First Corinthians Chapter 12 is a great chapter about the local church and the different gifts that people that they exercise within the local church, the different members of the body of Christ and the functions that they have within the local church. What I want to preach about tonight is the local church, and how there are many things today that want to try and replace the local church.
There are a lot of these parachurch organizations or parachurch ministries that people want to become involved with, and they de-emphasize the local church which is God's institution. It's really the only institution that God set up. You don't see God founding colleges or television ministries. You see him founding the local church.
Pastor: I believe that God's work should be done through the local church, God's institution. I'm going to show scripturally why I think this is so important. First of all, before we can really have a sermon that talks about the local church and its importance versus these other parachurch ministries that are there as cheap substitutes for the local church, we need to understand what the word church even means. This is a word that many people fail to understand.
I think church is a good word, but it's just a word that people misunderstand. The previous bible translations before the King James Version, the older English translations that predate the King James Version, they would always translate of it as, or some of them anyway, would translate it as congregation. In our King James Bible that's the way it's translated all the time in the Old Testament. Throughout the Old Testament we see this word over and over again, congregation.
We don't find the word church until we get to Matthew, but all throughout the Old Testament we see congregation, congregation, congregation. What's interesting is, that when an Old Testament verse that says congregation is quoted in the New Testament then the New Testament uses the word church. Showing us that church and congregation are the same thing, which is why a lot of these older English translations would use the word congregation instead of church because that's what it means.
It's the same thing. It's the same word. For example, in Psalm 22:22 it says, "In the midst of the congregation I will sing praise unto thee." Then that's quoted in Hebrews 2:12 as, "In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." Showing that those 2 words have the identical meaning. Now go back, if you would, to Exodus Chapter number 33, Exodus Chapter number 33.
While you're turning to Exodus Chapter number 33, I want to read to you from First Corinthians Chapter number 10. In First Corinthians Chapter 10, the bible says in verse 1, "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness."
Now these things were written, he said, "They were for our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted." On and on, neither do this, neither do that, but the point is, he says, these things were written for our examples. He explains the symbolism. He says, "Look, when the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea that picture baptism." They had the water on all sides, they had the cloud above and then they had the water on both sides. That's a picture of baptism. It wasn't baptism that was a picture of baptism.
When the blood was put on the doorpost in Egypt with the Passover lamb that was a picture of salvation, the blood sprinkled on our hearts and the lamb being the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. He says, "Look all of these things happen for examples." When you're reading these stories in the book of Exodus and elsewhere in the Old Testament, you need to understand that these were written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the worlds are come.
He says, "When you read it you have to understand that that Passover lamb is Jesus. The sprinkling of the blood is talking about the blood sprinkled in our hearts. That crossing of the Red Sea pictures baptism. That congregation in the wilderness pictures the church, and Moses was the pastor of that church." So on, it's all the different things. The manna that they ate, it's all symbolic, everything. Now I'm not saying it didn't really happened. Of course it really happened, but it's also symbolic. It's also things that are written for our admonition.
Now look what the bible says in Exodus 33 verse 2, "And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. And when the people heard these evil tidings, they mourned: and no man did put on him his ornaments."
Chapter 33 verse 5, "For the Lord had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee."
Basically God is saying, "I'm so angry at you. I don't know what to do with you. Take off your stupid ornaments and let me figure out what I'm going to do with you, because you're such a stiffnecked rebellious people." God's very angry because the children of Israel have been sinning and so forth.
It says in verse 6, "The children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb. And Moses took the tabernacle." This is the key verse in verse 7, "And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp." Outside, so everybody's camped. Keep in mind not everybody is saved. It's just a bunch of people who came out Egypt. First of all it's the whole nation of Israel.
Many of which are not saved of course, there's Korah, there's Dathan, Abiram, all the rebels, all those people. Then also there's a mixed multitude that comes up with them, just a bunch of people who just jumped on this bandwagon. There's that millions here, of course they're not all saved.
There's the camp where the whole multitude is camped in the wilderness, but Moses took the tabernacle and pitched it without the camp. He takes God's house and he moves it outside the camp, a far off from the camp. Now look, this is not in the bible by accident. It's not just incidental. God's trying to teach us something here. He takes it without the camp, "Far off from the camp, and he called it the tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp."
Go, if you wold, to Hebrews 13, Hebrews Chapter 13. What's he saying here? The tabernacle of the congregation which in the Old Testament was God's house is basically pitched without the camp, afar off from the camp, and he wants to make a delineation and a separation between those who want to seek the Lord and don't. He say, "We don't want to have the whole world in the church, everybody in church."
He says, "No, we're going to put the congregation outside the camp, and anybody who wants to seek the Lord is going to have to make the effort to go to that congregation." It's not going to come to you. It's not going to be where you live. No, it's just going to be outside the camp so that you have to leave your house and go to that congregation and seek after the Lord in that way.
Now look what the bible says in Hebrews 13 which ties in with this, verse 6 it says, "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
"Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate."
Now watch verse 13, "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."
Now the part that I really want to emphasize here is in verse number 13 when it says, "Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach." That's exactly the wording used in Exodus 33:7 when he said that the tabernacle of the congregation was pitched without the camp, and that anybody who sought after the Lord would go to that congregation. God's telling us in the New Testament, "Let's go forth unto Christ outside the camp bearing his reproach.
This is an admonition about going to church, about going to the congregation. In the Old Testament, they went to the congregation, and here that's what he's talking about, which is why it starts out in verse 7 and ends up in verse 17 in this section talking about, "Hey, remember them that have the rule over you. Obey them that have the rule over you."
What's he talking about? He's talking about the local church here. He's not talking about, "Hey remember some king or emperor, whatever." No, because he says, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God." This is talking about the church. That's why those bookends are there in verse 7 and 17 because right here he's saying, "Look, let's go without the camp. Let's go to the tabernacle of the congregation."
