“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.
We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.”
1 John 2:15-17, 1 John 5:19
In these passages the word “world” is kosmos in the original Greek. This literally means the “world system”. It’s very important for us, as believers, to understand that this world that we live in is a system. That is, there is definitely a mind behind the system. Actually, the kosmos is made up of many systems. You could say that the “system” is made up of many “sub-systems”.
For example, in this kosmos there are systems such as: the economic system, the governmental system, the political system, the media system, the military system, and on it goes. But the most treacherous system for believers is the religious system! Of course, there are many religions in the world, but we are focusing on the so called “Christian religious system”. This is what I would call “institutional Christianity” or the “institutional church”.
Now, of course, this religious system is very ancient. Actually, it began in the Garden of Eden. You know, when Adam and Eve first ate of that other tree? Now, it’s important that we understand that from Satan’s perspective those kids eating from his tree wasn’t just about sin. It was about control! He is the usurper who will always (well, not always!) try to gain control over God’s creation. So… now we have a fallen creation and a fallen humanity. So now, everything that mankind touches is corrupt because the whole race is corrupt.
A New Adam and a New Race
And we all (hopefully) know the story.
“So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” 1 Co 15:45
“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.
The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.
As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.
As we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.”
1 Co 15:47-49
Here Paul discusses the two Men. The first Adam (Man) became a living soul but the last Adam became a life giving Spirit. And we who are in the last Adam (Christ) now bear the image of the heavenly.
So… now we can see that this is not about going to church, sitting in a pew, and listening to a sermon. It is not about doing “good” or “religious things”. It is not about memorizing scripture or “saying” your prayers. No! We are not talking about that realm at all. Instead we are focusing on a whole new and different realm altogether. It is a New Creation and a New Race. And that creation is all about the New Man (or Adam). That is, Jesus Christ Himself. Not just things about Christ. Not just things for Christ. Not just things mentioning Christ.
But Christ Himself!
That is the very Person of Christ. He is the New Creation. Those who are part of that New Creation live in and by that New Man who is Christ. This is totally and utterly different and even directly opposed to the first Adam and his race. Okay, so now this brings us back to 1 John and the fact that the whole world system (kosmos) lies under the power of the evil one. And this includes all the “sub-systems” which includes the religious system. But what exactly is the religious system? Well, if you have read about church history at all you will know that as early on as the second century the Christian churches began to take on the forms and practices of the world system around them.
The centrality and headship of Jesus Christ were beginning to be replaced by man-made structures and organization. The Church, who is the Family of God, stopped meeting in homes and looked toward lifeless buildings instead. This was all instigated by men who were building their “ministries” instead of the kingdom of God. This gave rise to humanism in the church.
One man or woman ministries became more popular than the Church herself. Christian “superstars” began mega-churches built around their own ministries and personalities rather than Christ Himself. The “every member functioning” that we see in the New Testament was almost totally lost. The believers became spectators of the church “service” on Sunday morning. If you aren’t the “Pastor” or part of “the staff” then you are simply an attendee and an audience.
Even the “church” buildings were designed and built to be auditoriums where you would only attend and watch the back of the heads of the people in the row in front of you! Then, you would listen an oration (called a sermon) given by a trained speaker called a “pastor”. There would also be some music with hymns or praise songs. Many people I know have told me that the worship is their favorite part of the service because they get to participate. By singing the songs!
Brothers and sisters, let’s be honest with ourselves and God. Is this a picture of:
“What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, it should be by two or at the most three, and each in turn, and one must interpret; but if there is no interpreter, he must keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.
But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, the first one must keep silent.
For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted”
1 Corinthians 14:26-31
Notice the phrases: “each one” and “one by one”
This doesn’t sound like a one-man show to me.
Not even close!
And what about the daily life of the church? Is the church a loving family that loves to be together and share the life of Christ together? Or are we too busy for that? And that’s exactly why the Sunday morning service works so well for us. There, we don’t actually have to lay down our lives for one another on a daily basis. Isn’t living the church and being the church better than just going to church for a forty-five minute service? Of course it’s better… it’s exactly what God designed for us. It’s better for us, but more importantly, it’s better for Him. Our God has an eternal purpose to have an expression of Himself on this earth and in this physical realm. That expression is His church!
The words or phrases used in the New Testament to describe the church of Jesus Christ are as follows: Body of Christ, Family of God, Temple of the Holy Spirit, House of God, Bride of Christ, Kingdom of God, One New Man (humanity), New Race, New Creation, Priesthood of All Believers, Christ in You, the Mystery of God, the Eternal Purpose, the Saints (holy ones), His Inheritance, His Masterpiece, His Body, His Fullness, and many others!
Now… let me ask you a very penetrating question:
How in the world could such a group of people be so limited to actually sit in a pew and listen to a sermon on Sunday morning?
Dear brothers and sisters, there is so much more (incredibly more!) to this whole matter of being the church than we have ever imagined!
My wife, Mary and I have been working for the last thirty years to help believers realize their true calling as the Body of Christ. If you are open to it, we have many resources and co-workers that could possibly help you. All you have to do is respond to this email.
Here are the resources and contacts to help you:
Milt & Mary Rodriguez:
The Rebuilders site has many resources such as articles, posts, audios, books, etc.
Also, here are a few FREE resources:
Some of our co-workers: