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Well, not all of them, but most of them.
Be free from the slavery of that fear. Click here.
Something close to that is another pastors' greatest fear---no church at all. Because to them, having just 2 or three followers is not church. They laugh if you call that a church, especially if you quote Matthew 18:20---they'd say you're out of context. I've seen pastors, thinking they're smart theologians, laugh at this "uncontextualized" interpretation.
You don't need human theology to understand this---you just need heaven's common sense. If you have Jesus and two or three other believers, isn't that church? I mean, anywhere Jesus is present in believers is church. There are congregations with 100 plus members but Jesus is nowhere with them. You call that church just because you have a lot of people?
Anyway, the context of Matthew 18 is really church---dealing with sin in church, to be exact. An unrepentant sinner can be declared "pagan" or nonbeliever by the church, and heaven will treat him so. The church has power to bind or lose anything on earth and it will be so in heaven---as long as the church agree together. That's the condition. That should shoo off the pastor's number one fear.
Two or Three Principle
And that condition of perfect agreement is so vital in prayer (and in church) because where two believers agree on anything, the heavenly Father will do it [verse 19]. You see the whole context? Well, the pastors who thought they were smart theologians laughed at any notion connecting this passage to prayer. They say doing so was "out of context." I don't know if they understood what they were saying. I guess they, too, have the pastors' number one fear in them, that's why their laughter was obviously fake.
Anyway, Jesus was showing here that church is where believers gather in Jesus' Name (and "Name" means nature, as the name Jehovah Jireh points to God's nature of being Provider). Thus, true church is anywhere true believers with Jesus' nature gather together. Jesus becomes actually present with them, and that reality is church. Period. That reality rebukes the pastors' number one fear, which is losing numbers.
But no, most pastors won't leave it at that. They won't settle for Jesus' definition of a church. To them it should be a big crowd of believers. So they labor to collect a big gathering each Sunday so they can call it a "real" church. And that's where their fear derives from. It's become a stronghold in them. To them, church should have lots of members. Having just two or three is a joke.
And the joke started some ministers worrying like crazy because it's pastors' number one fear.
So the devil finds it so easy to scare a lot of pastors. Just strike the membership and pastors tremble. They lose confidence. They really believe small membership (or remaining small) is mortal sin to God. Some smart Aleck of a theologian or church planter fed them the idea and now it's become bible truth to them. Actually, the scare tactic is used by denominations as a marketing tool to prod their pastors to get more people in.
Just Two Requisites to be a True Church
But Jesus made it plain---in the spirit realms, a really functional church is one where people have Jesus' nature in them (the Jesus LIFE is manifest in them) and they have perfect agreement. They are united. Such church is so powerful that anything they decide on gets heaven all busy to have it happen. This church knows heaven's agenda (not denominational agenda) so well and decides things based on the agenda.
The number is immaterial. Jesus' mention of "two or three" evinces that number is immaterial. If you have a big number satisfying the prerequisites, then better. But it really doesn't matter if you just have two or three as long as the Jesus-nature is there as well as the perfect unity. Then to God it's a functional church. Many pastors do not understand this. All they understand is big numbers. Even if there's no true unity and the members manifest the devil's nature, they call it church as long as they're many. Like the demon named Legion.
You know what the devil's nature is? People don't have to show extreme wickedness to have that nature. All they have to do is have a mind that has nothing but man's concerns. Jesus calls that Satan's nature. That was Peter's case. Jesus called him "Satan" because his mind was fixed solely on man's concerns, not God's. Check it out in Matthew 16.
So, if you build a church based on what man looks for in a church, it has Satan's nature. And Jesus would call you Satan, for that matter. Church should be built with only God's concerns, period. Man's concerns have no place in it. You get the drift? So if what you do in church are purely your own interests, desires and concerns (not God's), I don't care if you have mega membership. You're NOT Jesus' church.
"Small" is Not the Idea Either
Jesus does not promote small churches, though. He doesn't encourage having less than 5 members. It's not the point. The point is, for a gathering to be recognized in heaven as a church, it has to have the two requisites. It doesn't matter if you're just two or three. You're a force to reckon with in the spirit realms if you fulfill the requirements. Are you getting this? I hope you are. God wants all to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth [2 Timothy 2], but he does not approve you just because of your numbers. It's because of your quality.
Unless pastors get this Kingdom principle they will always be crippled by their fear of losing numbers.
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