He just said a few chapters ago, in chapter 10, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." What does that mean? To congregate, to assemble, that's what congregate means. He says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." He says that we need to no forsake the assembling of ourselves together.
Where? Without the camp. Where? In the congregation. Where? In the local church. He says, "Don't forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another." What does exhorting one another mean? It means to tell other people, "Hey, you need to be in church. Exhorting one another, but in the end times this will become lest important."
Is that what it says? No, it says, "But exhorting one another: and so much the more, as we see the day approaching." That means in 2015 we need more church than in 2014. It's even more important not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together now than it was yesterday, because it says it's more important as we see the day approaching. Yet we see the exact opposite today.
We see the church being de-emphasized, and we see more people than ever forsaking the assembling of themselves together. Exactly what the bible's predicting would happen, which is why he adds that phrase, "So much the more, as ye see the day approaching." God knows the end from the beginning. He knew that in the end times people were going to start forsaking the assembly, forsaking the congregation.
Now the reason I make a big deal about that, and if you would go to Fist Corinthians 12, the reason I make a big deal about that is that the church is a congregation. The church is an assembly. The church is a group that you go to. Now a lot of people would say, "The church isn't a building." Of course church isn't a building. I agree with that, the church is not a building. Here's what people miss though, when they go around and say, "Hey we're the church." Yeah that's right, we're the church because we congregate. As soon as we stop congregating we're not the church anymore.
You could be have been a saved Israelite, and you could've even be "baptized." You went through the cloud and the sea, but if you don't go out to that congregation you're not a part of that congregation. You're with all the wicked people that are hanging out in the camp murmuring against God and against Moses and don't care and don't want to listen to the truth and don't want to go to that tabernacle of the congregation.
Just because you're saved it doesn't make you the church, but see, this is what people are teaching now. People teach this doctrine that's called the Universal Church Doctrine. It's amazing because the world universal means Catholic. You want to know what Catholic means? Look up Catholic in a dictionary. Catholic means universal, and it's this teaching that there's one true church, the Catholic Universal church. We all need to look to this one church and its universal pastor, the pope. That's what the Catholic church sees it.
The Protestant Reformation comes along and says, "Well, there's not a visible Catholic church or Universal church, but there's an invisible (making sounds), there's an invisible Catholic church, an invisible Universal church. In fact, if you talk to Protestants who actually know their doctrine, protestants who actually follow the teachings of Martin Luther, John Calvin, these heroes of theirs, then they'll even say, "I'm Catholic."
Will literally say, "I am Protestant Catholic." That's what they'll tell you, and they'll say, "We are members of the true Catholic church." This is what they'll say, "Well we didn't leave the Catholic church, Rome left us. The Roman Catholic church left the true church. We're the true church." They'll teach there's only one true church, this Universal church mentality. Then you have today the Evangelicals who will often believe in this Universal Church Doctrine, and they'll say, "Well, it's just a Universal church that's just made up of all the saved."
That's the evolution, you have the Roman Catholic church with their visible Universal church. Then you have the Protestant with their invisible Universal church. Then you have the Evangelicals that just say, "Hey, if you're saved, you're automatically the church." This is not what the bible teaches because that doesn't even make sense in light of the definition of the word church.
Once you realize that the word church means congregation, once you realize that it means an assembly, you just have to ask yourself the question, "Am I congregated with all believers? Have I ever congregated with all believers?" The answer is no. There is no Universal church. There is no church made up of all believers. It's a fraud. It doesn't exist. There are local churches. That's why the bible uses the word church, singular, 80 times, but it uses the word churches plural, 37 times.
Here's the thing, 80 mentions, most of them are clearly talking about a certain geography and saying, "The church at Ephesus. The church at Smyrna. The church at Pergamos." How can you say, "Well we're all part of the church when you got a church at Smyrna, and you got a church over at Pergamos, and you got a church over in Ephesus, and you got a church over in Laodicea, and you got the churches of Galicia, plural. It's a multitude of church as plural.
When these Catholics will tell you, whether they be the Roman Catholics or the Protestant Catholics, they'd tell you, "Hey there's only one church." Then explain to me 37 plural mentions of churches. How do you explain that? How do you send it to the 8 churches in Asia if there's only 1? Evangelicals will often answer this with, "Well it's both. It's both. There's a local church, and then there's also a Universal church." There simply isn't a Universal congregation of believers. It just doesn't exist. It doesn't make any sense.
It's just a turn, the definition of the word church on its head to come up with that doctrine. It's a very dangerous doctrine because of the fact that God has ordained separate churches for a reason. There's a big important reason why they are separate. You know what this reminds me of when we think about the importance of being independent? Look, this is why our church is Independent Baptist. Why are we an Independent Baptist church?
Why are we not part of one of these denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention, or the North American Baptist, or the ABA, or the GARB? Why are we independent? Because we believe that it's biblical to be independent. The bible says that as Christ is the head of the church, it says, "the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church." Now a lot of people will just take out of context that phrase, Christ is the head of the church, and say, "See, there's only one church."
Christ is the head of the church, but here's the thing, he said, "The husband is the head of the wife." Is there only one wife per guy? Is there only one wife? Is there only one husband? No. When he says, "The husband is the head of the wife." What's he saying? That the husband is the head of the wife, that means every husband is the head of his wife. When it says, "Christ is the head of the church." It's saying Christ is the head of any true church, any spiritual church.
It's talking about the institution of being a husband and the institution of being a wife, and it's talking about the institution of the local church saying, "Look, the church has Christ as its head." That means that Christ is the head of the church at Ephesus. Christ is the head of the church at Smyrna. Christ is the head of the church at Pergamos. Everybody understand?
Pastor: If I were to say, "Hey, the president is the head of the corporation." If I were to make a statement like that, am I talking about one certain corporation or am I just explaining something about businesses? What if I said, "The partners are equal in a partnership." If I'm just speaking in generalities. Do you understand what I'm saying? What if I said, "Hey the father is in charge of the children." Am I saying there's only father and one set of children? No, I'm saying that fathers in general are in charge of their children.
