The truth can neither be communicated nor be received without being as it were before the eyes of God, nor without God's help, nor without God being involved as the middle term [mediator], since he is the truth. It can therefore only be communicated by and received by "the single individual," which, for that matter, every single human being who lives could be: this is the determination of the truth in contrast to the abstract, the fantastical, impersonal, "the crowd" - "the public," which excludes God as the middle term (for the personal God cannot be the middle term in an impersonal relation). . .
And to honor every individual human being, unconditionally every human being, that is the truth and fear of God and love of "the neighbor" . . . But never have I read in the Holy Scriptures this command: "You shall love the crowd;" even less: "You shall, ethico-religiously, recognize in the crowd the court of last resort in relation to 'the truth.'" It is clear that to love the neighbor is self-denial, that to love the crowd or to act as if one loved it, to make it the court of last resort for "the truth," that is the way to truly gain power, the way to all sorts of temporal and worldly advantage - yet it is untruth; for the crowd is untruth.
Soren Kierkegaard - The Single Individual
Without an individual revelation from God taken into the heart of each believer from His throne, there is no truth in man. The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of Truth. Have you ever pondered the question oft parroted in Christendom, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?" They who ask this rightly expect you to do so, but beyond here their expectations go amiss. They next expect the new convert to be baptized into their collective whole. Baptism becomes a rite by which one is initiated into their Christian sect or denomination-the collective. Other rules demanding compliance soon follow; church attendance, tithing, unquestioned obedience to church authority, etc. If you cross this group or question its authority and teachings often enough you get the same reception that Jesus did when He questioned the authority, righteousness and beliefs of the Jewish leaders. The crowd which once affectionately accepted you soon resembles a lynch mob more than the loving Personal Savior they often speak of.
Why is it that this collective of the religious establishment is often so contrary to the nature of Christ? It is because the collective or the crowd always becomes (and believes in) a lie by removing from its converts the right to engage their Father in a meaningful, personal way outside of their approval. Jesus taught that the doctrines and traditions of men always make of no effect the personal commands and communications of God to the individual. This very thing makes the crowds of Christendom a lie. The larger the group, the more impersonal it becomes, the more impersonal its portrayal of our Personal Savior and the more it engages in "group speak" and "group think" nullifying the individuals ability to listen to God and think with the mind of Christ.
The Bible is full of stories of men who listened to God and spoke what they heard to the crowds of so-called "believers," God's people. In each case they soon found that they were isolated and alone and many had to run for their lives or be killed by the crowd and its leader. The crowds formed around the false leaders and the false prophets. Elijah was one man against Ahab, Jezebel and her four hundred prophets of Baal and four hundred and fifty prophets of the groves. All of Israel followed them and Elijah stood alone on Mount Carmel that day when fire fell from heaven and consumed his sacrifice. All the prophets of old had to walk out their callings alone against the tide of the lie seeking crowds down through the history of Israel, yet one man who walked in truth with His God was always in the sight of God a majority.
In the mid 1800's Soren Kierkegaard grew up in the Lutheran church in Denmark because if you were born a Dane you were automatically a member of that denomination from birth. It is still the state church there and is heavily subsidized by the government. His father was also a Lutheran pastor. It was from this perspective as he grew to an age where he could observe and reason and experience the Spirit speaking to His heart from which he wrote. In his book, Purity of Heart, Soren wrote, ". . .the larger the crowd, the more probable that that which it praises is folly, and the more improbable that it is truth; and the most improbable of all that it is any eternal truth." Jesus put it this way, "Enter in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in there: Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13-14 KJ2000). Is it any wonder that the prophets of God were loners?
Those of us who have experience the large churches in America and then read in the New Testament about the small gatherings of believers and the love they shared, have soon come to this same conclusion. Bigger is not better and the impersonal crowd and those who preform before it rarely display the true Jesus. Again we quote Kierkegaard from his book, Provocations, "Those who speak to the crowd, coveting its approval, those who deferentially bow and scrape before it must be regarded as being worse than prostitutes. They are instruments of untruth."
Along this same line Deirtrich Boenhoffer wrote in his book Life Together, "Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christian community. The desire we so often hear expressed today for "episcopal figures," "priestly men," "authoritative personalities" springs frequently enough from a spiritually sick need for the admiration of men, for the establishment of visible human authority, because the genuine authority of service appears to be unimpressive . . . " Where there is a crowd their is a hunger for a crowd identity and the lust to have a worldly king over them who will give them that identity."
