The following message was the opening teaching at an Apostolic Conference in Real Del Mar, Mexico on November 15th, 2000. It addresses the condition of the Body of Christ past, present and future, and presents an introductory look at what the future church will look like.
John 12:23 And Jesus answered
them saying, The hour has come, that the Son of man should be
Death Before Life
In the country where I come from, the rain falls in summer, not in winter. In winter everything dries up and dies, and the grass that was so lovely and green in summer begins to turn yellow and fade. Usually around that time of the year is when you see forest fires taking place. Sometimes people just carelessly throw a match, or maybe the sun beams through glass and acts as a magnifying glass. Whatever the cause, we see a lot of forest fires.
As a result, it became a very early experience for me to see how a countryside that was lush and green would turn to yellow and show death almost overnight. Then a fire would come and would sweep it all away, and that countryside would be transformed into just black, barren, bare land.
I remember the first time I looked at the land that had been devastated by fire like that and I thought, "Everything is destroyed. Everything that took so long to grow is gone. Is there any hope for this land?"
But summer came around and the rain began to fall, and it seemed like that which had died and that which had been purged and destroyed, suddenly began to spring to new life. Green grass began to come up out of the ground, but from where? Wasn't it all dead? Was it not all destroyed by the fire? Where did the grass come from? I discovered that the very ash from the fire provided a fertilizer for the seeds that lay dormant in the ground, ready to spring up at the first sign of water.
Death must come before new life can begin, but when death comes in the natural, it is not total. When the grass dies, it may be gone, but it leaves the seed to spring forth again. When the fire comes and burns everything, it does not destroy the seed. That seed remains in the ground, and although it may look as though everything has been destroyed, it has not. Instead, the way has been prepared for new growth to take place and for even more growth to take place than there was before.
The church of God is no exception to this principle of nature. The church of God has to go through death. You have heard plenty about death already, but I am not talking here about the prophetic preparation, so you do not need to worry. There has to come death, and I want to show you that the church has gone through death, and it has gone through the fire as well. However, there are seeds that are waiting to come up again and that are waiting to sprout once more!
I am going to give you a history lesson in this chapter. I hate history. It was probably the subject I disliked the most above geography. Any subject that involved a lot of studying and learning I must admit I did not enjoy at school. So do not expect a great historical account, because I am not a very good historian. I will just try though and paint some pictures for you of the history of the church, from the beginning through until now. So if I leave out some of the facts and if I get some of them wrong, you analytical historians out there are welcome to correct me, but I will not change the notes. I am painting pictures here and I want you to see those pictures.
Noah and the Flood
Right back at the beginning of time when God first made man, a new vision was born. God looked down and said, "Let us make man in our image and in our likeness," and God created man and set him on the earth. But man sinned and became corrupt, and the Scripture says that God looked down upon man and He repented Himself that He had created man. God said, "I will destroy the earth with a flood."
Death came. God destroyed... but not everything. There was one family who remained that God raised up and chose to be the seed that would spring forth a new generation of mankind. That was the first time we see this principle of destruction, followed afterwards by a new world.
So as the flood destroyed the old world, the Scripture says that Noah and his family came into a new world. Was it a different world? No, it was the same earth, but it had changed, because the flood had destroyed everything. So this group of people who came from the old came into the new as the new seed to bear forth a new generation of mankind.
Israel - God's Chosen Nation
We go down and we look at Israel, God's chosen nation that He raised up and the twelve tribes, but they did not follow God's laws. The whole thing turned sour and God said, "If you don't sort yourselves out I'm going to deal with you." Israel did not listen and they went into captivity, into the Babylonian and Syrian captivities. Israel was scattered, it was destroyed. But it was not destroyed was it? We read that a remnant came back. In the time of Ezra and Nehemiah they came back and they rebuilt Jerusalem, and the nation of Israel rose up once more.
You say, "What about the ten lost tribes?"
I am not going to go into British-Israelism here. I believe all twelve tribes came back at the time of Nehemiah. They returned and a new nation of Israel rose up with the same twelve tribes. The same nation rose up once more. God had destroyed, but not totally. Death had to come in order that the new could come forth.
The Old Covenant
Then we see the Old Covenant that God gave under Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and under Moses, and we see that God destroyed the Old Covenant. When Jesus hung on the cross and He said, "It is finished," the Old Covenant was finished. It was finished, it was over, it was done! A remnant then entered into the New Covenant. There are more gentile Christians today than there are Jewish Christians. Again, it was the same thing. God took a remnant from amongst the Jewish people to begin the New Covenant and the new move that He had planned amongst mankind.
Then we come to the apostolic era and the birth of the church as we know it.
Scattering of Jewish Church
On the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit came down and three thousand souls were saved, the early church was birthed and started off in mighty power. Jesus spoke and said, "You will receive power from the Holy Spirit and you will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, Judea, in all Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth."
