Even though the Body of Christ as we knew it has been scattered over the last 20-30 years, God has not left us! We find ourselves in the middle of a situation that we did not create or want but we have been sorely affected by it.
Try to think of this as Paul was trying to relate to us in Philippians Chapter 4. See how he viewed his life by the things that he experienced.
Php_4:11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, (KJV)
Php_4:11. for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (KJV)
Don’t you wish that we could all reach that state of mind?
Php_4:12. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound (NKJ)
Obviously he had experienced both extremes to have learned how to deal with them.
Philippians 4:12b. and to suffer need. (KJV)
He said, “I’ve been there. I know how to do it.” And notice the conclusion:
Philippians 4:13. I can do all things (KJV)
“Not because I’m strong, not because I’m smart, not because I’m wealthy.” He says:
Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ which [strengthens] me. (KJV)
Brethren, even though we are scattered God has a purpose in it. It is not because God has removed us from His sight. We are scattered because God wants us to live a certain way, to preach the Gospel message, and grow in our Christianity. A way that will develop our conscience and our faith to a point where we can see things the way God and Christ see them. Where we can learn to react to any situation the same way that God and Christ would.
We need to realize brethren that we are not the sole focus of God’s attention. That, somehow, we are in a better relationship with God than others because of what we are doing or the beliefs that we hold fast too. That kind of thinking can and has, with many, caused us to get off track with God.
Hey, we’ve been scattered! There are many groups out there that are full of God’s people. I believe that.
But Christ is doing a work in this phase of His Church with the individual rather than the group.
(Rev 3:20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come into him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
God is working with every one of us as an individual.
The lessons that you or I need to learn are unique to each of our personalities, our past, God’s spirit working with us, our spiritual maturity, and other things, as well.
And, Brethren, that’s different than every other person that God is dealing with.
And God has placed me where I can learn the lessons that God sees that I need to learn. But each of you, have your own needs which God is working out with you personally. In other words, I personally believe that God’s people are scattered throughout the earth. They’re scattered throughout congregations. And it’s not “I’m right and everybody else is wrong.” It is what God is doing with each of us individually.
This is the place that I can learn my lessons.
And there is another situation or place, where there are lessons that someone else needs to learn that is perfect for them.
See God the Father is responsible for our development. He is responsible for the outcome, as long as we submit to it, as long as we don’t demand our way. Our great God is able to work with each of us individually no matter how scattered we have become.
Joh 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
God has always worked with us in this way in all times and in all places – and now god is purging us individually in this scattering.
Each of us as individuals have different needs, different qualities to be developed and different weaknesses to be strengthened. Where I am now is providing God with the tools to teach me and strengthen me in the areas that I need. Whereas each of you has other needs and require different situations where God can help you individually in ways that are completely different from what I might need.
It is not a matter of whether they are right? And I’m wrong? Or am I right? And they are wrong?
We are God the Father’s responsibility. He is building us as building blocks. He works with each of us, training us and fitting us to be a part of His Spiritual Temple. Working with each of us as we need help individually.
(1Pe 2:5) Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Because of that, I think it would be foolish of me to say that the path I have taken is the only right path and God is somehow shining on me and everyone else is in trouble! That is just is not something that I can say.
People are going to make decisions that we don’t always agree with or that we would make ourselves. But, we have to remember the reason we make different decisions is because each of us has a unique set of experiences that color how we see things. We are the totality of our life’s experiences, a summation of all that plus God’s Holy Spirit. We are not “Yellow Pencils” one size does not fit all.
This is what is developing our CONSCIENCE (the laws of God written in our hearts and minds). God looks at what we lack and provides the experience we need to develop it.
Rom_8:28. And we know that all things work together for [the] good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. (KJV)
And, Brethren, if we really believe this, we can be at peace with it all.
Rom_8:31. What shall we say [then of] these things? (KJV)
Rom_8:31 If God [is] for us, who can be against us? (KJV)
We don’t have God’s perspective on everything. But I believe that God doesn’t put us through things for no reason. God just doesn’t! God is not capricious – given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior. He always deals with everyone in Godly Love.
I personally believe when God gives me a trial, He has an outcome in mind and it’s working toward that outcome. This means: whatever happens to us, there’s a positive outcome from it!
Even the awful persecution that the early church in Jerusalem went through, has a positive result.
Act_8:1. And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered [Notice this!] throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2) And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
3) As for Saul, he made [havoc] of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. (KJV)
Notice this! Now, remember the apostles weren’t scattered. It was the people. It was the flock. They were separated from the apostles, but listen to this:
Act_8:4 Therefore [verse 4] they that were scattered abroad [Notice!] went every where preaching the word. (KJV)
Here is the answer to why the scattering.
This was the people! These were not the apostles. Remember they stayed. The Apostles had shepherded the church, the people. And then the Church was scattered. And what was the outcome of it? God’s Word was scattered and spread! There was a positive outcome. They weren’t crushed. They weren’t snuffed out. The scattering actually helped spread the Word to the world.
