Are You a Christ-Follower or a Churchgoer? – By Thomas Koester

If you haven’t noticed lately, the world appears to be slightly short of Christ-Followers.

If we can be honest, COVID-19 shut Churches down because too many Churches suffer from corporatism. That is, in order for Churchs, or religious organizations to “prosper,” they must subscribe to a structural governance that conforms to State and IRS standards. These “standards” hinder the Churches from acting freely, dynamically and transcendently.

COVID-19 simply revealed how much the State actually controls religious liberties, and the actuation of both individual and corporate faith. In other words, what we’ve learned is the core of our identity of trusting and obeying God was superceded by governmental mandates, and their insistence to trust and obey them. Our faith in God and obedience to his Word has lost its contrast, as we believers huddled in our homes with the same fear and apprehension as the unbelievers.

I encourage you to contrast the 21st Century Church with the description and actions of the Church written about in the Acts of the Apostles and in the epistles. Churches back then didn’t worry about liability insurance or the risking of their lives or being arrested. The Gospel went out in spite of death threats, arrests, beatings; in spite of shipwrecks, venomous snake bites, stoning, beheadings and crucifixions.

Our early brothers and sisters defied both civil and religious authorities, where chased out of towns, temples and festivals. When they suffered greatly they wore the stripes from lashings as chevrons and badges of honor, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ Jesus. In a supernatural way, they discovered fellowship with the sufferings of Jesus.

So, I ask you, are you a Christ-Follower, or are you a Churchgoer?

We have everything in Christ, but many believers live as though they’re spiritually bankrupt, having little to no idea of how spiritually rich they are.

I was speaking with some friends of mine a while ago. I had suggested that somewhere along our spiritual journey we’ve ceased being Christ-followers and have simply become Churchgoers. Our lack of individual and collective power bears this out.

Have we exchanged our spiritual heritage and authority for a lifeless, powerless, corporate construct and a 501-C3 tax break?

The truth is that if we’re connected by faith to God, through Christ, then even our mere shadows would become dispensaries of His grace and healing. This is not simply a lost apostolic emphasis, but a lack of connecting faith with obedience and divine relationship with Jesus Christ, who is the source of all life and truth within us.

My good friend, Tony Shaw asked, “why has no one walked on water since the time Peter had left the boat and his feckless cohorts?”

If you have Christ and the fullness of His riches, you then have what it takes to do greater things for others. This is true of the smallest and greatest believer.

When Jesus sends out the 72, he tells them, “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.” Luke 10:3

Later he instructs them: “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.'” Luke 10:9

When the 72 return, they brief Jesus with amazing and miraculous reports. Jesus’ response: “I beheld Satan like lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:17-18

In light of all this, Jesus promotes, authorize and admonishes them, reminding them to be humble and that their identity is in Heaven.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20

I want to remind you too that your significance and identity is in Heaven, and that you also have been given authority. Your faith, as little as it maybe, is far greater than you think.

“I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” John 14:12

Can you imagine, if we truly understood our identities in Christ and walked as He walked? Because Christ Jesus has gone to the Father, He said we will do greater things then He. What if we spent a few hours at hospitals, nursing homes, Walmart or hospice care facilities? What would be the outcome of the sick and dying, if we were truly connected to heaven’s riches in Christ?

This could be one way of lowering the cost of healthcare!

If you abide in me, said Jesus, and my words abide in you, then anything you ask of my Father will be done for you. John 15:7

All we need to accomplish this is an exchanged identity. Thwart our false selves and acknowledge our true selves as Children of God!

Turn your old one in today and receive a brand new identity in Christ Jesus. The lost, hurting and sick needs the Christ in us. All heaven and earth, even nature are yearning for the Children of God to be revealed.

Are you simply a Churchgoer or Christ-Follower? There is a difference. If you follow Christ into Church, you must also follow Christ into the world in which he’s placed you.

The Kingdom of God is in you, and as you go into the world, no matter how dark or frightening, you bring the Kingdom of God near people. Believe me, it will not go unnoticed!

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