God’s Perfect Family
W hen it comes to providing for our needs, there is no one better equipped to do it than the Living God—the one who created us. Because He made us, He knows exactly what we have need of. In fact, God is the only one who can truly "set our clock," for He knows what makes us tick. Like an expert watchmaker, He assembles the parts and pieces with care, testing His work as He goes. He has one goal in mind: to create such a well-built watch that it keeps perfect time and hopefully outlives many owners. God has created a precision timepiece called the ekklesia, and naturally it’s designed to move according to God's timetable—not too fast, not too slow. The ekklesia is meant to be a living example of His incredible handiwork. When all the parts and pieces are integrated and working like they should, something beautiful emerges: a people moving in harmony with the mind of their Creator. This is Ekklesia Living, and it's time you found out more about it.
As well as making precision machines, God is also an extraordinary weaver. The material He produces is special—it’s woven from human lives. We know an ordinary weaver would never attempt to produce fabric using a mixed up collection of thread from various weights, lengths, colors, and characteristics. Eventually the different threads would oppose each other and begin fighting. The strong threads would break and tear the weaker ones. The short pieces would be ridiculed by the full skeins. Proud silk would disdain and criticize homespun, while the vibrant colors would express their superiority in comparison with the more subdued, subtle tones. It just wouldn't work right. Before long the fabric would come unraveled with loose ends all over the place. Not something the weaver wants to take credit for—much less try to sell.
This composite fabric is a picture of sin-stained humanity's efforts at civilization. The strongest fabrics—the cultures that endure the test of time—invariably teach and enforce high levels of uniformity and morality. At their zenith some have appeared indestructible. Yet even the best, most beautifully designed societies end up self-destructing. Why? Because the thread of humanity is irreparably weakened by sin. Greed, power struggles, and cruelty plague the loom as long as man is the weaver. But God is not the ordinary weaver. He can create the most beautiful fabric from the widest variation of threads imaginable. How? He recreates the thread! He makes the thread like new, dealing with the sin problem. God repairs and strengthens the inherent weaknesses in the thread until it is strong and useful—even beautiful. Then He creates an environment under the control of His wisdom where He is able to weave the different threads together in harmony, forever free from the curse of sin. What a miracle! In other words, God uses His disciples here on earth to form cultures and societies according to His wisdom. Once formed, they are meant to remain under His control—the way He intended it to be from the beginning.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?
It's always wise to examine our motives and desires, making sure they are pleasing to the Lord. What are you looking for in a family anyway? Are your desires centered around nothing more than gratifying the flesh? Are you looking to be materially, emotionally, and sexually satisfied? Do you want to reinforce some proud image of yourself, proving that you've "got it together" in the eyes of the world? Do you want to burden the world with another pack of wild, rebellious brats? Or are you looking to build and be part of something that will be a useful tool in God's Kingdom? These questions are important. Ultimately, what you want out of a family, both naturally and spiritually, will determine how well you fit in the ekklesia—or if you even fit at all. Of course everyone has questionable intentions lurking somewhere in their heart, yet don't let that discourage you. God can purify your motives and bring them into line as you cooperate with the working of His Spirit in your life.
Up to this point we've looked at what the ekklesia is in real life, examining how it functions in actual day-to-day living. We've compared it first to the human body, and secondly to an army, in hopes of shedding more light on how this unique machine actually works. We continue in part 10 by looking at how God has designed the ekklesia to function as the ideal family for His people.
MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS
We have shown in earlier segments of our series how the ekklesia is easily the most efficient, economical system you can find when it comes to providing for our basic physical needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. Holding all things in common, along with letting God determine the quantity and quality of what we need, are the keys to its success. Of course the surrounding economic environment in which the ekklesia lives inevitably affects how our needs are met. If the ekklesia happens to live in a poor country or under an oppressive government, these circumstances must be reckoned with. Thank God that He miraculously intervenes on our behalf. By God's wisdom, the ekklesia makes the most of the provision at hand. Whether it's feast or famine, God makes sure His people are provided for. Yet when it comes to meeting our spiritual needs, the ekklesia surpasses even our greatest expectations no matter where it may be or in what type of environment it may be located.
