He Is Either In You or He Is Not!

groom-dips-bride-in-front-of-charlotte-nc-wedding-chapelI would like to quote my dear friend, Dan Dailey, as he pointed out how going to church does not necessarily enrich our relationship with God…

“Imagine somebody told you that he really loved his wife more than anything; that she was the center of his life, his reason for living, and that his marriage was the stuff of fantasy. You ask him, “what’s your secret?”

“He tells you all about this club for married men that he goes to every week. In this club all the men talk about how much they love their wives and encourage one another to stay faithful to their wives. He also tells you that whenever someone leaves the club, they end up in divorce. He ashamedly admits that every time he himself lapses in attending to this club, he cheats on his wife.

“I don’t know about you, but I’d say this guy doesn’t really love his wife.

“But is this how we see our relationship with Jesus? As being wholly dependent on membership to a club responsible for keeping us close to him? I began to see that if I were to stop attending a church service then there were only two possible outcomes. The preferable outcome, of course, would be that I would continue serving him as I always had…”


31 comments on “He Is Either In You or He Is Not!

  1. Oh, amen to this post. One is seeking a relationship with Christ, not membership in a club, not the approval of other people. It is so important to keep that perspective going on.

    That said, I think scripture is pretty clear that we are supposed to be in a church, gathered with other believers. Of course in biblical times that simply meant two or more gathered in My name. People actually had Christian friends baptize them in the river. “Church” is simply the Body of Christ, it’s not a building or a denomination, it’s a group of believers. A church is simply like a family, hopefully a place you get some fellowship, encouragement and provide the same. That family structure, those little groups and clans we align ourselves with are kind of important for people, we’re somewhat social creatures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Thank you Gabrielle. Yes, the “church” those who have been called out unto Christ is all about family. God calls Himself our Father, not CEO of a non-profit organization. Jesus calls Himself our Brother, not our “pastor,” though He is the ONE Good Shepherd who watches over His flock. There is no scriptural basis for “under-shepherds.” We are either IN Christ or we are not. He is either our All in all or He is not. We are either ONE in Christ and the Father or we are yet carnal as we divide along lines of personality and doctrinal cults just as Paul told the Corinthian believers. I love this passage from Hebrews that describes who we really are if we believe and trust in Christ,

      But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.
      (Hebrews 12:22-24 RSVA)

      THIS is the assembling together that the writer is talking about in this letter

      And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
      (Hebrews 10:24-25 KJ2000)

      We are the family of God and as such we are invited to boldly enter into His presence together, not stare at the back of hundreds of heads while we listen to a lecture by an orator. Father, draw us ever higher by your love. Amen

      Liked by 4 people

  2. We leave the law of religion; we leave the old Jerusalem; we leave Hagar; we leave a slave mindset; we leave the mindsets of being an idolater, adulterer, and a harlot; and we leave the old covenant of separation from God once and for all as Jesus died once and for all! We leave the desert wilderness! We move!
    We come into relationship with Jesus which brings us into intimate relationship with his God and Father; Jesus gives us his glory and we become perfectly one with his Father and he becomes our Father and we become his beloved son! He runs to us, robes us, rings us, and gives us the equipment of the gospel of peace to walk in! He gives us a feast and we eat and celebrate! We eat with Jesus and conquer our Adamic mind and we are granted to sit with Jesus on his throne as he conquered and sits with our Father! We know the Love of God, breadth, length, height and depth! and this Love surpasses all knowledge and we are filled with all the fullness of God! Christ in you, the hope of glory! And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of God are changed into his likeness from glory to glory! We are in Glorious Relationship with our First Love! This is the kingdom of the Son! This is the mindset of the Bride, the wife of the Lamb! We are delivered from the dominion of darkness and transferred to the Kingdom of his beloved Son! Glory Divine!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Yvonne, we are more than overcomers as we abide IN Christ and not in our own selves. His death becomes our death, His life becomes our life and His glory becomes our glory as we live and move and have our being IN Him.
      Thanks for sharing this,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I read a post elsewhere today about the importance of attending weekly church services. While I believe in that importance — theoretically, at any rate — it has rarely manifested in my life in the way the post described.

    I have heard and read some moving sermons over the years. But I cannot recall anyone, at any of the churches I’ve attended over the years, actually interested in my needs or those of my family.