In his book, That Single Individual, Soren wrote,
The crowd is untruth. There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd. Let . . . some individual human being . . . approach such a person, what does he care about him; that is much too small a thing; he proudly sends him away; there must be at least a hundred. And if there are thousands, then he bends before the crowd, he bows and scrapes; what untruth!
Have you ever tried to get any meaningful time with the "pastor" of a large church. The bigger the church, the less time you will get with them if any at all. How can these men be called shepherds? Jesus only had a close ongoing relationship with a handful of individuals, yet for these leaders quality relationships with the family sized group is soon traded for the quantity of the crowd and the incomes they can demand from them. More and more, their sermons are about money and less and less are they about an intimate relationship with Jesus.
Individuals loved Jesus and they felt His love for them, but the self-seeking crowds either wanted to take Him by force and make Him their king against His will (because He fed them) or they cried out at the bequest of the crowd leaders in one accord, "Away with Him. Crucify Him!" Jesus' greatest "fault" that lead to His crucifixion was His refusal to be the crowd leader. Though He loves the individual, He shunned the dynamic of the crowd. Popularity is never a sign of truth.
In this same book (now in public domain and can be freely quoted) Kierkegaard made some amazing observations about the crowd,
There is a view of life which holds that where the crowd is, the truth is also... that it [the truth] must have the crowd on its side. There is another view of life; which holds that wherever the crowd is, there is untruth... even if every individual possessed the truth in private, yet if they came together into a crowd (so that "the crowd" received any decisive, voting, noisy, audible importance), untruth would at once be let in.
In the Book of Revelation Jesus is addressing the seven churches of Asia and the further we read down through what He had to say to these seven churches, the more apostate they become. Finally to the seventh and final church He pleads through its shut door, "If any man will open the door I will come into him and sup with him and he with me." He was not pleading with the smug, rich collective hidden inside its walls of rebellion that had been built up against Him. Yes, "If any man will open. . . I will come into him. . ." His appeal is always to the individual for He desires intimacy.
Today we have crowd pleasers that preach from their pulpits and conference podiums to the masses that a mass revival is soon coming that will fill football stadiums with hungry believers all over the world. Jesus didn't say, "If any church or any nation will open the door," but if any man. Jesus is a personal Savior and those who make His gospel impersonal, avoiding a call for individual repentance and a life changing relationship in Christ tailor their messages to please the masses where they are at calling it a "seeker friendly" gospel.
Kierkegaard in this same book made the following observation,
For "the crowd" is untruth. Eternally, godly, christian-ly what Paul says is valid: "only one receives the prize," [I Corinthians. 9:24] not by way of comparison, for in the comparison "the others" are still present. That is to say, everyone can be that one, with God's help - but only one receives the prize; again, that is to say, everyone should cautiously have dealings with "the others," and essentially only talk with God and with himself - for only one receives the prize; again, that is to say, the human being [singular] is in kinship with . . . the divinity.
What is the result of our obediently following Jesus and opening ourselves up to Him as we overcome the safety and comfort of the crowd? We receive the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ. In the next verse in Revelation Jesus says, "To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne." (Revelation 3:21 KJ2000). He who overcomes? Overcomes what? The call is to open the door to Jesus and to ignore the crowd. It is a high calling, not a calling to sit and warm a pew.
This individual named John who received this vision next hears Jesus calling unto Him to obey that high calling. Chapter four starts out, "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up here, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit . . ."(Revelation 4:1-2 KJ2000). Do you want to experience being in the Spirit? You have to break away from the comfort of the crowd and obey the upward call to experience the Spirit of Truth. The further you are from the roar of the crowd, the keener your ability will become to hear the whispering voice of God.
First, we should notice that Jesus is no longer standing at the locked door of the fallen Laodicean church, but is now sitting on His throne in heaven. More importantly we should notice that He is now calling out through an open door in the heavens for all who have ears to hear with a voice that is as loud as a trumpet (He has to turn up the volume for those who "are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked" locked behind their closed doors). The more in tune we are with the Spirit of God, the less overt He has to be to communicate with us. In fact He wants to wean us of our dependency on our natural five senses and get us to experience knowing Him with our spiritual senses. He is speaking forth an invitation to all who hear Him, "Come up here . . ." It is an invitation to overcome and join Him in His throne.
Men can lock their doors, their very hearts, away from Him with their false teachings and beliefs in their churches, but they can not close the door of heaven that God opens to "whomsoever will." Seek out and hear His voice. Jesus said of the Pharisees and scribes (the Bible scholars of that time) who went about making Jewish converts to their teachings, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you travel on sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves." "But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither allow you them that are entering to go in." Only as a truth seeking person is willing to leave the pack behind and even the established authority systems of men will he find the true Jesus. As he listens to God's still small voice, he will overcome the delusions of the crowds and find himself in the presence of our Lord.
