There is something that we all as believers can safely agree on: that God wants us to grow spiritually; that He does not want us to remain babies forever. And in order for us to grow spiritually, we will need to feed on a proper diet. That means we will need to hear the right doctrine or teaching.
There are some congregations which are based on praise and worship, which is not a bad idea, except that the prescription for spiritual growth is in a teaching – a teaching of the right doctrine. Jesus spent much of His time in ministry teaching proper doctrine; so did the early apostles. The Apostle Paul says that “it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). When you read verse 25, you realize that the ‘foolishness’ he is talking of here is actually God’s wisdom. Foolishness to the carnal man, but wisdom and power to the spiritual.
And what, pray, is this right teaching that the Church needs to hear? When you look carefully at the teachings of Jesus, you notice that they are not so soft, after all. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus provides the Church with a blueprint for the kind of lifestyle it ought to live. It is a tough calling. When you realize what is expected of the Church, you also acknowledge that it can only be achieved through the power of the Holy Spirit.
And in Matthew 10:34-39 He says, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”
Jesus called Peter “Satan”. He called another lady a dog! You try that kind of ‘teaching’ with any of today’s rights-conscious Christians and you will end up in jail. Literally.
It is obvious that the charismatic gospel that the Church has been fed on for the last 2 decades or so cannot provide us with spiritual growth. It simply does not have the ingredients for bringing the Church to spiritual maturity. On the contrary, today God’s people are being taught to look out for No.1 (self); others are taught to live in self-pity.
The gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached is not a gospel you are likely to hear in our age, and for that reason the Church remains immature: it is fighting, envious and engaged in every kind of stuff that does not please God.
We need to hear the right gospel that will make us to rise and fight the good fight with joy and assurance of victory in our hearts.
In two instances in the Bible (1 Corinthians chapter 3 and Hebrews 5) we see Paul rebuking the churches for failing to grow spiritually. On both occasions, he says the reason for this lack of growth in their spiritual lives is because they have not been able to eat ‘strong meat’, instead loving to partake of only milk.
Mother’s milk is wholesome; but it will never bring baby to mature. Baby needs to reach a place where he can eat tough food!
The ‘strong meat’ that Paul is speaking of here is the gospel of the Cross. That is the revelation that he received from Jesus Christ; and that is why in all his teachings Paul echoes the words that Jesus spoke in the Gospels. Inherent in all of Paul’s teachings is a thread that never breaks: the importance of the Cross in a believer’s life in crucifying their flesh.
But it is equally true that the Church needs a revelation in the spirit to understand Paul’s doctrine concerning the Cross.
This is the gospel that Jesus had kept hidden throughout the ages, the gospel that He purposed would be preached to every creature to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Col.1:28). The preaching of this ‘tough’ gospel does not make us to question whether God loves us or not. A child who questions their parents’ love for them must have psychological problems on the side! We have no doubt that God loves us. But here, it is about growing up, becoming mature in our spirits. Which means we should not doubt God’s ways.
I am well aware that when you begin mentioning names in such a forum as this people are likely to think you are advancing cultic teachings. However, personally I am grateful for Brother Miki Hardy and the many elders of CTMI for the revelation that God has placed in their hearts for the restoration of the Church.
I would encourage anyone who reads this blog to check out CTMI’s website (www.ctmiworld.com) to see for themselves whether there is not something new and challenging for the Church.
I wish you all a lovely weekend.