As one studies the broad range of human nature, three major abstract needs always rise to the forefront of life and demand attention. These needs are: 1. Spiritual, 2. Social, and 3. Governmental. From the beginning God has ordained the family structure in order to meet these needs. When the ekklesia is functioning as designed, with God at its head exercising control, it becomes the ideal family that satisfies these needs. In other words, joining a true, Spirit-led ekklesia means you've just joined the perfect family. Everything you've ever wanted, hoped for, or dreamed of in a family will surround you as you abandon yourself and become integrated into the living fabric of the ekklesia. How can we make such a bold statement? We've been proving it for more than twenty years! When it comes to family life, it doesn't get any better than Ekklesia Living. Let's look at the three kinds of needs and how they are met.
1. OUR SPIRITUAL NEEDS
From the very beginning man was created a spiritual being. We were meant to live, move and have our existence together with God in the spiritual realm. God breathed His Spirit into Adam and brought him to life. The Bible tells us that God walked in the garden of Eden together with Adam and Eve, fellowshiping with them and enjoying their company. What a beautiful picture!
Then something happened that changed the entire course of human history. We all know the story. Sin came into the picture, and with sin came death. When Adam and Eve sinned they died. Of course they continued to live physically, Adam making it over 900 years, yet spiritually they were dead—cut off from the source of life. God even drove them out of the beautiful garden which He had made just for them. Fortunately, even back then God had a plan, and the culmination of that plan was realized thousands of years later outside Jerusalem on a little hill called Calvary. The way was made open once again, and then, for the first time since the garden of Eden, man was able to return to that place of close spiritual communion with God. All men can have the stain of sin removed and come boldly into the presence of God. Best of all we can be friends again like it was meant to be. Thank God for Jesus!
Getting to the point, as disciples of Jesus we are meant to live in the realm of the Spirit, walking and talking with our God on a daily basis, like Adam and Eve did in the garden. Just a couple small problems: the same creep that caused our original parents so much trouble is still on the loose. Of course we know that Satan met his ultimate defeat at the cross, yet he acts like he's still in control and nothing has happened. This can cause us many difficulties, especially since we are all born with a part of us, which if left uncontrolled, will side with the enemy in his wicked schemes to destroy us. Plus, the actual garden is gone forever. Noah's flood made sure of that. The best we can do now is get back to that realm in the Spirit, to that place where we can walk closely with our God. What's the answer? We recreate the garden ourselves. We establish and stake out a realm in the Spirit where we live in harmony with our God. The real-estate can be anywhere in the world, but the critical factor is the spiritual atmosphere must be controlled by God. Another name for this is Ekklesia Living. With God in control, the ekklesia is designed to fulfill every spiritual need man may have.
BACK TO THE GARDEN
Those who have done even basic gardening know that if you expect your plants to grow strong and produce a crop certain conditions must be met; basic necessities must be provided. You might have a fruit tree in your yard, yet if it's starved for water don't expect much from it. If you try to plant vegetables in hard, rocky, desert soil without improving it you're just wasting seeds. One essential thing the ekklesia does is create an atmosphere ideal for spiritual growth. A safe, healthy, nourishing place is made in the Spirit so those who want to grow in God can do so as fast as they desire. The ekklesia can be compared to a greenhouse where all the important aspects of the environment are controlled to assure optimum growing conditions. The best part is that God is in control, not religious men.
On the other hand, Babylon Churchianity provides very poor growing conditions: not enough water, poor nourishment, lots of weeds, and no pruning or cultivation. No wonder modern Christians are immature, stunted and weak. Plus they are damaged by pests and disease (demons and sin) and virtually fruitless. There’s a lot more to real Christianity than the paltry substitute called “church.” As we walk with the Lord the only thing that prevents our spiritual growth is lack of cooperation with God. If we cultivate an attitude of loving obedience we will experience real spiritual growth which leads to prolific fruit in our lives—fruit the Lord can partake of and enjoy.
How does the ekklesia make life in Christ so much better? Just as the wise gardener waters regularly, the ekklesia prays regularly, setting times so that all the members can pray together on a daily basis. Any Christian who has made progress in God's Kingdom will tell you that your spiritual health is directly related to how much time you devote to prayer. A praying Christian is a strong Christian. As we humbly approach God and beg Him for help, or as we praise and worship Him in an attitude of gratitude, He graciously pours out the water of His Spirit upon us. Without this living Spirit water we will quickly dry up and die. The leaders God sets over any true ekklesia will, of necessity, be people of prayer. Therefore, under their leadership, the ekklesia always recognizes the importance of prayer.