    A priest my father considered a personal friend (at the church my family attended for 30 years or more) did not take the trouble to attend — let alone say — his funeral mass. The parish to which my mother moved after being widowed (my fragile, tender-hearted mother who had trouble w/ English, and was deeply lonely after losing my father) did nothing to provide her support. No one even bothered to return my calls when my mother was in need of last rites.

    I read Scripture and pray (inelegantly, I admit). I learn from other Christians online, and consider my writing a form of ministry. But Sunday mornings, I watch the Christian TV programs I consider biblical. May God forgive this failure on my part.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Anna,
      What you experienced as a Catholic, many of us have also experience in Protestantism… a distant coldness unless the one needing “ministry” has money. The nuts have not fallen far from the tree. Søren Kierkegaard dared to address the problem of what Christianity has become when he wrote,

      “The matter is quite simple. The bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
      ― Søren Kierkegaard, “Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard”

      God bless you, dear Anna, as you obey His leading and reach out to others in His great love.


    • Carina Arias says:

      Oh, Anna, it breaks my heart to read of stories like yours, which are far too common. I’ve been deeply hurt by the indifference of other brothers and sisters, both back in the late nineties when I was a faithful member of the Catholic church and more recently, in my ten-years spell of Evangelical belief. After experiencing such wounds, it’s no wonder many of us would say, I’m done with this! What comes to mind is John’s meaningful phrase in the first chapter of his gospel: He (Jesus) came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. And we find this truth repeated over and over in Scripture: If the owner of the house was mistreated, how much more His servants? One thing I can tell you, Jesus knows a good deal about undeserved rejection! Indifference is a very painful form of rejection, and anyone who wants to be faithful and worship God in Spirit and Truth will go through it.

      The only hope for us is to stop expecting man to heal our hearts’ wounds, to stop going to and fro looking for the next fix… and finally understand that it’s God who gives us the True Bread of Heaven, and that is only Jesus.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Michael says:

        Carina, this was a very good reply to Anna, dear sister, and it is obviously filled with hard won wisdom from God. I think that God has let the church become what it has so that we will quit seeking what we need from institutions and really seek Him. “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through [Grk. en – in] Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 KJ2000)

        Thank you.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Mia says:

    Dear Michael
    Not long ago I read somewhere that more harm has been done in the church by taking single verses from the Bible and building whole teachings according to the minds of men, around it. This “fellowship” verse from Hebrews is such a good example of that. I will hop over to Dan’s to read his post.
    Love to Dot XX

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Mia, It is so good to hear from you again. Yes, you are right. It is best to take in the whole counsel of the scriptures and not build a doctrine from only one verse. Yes, Hebrews 10:25 is one of those when used without the context of the rest of the chapter. In fact the context of the surrounding chapters would be good to consider as well. The following verse tells us where we are to be assembled and to and with Whom…

      “Instead, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, to tens of thousands of angels joyfully gathered together, to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to a judge who is the God of all, to the spirits of righteous people who have been made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better message than Abel’s.” (Hebrews 12:22-24 ISV)

      As long as we are still relating to the church as being special buildings, special offices, special doctrines, and special meetings we are missing what it means to be assembled together by the Spirit of God.

      Tell Andre “Hi” for me. God bless you, both.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Michael, that is a good and thought-provoking quote from Dan since it caused me to reflect on the nature of true love…

    Jesus told us the following,

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:34-35 ESV)

    That is interesting, isn’t it…? People won’t realize that Christians belong to Jesus because they attend any kind of gathering Christians normally do, no – it is merely the love between those who believe in(to) Christ that convinces ALL the others of being confronted with genuine disciples of Jesus.

    It is indeed not interesting what kind of fellowship we think we need to attend since if there is no love in our heart, then there is none. Seeking a new kind of fellowship when the previous did not work can help if God leads us to do so. Yet we may never forget that the old man cannot love as God “commands”. In my humble opinion, this is not a real commandment we could ever fulfill on our own, but an invitation to receive a completely new heart from God Himself, a heart that is able to love its enemies, too.

