quite some time during this season of the Lord's work, the keyword from the
Spirit has been "restoration". This word has been stirring in the hearts of
God's people for a long time. Long enough that we have heard a number of people
expound on "restoration" and we have even seen "churches" and "ministries" that
have been called "restoration churches or restoration ministry movements".
However, they have all fallen far short of what the Lord means by "restoration".
restore means to put things back into their proper
position and in their
Anything that needs to be "restored" means that its condition has deteriorated,
has components that are out of place, or has had other things added to it that
were not part of the original.
the Spirit says “restoration”, He is saying that a process has begun. It is not
a one-time event but a
continuing process of
restoration until the
original has been restored fully.
This process has many sub-procedures as individual aspects of the overall
project are considered in order for the whole to re-gain its
correct form and function.
procedural steps are best outlined in the Lord’s word to Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 1:10 NASB
"See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to
this Word, there are four negatives before the two positives. In restoration,
the negatives must come first! This is where we fail when we begin to consider
the Spirit's restoration word. In our desire to be un-offensive we "have gone
along to get along" with too many things that are man's ideas and not God's. We
want to build and plant before we pluck up, break down, destroy and overthrow.
told us that He would build His Church on the rock of the revelation of who He
Jesus is doing the building, not us. The plans and the building materials are
exclusively determined by the Lord. He is following the architectural plans that
have been determined by the Father before the foundation of the world and He is
building out of living stones. He, Himself, is the foundation.
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus
Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones,
wood, hay, straw,
each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is
to be revealed with
fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
we become a worker in the Kingdom of the Lord, He decides and delegates our work
to us. We participate with Him in the building of His Church. However, the only
acceptable building materials have also been prescribed by the Lord—gold,
silver, and precious stones. Yet, for centuries, we have built onto the
foundation of the Church with wood, hay, and stubble—materials that are
worthless to the Lord because they will not stand the test of fire [1
when the Spirit says, “restore”, the first step is to tear down, destroy,
overthrow, and pluck up all of the centuries of wood, hay, and stubble “add-ons”
to the Lord’s architectural plans. We have to return to the foundation and
evaluate each piece of the building material to make sure that it is in the
proper condition and in the proper position according to correct form and
function desired of the Lord.
restoration process began with the “Protestant Reformation” at the end of what
we call “the Dark Ages”. (They are the Dark Ages because the light of the Lord
in His people had grown very dim). After restoring a few truths, the
“Protestants” began to build their own “add-ons” to the Church. The restoration
process was not completed because they did not tear down all of the pagan and
religion influenced additions until they reached the foundation.
of the wood, hay, and stubble left by the Protestants include the clergy-laity
concept, ritualized worship, building focused "house of God" model, and a
hierarchical authority structure. Many practices of the Church were simply
re-labeled—Priests became "pastors" but the one-man leadership model was still
in effect; Cardinals became "bishops" overseeing church districts, and Rome
continued to be Rome only now each denomination has its own version of it at
their home offices.
Because the Lord is building with living stones, restoration always begins in
the individual with things like salvation by grace, baptism in the Holy Spirit,
the gifts of the Spirit, and all of the things that accompany these. However,
restoration quickly moves from the individual to the corporate expression of the
Lord in the earth—His Body.
the seasons of the Lord, this is where we are now—corporate restoration. This
will happen whether we like it or not. The Lord will have a Bride, who is
spotless and without blemish, prepared for Him before His return. Nothing in
Heaven or earth can prevent this from happening. We just need to make sure that
we are not hindering the process.
“house church” movement is part of the corporate restoration process. However,
this movement runs the risk of making the same mistakes that were made at the
time of the “protestant reformation”. For the “house church” movement to
continue to receive the blessing of God, it must return to the foundation and
examine all of the building materials. There is no longer room for the
traditions or philosophies of men. Too many “house churches” are simply
relocations of malcontents from the traditional churches. If you keep the same
form and structure as the traditional churches, meeting in a house doesn’t
change anything except the “pastor”.
part of the first wave of "house churches" during the Charismatic Movement. By
the end of the 70's, there were thousands of "home fellowships" being created
every month. Yet, today, most of these are no longer functional. Many "grew"
into "charismatic or non-denominational churches", which have very little
practical difference from traditional churches. Others moved into deception and
became cultic in their functions. Some simply faded away because they couldn't
determine their purpose as the anointing of the Spirit moved from the gifts to
relationships, unity, and government.
similar things beginning to happen with the current wave of “house churches”.
Why did the first wave fail? Because its form and structure didn’t change from
the traditional model. They did not return to the foundation. What is the second
wave doing differently? So far, very little. It is imperative that the current
“house church” movement returns to the foundation and assesses and re-assesses
all things in the light of the Holy Spirit.
first test of the willingness of the “house church” movement to become what God
intends begins with the foundation.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with
the saints, and are of God's household,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus
Himself being the cornerstone,
in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple
in the Lord,
in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
“house church” movement must be able to recognize and function with apostles and
prophets, who are part of the foundation of the Church and are presented by
Jesus as His equipping gifts to His people. This is a radical move from the
Accomplishing this will require a radical change in form and structure in terms
of assembling together, in terms of financial provision, and in terms of
leadership. The ability to do this will determine the future usefulness of the
"house church" movement to the Kingdom of God.
the "house church" movement fails in this, it will coalesce into a "network of
house churches" banded together for mutual support and then slowly solidify into
another denominational structure. Lord help us! We don't need any more of those.
I look back over my 50-year walk with the Lord, I am forced to assess a number
of failings on the part of the leadership of the people of God. When the Lord
builds His Church, His Ecclesia, He also builds His leaders, which He has given
as gifts to His people [Eph.
4:11-16]. What we fail
to realize is that God's
leadership does not look like nor function like the leadership of the world
seems to be where the various movements over the years have failed. They were
unable to make the transition from worldly leadership and authority to the
proper Godly leadership and authority of the Kingdom of God. It doesn't matter
how powerful a ministry you have developed, the Lord doesn't allow you into His
leadership until you have developed in you the Father's heart and have adopted
His goals and desires for His people.
world's hierarchical authority structure will not function in the Kingdom of
God, including the Church. It will not produce properly functioning Godly
government. This is one of the areas where we must “pluck up, break down,
destroy and overthrow” before we can build and plant Kingdom government.
Lord willing, I will expound further on this subject in the next and future
Present Truth Teaching Letters.