The wise gardener also realizes that his plants need nourishment. There must be something in the soil upon which they can feed. In the same way Christians need to be fed. The Bible speaks of this spiritual food as milk and meat: milk for the new Christians and meat for the more mature. God realizes this need and accordingly appoints and anoints preachers, teachers, evangelists, and prophets who can feed and nourish the body of Christ, strengthening His people with His Word. Just as prayer is offered on a regular basis, so is teaching and preaching. Again, the ekklesia provides the perfect stage for bringing forth this type of spiritual nourishment. The soldiers live together and can be easily notified and assembled in a few minutes. Plus, impromptu teaching and exhortation as the Spirit leads poses no problem as the day is filled with opportunities for such. The most beautiful aspect of the ekklesia is that the Holy Spirit will always prompt teachers and preachers to do their job. In this way God's people receive the spiritual food they need to keep them strong and healthy.
Continuing with the garden analogy, the careful gardener understand the importance of keeping the garden in order, cultivated, and weed free. In the spiritual garden of our life this activity translates into training, guidance, and correction. Keeping the plants in their proper rows and beds so they can be easily managed is common to most every garden. This is where Spirit-led leadership shows its true value. The experienced gardener knows watermelons lie on the ground, beans and peas like to climb, potatoes are buried, and tomatoes are delicate. So naturally he deals with each one accordingly. In the same way God's people also have different needs and talents, and as the leaders of the ekklesia seek God, He uses them to guide, counsel, and give correction according to His wisdom. You think, "So what. They do that in churches too." Maybe so, but not to the same degree or quality that the ekklesia provides. The major difference is that in the ekklesia the leaders live with the people. This way nothing can be hidden and God's leaders can make informed, accurate decisions because they know the facts. When someone has a problem, or they need guidance or correction, in the ekklesia they need not wait long to talk to someone who can help them. You don't have to make an appointment to see your leaders—you'll see them at mealtime everyday. See if your church can do that.
Weeds are a problem in any garden, just like bad habits and attitudes pose problems in our life. Again, the ekklesia provides the perfect environment for keeping our gardens weed free. One thing God's leaders soon find out is that they must allow the Spirit to use them to cultivate spiritual soil. This involves breaking up the hard crust that creeps over the hearts of so many Christians, making them dull and insensitive to the Spirit. Regular cultivation keeps the ground soft and workable, as well as killing any newly sprouted weeds. Besides turning the soil they must also be expert weed pullers. For if they neglect to deal with the weeds that do spring up, if they don't correct and deal with bad habits and rotten attitudes in the community, soon they will take over completely, and no one wants a garden like that. Although dealing with weeds may be an unpleasant task, the very life of the plants depends on it.
It is a stark reality that sinful habits and bad attitudes can quickly snuff out the Christian's life. They do their work so well that many continue on with religious routines, not even realizing they’ve died. This is why God's true leaders accept the fact that it is their job to correct, rebuke, chastize, and discipline those under their care. They must also be able to deliver those that need demons cast out, for many times it is demonic infiltration that causes our problems. Those who have been lost in the confusion of Babylon churchianity know that you rarely, if ever, encounter this kind of delivering power in church. If anything, Pastor Prosperous works on pulling those "stingy weeds" that keep his people from paying up like they should. He carefully avoids the demon issue, because he's got a few of his own that he doesn't know what to do with. Of course Pastor Pervert wants everybody to enjoy themselves and have a good time, so he never rocks the boat. That's church life, and you can bet it's full of weeds.
Just like tending a garden, you need to carefully watch over your walk with God, taking care to make sure you get what you need in the Spirit. And like the garden, if you don't take care of it, keeping it watered and weeded, don't expect to see it produce much fruit. When it's all said and done, if you want a healthy, fruitful spiritual life the ekklesia is the place to find it. It works so well because the ekklesia has been intentionally designed to meet the spiritual needs of man. Why? Because the One who designed the ekklesia also created the ones who are meant to live in it.
