesus (John 10:27-29). We hear the voice of our Shepherd every single time we read the Bible.

      • "BK" permalink

        Agreed II Tim 3 would include “Paul’s letters”….however, there was no ‘canon’ or New Testement i.e. “Bible” at that time; only the inspiration of not only Paul but any who hear from the Spirit in that day. Also, the word ‘preach’ in our culture comes with baggage, meaning a monologue from a pulpit; the Greek is simply ‘announce’ and we ‘announce’ the word of the Lord as He gives it. It didn’t end with those chosen apostles, it BEGAN with them, going forth with their message being the living God lives WITHIN men and the sharing is now done by anyone inspired by His Spirit. (I Corinthians 14:26 I John 2:27 with verse 18 specifying it is written to the little children and verse 28 showing it continues in that context). The teachings we safely abide in is the moving of the Spirit in every member….a kingdom of priests and kings. This is where the safety and accountability is found; that every single member from the least to the greatest can hear and share with authority in the anointing. This doesn’t do away with respect, it underscores it to all levels. We have the mind of Christ because of Christ i.e. the anointing, not a book. The life comes from the anointing, not the written words. The standard that judges all things is His Spirit. The Bible is a wonderful book of life when anointed by the Spirit but when unanointed it is as easy a source of err and doctrinal domination as the wild fire of following every spirit. You asked Christopher how he knows it is the Spirit that is speaking to Him. I would answer that as Jesus did….by the fruit it bears. Love, “BK”

  7. Hello again Seeking, I know what is truth by the witness of the Spirit, the witness of The Body, and the witness of scripture. The Truth in Love is not always logical, in fact as times it confounds logic.

  8. Seeking Disciple, I will address your question at length in my next blog post. It will be posted later tonight.

  9. Dan permalink

    “All you need is love”…well, at least that should be our priority as you said. Jesus, make us into love. You are love. Fill us so full of Yourself that we drip love and pour it out everywhere we go and to all whom we meet. Like our Father, let us so love the world…

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