How We Are To Keep The Lord’s House Clean and His Body Healthy?


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How We Are To Keep The Lord’s House Clean and His Body Healthy?

The goal of this study today is to remind us all who we are as “the christ of Christ”, and to show you the scriptures which will keep us as a clean house for our Lord, and a healthy functioning body in Him.

I want to make clear that in referring to all the verses you will be hearing today, that I am well aware the “I have [no] dominion over your faith”, and that I want to be very careful and adhere to the warning of our Lord, and of the apostles Paul and Peter that your leaders are never to be ‘as lords over the Lord’s flock’.

Mat 20:25  But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26  It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
Mat 20:27  and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

2Co 1:24  Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

You know a tree by its fruit, and it is that very fruit which will tell us who we are and who our leaders are that God has set in the body of Christ to be “vigilant for your souls” (Heb 13:17).

In Acts 22 Paul is relating what happened to him on the road to Damascus. He is speaking to the multitude at Jerusalem, who had just “[gone] about to kill him.” After relating his qualifications as a good Pharisee, he tells them that he had been so zealous for the traditions of his fathers that he had taken it upon himself to go to the chief priests in Jerusalem and secure papers giving him the authority to apprehend and discipline Christians in Damascus.

Then he tells them of being struck to the ground and hearing a voice asking “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” Then he relates these words to that angry multitude:

Act 22:8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutes.

You and I are here together today because God has given us the faith that we are Jesus of Nazareth who is being persecuted by those who think they are doing God a service by attempting to destroy us. Paul, as a type of each of us, came to believe what Christ told him there on the road to Damascus, and he made this statement:

Php 3:10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

How has God ordained that we “may know Him”? Has he ordained that we each get into our Bibles, isolate ourselves from each other and the world and get to know Him? The answer is Absolutely not! Christ Himself said this:

Joh 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
Joh 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

And He also made this statement:

Luk 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

So what we do to each other is what we are doing to Christ, if indeed we are Him and His body and His called out ones, His church.

God is using His church to make known the gospel and the doctrines of the kingdom of God “through their word”. Paul gives us the very same message:

Eph 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Eph 3:10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

How does the holy spirit use the church to make known the manifold wisdom of God? Here are the scriptures on how that is accomplished:

1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
1Co 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

God has set us all exactly where we are in the church of God, and we are not to compare ourselves among ourselves. We are all equal in Christ, but that does not mean that we all have the same function within the church and body of Christ.

A very basic doctrine of the body of Christ is that of “be[ing] one in Christ”. ‘Being of one mind’ does not mean that women in Christ can be the head of the house or the church. This body of believers has some of the most godly women in the world within it, and they are all grateful to let the “the man [be] the head of the woman”, reflecting the principle that “the head of Christ is God”.

1Co 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Speaking of the marriage relationship, Paul tells us the the wife is to submit to her husband “as unto the Lord”.  Those are politically incorrect words, but they are straight out of the Bible:

Eph 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

“As Christ is the head of the church” is very plain language, but to impress this upon us, after giving many admonitions concerning how a marriage is to reflect “as Christ is the head of the church”, Paul makes himself super clear on this matter:

Eph 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

Does this same order carry through into Christ’s church? Yes, of course it does. There is order in both the symbols of the body and of the house of God:

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Paul is speaking to the elders of the church of Ephesus, and he tells us that “God hath made you overseers… [of] the church of God”. Then in one of the earliest of his epistles, He gives us this admonition:

1Th 5:12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;
1Th 5:13 And [we beseech you] to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.
1Th 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

The church is called “the body” of Christ because our bodies have a very orderly arrangement in placing each member of that ‘body’ exactly where it is within ‘the body’.

1Co 12:14 For the body is not one member, but many.
1Co 12:15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
1Co 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
1Co 12:19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

This is what we are “beseech[ed]” to do as members of the body of Christ:

1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

It was Christ Himself who first emphasized the importance of right and Godly doctrine, and He contrasted it with “the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees”:

Mat 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Mat 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Mat 16:12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

This is a very clear warning from our Lord Himself about what most concerned Him. He warned His apostles to “try the spirits” and “beware of…the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.” False doctrine is a major concern for the overseers of the Lord’s flock, and we are told that they “watch for our souls as they that must give an account” of whether or not they have done so (Heb 13:17).

Of those elders and overseers who do “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” we are told this:

1Ti 5:17 Let the elders that rule well [Greek – are “esteemed highly for their works’ sake”] be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
1Ti 5:18 For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.
1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
1Ti 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

Elders are to be afforded the same courtesy we are commanded to give any brother who trespasses against another. Let no one tell you that “if your brother trespasses against you” does not include bringing false doctrines to you individually or into the body of Christ. There is no greater trespass against your brother than to lead him into apostasy and into false doctrine.

“Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses”, is speaking specifically of those who “labor in the word and in doctrine”, and “trespassing against” a brother is specifically named as including “transgressing… in doctrine”.

2Jn 1:8 Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.
2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

That is just how important is the right doctrine. Falling for false doctrine will cause us to “lose… those things which we have wrought”.

When a brother “transgresses, and abides not in the doctrine of Christ” we are told he “has not God”. That is how critical the knowledge is of the doctrine and the mind of Christ.

When a brother transgresses in doctrine this is what “the elders that lead well” will always do. It is in the very next two verses:

2Jn 1:10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
2Jn 1:11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

The words of our Lord in Matthew 18 add to “the sum of [His] Word” of what we are to do when a brother transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ:

Mat 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, [including “transgressing in doctrine”] go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Mat 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

This is the doctrine of Christ Himself. It is designed to keep His church cleansed of the mold and leprosy of the deadly false doctrines which would rob the church of God of the unity and peace which are the fruit of the “one mind and one mouth” of Christ.

Psa 133:1 A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.

And yet these words are despised by many, and counted as bondage and something to be avoided. And that is the very reason we have tens of thousands of conflicting Christian denominations which all teach the same doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. The Pharisees and the Sadducees also co-existed, telling each other that they had “Unity in the essentials, tolerance in the nonessentials, and in all things, love”. This brother is here to tell you that is a doctrine of demons, which precludes the “one mind [of] Jesus of Nazareth”.

“Be of one mind” is also counted to be a divisive and burdensome doctrine, along with “Ye observe days, months times and years. I fear lest I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.” When your elders and leaders stand on these doctrines, you are told in scripture that they are “vigilant for the sake of your souls”, and this is what you are told to do as part of the body of Christ.

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you. (CLV)

That, my brothers and sisters in Christ, is why we had this trial in this body. Your leaders were being “vigilant for the sake of your souls”. and they stopped an heretical doctrine from afflicting the Lord’s body. Anyone who thinks we just took it upon ourselves to abuse a brother is sorely misinformed. Anyone who is speaking of us, your elders, in that way is listening to an insidious and lying spirit which will rob us of our unity and single-mindedness in Christ. That decision was made only after much anguish of soul, and much consultation. We had taken it to the offender first, then in private emails had taken another brother, and it seemed at that point we were all on the same page, and it was resolved.  As one sister said, it seemed as though there was no need to take it to the church. It appeared to have been resolved. We had diligently listened to the voice of the Lord, and had been vigilant for your souls and not allowed heresy to afflict this body. Our sin was a procedural matter, for which we have repented publicly.

It was after all of this that the elders were rejected as leaders and everyone who participated in that Sunday study was rejected as a multitude of counselors. Only then did we act rashly. That was when we should have brought the church back into the discussion concerning the fate of our brother. We must always repent when we make a mistake, and we did, but we must never repent of having stopped that heresy of the teaching that we should not use the words fear and punishment which God pours out on the kingdom of our beast. The elders had been vigilant for your souls and had not allowed that heresy to afflict our Lord’s body.  That doctrine of fear and punishment is integral to the gospel of the kingdom of God within us. Our old man and his kingdom is doomed, and everything that breathes within that kingdom is doomed and “cannot inherit the kingdom of God”.

Nevertheless an elder must walk a very narrow path. His only means of leading is by “persuad[ing]” you with the Words of God, and by his own faithful example of being willing to follow in the footsteps of Christ, who did not think it bondage to come out from under the observing of “days, months, times, and years”, or to be of one mind in Christ, and to teach you to be persuaded of your leaders and defer to them.

1Pe 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

2Ti 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

That is exactly what has happened, and it happened because your elders were “vigilant for your souls”. Your leaders receive no salaries. They know that the product they have is not a marketable product, and that it will be received and appreciated only by those who the holy spirit first crushes and then drags to the Christ. Pray for guidance. Keep in the Word. Ask for discernment to hear and follow the voice of the true shepherd. Those you perceive as leaders have no dominion over your faith.

2Co 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

This is who we all are:

Tit 1:7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
Tit 1:8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
Tit 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.
Tit 1:10 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:

Are any of the elders yet perfected? Of course not! But rest assured that every move they make, even their every mistake, is done because they are attempting to “hold fast the faithful word as they have been taught” by the Word of God and by the multitude of counselors which are those in whom Christ dwells and who the holy spirit crushes and brings to this body of believers. That is who “a multitude of counselors are”. They are those who the Lord brings to us. They hear the voice of the True Shepherd. They are those who are striving to be of the one mind of Christ, and who do not consider Christ’s words to be bondage and burdensome.