That's all the bible is saying when it says that Christ is the head of the church. That means that Christ is the head of Faithful Word Baptist Church. That means that Christ is the head of any other bible believing church. Then that church has Christ, that's it. Here's the thing, if Christ is the head, then how can we take orders from anyone other than Christ. We don't need a middle man folks. That's what these denominations are, a middle man.
Some headquarters somewhere in Texas or in some distant country or distant state, we don't need them telling us, "Hey we just decided that Sodomites are allowed." That's the kind of stuff these convention are constantly voting on. I just read this week how the Southern Baptist Convention said, "Hey were going to allow tongue speaking now or something." Our missionaries in Africa, because they said, "Look it's just not cool to go to Africa and not speak in tongues. Everybody in Africa is speaking in tongues. If we want to be popular over there we got to speak in tongues."
They just started saying, "Hey we're going to allow our missionaries to speak in tongues in Africa." Allowed to be demon possessed in Africa. What they call speaking in tongues isn't what the bible calls speaking in tongues. It's people that are (making sounds), people that are demon possessed, or they're just acting a fool or whatever. The bottom line is that when you have some other convention that's giving you orders, you can do this, you can't do that. Then they're taking a portion of the funds and redistributing it, et cetera, et cetera, then the church no longer has Christ as its head, but rather it's answering to someone else instead of just answering to Christ.
Here's the thing, the pastor is not the head of the church, Jesus is the head of the church. The pastor is basically an executive that basically just executes the will of the main shepherd, Jesus. He's the head. He's the boss. The pastor is just here physically on this earth as an undershepherd to the chief shepherd, just making sure that Christ's will is carried out, that Christ's word is taught.
Just to be an onsite, on the ground ... It'd be like if you went to a company and there's the manager onsite making sure everything happens the way it's supposed to, but he's not the owner of the company. The owner of the company might be in a distant state. That like the Lord is the owner. He is the real boss. He is the head, and then he's got his pastors that are there to basically run things on the ground according to his will, not according to their own wishes and will.
Not just a manager who just runs it how he wants. No, he's taking orders from the boss-man, the owner of the company. That's what a pastor is supposed to do, take orders from the real boss which is Jesus. That's the head of the church. Here's the thing, if the pastor is taking orders from a denomination, that's interfering with his ability to let the spirit lead him.
That's why we believe in an independent church and we believe in a pastor run church, not a church that's run by an organization, or a board, or a fellowship, or other churches. We don't want one church telling another church what they must do. We want the churches to me independent, autonomous, self-governing, and answering only to Jesus, and only having the bible as a guideline. I'm going to explain why that's so important.
Once we understand that there is no Universal church. All the scriptures talk about geographically local churches, the word church itself means a congregation, an assembly of people, then when you look at all these scriptures that talk about the importance of the church. Then you have to ask yourself, "How can we really be in the will of God if we're not a part of a local church, when God commands us to be a part of a local church?" A lot of the New Testament is written out to churches. Over and over again he talks about the importance of the church.
We need to go out to that tabernacle of the congregation. This saying, "We all make up the church." That's not really true. That's deceptive. It is true that the church is the people not the building. It's the people that congregate. The people that don't congregate aren't part of the church. A person who never attends Faithful Word Baptist Church is not a member of Faithful Word Baptist Church. They are not congregated.
Even somebody who just listens online, "I listen to every sermon." Praise the Lord. I'm glad you listen to every sermon, but you're not a member of this church, you need to be a member of a local church in your area. Listening to preaching online can be a great supplement, but it should never be a substitute for physically attending a local church and being a member of that local body.
What these parachurch ministries are is they are ministries that are outside of the authority of any local church. They are just operating freestyle as a competitor to the local church, but they're not modeled after God's plan for the local church. They're basically just doing it their own way. Instead of following God's plan for establishing churches in every city, and for the church to be instrument of evangelism, for the church to be the instrument of teaching and training up God's people and training up the next generation of leaders, this parachurch ministry comes in and just operates outside of that paradigm and just operates on its own principles that don't follow the patterns laid forth in scripture of what a bishop or pastor should be, what a deacon should be, what a church should look like, what the function is, what the protocols are.
They just operate outside of that and just do their own thing. They just say, "Oh, we're such and such the ministry. We're so and so the ministry." They might be just selling a bunch of Christian materials and books. Here's the thing, there's nothing wrong with selling a Christian book friends. When you're setting up a ministry, that is basically substituting for the local church, and is under the authority of no local church. That is not scriptural.
If you want to set up a ministry where you're selling your Christian book, you still need to get your backside into a local church and be part of a local church. A person who's a part of a local church can publish whatever book they want and be right with God or whatever CD, or whatever video they want to do, but they're a part of the church. They're not just operating freestyle outside of the local church. Instead of going to church, it's just, "Oh, I just have this ministry. I just run this ministry. I'm just a part of this ministry."
No, that does not take the place of church. You need to get in church and be under a man of God preaching and teaching. "Oh that sounds so controlling." Shut up and read the bible. You need to get in a local church. You say, "What do you mean outside of the authority of the local church?" Look at Matthew 16. This is the first time the word church is used in the bible. Listen, anybody who has gone to this church for a long time will tell you that this church is not a controlling church. Pastor Anderson is not a controlling person.
I'll say this, I've gone to church my whole life and I am more of a hands-off pastor than any church I've ever attended in my entire life. I'm very hands-off. I'm not a micromanager. I don't like to tell people what to do and get involved in the details of this that and the other. I like to just basically let people do their things and interfere as little as possible. Just try to provide guidance and preaching and teaching.
Here is the thing though, there is a time when I've had to step in in certain situations and just say, "No, we're not going to do that here." As the bishop, as the overseer, as the watchdog, as it were, because otherwise false doctrine can creep in, wrong bible versions can creep in, sinful practices can creep in. Part of the pastor's job is to say no!
