Author Archives: paul.noble@envizu.co.uk

Who get’s to play?

Question: Who get’s to play?

Video Summary.

The word church

Did you know that the word church is not in the original Bible. The greek work is  ecclesia (assembly)

If you want to know the true meaning of a word see how it’s been used throughout the Bible.

The problem with words is that they mean different things to different people. For some church is the building. Other’s its a particular meeting on a Sunday.

The word means to gather: political meetings. A coming together of believers.

Acts 19:32

“Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly (church or ecclesia) was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.”

What do you do at church? What did they do in Acts and the Epsitles?

Come together!

1 Corinthians 14: Whenever you come together –   each of you. Not a few. ALL.

1 Corinthians 14:26 “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”

This is very much the American Supper idea in the previous post. Everyone get’s to play not a select and anointed few.

The common objection to this is that result is chaos? Paul gives guidelines: Prophecy someone else wants to say something –  shut up!  In mots churches today the only one who gets to speak is the pastor!

Just because everyone is involved doesn’t mean that everything has to be spontaneous. There is room for preparation. It’s unlikely that every one will bring potatoes.  

What we missing out? Missing out on variety!

Often today its all about the teaching gift.

Romans 12:6

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecylet us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministrylet us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that givethlet him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:10 

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

Allot more variety than we experience!

How would God assemble the church?  – assemble a bit of furniture.

Is seeker friendly church God’s plan?

Church is not a place where you bring people to evangelise. We should be equipped to go to people.

Evangelism isn’t a gift.  An evangelist is a person.

Pastoring isn’t a gift. A pastor is a person.

Stuck on the ground

If the church was an airfield most of the planes are either stuck in the hangars or on the ground.

 

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The priesthood of all believers

Why do we meet together?

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Priesthood of all believers

Question: What is the priesthood of all believers?

1 Peter 2:4

“Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

Revelation 5:10

“And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.”

 

Summary?

As John Wimber once said: “Church should be a place where everyone gets to play!”

What is a priest?

A priest is a special person that represents the people to God and God to the people. They are a mediator.

In the OT only a certain type of person was a priest. In the New Covenant ALL believers are priests.

One mediator

1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

Example: An Estate Agent is a mediator.

Therefore, as a believer you are qualified to : worship ( no worship leader necessary), celebrate communion, pray, intercede, prophecy, baptise and evangelise. 

Becoming a christian was your graduation!

Religion – clergy and laity

Religion = someone in between.The blessed virgin Mary.

A priest, a pastor, a rev. They do the work of the ministry ( the above). They are the professionals or clergy. They are anointed; the rest of the church are the laity.

Who does the work of the ministry?

Ephesians 4:11 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;”   WHY?

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”

No one has all 5! 

The gift IS the person (some). The purpose is to equip.

Example : Driver Trainer

As a driver trainer www.firstclassdrivertraining.biz 

My job is to impart my skills and knowledge. How does someone learn to drive?

Restaurant or American Supper

What I’ve noticed over the years, is that many churches have moved to a restaurant model. To be fair, that’s because the food is so bad they decided to employ experts! Therefore you get great worship, sermon and environment. However after a while, the same great food eaten every week – starts to taste bland. There is no participation you are an audience.

An American supper model however, seems closer to what the earl church practiced. Everyone contributes something. Everybody is involved! Everyone learns!

You still have leadership or those more mature and experienced. However, they don’t do everything they lead others to do what they are doing!

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Why do we meet together?

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What or who is the church?

Question: What is the church?

Ephesians 2:19

Now, therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone. In whom the whole building grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In whom you are also being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit

1 Peter 2:4

Coming to him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

 

Summary?

Its not the building?

The church is not the building. Its not the physical bricks an mortar. Believers are ‘living’ stones. Its the people of God. The household or family of God.

As a side note: there were no church building projects in the early church!

We need a ‘habitation’ mentality not a visitation one. In other words, God doesn’t visit is when we meet and then leave. He permanently indwells us individually and collectively by his Holy Spirit.

Therefore, a believer who is imprisoned for their faith in solitary confinement is just as much part of the church as any believer even though they suffer.

Definition?

Church or ‘ecclesia’ is defined as: “citizens called out from their homes to a public place”.

In the early church they didn’t define themselves as being part of a church organisation or churchdenomination. Their identity wasn’t based on a name. They were addressed, for practical reasons, only as the christians meeting at Ephesus or at a persons home.

Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church is not the church.  The Pentecostal church of the Spirit of Prophecy is not the church either. What we do is not our identity! That doesn’t make us church. No, its who we are in the spirit as members of the body of Christ. That is the only membership me need!

Yes, we meet, pray, worship and drink coffee in Costa but that is an outflow of who we are!

The church being a body is good analogy. Every cell in my body has my DNA. Each individual in the body of Christ has the DNA of Christ Jesus.

Therefore, the church isn’t what we do; its who we are as children of God! A family eats together, holidays and does all the things families do. Those things however don’t make us a family!

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Why do we meet together?

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Avoiding Hell

Avoiding Hell and going to Heaven?

The average Evangelical Christian thinks that avoiding Hell and going to Heaven is the Gospel or Good News. Well, I suppose avoiding being tortured for ever and ever would be something that you would want to avoid – if it were true.

Therefore, according to the traditional Evangelical, the Gospel is not really something you experience much in this life but what you experience way in the future. The bonus, is that you may even get to escape a sort of ‘hell on earth’ (the tribulation)- if of course you are fortunate enough to be raptured!

Is it Good news?

lostTherefore, is what we are proclaiming Good News to the average person around us? To a single mother depressed and struggling to look after her young kids, does the Gospel of Hell avoidance seem at all attractive? Likewise, to the young man with a drug addiction; the man who has recently been made redundant or the housewife facing cancer? No, some people are already in a kind of hell – they really don’t need to be told its going to be even worse!

If the Gospel is nothing except an escape from future punishment then it’s not good news at all by any stretch of the imagination. Good news is when you win the lottery or get a tax refund – not the avoidance of certain death in a car crash because your remembered to wear a seat belt! When Noah preached to his generation, warning them of the coming flood – that wasn’t good news! It was bad news! Yes, it was the truth but it wasn’t the Gospel!

Its about Jesus

No, the Good News is about Jesus Christ! It’s that God so loved the world that he gave his only son that we might not perish but have eternal life – not escape from hell. Without Jesus in our lives, we are indeed perishing! Some of us maybe do better in life for a while but all of us eventually die!

However, the true Gospel is a Gospel of hope because its the good news of how God intervenes and intervened in human history through the person of the son Jesus Christ. At the cross Jesus overcame death and brought the possibility of immortality and life after death through physical resurrection!

2 Timothy 1:10 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

The Gospel therefore, is great news when you realise that it proclaims an end to the the blood shed and the hatred in the world at the moment: a coming kingdom and age in which will righteousness will dwell but a kingdom that can be tasted now!

 

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Previous related post on the topic of Hell:

The first person to preach Hell?

Love never fails (Part 1)

Gods brilliant plan (Part 2)

How big are God’s plans? (Part 3)

God is a universalist (Part 4)

Jesus is God’s plan (Part 5)

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Please patronise me!

Dear Visitor,

As a visitor to my website and maybe a fan of my music, I wondered if you would consider helping me in a small way? I’ve signed up with a very innovative website www.patreon.com/paulnoblecomposer; designed to help struggling composers and songwriters like myself connect and be supported by their fans.

How does it work?

When you sign up as a patron, you agree to support me with at least $1 (£0.76) per month or more if your feeling particularly generous! – paid through the secure site. (You can cancel any time).

In return, I will be posting creative content some of which is only available to my patrons. This includes MP3 downloads of any new music I write and record; sneak peeks; music videos and Piano scores.

How does your patronage help?

As more patrons sign up, it will mean I can grow what I do as I will be able to dedicate more time and effort.

Secondly, it will give me greater incentive to write, as I know my fans are enjoying the music and excited about the next upcoming track!

Please be my patron! I may be the next Classic FM star!

Paul,

www.patreon.com/paulnoblecomposer;

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Why do Christians meet together?

meetWhy do christians meet together?

We live an age where many christians have moved beyond the idea: that the church is a building. However, what often remains largely unchallenged  – is the idea that the church is the meeting- the gathering. Yes, its good to meet together – don’t forsake meeting together as the scriptures enjoin – but do you know why? If you do it because its just a religious duty or custom alone – I think you should be asking why!

Facebook or Internet church?

Now, I’m not promoting or advocating Facebook or Internet church or even some other model to replace meeting together (not that these ways of relating are useful). Why? Because, I do believe that there is something special about meeting together as church in the name of Jesus.

There is the potential for something supernatural to happen:

Galatians 3:5 “He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Whose name?

However, meeting together does not necessarily guarantee the presence of the Lord. It is in his name we meet. In other words its on His behalf. Sadly, often meetings are in the name of those running them – so they become religious without any power.

Jesus didn’t come to start another religion. He came to introduce us to a relationship with papa – called eternal life.

In fact, Jesus models what real church is about – surprise, surprise! HE didn’t come to start a religion. Indeed, he said about the one he grew up in, that he came to fulfil the law not erase it!

No, Jesus introduced a kingdom a brand new way of living and we as the church get to introduce people to it! Becoming a Christian isn’t a get of jail card; a short cut to heaven. No we are the privileged ambassadors for a heavenly king! We have a job to do! We are all ministers and priests to God.

So, what is the purpose of believers meeting together as church?  I believe that there are four essential purposes and we will discuss this in subsequent posts:

  1. Relationship/friendship/family.
  2. Experiencing the presence of God.
  3. Equipping for ministry.
  4. Receiving ministry.

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A lost coin – ‘Lost’ Chapter 3

Chapter 3 –  The lost coin!

coinLuke 15:8 “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

It’s a horrible feeling when you realise that you have misplaced your wallet or mobile phone. I automatically go into deep intercessory prayer – Lord, help!

A lost coin

However, this is the point of the parable of the lost coin as told in Luke 15. God hasn’t lost something as trivial as a mobile phone. No, he’s lost the whole human race and is determined to get us back! In the parable of the lost sheep Jesus is the good shepherd, and in this parable of the lost coin, the woman represents the Holy Spirit.

One coin?

Why is one coin so important when you have nine left? Scholars have suggested that it is possible that this coin was actually part of a wedding dowry that the woman had been wearing around her neck. In fact, the drachma coin – which is the correct translation – was a rare coin not in circulation and certainly would not have normally been in the possession of a peasant woman.

What does the coin represent?

What does this coin represent? I believe that it represents our true identity, created in the image of God, with all the value that that infers stamped on our lives. Yes, the coin has rolled somewhere into a dark corner – maybe amongst dirt and grime. Nevertheless, our value hasn’t diminished just because we are lost. The lost coin is worth just as much as any of the other coins still strung around the woman’s neck.

What does the woman do?

What does the woman do? Does she stand around moping over her loss? No, she goes into action. First, she lights a lamp. Next, out comes the dust pan and broom and the whole house gets a complete spring clean as she searches high and low for the lost coin.

He shines into the darkness

We can learn a lot from this. There is no chance that the lost coin will be found in the dark so she lights a lamp. As lost people, that is exactly our condition: we are ‘in the dark.’ I mean, have you ever been in a cave when someone turns off the torch. It’s suddenly pitch black, so dark that you can’t even see your hand in front of your face. The Bible says that we were in that kind of darkness – a darkness that had power over us and had somehow even characterised us!

Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

Ephesians 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

Translated from darkness!

The devil’s occult or hidden realm, therefore, is one of darkness and once we are ‘found by the Lord’ we are translated from darkness into the kingdom of light! Every shadow has to flee; every dark corner is revealed in our lives as the Holy Spirit goes to work!

