Trust God, Don't Grab Hagar
Our job is to trust God and walk in peace and love each other in the same way that we love our children. How do you know what your child will be like when he’s five years old and bouncing on your knee? Are you sure everything is going to turn out great? No, you don’t know for sure. But if you love them enough, and watch and care and pray for them, it stands to reason that they’ll turn out okay. If you hug them and care for them through the night when they are sick and love them like a good parent would, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll turn out strong and healthy. And they’ll probably be smarter and prettier than you are too. : )
There’s a pretty good chance that if we nurture them properly, God will get His way and they’ll grow up to be wonderful. That’s exactly the church! That’s Ekklesia! That’s the beauty of trusting organism rather than trusting organization which only slows us down.
If you’re not so sure about that, then look around. In the religious world, there are many people who are better with programs than any of us will ever be. They’re better administrators, they’re smarter and they’re more creative. They have more resources and more money than we do. They use multi-media and advertising and it seems so impressive! But what’s the fruit of that after all these years? The fruit is a lot of baby Christians, a lot of un-saved people that think they are Christians, a lot of sin and a lot of wretchedness. There are a lot of broken families, internet sins, and relationship sins.
Of course there are a few good people too. I’m not saying there aren’t some wonderful, wonderful people in the factory system. But I feel badly for them. I don’t feel mad or angry at them. I don’t have any judgment against them at all but actually have great compassion. I feel for them because they will never become in a factory, attendance-based system what they could have become in the Family of God where everyone loves them everyday and shares gifts with them mutually every single day.
Hebrews 3:13 says, “Admonish one another daily. Be called alongside.” In the Greek, the word is parakaleo. “Parakaleo, be called alongside, one another every day so that none are hardened and deceived by sin as long as it’s called Today” (Heb. 3:13). In case you wonder when that expires, it never does. It’s every day for the rest of our lives. We are called alongside our brothers and sisters so that none of us are hardened and none are deceived by sin.
If we live as Family, that organism will yield some beautiful, beautiful fruit in a way we never could have come up with on our own. Meanwhile, if we want organization we don’t have to look very far. People who do it much better than we ever could have written book after book after book about organization: How to Grow a Church, How to Evangelize, How to Start a Missionary Society, How to Start a House Church. Everything is administrated. If a person happens to talk more than 15 minutes this week, then they can’t talk next week. On this certain night we’ll have a ladies night where only the ladies can talk. Even house churches get turned into some kind of little miniature fake system. That’s not God’s heart for His people. That’s not in the Bible anywhere. It’s all make-believe stuff and bondage.
Let’s let God work through these things, and let’s help each other to be full of the Holy Ghost and full of wisdom. In some ways, that’s more costly and harder to do, isn’t it? It’s going to be harder for me to help you really know God than it is for me to help you accomplish some task or know some set of facts. To love you into greatness means I have to care about you day and night, and you have to care about me day and night. People don’t live the way we’re talking about because it’s too hard for them.
It’s easier to write books about how to have a missionary factory or house church factory or mega church factory with cell groups. The books of all that stuff could fill the earth, but check the fruit. Go to that place five years from now, and you’ll see just as many broken marriages and people falling into sin, and teens that fall in love with the world, than before anything was even started. For all of our efforts and all of our systems, the fruit doesn’t change.
I’m not talking about people who are worse than we are. The people who are using organization are trying to love God too, like we are. But whenever anyone tries to use men’s ways to accomplish God’s purposes, you end up with Hagar and Ishmael. You don’t get Sarah and Isaac. If you use God’s promises and God’s man, Abraham, but then you marry it to Egypt, the slave woman, you can only get Ishmael. And Ishmael rises up to persecute the child born of the Spirit (Gal. 4). There’s enmity and frustration and heartache in Ishmael.
If you want Isaac, you’ve got to trust God for miracles and not use men’s ways, like Hagar, to have a baby. If you start grabbing Hagar to have a baby, you can have nothing but Ishmael as a product. What’s born of flesh is flesh. If you add marketing and pizzazz, charisma and programs, machinery, gimmicks, titles, hierarchy and money—you try to add all that stuff to God’s Abraham and God’s promise and all you can ever get is Ishmael. Even if you marry a good thing or good intentions to the slave woman, it will only yield flesh, because what’s born of flesh is flesh (John 3:6).
It’s much harder to trust that Sarah, with her dead womb, can birth a baby. That’s the scary part of everything we’re talking about today. How do you do it? I honestly don’t know. Ask Hagar that, because I can’t help you there. But what I can do is inspire you to wait on Sarah and get all the unbelief and fear out of the way. And call out to God for Sarah to birth a baby out of nothing.
Out of the barren womb come forth laughter and the promise of God and the Spirit of God. There is no system or form or crutches. There’s organism, but not organization.