When these things try to creep in and when bad things are happening and when the church is going the wrong direction, most of that, 99% of that is just taken care of from the pulpit through preaching. When I see an issue, I just try to preach about it. Then people can learn and grow. But there are times when you just have to confront people and say, "Hey look, we can't do this. We need to change this." So on so forth.
When we talk about the church having authority, we're not talking about authority over anybody's personal lives. That would be like a cult. If you go to a church and the pastor is dominating your family and telling you what you can and can't do in your personal life and trying to basically order you around. That's obviously cult-like and strange.
When we talk about the pastor having authority in the church, what we're talking about is authority in the church as far as running the church, not running your family, your life, your business, or anything like that. Just basically somebody is in charge or the church. This church is not a free-for-all. You say, "What would a free-for-all look like?" Where just anybody who wants to can just come up behind the pulpit and start teaching and preaching.
Is that the way we run things here? Just an open mic, open mic at Faithful Word Baptist Church. No there's not an open mic at Faithful Word Baptist Church. Anybody can come up here and sing and play whatever kind of music they want. Anybody can come up here and preach. Anybody can talk. No, that is not the way that we do things, because there is a boss here and it's Jesus, and then there is a guy that Jesus has given authority to rule the house of God in the sense that he's there to make sure that things are done according to his wishes and will.
If somebody wants to get up and read, and you would say, "I can't see this ever happening." You know what? You haven't been around for very long. I've been in churches where all kinds of bad things are constantly creeping and the pastor doesn't always put a stop to it. Where somebody can just get up and just get behind the pulpit and just say, "Let me read you something that touched my heart." Then just started reading the NIV, not going to happen in this church.
Pastor: You'll say, "What gives you the right?" You know what? There is an authority structure in the local church. Here's the thing, you say, "Church is supposed to be a democracy." Really? What chapter and verse is that? Democracy is 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. You know what? In a democracy that would mean that a whole bunch of people could come in here and just say, "We like the NIV better." Then it's the NIV.
A bunch of people could come in and say, "We want to have Christian contemporary boy bands in here. Get rid of these hymns. We want to have jiving and jamming for Jesus and swinging and swaying for the Savior. We want to bring in the effeminate Christian boy band music. Who's going to stop us?" I am. I'm going to stop you. That's what my job is. The bible a principle of leadership.
Again, that not what the sermon is about so I don't want to spend a lot of time one that. I just want to quickly touch on that because it's in the passage there in Hebrews 13 about the congregation, and so that we can understand what's going on here. Where did I have you turn?
Congregation: Matthew 16.
Pastor: Okay, look at this. This is the first time church is mentioned. Don't tell me this is a coincidence. We're going to look at the first 2 times the word church is ever used in the bible. Matthew 16:17, "And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
Watch verse 19, "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Now go to Matthew Chapter 18, Matthew Chapter number 18. The bible says in verse 15, it's the second mention of the church, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 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. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church."
Now again, this is where the foolishness of the Universal church comes in. Okay, tell it to every believer? "All right I'm going to go travel to Ethiopia and tell all the believers there that I have a problem with somebody here in Phoenix Arizona. Tell it unto the church right? Every believer, every saved person right?
No, it's ridiculous isn't it? I've heard people actually refer to this is in that context as bizarre as it sounds, and say, "We need to tell it unto the church." Then they did a radio broadcast or a television broadcast, literally. We got to tell it to the whole church, every saved. It's like what in the world?
I'm not kidding folks. It says, "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. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." What is this saying here? That God has given authority to the church, and God allows the church to make decisions. God respects those decision and says, "Hey if you bind on earth I'll bind it in heaven." Isn't that what it says?
Pastor: Right. God gives the church the right to judge in certain situation. Again, this isn't about controlling anyone or dictating personal lives in a cult-like way. It's about situation like in First Corinthians 5, where here's a guy living in open fornication and he said, "You need to judge this guy, and you need to cast him out of the church." The bible says, "Put away from among yourselves that wicked person."
He said, "I being absent have judged already as though I were present. What should be done concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus."
He gives the the authority to cast out those who are living in major sin, and the sins are listed there. He says, "Hey if they are in drunkenness, they could be cast out." By who? By the church. Who can cast them out if they're in fornication? By the church. He says, "You know what? Whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven." This isn't talking about people's salvation.
Obviously their salvation is based on their personal faith in Jesus. You don't have to be a member of the church to be saved. You know what? The church does have a certain authority to judge people that are living in major sin. If somebody's a drunk, the church uses its authority and exercise that authority and throw them out. If they're a fornicator, the church exercises and uses its authority to throw them out.
When we talk about a parachurch ministry not being under the authority of the local church what we're saying is that this process couldn't even be followed when sin is in that organization. There is no church to tell it unto, because they're operating outside of the local church paradigm. There is no pastor. There is no overseer. It's a free-for-all. There's no keys to the kingdom of binding on earth and binding in heaven. It's just outside of that. It's just a freestyling it, doing their own thing.
Why is this important? Go to First Corinthian 12. I think you might already be there, or you were there and I took you away from there. First Corinthians Chapter 12 is a great chapter about the body of Christ, the church. It's an often misunderstood passage. Let's look at it word by word and let's see what's being taught. Verse 4, "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord."
Verse 6, "And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." What's he saying? The church does all kinds of work. There are diversities of administrations and operations of the church. Things that the church does, there's soul winning, there's the music, the church might print scriptures, or the church might make a sermon CD, or whatever the church does, whatever the ministry the church does.
The church could have a ministry feeding the homeless. The church could have a ministry that's visiting prisoners or sending gifts to prisoners, and sending them letters and preaching and whatever. The church could have a ministry for foreign missions. The church could have all kinds of ministries. God is saying that it's the same God, the same Lord, the same spirit with all these diversities of administrations or operations. Whatever the church does work of the Lord-wise.
