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People have been dropping out ever since--some for God and some for the Devil.
Noah was a dropout for God. In obedience to God, Noah built an ark to save his family. As a result he started a whole new world, populated only by his descendants. But he had to drop out of the values and lifestyle of the world around him in order to do it.
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Abraham dropped out of the country he was raised in to inherit a new country from God.Moses dropped out of Egypt to lead God's people to freedom.And God's people have been dropping out ever since, whenever the system they have been living in has fallen away from God's original plan for it.

Jesus was the dropout of all dropouts! And his followers are all dropouts of one kind or another. The first ones dropped out of the Jewish religious system, then, years later, they dropped out of the apostate church.

All was fine with the disciples who sat at Jesus' feet; but things began to change with their disciples, who had never seen Jesus. It only took about one generation to do it.

The influence of one dynamic leader rarely carries beyond the first generation of his followers, before the movement cools off and rejoins the System that it originally rebelled against. Then God has to raise up a new leader, whose followers are another dropped out movement, whom they in turn fight again. It's a vicious cycle!

Why does this happen? Apparently God lets this happen to keep up a constant purification process in his church. He wants to be sure that we are following him and not the system that he is using or that he has used in the past. He wants us to be his children, and not the children of his children. So he has to keep calling out a new church. That's why his people are always called the "Ecclesia" (which means "the called out ones").

The true church always has to separate from the old system. As soon as the old group grows stale and stagnates, he brings along some new dropouts!

BB2 09Someone has said, "God has no grandchildren!" In other words, there's no such thing as second generation Christians! Every new generation either has to drop out or cop out--one or the other. Bring forth new buds, or die on the vine!

The Franciscans began to go astray even before St. Francis was dead! He did a great job leading a group of dropouts who took vows of poverty and lived by faith. But he wasn't even dead before they began to get rich and fat and powerful and ceased to live like he had originally taught them to live.

Luther wasn't even dead before his followers began to form a new system or church which eventually became almost as dead and corrupt as the old one.

Look at the Russian youth. The oldies are disappointed in the youngsters because they're not as willing to fight and die for communism as their parents were.

They're more interested in McDonald hamburgers, rock and roll, and having a good time.BB2 10The same was true in the early days of America. It was only the first generation who fought and died for freedom who really appreciated it. The next generation didn't have to pay anything for it. They got it for free, so they were not interested in fighting and dying for it. All they wanted to do was enjoy the benefits.

Usually another generation or two later they have to lose their freedom to make them appreciate it. Then a new generation has to fight and die for it.

It's an inevitable cycle of history that can be seen in governments, denominations, and movements of all kinds. They're born in the white-hot fires of inspiration and desire for change.

Led by an anointed leader, they fight for the Cause, dropping out of the old System to start a new one.  They revel in their new-found freedom until a new generation arises who don't appreciate the freedom, because they've never known anything else. They become lazy and self-satisfied, with a false sense of security, out of touch with the original inspiration - asleep, content, "rich and increased in goods and having need of nothing" when actually they are "wretched and naked and blind" in the sight of God. (Revelation 3:17)

The most shocking thing about this condition is that they don't even know they have it. It's like a creeping paralysis that steals up on them; they're dead before they know it.

So in order to preserve his children, God has to form a new movement of dropouts from the once - new system which has now grown old and corrupt and inflexible - an old bottle that can only be broken to give birth to the new.

Like buildings, every system becomes dilapidated and dangerous as time goes on, fit only to be torn down and cleared away to make room for the new.  Each was good enough in its day, but is totally insufficient for the world of tomorrow.  Such decrepit buildings must be condemned, lest they destroy the life within.

They say the great London fire which destroyed most of London, after the horrors of the Black Plague had decimated most of its population - they say the fire probably was the best thing that could have happened to London, as it literally wiped out the rat-infested buildings which were full of those bubonic plague-carrying pests.  That fire literally purged London and stopped the plague from spreading through that international trade centre to the rest of the world!
It seemed a catastrophe at the time, but we now know that it was a blessing in disguise. It is like this with most of God's judgments; they help to purify his children and bring a change for the better.

It is always necessary to "root out, pull down, destroy, and throw down" the old in order to "build and plant" the new. (Jeremiah 1:10)

Christ said, "I came not to bring peace, but a sword!" (Matthew 10:34) One or the other has to conquer!  One must be destroyed that the other might live.