Look at just how important it is that we all “be of the same mind”:

Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2Co 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

Php 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

Php 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

The leaders of Babylon will not touch that doctrine with a ten-foot pole, because it gives the lie to their most cherished doctrine of “Unity in the essentials, tolerance in the non essentials, but love in all things”

Now let me add what is really being said in that mantra of Babylon: “Unity in the essentials [of the doctrine of Christ], tolerance in the non essentials [of the doctrine of Christ], but love [of this very insidious doctrine] in all things.”

If indeed you count us to be your elders, then let these holy spirit-inspired words sink into your heart and “do the things [our Lord] says” by the pen of His apostles.

Heb 13:17 Be persuaded by your leaders, and be deferring to them, for they are vigilant for the sake of your souls, as having to render an account, that they may be doing this with joy, and not with groaning, for this is disadvantageous for you.

It “is disadvantageous for you” when any of us withstands the entire body and becomes confrontational in the body of Christ and does not even afford the elders the same Matthew 18 treatment that must be given everyone who trespasses against a brother. But we have all learned our lesson, and in that we can all rejoice.

The Lord works miracles and heals our wounds, and we rejoice when that happens, but we must learn from those wounds and never make the same mistakes again. What that means is that we must, from this day forth, be far more vigilant to “diligently listen to the voice of the Lord” about involving the church in our decisions concerning our brothers and sisters. But we must also listen diligently to the voice of the Lord concerning all these admonitions we have shared with you today. We cannot be careful about the one and careless about the other. We must be equally careful to “do all of His statues.” We must all take it upon ourselves to “know those who labor among us and esteem them highly for their works’ sake”, and show double honor to those who labor among us in the Word and in doctrine. We must be diligent to obey the commandment to “be persuaded of those you esteem”, and defer to them, and receive not an accusation against them except before two or three witnesses. We must continue to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, as well as include the church in the process of ridding ourselves of those who would divide and scatter us.

Is our service to Christ intended to be a burden upon us? Yes, it most certainly is, and anyone who teaches otherwise and tells you it is not meant to be a burden is teaching utter heresy and is preaching smooth things. “Diligently listen” to these words of warning to God’s own people, and fear:

Isa 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
Isa 30:9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD:
Isa 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

And this is what we are told of the Lord’s ‘burden’:

Mat 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mat 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Mat 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Christ’s yoke is easy and and His burden is light only compared to the burden of being rebellious and lying children who do not want to hear of a burden or a yoke, and instead want to hear only “smooth things” which will make things smooth enough to be kept from being “hated of all men for [Christ’s] name’s sake”.

Do the “things [Christ] say[s]”, place us in bondage? Yes, they do? But again, our bondage is bondage to righteousness, and not to the smooth things which rebellious and lying children want to hear and do.

1Co 7:22 For, in the Lord, he who is being called a slave, is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise, he who is being called, being free, is a slave of Christ. (CLV)

Rom 6:16 Are you not aware that to whom you are presenting yourselves as slaves for obedience, his slaves you are, whom you are obeying, whether of Sin for death, or of Obedience for righteousness?

It is the bondage of sin from which we are freed. We are not freed from the tribulations and trials of walking in the footsteps of our Lord and having to be crucified with him:

Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Either we are the church of Christ and we are a part of His body, or we are not. After giving Timothy all these admonitions which I have repeated today, this is what Paul tells Timothy. This is the glorious truth of all of us, including the elders and the Lord’s flock:

1Ti 3:14 These things [all these admonitions] write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, [I have written them] that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

At the beginning of this study I told you that “The goal of this study today is to remind us all who we are as “the christ of Christ”, and to show you the scriptures which will keep us as a clean house for our Lord, and a healthy functioning body in Him.”

Let me repeat these verses:

Mat 20:25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.
Mat 20:26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant,
Mat 20:27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave,

2Co 1:24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

1Pe 5:3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

The Lord’s true shepherds can only convince and persuade you with the Word of God as God opens your eyes. But we are “the christ” of Christ. We are “the church of the living God, [and as such we are] the pillar and ground of the truth.”

It is with much gratitude that we should all rejoice that the Lord has seen fit to bring us all back together and that we can now go forward with one mind, having learned how to handle heresies and keep the Lord’s house clean, as well as how to involve the church in doing that.

Let us now move forward with one mind and one mouth glorifying our great, loving, heavenly Father:

Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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