    So, if those men were able to encourage one another to remain faithful to their wives as long as they only talked about it, they did not get the gist of the matter “for the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power” (1 Cor 4:20 ESV) AND “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17 ESV) Mere talk about what one should do or should not do without being newly born from above reminds me of simply preaching the Law instead of offering gospel grace to sinners which (the gospel) “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Rom 1:16 ESV)

    Apart from Him we can never achieve anything which is truly spiritual, either in a church or outside of it. Listening to His silent voice and His tender nudgings makes all the difference. May He lead us the way He has chosen for us to walk in. Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Susanne, thanks for your comment, dear friend. You wrote, “That is interesting, isn’t it…? People won’t realize that Christians belong to Jesus because they attend any kind of gathering Christians normally do, no – it is merely the love between those who believe in(to) Christ that convinces ALL the others of being confronted with genuine disciples of Jesus.” What is interesting about this is that the early Christians were thought to be “atheists” by the non-christian idol worshipers in the Roman empire because the did not meet together in the temples as they did. Of these same early believers it was said by these same Romans, “Behold how they love one another.” Now days, if lovers of Christ do not meet in Christian temples they are counted as non-believers by the church goers. It would seem that idolatry and worship in buildings as well as discrediting those who believe in Christ still goes hand in hand.

      I agree with you that a mere command from God to love one another is not enough. The O. T. law was given to prove to the Jews that they could not keep it and it was a schoolmaster to lord over them until Christ’s covenant of grace and the infilling of the Spirit came. The power of our Christian walk comes from God doing a miraculous work in us by giving us an new heart, a new spirit, and the mind of Christ with which we may intimately know our Father and do His will with hearts filled with His love, not by us keeping a new list of laws by our own strength.

      As for meeting in church buildings or not or our worship, Jesus settled that issue when He told the Samaritan woman at the well,

      Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem [in the temple] will you worship the Father… But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:21-24 RSVA)

      Christ alive in us is Truth and He makes our lives truth as we walk by the leading of His Spirit.

      May our Father bless and keep you always,

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol says:

    I didn’t have a meaningful relationship with Father until He called me out of organized religion. He called me out way before I actually came out. Every Sunday was so miserable for me….but I thought I would be shunned and called rebellious. It wasn’t easy to stop attending meetings.
    Yes, I was mostly starring at the back of the heads of the people sitting in front of me.
    Now I am free in Christ Jesus and I know it.
    The Lord is my Pastor and I shall not be in want! Amen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Carol, Your walk sounds much like mine. He called me out of Sunday religion long before I actually left. I kept thinking that maybe the NEXT church would be a good one. Finally, one Sunday as I sat there being “serviced” I heard the Lord say, “How long will you keep seeking the Living among the dead?” Like you, once I took that bold step to go outside the camp to find Christ and bear the reproach that goes with it(see Hebrews 13:10-14), I finally was able to find Him as my All in all. I had to first quit looking unto men for what only God could give by His Spirit. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kennth Dawson says:

    Here is a quote from Thomas F Torrance– “If I may be allowed to speak personally for a moment I find the presence and being of God bearing upon my experience and thought so powerfully that I can’t but be convinced of His overwhelming reality and rationale..To doubt the existence of God would be an act of sheer irrationality for it would mean that my reason had become unhinged from its bond with real being…yet in knowing God I am deeply aware that my relation to Him has been damaged that disorder has resulted in my mind and that it is I who obstruct knowledge of God by getting in between Him and myself..But I am also aware that His presence presses upon me through the disorder of my mind..for He will not let Himself be thwarted by it..but challenging and repairing it for me to yield my thoughts to His healing revelation.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Kenneth, I would take T. T.’s thought on this one step further. We do not need these minds we inherited from Adam to be repaired but rather we need altogether NEW minds. Or as Paul put it,

      “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not a thing to be grasped to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 KJ2000).

      “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16 KJ2000)

      Thanks for sharing this, my brother, Susanne told me you would be dropping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reading your post and the comments here, I feel so blessed to have be forced to build my faith outside of the church. I grew up in the midst of militant atheism, lived in the boonies, and later had a couple of bumpy churchian experiences. I used to really struggle with feeling bad about my failures with “religion,” but in being faithful and trusting Christ, I have developed a powerful relationship with Him outside of the church. I have also come to see what I once perceived as a conspiracy to keep me out of church, as actually a real hand of protection on me.

