Possessing the Fullness of Christ

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

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, Charismatic or other traditional church backgrounds. Nearly every congregation seems to develop a particular slant or system of traditions, some of which ultimately obscures the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. We can honor our traditions, but we must not be limited by them. For us, they will never be enough. We are seeking to be like Jesus, not men. We want the kingdom of God, not typical American Christianity.

Thus, as a man of God, I must be vigilant to submit myself, above all things, to the Spirit and words of the Lord Jesus, incessantly reaching for the holy standards of the kingdom of God. I consider that any focus or goal other than Christ Himself in fullness will become a source of deception in the days ahead.

Look at what Jesus did with common people. In just three and a 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 once 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 a half years of undiluted Jesus will produce in us what it did in them: the kingdom of God!

The first disciples were as average and human as we are. The difference between them and us is Jesus. He is the only difference.

One may argue that 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 in the first century is poured out upon us today. The Holy Spirit has not grown old and feeble; He is still being poured out today. The words Jesus uttered in the first century are still "living and active" today (Heb. 4:12), even to the "end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). You see, 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 other than Him.

Let me make it plain: God is not raising up "ministries"; He is raising up bondslaves. After we recognize that the goal is not ministry but joyful slavery, we will begin to see the power of Christ restored to the Church.

Thus the pattern for leadership in the years ahead is simple: leaders must be individuals whose burning passion is conformity to Jesus Christ. Therefore, pray for your leaders; pray with grace.

Is this not the highest passion of your heart, to possess the likeness of Christ? From Heaven’s view, the issue with our congregations is not merely one procedure over another; the concern is, will we become people who are seeking hard after Christ?

Don't Argue About Church Government

God can use practically any church structure if the people in that congregation are genuinely seeking Him. On the day before Pentecost the Lord had a small church of one hundred twenty people in an upper room, but they had been earnestly seeking God. In Antioch there were prophets and teachers who were together in one heart seeking God (Acts 13:1). Through the last two millennia, the Lord had people who were passionate about seeking God, and God used common men and women to bring revival and awakening.

The outward form is not the issue with the Almighty; the true issue is the posture of the human heart before Him. Do we want Christianity or Christlikeness? Are we passionate about possessing the fullness of Christ?

Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, When the Many Are One available at www.arrowbookstore.com.