Birthing Bad Babies
If we build around relationships rather than around the calendar attendance from 9:00 to 11:00, if we build around “daily and public and from house to house,” then we begin to find out the difference between those who love the world, and those who hate the world but they’re just weak. They might look like they love the world, but really, they are weak and they need help overcoming their weakness. You can actually help someone change their life, which will change their children, which will change their children’s children. You can change generations and nations by doing what Jesus did with the twelve, and laying your life down for a few people in a quality way, instead of attending something.
Jesus did not “attend” the twelve, and the twelve did not “attend” Him. He came into their midst as one who serves, and that is the only Biblical model for Church. If we live that way, then someone who loves the world begins to be exposed as someone who loves the world. No longer can they control people or influence people. The false doctrines get rooted out really early because you see that their motives are impure. “Many” are trying to gather people after themselves, and are just divisive.
We can help solve the problems of worldliness or ambition early on, if we’re discerning, courageous, loving, patient and wise. If we just send those who love the world off to a home church, then they will take over and control whole groups of people. And then what do you do? In institutionalized “home church,” you would then have to blow up the home church and start over by assigning a new “leader.” Meanwhile, there are people who are hurt, and they leave because they don’t want to put up with that. So, it’s better that life comes from within, rather than trying to impose life from without.
All organisms that God creates grow from within. One cell turns into two cells. Man has his hands all over everything in his world—in business, in politics, in science, and construction. Man is constantly manipulating, handling, managing, and controlling his world for his own benefit. But the stuff that God grows, called in the biology world “organic matter,” has life. Scientists don’t know what life is, and they can’t even prove what makes a thing have life within. They can put all the molecules in the right place, but they can’t make it live. They can duplicate things that are already living, but they can’t make something that’s dead live. Only God can do that.
How does God create organic life in His Church? It’s always from within. I understand that it is a frightening thing to trust a living but unseen God with our lives, our decisions or even our moments. It’s a frightful, scary thing to give up control. We want to control. We want to own it, we want to fix it, and we want to make it work. We want to expand it and make it grow. This is why religious men have made millions of dollars off of God’s people by selling books on “church growth,” “leadership,” “discipleship,” “how to have a house church,” and other such things. This is man’s manipulation trying to bottle the Wind (John 3).
Well, the life that God creates grows. Sometimes it’s in seasons. We talked about this in Australia: it takes an elephant a couple of years to birth a baby, right? But other life forms conceive and reproduce in just a week. Different animals have different periods of pregnancy, gestation, before they give birth. Before you know it, a baby horse is very big and can run like the wind. A baby human is still small, and can’t run at all. So the different kinds of life that God creates all grow, but they grow at different paces, and at different speeds. They grow in different ways. This is how it is when Father is growing His Church in various villages, cities, and countries—every situation is unique if it’s truly Life.
Everyone knows that if you take a baby and you put it out on the street in the winter, it will get sick and perhaps die. All organic life needs care in order to live. Our job is to put that life of Jesus in the right place, in the right environment so that it can grow and prosper. This manipulation and control by “attendance based” christianity doesn’t help people grow very much. Ten years later, a baby Christian is probably still a baby Christian most of the time. True?
Many of you have been around a long time. If you take a hundred new converts, how many of them are really strong Christians ten years later? Maybe five out of a hundred? It’s not very many. Most of them are not any more mature after ten years than they were after one year, which means we’re probably doing something wrong in how we’re building the Church. Individuals, too, grow at different rates through different experiences and crises and through the quality of the Word of God and relationships they are exposed to. But everything that is alive, grows.
All of these things are incentives to look very seriously at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, because people are being hurt! We’re losing marriages, losing teens, and losing people into the world. They don’t care, and they don’t grow. Well, why is that? Perhaps it’s because we, as people who are responsible for other people, are putting roadblocks in their way instead of helping get the roadblocks out of their way. The way we do things can hurt people.
It’s like this: if I put my hands around a brother’s throat, he’s eventually going to stop breathing. I’ve hindered his life. A lot of man’s religion is choking out the life of God’s people because men are not doing it the way the Bible says to do it. We’re not doing it the way Jesus did with the twelve. We get bad results and we wonder why, when a lot of it is because we’re using men’s ways to try to accomplish God’s purposes. The purpose is right. When God promised Abraham a baby, Abraham used man’s way first and what did he get? Hagar and Ishmael. The child born in the logical way, the natural way, the child born of the slave woman will always rise up to persecute the child born of the Spirit (Galatians 4). It is the same today.
Paul acknowledged in Galatians 4, that if you birth a baby in a normal way using man’s logic—even though the baby was God’s plan—then bad things happen, right? Abraham and Sarah knew they were supposed to have a baby. Abraham was supposed to be the “father of many nations.” That was all God’s plan. It was a good goal, but they used man’s way to accomplish it, and all they got out of Hagar was Ishmael. They finally had to let Ishmael go out into the desert, with tears. Abraham’s own baby, who even looked like him, was under God’s judgment. Ishmael looked like Abraham; he was Abraham’s offspring. But Ishmael was born of the world and the world’s logic, and Abraham, with tears in his eyes, had to let him go off into the wilderness, with only his mother.
Now, the child born of Promise, the child born of the Spirit—that’s a risky business! God has got to do that. If you use man’s way to accomplish God’s goal, you’re going to end up with a badly mutant baby. If you trust God and do things God’s way, it’s very risky—it takes a miracle—but you end up with Spiritual Israel. When we trust Jesus to be alive and lead us, rather than getting our hands all over “the church,” we end up with God’s people flourishing. That’s why all these things are so important. We’ve built too many “Ishmaels” in our lifetimes. The right Daddy, the right Plan, the right Goal to have babies—those are all fine. However, modern cultural “attendance based” christianity has birthed babies out of Hagar, using the world’s wisdom and methods. But Jesus’ heart is that we build and live only by the Spirit of God—out of Sarah and “Laughter” comes Isaac.