2. OUR SOCIAL NEEDS
The next type of need that must be met we call social. These needs come into being because of the fact that our lives are full of interaction with others. Unless they've been mentally/emotionally damaged or traumatized in their personality, the normal person enjoys being around other people, especially people that share their same interests. This is not surprising, for from the beginning God desired to spend time with His people. Since we are created in the image of God it logically follows that we should desire to spend time with each other. The fact is people need other people to help them get through life, and Christians are no exception. The person who believes they don't need anyone else is usually self-centered and proud. Of course God knows our need for social interaction and He has given us the ekklesia to meet that need.
FAMILIES WITHIN THE FAMILY
Marriage and the family unit have been God's design from the very beginning. Far from splitting up families, the ekklesia encourages family life. Actually the ekklesia is one large family made up of many smaller families. In this way the community family is able to reinforce and support the smaller family units. The larger ekklesia becomes a godly example to which the smaller families can look. One great advantage of living with your leaders is that both marriage and family counseling is readily available anytime. This is especially helpful for new couples until they get adjusted to married life. Many serious problems are intercepted and dealt with before they can do much damage because experienced leadership sees them coming.
Naturally, each family is its own individual unit consisting of a set of parents and, hopefully, children. Yet God never laid down a law saying that each family must live independently, separated from the rest of the body of Christ. People came up with that idea. Why? Because it’s comfortable and doesn't demand too much. The truth is the idea of daily submitting your life, and the life of your family, to the guidance of others, no matter how qualified, goes directly against man's independent nature—and that’s something you don’t want to tangle with. Many will endure great suffering—even death—rather than be told what to do. In other words, people can live with church, but an ekklesia—that’s asking too much! In the ekklesia each family agrees to be submitted to the guidance of God's leaders who often have families of their own. This is God's perfect plan: groups of small families making up one larger family, all connected and directed by the Spirit of God.
Another blessing is that in the ekklesia you're never lonely. In fact you have to work at it to get lonely. If you keep a good attitude and go with the program you'll always be interacting with others. Best of all, everyone else is of the same mind and spirit as yourself. Of course there are those occasions when someone is grumpy because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or extra irritated by the pressure of a heavy workload. But those are the exceptions, not the rule, and it seems there is always someone else right around the corner who is praising God.
More than just being around other people, the quality of the living environment is an important issue as well. Sure, you can go to any big city and be around a lot of people—but are you safe? Do others love and accept you? Is there friendly support or hostile indifference? Being around other people is only part of the equation. Not just the quantity, but the quality of social interaction greatly determines how much a person enjoys life. Quality makes all the difference. Again the ekklesia wins. Why? Because God is in control. And when God is in charge He makes sure those under His care live by His rules. This translates into true love and respect, genuine care and concern between those who have become God’s family. You think it can't be done? It’s being done! All it takes are people who will humble themselves before God, understand they belong to His army, and then do their best to live in holiness and mutual obedience as the Spirit leads.
SAFE AND SECURE
One great benefit is that the ekklesia is safe, and this is very important. Of course some people can defend themselves, especially strong men with guns. But what about the children? What about the young ladies? The world is full of dangerous, demonized people. Some even appear friendly to win your confidence. Scandals involving child molestation and abuse are continually uncovered—even among those calling themselves God's people. Plus, the many forms of rape are always waiting for their chance. As a parent, a leader, or just a concerned individual, it is critical that zero tolerance be allowed these types of behavior. In the ekklesia it is understood that God's moral laws are the standard, and if you want to be part of the community you agree to live by the rules. As every member takes it upon themselves to guard and protect the other members, the internal environment achieves a very high level of safety. Of course there are always those painful incidents where people fail to control themselves. Yet these are rare and quickly dealt with by diligent, Spirit-led leadership. Ultimately, we look to God for our protection. As He is given the control He desires, problems are intercepted, isolated, and taken care of before damage is done. Can you see why Satan hates Ekklesia Living?
As life moves ahead, people need to know they are loved and accepted by those around them. Because God is in control, those belonging to the ekklesia reflect the beautiful fact that God loves and accepts any and all who come to Him. Whoa! Does that mean we give license to any creepy, demonized sicko who demands God accept them yet refuses to abandon their sins? Never! God's loving acceptance is universal, but also conditional. You must cooperate with God in His efforts to change you if you want to be welcomed as one of His children. Once everyone understands that God is in control and we must conform ourselves to His will, things fall into place and work like they should.
