This election season has exposed how deeply divided many of us are, even among those who profess to be Christian and believe the Bible. I’ve watched and participated in various discussions about voting for one presidential candidate over the other or not voting at all, and the principles used in making those decisions. However, what I have found to be blatantly missing from these discussions is the answer to the question of, “What is God doing? or “What is God saying to the Church?”
As I read the New Testament, it is blatantly evident that the early Church received clear direction and guidance from the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. Not only did they meet regularly for prayer and engaged with God, but God engaged with them, even well after the Jesus’ ascension. Furthermore, it is clear that this was the norm. So much so that the Lord even saw fit to include directions in the New Testament to make sure our meetings were conducted decently and in order. In spite of this, we have many Christian believers and groups of believers who have adopted the idea that these things have ended and that the Lord is no longer willing to speak to the Church, the same Church that is still built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus Christ himself still being the chief cornerstone! This idea is commonly known as Cessationism.
Paul, the Apostle, who was not one of the original twelve apostles, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, exhorted the church at Thessalonica to not quench the Spirit or treat prophecies with contempt, but to test them. (1 Thessalonians 5:20) Yet, those who adopt a Cessationist philosophy often make it a practice to quench the Spirit, despise all prophecies, and test nothing. In doing so they quench the very Advocate, Helper, and Spirit of truth, who Jesus said the Father would send to come along side us, teach us all things, and be with us forever. (John 14:16-18; 26)
The time has come for the Church to let the Word of God speak the truth for itself and for us to simply believe it! The time has come for the Church to abandon Cessationist teachings that nullify the Word of God for the sake of a tradition and/or for fear of things not being done decently.
When this happens, many of our highly programmed mass monologue’s that we wrongly call united prayer will once again resemble the meetings of the New Testament Church. Perhaps then, when we return home from the prayer meetings, we won’t all merely go about doing what is right in our own eyes, but instead we will have been equipped with a Word of wisdom or a Word of knowledge, and the family of the living God will be like the sons of Issachar who understand the times and know what the Church ought to do! I believe that is the kind of unity God is looking for and where He will in fact bestow His blessing (Psalm 133).
I say all this because it is the truth and because I believe the times demand that God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), be alive and awake to the voice of her Bridegroom, Christ Himself!
I fear that in all our debating of principles and theology, we have become like many Sadducees and Pharisees, who while rejecting each other, missed the time of their visitation because they failed to recognize Jesus and what He was doing among them as foretold by the very Scriptures they professed to believe in.
“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – Revelation 2:29
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” — John 10:27