However, they sat in Jerusalem! They stayed where they were having a revival. They forgot His Word. And in the middle of revival power somebody received a vision to go out. His name was Saul of Tarsus. God had to use Saul to come and destroy the church, to destroy what? The Jewish church. He had to destroy and scatter it and make them get out there to somewhere else.
You know something never ceases to amaze me. You read in the Acts of the Apostles how the Lord used Peter to bring the gospel first to the gentiles. When he got back the Jews all got on his case and said, "What are you doing mixing with gentiles?" He sat down and went through the whole thing in detail, explaining how God had revealed and how God had given the Spirit. Finally the penny dropped and they came to the conclusion, "Oh, so God has given salvation to the gentiles as well. Yeah, we got it!"
The next verse says, "And they went out and preached to Jews only." You can go and read it. They did not get it. The Lord had to bring destruction and scatter them.
Death of the Church
We look at the early church amongst the gentiles, when Paul moved out and started the new move, but again death came. The church began to fade away. I do not know what caused it. I have some suspicions and some opinions. One of the opinions that I have is that early apostles failed to make proper disciples. As a result, when they died out there was nobody to follow on. Everybody followed the apostle's leadership, and while they were alive things were great. As soon as they died out, however, there was nobody to take their place and the church went into the Dark Ages. The apostolic era came to an end.
What happened? The church went into death. The power of the Holy Spirit began to vanish. The traditions of men and religious ideas began to creep in, and the power was gone.
"Well you see, that's because God had only given it to the apostles and they had a specific ministry. They worked in the gifts of the Spirit and they moved in the power, but when they died it was no longer necessary, because the church had now been established. Therefore God did away with the gifts and the power of the Spirit."
Have you heard that teaching? That is why the church died, because they failed to pass it on. They failed to take what God had given them and pour it fully into others and mentor them. They failed to do as Jesus did when He said, "As the Father has sent me, so send I you."
Beginning of Resurrection
The church died, and the same procedure we saw earlier was followed again. There came the death, there came the fire and the persecution and everything that happened to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it destroyed it. It appeared to destroy the church until it looked like that blackened countryside that had been burnt and there was no life left. But I want to tell you, there was life. There were seeds that were still in the ground, and those seeds were awaiting some fresh water to come upon them to bring them back to life again.
Gradual Coming to Life
God began to move. He began to move in the time of the Reformation. This is all church history and I am not very good at it, but I am just going to go through some of the phases. In the early Reformation men began to get back to the Word again. Satan had locked up the Word so badly that nobody could get their hands on it. Nobody was allowed to teach it or preach it except those appointed by the church. It was not allowed to be in the hands of the common man, and the hierarchy determined what you were supposed to believe, even if you did get to read it. That is about as dead as you can get!
God began to move though, and began to inspire certain men such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and John Huss. Various other men of that time began to get into the Word and bring back the truth of justification by faith. God raised up the Anabaptists to bring back the truth of water baptism, and gradually things started to come to life in the Body of Christ.
As we trace the history of the church from the early Apostolic Era until now, we see various different phases that God took the church through after it had been through death. But the greatest growth began when the rain began to fall. When did that happen? Just a little before our lifetime. It was not that long ago. In this last century that has just past, God began to move in restoration of the Body of Christ. Those of you who are fifty years and older can look back and see in your very lifetime, some of the phases that God has taken the church through.
The main one happened before our time. It happened right back before the turn of the century, and as the century came in God began to pour out His rain. They called it the Latter Rain Movement. God began to move by His Spirit and pour fresh water upon those seeds that had lain dormant for so long. The church began to come to life again!
Resurrection Far Greater
God started to do more than simply restore things. Why? Because death, when it is followed by resurrection, brings something greater than what was there before. Resurrection is greater than the death. You prophets should all know this. We have been teaching it for so long. You have to go through death in order that the new life may come in a greater dimension than you ever had. Your vision for ministry has to die before God can raise it up and exalt it to the level that it should be. Everything in you must go through death.
Jesus came as the last Adam. He came in the same condition that God made man originally. But when Jesus died and He rose from the dead, the Scripture says He arose in a new life. He arose in a new body. Jesus was lifted up and exalted far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named. Jesus was exalted far higher than Adam ever was. The resurrection brings a greater dimension than the original death.
What am I saying here? I am saying, stop saying we have to get back to what the early church had. Stop saying it. It is not good enough. God has something bigger and something far greater for us! What the early church had was the birth of the vision. What they had was only the start. The church has gone through death, and it had to go through death for that very reason, in order that the Lord could raise up and bring out a church triumphant, a church glorious, far greater than this world has ever seen.
We are living in that time, people. We have lived and in this last century we have seen God beginning to restore His church. He has restored and has brought back everything that the early church has had. We have not reached the final goal though, have we, because restoration is not enough? There is a new move coming. There is a new vision coming. There is a new countryside that you are going to see. There are new trees that will be growing there. There will be a new and a greater dimension of the power of the Spirit of God in these end times in which we live, than what the early church ever saw or knew. It is going to be different. It will be greater than before.
That is what we will be sharing on here. We will be showing you what the new church is going to look like. We will be part of stepping into that move that is going to bring about that new church.
Order of Restoration
As we look at this period of restoration in this twentieth century that has just past, we see that God began to restore certain things in certain orders. If you look at the way it took place you will see it was not haphazard and it was not accidental. It was planned according to divine purpose. And what God restored and brought back to the church, He did in a specific order and He did it by a specific timetable.
That is why we can stand now at a place where we can know what the next step is. We do not know what it is going to look like because it has never been before. However, we know that the next step is about to come about.
As we look at the church at the turn of the century, we see the Pentecostal Revival. A fresh touch of Pentecost, a fresh outpouring of the anointing of God and a fresh revelation of the gifts of the Spirit began to take place. Isn't that what started on the day of Pentecost? God created the same thing here, beginning again with a new Pentecost.
Then we see that God began to move further by His Spirit and restore, and we have what was known as the Charismatic Movement, or the Charismatic Renewal. Most of us have lived through that one. What happened in the Charismatic Renewal? God began to overflow the bounds of the Pentecostal church and those who thought they had a handle on this new revelation. But they didn't. They only had the introduction. God began to overflow. You see, He began to cut away again. The Pentecostal church had become staid and established and He began to spread into it new life.
Do you know what happened? The Catholics who pray to Mother Mary and who do all those weird unscriptural things, began to speak in tongues.
"Oh my, tongues must be of the devil then."
No! God began to pour out the move of His Spirit and the anointing of His power amongst every denomination. He began to break down those structures that had come into the church that were not there originally, but that had come in through the Dark Ages. He attacked all the traditions of men, all the religious ideas, all the sectarianism and everything that was not of Him. How did He do it? By the move of His Spirit. He began to overflow the bounds and He began to bring a unity of the Spirit amongst believers from every denomination, all those who truly believed in the Lord and were available to the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.
Fresh Revival Movements
Now today we see a fresh move happening in many revival movements that are taking place in different parts of the world and different parts of the country. Certain ones are prominent. I am not going to talk about denominations or groups, but you know which ones I am talking about. Everybody loves to hate them, mostly because I think they are jealous of them. I am not saying there are no extremes. There are many extremes. You will always have them.
You get a bunch of emotional people and put God's power on them and they start doing silly things. On the Day of Pentecost they did silly things as well. People thought they were drunk. Why did they think that? Because they were acting like they were drunk. It is not difficult to tell when a person is drunk. The Spirit of God has been breaking down the traditionalism and our staid religious, super-spiritual approach where we have to come nicely into the presence of the Lord and be controlled and reverend in His presence. The early church were not that way. God has been restoring things and moving by His Spirit.
Restoring Fivefold Ministries
Then God began to restore the fivefold ministry. Do you know that every one of the fivefold ministry had disappeared?
People say, "Yes, well you know the pastor and the evangelist have always been there. We have sort of recognized the teacher at times, but God is only now beginning to restore the prophet and apostle."
That is not true. Before God began to restore His church, all of the fivefold ministries had disappeared. Where were the evangelists? They were not even preaching the gospel. They were preaching the traditions of men. They were preaching religion. God began to restore the fivefold ministry. And you know, the amazing thing is He restored it in a specific order.
You say, "You probably did this because it is the order you like to give them in."
If you read the Signs of the Fivefold Ministry book, you will see I have put the fivefold ministries in a very specific order, and I usually give them in that order. Why? Because I believe that is the order that God ordained. It starts with the evangelist, then it leads to the pastor, the teacher, the prophet and finally the apostle.
When God began to restore the fivefold ministry, He began to restore them in that exact order. The very first ministry that was restored to the church was the Evangelistic Ministry. The very first revelation that was given to Martin Luther and the early reformers was justification by faith. It was salvation. You have to start with that. You have to start with evangelism.
God began to move in restoration of the church by brining in the evangelists. Many of them were mighty men of God. Many of them simply preached the Word without the power of the Spirit. But as God moved by His Spirit and added the power of the Spirit to it, He began to raise up evangelists who moved in the power of His Spirit.
In the early part of the century God raised up mighty men and women. He began to restore that too, because that was another thing that was lost. God began to restore the evangelistic ministry, and men and women of God rose up and proclaimed, not only the gospel of salvation.
What is the gospel of salvation? It is not that you must be born again. It is far more than that, because salvation embraces much more than the new birth. They began to preach what was known as the Full Gospel. The preached the fullness of the gospel, that the Lord came to save us not only from our sin, but from sickness and disease, from poverty, from destruction, from bondage and everything that is under the curse and that Satan has brought upon God's people.
They began to preach, and we have the healing revivals that took place, and God to raised up mighty men and women of God. I could give you a lot of names, but I will just to give you a few every now and then, because they are the ones I know about. Everybody has heard of Smith Wigglesworth, a mighty man of God whom He raised up to move in such healing power that he could even command the dead to rise. He was used mightily by the Lord.