It says in verse 7, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues." Meaning various types of languages, foreign languages.
He says, "To another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." "For as the body is one," He says in verse 12, "And hath many members." Now is that saying that there's only one body in this earth, more like 8 billion bodies in this earth. When he says the body is one, he's saying each body is one that is composed of many members.
My body is one body, but it's made up of the hands, the feet, the head, the eyes, the nose, the mouth. Watch what he says here on verse 13, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body." A lot of people will just stop there and say, "See right there, it's the Universal church." No, he says, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles."
What's he saying? We don't have a separate church for Jews and a separate church for Gentiles. No, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we're Jew or a Gentile." Meaning that there's one church for Jews and Gentiles. There's one church for red and yellow, black and white. We don't segregate it to the Chinese church, the black church, the white church, the Jew church, the Gentile church. He's not saying that's there only one church in the planet.
He says here, "By one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?"
Here's the key, verse 17, "If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body."
Now listen, this is very important, I want you to think about this, God builds the church. He said, "Upon this rock I'll build my church." The bible says that God will severally put into that church whom he will and he will put in there a diversity of people that have a diversity of gift, diversity of skills. They're all different. They have different roles, different functions, and they're all necessary. Even the parts that we think are not that necessary, they are necessary.
Pastor: You might just think, "Oh it's all about the pastor." No it's not all about me, it's about all the people. If the whole church were a pastor that wouldn't ... You need different types of people. Look if this church were just a hundred Steve Andersons that would not be the church that God wants to exist. God wants there to be all different types, the hand, the nose, the foot, the mouth, the eye.
Now what does this have to do with these parachurch ministries? Here's the thing, these paracurch ministries they always specialize in one thing. Therefore they are imbalanced. What are these parachurch ministries? Just a big giant nose, a big mouth, it's a big mouth ministry. Here's the thing, a lot of these ministries are just nothing but a mouth.
What are they? It's just a radio show, or just a TV show. It's just talk but there's no real boots on the ground action, there's no knocking of a physical door, there's no going to the physical ghetto and actual talking to human beings. It's just all, just blah, blah, there's no feet of the gospel of peace going to the ghetto and preaching the gospel to every creature.
Somebody said, "Oh, if you want to give the gospel, everybody just put it on TV, put it on the radio, put it on the internet." No, because here's the thing, you'll never reach the poor that way and you never reach the derelict that way. You know how you reach the poor and the derelict? You go to their house and open the bible and tell them how to be saved. You know what? The poor and the derelict when they go on TV, and when they go on the internet, and when they go on the radio, guess what? They're not seeking after God.
Pastor: See the derelicts of this world, the ghetto people of this world, the poor of this world that are just living in slims and ghettos where we go soul winning, you know what? They're not just going and say, "How can I be saved? What does the bible say about heaven and hell?" No, you know what they're doing? They're looking at, hey what's ... I'm not up with the times. Rihanna or who's the famous? Come on worldly one, who is the famous pop start right now?
Pastor: Beyonce, okay, we have one worldly one right here, okay. No, I'm just kidding. They're looking for Beyonce's latest song. They're looking for the latest Hollywood movie. Am I right or wrong? Are they seeking out the New Testament of Jesus Christ? Look, you are never, listen to me, you're never going to reach the poor, you're never going to reach the illiterate. Look there are people in this world that can't read and write. How are you going to reach them? Walk up to them and preach the gospel.
You're never going to reach the derelict, the child, the teenager. There are plenty people who are not going to the internet and surfing looking for these stuff. To sit there and say, "Oh, if we just put it on the internet we'll reach everybody." No. There are people that you'd reach through the internet, true. You know what? There are many people that you will never reach through the internet and you will only reach with boots on the ground, physically going to their door and giving them the gospel, and that's is a fact.
That's why God said to do it. Go into the highways and hedges daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. To sit there and say, "Hey, all we need is a broadcast." No, wrong, we need to physically go talk to people. Human beings, imagine that, in 2015 interacting physically in the flesh. These parachurch ministries, they're specialized.
"Oh, we just specialize in being the nose. We just specialize in being the foot. We just specialize in being the hand." Is that what God designed? Did God design a body where he puts every diversity in it and says, "This is what I've designed as my institution that I'm building, the local church. I'm going to put members into it severally as I will."
Let's talk about the parachurch ministries of our day and what's wrong with them, and why we don't support them, and why we need to get back to supporting local churches. I'm not saying just it's all about supporting Faithful Word Baptist Church. No, local churches in every city, they are completely independent from Faithful Word Baptist Church.
People have said to me, I want to start a church and I want to call it Faithful Word Baptist Church, and I want to promote your ministry. I'm like no, call it something else and do your own thing, be independent. There's nothing wrong with, "Hey I'm going to promote this guy or promote that gut." You know what? When you have this network of churches that are all looking to one person as the leader, that's dangerous.
You need to have Independent Baptist churches who are thinking for themselves not just a franchise of the home base. You know what I mean? What we have with these parachurch ministries, they'll usually have just one specially, for example, the family. Where it's all about dealing with family issues. The big one is what? Hocus pocus on the family. Right?
Dr. James Dobson, Christian psychiatrist. Christian psychiatrist? What are you going to be like Christian bartender? Christian prostitute? Christian psychiatry, I thought psychiatry is of the devil. Hello Sigmund Freud. Unbelieving Christ-rejecting perverted Jew, false teacher, false prophet, Sigmund Freud. I don't want anything to do with him, the father of modern psychology.
When I was a kid the churches preaches against the psychology, and the psychobabble, and the psychiatry, but he is this Christian psychologist and he's got this parachurch ministry Focus on the family. Then sometimes even when they go to church they won't tell you what church it is. It's all about their parachurch ministry, and that supersedes and is greater than the church. No, nothing is greater than the church because the church is the institution for which Christ died.
