Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. Matt.18:19-20
..I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matt.28:20b
The essence of the body of Christ assembling together in Jesus name (1 Cor. 14) is firstly a meeting of hearts and then it is a meeting of minds. Jesus is not looking to see that a program is followed, He is looking to see that He is free to express His truth thru whomever He chooses. His only concern is that He is allowed to lead His Church. He brings many hearts together and melts them into one heart, expressing His heart. He also brings many minds together and by His Word and Spirit brings them into the same mind, the mind of Christ.
The Lord says that when two or more are gathered in His name He is there in the midst, and yet He also says that He is always with us. So, His presence in our meetings is not Him coming to visit us. He doesn’t come to the meeting because He is always in us and with us. There is only one Jesus. If He is in you all then He cannot come and go from your meetings. Yes, He is in Heaven and He is in us, and we are also spiritually in Heaven and here on earth at the same time (Eph.2:6). If you feel the Holy Spirit do you say Jesus has come! The Holy Spirit has come! ? No, that’s not right. The presence of God does not come and go. There is not one prayer in the NT asking the Holy Spirit to come to a meeting and there is no prayer to the Holy Spirit, period: we are to pray To the Father, in the name of His Son, by The Spirit (John 16:23). That is the order in which the Holy Spirit helps us to pray.
What happens when two or more are gathered in His name is that He is manifest in a deeper and more powerful way than He does when we approach Him privately (which we must do first, Matt.6:6). True body-life and fellowship is always the fruit and outcome of our individual private, holy relationship to the Father. Our individual relationship with the Father is not His ultimate goal; it is the wellspring which flows into the fullness of body- life, as expressed in our Lord’s personal promise to us: where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. The end, in God’s mind, is a corporate work together in us all:
…Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: That we from now on be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, who is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body being fitly joined together and knit together by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph. 4:13-16
Meeting in Jesus name means that He is manifest powerfully in the midst. He’s already present in you. He may be already powerfully manifest in you as an individual and yet not manifest in your midst as a group if the spiritual condition is lacking. In the midst carries the meaning of a work of the Spirit which affects all those who are present. It also means that if Jesus is in the midst then anyone in the midst can be a vessel for the Master’s use, as He is in the midst rather than only in “the leader”. But people have been programmed to expect Jesus to be manifest in “the leader” and not in the midst – through any or all. Expect Him to speak thru whom HE wills rather than thru whom man wills.
Mary church, Martha church
Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me. And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:38-42
(See how Jesus was the pioneer of house churches! He had church in any home that welcomed Him and He hasn’t changed. Wherever Jesus went He had church.)
From this account we find some keys as to what meeting in Jesus name means: Martha’s main concern was to do something for Jesus, and Mary’s main desire was to be with Jesus by simply sitting at His feet and hearing His Word.
A Martha Church is like Martha, a little highly strung and focused on her performance of how well she can serve Jesus on a natural, material level. They are very self-conscious. Their eyes are more on themselves than on Jesus. But Jesus said one thing is needful and the Martha Church doesn’t get the one thing she needs as she is too busy. Jesus doesn’t need a performance. He doesn’t need a show. He doesn’t want to be served from the level of understanding which thinks that He needs something. The only service He wants from us is that which springs out of His rule in our hearts. Because He knows that what we really need is to sit at His feet and hear His Word. This is what the Martha Church and the Martha Christian needs.
Martha needs tradition and needs to be affirmed and needs many things to ease her nerves and anxieties but she is blind to the fact that all she needs is Jesus: to know Him. The Martha’s are always nervous: because they are trying to present a show there is always an underlying tension. What if nothing happens? Oh my! What will people think! What if there are some silent times during the meeting? Oh my! What if Mr. Jones doesn’t like it? Oh my! What if something goes wrong? Oh my!! Just like Martha: distracted with much serving; worried and troubled about many things. What will people think? Will they like our church? Is our church better than others?
Martha was in the same house as Jesus but she wasn’t with Jesus. Martha was probably the one who asked Jesus to come and stay in her house! She wanted Jesus to be there but she didn’t really want Jesus like Mary did: Martha’s say that they want Jesus but they really don’t want to be with Him, at His feet. Martha followed her natural reasoning, as religionists have always done. Much of what is going on today under the banner of Christianity is the outcome of natural reasoning. Martha figured out that what Jesus needed was a cooked meal. Yes, He probably did need a meal but Jesus personal needs were not on His agenda: Martha was on his agenda! ..And Martha was too busy to listen. Naturally speaking, Martha was doing the right thing. Spiritually, she was losing out something drastic! Naturally speaking, many today are trying to do the right thing: honoring Christ thru a multitude of religious services and works, yet, spiritually strangers to Him.
Imagine you were there that day in Martha’s house and you were too busy to listen to Jesus? God walks into your little cottage and sits down on the floor and begins to teach but you rush off and bake some cookies or something? Many of us do that nearly every day of our lives. Adam! Where are you? Why are you running from my presence? What’s the equivalent in Churches today? Running the traditional program to the exclusion of obedience to Christ the Head – in the midst, working as He wills, through whom He wills (1 Cor.14:29-33).
Martha! Martha! Calls Jesus. Our Lord didn’t reject Martha because she did receive the Lord into her house, indicating that she believed that He was the Messiah, but He taught her the correct way. It’s the same today; He is teaching Martha’s to be Mary’s: He’s teaching us His Way. The early Church was called The Way.
A Mary Church is like Mary; she sits at Jesus feet and hears His Word. Your heart is fixed on that one thing which is needful. Remember the one thing. The Mary-meeting will go on as long as Jesus speaks; as long as He wills: as long as His Spirit is moving. Mary was willing if need be to sit at Jesus feet all day and night. Meeting in Jesus name means meeting for the one thing: for the purpose of meeting Him and hearing Him speak. When two or more come together and want to meet Jesus together then He doesn’t disappoint and He manifests Himself in a greater and deeper way than when you seek Him privately, for it is Christ’s presence in His body, His people which reveals His fullness – the different gifts are all reflections of Jesus, so through the body being joined together we have a much greater revelation of who Jesus is (Eph. 4:13-16).
In Jesus name has got nothing to do with tagging the name of Jesus onto something. Sticking a Jesus label on something doesn’t make it about Jesus. In Jesus name means to truly represent Him. Some people even boasted that they were of Christ (1 Cor.1:12) and Paul wasn’t at all impressed with them, as they were just as much in pride and arrogance as the denominational people who said I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos… and from this error all denominations sprang forth.
In Jesus name means you actually meet to meet Jesus. Like Mary you come into that home or room, wherever you are meeting on that day and you sit at Jesus feet and hear His Word. When two or more sincerely and genuinely have that same heart then they definitely hear His Word because He is manifest powerfully through His Word and Spirit. He is waiting for Christians to get real and desire Him alone and meet together expecting Him to be manifest in and among His people in various gifts as the Spirit wills, for of such is the Kingdom of God.
From Reality Church by Ian Vincent.