The mob leaders promise their followers worldly prosperity if they will obey them with the promise that they, too, will be able to say, "we are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing!" The masses eat it up while their leaders pick their bones clean as they seek to use and take advantage of them. False shepherds and false prophets will seek to take away your possessions and coerce you until you are spiritually "poor, miserable, blind and naked." It is not bad enough that they steel from the crowd, but they also steel their focus away from things which are eternal and overpower the still small voice of the Spirit.
In light of this Kierkegaard continues,
The worldly, temporal, busy, socially-friendly person says this: "How unreasonable, that only one should receive the prize, it is far more probable that several combined receive the prize; and if we become many, then it becomes more certain and also easier for each individually" . . . this point of view abolishes both God and the eternal and "the human being's" kinship with the divinity; it abolishes it or changes it into a fable . . . so that to be a human being is like being a specimen which belongs to a race gifted with reason, so that the race, the species, is higher than the individual, or so that there are only specimens, not individuals. But the eternal . . . looks out over these innumerable millions and knows each single individual; he, the great examiner, he says: only one receives the prize; that is to say, everyone can receive it, and everyone ought to become this by oneself, but only one receives the prize.
Where the crowd is, therefore, or where a decisive importance is attached to the fact that there is a crowd, there no one is working, living, and striving for the highest end, but only for this or that earthly end; since the eternal, the decisive, can only be worked for where there is one; and to become this by oneself, which all can do, is to will to allow God to help you.
Outside the Camp
Yes, we are to obey Jesus' voice and "Come up here." In Hebrews we read,
Be not carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace... We have an altar, of which they have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle. For the bodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned outside the camp. Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. (Hebrews 13:9-14 KJ2000)
Are you inside "the faith camp"? How about "the Pentecost camp" or "the Hagee camp" or "the Copeland camp" or the "John MacArthur camp," etc.? You will find Jesus outside the camp. Behind the closed doors of today's Laodicean church system is where we find all these camps and "various and strange" doctrines which carry people away from the Truth. Why? Paul saw this Laodicean church system coming when he warned the elders of Ephesus saying, "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears" Acts 20:29-31 KJ2000). Men teach perverse and strange things to the crowds to draw away disciples from Jesus after themselves. They are not making disciples who seek out Jesus when these simple saints want to hear the truth, but rather devoted followers who will only listen to them! The altar of God from which His kingdom of priests (See 1 Peter 2:9) dines is not in the tabernacles of men, but it is found outside the camp. Are you willing to bear His reproach?
So What about the Body?
Throughout the New Testament the collective body of Christ is first presented in individual terms. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, "For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:4-5 NKJV). To the Corinthian church he wrote, "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12 NKJV). But now indeed there are many members, yet one body (1 Corinthians 12:20 NKJV).
The body ceases to exist where individual members are valued for their contribution to the collective or devalued for their lack. Where the emphasis is placed exclusively on "the good of the collective" there enters a dynamic exactly like that of Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Germany, where an individual's worth is relative to their contribution to the state. Collectivism is the ideology that totalitarian societies use to violate the rights of individuals, because it holds that the group is more important than the individual, all the while it ignores that the collective is formed by separate individual people.
The body of Christ is comprised of members individually valued by Christ. It all begins with the individual. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 KJ2000). The promise of salvation is to whosoever will believe in Jesus and where two or more of these believers gather together in His name, He has promised to be there in the midst of them. The kingdom of Heaven is made up of individual members who are likened to individual stones that are built upon the Foundation of the church, Jesus Christ. Without individual members abiding in Christ there is no church.
If this individuality is not guarded and preserved the body is lost and the mob mentality takes over. Jesus taught the value of the ONE. He expressed it in the tender terms of a Shepherd who left the ninety and nine to go and searched for the one. When the crowds were pressing in around Him, He left the ninety and nine and went home with Zacchaeus, the one. So today, His search for the one continues. All the pressure of the kosmos system of Satan seeks to devalue the one because it is the individual members that make the body.
In Romans 14 Paul wrote to believers, asking them to consider each other's individual walk with God. In verse four he asked, "Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or falls." Each member is directly related to God, through Christ, and is accordingly made to stand by that very efficacious relationship. "Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand" (vs.4). He recognized a wide range of personal beliefs that were held by each one without once attempting to correct them. "One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind" (vs.5). He recognized the fundamental nature of the body when he wrote, "He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's" (Romans 14:6-8). Living individually to the Lord is what distinguishes the body from the crowd.