Then God raised up a man who is still alive today, by the name of Oral Roberts. I remember as a child watching movies of Oral Roberts. He traveled all round the world preaching, and his films were available and shown in churches everywhere. He began to proclaim the simple gospel of salvation and of healing. Oral Roberts only knew Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, maybe the Acts too. That is all he ever preached from. It was a simple message of salvation. A simple message that God has come to restore everything that Satan has stolen from us.
The healing revival took place and the Evangelistic Ministry was restored to the Body of Christ. From that time it was easy for somebody to say, "Well, I'm an evangelist," and when a person rose up in ministry and preached, people would say, "Yes, he's an evangelist." Before it probably got stuck in their throats, but now you could use this word loosely. It came to the stage where every second person you saw was an evangelist. Evangelists were a dime a dozen.
Everybody who began to rise up and preach was an evangelist. You became sick of seeing them, so God then began to raise up pastors.
You may not like this one, but a movement rose up that was known as the Shepherding Movement. For those of you who are old enough or who have heard about it, it was inspired by men such as Derek Prince, Bob Mumford, and I think Don Bashan was the third one. These men are still around.
They raised up and presented a concept of bringing the Body to an order by dividing it up into small groups, because they realized that no man could control, minister to and be a shepherd of a large group of people. If you have read or listened to God's Pattern for the Church, you will know what I am talking about here. The concept was that you would take a small group of people and you would have somebody who would be their shepherd. I found out that if you just lead sheep they will scatter, because they are just dumb sheep. That is the way they are.
You say, "Yes, I'm just so glad I'm not a sheep."
Go and look in the mirror! I have dealt with this in the subject of Apostolic Teams and Teamwork. Every one of us needs some form of leadership and direction. People need a leader, and do not misunderstand me, I am not backing the Shepherding Movement. It went overboard, it went out of order, got into heresy and needed to be destroyed.
The original, pure concept that it started with was based on something Scriptural, the idea being that the shepherd would give the sheep direction. So now, instead of sitting there wondering what they were supposed to be doing, the shepherd would identify and coordinate ministries by the Spirit and say, "I can see that God's given you that kind of ministry. Now that's what you're going to be doing. That's what you will be doing, and you will be doing that ministry."
The idea was to set the Body in order so that you could flow as a team and so that each person knew their place. If they had a problem they had somebody they could come back to. There was somebody who was covering them and protecting them. There was a place where the buck stopped.
It is a good Scriptural concept, but it reached dimensions where men became like little gods, to dominate people and to control their lives to the point where you had to get permission from the shepherd almost to go to the bathroom. He had to tell you who you were allowed to marry. He told you what kind of job you had to get. He dictated everything that took place in your life. And if he took it upon himself to say, "You are married to the wrong person. Divorce them and marry somebody else," he had that kind of authority too. It was taken right out of bounds and out of proportion. Why? Satan wanted to make sure that the true shepherds did not rise up.
God had to move in other areas in order to bring about the true concepts of shepherding and pastorship. So we had other types of groups forming as God began to show that small group fellowship was the way to build the Body. I will be sharing more on that shortly.
Those were the pastors. God restored the evangelists and He restored true shepherds. Then He restored the teaching emphasis. He began to restore an emphasis on the Word. The Pentecostals loved the anointing. The early evangelists loved the anointing, but they only knew Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The Body of Christ needed some food. They needed to get into the Word. They needed to take the Word, feed on it and apply it to their lives.
Word of Faith Movement
God raised up another man, Kenneth Hagin, to start the Word of Faith movement. It became known as the Word Movement. It was a total emphasis on the Word, a total orientation of taking the Scriptures and feeding on them, using them and making them part of your life. Of fitting them to your lips and speaking them, confessing them and building the Word into the very fabric of your being.
It was a restoration of true teaching. Most people, when they hear the word teacher, are starting to think, "The teaching movement? Who headed the teaching movement?" and they are trying to think of some great big Bible School professor with doctorates and tremendous knowledge.
No. Teaching is taking the Word of God and feeding it to people, not filling their minds with dead doctrine. God brought an emphasis of getting back into the Word and getting the Word in. The teaching ministries started to come to life.
Then came the prophetic movement. There are a couple of names I could mention here too, and I am sure that there may be others that I have missed. The first people though who ever influenced me were John and Paula Sandford. They wrote a book on the Prophetic Ministry called the Elijah Task, and it is actually the only book I have ever read on the Prophetic Ministry.
"What, and you're teaching a Prophetic School?"
Yes, the rest I received myself directly from the Lord. There is one other great man of God whom I believe is perhaps worthy to be considered the head of the prophetic movement, and that is Bill Hamon. He brought it into full focus, put it in place, and set a training mechanism for the prophets of God.
Then came, or rather then comes and is coming, the restoration of the apostle. The apostolic movement is about to begin, and everybody is looking to see who will be the big name in this one. Who will be the men that God will raise up to spearhead the new apostolic movement?