An environment of loving acceptance can mean a lot to someone suffering from rejection. In most modern cultures it seems that much of life is based on appearance and ability. Being beautiful and talented is your key to success and acceptance in many social circles. Of course not everyone is beautiful or talented. Plus many are scarred by the ravages of sin. Faced with this, many people fall into deep pits of rejection, despair, depression, self-hatred—even suicide. How tragic. Yet reality dictates that unless you pretend to be a lust-filled fashion model, a death-defying sports hero, or a gossip-soaked drama queen, then a large percentage of people won't have much to do with you. Why? Because they are all pretenders too.
Yet the ekklesia judges by a different standard. Outward appearance and worldly accomplishments don't carry much weight with God. What God wants to see is a humble heart and a willing, obedient attitude. God is not impressed with who you think you are or what you've done. He's seen it all before. What really interests God is who you could be and what you could do once you’ve given your life to Him. This is where the ekklesia shines. Anyone can become a valuable, useful member of God's Kingdom, no matter what they look like or what they've done. God has designed the ekklesia with a very special function—it actually recycles human garbage—turning damaged, worthless people into valuable assets. When anyone suffering from rejection, depression, or self-hatred abandons their life to God and comes under the ekklesia’s atmosphere of loving acceptance, new life begins to bloom and a new person emerges. God's love is miracle-working power the world doesn't have. Search far and wide—you'll only find the real thing when you find God's true people.
The third factor that affects the quality of life is the availability of support and guidance. It's a good feeling to know those you live with support you in what you're doing. What's even better is that they are ready to lend a hand or give sound advice when you need it. In His merciful wisdom God has integrated many valuable support systems into the ekklesia design. For example, raising children can be quite a demanding job, especially for new mothers. Then when more than one "little blessing" comes along the work seems to multiply exponentially. The ekklesia is designed to handle children at all stages of growth. All the way from birth, through training and education, as well as instruction in career skills—the ekklesia has them covered. Ekklesia mothers don't run to the hospital and pay thousands of dollars to have a baby. Home birth with experienced, prayerful midwives is the answer. Nor do they cart their toddlers off to some worldly daycare either. They have their own, staffed with quality babysitters recruited from the ekklesia itself. What a perfect way to teach future mothers how to take care of babies. Then when it's time for school all they have to do is send their children to the building next door, for the ekklesia has its own educational system with Spirit-filled teachers and administrators.
What happens when someone gets sick? It's no mystery that in the U.S. alone medical expenses soar into the billions every year. Medical doctors are the priests of a deeply entrenched religious system. When people in the world get sick they run to the doctor. Not so in the ekklesia. We don't deny that doctors have their place in the world, yet in the ekklesia we look first to the Great Physician—the One who secured our healing with His bloody back and nail-scarred hands. Ekklesians believe in God's miraculous healing power, and because we believe, God heals. Neither are our elderly placed in expensive staging areas called nursing homes to wait for their appointment with death. Our family takes care of our elders here at home until God takes them to their eternal home.
What about the cares of this life? Food, clothing, housing, transportation: these things can't be avoided. Because the ekklesia is careful to seek God and implement the wisdom He gives, these needs are wonderfully met, often in miraculous ways. God is our provider, and when we obey His commands, trusting in His goodness, He never fails to give us what we have need of. We can't be afraid of hard work, but then consider who we're working for. How many can honestly claim that the Living God controls their business? What a privilege! People work like slaves for the world, and their bosses often resemble those Egyptian fellows that Moses had to deal with. That's the way of the world, and it can be horribly merciless and cruel. When God shows us ways to support ourselves we work hard at it and God blesses.
Of course Ekklesia Living does take faith. You must believe that God is in control; that He will provide and protect. This may seem a little difficult, but do you want to be a real Christian or not? If you want to be real then you have to let God make you that way. Sometimes the reality making process isn't very pleasant. No one likes their pride exposed or their bad habits picked on. Plus, the only way to know if your faith is real is to put it to the test, and often the tests seem extreme. Yet no matter how painful it may appear, the bottom line is that God is good to His people. We will loudly proclaim this truth as long and as often as we are able. Life in the ekklesia has made believers out of us. From the cradle to the grave, God has designed the ekklesia so that all our social needs are met.
