4 Questions to ask before joining a Church

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8

This post is a response to this article by the “The Gospel Coalition”:

Link:  4 Questions to Ask Before Joining a Church

1. Is this a Church where my family will be safe from sexual predators? Is this a Church where my family will be safe from deceptive pastors who will do anything to cover up evil in order to protect and preserve what they have worked so hard all their lives to build?

2. Is this a Church where I am convinced I will not be lied to by the endless false doctrines and traditions of American Churchianity?

3. Is this a Church where my family will experience truth and freedom and love, and not shame, bondage, lies, oppression, condemnation and shunning? (And disenfranchisement if we question anything or speak truth?) Is this a Church where the PASTORS have accountability and do not circle the wagons in “good old boy” fashion to protect their kingdoms (Churches/ministries) and reputations, fame and income, at all costs?

4. Is this a Church where I am allowed to use my gifts and serve Christ and the saints by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit, as led and directed by God, without having my work and service nullified, shamed and disallowed by the Church Clergy hierarchy? Is this a Church where I am allowed to obey Christ above the Church leadership and not submit my service to Christ, my conscience and very soul to the “Clergy”?

Important final note: You and your family must understand that it is Christ who is your Lord, not the Institutional Church, not the “Clergy” (self-appointed pastors) and not the religion and hierarchy of Roman Catholic based Hierarchical Christendom. You must understand that you are accountable to Christ Jesus who leads you by His Spirit. You must understand that you are not under the authority of “local shepherds” you are under the authority of Christ. And understand that YOU, saint, also have authority in Christ not just the “Clergy” which is a man-made construct of the Roman Catholic Church, based in ancient paganism and religious Old Testament Judaism. You have authority; you are a priest of God, yes you. This wonderful truth is brought to you by the Kingdom of God, in Christ Jesus our Lord. The Kingdom of God is within you.

You must understand this hierarchy, with men lording it over you, is not of Christ, that you are all brothers, equals in Christ and free in Him to love God and neighbor and serve according to the leading and power of the Holy Spirit. You must all submit to one another, it is not about the lowly “laity” submitting to the higher ranking “Clergy”. You must understand that men requiring you to be under them in an authoritarian hierarchy of lordship over you, is sinful and not of Christ. Watch out for men who want you to submit to their “shepherding” (control and dominance and suppression) of you.

You must understand that it is being IN Christ that makes you part of the flock, not attendance at an institutional, man created, 501c3 Church business franchise. You must understand that Jesus Christ Himself is the real Shepherd and you all are the church (ekklesia, the called out assembly) and wherever you are, with other saints, there is the church, there is the people and flock of Jesus Christ. You may meet in a dirt floor shack, a coffee shop, an empty lot, at a kitchen table, on the street corner or in a prison cell. Christ is with you and in you (Christ in you hope of glory) and there you have the church, wherever YOU are, dear saint of God. Do not let the hireling “shepherds” lord it over you, shame you or stop you from being who you are in Christ.

Do not let them lie to you and deceive you. Do not let them shame you. Do not let them turn your joy of your first love (Jesus Christ) into a lifetime of oppressive bondage to serve them and maintain the existence of their man created, business marketing managed, flesh powered organizations. Do not let them turn your first love joy and Christ Life into a lifetime of serving, slaving for and financing a “Thing” to keep it going. (The man created Church System is a “Thing”, an “it”.)

Therefore friends, do not join a “Church”, join Jesus Christ and stay joined to Him. Listen not to Churchmen who are NOT focused on Jesus Christ, they are completely focused on The Institutional Church, especially THEIR CHURCH and making it “successful”. Jesus Christ is your Shepherd and you are in His flock. He will lead, guide and teach you. HE will care for you. Listen to Jesus Christ and continue in His word. You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free. Peace in Christ, my beloved brothers and sisters.

those who lead the many to righteousness

those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Daniel12:3

There are voices out there in Christendom, preaching that you “should not” preach Christ to the lost, in certain ways, or if you are not the “right” type of person. These false teachers have a ministry of death. They are preaching dead religion. They are preaching law, bondage, oppression, scripture twisting, and “you should not”. They are preaching condemnation and religion and shame and denominational sub-cultures. They are preaching traditions, rules and regulations of men. They require that you must get their permission first before you can serve Christ or be useful in the kingdom. They imagine that they decide if you will be used in the kingdom and how. They imagine they can declare that you are unsanctioned by them to bear witness. They imagine they have the authority to ban you from shining your light. They imagine they can forbid you and suppress you.

But your commission to serve, comes from Christ Jesus, your Shepherd, your Master. And you are being led by the Spirit of the living God, Christ in you, not by religious men or religious organizations or traditions. It is He you will listen to.

Our Lord Jesus has freed you from all this bondage; He will use you, dear saints of God, to give Him glory and to lead the many to righteousness, that is, to Christ and to His kingdom. You are not a second-class saint. You have the authority of Christ to witness, as Christ is in YOU.

You who have insight among the people will give understanding to the many (yes some will die and some will be purged). You who know your God (Jesus Christ) will be strong and do exploits. Your strength is the power of God working through you. Your motivation will be love for Christ and people. The Holy Spirit will shine strongly in you and take action through you. Your work will be given to you by the Lord. Your exploits will not be approved by the religious authorities. But they are given to you by God. You who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and you who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. The ministers of death want to shut you up, but you shall be led by the life of Christ in you, to bring the ministry of LIFE to the many. Though you go through much purging, purifying and refining, (and yes this will hurt)….you who have insight, understand. And you will shine, my sisters and brothers, you will shine.

any other gospel

If anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Gal. 1:9

I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preach is not made up by man or based on human thought. I did not receive my message from men. It was not taught to me by a person. I received it by a revelation of Jesus Christ.

I received the gospel from our Lord Jesus Christ, as I was reading the gospels in the Bible, by myself, with God. I asked Him to show me the way, to teach me to the truth, and to reveal Himself to me. As I read His recorded words,  Jesus spoke to me,(and I heard Him) by the Spirit.

What was the gospel I received?

1. “It’s all about Me. I am the Way.”  (It’s all about Him. This is the truth He wanted me to know and believe.)
2. “Follow Me.” (This is what He wanted me to do.)
3. “You are now Mine. You belong to Me.” (He placed me into His kingdom. He let me know I know that now I belonged to HIM. He let me know I have been removed from the “of this world” kingdom,  to His kingdom, which is not of this world).
4. Later as I began walking with Him…. He taught me things such as, “Repent” and “You will be My witness”.

But after this, during my 24 year membership inside Evangelical Christianity, I heard and was taught many many “other gospels”.  For example:
1. It’s all about Church.
2. Follow men, organizations, Theologians, Theology Systems, man-made dogmas, Movements, Political Leaders, Cultural Leaders, Ministry Leaders and Strategic Christian Organizational Methodologies.
3. You now belong to the top-down organized, State-incorporated, leadership networked, systems theory, total-quality-managed, rule based, authoritarian, religious, political, patriotic, money-changing, flesh-driven, success-seeking, reputation-preserving, world-approved, idolatrous, compromising, man-pleasing, man-following,  Evangelical sub-culture.
4. Later after I was deeply entrenched in Evangelicaldom, I was taught, “Come, let’s change the world” and “Take America back for God” and “Support the State of Israel”, and “When billions of people around the world say ‘yes’ to God, there will be peace! We will solve all the world’s global problems!”

Oh beloved, remember that gospel that you received by a revelation of Jesus Christ. Remain with that gospel that you first received from Him.