The Crisis of a Christless Christianity

2017-07-16T07:42:25+00:00 By |Blog, Ekklesia, Fellowship & Church|
The Christian life is a life that is lived IN CHRIST. That is to say, to walk IN HIM is to live as a Christian. Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship.

“As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him… beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And you are complete in Him…” (Colossians 2:6,8,9a)

A Christian is a branch that grows out of the Vine and continually produces abundant fruit for the Husbandman. The Church is the gathering together of all individual branches into one Vineyard (see John 15). In this metaphor we see that Christianity is supposed to be a living phenomenon, an observable reality, not a religious philosophy or set of teachings.

As we first received the Lord Jesus, so we continue to walk in the Lord Jesus. Receiving Christ is the Gate, but walking in Him as we have received Him is the Path. The Gate is an event, while the Path is a process. The Gate is for entering, while the Path is for walking.

Everything God has done, is doing, and will do is aimed at bringing us deeper into Christ, to finish what was begun in us when we first received Him. God is the One Who brings us through the Gate, and God is the One Who leads us along the Path. Everything God has done, is doing, and will do has the same purpose, and that purpose explains everything you have been through, everything you are going through, and everything you will go through.

Jesus is the Alpha from Whom all things in God are initiated, and Jesus is the Omega unto Whom all things of God find their purpose, their meaning, and their reason for being. Everything begins in Christ, and everything ends in Christ. He is the Beginning as well as the End.

Real spiritual growth occurs when we realize that God has only one goal for us, and that is, the full, mature, complete, and experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ. To the extent that we discard “things” and become focused wholly on Christ, to that extent we will make progress.

THE CHALLENGE OF REMAINING CHRIST-CENTERED

Christians should walk in the Lord Jesus as they received Him. We must not allow anything to keep us from growing up in to Him. Spiritual growth in the life of a Christian is determined by the measure of the increase of Christ and the decrease of Self: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). It is not a question of gifts, knowledge, years of experience, or power. If by the end of today there is less of me and more of Jesus then I am growing. Otherwise I am not. Jesus must become greater and greater in my life, and I must become lesser and lesser. This is the Path.

Along this Path towards apprehending Christ as all in all there are many pitfalls, snares, hindrances, and detours. Thus, Paul says we are to be on our guard and let no man spoil us. In this context, the word “spoil” means, “to destroy and strip of one’s possessions; to deprive of something valuable by force.” Every spiritual blessing heaven has to offer is found in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Each believer has an incredible fullness and completeness in the Person of Jesus Christ. Christ is THE Gift of God, the ultimate Gift, and this Gift is precious, valuable, and of great worth.

How then can we be spoiled? According to Paul we are spoiled “through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments (elements) of the world, and not after Christ.” It matters not if the philosophy is good, right, morally excellent, and praiseworthy. It matters not how well intentioned, meaningful, or helpful the tradition is. It matters not how necessary we think the worldly element to be, or how important it is to society in general. If none of these things are “after Christ”, that is, if they are not of Him, through Him, and unto Him, then they are worthless insofar as God’s Purpose is concerned and must be discarded.

This is what Paul alludes to in Philippians 3. Paul represents the very best that religion, philosophy, and tradition has to offer – education, gravity, intelligence, doctrine, zeal, community service, and so on. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (v. 7,8). To be able to sweep aside all religious upbringing, moral philosophy, and tradition with one wave of the hand and consider it refuse is to know Jesus experientially as Enough. This is what it means to be decreased. God’s Purpose for all believers is to be reduced to Christ, and everything is working to bring us to this final conclusion: “not I, but Christ” (Galatians 2:20ff).

The apostolic letters that make up a significant portion of our New Testament, more than anything else, seek to redirect the saints back onto Christ and away from a myriad of things seeking to rob them of their time, energy, attention, focus, and spiritual devotion. Many things competed with Christ and tried to spoil these new believers. These distractions were abundant in the early Church. They became entangled in many things. The whole controversy of Jews and Gentiles; to be circumcised, or not to be circumcised; to marry, or to remain single; to keep the Sabbath, or not to keep the Sabbath; which foods to eat, and which foods not to eat; whether one should follow Peter, or Paul, or Apollos; to speak in tongues, or not to speak in tongues; how men should behave, and how women should behave; what about this, and what about that. On and on it went, and on and on it still goes today.

I have said many times that we do not need more of the Lord, since we are already complete in Christ – we just need less of everything else. There are many things that spoil, hinder, distract, and lead us away from the simplicity of an abiding relationship with Jesus. Many of them are spiritual and religious. The spirit of Antichrist is not necessarily seen in something that is obviously satanic or demonic. Instead, the spirit of Antichrist is revealed in anything that seeks to spoil us by taking our eyes off of Christ – it is anti-Christ, against Christ, antithetical to the great Purpose of God.

How easy it is for us to become distracted into something less than Christ! Are you centered on Christ? Is Jesus your obsession? Is He your focus? Or have you set your sights on something beneath Him? This speaks right to the heart of the crisis we find ourselves in today.

CHRISTLESS EVANGELISM

The crisis of Christless Christianity begins with the way we go about reaching the Lost. Jesus said if He is lifted up then He will draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). Instead, we lift up religion and draw all men into an institution. Sinners today are presented with a Gospel that is decidedly in their favor. It is marketed and packaged the same way a salesman makes a sales pitch: it must answer the all important, universal question: “What’s in it for me?” And the answer is salvation, the assurance of a home in heaven, deliverance, solutions to problems, peace, blessings from God, and so forth.

The death of Christianity will not be the result of everyone rejecting the Gospel, but the result of everyone accepting a watered-down version of it.

All too often the object of salvation, its very purpose, is overlooked. Why should a sinner repent? Not for what he or she can get out of it, but for what the Lord Jesus gets out of it. Do we reach out to the world based on their own self-serving need, or based on the Lord’s Need? The harvest is for the Lord, not for the workers, and not for the ones who are harvested. The sheep are for the Shepherd.

A sinner ought to repent because the Kingdom of God is at hand. They should be shown that God is gathering together in one “all things in Christ” (Ephesians 1:10ff), that this is God’s Purpose for all men, and that yielding to Him now is the only reasonable, logical, and life-saving alternative they have. But an easy Gospel begets easy disciples. If our message is easy then many will respond under the impression that they are doing God a big favor by “getting saved”. Thus, God becomes their debtor, and they expect Him to repay them many times over, not merely with a future promise of life in heaven, but with good things for them in their present life on earth. Is it any wonder that the Church is spiritually weak and immature, with “disciples” such as this?

Christless evangelism does not give anyone salvation, it only gives them the false assurance of salvation. The Church is supposed to make disciples for Christ, not record decisions for Christ. A decision does not necessarily make a disciple. Christ must be the object and the focus of all outreach.

CHRISTLESS APOSTLES AND PROPHETS

What is “the ministry”? According to the Scriptures, there is but one ministry, and that is the ministry of directing everyone to Christ as all in all. Now how this ministry functions in each one of us is different according to how God has placed us. There are many operations and many functions, many gifts and many manifestations, but there is only one goal and that goal is Christ.

For example, the purpose of the apostolic ministry is not church planting, or setting churches in order, or taking missionary journeys. The purpose is Christ. Now, they may DO those things. We are not suggesting that Paul did not do all these things; we are simply saying that Paul’s purpose was Christ, and towards that end he labored accordingly. Without God’s End in clear view, all these things become mere activities, religious carryings-on, but there is nothing ultimate about it, nothing that ties it all together or justifies it in terms of furthering God’s Purpose. I have my little work, you have your little work, but there is no harmony, no communion, no relatedness between any of several million projects, ministries, and outreaches. Each one struggles to achieve their own ends, and there is little if any agreement on what exactly that “end” is supposed to be.

