The Hunter, the Monkey, and the Peanuts
by Ralph Neighbour
Have you heard about the trapper who found a way to catch monkeys? He attached a glass bottle with a narrow neck to a tree and put peanuts in it. The monkey would see the peanuts, slide his hand into the bottle’s neck and snatch the peanuts. His clenched fist would not allow him to remove his hand. He would stand for hours holding onto the peanuts until the trapper captured him.
It’s amazing to see the values traditional Christians hang onto rather than release them so they can move on. The peanuts are quite conventional: the clergy are superior to the laity; “church” is a building where we serve the Lord; seeker sensitive services grow Sunday audiences, and “small groups” are tools to keep members happy. There may be variations on these themes, but in the end they’re still peanuts that hinder the emergence of the authentic Body of Christ.
The Supreme Value: The Body of Christ
The triune God is an invisible Spirit. He cannot be seen or known unless He assumes some visible form. Romans 1 explains He revealed Himself as Elohim, the Creator, by speaking the universe into existence. He revealed Himself as Jehovah, Who “will always be what I have always been,” by inhabiting the body of a man sired by the Father. In John he stated, “for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me.”
Inside the skin of Jesus lived both a human and God the Son. His works to finish were to declare the reign (Kingdom) of God over all created things and to atone for the sin of all mankind. On the cross, He cried, “It is finished!”
But the Father had another further assignment for the Son. It would require a second body, one that could exist simultaneously in every generation and in every ethnos. The removal of the Jesus body was followed ten days later by the Son descending in Shekinah tongues of fire as He entered His new body. Instantly He began to function to fulfil l His final assignment. As Peter explained He was revealing His indwelling Presence inside the skins of these new body members. Thousands bowed before Him and entered the Kingdom to live under His Lordship.
We are ecclesia, “called out ones” who have received the fullness of the Godhead residing inside their skin. After being baptised by the Holy Spirit to become body members, they transport the indwelling Christ into their oikoses. According to Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, Christ Himself then energises prophecies in these small groups to reveal His Presence, causing unbelievers to fall on their faces confessing “God is among you.”
The Cell Is the Most Valuable Treasure of God On The Earth Today
We must “let go” of our peanut-sized misconceptions about “church” and value what God values: a basic community of Christ-filled body members controlled by the Head, exposing His Presence and Power to unbelievers and ungifted ones.
1. All believers possess equally the complete righteousness of Christ.
2. All believers can manifest the energeia, the charismata, of His Power.
3. Authentic evangelism is the body of Christ so exposing His indwelling presence that observing unbelievers will fall on their faces and worship Him.
4. Each cell, a body of Christ, exists to experience Him working out His salvation from the power of sin within them.
5. Each cell practices its prime mission: to assist Christ to fulfil l His final mission: to draw all men to Himself. They cannot do this for Him; instead, they surrender themselves to Him to do this through them.
6. The local church does not form cells; the cells form the local church.