Think of us as seed. You know how you put grass seed in a spreader to send it out all over the lawn. If you just dumped it in one spot it would not work in fact it would likely rot.
We’re likened to a seed. Revelation 12, it talks about when Satan went after the Church and then went after the remnant of Her seed. You know by this that we are considered “seed”.
(Rev 12:17) And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Psalm 112:5. A good man [shows favor], and [lends]: he will guide his affairs with discretion. 6) Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. 7) He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. 8) His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. (KJV)
We are no longer suppressed we are more like the good Man in Psalms 112:5 talks about.
2Cor 9:10 Now he that [ministers] seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase [What?] the fruits of your righteousness;) (KJV)
See God scatters. And we were scattered. We have been spread abroad. Why? To increase the fruits of your righteousness!
2Co_9:11 Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which [causes] through us thanksgiving to God. (KJV)
Brethren, being scattered doesn’t necessarily mean we’re under a curse (Not at all – God is blessing us and working with each of us). God can and has used it for our growth and to His glory.
When I think back twenty or thirty years, our only job was on no uncertain terms “to pay and pray.” Everything was done for us! We were not allowed to mature. We did not have “ownership” of our congregations, or our own personal lives. We were only called as part of the grist mill. Right? You just turn the crank and money comes out. And you pray and everything else is done. In a way, we were observers and not participants.
We would go to the Feast—fourteen thousand strong (in Tuscon for instance – 150,000 worldwide)! Everything was done for you. They even told you where to park your car, whether you wanted them to or not :)! And if you talked to one of them, they could tell you what kind of car to buy and what color it should be, whether you wanted them to or not! Again, we just became part of a herd and everything was done for us. We just went in, sat down, and just got on the ride. More was needed for our personal development.
What about now? Now when we have a hundred or two hundred at the Feast, everybody that wants to be involved can. You did need to sit around and wait for permission. Look at it here. When there is someone and you want to serve, Brethren, every one of us has an opportunity to serve! There are lots of opportunities. This could not have happened when we were all clumped together and it was all being done for us.
It’s another phenomenon that happens when you’re part of a large group. I’m going to read this from Wikipedia. (I’ll tell you, Wikipedia and Google, what else does anybody need? That just does it all for you!) They’re talking about what’s called Herd Behavior. It says:
“Herd behavior describes how individuals in a group can act together without planned direction. The term pertains to the behavior of animals in herds, flocks, and schools and to human conduct during activities such as stock market bubbles, crashes, street demonstrations, sporting events, religious gatherings, episodes of mob violence, and even everyday decision making, judgment, and opinion. Large numbers of people cause individuals to lose their sense of accountability.” There is no safety in numbers.
Now, what does this mean? It means that when you’re part of a large group, you lose your personal accountability.
(Rom 14:10) But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(Rom 14:11) For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
(Rom 14:12) So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
You just follow the herd. You just follow the group. And, Brethren, when that happens, there’s no personal growth! There’s no personal responsibility.
We once thought all a person needed to do to make it was just to do what they’re told. Brethren, that’s not the way it is! Many back then, believed that all they had to do was stay “in good” with the minister – and they had it made.
(Luk 17:10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.
Do you get that? We have to do more than we are told to do! God doesn’t want us to be part of a herd. He wants me and you to be His son and to have a relationship with Him. It’s a one-on-one situation. God is developing us individually. And, Brethren, we have to be scattered even the way we’re wired to have that personal responsibility and feel that on ourselves. We have to be scattered to do that. We cannot give that responsibility to another person. And when you’re part of a herd, it’s easy to do and it’s natural to do.
There was too much fear of the ministry and idolization of the organization. We were not allowed to “think outside the box,” or know the Scriptures. It is still that way in the larger off-shoots of WCG.
Those of you who find yourselves in large groups where the mentality of the old WCG still is prominent have a hard situation. You need to be careful and observant not to be drawn into that herd mentality. You may well need to be there but seek out God’s personal help and wisdom as to how to deal with your specific situation. God is always there and waiting for that call.
Look over in Philippians chapter 2. Remember the early Church, the apostles came in and set up the Churches, and then they weren’t there! Paul made only three evangelizing trips to set up the churches – and then they were basically on their own! They came to visit, but notice Philippians 2 verse 12. It says:
Php_2:12. Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; (NKJ)
And that doesn’t mean I have to sit down and say, “Okay, I want salvation and this.” It means I have to bond with God, with Jesus Christ. And it’s Us AND God that is working on this, not just me or you and everybody else in some hierarchical chain.
Php_2:13 For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (NKJ)
So now it is time to embrace the scattering for what it is, brethren. We now have the opportunity and freedom to grow spiritually. It is time to begin to seek out those areas where we need to grow and ask God’s help and wisdom to actually DO HIS good pleasure.
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