3. OUR GOVERNMENTAL NEEDS
The third category of needs the family unit is designed to meet deals with the authority and laws that govern our lives. Remember, the God you worship makes the laws you live by. The truth is that man was created to be ruled over by God. God does not need any competition, and when men attempt to rule themselves they inevitably end up in disaster. Everyone, except the hopelessly rebellious, will admit we need laws to govern our lives. We need boundaries that tell us how far we can go and when we must stop. Yet when people play lawmaker the results are disastrous. Any governmental systems of man that seem to be working well, like the U.S.A. or U.K., can be traced back to a foundation that rests on God's moral laws. We need someone above and beyond us, someone who is not corrupted by sin, to tell us what is right and wrong. God has designed the government of the ekklesia to meet these requirements. And it works well as long as people recognize God's supreme authority and obey His commands.
In the average family either one or both of the parents decide which set of rules the family is to live by. How well they live by those rules is another matter, but the point is somebody lays down the law. In the ekklesia family God the Father fills that spot. In fact, He laid down the law thousands of years ago when He delivered His people from captivity in Egypt. To put it another way, God said, "I'll be your God and you can be my people. I'll tell you how to live and then you do it." The Israelites agreed, and the laws God gave them have endured the test of time like no other. It's no wonder, for every plan God implements is guaranteed to work perfectly—as long as everyone involved plays their part. God gave us the perfect system, yet few want to live according to His plan. Most settle for the game called church, but then you're stuck with the church system that fails miserably when it comes to meeting your needs.
OUTPOSTS OF GOD'S KINGDOM
Each ekklesia is meant to be an outpost of God's Kingdom here on earth. God longs to establish His government in the midst of His people, but this takes sacrificial, obedient cooperation: something the church crowd is short on. In the ekklesia Jesus is our King and we are His subjects. God's moral laws and Spirit commands govern our lives. When we are unclear about what to do we seek His face and He guides us by His Spirit. Yet what good are even the best laws without enforcement? Inevitably someone breaks the law. This has been going on for centuries, and the horrible things that happen among men are the result. Yet in the ekklesia it's different. God lives and moves among us, and of course we all live together. In this way God is easily able to enforce His laws. He uses His leaders to make sure everything operates like it should, rendering decisions, passing judgements, and dealing with problems guided by His wisdom.
Virtually all church denominations have their own governing bodies. Yet the ekklesia is governed quite differently than man-made organizations. We are governed by what we call theocracy—a government controlled by the Spirit of the Living God. In other words, God established and rules over the theocracy. Although the governments of the world may impact us externally, internally we are not subject to the whims and fickle fantasies of pagan politics. Neither is our government bound by any specific physical location. Because God is omnipresent, covering the entire earth, so is His government. If we move we take our government with us, and it holds good no matter where we land. By reason of who He is, God claims the ultimate authority over the lives of all men. Because of this we understand that our government is meant to be recognized as higher than the governments of this world. Unfortunately, other governments don't see it the same way.
Naturally, when we proclaim the truth of God's sovereign nation in the midst of rival pagan cultures it causes friction and things start heating up. Our behavior is never the issue, for true Christians generally make the best citizens. We strive to live peacefully with all men if possible. The fact is that all governments are intolerant of competition—especially when it sets up within their borders. Needless to say this leads to persecution. We're not surprised, for Jesus gave us warning: "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake" (Matt. 10:22). Are we hated because we're decent, hard-working people that love God? Sometimes. Yet the main reason we're hated is because Jesus is our King, He has established His government in our lives, and in the end we will serve no other. The beautiful thing is that as subjects of God's Kingdom we are guaranteed the right to worship Him no matter what anyone says or does in opposition. Of course we want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness like everyone else. But ultimately the only thing that matters is that we serve our God and live by His commands. It’s priceless treasure like this that living under the government of God secures. God is the best civil rights attorney in the world and He will move Heaven and earth for a people who desire to serve Him.
