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 When Scaffolding becomes a Hurdle
"MY house shall be called a house of prayer for ALL peoples.”
כי  ביתי  בית  תפלה  יקרא  לכל  העמים
Isaiah 56:7 —  No,  not...  not  a  'house  of  sacrifice'  or  even of  thank offerings  —
The Bible was
given by God to help us understand His behaviour!
 
The
above inspired warning to Israel by the prophet Isaiah, was quoted to them by the Lord Jesus Christ in His public rebuke,
and He would certainly do no less in most Christian churches among us today.
 
In ancient
Israel, the temple rituals and regulations were really spiritual 'scaffolding' to help the people understand their personal need before God (substitutionary sacrifice) and that worship is essentially a personal giving from oneself,
so that the individual worshipper would thus be facilitated to personally meet directly with God in worship,
but this religious practice had quickly deteriorated to become simply a method of earning God's approval and support, and so observing their clergy's functions (the spiritual 'scaffolding') then became a subtly devious substitute for an individual's own personal direct encounter with God in worship.
See:
Abuse of God's
Temple Promise
 
This same corruption has infected the Christian Church world-wide!
 
Isaiah's
warning statement, reinforced by the words of Jesus –
"Is it not written,
'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'?
But you have made it a den of robbers.
"
in drawing attention to the fact that the sale of sacrificial animals (for many worshippers had come from afar) at stalls in the outer court (which paid rent to Israel's high priest), although providing a service, was exploitive, and this public rebuke needs to be taken very seriously today for the spiritual principle which it expounds applies to us, namely that –


Mark 11:17.
  the central value, or prime purpose, for the function of any church service  
  is the personal benefit for the worshipper's experience in coming directly to God.  
Unfortunately,

The ministry
of the Holy Spirit
resides in God's people
at all times, and
not on the platform.
The purpose of Clergy is
as 'scaffolding' to facilitate
building that ministry,
and NOT to control it!
as with ancient Israel's priests, the church's clergy-function has tended to take precedence over this, and so the worship of God's people has often been downgraded to become merely the 'wrapping' of the pastor or evangelist's sermon.
This violates the Lord's perspective,
in which the Holy Spirit's direct relationship to His people in worship is meant to be the central feature of every congregation's church meeting and basis of ministry, and nothing less!
Please note that
when Jesus, through John
in the Revelation, said
"I stand at the door and knock"
He was NOT speaking of the 'heart-door' of an individual.
He was speaking of the fact
that His voice had been
shut out of church practice
in the congregation in
Laodicea (Rev.3:20).
So, where the teaching/preaching ministry has taken precedence over the worship function, it is essentially a collapse of the facilitative spiritual 'scaffolding' upon the heads of the Lord's people which it is meant to serve
to become as spiritual 'debris' or a obstrctive hurdle
to the central function of the gathering of the Lord's people of meeting with God together.
For this sin, the leaders of God's people will be rebuked by Him,
for sincerity is not a refuge for error!
This
damaging error goes futher than Sunday services, for in many congregations their local mid-week prayer-group ('life-groups' / 'connect-groups' / etc) is now also centred on personal responses to the previous Sunday's sermon, taking the focus away from direct practical interaction between the individual worshipper and the Lord at that time.
Prayer-groups
that no longer
centre on prayer!


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