BB2 11The new children of God cannot compromise with the sins of the older generation if they want to be part of a new world free of those sins.  One is going to destroy the other.  Evil will always try to argue that you should "tolerate" it, so that it can gain time to work out a way to destroy good. But there is no such thing as the peaceful coexistence of good and evil. 
If you are not conquering evil, evil is conquering you. You cannot serve God and money. You cannot serve two masters. As Jesus said, "You'll either hate one and love the other, or hold to one and despise the other." (Luke 16:13)

The forces of evil will always argue in favour of money. They say, "You must have money to survive. You can't expect God to provide for your needs. It doesn't work in the real world."

The Whore of Babylon

 But each time you accept such lies, you endorse the 'mark' of the beast (i.e. money) and you prostitute your soul to Satan.  Think about it.  Christ said you will despise one orthe other: God or money.  Which one have you been cheating on, and thus despising?

BB2 12Are you going to stay with the system and its lies, or are you going to drop out and follow Christ?  It's impossible to change the system into the kingdom of heaven, and God forbid that the kingdom of heaven should inherit the values of the system.

To stay in the kingdom of heaven, you must always be willing to let go of the old system in order to embrace the new. 

There is no movement or denomination which has not grown too old to be useful - that has not had to pass away to bring forth the new.  It is God's way to preserve life.  No organisation lasts forever.  Only the kingdom of God is everlasting, and it is so much bigger than your group, or our group, or any other group or system.  But why must this always be true?  Why has it been the fate of every great move of God?

When you study this pattern you get the feeling of futility that Toynbee, the British historian, had when he said, "The only thing we learn from history is that we never learn from history."

Must this always be the fate of every movement? Must we too pass away?

The answer is Yes!

As a group, as a denomination, as a movement we must pass away.  But if we are truly committed to building the kingdom of heaven, we will hardly even notice the structures around us rising and falling, because we won't be building them so much as we are building the eternal kingdom of heaven. And that's all that God is interested in building.

If we are to truly build the kingdom of heaven and not just another system, we must teach our followers to serve God, to show love, and to preach the truth more than they serve our human leaders or our visible organisation. As long as any leader or organisation does that, they will never grow old and useless to God.  If we fail to do that, we deserve to die.

It's one of those exciting paradoxes of God, that the only way to keep your group in the kingdom of heaven is to stop trying to build the group and concentrate on spreading truth, showing love, and pointing others to Christ with no thought of how it will benefit your organisation. 

If we'll do this, we'll stay continually dropped out - the "Ecclesia", or "called out" church, living a new life as a new nation of God's children.

This new life isn't really so new; it's the oldest of all ways - God's way!  No other foundation can anyone lay than this.  We're just getting back to the foundation - clearing away the old rubble to build anew!

As the humorist and playwright George Bernard Shaw said, "There's nothing wrong with Christianity--it's just that so few have ever tried it!"  What he meant was that he couldn't see many people living what Christ actually taught.

So we must build on the right foundation - Christ Jesus - the Cornerstone!  And we must build the building that he wants.  He says, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6)

We've separated ourselves from the old church and forsaken all to follow Jesus.  And we're going into all the world to preach the gospel to every creature, making disciples of all nations.  We're doing it through the dynamic chain reaction of personal witnessing, the way Jesus and his disciples did it.

Even our enemies are helping to publicise it by condemning us for it.  Even jealous warnings to their comfortable flocks by false shepherds help tell the world that there is an alternative.
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When I used to discuss with religious leaders, how the early church dropped out of the system and had all things in common, forsaking all in order to preach the gospel (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-35), when I pointed out that the early Christians all did it, not just the leaders, and when I suggested that we could get the job done faster if we all did it today, they always said, "Yes, but that was a different day.  It wouldn't be possible today."   Nobody wanted to try it, until we turned to the dropouts and dregs of society, the only ones willing to try it.  And now it's working, just like it did for the early church.

We're showing that it can be done, and they hate us for it, because now they have no cloak for their sin - no excuse for their failure. The truth is that they said it wouldn't work because they never wanted to do it in the first place!  And now we've exposed them for the phonies that they are.

But let's remember the warning and stay dropped out ourselves, always building God's kingdom and not our own little empires!
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