As you scan the world and as you scan the Internet, as you look through the churches and the denominations and organizations, you look to see who this great man is who is going to rise up and spearhead the apostolic movement, and you cannot find him! Do you know why? It is because he is hidden. They are hidden. Why is this? Because the apostolic movement will be unlike any the other movement. The apostolic movement is not going to arise in the same way.
God has been preparing His apostles underground. The seeds have been lying there under the dirt, waiting in the ashes. There are men who are rising up and are in leadership in the Body of Christ. I could mention names of people who perhaps claim to themselves to be the leader of the current apostolic movement. But I want to tell you why that is not possible. It is because the apostolic movement has not manifested yet.
People are teaching on the apostolic movement. The books are coming out about it. Everybody has ideas on it. They have a pretty good idea of what it is and what it will involve. But it is still hidden there under the ground waiting for the final manifestation.
The apostolic movement is about to come into manifestation, and when this happens you will see the same thing that you see on that countryside that died and was burnt and black. As the rain begins to fall, suddenly almost overnight you see the grass coming out everywhere.
The evangelistic movement started with two or three evangelists, and suddenly everybody was an evangelist. Every church has a pastor. There are many Bible Schools who claim to have teaching ministries, and many of them do, and many of them have risen up to teach the Word. There is much in the Word of Faith going on out there, and you know that prophets have become a dime a dozen too.
The apostolic movement will come differently. It will not arise with just one or two men. God will raise up a group as I shared in God's Pattern for the Church. Just as Jesus had twelve disciples, largely ten and two who were close to Him (I explained why it was two and not three) so I believe God is going to raise up in these end times, those in the apostolic move who will come into leadership. As with His disciples, I believe there will be ultimately about ten or twelve of them. God will start by bringing out His hidden apostles that He has been training in the background. They are the seeds that have been hidden underground the whole time. The final fivefold ministry gift of the apostle is about to be manifest.
Pattern for the Church
In this last century, God has restored the pattern for the church. What is the pattern for the church? I believe that the early church had a pattern, which has been lost over time. There is a pattern that is in place right now, but it is not the pattern that God ordained. God is blessing that pattern, because it is there and available, and He will bless it as much as He can bless. But before God can bring the church to full restoration and resurrection into the new picture, He has to change the pattern. We are trying to contain the new wine in old wineskins. We have to change the wineskins before God can move.
Early Church Different
So before this apostolic move can take place, and before the apostles can rise up, God is bringing back in restoration the true pattern for the church. What am I talking about? I am saying that for a start, what you see in today's churches is not what existed in the early church. If you walked down the street in those days and you met somebody and said, "Excuse me, please, I'm looking for a church. Do you know where I can find the nearest Christian church here?"
They would not have replied by saying, "Oh yes, there's a great big one there with a steeple on Main Street. There is another one down there. Actually, we have a lot of churches in this town."
What they would have likely said to you if they knew is, "Yes, I know some Christians. In fact, I believe that house down the road there meets quite regularly. And yes, I've heard that some of these people over there are Christians, and they're often getting together in their homes."
They would have pointed you to where the people lived. They would not have pointed you to the temple. Yes, the temple had its place for a season, but the early church existed where the people were. The early church existed in their places of employment. It existed in the houses that they lived in. It existed in 'where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.' The early church was not based on church buildings.
Today if you go and say to somebody, "I'm looking for a church. Where can I go?" they will give you one of two replies. They will say, "Well, there's a church down there," or they will say, "There's an Assembly of God church down there." Or they will say, "Oh, you need to go to Les's church, Pastor So-and-so. Why don't you go to his church?" We identify the church by the building it is in, by the denomination we belong to or by the name of the pastor. That was not the pattern in the early church. It is not the pattern that will exist in the end times church.
Home Meetings Concept
I remember the very first time I ever became aware of the concept of home cell meetings that is so common today. I picked up a book once at a Christian book sale. It was one of those books that nobody wanted to buy. It had been lying on the shelf for years, and so they gave it away on a sale. I bought a whole lot of books on the sale, one of which was this one, which was written by a man from England. He was an evangelist, and he was saying that in England at that time all the big churches were closing down. He said they were closing down everywhere. But, he said, every time a church closed down dozens of little groups sprung up as a result.
He began to describe the typical thing that would happen in one of these groups, how people would get together in a home and they would sit and share with one another. Somebody would read a Scripture, somebody else would contribute and give a comment, and somebody would give a word of prayer. Someone would share their problems, someone else would ask for prayer and another person would pray. He shared how people began to fellowship and bless one another and love one another, and they built together tight little groups that cared for one another.
It was a live church, a living organism. When I read that my heart went aflame. I am talking about at least thirty to thirty five years ago that this happened, before there was any real talk about cell groups and home meetings. It began to burn in me. I got the vision and I said, "Yes! That's what I've been seeing. That is exactly what I have been thinking. This is what the church should be like." I could not wait to put it into practise. I began to share it with people. I began to speak to people and say, "We need to get together. Come and visit us in our home. Let's get together and share the Word together. Let's start building love and true fellowship and harmony in the Lord."
