WHO IS DOING WHAT?
I now want to write a blog relating to another Hymn/Poem written by Annie Johnson Flint. Before I do, I need to clearly say our God is:
- OMNIPOTENT He is all powerful
- OMNIPRESENT He is everywhere present ALL the time
- OMNISCIENT He is all-seeing and all-knowing
Our God is SOVEREIGN, and can do whatever He wants to do, in any way He wants to do it, and at anytime He wants to do something.
I now spell out this beautiful poem:
Christ has no hands but our hands to do His work today
He has no feet but our feet to lead men in the way
He has no tongue but our tongue to tell men how He died
He has no help but our help to bring them to His side
We are the only Bible the careless world will read,
We are the sinner’s gospel; we are the scoffer’s creed;
We are the Lord’s last message, given in word and deed;
What if the type is crooked? What if the print is blurred?
What if our hands are busy with other work than His?
What if our feet are walking where sin’s allurement is?
What if our tongue is speaking of things His lips would spurn?
How can we hope to help Him or welcome His return?
—Annie Johnston Flint
My Mentor constantly reminded me that in all our teaching and believing we must maintain BALANCE, Church History is replete with stories of ministries, that took verses out of context, and truths to extreme, and potentially a truth taken to an extreme can become a heresy.
I just want to give one example of the truth I see here, as many of my readers, are Church Planters, and other Ministries involved in Church work.
The best example I can find in the Gospels is Christ’s response to Peter’s revelation in Matthew 16:16-19NKJV Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” The Passion translation says: Simon Peter spoke up and said, “You are the Anointed One, the Son of the living God!”
Jesus replied, “You are favored and privileged Simeon, son of Jonah! For you didn’t discover this on your own, but my Father in heaven has supernaturally revealed it to you. I give you the name Peter, a stone. And this truth of who I am will be the bedrock foundation on which I will build my church—my legislative assembly, and the power of death will not be able to overpower it! I will give you the keys of heaven’s kingdom realm to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.”
Jesus said upon this REVELATION/CONFESSION (That Christ is the3 Son of the Living God) I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, and sadly there are Christians everywhere, who say, I choose to sit down and “watch” Jesus build the Church. This is a very poor interpretation of Christ’s words. Let me give you what I believe is a balanced correct interpretation of the Lord’s statement:
“I have given you the KEYS and the PATTERN and the empowering of the Holy Spirit now GO and build my Church”
In these very verses Jesus says I give you a set of keys to unlock my Kingdom to the world. Prophetically, God said in the Old Testament, we must build according to the pattern which He gives so clearly in the Word, and the result will be THE GLORY OF GOD comes.
A very practical illustration of this is found in Acts 4:23-31 NKJV. After the initial burst of blessing in the early Church, persecution broke out we read: And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:
‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’
“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done,
Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.
We see some important keys here:
- Preaching the Word of God with boldness
- Healings, Signs & Wonders
- Fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit
What major truths should be FOUNDATIONAL? I suggest the truths restored since the Reformation:
- Justification by Faith
- Water Baptism
- Sanctification/Victorious Living
- Aggressive Evangelism
- Being filled with the Holy Spirit and experiencing the Gifts of the Spirit.
I love the statement COMMITMENT ON THE ESSENTIALS AND LIBERTY ON THE NON ESSENTIALS. As a Bible teacher I am so aware it is easy to be caught up with some teachings that can become divisionary, and take us away from the essentials. Sadly this is often reflected in very titles of the churches.
- The Founder e.g. Luther or Wesley
- The Form of Government e.g. Presbyterian, Congregational, Episcopal
- The central doctrine/s e.g. Reformed, Pentecostal or Charismatic.
With the Lord’s help. let us try and keep it simple and take the keys and build a New Testament pattern Church for the glory of God.
My Catholic friends may be aware of the below words penned by Teresa of Avila, echoing Annie Johnson Flint words:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which He looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which He blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are His body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”