A LIGHT IN THE DARK
The root of the problem is we live in the midst of the unsaved (including church people) who refuse to recognize our government. The governments of this world continually try to claim God's people as their own, enforcing loyalty and obedience to their laws. Why? Because God's arch enemy controls the governments of the world, using them as weapons to attack God's people and to stop the growth of His Kingdom. For wisdom's sake we are willing to cooperate with other governments as long as their demands do not violate either the laws of God or our conscience. Yet if asked to do things we can't do we must refuse and beg God to help us endure the consequences. Paul tells us to live peacefully with all men as much as possible, and this is our intention. No doubt it is the wisest choice because we are seriously outnumbered. We're not troublemakers in the negative sense, we just want to destroy Satan's kingdom. Of course we can't stop other governments from attacking us—only God can do that. Yet as we look to God for guidance and protection the enemy will never prevail against us. He may knock us down, but by God's strength we rise again.
Ultimately our final obedience belongs to God. This is extremely important, for if we compromise at this point we will cease to be God's Holy Tribal Nation. Through the centuries many of our brethren have walked this difficult path, paying the price with their broken bodies, blood and tears to secure the glorious truths of God's Kingdom. It is these faithful souls who make up that great cloud of witnesses who anxiously watch to see if we are willing to make the sacrifices God requires; to do whatever He asks in order to secure His rule over us. Though it may be uphill, rough, and sometimes bloody, the ekklesia will follow that path.
A QUESTION TO CONSIDER IN CLOSING
Understanding that God created man with very real spiritual, social, and governmental needs, and furthermore considering that God instituted the family structure to meet those needs, an important question arises: what should Christians do in situations where family or friends are opposed to the will of God. Jesus told us we must be willing to forsake both relatives and friends if need be, even hating father, mother, etc. in order to qualify as one of His true followers (Luke 14:26). This makes sense, for the Word of God also tells us that we cannot be unequally yoked with unbelievers (II Cor. 6:14). Jesus was not unreasonable, harsh, or unloving. His mercy flowed continually to any who sincerely sought it. We know He wasn't a hypocrite. He proved that at the cross. The only way Jesus could make such difficult, seemingly impossible demands against opposing family and friends was because He knew God had a better plan. Ekklesia Living is the answer. In every respect the ekklesia is meant to become the new family for those who must forsake unsaved relatives and friends. It's like a trade-in that's too good to be true. You give up questionable relationships which are generally riddled with demonic problems in order to become part of God's Spirit family. What a deal! All it takes is a willingness to change.
Sadly, when it comes to living a truly Spirit-led life, many face opposition from their family and friends in the flesh. Admittedly, there are many instances where whole families attempt to serve God together. Most often this is done in a church environment where the demands are kept to a minimum and God is mainly given lip service. This usually doesn't accomplish much. Then there are those rare instances where both parents are serious about discipleship, taking great pains to raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Yet try as they might, they soon find out that the odds are against them as they face relentless enemy attacks. Although these families are more blessed than most, until they are able to join an ekklesia they are missing out on many treasures God has for them.
Yet generally when someone hears the call to a deeper, more sacrificial walk with Jesus (which is nothing but the life of true discipleship), those around them, including "good, church-going Christians" and "well-meaning friends" often do not understand. Even though the call of God may be clear, few are willing to forsake family and friends, even when it's obvious those relationships are antagonistic towards God's plan for their lives. Nevertheless, if your situation demands you forsake family and friends in the flesh, God will make sure you are incorporated into His international family. We speak from experience—those who make that sacrifice are richly rewarded. God is good and He knows what we need. If we are called to sacrifice for Him we must not complain. Let the Spirit take you back to a blood-stained hill outside of Jerusalem and solemnly ponder how much He sacrificed for us.
ONLY TWO CHOICES
The inescapable reality of life is that we are not free to do anything we want. We have only two choices before us: follow the Living God and live according to His plan, or follow some other plan. On the mental realm the choice is easy. But forcing your flesh into submission is another matter. If you follow God's plan He will supply everything you need to be fruitful and multiply in His Kingdom. Obedience to God's plan brings blessings that can be obtained no other way. God wants His family to live together in peace and harmony, thus giving the world around them a shining example of what He can do for those who will live according to His plan. We have proven, at least to ourselves, that the ekklesia is God's perfect family. We hope others will see it as well. Every need, every desire that has been built into man by God is perfectly satisfied by the ekklesia. The keys to joining this family were given by Jesus many years ago, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" (Matt. 16:24). It's that simple, yet that difficult. The heart that loves Jesus will hear the call and understand. The door is open. Won't you come in?