If you read the previous post, you might have caught an underlying passion of mine: the Lord’s sheep.
Jesus spent way more time dealing with the lost sheep of nation than anyone else. He had compassion on them and saw they had been abused by the appointed covenant shepherds. The sheep had none of the blessings of shalom because the hired shepherds were enforcing their own imaginary laws instead of the actual Covenant of Moses. The people did have the benefits of the Covenant.
This matters to me, too. We have a lot of folks in churches all over the country, and they aren’t getting many of the benefits of the Covenant of Christ. Most of their shepherds really have no clue about shepherding or the Covenant. That’s harsh, but I’ve worked with this up close and personal in too many different churches not to see that it’s a very long way away from a valid understanding of the Covenant. Churches bought into the Judaizers’ contention that logic is more important than mysticism, while the Bible is an ANE mystical document about a Hebrew mystical faith and a mystical Messiah.
Because they miss out on this key of mysticism, they also get a lot of practical issues wrong.
About the time I stopped attending any mainstream churches, I was repeatedly running into barriers to the members actually doing any ministry. At one church, I tried to organize a church business directory so that members could at least be aware of what services they could receive from each other. This is probably one of the few things Jews get right today: They tend to patronize their own first. At any rate, I was stopped, flatly forbidden on pain of being kicked out the church. I left anyway.
The Bible makes it clear that we should try to keep it all in the family. “Charity begins at home” is a phrase that reminds us to minister first to each other within the covenant. The secular world around us going to Hell, folks. “Be not unequally yoked” is in the Bible, too. Don’t pull in the harness with people who don’t walk by covenant priorities. If you don’t take care of your own people first, you are doing something very wrong.
The first churches in Jerusalem were big on this. It wasn’t simply about food and other donations; it was about getting involved in their lives like family is supposed to do. And it’s not bossing them around, but making sure they improve their own obedience to the Covenant and contribute to the common shalom.
So why would any church have members who, for example, need help on their cars when in the same congregation are good mechanics who don’t help them? Why are landlords not seeking renters in their own congregation? Yes, there are laws and regulations, but there are also legal ways around most of them. I’ve seen it done right, but more often done wrong. This is why I volunteer to fix anyone’s computer for free; I’m preaching what I practice here.
Granted, I know that church folks are often the ones most likely to cheat you. They are more likely to sue for the most frivolous things. We also learned that from the Jews. But that’s another issue, one that needs to be addressed by breaking down some other structural barriers that prevent churches from actually being family instead of just talking about it.
This failure is part of why shalom is in such short supply. This is why demons are free to harass and steal from the Lord’s people. They have no Covenant hedge of protection. This is why we need to emphasize Biblical Law — people are ignoring some of the basics and the Covenant doesn’t work for them. I’m not angling to steal the sheep away from their pastors, but only to help them find all the blessings of shalom and the hedge of divine covering.
It is inevitable that the people who embrace the heart-led Biblical Law will break away from institutions that refuse to accommodate them. Current leadership will view this as a threat unless they believe they can hijack it. But I am not crusading to replace those leaders with myself. Rather, I long to see new leaders and new institutions arise, and simply be a part of what God is doing with them.
The sheep need protection and healing.