Not enough thought is put into what we do, and how we do it, in today’s Christian assembly.
Much of what happens is surely “because it has always been that way.” We all know the routine. Hundreds or thousands assemble in a building which cost thousands or millions. Those attending are spectators and nothing more. A handful of people on the platform dictate how the meeting proceeds.
For about two hours, the majority gaze at the back of someone’s head. They sing, stand, sit when requested to do so. Apart from that they merely listen.
One person gives the sermon or message, and all eyes are on him. After he delivers the half-hour message, there might be one more song, and everyone heads for the tea or coffee counter.
Why keep up those traditions?
It’s a far cry from the “church” of the early believers. Buildings are rarely mentioned in the gospels and Acts. We read the believers met together in various homes, they ate together. Probably numbering a dozen, they most likely sat in a circle, facing each other.
Acts 2:44-45 says: “Now all who believed were together and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.” Now that is dedication!
A little different, would you say, from today’s covetous, self-centred “God-will-make-you-rich” mantra by some preachers?
The Early Church didn’t waste their time and money in fund-raising activities. They trusted God. Not for them rummage sales, special dinners, car washing and other paraphernalia that is the norm today: all in the cause of “the building fund.” Who are we trying to impress?
No doubt the old-time believers shared what the Lord had done in their lives the past week, they prayed for each other. Because of that style of meeting, they likely discussed whatever problems they had in an intimate way.
They were surely much more closely-knit than today’s big city, scattered church-goers, sometimes 25 miles apart. The only unity is at the brief Saturday or Sunday morning assembly coffee time – where most of the conversation is superficial by this writer's observation.
Add to that a Wednesday night Bible study, but even then much of the proceedings are run by one person.
The early church “sought first the kingdom of God” as Jesus told them to do. They did the important things – prayer, preaching the gospel in the streets, healing the sick, casting out demons. We can all read what they did in Acts.
Even in NY, LA or Sydney, with today’s technology the Acts-type church could operate. No enormous building is required.
Home groups could meet in every district Wednesday night and Saturday or Sunday morning. Anything the pastor wants to say (not a sermon) can be transmitted by a dvd he puts together weekly. A copy is then given to each home leader. How many homes today do not contain a dvd player and TV?
How much of your church’s money is spent maintaining a huge building which lies empty much of the time? Thousands are spent on electronic instruments and equipment that today’s church “cannot do without.” It is “Keep up with the Jones’s” on a massive scale.
To copy the Early Church requires a revolution; a change in attitudes and thinking, a climbing out of the bog of tradition. We have the manual for “church” in the gospels and Acts – and we need to put it into practice. Then we will see the supernatural Christianity that God always intended.
I pray your words are received in great honor to God, for He is calling His people to order that they become as little children. The final church is Christ's Bride.The final church is the First Church. The first church is the Only Church. The only church is the Last Church. The last church is the Final Church. The final church is the Bride of Christ.Maintain your call, brother.Amen.
Praise God, the truth! Not something "the church" necessarily wants to hear, but I am certain that God must be well pleased. And we dare wonder why we do not often see things close to the wonders they saw on the day of Pentecost. We want "upper room" experiences without taking the necessary step of dying to flesh. Well written, Brother.