Today’s post is in honor of the 1 year anniversary of Jay Ferris departing this world in the flesh. It is his notes for an introduction to what he thought would be his last speaking arrangement, having received a terminal prognosis soon before. He wrote it knowing he had little time left, and addressed an issue that was very close to his heart. Unfortunately this is not the whole transcript, but at the bottom is the audio file where you can get more.
It’s hard to plan when you have a 6 month to 2 year prognosis a year and a half before a conference. What you can do, however, is try not to waste any more time or words that do not convey the truth of the matter where what God calls church is concerned. So, I will try to redeem the time, which for me has become even more precious now than it was last year at this time.
That said, I won’t try to describe some new cutting edge approach to doing church, but just say that I am not a Ceassationist – to the degree that I believe that the Bible is still accurate and relevant if we are honest in seeking to know what God calls church, and, conversely, what God does not call church, but we continue to do.
So I want to try to clear out some of the debris where the work of man’s hands is concerned and simply say once more – The God of the Bible knows of no city or town where there is more than one church, or more than one ‘body’. Two or more in one town is what the Bible calls “division.” In Jerusalem, for instance, at the beginning of this new creation period of spiritual history, there was only one church. There were not even “house churches.” There was one church that met from house to house – One church.
By the time Paul comes along as the cleanup hitter behind the Jerusalem leadership, especially where ethnic and gender divisions were concerned, we are told “your meetings do more harm than good,” 1 Corinthians 11:17, 18.
The overwhelming evidence of “church”, and world history since that time only serves to confirm the truth of what Paul wrote. It is still true today. In our divided condition, our meetings continue to do more harm than good, to both believer and unbeliever alike. The spiritual battlefield is strewn with the wounded, dying and dead souls of those who have been crushed in the battle for the Truth. No amount of token oneness is going to fix this problem. No amount of “church mergers” is going to fix this problem. No amount of “human decisions and husband’s will,” (John 1:12, 13) is going to fix this problem. God just doesn’t work or build anything in that way. Jesus builds His Church on a foundation of repentance from the work of men’s hands. In short we are not going to get even a glimpse of the Truth without repentance – Holy Spirit convicted repentance – Holy Spirit turning away from the work of our own hands repentance.
Nowhere is this more true than in the matter of how we relate to one another. Jesus is just not going to build His church or His Kingdom on decisions in, of or by the flesh. Jesus Christ is Lord of Relationship, and that is the beginning and end of the matter where “church” is concerned.
There is good news that I would like to talk about today, but talking about it is not going to do the least amount of good where there is no repentance from the relational work of our own hands. What is calling itself “church” is where it is today because it has been led there and maintained by misguided gentile/even Roman style leadership.
For those who are willing to repent, however, I do have some very good news, even thrilling news – Jesus is Lord of relationship. Any substitute for the role of Jesus in relationship isn’t worth the powder to blow it to hell. We have all been much too wounded by the relationships of our past and even of our present that we are not about to trust ourselves to anyone relationally except perhaps Jesus. Our relational woundings are so severe that even here we are very doubtful that genuine, Spirit originated and Spirit led relationships are even possible. In short, we refuse to discuss even the possibility of it because of the threat where leadership is concerned. Relationships that come from God are clearly bad for the business of what continues to insist on calling itself “church.”
My very strong impression is that a big part of the problem is that we have a very big blind spot right where the Bible speaks about this very matter. Most go through life not even having heard that there be such a gift as relationships that come from God. Sad to say, right up till today, what we have been seeing and saying is a very poor substitute for the real thing. Instead we now find ourselves in an era of buzz words, and buzz relationships. None of this will hold water for very long.
I have not survived this long to come and be negative here today. My heart is much too in love with the good news, the really good news of relationships that I would like to talk about with you in the time remaining. Last year I shared with you that one day I was asked by some of the leadership here in Charlotte, “Tells us what does the church in Charlotte look like?” After shooting a very fast prayer to heaven for its wisdom, I responded: “The church in Charlotte is everyone in this city who knows who are theirs in Him, and all the rest is show business.”
By now you may be thinking or asking in your hearts and minds, “what else are we to do?” What to do, what to do…The real question is, “Who to be, and who to be with?” Are we to be with those of our own choosing or those of the Lord’s choosing?
For the remainder of the time I want to turn now to discerning the difference between our own relational choices, and those that The Lord wants to make in us and for us….
INTERESTED IN MORE? You can hear the full content of what Jay spoke by visiting: https://lovinglikegod.com/media/ and listening to the last audio titled, “Jesus is Lord of Relationship.”