The apostle communicates the ultimate Purpose of God, lays the foundation, and then keeps the End before the builders at all times. But many of today’s apostles seem to be presenting themselves as church planting or church growth experts. Is this what the apostolic ministry is becoming? Church growth is not God’s goal. Church planting is not His purpose either. These are merely things: they are not Christ. You can plant churches and grow churches and completely miss Jesus in all of it.

What about the prophetic ministry? The purpose of all prophetic speaking is Christ. “It is the truth concerning JESUS that inspires all prophecy” (Revelation 19:10b, Knox). Those inspired to speak or proclaim something by the Holy Spirit should be helping to direct our attention onto Christ and away from everything that distracts us. The prophetic voice should rise up like a trumpet and bring clarity and direction out of confusion and misunderstanding. It is not just truth stated in an inspirational way, it is the truth concerning JESUS spoken by those who know Him and can lead others to Him. But of all things, the prophetic ministry today does more to distract us from Jesus than to tell us the truth concerning Jesus. In fact, it is difficult to find Jesus at all in most of what is touted today as “prophetic”.

The prophetic word is given to point us to Jesus. Everything the Holy Spirit would speak, reveal, teach, and show us is towards this same end, which is CHRIST. We do not need to mull over every dream, vision, word, or prophecy, trying to exegete its hidden meaning, struggling to extract some spiritual significance where none exists. If what we see and hear does not point us to Jesus then it is not prophetic and should be discarded. This simple test will keep us from distraction.

Apostles must point people to Christ. Prophets must point people to Christ. Evangelists must point people to Christ. Pastors and teachers must point people to Christ. Otherwise they are not fulfilling the purpose for which God placed them in the Church to begin with. Apostolic ministry is not an end unto itself, but is a means to an end. Prophetic ministry is not an end unto itself, but is a means to an end. Evangelistic ministry is not an end unto itself, but is a means to an end. Pastoral and teaching ministries are not ends unto themselves, but are a means to an end. What is the end? What is the purpose? What does it all lead to? It leads to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13b). The fullness of Christ, the full-knowledge of Him – this is God’s Goal and His Ultimate Intention.

CHRISTLESS FELLOWSHIP

We know by now that the actual church building has nothing to do with God’s Eternal Purpose. The church service is a thing created by us and for us – God’s Need is seldom, if ever, considered. If we recognize that the service, ministry, meeting, gathering, or building is not the end, but only a means to an End (which is Christ), then we do well. But when we attach spiritual, emotional, or even superstitious significance to a mere thing, or place, or day, or tradition, or way of doing things, then we will be spoiled through “traditions of men”, and will not walk after Christ Himself.

Even something as good as fellowship with other believers becomes such a distraction from Christ that He cannot trust us with relationships. We hunger and thirst for “like-minded believers”, which is sometimes a code word for “anyone who thinks and believes the same as I do and will always agree with me no matter what!” The end result is we seldom find what we are looking for in other people.

Christians go here and there looking for “fellowship”. They participate in meetings, conferences, seminars, groups, and online discussion lists and email exchanges. To be sure these can be useful tools for bringing Christians together – but not if they are looking for fellowship as a “thing”, instead of the fruit of a Christ-centered life.

If fellowship with others is my focus then I am bypassing the Head and trying to have fellowship on some ground other than Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that “what we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that you may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ…if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” (I John 1:3,7a).

Fellowship is ordained by God as a means through which the Life of Jesus may be shared: “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, making increase of the body towards the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). In other words, we are joined together to experience the Life of the Lord together. This is what makes us of one mind and one accord. Like-mindedness only occurs when we agree to “let this mind be in

[us] that was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). Life is not in a meeting, or in a gathering, or in a way of doing things – Life is Christ, and Christ is Life. He is the Purpose.

So true fellowship is grounded in Jesus first of all. Fellowship with others on THAT basis is neither forced, nor orchestrated; it is effortless, spontaneous, and full of life. Fellowship naturally occurs because we have all seen and heard the same thing from the Lord – we are walking in the same Path towards Christ as all in all. We are in one accord not because we all look, think, and act just the same, but because we all, in spite of our differences, have God’s End in mind.

