BY: KENNETH GREATOREX
The old man was sitting in an easy chair. His were feet elevated on a footstool. Soon he was standing to his feet, shouting, “DON’T PREACH ABOUT KNOWING JESUS, PREACH CHRIST.” Once again this shook up the experienced pastor. What was he to do? This had happened more than once before. Would he ever stop?
The old man was one of the founding father’s of the largest Pentecostal denomination in Canada. He and other brothers had been reluctant to incorporate “the movement” that began in the early 1900’s. The voices of necessity prevailed, because of the need to have legal status due to a growing missionary emphasis. Now the beloved “MOVEMENT” was just, one more “DENOMINATION,” and proud of it! It has forgotten that the early leaders had said, “A DENOMINATION IS AN ABOMINATION.” They had come out of Babylonish church systems and wanted no part of it.
“Who was the experienced pastor? He was my father, George Greatorex. It was in the early 1950’s before George Chambers died that he urged my father to, “PREACH CHRIST.” Like so many of us do, my father had gotten involved in preaching “doctrine.” Good doctrine. At this point in time his emphasis was usually divine healing.
Many years later, fifty since his entering the ministry, my father would relate how the call to, “PREACH CHRIST,” had brought change to his ministry, even though “Daddy Chambers” had “irritated” him at first. He learned it is not enough to be a preacher, for as he would say, “preachers are a dime a dozen.”And, “anyone can preach,” but that it was more important to “MINISTER HIS LIFE.”
Many years had passed since parting with the denomination that he had been part of for so many years. Now he was the leader a growing “fellowship.” The stress being placed on FELLOWSHIP, and THE BODY OF CHRIST, rather than doctrinal conformity. However, as I would learn, when the time came to inherit his leadership, any form of boundary that is drawn, be it ever so little, soon begins to need supervising. The truth is, it became one more denomination.
But let me share more of my father’s counsel with you. Yes, I know some of you are experienced. Some are just starting in ministry. Some are hurting from the battle scars inflicted by religious systems, or just plain self centered people. Perhaps you will find healing and hope as we learn to center on Jesus CHRIST, and HIM ALONE.
Here is a wee bit of what my father said so often in later years, “There is a difference between preaching and ministering. I remember the day when we used to preach at people; and very often at times, it wasn’t really effective. What I believe God wants us to do is to minister the Words of Life.”
What are, “Words of Life?” We find this phrase in Acts 5:20. The apostles had been jailed because of preaching Christ. An angel set them free and told them, “Go stand in the temple and speak to all the people all the words of this life.”
Jesus had much to say about “LIFE,” in John Chapter Six. It is verse 63 that I wish to quote, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” What kind of words were these? They are SPIRIT WORDS. Words that IMPART LIFE, not religion and death. Words that are not just correct doctrinally, but come from the CHRIST. When Christ the Anointed Word speaks, it results in LIFE. How many of our many words are “life producing?” Is Christ in them?
In Verse 68, Peter recognized something, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Now, what is “ETERNAL LIFE?”
Most of us will say that it is life that never ends. Perhaps, but let us accept that this meaning leaves all of the “saved” and those we consider “damned” to live non-stop [eternally] in the respective places we, by man’s doctrines, have assigned them.
While it is recognized that the basic meaning of the Greek and Hebrew words used for eternal, everlasting, etc. actually mean “AGE,” that too is not what we are considering.
In John 17:3 we read, “AND THIS IS LIFE ETERNAL, THAT THEY MAY KNOW YOU, THE ONLY TRUE GOD, AND JESUS CHRIST WHOM YOU HAVE SENT.” Now, there is nothing here about “time” is there? Why? Because LIFE IS SPOKEN OF AS BEING A RELATIONSHIP!
This relationship is based upon KNOWING. NOT knowing ABOUT, BUT knowing GOD. Knowing JESUS CHRIST. In fact the Greek word used for knowing, “ginosko,” means to know from the simplest level to the most intimate. Even more, it means to continue in knowing. This is more than memorizing Scripture, Bible reading, praying, and many more good things, it only grows out of RELATIONSHIP. NOT by our good works!
Again, let us read from John’s record. “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this LIFE IS IN HIS SON. He who has the SON HAS LIFE; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” [1 John 5:11, 12]
If you have the SON, you have LIFE – ETERNAL LIFE. You have HIS LIFE. Now, that is simple, so why have so many of us made it so hard?
Brothers, sisters, let us come free of the bondage of trying to serve the Lord. It is not possible to do! When we try to it, it becomes RELIGION. Our world does not need more religion, including so called Christian religion. It needs the LIFE OF THE SON OF GOD.
God, who is LOVE, from before the beginning, purposed to have a creation full of His life. His love. His peace. Yes, to have man in His own image filled with His life, His love, His peace, His joy, the fullness of Himself.
Now, it is time to end this writing. Remember, it is NOT knowing ABOUT Christ that matters, it is KNOWING CHRIST! It is the ministry of Christ that is life producing!
MANIFESTING CHRIST [Kenneth Greatorex] 1