Reveal the Fullness of Christ!

By Francis Frangipane

One Purpose: Reveal the Fullness of Christ!
The virtue of any institution is not so much in its doctrines or organization; rather its virtue resides in the quality of person it produces.

A New And Fresh Anointing
Some of you have been struggling, not knowing what God has for you. You have been through a season in which the Lord has revealed your need of Him in very dramatic ways. Jesus Himself has been near to you; however, His closeness was not merely in the way of external blessings, but in the way of His cross. Yet, you have delighted in this, for the way of the cross has increasingly become the way of your life.

At the same time, many of your ideas and programs, which once were anointed, now seem weak and ineffectual. Even some of your favorite Christian themes, as well as church government in general, have been reduced to a simpler, purer definition of Christianity. You just want to know Jesus. Because this has been God working in you, you are uplifted.

In the midst of the changes you have been through, one conviction has grown ever brighter: your goal is to see the character of Jesus Christ - His meekness, authority and love - manifested in your life. You have discovered that any other program or church activity that does not reveal Jesus is a "dead work"; although well-intentioned, they are powerless to effectively transform the people.

The truth is, the Holy Spirit is preparing you for a new and fresh anointing from the Lord. Ultimately, God will use you to bring the manifest presence of Christ into your home, church and city.

Christlikeness Or Christianity?
We have instructed the church in nearly everything but becoming disciples of Jesus Christ. We have filled the people with doctrines instead of Deity; we have given them manuals instead of Emmanuel. It is not difficult to recognize someone from Pentecostal, Baptist or other traditional church backgrounds. Nearly every church seems to develop a particular slant or system of traditions, some of which ultimately obscure the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. Is that wrong? Not necessarily, but it will never be enough. Our quest is to be like Jesus, not men; we want the Kingdom of God, not typical American Christianity.

Thus, while we honor all men and respect differing church traditions, we must be vigilant to stay passionately focused on the Spirit and words of the Lord Jesus, incessantly reaching for the holy standards of the Kingdom of God. Any goal other than Christ Himself in fullness will become a source of deception in the days ahead.

Look at what Jesus did with common men. In just three-and-one-half years average men and women were transformed into fearless disciples, literally filled with the Spirit of God! They did not wince at suffering; they did not withdraw from sacrifice. These ordinary people were equipped with spiritual authority over demons and exercised power over illnesses! They were the living proof that Christ transforms people. Three-and-one-half years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what He did in them: the Kingdom of God!

Those men were as common and human as we are. The difference between them and ourselves is Jesus! He is the only difference.

One may argue, "This occurred two thousand years ago." True, but "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever" (Heb 13:8). You may say, "But they actually heard Jesus speak; they saw His miracles!" The same Spirit that worked through Jesus then is poured out upon us today. The Holy Spirit has not grown old and feeble; He has not become apostate. The Spirit is still poured out today! Indeed, the words Jesus uttered in the first century are still "...living and active" in the hearts of men today! (Heb4:12) Has He not promised to be with us "...always, even to the end of the age" (Matt 28:20)? Jesus is the same, the Holy Spirit is being poured out and the words of Christ still apply. The fact is, we have no excuses.

The Eternal One, Who established His Kingdom in men two millennia ago, is fully capable of producing it in us today. All we need is undiluted, uninhibited Jesus. All we need are hearts that will not be satisfied with something or someone less than Him.

If we argue church government and peripheral doctrines, we will miss completely the true purpose of the church, which is to make disciples of Jesus. Some of you want a pastor; others want elders. Still others will not budge without a deacon's board. A few of you will be unsatisfied until apostles and prophets function interdependently. Let me make it plain: at this point in time God is not raising up "ministries," He is raising up bondslaves! After we recognize that the goal is not ministry, but slavery, then we will begin to see the power of Christ in ministries restored to the church.