If we look to one another for fellowship apart from what we have seen and heard of the Lord then we are limiting ourselves to relationships with people with whom we naturally get along with. If we see fellowship as the reason for our existence as Christians then, ironically, we will never be satisfied. We cannot know one another according to the flesh and find contentment. We cannot properly discern the Body until we establish communion with its Head. Life is given and received as we stand with one another in relationship to Christ.

CHRISTLESS SPIRITUALITY

What is the “deeper Christian life”? It is nothing more and nothing less than Christ Himself. To be deep is to be simple, focused, and devoted to the One Thing that is needed (see Luke 10:41,42). But even here, some believers seek the deeper Christian life as a thing, a teaching, a certain way of acting spiritual. The “deeper life” becomes the goal instead of Christ as Life. They become profoundly mystical and spiritual, but it is death because they do not touch Christ, they touch spirituality. There is no life in spirituality, or mysticism, or religiosity; there is only Life in Christ. Anything less becomes a distraction.

I came to the Lord in the midst of the Charismatic movement. The emphasis was on Spirit-filled living, restoring spiritual gifts, the power of God, and so forth. We find no fault with walking in the fullness of the Holy Spirit. But what is the purpose of all this fullness? Why tongues, and prophetic words, and other spiritual gifts? Why the manifest power of God? All of these things are given us by the Lord to draw us deeper into Himself; to repeat, they are means to an End, but they are not the end, for the End, the Purpose, and the Reason for all things is Christ.

“When He, the Spirit of Truth is come, He will guide you into all Truth [Christ]: for He shall not speak of Himself… He will glorify Me, for He will receive from Me, and will reveal it to you” (John 16:13,14ff). All the gifts, all the power, all the counsel, everything pertaining to the Holy Spirit has the goal of bringing us into a more complete knowing of Jesus Christ. Everything must be in harmony with this.

But just see how the experience of being “filled” or “baptized” or “anointed” or “slain in the Spirit” has replaced Christ! What is the result? Excess, error, and a falling away into the flesh. Today we see only a shadow of what we once saw. How many “Full-Gospel” believers are still living off of the glory that they saw twenty-five years ago! They are still looking for an experience, but if God gives it to them, it is a step backwards. They have not grown one bit; they are simply coasting on the energy of what God was doing twenty or thirty years ago.

It is time for us to leave elementary school and go on to maturity. “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man I put away childish things” (I Corinthians 13:11). The Lord has a high calling for us, and we are called to “go on to maturity” (Hebrews 6:1ff). The spiritual life begins in Christ, is sustained by Christ, and leads us to Christ. We may begin by having some profound spiritual experiences, but maturity is certainly not achieved through them.

CHRISTLESS WARFARE

Out of the Charismatic movement came an intense interest in spiritual warfare. Here is yet another potential distraction from Christ. What is spiritual warfare? It should be the process of demonstrating the preeminence of Christ over all things. It should be bringing all things into conformity to God’s Ultimate Intention and showing that Christ is the Head of all principality and power. It should be learning how to defeat the dragon by the blood of the Lamb, the word of our testimony, and the denial of Self (cf. Revelation 12:11).

Instead, spiritual warfare has become a weird end unto itself, and Jesus is scarcely seen. The revelation of Christ is seldom found; instead, we are often told to seek the revelation of satan and all his workings. Saints are kept occupied day and night fighting the devil (sometimes only in their imagination), or traveling all over the world to “confront” territorial spirits (which only proves they are warring after the flesh, for there is no distance in the spirit realm), intruding into things they have no business getting into. The backlash is swift and the damage is severe. Why? They have grasped spiritual warfare as a “thing” apart from Christ.

True, we cannot afford to be ignorant of satan’s devices (II Corinthians 2:11b), but neither can we afford to make darkness the focus of our lives. Our focus is not the devil, what the devil is doing, or what the devil is planning to do. Our focus is Christ, and to the extent that we walk in the Light, to that extent the Darkness will be exposed by the Light and will flee.

Victory is not the result of everything we know about spiritual warfare: Victory is a Man. All the formulas, methods, teachings, manuals, and books in the world will not sufficiently prepare us for demonstrating the preeminence of Christ over all things if we do not, in fact, have an abiding relationship with the One Whom we are proclaiming.

What is the focus? Spiritual warfare, or Christ Himself? The first is a thing, the second is a Person. Spiritual warfare, properly carried out, is harmonious with God’s Purpose because it exalts Christ (not the devil) and demonstrates that all things are submitted to Him. But without this foundation we are inviting disaster.

RESTORING CHRIST TO CHRISTIANITY

We are trying to get to the heart of things, down to the very root of these matters. The bottom line is there are many things that are ABOUT Jesus, but are NOT Jesus. Then there is Jesus Himself. When the things about Christ become more important than Christ Himself then we need to revisit who we are and what we are doing.

We live in the Laodicean age that is characterized by insipid lukewarmness and blindness to the truth of our own spiritual condition (cf. Revelation 3:1-19). The picture presented to us is one of Christ standing on the outside of things, knocking at the door, and waiting for someone to open the door to Him (cf. Revelation 3:20). Since this is written to the saints it cannot be construed as an invitation to sinners to “invite Jesus into their heart”; instead, it is the Lord calling upon the church to make Him the center again. The issue was, and still is fellowship, communion, and abiding – maintaining its relationship to the Head.

God’s solution for a lukewarm, tasteless, colorless, odorless church is a fresh revelation of Jesus Christ. He will bring us back to our foundation. He will align us with His Purpose. He will adjust us back to Himself. God will purge, refine, chasten, and conform us to the image of His Son. But we must respond to His invitation and open the door.

O Christian, come back to Christ! Simplify your life, eliminate the “many things”, count them as dung, and cling to the One Thing! Be reduced to Christ!

The Lord says, “To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne” (Revelation 3:21).

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About the Author:

CHIP BROGDEN is a best-selling author, teacher, and former pastor who shares "real, simple, truth" about a Christ-centered faith that is based on relationship, not religion. Learn more »

27 Comments

  1. Pandora May 6, 2009 at 8:51 am - Reply

    ~ Praise God,

    Thanks Chip for all you endure to encourage In Christ.

    I really needed this. ~

  2. Dave May 8, 2009 at 10:32 pm - Reply

    You hit the mark! This needs to be shouted from the mountain tops!!

    “…let us throw off everything that hinders… Let us fix our eyes on Jesus” Hebrews 12:1-2

  3. Cathy Paz May 30, 2009 at 10:20 pm - Reply

    I know Jesus is our everything and should be the center of our lives in everything we do and say. I am asking a question I am not sure how to ask it; but would greatly appreciate an answer.
    Do you or don’t you believe; and I mention no name here, that many preachers today are still preaching from hearing from the Holy Spirit and that we as His followers should discern thru the Holy Spirit if what they are saying is correct; because I still believe that God uses His people whether they are right where the Lord wants them or not. Do you still think that He uses people that allow the Holy Spirit to work in them at different times?
    Also with such a changing world have you ever felt like we should be preparing for what is to come; or is that another thing just between me and the Lord?

  4. Pam Chitwood October 20, 2009 at 6:44 am - Reply

    Good morning Brother Chip. All I can say is Hallelujah and Amen! Picking up on what you said about spiritual warfare, the Lord reminded me in a recent dream that my “warfare” response when encountering evil was this testimony: We serve the LIVING GOD! To share two verses, “. . .but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent concerning evil. And the God of peace will crush satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” Romans 16:19-20. And, Jeremiah 10:10 “But the Lord is the true God; He is the Living God and the everlasting King.” To God be the glory! Thank you for bearing witness to the Truth!

  5. Maris November 4, 2009 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I can testify out of my own experience that sometimes God allows me to be beguiled by satan but He is always faithful to remind me of His Son in me. His kindness leads me to repentance.