The bible says, "feed the church of God," he said, "which Christ purchased with his own blood." That's what we ought to be doing. He didn't write this, "Hey, I'm sending the book of Revelation to the 7 ministries out in Colorado Springs, Colorado." Where a lot of these organizations are all based, in Colorado Springs. It's like a hub of evil there in Colorado Springs by the way.
It's one of the most satanic, and I'm not against people who live in Colorado, obviously, it's not their fault, but there's a lot of satanic things that go on in Colorado. There's a lot of satanic things that go on in Colorado. There are a lot of Satan churches, even if you fly into the Denver Airport. Who has seen the satanic things at the Denver Airport? It's weird.
I went there before I'd ever heard about it. I went to the Denver Airport. I was on a layover, and I'm just like, "What in the world." There's all these demonic artwork everywhere, showing mass murder and all these satanic, Illuminati, freemasonry, and people with gas mask and everybody's dying. You're just like, "This is an airport, what are you doing with these." Then I look it up online, and it's like, "Oh yeah, it's all demonic and everything."
The Mile-High City worshiping Satan in the high places, and thank God for bible believing Christians that live in Colorado that are serving the Lord there. I'm just saying, there is a lot of evil there as well, and a lot of false prophet, a lot of false teachers. They come out of Colorado Springs with all their parachurch ministries, promise creepers, hocus pocus on the family. All these other different parachurch message that are just all about marriage, or all about childbearing, or all about this or that or the other.
Another big one is Bill Gothard. This is one the ... What's it called? Help me out [Juja 00:48:50]. The ATI, the Advanced Training Institute, what in the world is that? The Advanced Training Institute. That doesn't sound like something that Christ built. That doesn't sound like a local church. Then it also called, what's the other thing? The Bible Life Principles-
Pastor: IBLP, the Institute of Biblical Life Principles, and it's just all about the book of Proverbs and having character, and it's all about modesty. They have these certain issues, are you listening? Listen to the sermon. This is important. They have this certain issues that that's all they care about, and that all they talk about, and overemphasize and are imbalanced.
How are they having an eye, and a nose, and a mouth, and a foot, and a hand when they're just like, "We just only specialize in Proverbs." There's 65 other books you need to specialize in or whatever. Then, "All we do is bible prophecy." You're imbalanced. You're all one body part. "All we do is the family. All we do is strength in marriage." These ministries, and here's the problem with these ministries is that there's no nose.
What does that the nose represent? Why do we have a nose? Have you thought about that? Of our 5 senses probably the one that we would say is the least important would be our sense of smell, wouldn't we? If I were to take away one of your sense tonight, would you give up your sight? No way, you don't want to give that.
Would you give up your hearing? Oh man that'd be terrible. Would you give up your sense of touch? That's going to be awful. You'd go to eat your food and you'd chew up and swallow your own tongue if you don't have any feeling. If you're just numb everywhere. You wouldn't even be able to function. Would you give up your sense of taste? Good night. You enjoy food every day.
Your sense of smell, it's like, "I could live without it." You know what your sense of smell does for you? It wards you of stuff that's rotten. Think about how many times you'd go to eat something and you're (sniffing), "Somethings wrong." Think about, those of you who have kids, the dirty diaper. Sometimes you forget to check the diaper. The diaper will remind you because you smell it.
What is the sense of smell? It tells you when something stinks, when there's dung, when there's junk, when there's rot, when there's decay, when there filth, when there's mold, when there's something that putrefying your nose warns you. Couldn't that be what Christ is telling us here in First Corinthians when he says, "Hey, somebody in the church is the nose to smell when there's something rotten in Denmark and let you know, 'Hey, wait a minute, something isn't right here. Something doesn't smell right.'
You know why? That's why these parachurch ministries are constantly having scandals. Where perverts are just running rampant in them for decades and they're not getting busted. Why? No nose, too specialized, no qualified pastor. It's also often characterized by people getting way too much money and way too much power than what they can handle.
Here's the thing, if we follow a local church model, nobody gets too much power. Think about that. If we follow a local church model, "Okay, Pastor Anderson has authority over a local church. It's not really that big. There's not really that much money." Then we got another church over here, people that we've trained and sent out, Pastor Romero over in Fort Worth, Texas. He has certain authority and certain things that he says over over there.
Pastor Burzon up in Prescott Valley, Pastor Jimenez in Sacramento, California. These guys are independent. I don't have any authority over them. They don't have any authority over me or each other. We're just all Independent Baptist. That's it. We're just friends, and that friendship can change. You know what? That friendship doesn't make or break anything because we're all independent functioning, self-governing, autonomous churches.
Here's the thing about that, the thing about that is that if you had a bunch of churches that are all under the authority of one guy aren't you giving that guy way too much power? Aren't you putting him over way too much money? Then it can go to their head. You say, "A good pastor would never do that." Here's the thing, a lot of good man had been corrupted by way too much power.
Now think about how God laid it out in the Old Testament with the Children of Israel. Did he just have one guy that had all the power? No, because he had the judges. They were all the different judges in all the different tribes. They didn't have a king that had all the power. They said, "Give us a king. We want to be like all the other nations." God said, "No, no. I'm your king. You don't need a king."
They had all these different judges so there was not a centralization of power. Does everybody understand that? There were ruler of 10s, ruler of 100. Ruler of 1,000, but there was not a centralized ruler of millions, because of the fact that when you give people too much power bad things happen.
Look at King David, may after God's own heart, give him too much power, what happens? He commits sin, he does all kinds of thing. Most of the kings of Judah and Israel had a multitude of wives. Why? Too much power goes to the head. Then they feel like they can take liberty and everything like that.
With this Bill Gothard and the ATI and the IBLP, and by the way my dad warned me about this guy when I was a small child. My dad used to scream and yell about a lot of things, but he screamed and yelled about Bill Gothard and ATI and the IBLP because he talked about it that it was a cult, that it was a cult of Bill Gothard, and that people would start coming to church with these red notebooks. This is what it was, thy carry and their ATI notebook or IBLP notebook or whatever.