    So, while I strongly preach the need for churchian attendance and have popped into churches and bible studies all my life, I know that God takes care of His own and mercifully understands our struggles with religion even better than we do. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    • Michael says:

      Yes, Gabrielle, our Father surely does know our needs regarding fellowship. Personally, I find those who have come to know Christ in a personal way outside the system and have come to rely on the voice of the Spirit as we are called to do, are capable of the sweetest fellowship around our common bond of love in Him. But for the most part those who know Jesus through the second (and third, forth, etc.) hand teachings of professional churchmen seem to be incapable of any in depth unity in the love of Christ and would rather talk about worldly things or at best “their pastor” and “their church.” So, my sister, YES, it probably was His hand protecting you so that you would grow up knowing Jesus as your All, not a Paul, or Apollos or Peter (see 1 Cor. ch. 3).

      Liked by 2 people

    • jacqui says:

      I have also come to see what I once perceived as a conspiracy to keep me out of church, as actually a real hand of protection on me…… dear sister I can so relate to these words, I thought so myself many years ago and now realize it was indeed God’s protection. thank you for the reminder …. jacqui

      Liked by 3 people

  9. jacqui says:

    Oh how true this is Michael …… My relationship with Jesus stands whether I go to church or not which is a good thing because if it relied on going to church I would leave Jesus altogether such is my despondency about what I see there. It takes me great strength to go to the local church and I go because the LORD asks me to go. I know there are a few true believers but they are few indeed! I am learning to sit quietly and trust God who he sends, if any. I have often walked in and walked out again with nothing but worldly pleasantries. Truly the fish tank is empty at this time and the Word of God so watered down it barely resembles anything at all. God Bless Michael … jacqui x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Jacqui, I have had people ask me if they should keep going to church and I tell them to keep going until they can’t stand it any longer or God tells them to quit. For me going to church became like beating my head against the wall… it felt so GOOD when I quit! Actually, God told me that He was not in my being there, twice and the second witness to me quitting Sunday church was the “charm”… that was 20 years ago. My wife was more than ready to quit long before I was. She was tired of me being abused and ignored by church leadership while they tried to charm her. As the saying goes, “Elvis has left the building!”
      God bless you too, Jacqui. You are in my prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Pat Orr says:

    Thank you, saints, for the encouraging words. Thank you, especially, Bro. Michael. Yesterday the Lord brought to my remembrance Matthew 13:44. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Years ago, I heard a brother elaborate on this verse. He said that in his country a vacant field was usually littered with thrash. The man could never have afforded the treasure, but by selling all to buy the field- he gets the treasure. The treasure is free, so to say.

    I realized that many Christians (myself included) have at times bought the littered field because we wanted the treasure. I also realized that confronted with a situation of that kind, I would probably go for the treasure again. As for the littered field, what can I say? The littered field is real and full of trouble, but my testimony is: the treasure is worth it.

    I thank God for the reality of your fellowship and love,

    Pat Orr

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Dear Pat, it is good to hear from you again. You are welcome, BTW. I never heard that vacant fields became trash dumps of people in Bible times, but it sure is true where we live… vacant city lots, too. I think that who Jesus and our Father are and what the REAL church of Christ is gets littered with a lot of false concepts that makes choosing them difficult as a result. Thank God that He accepts US as we are, trash and all, and that the Holy Spirit finally breaks through and gives us eyes to see the truth. Yes, the Treasure is worth it and thank God that He knows our end from the beginning and is faithful to see us through to the end.

      God bless you, dear Pat. I love the things you share from your heart.


      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is so true. We are taught from an early age that ‘going to church’ is the way we commune with God and assemble together with other believers. The thought of not being in a building on Sunday for a formal service is unheard of in the modern christian world. Fortunately, my wife and I have found that this isn’t true. We felt so unsatisfied in the organized service and finally left. Looking to God directly rather than to a human pastor, listening for the voice of the Spirit rather than another human being, finding real and meaning fellowship with others on a daily bases rather than sitting in a service looking at the back of someone’s head has been so much better for us. Not to say the traditional church hasn’t been good for us, we just think there is a better, more meaningful way, which is outside the walls of religion. It means being the Church daily, not going to a church one day a week. Church is the people of God, not a building. A daily life realizing God is alive within us is so much better than going to a service each week just hearing about Him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Michael says:

      Michael, thanks for your comment. Your story sounds just like ours. God is constantly making all things new and the old ones are passing away. It is no longer a far stretch for me to see that this also applies to the status quo of the Christian religion. God is kicking the ends out of the box and letting His oppressed people go free to follow the Spirit without the traditions of men making His voice of no effect an longer. Praise His name!
      Love you, my brother!

      Liked by 1 person

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