The pattern for leadership in the years ahead is simple: leaders must be individuals whose burning passion is conformity to Jesus Christ. Is this not becoming the very passion of your heart, to possess the likeness of Christ? The issue with our churches is not merely one procedure over another; the issue is will we become a people who are seeking hard after Christ?

The fact is, God can use practically any church structure if the people in that congregation are genuinely seeking Him. On the day before Pentecost, He had but a small church of 120 people in an upper room, but they were earnestly seeking God! In Antioch there were prophets and teachers who were together in one heart seeking God! (Acts 13:1) When Martin Luther was alive, all the Lord had was a dissatisfied monk, but he was seeking God! The Lord used common men and women in every revival, but first they each were seeking God!

The outward form is not the issue with the Almighty; the true issue is the posture of the human heart before Him! God can live through practically any church structure once those people are hungry for Him!

Objective Desperation
We may argue church government and procedures but the truth is, a move of God starts more "formless and void" than structured and well-organized. Some desperate, anointed, God-seeking individuals meeting in a basement or an upper room are the ones whom God uses. The Spirit graces them with emptiness, He pours into their hearts objective desperation. Relentlessly and purposefully they come before God, laying aside their attainments and skills. As Christ emptied Himself, so they also lay aside privileges and comforts and take His form "...of a bondservant" (Phil 2:7).

They then bring their great barrenness to Him knowing that true fullness is always preceded by true emptiness. They view the knowledge of their spiritual poverty as a gift from God, a preparation for His Kingdom (Matt 5:3; Rev 3:17). Is it not true that the greater the sense of emptiness within us, the stronger is our hunger for God?

Those whom God chooses are "new wineskins," cleansed, emptied and capable of expanding with the new wine. Their hearts are containers into which the Spirit of God is poured; they swell with Christ's inner fullness. The purpose of their lives is to contain the fruit and power of the Holy Spirit.

Our approach to God should not be so rigidly structured as to become inflexible; rather, we should draw near to the Creator submitted and soft, a people whose heart's passion is to seek God until Christ Himself is actually formed within us (Gal 4:19).

Therefore, let us not make form or government an issue. The priority is: are we willing to lay aside our ideas, return to the Gospels and obey what Jesus commands? Will we become objectively desperate in our search and hunger for God?

Find Jesus, Not Just A Religion
In this new stirring of God, our goal as church leaders and intercessors is to abide in Jesus, not to elevate one denomination above another. John taught, "...the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked" (I John 2:6). If we truly abide in Him, we will walk even "as He walked." Are there not a number of areas within each of us where Jesus has become more of a religion than a person?

The first century saints had the words of Jesus and they had the Spirit of Jesus. In that simplicity, the church enjoyed unsurpassed greatness and power. We also are returning to being His disciples, seeking to walk even as Jesus walked. This is the singular requirement in building the House of the Lord: We must want Christ's image alone established in our hearts.

Is this possible? Are we being reasonable? Listen to what Jesus taught. He said, "...He who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father" (Jn 14:12). He taught, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you" (Jn 15:7). When we are aligned correctly to God's will, we will indeed have the Father's endorsement and the Son's authority.

Therefore, the Father's goal, which must become our goal, is nothing less than Christlikeness, where we become fully trained in the knowledge of the ways of God. The Lord calls us to pay the same price, do the same works and possess the exact same benefits from prayer that Jesus did. We cannot afford to compromise what God has promised, nor disobey what He requires. These verses confirm that when the words of Jesus are taught, and where the Spirit of Jesus has liberty, then the life of Jesus is manifested. Let this become both our immediate and our long-term goal: to see Jesus Christ revealed in His fullness in the church.

Let's pray: Lord Jesus, forgive us for putting doctrines about church government and administration ahead of our love for You. Cleanse us, Master, of the effects of false religious traditions. Even at this moment, grant us unrestrained passion for You and You alone! For Your glory we live and pray. Amen


Adapted from The House of the Lord, by Francis Frangipane and now available under the new name "When the Many Are One" available at www.arrowbookstore.com.