2 Peter 1:19 “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”

2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

She sweeps the house

So, the woman gets the broom and starts to sweep and tidy the house. This is exactly the strategy of the Holy Spirit in our lives as he goes around with his divine vacuum cleaner getting rid of the remains of last night’s pizza and dirty dishes. ‘Tidying up’ is essentially separating the common from the precious, or holy.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

Then the mop is out, cleaning floors and making the place spick and span. Wow! This house is starting to look really good!

Ephesians 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”

Of course, this is all in aid of finding the lost coin – and that’s exactly why holiness in our lives is good.

God loves a party

Therefore, God is not a party-pooper, a perfectionist only interested in a clean house. No, this is all for a reason – and indeed later on when the woman finds the coin, the added bonus is that she can invite her neighbours into a nice clean house made ready for a celebration and party!

Diligently searching

Of course, while she is diligently cleaning the house she is looking out for the glint of silver. She searches everywhere. Likewise, the Holy Spirit is brilliant at searching for that which is lost:

1 Corinthians 2:10 “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”

Imagine the joy on the woman’s face when at last she finds the coin in a dark corner, maybe covered in dust or worse. Joyfully, she cleans it up and it’s immediately restored back to its original beauty.

Real life example – Bartimeus

For a moment, though, let’s jump to a real-life example in the life of Jesus. In Luke 18 we have the wonderful story of Bartimeus the blind beggar. In Luke 18 we are not told his name but we are told in the parallel passage in Mark 10. His name means ‘son of Timeus’ and Timeus means ‘highly prized.’ That certainly relates to what we were saying about the preciousness of the lost coin.

Luke 18 35 Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging.

36 And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant.

37 So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by.

38 And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him,

41 saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

42 Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”

43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

Blind, and a beggar

However, even though his name means ‘highly prized’, here is a man who is not living up to his name. He has three problems: he’s blind; he’s a beggar; and he’s a citizen of Jericho – the ‘city of the curse’. Surely, that’s just like us? Even though we are ‘highly prized’ by God, we have been blinded and sold a lie as to our identity and self-worth by the god of this world – the devil. We are lost in our own dark world: the city of the curse.

2 Corinthians 4:4 “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

The unfortunate consequence of this blindness is that he is reduced to begging for scraps. He’s at the bottom of the food chain because he cannot work. This is quite a contrast to another citizen of Jericho Jesus encounters later on: Zacchaeus. Although very rich, Zacchaeus is likewise spiritually blind. (Incidentally, his name means ‘pure’ which again, even though people didn’t see him this way, Jesus affirms as his true value!)

A revelation of Jesus!

What happens in the blind man’s man’s heart, though, is a revelation as to who Jesus is, to Jesus’ worth as the Son of David – a King! Indeed, light has shone into his heart and no rebuke from those around him is going to shut him up. This lost sheep is going to bleat its head off at top volume until the Good Shepherd responds!

Faith

Again, this is an instance of: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved! “ Acts 2:21. That’s simply what faith is. It’s recognising our inability, our weakness, blindness and helplessness; this realization prompts us to call upon God to help us. Indeed, it’s precious faith that Jesus is searching for and to this man he says an interesting thing: “Your faith has made you well.” What is God looking for? He’s looking for faith in the hearts of men:

Luke 18:8 “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

Faith, therefore, is the currency of heaven. It’s extremely precious and valuable.

1 Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

He receives his miracle

Therefore, by exercising faith he receives this miracle of sight. His eyes are now open; he’s no longer in the dark.  Found! Immediately, the work of repentance and renewal begins in his heart as he begins to discard his old lifestyle! Straightaway, he discards his old garment (Mark 10) and follows Jesus in the way, loudly praising God!

A celebration

Like the woman who celebrates with her neighbour, this is the fruit of true repentance and a miracle – oh, joy!

Acts 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Fully-sighted Bartemeus, therefore, is now instantly in the praise and worship team of heaven, part of the royal priesthood!

1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:”

Chapter 1 – Lost

Chapter 2 – Lost

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