Chapter 1 | Table of Contents | Chapter 11

It is the nature of that participation that is in question here. Each of them is asked to assume some responsibility pertaining to the function and maintenance of the church buildings, the grounds and the pastor's programs. Some are assigned to the parking lot detail. Others are more suited to ushering or greeting strangers at the door. Those that are musically proficient serve on the worship team. Those with secretarial or accounting skills may help with the church finances or serve as church secretary. Those with a grasp of scriptures may be asked to teach a Sunday school class under the careful oversight of pastors and elders. Others serve as janitors or grounds keepers. Those good with children end up in the nursery. We know of some who love the outdoors who are convinced that their "ministry" is taking other Christians hunting and fishing. There is something to accommodate the natural abilities of everyone.

This kind of endeavor must not be mistaken for body ministry. The activities we list above are not spiritual gifts but are based on natural ability, the flesh. Divine grace is not required to perform any of them. Instead of the manifestation of the Spirit, the managerial skills of men are unashamedly paraded about as though they proceeded from the very throne of God. Instead of the unity of the Spirit we see imposed uniformity or a false Babylonian unity that comes from building cities and towers. This is not what Jesus was speaking of in Matthew when He said to Peter, "I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Peter just didn't get it. As soon as He saw the vision on the mount of Moses and Elijah ministering to Jesus, he wanted to start a building program himself. "Lord, it is good that we are here, let us make three tabernacles." God stopped him mid sentence saying, "This is my beloved Son, hear Him!" As members of His body, we must abide in and hear Christ if His house is to be built.

When will we finally accept the fact that flesh cannot be transubstantiated into something divine? When will learn the weight of Jesus words, "The flesh profits nothing"? Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). The key word here is born. What is birthed by the Spirit is Spirit and is uniquely attuned to the God, who is Spirit. The natural man can be very deceptive because he is very religious and very zealous. However, the natural man has one great failing. He "does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14 NKJV). Flesh and Spirit are not compatible. "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish" (Galatians 5:16-17 NKJV). Regardless of its outward beauty, what is born of flesh can be nothing less or more than flesh. Origin determines everything. Only what is born of the Spirit can take part in God's kingdom. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

Paul wrote, "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). God only approves of those things that are of, through and to Him. He accepts only those things that are fathered by Him and birthed by His Spirit. Only those things that are of Him, or originate in Him, will be sustained through His Spirit and return to Him as a sweet sacrifice. Only those things that are sustained through His Spirit will return glory to Him. All else is worthless; wood, hay and stubble, to be burned up in the Day of testing. Jesus, speaking of the Pharisees, put it in even more drastic terms. "Every plant that my Father did not plant will be rooted up." Remember, Pharisee-ism was the result of man's effort to preserve the uniqueness of a nation, Israel, in a time of captivity. What was the effect of this supreme religious experiment? They missed the day of their visitation and took part in the brutal murder of the Anointed One! Why did they kill him? They killed Christ to defend their place in a system antagonistic to Him (see John 11:47-48). Sound familiar? It should! Men are still crucifying Christ afresh for the same reason. We need to be very careful about what we are planting, for whatever does not come directly from the Father through His Spirit is a cheap knock-off and has no place in His spiritual house. "What is born of the flesh is flesh."

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