No Cork in the Bottle
In the churches, Paul came and he went and they couldn’t even find him half the time. He certainly wasn’t the centerpiece of their daily life, but they relied on him deeply. That’s the beauty of it.
If there’s no gift and no leadership, then there’s chaos and mayhem. If there’s leadership that comes from organization, it’s probably—
There is no Life.
There will probably be some Life because the gifts are real and people who love God are real. The organization of it makes it too rigid to find the fullness of Life. So will it become all that it could be? Probably not. But there will be some Life anywhere that there are true Christians.
Yes, true Christians with Jesus living inside. There will always be Life wherever Jesus is, but it doesn’t ever become all it could become if men are in the way making rules and other things that pull people back. There’s a cork on the bottle.
What if the pastor does all the preaching on Sunday, for example? What he says might be true 90% of the time. (We can’t say anyone would be 100% but we’ll say 90% to be complimentary, although it’s probably far less than that.) The point is, that even if everything he says is true 90% of the time and he is the official person who does all the sermons—how do we then make an outlet for everyone to be teachers? How do we obey Hebrews 5 which says, “You all ought to be teachers by now but you’re still babies”?
How do we make an outlet for everyone to give? How can everyone who has Jesus inside also participate and have the Jesus in them speak to the whole body of believers? Is the Jesus in one person different from the Jesus in another? No. The gifts may be different and the maturity and understanding may be different. But Jesus can still speak even through a donkey. Right?
If Jesus is inside of a person, ALL of Jesus is inside of a person because He doesn’t split Himself up. “Well, I only have part of Jesus. Only His hand lives in me.” No, that’s not true. It’s the person of Jesus who has come to make His home in me if I’m a Christian. That’s what He prophesied would be true of the New Covenant.
So I have to allow for the fact that a new Christian that’s born a second time, born of water and of the Spirit, might have something for the Body of Christ when the whole Church is together. I have to make an allowance for that possibility. It might not happen very often that a young Christian would have something to say in that setting, but I mustn’t have a format that prohibits the possibility. The most mature people will probably do the most good and affect the most people most of the time. They might have to temper some things that younger brothers and sisters would say. They might need to fill in the gaps of something an immature person says that is right, but not totally right.
Perhaps a younger Christian says, “I have something to say to everyone.” Several of the older brothers might then ask, “What is it that you would like to say?” They hear him and say, “That’s right. Amen. Go do that.” And so he then speaks to the whole body. Maybe he stumbles over himself a little bit, so one of the older brothers comes alongside of him and says, “Is this what you’re trying to say, brother? Is this it?” And the younger brother says, “Yes, that’s it!” Then the younger one takes off again and expands on it. So there’s a tempering without controlling. And everybody’s gift then comes out.
For example, in a group of believers of a thousand, you would be welcome to speak to the whole body of believers if you felt like God had something for you to say. It wouldn’t be just a “pastor” that’s the official “sermon-giver” who could speak, but the whole body of Christ could participate. Certain others might not speak out very often, but they’re free to. And that’s the beautiful part—they’re not expected to but they’re free to. It’s not a democracy in the sense that everybody chips in their own ideas any time they want. That would be chaos. But it’s following where the Anointing is. The way Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 14 was, “When revelation comes to the second, let the first one sit down.”
I might have something to say that’s a passion and anointing and reality. Then someone else has something to say, so after I’ve finished up (so he’s not being rude of course), he says, “Can I say something too?” So the “second” stands up and the “first” sits down. Maybe the first person never stands up again. It’s because he’s not the gate that everything has to go through.
Yes, that is so true.
Jesus is the gate that everything goes through. One brother is not the official filter or the cork in the bottle. It can be scary stuff, but for 24 years in that environment, it’s been very beautiful to watch how God can raise people up.
From what you say I don’t see a lot of difference from what we’ve experienced here.
I can say that there are far more similarities than differences—many similarities. One difference, however, is that no one ever expects me or anyone else to be the official person. We’re all watching for what God wants to do when everyone’s together. I don’t start or end the meetings, and no one expects me to do anything in the meeting except love God and love others. That doesn’t mean I won’t do anything. It’s just that we’re all watching. I might be a very small part or I might be an invisible part. Or I might actually have something to say for three hours. But I’m not expected to, and that would be the main difference. Everyone should expect something of themselves instead of expecting one man to be the official person.
Let’s talk about Hebrews. We are to consider how to spur one another on to love and good works and not forsake the gathering of ourselves together. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Don’t forsake the gathering of yourselves together.” It is prefaced by Hebrews 10:24: “Consider how to spur one another on to love and good works.” It doesn’t talk about reflecting on the message after it’s over. It talks about everyone coming prepared and ready even to give the message. There’s a liberty that would allow anyone to do that.
That’s perhaps one more level for you all of following the Life—following the Life in regard to who actually gives the message. There are no expectations that one person automatically knows God better than everybody else.
I think when we have our times together, there are always times when anybody can stand up and speak.
Yes, that’s unique and very special.
With us there are often days when it’s open and anybody can stand and speak.
We understand that someone who has something to say as an apostle will have a direction for the rest of us to follow. He can explain and it will be confirmed by the other believers, or not.
Right. We have much more in common than not, because those are building blocks of Life and that’s powerful. And even though it’s right, it’s very rare. Would you say, Kevin, that we have the apostolic gift in our midst too?
Yes, so those gifts are there, but they don’t dominate the meeting necessarily. They could, but they don’t automatically. They’re not automatically the ones to—
They don’t dominate each time.
Definitely not each time. It would depend on what’s happening but there’s no expectation. No one looks to them. Everyone, including the apostolic gift, looks to Jesus. With a strong gift like that, they’re definitely going to have very strong influence. But they don’t call the meeting, plan the meeting, and start the meeting. They’re there and their influence is felt like Samuel’s was in Israel. But they’re not the head of it the way Saul was in Israel.
Of the two, Samuel was more powerful than Saul. But Saul was expected to rule the kingdom; Samuel did rule the kingdom, but he wasn’t expected to. They needed him desperately though which is the point you were making.
I’m not suggesting you change anything with how things are at the moment in the meetings. I’m just promoting the thought that this idea of following the Life and being led by the Spirit can actually go past the meeting into the daily life and into the very nature of leadership.