Real Body Ministry
Everybody got so excited about it! No they didn't! They said, "No thanks. I go to church on Sunday. Hey, I'm part of the worship team. I play in the band. Everybody thinks I'm the greatest! I've got to go to the show. You want me to come and sit here in the background where nobody can see me, in a little home meeting?"
Yes, because that is where growth takes place. That is where the true growth takes place. It is where we let down our masks. That is where we start to open our hearts to one another. That is where we get to share what is really going on inside, instead of greeting each other at the door, dressed all nicely, and shaking hands and saying, "Good morning, brother, how are you?"
He does not care how you are! It is just the right thing to say. You reply, "I'm fine thank you, praise the Lord." But you are not fine! You are lying. But you know that if you did tell him how you really were he would find an excuse to get out of there.
That is not the church. That is not the Body of Christ. But when you get together with a small group of people you get to know them by their first name and even find out what their middle name is, and you find out where they came from. You can find out about their childhood and the problems they have had in life. You find out everything about that person and you feel secure enough to start telling them about yourself. All those things that you have hidden, and the masks you have put up start to come down and you can be honest and open with one another in true fellowship and ministry.
A person can come and bring their need and somebody will minister to that need. Somebody is going to care. Everybody will band together and say, "Wow you lost your job! Oh dear. Come on guys, let's rally together. Let's supply some food for this family. Let's help. Do you know somebody who can help to get this man a job again? Let's get involved practically."
I can assure you, you will not find that in a big church. You could be going to a big church for six months and nobody even knows you exist, let alone your name. We have lost the pattern, and everybody is saying, "God's reviving the church. God is going to move by His Spirit in these days and there will be such an ingathering of souls. There's going to be such a large crowd of people coming. When revival power comes, we'll have to break down the walls of the church. It will be too small. We will have to make these great big auditoriums where we can bring the thousands of people to house all the members that I will have in my church. That's the new pattern." Baloney!
Juan Carlos Ortiz
I love the writings of a man called Juan Carlos Ortiz. Have you ever heard of him? He was involved in the Brazilian revival. He has faded away now and is in the background. He wrote a book called Disciple. Some people do not like it because it was sort of related to the Shepherding Movement. He was a very radical man. I remember Juan sharing though what he learned in his church, and he had built a big successful church with lots of people. He said that God told him that he must stop being Pastor Juan and just be Johnny.
So Pastor Juan took upon himself another identity outside of church. In church he was Pastor Juan, but outside of church he was Johnny. And you know, Johnny did a very nasty thing. He went and began to steal members from Pastor Juan's church and they started to gather together in home meetings. Eventually Pastor Juan lost his whole congregation because of this! It did not exist anymore, just dozens of little home meetings.
The church was vibrant and alive and it grew. I believe those are some of the seeds of the Brazilian revival and the revivals that are taking place in South America at this time. God began to restore the pattern.
Then of course Yongghi Cho also gave teaching on this pattern as God showed him, or more correctly, forced him to go that way, because Yongghi Cho still likes to retain the status quo thinking I am afraid. He still likes to have the big church concept. That was wonderful and God had a wonderful purpose in it, and his church in Seoul Korea has ministered to so many and has shared and taught so many. But God forced him, through bad health, to hand the church over to women. God did another take there. Not only did He take the church out of his hands and put it in the hands of ordinary people, He used women on top of it, just to add insult to injury for somebody who was probably very manly and chauvinistic in a way.
The pattern of bringing the church to be a living organism is being restored, where every part of the body knows who the other part of the body is. Each part of the body intricately relates to the other part of the body and it functions as something that is alive. But the church of today has just become a head. It has become a head that is paralyzed from the neck down. We have this wonderful head giving great big swelling words. It is beautiful. The hair is combed nice and neatly. It is immaculate, but you have a paralyzed body! We have to get back to God's pattern for the church, and home meetings are just part of that pattern.
Discipleship and Mentoring
God began to restore discipleship to the church. I really believe this is where the early apostles missed it. Today the term mentorship is so well known that when you speak of a mentor everybody knows what you are talking about. Sad to say, most of the teaching on mentorship originates not from the church, it originates from the world. It originates from occult and from demonic cultures. It comes from martial arts, and all of the other groups that are using the concept of mentorship. You can even see it in the movies. If you want a good teaching on mentorship just watch The Mask of Zorro.
You say, "You watch movies?"
Sometimes, yes I do. And every time I do, God gives me a message out of it. Mentorship is taking somebody and molding them and pouring everything into them. There is a saying that is going around now and it did not come from the Bible, but people use it. It says, "When the student is ready the teacher will appear." People are quoting it, but it does not come from the Scriptures.
Is it wrong? No I am not saying that it is wrong. I am saying, "Shame on the church! Shame on the church that we lost the very concept. What was the Great Commission? What did Jesus say to the disciples? Go out and evangelize everybody? No, He did not say that. He said, "Go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations." They were deaf. They must have been, because they did not do it. They did not disciple all the nations.
