These are rife at the moment - accusations back and forth about who's done this, that or the other. What we're seeing as we look at church history is that there's been a different kind of conspiracy taking place and it goes right back to the Third Century when Constantine adopted Christianity as the state religion. By making it the state religion he imposed a structure on the church that it was never supposed to come under. He knew that he was never going to overcome the impact of Christianity so he took the, "if you can't beat them, join them" approach (or, if you can't kill it, co-opt it).
That's when the church moved away from the open, interactive, participatory coming together Paul mentioned in 1 Corinthians 14:26:
"What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church."
When we first got married we lived in Cheltenham, UK - about a mile from GCHQ which is the centre where all the coordination of espionage takes place. It's where they listen to communication between spies - as well as the gathering of secrets useful in espionage and wartime activities. We are in warfare - military intelligence is a vital part of wartime activity. The Father has his council of war and the enemy has his as well. The ones who can listen in to the secrets of the other side have an advantage over the others. You and I have the ability to listen in to the strategy of the enemy so that we can be forewarned and therefore forearmed.
Ekklesia, that we have referred to previously, is just that. God's people coming together to listen to the Lord's strategy for his people. Like what happened in the Ekklesia in Antioch:
Acts 13:1-3 "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."
The believers listened to the Holy Spirit then did just what he said. This is the reality of the government of God among his Kingdom people expressing spiritual authority on the earth today.
Each weekday we receive a "Prophetic Devotional" from a website in the USA. The other week here's what it said:
In a vision I saw a carousel going round and round with the horses of various, bright colors going up and down as the music played in the background. I asked the Lord what the vision meant, and He said that the circus of life and circumstances are like this carousel. It seems exciting and fun at first, but it becomes very monotonous and routine. You can get off of this merry-go-round any time you want to and be about My business. But, you will have to do so deliberately and refocus your attention. Acts 17:28a "for in Him we live and move and have our being."
As we thought this through we considered how easy it is to get into a rut - church does this or that. We turn up on a Sunday or our midweek groups - it looks like activity, but like the carousel, we're often not actually getting anywhere.
AGREEMENT OR LOVE?
So what does it mean for us? What's the basis of our coming together? If it's on the basis of agreement, we might encounter a problem when we come across something we disagree about - it often results in separation. But if we come together on the basis of love, when we encounter disagreement, we can work through it because we love! Love becomes our connecting point and it brings the "unity of the Spirit" rather than the "spirit of unity" that so often characterises our endeavours in unity. There are places the Lord will place us where we will be able to go to war together over the circumstances we see around us. We're in a war zone - the outcome is dependent on ‘intelligence’ and we have been given weapons - fasting, prayer, repentance, service, humility, even martyrdom. God is establishing an offensive movement going to attack gates of hell – Paul said “the weapons of warfare are not human, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses – speculations and every lofty thing that sets itself up against the knowledge of God”
This is part of the reason why Kingdom Enterprise exists - skill sets coming together. Using skills to bring about righteousness and justice in our neighbourhoods through Kingdom entry points with signs and wonders. It will be relational and corporate and the strategy has to be Kingdom strategy that utilises Kingdom skills.
YOU COULD DO THIS!
It’s possible for us to do this - the minimum to bring together in your home is two or three, but there are five stages of understanding we need to take on board:
First: Understanding what the Kingdom of God is in reality. This is about the rule and reign of God coming into the world today.
Second: Seeing small groups as Kingdom activity - skill sets coming together to minister into specific areas and with a specific mission in mind.
Third: Understanding how these small groups function - listening to the Lord and doing what he says.
Fourth: The provision of teaching materials to tap into (more about that soon).
Fifth: Places where we can come together to report back what God is saying and to worship and minister to each other - Kingdom Enterprises and specific skill sets being released.
Each one of you has been placed in a setting where you can play your part among the people you know.