In the crowd there is a consensus to judge each one by a collective standard and to seek uniformity in all doctrine and belief. But regarding such things Paul asked, "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother?" His reason for asking this was simple, "For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ" (vs.10), individually. Each one shall stand before the One. Each one will report to the One to whom they are actually accountable, the Head of the ecclesia, Jesus Christ. This demission of living to the Lord both in life and in death, excludes the idea of crowd-governance. It is a life lived in full to the Lord. ". . . each of us shall give account of himself to God" (vs.13).
This is one of the casualties of collectivism. The individual conscience is set aside and man is insolated from his personal responsibility and accountability to the Lord. If one is in good standing with the crowd he reasons that he is then in good standing with God. Conversely, if he falls out of favor with the crowd or its leader, he is made to feel that he is in rebellion against God. The crowd soon becomes the "mediator" between men and God instead of Jesus. Individual belief is swallowed up by collective consensus. Faith is lost and consequently so is the body of Christ. There can be no faith where direct union with God is hindered in this way. Also, where the crowd and its leader is the standard for what is right, no one dares to address error in leadership when it occurs and thus scripture is fulfilled, "Evil seducers wax worse and worse."
Here again Paul exhorts the individual believer to live to the Lord, not the crowd. "Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God." All else, regardless of its status before men, is sin. Whatever is done that is not from faith (between you and God directly) is sin (See Romans 14:23). Anything that supplants the synthesis of faith that is the direct result of the individual being convinced in his own mind as he is directly taught of God through His revelation is essentially and foundationally sin.
Living a Secret Life to the Lord - Freedom from the Crowd
The crowd conscious Pharisees loved to pray in public and give their alms to the poor to be seen of men. But Jesus told the disciples to do their good works in private not letting their left hand know what their right hand was doing. He also told them to pray privately to their Father by entering their closet and praying there with the door shut. Then He told them, "Your Father who sees in secret himself shall reward you openly." Even in these acts the crowd was to be excluded. He also pointed to the Pharisees' habit of wearing special adornments to be seen as being pious by the crowds and told the disciples not to draw attention to themselves that way. "Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 6:1 RSVA).
We are not free from the crowd until we are free in the midst of the crowd. Becoming a "holy hermit" is not the answer. Jesus is our example once again. Whether in the garden alone or surrounded by the multitudes He lived unto His Father. He never spoke to gain the favor of the crowd. Many of His sayings were confessedly hard sayings that turned people away from Him. He spoke the words He heard His Father speaking. He lived unto God even when it cost Him His popularity.
Jesus taught His disciples to live unto the Father and that the fear of men (or living in constant reference to what either pleases or displeases them) is the way of unbelief and bondage. So many Christians today are worried about their reputations among the saints of God. Even this can be a trap for you end up living to be men pleasers not for the glory of the Father.
Belief in the Father and seeking the honor of men are radically incompatible. To the Jews that sought to kill Him because He said that God was his Father, Jesus said "How can you believe who receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only?" (John 5:44). Trusting in the Lord and the fear of man are diametrically opposed. If you reverence the Father, living unto Him, you will not seek the honor men. Neither will you heap honor on those who seek honor, knowing that it just feeds their pride and isolates them even further from God for He opposes the proud, but give grace to the humble. You will seek the honor that comes from God alone. There is a fundamental incompatibility between the fear of man and faith in the Father. One is a snare; the other is life and freedom (See Proverbs 29:25 NKJV).
Play-acting before men to be seen of them is contrasted with a life of secret interplay with the Father in concealed obedience to Him, which the Father openly rewards. The reward of play-actors who proudly sound the trumpet and openly display their giving is the only reward they will receive.
Brennan Manning wrote,
"Freedom in Christ produces a healthy independence from peer pressure, people-pleasing, and the bondage of human respect. The tyranny of public opinion can manipulate our lives. What will the neighbors think? What will my friends think?
In Christ Jesus freedom from fear empowers us to let go of the desire to appear good so that we that we can move freely in the mystery of who we really are. Preoccupation with projecting the "nice guy" image, impressing newcomers with our experience, and relying heavily on the regard of others leads to self-consciousness, sticky pedestal behavior, and unfreedom in the iron grip of human respect. Unconsciously, we may clothe the Pharisee's prayer in the Publican's formula. For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urge to be admired for our studied goodness. It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to other persons. Alms-giving affords such an opportunity, but the applause we hear will be payment in full for our generous offering. Self-consciousness, not virtue, is its own reward." (Brennan Manning- The Ragamuffin Gospel)
If not the key to successful living in Christ, being free from the crowd is certainly one of the keys to a life which honors our Father. We cannot serve others in a godly way unless we are free from them. Paul wrote, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more;" (1 Corinthians 9:19 NKJV).