God is restoring the true pattern of discipleship. Paul had the true pattern didn't he? He received it by revelation and he laid out that pattern for the church. If you want to find the pattern for the church you will find it in Paul's writings. Paul showed by example how he would take young men like Timothy and Titus and pour into them all that he had, until he could send them out and say, "The things that you have heard and seen in me, go and do that. Timothy, go and do what you have seen me do. Go and speak what you have heard me speak."
I am sure when Timothy stood up to speak people thought, "Hey, that sounds a lot like Paul." Actually he probably preached a lot better, because Paul could not preach his way out of a paper bag. He said that he couldn't. People fell asleep in his preaching and fell out of the window! So do not feel bad if you cannot preach. Just learn to disciple. That is what counts.
Praise and Worship
The final restoration that the Lord brought was praise and worship. Glory, hallelujah! That came with the Prophetic Ministry didn't it? Praise and worship involves moving back into the glory of the Lord and coming into His presence. All of these things have been part of the restoration of the church and all of these things have been accomplished.
Signs of the New Church
We stand now on the brink of the new church, the church of the future. What will that church look like? We will be considering some of this here, heading out into the future as we get into Module 2 of the Apostolic Ministry and the Apostolic Office. I will just give you a few pointers here.
The future church is going to be a church in which every believer is anointed with power. It will not be the big names who are going to have the power. It will be every single member of the Body of Christ.
The new church will be a church where every group is in revival. Where you will not have to travel thousands of miles to the other side of the country to go to a church that is in revival, to get a touch of the power of God. Revival power will be everywhere. People will not be making a big deal about revival because they will say, "Hey, that's what we do all the time. What's so special about that? That's the norm!"
It will be a church in which every believer will be filled with the Word. I would like to end with a vision the Lord gave me, also based on a movie. A person would swear I watch TV all the time. Trust me I do not. In fact we do not even have a TV connection, so we do not watch TV. We occasionally select a specific video. I remember though seeing a movie way back, which was based on the life of Sparticus. Have you heard of him?
Sparticus was a Roman slave. He was one of those who was taken, sold as a slave, and trained to become a gladiator. In those days the task of the gladiators was to entertain the Romans. They would flip a coin or just choose someone and say, "You and you - you're chosen today to go and fight," and their job was to get into the ring and kill each other. The fight continued until one of them was dead. These men were trained to the ultimate capability. These were mighty men. They were trained in warfare, far greater than any other person was.
One day the prisoners who had been trained as gladiators got fed up, rebelled and broke out of prison. As they did this they came together as a small band of people. Now imagine you have a small band of gladiators. I am not talking about an army where you have one captain and a dozen privates. I am talking about a band where everyone is an expert, where everyone is a general. They went out and said, "We're going to the other prisons and we're going to break the people free."
So they went, and they set other prisoners free. They took those prisoners and they trained them to become gladiators. They took all the knowledge and all the ability that they had learned as gladiators, and they poured it into these ordinary men who had been prisoners for years. They trained them up, equipped them and added them to the band. Now the band of gladiators was growing and getting bigger, and a small army began to form. They were an army of gladiators, an army of experts.
One man amongst them rose up, and his name was Sparticus. Sparticus became the leader of that band of gladiators. As I watched that movie something began to stir in me. I looked at this and I said, "Imagine if the church was like that. Imagine if we could take a band of men and train them up to become spiritual gladiators. Imagine if we could take every single member of the Body of Christ and train them up to become experts in war. To fill them with the Word, to fill them with the power, to make them generals in God's army as it were."
When that small army of gladiators marched against the legions of Rome, you better know the Roman soldiers shook in their boots. They trembled. I do not know what the final number was, but it was just a small group of people who in the end came against the entire Roman legion, and they slaughtered them. They had power. They did not have power because of numbers. They had power because they were experts in war and because they had learned to flow together. Not one of them could say to the other, "I'm better than you. I know more than you do. I know something that you don't know." If they did they were sharing it.
If I learned something new I would say, "Guys, have you ever tried this? Have you ever tried that? Let me teach you. Let me show you how to do it."
Wrong Pattern Today
Do you know what the church of today is doing? You have the leaders who have been qualified, who have been anointed. They have been in Bible School to study and have a head full of knowledge. They have the power and they have the anointing. I do not care how you got it. I do not care if you fasted to get it. I do not care if you got so spiritual and so holy and you think that is why you have it, but you are hogging it to yourself! You do not want to give it to those ordinary church members there, because one of them may just rise up and become bigger than you. One of them may take what you give them, and rise up and dwarf you and show you up.
"I can't have that happening. I'm the pastor round here! I'm in control. Don't think you can come and usurp my authority! I'm the one who gives the prophecies here. I'm the one who ministers to the sick here."
