THE MEATHEAD MENTALITY OF TODAY'S CHURCH
The early church, as founded by the apostles, was very different from the churches of our day. In the interim time between our church, and the early church, much has happened. The false doctrines in the early church led to a departure from certain primary factors that had given the early church revival and power. The church degenerated into such sins as selling indulgences, forgetting the importance of the prophetic message, abuse of others, dogmatic judgmentalism.
The protestant reformation changed some of these; but it soon degenerated into a competition for people with the Catholicism that it had broken from, and soon used infant baptism to try to outnumber the other churches. The abuse and false doctrines have so permeated congregations today, that it bears little resemblance to the original foundation of the church.
We need to step away from the dogmas of denominationalism, and look to the New Testament, and study the doctrines and truths presented by the early church. To hold onto the present adulterated traditions and dogma does not result in the power and love the church is to have. Many do not want to admit it, but the powerless, impotent, confused, apathetic, ignorant churches of today cannot, will not, and have not made the impact that the Lord intends. To have the latter rain revival, we must re-establish the early church. We must get back to its basics, its mission, its truths, and its sincerity.
The main thing that caused all the degeneration of the church to its present state, is the carnal thinking that has overtaken the spiritual understanding that we are to have. The word for "carnal" is the Greek word "sarkikos" which literally translated means: "meathead."
We have a "meathead" mentality in far too many Christians, and this has engendered a "meathead" church. They fought this tendency even in the early church.
Romans 8:6, 10-13
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. ... And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. ...For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
In Christianity, there are many who have allowed a "meathead" mentality to re-emerge. It has led many to false doctrines, wrong emphasis, and mistaken ideas. Many in Christianity have wrongly emphasized the carnal life. Many teach how to have carnal riches, how to have physical prosperity, but neglect the many Scriptures about spiritual blessings, riches in heaven, and eternal rewards. When the early church was in revival, mostly, they emphasized the spiritual, and mostly, they ignored the fleshly.
Most in the early church (Ananias and Sapphira being notable exceptions) did not seek earthly riches, but forsook all and served the Lord. Many of the early church could be put into prison, sacrifice their earthly wealth to give to the poorer saints in Jerusalem. They saw the world as dead souls needing life from the Lord.
Today, many are seeking to be carnally rich, and spend more time counting their monetary wealth than enjoying their spiritual wealth. There are gifts of the Spirit that many are satisfied without. There is the fruit of the Spirit that can be totally absent, but un-missed by the one missing such.
Why are we so interested in the natural life, the carnal mammon which purchases only things of this world, and the acclaim of men? We need to put aside this "meathead" mentality, and begin valuing the spiritual blessings of salvation, gifts of the Spirit, and heavenly reward. We need to realize that this earthly life is just temporary, and our real emphasis should be the spiritual life.
The early church thought on a spiritual plane, and ignored the physical plane as much as they could. As the early rain revival subsided, the congregations began to more and more think on the physical and carnal plane. This led to many problems, some of which we still suffer.
One notable example of the meathead mentality is found in the translation called the King James Version. This is the translation that I use, but it too, like others, is flawed in translation. This is why we must study the Scriptures well, and verify man's translations, lest we are duped by errors of mankind. One error in translation has led to many false practices and has been used by some to validate their already accepted heresies.
For instance, in the past some congregations, some denominations, and some faiths have prayed for the dead. This is a perversion of what God teaches us. For after death is the judgment, and it is not the physically dead for which we are to pray, but the spiritually dead, both within the church, and those without. Some have even baptized others for dead people with the hope of bringing them from hell to heaven. This is a perversion and misunderstanding of Scriptures.
It is for the spiritually dead we should pray. We need to pray for the spiritual resurrection into the new Christ-life, and then for the rapture and resurrection life in our own souls.
I Corinthians 15:
22. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
29. "Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead (huper ton nekron...)?" (huper = with accusative means "as a symbol of victory over.")
30. "And why stand we in jeopardy every hour?"
31. "I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily."
45. "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit."
It does not make any sense to pray for the dead... for there is one chance to be saved... before death... and none after death. The rich man, in the story of the rich man and Lazarus was told he could not return, nor go to Lazarus, or vice versa. Therefore, it does not make sense to be baptized for the dead, and expect them to be moved from where they went at death to any other location. How did this false doctrine get into many congregations?
The doctrine came about because of the fact that the early church often used the term "dead" to speak of the spiritually dead. Little emphasis was ever placed on the dead physically, for they had faith in a risen Lord, and those saints whose bodies succumbed to the curse and died, were with the Lord. Death had lost its sting.
The King James Version (amidst many others) has not done justice to I Corinthians 15:29. This verse should be translated: "why are they baptized as a symbol of victory over the spiritual deadness of sin."
The word "huper" and "nekron" are not accurately translated herein. The word "huper" is used with the accusative case of "nekron" which changes its translation, and the word "nekron" is used by the early church to refer to spiritual deadness, not physical deadness. (As -We are "dead" to sin as Christians Romans 6:11; and faith without works is "dead". James 2:17,26)
This was mistranslated because of careless exegesis of the translators, and because many of the translators had been raised in the false doctrine of praying for the dead (physically dead). Therefore, they inaccurately translated this verse, and have caused many debates, some false doctrines to continue, and Biblical harmony to be challenged.
The early church did pray for the spiritually dead... they were baptized in water as symbolism of the victory of the Lord over the spiritual deadness caused by sin, and over the eventual physical deadness that sin would have brought... We need to re-establish the praying for the dead... the praying for our loved ones who are unsaved.
