Many Christians have moved to a new intimate relationship of loving communion with God. – In the Father’s manifest presence we are changed by His love and become more as Christ is in the world. The church (ekklesia) is developing a “kingdom of God focus” – seeking the kingdom personally and corporately, in the home, the marketplace, and the city. The greatest and most glorious expression of church is the soon coming Bride of Christ, New Jerusalem, kingdom age church. The major shift from the “church or man emphasis age church” to the “kingdom or God emphasis age church” is perhaps the most exciting event since Pentecost The outpourings of the Spirit that brought the Pentecostal revival of a century ago and the renewal revival of a decade ago have reset the stage. The ingredients are now in place for the spiritual events that were planned and begun 2000 years ago.
….I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, Eph 3:14-15
The Bride church of New Jerusalem as described in Revelation 21 is a clear picture of the purified holy church of the kingdom of God age. The patterns and focus of the Bride church are heavenly. The focus of the “church age” church has been meeting the needs of man beginning with his salvation or redemption from sin. The focus of the “kingdom age” church is the glory of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
There are many aspects of the kingdom of God and all of the parts are necessary to make up the whole. There are two basic aspects to consider, Heaven and Earth or God and man. The kingdom that Jesus preached and taught is from heaven and for earth. His kingdom is not from earth but it is for earth. It is the kingdom of heaven come to earth. Therefore there is a heavenly side and an earthly side to the kingdom of God. The kingdom is of and from God; it is in and through man by the Holy Spirit.
Focus on the heavenly family.
The self nature of man has perverted the primary focus of the work of many churches and ministries in the past. Christian institutions have catered to the needs and desires of man creating a primary focus first on self and secondly on earthly family. Certainly the provision and well being of ourselves and our families is an important aspect of the kingdom of God. Truly God’s desire is that earthly families reflect an image of our heavenly or spiritual family. However, having made our self and our family or even our church family the primary focus has robbed us of the reality of the fullness of our heavenly family.
A major principle of the kingdom is that seeking first (primarily focusing on) the kingdom of God causes all the other earthly things to be added in order. Focusing first on ourselves, and our natural or church families can actually prevent the provision of the very things we are seeking. First things must be first in the kingdom.
Mat 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Luke 18:29-30: So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, “who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The first focus of selfish life is myself and just next to that is mine. My family, my friends, my stuff, my reputation, and so on. Catering to the desires of self in people is eroding the crumbling institutional church as individual lives corrupt and families fall apart. An intense focus on correcting the symptoms and fixing the problems through training by psychological and intellectual methods may have provided some surface healing of the problems but has totally failed to cure the problems and bring forth the kingdom of God lifestyle.
The kingdom of God church reality must be revealed in our spirits.
The kingdom church is a spiritual reality. It is the FAMILY OF GOD. The FATHER and the SON from heaven on earth indwelling the many sons of the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Our first kingdom priority is our spiritual family relationship with FATHER who is above all and His only begotten SON who is King of earth and Heir to the throne of heaven with the many sons who are joint heirs. Sons who are born spiritually by the Holy Spirit into Christ are sons with Him. As they live and walk in the Holy Spirit as mature sons they experience the fullness of the kingdom as heirs with Christ.
Rom 8:13-17: For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs; heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (The Greek word translated adoption above is: huiothesia:G5206 – sonship or the placing as a son)
One of the characteristics of a natural blood line family is something called DNA. There is a spiritual equivalent to DNA. Birthed by the Spirit of God into Christ and receiving the Spirit of Christ, implants the family line spiritual DNA of God which transforms our spiritual DNA to the family blood line of God by the Spirit of adoption. By the Holy Spirit, the very life of Christ carrying the spiritual DNA of Father abides within true sons. Only by the Spirit can we relate to our spiritual family in heaven and earth.
The kingdom age order of church is “spiritual family” relationships.
Kingdom church gatherings are spiritual meetings of the HEAVENLY FAMILY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT. Not just natural family and not just church family – HEAVENLY FAMILY IN THE SPIRIT. Our gatherings in the kingdom church age are a coming together with God our Father and Jesus our mediator and with holy angels and spirits of mature just men (sons).
Heb 12:22-24: But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
In a gathering including God the judge of all and Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, who among you is willing to stand and take charge of the meeting? We all will want to know the Holy Spirit is moving in us and directing us before we speak. Every word not spoken by the Spirit is an idle word and is of no value in the kingdom family assembly. Also who is ready to resist and not move or speak when and as the Spirit directs.