  6. Shamim Coulter November 6, 2009 at 8:24 am - Reply

    AMEN!!! AMEN!!! AND AMEN!!! ABSOLUTELY, TOTALLY, IF THE MESSAGE IS NOT POINT US TO CHRIST AND THE CROSS, IT IS NOT THE JESUS. IT IS ‘ANOTHER DOCTRINE’ CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED IS WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT AND CHRIST BEING FORMED IN US!!!

    HALLELUJAH BRO CHIP.

    MAY THE LORD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU AS YOU CONTINUE TO BE SPENT FOR HIM.

  7. Dan G. November 6, 2009 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    The enemies of God are not to be taken lightly…These enemies provide false information and therefore false beliefs are born. As pertaining to the door that Christ knocks on most believe they are on the same side of the door as Christ, yet in truth they themselves know better. I did as well. I was honest with the scripture and who I was and saw that I was not who the bible said I would be. Nothing was changing and no road in sight to deliver me from the course set before me. This realization begins repentance. I went before God and said “you teach me”. It was then that God began to reveal the Son…In a vision God placed me next to Jesus. I was shrunken back from Jesus so ashamed at who I was next to Him but in my iniquity the hand of Jesus was outstretched. The sense being I know your condition “come” and I will heal you. Since then much understanding has been given. The Son was revealed to me and in me for the purpose of revealing the Father. God is always knocking at the door. NOONE can shepherd unless he goes through the door. If that were not true then how can Jesus be the door by which the shepherd must enter through and yet be the shepherd as well? Who is the porter that opens the door for the shepherd to enter in and call his sheep. These parables should be known if one is truly on the same side of the door that Christ knocks from. Let us all pray that if we approach that door to go out that a good swift kick in the head by Christ will be felt that we might think better of it. If one cannot tell how he got into Christ than was he sleeping when it happened? Something as marvelous and grand as the coming of Christ within ones own soul does not go unnoticed. Dont believe the enemies that only provide scripture references to who or where you are. Believe God through His Son and you will know who and where you are and better yet know how you got there. Never believe the enemies that say God has forsaken you or that you are to bad for God to hear you. The day will come when their horn (strength) is destroyed for good and the strength of the righteous (right knowing) will be exalted. He that endures til the end will be saved.

    • Pat Nastasi July 16, 2017 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      God is so awesome… Thank you….

  8. Scott November 6, 2009 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    Hi Chip, I really appreciate your thoughts and love reading the Infinite Supply each day.

    I just read the infinite supply this morning about the lukewarm church in Laodicia. You mentioned that they were saints and not sinners. My question is, is there such a thing as a lukewarm Christian? God would prefer us either hot or cold but not lukewarm, not half-hearted, or having a foot in both camps. He mentioned that if we are lukewarm he would spit us out of his mouth! Is this a comment he would make to saints? Yes I agree he was speaking to the church but does that mean they were followers of Christ or just religion?
    Would this then change the meaning of Rev3:20 to invite these religious people to enter into a real relationship with Himself?

    Fellow chasm crosser
    Scott

  9. Seble November 7, 2009 at 6:09 am - Reply

    Wow! This is what I needed to hear this morning. Christianity does not save. It is Christ who saves. I heard this before but kept running after things and not the person of Christ. I felt as though I was doing favor to God by choosing to follow him when many do not. I thought he was ‘indebted’ to me.

    Thank you brother Chip for challenging me once again. May the Lord bless you and your ministry. May He also help you to walk by faith.

  10. Teddy November 7, 2009 at 10:01 pm - Reply

    A big Amen!brother Chip.

  11. Paradise November 8, 2009 at 10:11 pm - Reply

    “Do we reach out to the world based on their own self-serving need, or based on the Lord’s Need?”

    does the Lord really “NEED” us? Or does he “WANT” us?

  12. Tommy Ng February 17, 2010 at 11:24 am - Reply

    The scripture records how easily people can lose focus on Christ even for 1st Century followers eg. Seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20), Simon the sorcerer (Acts 8:9-24), etc. Thanks for reminding us that it is all about Jesus, no more, and no less!