We believe in an eventual resurrection of the body, and we certainly hope it is soon... but we also have a present resurrection of the soul, that occurred when the Lord resurrected our dead-in-sin spirits. This resurrection of the soul guarantees the resurrection of the body later. Let us not get so taken up with the future physical resurrection that we neglect to pray for souls to have this present spiritual resurrection of the soul.
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to with, the redemption of the body."
This spiritual resurrection of the soul, this conquering of the death of the soul and spirit, is only the "first fruits" of what we will eventually have. We "groan within ourselves, waiting" for the physical resurrection which will occur when the rapture does. While we groan and agonizingly await such victory, let us pray for those who need a spiritual resurrection now! To neglect this, and to be only concerned with the physical is a meatheaded, carnal, fleshly mentality that the most of the early church avoided.
Let us now begin to have a spiritual minded approach to the gospel.
"Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name; ask and ye shall receive, that your joy might be full."
Many saints today have not asked of the Lord for spiritual things. They get too taken up with their physical and monetary needs to see the spiritual victories that God wants us to have. To pray in the "name of Jesus" means more than to tack that to the end of prayers. It means to pray according to what He desires for us, and we must therefore get the "meathead mentality" out of control and the spiritual mind into control, so that we can think as Jesus thinks, and desire what He desires for us. Any selfish, carnal, meatheaded requests with "in the name of Jesus" tacked onto the end are not promised to us in that verse.
We must slay the "meathead" daily, as did Paul, and keep the spiritual mind in control. Then we will have what the early church had, and not fall into a "meathead mentality" that has devastated the most of the church today.
During the latter rain revival, we are to ask largely, and not to simply ask God for the minimum. We have a God Who can do "exceeding abundantly above" all our requests.
"Now unto Him Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think."
We can ask God "whatsoever" (John 16:23) we desire. Too often our minds are too "meatheaded" with carnal, physical, and temporal things. God wants us to raise our prayers to a higher level.
Even when the latter rain revival is falling, we are to ask for even more.
"Ask ye of the Lord rain, in the time of the latter rain."
We can pray and ask for the heathen for our inheritance.
"Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."
Too many saints try to make their prayers easy for God. They try to ask God for only what they can forsee Him being able to do, and they have so little faith, that they cannot see the possibility of God doing great things. They are "meat-headed", and shallow in faith.
The prodigal son, when traveling home from his rebellious stay away from the father. He only had faith to ask the father for the position of a slave, but the father gave him a robe, ring, shoes, fatted calf, feast, and sonship. The elder brother complained that the younger brother received so much, and the father told him that he only had to ask, and he could have always had it.
Many of us are like the prodigal and elder brother, and we ask little, or are too busy to ask at all.
Jonah prayed from sheol (Jonah 2:1-9). He had been dead, and God had to resurrect him to go do his job.
Stephen prayed for the salvation and mercy on his enemies, and as a result Paul became a great apostle. (Acts 7:59-60)
God loves to do the hard and the impossible.
God used a little cruse of oil and made it to fill many large jars. The little we have is still more than enough for God.
The Lord took five loaves and two fish and fed 1000's. The Lord can do great things with the little we have.
The Lord had Samson take the jawbone of an ass and slay 1000's. God can use little worthless things to give great victories.
Samson, while blind and bound, asked for one more victory, and in his death, he killed more Philistines at that time than he had in all his life prior to that. The final victory came when Samson felt most worthless and useless to God.
Elijah was discouraged, asked to die, and yet God has made him live for over two thousand years more, waiting to return and finish his ministry. God planned a great, and long career for Elijah.
Jesus called an unsaved fisherman, and promised to make him a fisher of men.
John was a "son of thunder" who was transformed by Jesus into the "apostle of love".
Paul was a murderer, persecutor of Christians, and yet became the "apostle of the Gentiles".
Matthew was a collaborator with the Romans, hated by his fellow Jews, and yet he became the great notetaker of Jesus' sermons.
Why do we ask so small? Why do we think so carnally? Why do we not ask largely?
"If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
Why do we ask a stone, when the Lord wants us to have bread? Why do we ask for Him to help us struggle over the mountain, when He wants to remove it altogether???
Why do we ask for a sprinkle, when He wants us to have a flood???
Why do you only hope for a tingle of blessing in the worship service, when God wants you to be filled to overflowing.
Can God only do the easy??? Must we settle for only the little??? If you were in the wilderness when the ten spies returned would you have thought God able to give you a land with giants, walled fortified cities... or would you have wept in despair all night as they did???
God poured out His anger on the Israelites for their lack of faith, for their meatheaded carnality, and for their refusal to believe God could do the hard things.
God is tired of hearing us ask for crumbs, when He has said: "Come and dine..." Would He have said, "Come and dine" and then only want to give us crumbs??? No, He wants to give us great feasts, not leftovers and scraps.
God is tired of us asking for a sprinkle of revival, when He has told us to ask for floods of blessing. He has promised that in the last days, the "knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the seas" -- so why would He want to give us only sprinkles of blessings?
What is on your prayer list? Are you specific, or do you just pray for general, generic, simple things? Have you prayed for God to fill this building? Have you prayed for "tens" or "thousands"? You cannot ask more than God can do!!!
Put a prayer list into a bowl today. Write on it the names of people that you think it is impossible for God to save. Ask for healings and miracles to be done that seem impossible. Ask for more than you ever have before. Go beyond the simple, easy, carnal, fleshly things, and pray for revival, salvation of souls, etc. Ask for more than for the toughest ones to be saved to just be saved. Ask for God to make them great witnesses in these last days.
What do you want God to do? Are you specific? Are you asking too small? Do you want miracles? Then what miracles do you want? Do you want souls to be saved? Then which souls do you want to see get saved? Do you want revival? What kind of revival? Where?