Kierkegaard observed, ". . . when there is an individual human being, then one should express the truth by respecting what it is to be a human being . . . one should godfearingly express, that a crowd, as the court of last resort, ethically and religiously, is the untruth, whereas it is eternally true, that everyone can be the one. This is the truth." As individuals abide in Jesus as their Truth, only then can there be a kingdom group dynamic between these same people.
So is there a larger manifestation of the body of Christ for today? The body of Christ is the true ecclesia. Notice that ecclesia in the Greek means "called out" not called into a church building as the phrase "doing church" implies today. There is a body of people that have obeyed the call of God and gone out to His Son as they bear His reproach for being different in the eyes of Christendom's crowd will be a reproach. The main difference in the nature of Jesus' body and church as usual is that His body follows His lead as it's only Head! The church systems of men require unconditional allegiance to a man who presides over them. Jesus is the Good shepherd and His sheep hear his voice and another they will not follow (See John Ch. 15). Jesus answered the Pharisee who demanded an outward kingdom,
The kingdom of God comes not with outward observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you. And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you shall not see it. And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. (Luke 17:20-23 KJ2000)
The crowds followed the Pharisees and they often followed Jesus for selfish reasons. They demanded a kingdom that could be seen. Today the crowds say, "Lo, He is in Toronto." "Lo, He is in Brownsville." "Lo, He is in Lakeland!" In times past they said He was in Spokane, Washington, or He was in Zion, Illinois, or Cain Ridge, Kentucky. Thousands flocked to these locations to see a visible outward manifestation of the kingdom of God. The Jews with great excitement received Jesus as He entered into Jerusalem riding on an ass, but within a few short days, they hated Him vehemently because He not only refused to establish an outward kingdom as their new King, but He tore up and denounced their accepted temple system which they expected Him to endorse! To make things worse, He told them that He did not come to rule over them and deliver them as their king, but to die. They wanted a sovereign, not a Lamb that would be slain for their sins. Again we see that the crowd is a lie for they killed the Prince of Peace, the very Truth of God and missed the hour of their visitation.
Those who were as babes, lambs among wolves, knew Him as their King in a kingdom that had come without outward observation. Crowds demand that their senses be titillated by outward observations. But the individuals who knew His personal touch kissed and wept over His feet and they received revelation from the Father that He is the Son of God. They also reached out to Him for healing and through their faith connection with Him as the Son of David they were healed even in the midst of the crowd. Today, where there is a faith connection, individuals are still finding Christ to be their sufficiency. His kingdom is in their midst, the very centers of their beings. These know Him so well that they don't have to run from sea to sea to hear His voice (See Amos 8:11-12) at some conference or "revival meeting."
So, where is the body? Jesus said, "Wherever two or three of you gather together in my name, I am there in your midst." He did not say, "two or three thousand"! Can a large crowd gather around Christ as Head? Yes, but only as each of them is individually connected to Jesus first and they do not loose sight of that connection. When they start to connect themselves to a human leader or each other instead of Jesus the body turns into a crowd and lies start to be generated for them to follow (See 1 Corinthians Ch. 3). The more intimate individuals are in Him that make up the group, the more Christ will be manifest in their midst as members one of another. Bigger is not better in the kingdom of God any more than an orphanage with two hundred children in it is a manifestation of family life. When families become too big for intimate gatherings, the children become orphaned by default.
"Only one wins the race." When Jesus wanted to show the disciples the true nature of His kingdom, He took a child in which they saw no value and sat him on His lap and said, "Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven." How did that little child come unto Him? Was he part of a large crowd of children sitting on Jesus' lap, or was it a single individual child that sat there? Intimacy is an integral part of God's kingdom. Jesus told the disciple to pray in private, "Our Father . . ." He said, "Your Father who sees you in secret . . ." He said, "You are all brethren." Jesus came to restore the individual believer to fellowship with His father and only in this private devotion to our Father can we become His children and true brethren. He leveled the playing field in the relationships of the members of His family with each other. The goal of intimacy in Father's kingdom is many sons who know Him individually as Father. These are the individual living stones that sit upon the One Foundation, Jesus Christ (See 1 Corinthians Ch. 3) in the true temple of God. The Foundation that is laid by God's apostles and prophets is Jesus Christ alone. Return to Him with all your hearts, dear saints of God and don't follow the crowd. Follow men even as they follow Jesus, for it is Jesus that you are to be led by even in their example.
Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:6-9 KJ2000)