Summary: The call to come inward to the table is often ignored because many don’t see the value of such fellowship; their aim is to be doing where as the aim of the table for two is simply “Being” in His presence.
The Christian faith is about relationship it’s not about religion or outward displays of Church life that are just mere forms of religious expression. Jesus spoke very firmly to the religious of the day, who felt they were doing the right thing in preserving religious tradition but ignoring its core values.
Matt 23:13 What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees? Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.V15 For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell V16 you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.V23 you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith V25 For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence
Jesus didn’t mince words he said it like it is.
I am concerned enough about aspects of the current Church model to speak out also. I am concerned because I see a trend in Church life which points to the passages in Matt 23.
I am constantly coming across people from very large & “Successful” churches that have all the right words about commitment, giving, & honour. They say they are living a blessed life and they trumpet their life lessons and success, saying that if it wasn’t for their Church/Pastor they would not be living this wonderful life they now live. Sounds all very good but there is never any mention of Jesus or the work of the Holy Spirit, In fact many of these so called Pentecostal Christians haven’t even been baptized in water or in the Holy Spirit. On deeper questioning most look at me blank if I start to talk about a deep inner communion with Christ or a Holy Spirit inspired move of signs & wonders. Brothers & Sisters we have a problem; The words of Jesus in Matt 23 are very pertinent to today’s situation. Jesus asked the question which is Holy? The offering placed on the Altar or the Altar that made the offering Holy? I ask the same question which is Holy the Church or Jesus who makes the Church holy? An intelligent person will always say “its Jesus” but the outward actions of our Churches declare another belief.
THE TABLE FOR TWO IN THE WILDERNESS
The outward nature of the Church is very important because without it we will see no souls touched or saved but without an inward expression it is dead and powerless. What is an inward expression? You ask!
Psalm 23 says “He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies” It’s a table for two in the wilderness; the food is union with Christ. This table is where our hunger for Him is satisfied. So in our obsession with the outward expression of the Church in the world we have lost sight of the table for two. The table for two is where all of the signs wonders & miracles of Church history come from. Its an intimate table that when you are there no one else knows, So because of this many don’t ever accept the invitation of the Lord to come dine. There is no point in their minds to this table where no one sees them. Jesus responds this way “For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence”
The call to come inward to the table is often ignored because many don’t see the value of such fellowship; their aim is to be doing where as the aim of the table for two is simply “Being” in His presence.
The truth is only Christ can fill our empty hearts and satisfy our hunger. But because we are mostly outward in our focus it’s difficult to see that in His body & His blood is our total provision.
HOW DO WE APPROCH THE TABLE FOR TWO.
So how are we to approach this table for two? The answer is simple we approach the table with hunger. We come with the intention of an intimate meal shared with the King. Any thoughts of what will I get out of this meal diminish its true value. The value of being alone with Him! A place where we can laugh or cry, a place where we can totally bear our soul, confess our love and open our hearts to His light. This sort of intimacy is never found in Church. Church is where what we have found at the table for two becomes public and outward in its expression. With just the outward expression we only have one face of a two sided coin and to the world that’s what the Church has become, a faceless coin that once had some value but now is worthless.