If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1 Cor. 14:23-26
Yesterday we talked about things that would keep us from our goal of 100% participation. Although there are a list of things that could stop us, we boiled it all down to our sheep relationship to Jesus, the Good Shepherd. In summary, John 10 teaches us that sheep believe Jesus, hear and know his voice, do not follow strangers but flee from them, they don’t recognize the voice of strangers. Sheep know Jesus and he knows them. If we as a church aren’t individually hearing, knowing, and following the voice of Jesus, the Head of the Church, then there will be as many agendas in the church as there are people. In other words, if we aren’t following Jesus, we will each being doing our own things, and not doing God’s thing.
Today, let’s flip this list around, and this healthy relationship with Jesus is also what will bring us together as one with 100% participation. If I hear, know, and follow Jesus’ voice then I will be in the right place at the right time serving with the right attitude. Once, after serving as the interim pastor at church for nine months, I found myself replaced and not knowing what to do next. Finally, the Lord spoke to me and said, “You either need to be a pastor or have a pastor.” After the last experience as a pastor, I knew I had better go find me one. Sometime later, the Lord said to me, “You go find a church that preaches the Word, grab that pastor by the hand, and ask him what he would have you to do.” I didn’t have to test that spirit by the Spirit, because I knew that was the right thing to do to begin with. The problem was, I just wasn’t doing it. To get in line, I simply had to hear, know, and follow the voice of Jesus.
Think of church alignment this way: Jesus, the Head of the Church, directs the under-shepherd with the vision for the local church, and Jesus, the Head of the Church, also directs the sheep which local church to join. When we submit to our God-assigned pastor, he or she instructs us where to serve. The Lord has never told me to join a church and tell pastor where I wanted to serve. The Lord has never told be to join a church and do nothing either. Saints will claim they have been instructed by the Lord to do nothing, but I can’t find any scriptural basis for that voice. And to our point today, if we are all serving, then we are certainly all participating.
What would 100% participation look like in church? Paul describes such a service in 1 Corinthians 14. He said, “If the whole church be come together in one place, and all speak with tongues …” In the first case, all believers speak with tongues and if any unbelievers came in, they would think we were all crazy. But did you ever stop and think what a powerful believer’s service that would be? The next case, Paul said what if that church came together in one place and “all prophesy,” the unbeliever would come in and be convicted of their sins, and “thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest.” Next, he falling on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” So what should a truly Jesus-aligned church look like? When we come together, everyone should have a psalm, have a doctrine, have a tongue, have a revelation, have an interpretation. “Let all things be done unto edification” (1 Cor. 14:25-26). Do you see how the church where everybody participates has a different attitude than what we have been operating under? Everyone is instructed to have something to bring to church, and at the same time, everything is done for the edification of others.
If we believers are charged up and ready when we come to church, then when the unbeliever comes in he will get convicted and be saved. He will not leave the same way that he came! Since all things are to be done for the edifying, even if a believer comes in a quart low, they won’t be able to stay that way. The devil won’t stand a chance in a church where everyone participates. There will be no division because we are perfectly joined together and in alignment with Jesus, the Head of the Church. The church won’t be stagnant because each time an unbeliever walks in and falls on his face, he instantly become a worshiper of God. That new worshiper will need to be disciple in the things of God of course, but there is one thing we should all learn from new believers. I have never met one yet that has not been eager to learn and eager to participate.