  13. Marjorie House March 20, 2010 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Hello Chip

    All I can say is good stuff. Excellent article.
    This is a article that you should post often…Bless God

  14. Reluctant Visitor March 20, 2010 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    IF someone has a personal relationship with THE Lord Jesus Christ/Immanuel, why would they need to learn from anyone else? Christ is the head, right? Of course! So that makes him the proverbial “horse’s mouth”, now doesn’t it?! Therefore, what within you, or without you, is stopping you from going to the “horse’s mouth”? Come to me, saith the Lord, and I will feed you. Before he left, didn’t he say that he would send the spirit of truth who would teach you all things?

    Chip, you old sheepdog, what are ya herdin’ up the slopes of Zion?

    • Dana March 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      I’m not sure what reluctant visitor meant by his last sentence but I do know that I really appreciate true teachers of God’s Word. When I came to Jesus I was just amazed when I would read the Bible and know a lot of what it meant, or I would listen to a teaching and I would know it to be true. I realized that the truth was in me and I knew the teaching to be true without ever studying. I also know I have a heart that can be deceitful and lead astray.( Jer. 17:9)Teachers can help us bring the truth that is in us out, and to encourage, convict, rebuke and train in righteousness. I believe some have a true gift from God to teach the word. Some people are audio learners who learn better hearing the word rather then reading. Some have to work many hours to provide for their families and have time constraints from studying the Bible. I also know I can learn from the least to the greatest because each has a unique relationship with God and God reveals his truths to us. We need to have discernment and to be a lover of the truth. I know I need the ecclesia to grow in Jesus. If it was all up to me I may believe I can live a carnal lifestyle for myself without embracing the cross or I may believe I need to live a monk lifestyle out away from all people of the world. It’s not me and Jesus – it’s Jesus, me and the His body growing together being built up together into a spiritual house. (1Pet.2:4-5)

  15. eve May 6, 2010 at 9:26 am - Reply

    It’s all about Christ yes, life’s purpose and meaning and to seek to be so lead by Christ is a Christian’s highest calling.

    I would add, I am a member of the Ekklesia Christ’ spiritual church but I am also a member of a fellowship. Yes I see many things that could be improved in my fellowship, but I find deep within that my personal ministry includes those within my fellowship who seek a deeper walk with the Lord. It is like they are my neighbours.

    Who will show them the way, if we who are in the Ekklesia abandon them to their Christless Christianity?

    Christ walked with those who were the rejected members of society. I walk with those who seek Christ in a sometimes Christless church.

    Seek Christ and ask Him what you are meant to be doing in your relationship with him.

    Dead works, that is work without Christ’s blessing are fruitless, pointless and a waste of your resources given to you by Christ.

    Eve UK

  16. Christy May 29, 2010 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Thank you for putting into words the explanation about how even praise and worship can be without Christ within it.

    I discovered that about 20 or so years ago, as the veil began to fall from my eyes so I could truly see. I loved praise and worship, but more and more, as Christ began His work of revealing Himself in me, I realized He really wasn’t the object of our worship anymore. I assume He never was, but I just hadn’t seen it yet. The worship lyrics suddenly began to be just that–words. Empty, lifeless words at that. I was sad about that because it was such a huge part of my life, but knew if I wanted the abundant life He promised me, and to grow up in HIM, I had to follow Him and leave the shallowness of man-made religious observances behind. HE became the object of my adoration, and so brought me more fulfillment than I’d ever known before, even in one thousand and one praise and worship services!

    I don’t ever discourage anyone, though, who is in that place I was 20 years ago because I trust that the Father has His gentle timing in bringing those who are SINCERELY seeking Him first into a deeper walk in Christ.

    And, although what was life to me no longer brought Life in me, there was a time that the worship (public and private) helped me through some very deep waters, so to me at that time, it was where Father God ministered to my brokenness. So, I am VERY thankful to Him for that. Now, I receive and give love to Him in music, just not at the local organized church. I so appreciate now the traditional hymns, too, when before I thought they were, well, kind of boring! Lol. Praise God for the great hymns of old!

