Report From The Tower
From the days of Luther, we got a bible where the 13 epistles of Paul were arranged not chronologically, but by doctrine. Luther felt that Romans and 1 Corinthians had the most doctrine, so he put them first, even though Romans was the 6th epistle and 1 Corinthians was the 4th epistle that Paul wrote.
The result is that almost nobody knows the story, but we are all force fed a lot of doctrinal stuff from the moment we are born again. We are fed doctrines, teachings, bible studies, word studies, catechisms, concordances, bible dictionaries, software programs, Sunday school life stories, Hebrew and Greek meanings and all the rest. Nobody knows the story.
Paul planted his first four churches in Galatia (Eastern Turkey). The members were of the very poorest class, totally uneducated and they were almost totally illiterate. The average life expectancy of a Galatian was forty years.
If you sort out the story, you will find that in the first EIGHT years of the life of these four churches, they each had their itinerate church planter PAUL with them for a grand total of five months apiece.
They did not have bibles. They had no elders or learned men. NO PASTOR! They had no teachers or prophets. Paul introduced them to Jesus, and saw that they were filled with the Holy Spirit. THEN HE LEFT THEM.
I'm now quoting from Gene Edward's book BEYOND RADICAL:
"In eleven years of church planting Paul has made over twenty-five departures. He leaves twenty-five times. He has left nine churches he raised up. In eleven years! Further, the average time spent with most of these churches, stretched out over a period of eleven years, is still about six months. The exceptions? Corinth: eighteen months plus two later visits of one month and three months. Ephesus: about three and a half years. As for all the others: SIX MONTHS in ELEVEN YEARS.
My point is this: what were those churches doing? They certainly were not studying doctrine! They did not even know a bit of the old testament other than what Paul had told them about, and he did not burden them with any laws. We know from ACTS that Paul had not burdened those Galatians with a single bit of Judaism. Those Galatians were not intended to know anything but CHRIST and HIM CRUCIFIED and RISEN FROM THE DEAD for many, many years. They would not have known anything else if some Judaizers had not gone down to them from Jerusalem, with another gospel, and Paul pronounced a double curse on their heads for doing so.
Scripture says that 16 years after Jesus went to heaven, the church in Jerusalem had elders. SIXTEEN YEARS! So, it took sixteen years before some men were recognized as being something worthy of a title.
The church that changed the world was born to gentiles in places where there were not too many deep thinkers. There were not hardly any readers! Can my fellow Americans even believe this? It does not matter: it is the truth!
These people began IN THE SPIRIT, as Paul had said of them in his letter to them. Later on, people went down from Jerusalem to Judaize them, and teach them Jewish doctrines and such. Paul said he marvelled that they were removed from HIM THAT CALLED YOU INTO THE GRACE OF CHRIST unto another gospel (Gal 1:6).
Who was that HIM? That was the Holy Spirit.
For Paul and these Galatian churches, holding on to the head, Christ Jesus, and being taught by the HOLY SPIRIT, was deemed to be sufficient. Once this was in place, Paul felt it was good for him to LEAVE.
I have visited and preached in Africa. The people are illiterate in many cases. They are of abject poverty and live in huts of mud. And yet, they are capable of loving Jesus Christ our Lord. They are also capable of being filled with the Holy Spirit. I do not perceive that too many of them are deep thinkers, and yet, God designed this plan. It must be a workable and good plan, for God designed it.
You would think, from the AMERIKAN megachurch model, that no African could possibly do well as a Christian disciple because they have a hard time with all the doctrine, the Greek and Hebrew, the eschatology and the like. They don't own a bible to study. They have no computer to run bible software. They don't even have electricity.
The nearest library may be more than ten hours away. Most of them never journey more than 100 miles from their birthplace in their lifetime. And yet, God has given instructions that the gospel is to go to all the world, including the illiterates and the poor.
If you went to Africa, and preached on 95% of the things that American "christians" discuss, they would roll their eyes, and walk away. They don't have a clue about Israel and the Jews, and they don't care. They won't touch Jerusalem because they don't know where it is. And yet, God has said that He will make up His kingdom with little children like this. If you want to talk about the rapture, they won't have a clue. Preach that Jesus is coming back, and they will listen.
I fear greatly in all of this that we spend so much of our time picking apart minutia and details. We beat things to death. We try to create our own end times timeline and sort everything out. We know so much, and can spout doctrines, Greek and Hebrew. We can debate free will versus predestination.
BUT DO WE KNOW JESUS?
I have a brother .......yes a real brother in the Lord, named Tracey Meeks. I have determined that this weekend, we are going to preach the gospel again. We are going to sit at the feet of Jesus!
Why? Because I need to do it! It is the only way I am going to navigate these difficult waters I am in. If I get through these next six months unscathed, it will not be because I am smart. It will be because I know Jesus and He has His hand on me and will not let me go! I need to be just like those Africans, and those Galatians.
In times past, when I resolved that we needed to run to Jesus, and hold tightly to his head, I get the feeling that I lose listeners to the radio program. Americans appear to be bored with the gospel. It is not exciting enough.
Have we spent sufficient time in sitting at the feet of Jesus?
Have we gotten ourselves a brother or sister or two or three, and tried to do the things you need to do to gain a brother or a sister in the Lord? I am not talking about sitting next to someone in Church!
Have we laid down our lives, taken up our crosses, and followed Him?
It seems to me, and I am just a humble ex-cpa from Illinois, now living in Florida, that those Galatians might think we are all very weird.
They were FORCED BY THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES to know NOTHING but JESUS. We had the opportunity presented to us to go on and know so much more.
Would they even recognize us?
Stephen L. Bening
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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