It was like that was their authority there, they get the bible and they got their red book. They carry this thing everywhere and it was a lot of strange falls doctrines, and my dad was fighting it back when I was kid. Here's the thing, this guy turned out to be a complete pervert. He ran this $80 million empire of this organization, this parachurch ministries, there's no church.
Here's the thing, all throughout the history of this organization they were covering up for a whole bunch of scandals, multitudes of people that worked for the organization were constantly involved in scandal. They were not being cast biblically because there's no church even there to do it. It's just this parachurch ministry, free-for-all, freestyle, and you have all kinds of scandal and molestation and adultery and fornication running rampant in that institution all along, but it doesn't come out for decades.
Decades later it all comes out because there's no watch dog, because it's not being run on a biblical model. Therefore this stuff is allowed to just run rampant. Listen, we will never cover up that kind of filth in this church. If we find out that any kind of sin or filth as far as, if anybody is being molested or if anybody is committing adultery, we will expose it.
Congregation: Amen. That's right.
Pastor: We will expose that. We will not allow that in this church, because this isn't your little parachurch ministry where we sweep that under the rag. No, this is a local church where we exercise the authority given us by Christ to clean house. We will do it. We've done in the past and we'll do it in the future.
Thank God there's been no molestation or adultery but we cleaned house on fornication repeatedly, that is something that has taken place in the church. When we find out the people who's living in fornication we give them a chance to either get married, get out of fornication, or get out of the church. They have 7 days to do it, and that's what we've done many times.
What I'm saying is these parachurch ministries, and this Bill Gothard was a total pervert, surrounding himself with all these young girls that would be his secretaries and assistants. He's being totally inappropriate with multitudes of them, because he's a pervert and he was exposed as such when he's 80 years old. He gets away with it for decade upon decade upon decade.
Here's the thing, he was the head of a very imbalanced ministry that's just all about one thing, not about a whole bunch of other important stuff. Now listen, God is telling us here that the local church is his institution. It's his body. He designed it. Why do we think we can design something better than what he designed.
Listen, anybody who is part of a parachurch ministry or the head of a parachurch ministry but not a part of a bonafide local New Testament is not part of a local New Testament church and is therefore living in sin and is not right with God. They need to get under the authority of a local church. They need to get and become a part of a body, and join the body.
Now, in our church we want to make sure that we do not become focused on one thing where we just become just the eye, or just the foot, or just the mouth. We need to make sure that we maintain the diversity of administrations, the diversity of operations, and that every member of the body is doing their part and playing a role.
How can we become imbalanced? All of these parachurch ministries are all imbalanced. Listen, if they weren't imbalanced they would be a parachurch ministry. Think about that. If they had all the elements, if they had a pastor, if they had soul winning, if they had bible teaching and preaching, if they had the singing of hymns, if they had the congregation of believers then they would become a church at that point. They would be a parachurch ministry.
By definition, a parachurch ministry is just a chopped of piece of the body that's just riving in the gutter. Think about it. This is what spiritually a parachurch ministry is, if we would just hack of an arm and just that arm is just there. That's a parachurch ministry.
Here's what a functioning body looks like. Here's a human body, Steven Anderson. This is a functioning body, hands, nose, mouth, eyes. Now here's the thing, there could be a functioning body that's missing a part and it could still function. Let's say I just had only one foot. This is me. I'm Pastor Steven Anderson, and I only have one foot. Could I still function? Am I still human? Of course. I could still function here. I can do something. I can make something happen.
Maybe I'm just missing a hand. Okay, but I can still function. I could still accomplish something. I'm missing an eye, but look I can get something done for the Lord like this. Here's the thing, am I going to be as effective if this is who I am, am I going to be as effective, am I going to be able to do as much for the Lord like this, as if I were complete?
Pastor: No. Here's the thing. When you don't show up, this is what you're doing to our church. We don't get involved, when you don't show up; this is what you're creating. We want to be a fully functioning body. Here's the thing, even this, even our church that's got issues is still better than just an arm laying in the street, just a foot.
Imagine Jezebel after she torn of dogs. It's just the palms of her hands that are left. Isn't that what it said that, that they just found hands? That's the parachurch ministry today, it's just hands. It's just feet. It's just an eye. Imagine an eye and say, "Man look at what the Lord's going to do with this eye. God's going to use this eye for great things."
No. If we were to take that eye and install it into somebody's head, then we can do something great for God. It's true folks. Without the body, that eye is not going to do anything. You can have the most beautiful mouth ever, but if it's not installed in a body, it's not going to do anything.
You can have a perfect foot with the perfect arch, if it's not installed it's not going to do ... Look, all these people out there, "Oh, but they have a YouTube channel." Hold on a second, are they installed in a body? Folks what I'm telling you is true tonight. We need to be a part of the body. We need to be functioning.
Here's the thing, one of the biggest things that I strive for in my ministry as pastor of Faithful Word Baptist Church, I'm telling you, this is the thing that I think about more than anything else when it comes to preparing sermons, and I think about what am I going to preach on? People often ask, "How do you decide what to preach?"
I'll tell you the biggest thing that determines what I preach is I always ask myself what have I not covered in a while. What have I talked too much about? What have I not talked about enough? I really strive for balance, and not to just get all up on one thing. You find so many people that are just so specialized on one thing.
All they talk about is why the King James is right and these other versions are wrong. All they want to talk about is bible prophecy. All they want to do is soul winning. You think, "What's wrong with that if it's all about soul winning?" Churches that are all about soul winning they start getting worldly, because they don't have the hard preaching against sin. It's all about reaching people.
No, it needs to be also about holiness. Then you have other people that are all about holiness, and all they want to talk about is dressing modestly and keeping yourself pure and having character, and blah, blah, blah. Let's get our red notebooks and talk about it. Here's the thing about that, where's the soul winning? Where is the hard preaching? Where is the music ministry? It all has to be there folks.