It will not be like that in the end times church. Do not misunderstand me, I am not saying there will be no leadership. I will be sharing more about that. I am speaking about a Body of Christ, a Spartacus's army that will rise up. It will rise up where every believer will be filled with the power of God. Where every believer will be an expert in handling the Scriptures. Where every believer will be able to go out there and minister the power and the anointing of God. Then the legions of hell will tremble. Satan's kingdom is going to shake in its boots, because we will be a united band of people filled with the power of God, marching according to His pattern.
Jesus the Leader
Jesus will be the leader of the group. He is our Sparticus. He has been in prison. He has been in bondage. He became man, he became locked up and suffered all the things that we have. He had the Romans nailing Him to the cross. Jesus has been there. He knows what it is like. But He also knows what it is like to rise up in power. And you know, He is not holding it to Himself.
He said, "As the Father sent me, I'm sending you." He said, "I'm going up to receive the promise of the Father and I'm going to give it to you." He said, "The things that I do, you are not only going to do that also, but you are going to do greater things. You will do better than me, you guys. You will be greater. You are going to exercise far greater power and do far greater miracles than what I did when I walked the earth."
He is not keeping it to Himself. We must follow the pattern. That is what the end times church will look like. There will be total unity in the Body and the Sleeping Giant is going to wake up. You will often hear us speaking about the Sleeping Giant, and I will end on this here. I had a vision at one time in the Spirit. I often see demonic powers in the Spirit like princes and rulers of darkness. This one night as I began to pray I saw a huge soldier dressed in full armor. He was an awesome looking sight. My first impression was, "I've never seen a prince of darkness that looks like that before." He was terrifying. He was fearful. He was awesome looking.
I said, "Lord, who is this?"
He said, "This is my church. This is my Body." He said, "This is what it's going to look like. It will be glorious. It will be full of power. It is going to look awesome! And the kingdom of darkness is going to tremble in fear as this Body rises up in power." Then I saw the body lying on the ground, like the story from Gulliver's Travels where the little Lilliputian's had the guy pegged to the ground. Have you ever seen that picture?
I read a vision of Tommy Hicks that was given years ago. You can find it on the Internet, and we have actually re-published some of it ourselves, in which he had a vision of the Sleeping Giant, the Body of Christ, and how that giant rose up from all over the world. It rose up in power and God's anointing. The Sleeping Giant is lying like the seeds under the ground, waiting to wake up and arise, and when the Sleeping Giant stands up and the Body of Christ comes into its own, we will have something awesome.
People, you and I have been given the privilege to be at a time and a moment in the Body of Christ that is unlike any that has ever been. We have been given the privilege to take part in the greatest move that has ever been. I want to encourage each one of you who are here, you have been hand picked. You were chosen to be here. I want you to realize that. There are many other people who could have been here. As we arranged this Conference and I looked to the Lord, it seemed that a lot of people were going to come but they started to cancel and they could not make it. Obstacles came in their way and I said, "Lord, we went to all this arrangement and nobody is coming."
The Lord said, "I have chosen who is coming. I have hand picked them. And each one that will be here will be ordained of me."
I want you to realize that this is not just another Conference. It is not another Convention. God has brought you here for a very special moment, and I am not saying that to exalt this ministry in any way, and I am not saying that we are so special in the sight of the Lord that we can make such a statement. I am only saying what the Lord told me. You did not come here for me. You came here to be at a moment in time, to step into something that God is about to begin.
Birth of the New Move
I know He is about to begin it. He gave me a prophetic word right at the beginning of 1999 which I shared with the Body of Christ. He showed me that the time of the prophet would come and birth the new move, and that this new millennium would see the start of that which has lain hidden for so long. The time is at hand. The birth of Jesus that we celebrate is just around the corner. And if you want to get picky about when the millenium is, so okay, the millenium is about to begin. I do not care. We are in it. We are at a point in time when God is about to move, and He has chosen each one of you to take a part and to play a part in this new move.
This is not the only group that God has chosen. God is raising up many, and many of them are meeting in quiet, not in a great big Conference that is splashed everywhere. The word that the Lord shared, which we gave to you and which the Lord confirmed here by prophecy, was that when the baby was born in a manger only a few humble shepherds came to see Him. Only a few wise men came to see Him. Well you may be a shepherd or a wise man, I do not know, but you are here to witness the birth of something new in the Spirit.
The Lord quickened a Scripture to me, and I will share on it more, based on Joshua. I have shared how the Lord gave me a Joshua vision and we will be teaching on it. Most of this Conference will be leading up to the Joshua Junction. The Lord spoke to Joshua and He said, "Command the people to prepare provisions, for within three days you will cross the River Jordan."
I am giving that to you as a prophetic decree. Get yourself in gear and get ready, for within three days we will cross the River Jordan into the new thing that God has for us.
"Thank you Father for the privilege you have given each one of us to be here, to be part of what you are about to do, Lord. We receive it in humility, knowing Lord that we are just like prisoners, simple people that desire to be used by you. Each one of us want to rise up and become gladiators for you, Lord, to declare forth your power and your glory."