Heb 12:25-26: See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
People walking in the flesh who are by nature carnal minded cannot possibly relate in heavenly family gatherings. They can relate to natural family and man focused “church” gatherings but not to spiritual family gatherings. Religious institutions that are focused on the natural can grow rapidly by feeding the needs of carnal Christians and by employing intellectual wisdom and psychological adjustments toward lessening the symptoms and coping with the problems generated by self focused living. These works can never solve the deep problems generated by a lack of intimate relationship with God through Jesus by the Holy Spirit. It is only by the Holy Spirit that the word can become alive and powerful in changing lives and eventually the world.
This pattern is very different from most of our past experiences. This indeed is one of the major changes and paradigm shifts that we have heard was coming and didn’t know what it was. Now it is coming clearly into view. It is one major step in regaining our destiny as a people of God and as a nation.
In America the destiny of God has again been delayed by another generation that has been overtaken with self and religion. The Holy Spirit is again seeking to bring forth a new generation of young and old, rich and poor, male and female, and of every race who will regain the passion of the destiny of the kingdom of God from heaven coming forth in our nation and across the world. The shaking and crumbling of life and religion as we have known them are just part of the great change God is bringing through Jesus in His maturing sons by the Holy Spirit. Yet once more God is reaching for a people of passion who will receive the kingdom of God.
Heb 12:27-13:1: Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. Let brotherly love continue.
Pursue Love, It Never Fails,
The goal of the ministry of the church.
The primary goal is not a bigger group, more activities or better services, it is not even benevolent acts, nor greater prosperity, and not even more and better evangelism, neither is it healing oremotional healing and deliverance. All of these and more are the results of the goal of the “ekklesia” (assembly of called out ones). The goal is Christ formed by the Holy Spirit in a people becoming His character and His nature in the world producing the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
This is the work of the Holy Spirit in the humble and not a work of man’s prideful efforts. The Holy Spirit brings the life of Christ within replacing our dead self-life. It is Christ being formed within by the same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead.
Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
The major fruit of the Spirit flowing from the Christ within is love. Unconditional love flowing from a pure heart leads to all the other fruits of the Spirit including joy, peace and faith to name a few. (Gal 5:22:KJV)
The love of Christ flowing from a pure heart is the most powerful world changing force. Fear, pride, lust, greed, envy, and every evil work can be overpowered by love from a pure hearted ekklesia touching and changing our household and those who abide within then spilling out to the world.
Paul spoke clearly the goal of ministry to Timothy.
1 Tim 1:5 NIV: The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
The Church is moving to embrace the goal expressed in the early church.
For a number of years the prophets have proclaimed a coming paradigm shift and the return of functioning apostles to help lead toward the new landscape. Many in the past have also added that they had no clear picture of what the new landscape of church would look like.
Now that the shift is in process and the new landscape is coming into view many are extremely surprised and even astonished. Some doubt that it is God doing the shifting. In reality we are all in a state of transition and are at different places in the journey of transition. And some have not yet taken the first step toward following this movement of the cloud and pillar of fire.
Some key words of this season are: intimacy with God, Father’s love, “Christ in you”, Holy Spirit saturation, soaking, God’s manifest presence, transformation, reformation, church without walls and more. Relationship is a major concept of the shift – first intimate relationship with God and then with one another. The love and gifts flowing through relationship are becoming the primary structure replacing institutional structure.
Without brokenness leading to real repentance and real humility it is impossible to relate to God intimately. Intimacy with God is primary. Without intimately relating with God through the Holy Spirit it is not possible to see what is shifting and how it will look. To begin to view some light on the shift it is absolutely necessary to get in close contact with the Holy Spirit and get out of the mind set that our particular flavor of religious system or structure is the final destination. The Spirit must reveal to us that our “system” is NOT the church. We do not go to the church nor join the church. We are added to the church and we are the church. The church is the “ekklesia” (assembly of called out ones). Most every Bible teacher has taught about the priesthood of the believer but it has not really been fully practiced in the past. The “clergy/laity” system made it impossible for the full reality of the priesthood of the believer to come forth.
The church is NOT passing away – the systems are passing away.
In the confusion of the transition some think that anarchy and rebellion are coming against the church and attempting to throw off the leadership of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher. If there are any such people out there I personally have not come into contact with them and they are definitely wrong. Let me assure you that the new paradigm will bring forth many times more gifted leaders than we ever had in the passing systems. The Holy Spirit will have freedom to bring forth multitudes of gifted men and women who have in the passing systems been relegated to pew sitting, or limited jobs within the system.
In recent decades many have become discouraged and have left religious systems in search of more reality of God. Often these pilgrims have spent years in a wilderness type experiences. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness before joining with others to fulfill his purposes. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before joining with others and moving toward the fulfillment of His life ministry. Paul also endured a wilderness season. Many scattered wilderness dwellers who had left the old are beginning to re connect and find their place in the ekklesia. For the most part they never wanted to leave God but had to leave the life limiting traditional clergy/laity structure. It is not the way of God to remain isolated from the rest of the body forever though the wilderness experience may have served a purpose and seasons of separation alone with God are often significantly used of God.
We are now coming to understand the difference between leadership and headship.
There is one head of the ekklesia. There are no people to stand as head over the ekklesia or to represent the head to the mature believers. The head is Christ Jesus flowing through the Holy Spirit and living in all his people.
Then you ask, what is leadership?
Leadership implies being in front of a moving group that is following. It simply means those further down the road. They are all on the same road. The mature lead the immature until they are matured and then they lead other immature in turn. Spiritual maturity is being able to clearly hear God and then being able to fully obey. If we are childish and yet have a self-life – if we are plagued by unhealed inner wounds and inner needs that drive us, we will not clearly hear God and will lack the ability to fully obey or carry out the instruction or direction from God.
Another word for mature is elder. Now, we need to lose our understanding of an elder from the passing system of church offices. We also need to lose our understanding of apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastor and teachers as church system offices. Elders lead by example training and assisting the immature. They shepherd and oversee. They allow the maturing disciples to watch them and their lives. Then the elders release the maturing disciples to do the work while they watch. Then they leave them doing the work and relate to the mature ones no longer as sons or daughters but as grown brothers and sisters who are themselves now mature or elder.
The servant gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd and teacher are already in the people while they were yet immature but cannot flow out to others until they are mature (elder). Therefore elders may be by their gifting apostles, prophets, evangelist, shepherds or teachers. The practical reality of the masses flowing and exercising their spiritual gifts greatly multiplies the leadership of the ekklesia. This greatly increases the discipleship and evangelism of the Body.
All this takes place in a multitude of generic family style groups and public gatherings where Christ in the people by the Holy Spirit connects with the manifest presence of Christ from the throne by the Holy Spirit and the true Head is joined to the Body.
This living Body of believers released to function as priests and kings will provide millions more leaders to lead the immature in multitudes of local groups and to flow from group to group bringing the gifts God has given them.
The Holy Spirit will guide everyone who can hear and obey.
Those who cannot yet hear and obey will be led and trained by elders who are matured through much affliction, humbled and purified by the love of God experience, to the point that they can clearly hear and obey. This is God’s original design to bring forth the Body and Bride of Christ into the world. Christ being formed in many bodies networked together by the Holy Spirit as the one Body of Christ. It is Christ in you that is the hope of glory and the method for the kingdom of God to function on earth as it is in heaven.
Be careful not to be mislead.
It can be easy to be mislead by the fierce reactions of those who are not yet understanding the shift and are fearful of the loss of the systems that have served us for so long. Also do not be mislead by those who would attempt to hijack the developing movement with a repackaging of the passing system practices with new labels.
The shift is not all about how or where groups come together. You can have the old system traditional church in a house or at work and simply continue the traditions of men in a different venue. Or you can have a Christ led first century style assembly in a house or a red brick building. The move is about Christ truly becoming the head in a practical real way and not just in word only.
Consider the timing.
This shift is a work of God through the Holy Spirit and is occurring over a period of time. This will NOT all happen today or tomorrow. It may be years or it may be hundreds of years before this transition season is over. It would be a huge mistake to get into the flesh and try to bring about by human effort what God is doing. It would be equally problematic to try to run ahead of the work the Holy Spirit is doing. Feeding from the tree of knowledge of good and of evil led us into the perversions of the past. Partaking from the tree of life of intimate relationship with God to clearly hear Him and fully obey His direction will cause us to walk precisely in His will and timing. For today and the near future it is certain that the presentation of church will have many and varied transitional models that God will use as much as he can.
Many factors will affect the transition including world political conditions. In increasing parts of the world, the true church is underground because of governmental and religious extreme persecution. While in other places freedom and favor for the church may be increasing.
The Early Church (Ekklesia) Model
In the early church the gifted but humble apostolic servant leaders lived among the people and taught them publicly and from house to house. They ate together with gladness and simplicity of heart. A multiplicity of elders (spiritually mature leaders) cared for the city church that met in houses and gathered publicly daily on occasions.
Acts 2:46: So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart,
Acts 20:17-20: From Miletus he (Paul) sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church. And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, “serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; “how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house,
Pursue Love, It Never Fails,