Other people they get all about the music. There are plenty of Christian rock bands who have been found snorting cocaine out in the trailer after the show. Where do you even want to start with that? Enjoying a 6-pack of beer. Snorting a few lines of coke. Having all the groupies, and all the sins, and the filth, plenty of times.
You know what? Their band members know about it. The manager knows about it. You know what? There's no nose there, and there's no boot there. No boot in the rear end to these type of people. We need to be a part of a local church, under the authority of a local church, that's a real bonafide church.
"You're making it about the building." It's not about the building. It could be outside, but it better have a scriptural pastor. It better be reaching people. There better be a soul winning program. You know what? If we're missing a hand, the goal should be eventually to at least get a prosthetic going. You know what I mean?
Look when you first start a church, obviously when you start a church from scratch you're not going to have all of the elements, but that's why God said, "I'll build the church." He'll put the members in severally as he will. Obviously with the human body we can't just install eyes, but you know what? In Christ's body he does as it goes. He builds it.
It's like an embryo in the womb. It starts out, and then the heart starts beating, and then the eyes develop, and all the different parts of the body develop in time. That's how it is with the church also. It grows and members are added. We need to strive for balance.
We are not a church that is only all about soul winning. We are a not a church that's only about exposing false prophets. We are not a church that's only all about bible prophecy. We are not a church that's only all about King James only. We're not a church that's only all about singing praises to God and having the hymns, but we're all of those things.
We're not a church that's just about memorizing the bible, but that is part of what we're about. We need to have the whole package. A local church has it all, or should have it all. These parachurch ministries are just a chunk of flesh. That is not a functioning body.
They're not legitimate, and they are not God's plan for reaching the world and they're constantly scandal ridden as a result. When they go down they take down everybody with them, because they're this massive organizations that have their little tentacles all over the place. Then when they go done, it all goes down.
You know what? You say, "You could have scandal in the church." Here's the thing, if we have all local churches that are totally independent and autonomous. Let's say Faithful Word goes down, the rest of them don't. Let's say one of them goes down, we don't. We're all separate. We're all independent.
That's why it's important not to put all the eggs in one basket and give one person all the power because then they'll start taking liberties with the ladies and everything else. They just think that they're just running an $80 million empire. That's one of the reasons why I'm glad that our church doesn't own any property. It's great.
You say, "How long are we going to be in a storefront?" Till Jesus comes. Until Jesus comes. "When are we going to get a real church building. Get our own property and everything?" Never, never. You know what? It's not because we're not going to grow, our church is growing by leaps and bounds. I believe that our church will eventually run more than a thousand people, but here's the thing, we're still going to be in a storefront because we're just going to get a bigger storefront.
You know what? Storefronts come in all sizes my friend. Have you ever seen a Bed Bath & Beyond go out of business, or Linens 'n Things? That's a big building right? Grocery store? I'll rent a grocery store space for our church. Why not? You know why? When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.
Pastor: They can't come in and take it all away from us, because we don't own anything. The IRS tried to come after me for money, and I just told the IRS I don't have any money. I don't own anything. I have 8 kids. Here's how much money I make, and they looked at how much money I made. Then they looked at how many kids I have, and they said, "You have no extra money." I'm like, "Yeah, tell me something I don't know." They're like, "How are you going to pay us?" I'm not. Drop dead.
Basically, I don't have any money. People are constantly saying, "I'm going to sue you Pastor Anderson." Sue me for what? I don't own anything. I own nothing. "We're going to sue the church." The church owns nothing. What do we ... Okay, we own a van. That's what our church owns, a van. I'm ready to kiss it goodbye any moment. I'm not kidding.
Look, loosen your grip on the things of this world folks. You know what? Here's the thing, what if we just own millions of dollars of property and then we started getting corrupt ideas. It's like, "This property is worth millions, and oh man, we better ... " Who cares about property, it's about souls. I don't want to go into debt. Why would you want to bring the church into debt to go into some building?
Then it's all about the building fund, and the building program, and all about the property, and blah, blah, blah. Then we're constantly worried. "Oh they're coming in, they're seizing the church property what do we do?" It's like, "Hey you want to seize the church property, IRS man? It's all yours buddy." Then we'll go start a church across the street and call it something different.
All right IRS man, thank you. I don't know what that had to do with the sermon, but you know what, when you got nothing you got nothing to lose. You know what? We don't want to put too much power. We're talking about too much power in one person. It's better to diversify and have all different independent churches where one guy isn't running some $80 million of a parachurch ministry. Then he gets into scandal and then all of his employees are coming out and whatever.
Why don't we just get back to the model of the local church? Why don't we only ever have a guy in charge who's biblically qualified, would be a good place to start. The qualifications are there for a reason in First Timothy 3 and Titus 1, let's get a guy in charge that's biblically qualified. That would get rid of a lot of these problems. Then let's also exercise church discipline as it's stated in First Corinthians 5 and elsewhere.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father we thank you so much for the institution that you've given us Lord. We thank you for the local church. It's a marvelous institution Lord, and everybody is downplaying it. Everybody's got a better idea. Everybody wants to be just a body part floating around Lord. Help us to realize the importance of being a part of this body, or somebody that is a bible believing church with Christ as the head.
Lord help us to stay balanced, and to have all of the body parts. Never to think of certain church members with disdain, and to think, "Oh that person is not important, all they do is clean the building, or all they're doing is ... They're going soul winning but are they really leading."
Lord help us just to understand that every person's important, the piano leader, whether it's the song leader, whether it's the preacher, whether it's the person that reads the scripture, whether it's the person who cleans the building, whether it's the soul winners, whoever and whatever they do Lord, help us understand that everybody is important.
Lord help us not to desire a church of clones, but rather to desire a church of all kinds of people, different nations, different styles of people, rich, poor, middle class. Help us to be a place for all people so that we cam be balanced and a healthy body. In Jesus' Name we pray, amen.