  17. vicki Miller November 7, 2010 at 3:16 am - Reply

    Praise The Lord Jesus, for keeping a remnant in these last days,to hunger for truth
    and for giving of Himself so we can have courage and boldness
    speak truth when most just want their ears tickled.
    Glory to God

  18. Jeane November 11, 2010 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    This is a really good word. Sometimes when we speak to people about our walk it ends up being “the walk” we are talking about – but failing to give all the glory to the Lord in the process!

    There is so much truth in this article. I have made a copy of this to go back to remind myself what the real goal is when we walk with Him.

    I have found myself drawn to places where the Lord truly wasn’t leading me by their music and have learned that “music” is one of the characters of Lucifer.

    I believe the Lord is now “waking up” believers that know Him, but have been sleeping. This article outlines where the pitfalls are and how we all need to stay awake.

    Years ago (after being saved for many years) my pastor spoke about heaven. I realized it didn’t sound wonderful for me – actually very boring. I went home – still believing I loved the Lord, but I began to really question my walk. I knew the Lord – up to a point. But I realized He had not come alive to me on a daily – hourly – minute basis.

    My wakeup call was realizing that He created me – He could do whatever He wanted to with me. We think we have “free will” – and we do – if we want to walk right straight into Hell. He showed me an ant farm and how those little ants are all running around “doing their thing” – believing that they are in control of their world – when in fact He holds the “whole world in His hands.” The wonderful thing is – His great love for us – that while we were yet sinners – Christ died for us.

    You were surely resting in the Lord’s hand when you wrote this one!

  19. A. Brother January 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm - Reply

    Chip:

    Thanks for your work in Christ. I just found your website today and registered (recommended by the editors of austin-sparks.net). My wife and I have been “out-of-church” Christ-followers for several years now, though we spent some time recently trying to break into a new, small church where we were living.

    I was an “evangelical of evangelicals” my entire life. I was steeped in Scripture, active in ministries, and held leadership positions in the “church”. Yet I led a life full of frustration and self-induced trouble, captive to sins and in constant inner turmoil. It was through many hard trials the Lord Jesus Christ brought me out of that life, and into Himself.

    I have a blog, which I’ve been writing and posting to faithfully for almost a year now. Like Paul, Christ took me out into the desert for a couple of years before that, to “unlearn” and discover by the Spirit what the Word of God really says, and to submit my life to His authority. This deliverance is still being worked, but He began giving me His strong teachings and told me to put them out there for those who needed them.

    Imagine my shock when I discover He is saying the same to you. Very few speak of the Christ-life versus the “Christian life”. Very few abandon the word “church” in favor of the Ekklesia. Very few talk of a “Christless Christianity”. Yet the Spirit has spoken the same things to me from Scripture, and I praise God that there are others finding that Christ has always been, and always will be the Father’s focus.

    Blessings on your work, and I would consider it a privilege if you would take a look at my blog and comment back to me about the teachings there.

    My faithful readers are from over 30 countries, and I pray that all those who exalt Christ, and focus on His sufficiency, and on the Christ-life, will be strengthened and encouraged by your teachings, and by mine and others who follow on the narrow road.

    I’m looking forward to what God will do through all of us in 2011!

    A. Brother Gary

  20. Kish Baruch, B. January 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    This is the message that we should be hearing at this time that the Church is growing cold. Thans so much!

  21. Marlene February 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this confirmation!!

  22. caroline owens January 29, 2016 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Amen Brother Chip

  23. James Mal July 17, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I f I am truly used to listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit (Inner Man) in me, then I do not have to Listen to any Voice that comes to me from any commercial preacher. I was talking to a preacher yesterday, he confirmed that we should not preach any Hard Things to people, otherwise the people who listen to us would not come to Jesus. Now he is not the only preacher I know personally, who try to make their sermon very glossy and plausible to allure the vulnerable. They are commercial preachers, and do their best to bring many closer to themselves and make them enter the Kingdom through the Back Door. Math. 13:36-42 They are thieves and robbers and their god is their belly and their end is destruction.

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