X0610...........What Really Went on In the Upper Room
Some people read Acts chapter 2 and see a "church service".
they are wrong.
Well, for one thing, the Christian "church service" was not invented at the time!
If anyone cared to study Christian history, the format for meeting that we refer to as a "church service" was invented by the roman empire in the 4th century. It was influenced by the pagan temple and the Jewish synagogue. It included their idea of authority and hierarchy--the pulpit is an invention of the Roman empire. rulers spoke from a raise platform--they were over others--they had authority over others.
there was no pulpit or altar in the upper room.
The early Christians in the Bible certainly would have felt like hypocrites if they had an altar in their meetings.
Because they were going around Israel and telling everyone that Jesus had made the offering for sin. they were telling everyone that His blood was the payment that God required to be saved from sin. they were telling everyone that Jesus had abolished the sacrificial laws of the old testament. He was the "better offering" He did away with the needs for offerings being made to God. An altar always and only had the purpose of being used a place for sacrificing animals. they knew they didn't have to do that anymore. The jews were still doing it, as the old covenant required, but the Christians had stopped--since they understood that Jesus had fulfilled the laws of sacrifice and now salvation as obtained by faith and not by works.
Some people see Peter as the "pastor".
this is also wrong.
Our idea of a "pastor" is someone who has authority over others within he church. Think about it. A "p[pastor" is the person who makes nearly all of the decisions in the church. He is usually the only one who is allowed to speak in the meeting (huge huge huge tremendous authority!!--and totally not Biblical!). Our idea of a "pastor" is based on the catholic priest and that is based on the Levitical priest of the old covenant. In the old covenant, the Levites were the only ones who could minster in the temple. The others 11 tribes of israel were referred to as the "congregation" (sound familiar?). the job of the congregation was to bring in the offerings (how much of an offering?--"tithe"). the Levties lived off the offerings and did the continual work the old covenant laws required (heave offerings, wave offerings, shewbread offerings of goats and rams and bullocks and lambs and doves and--etc. etc. etc.) They had lots of work to do to accomplish the sin offerings the covenant required. And if they weren't done correctly and continually, Israel's sin was not forgiven--the "devourer not rebuked" blessings denied--!
They did not have grace like we have.
So here is the problem. We misunderstand the new testament because we have such an overriding slant to interpret things by the old covenant practices which have became Christian rituals.
We define "ministry" as authority over others
WE believe in a "must-do" repetitive never-ending "offering" as part of our function.
We believe that we must have the priority of "building the house of God" maintaining and building a large building in order to worship god.
these certainly are our priorities--our pre-ordained set of ideas.
We believe this is how we NEED to function.
what we dont' seem to understand is t hat the 1st century church was NOT following these definitions or following these concepts as pre-ordained ideas and goals.
What was their goal?
they had heard what jesus taught. They had seen what He had done. He had demonstrated something called apostleship as the functional plan for His ministry. It is simple, small group team work. A small group of equals, which set out to do the pre-ordained mission....
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath
anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me
to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives,
and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
(luke 4:18 19)
the Gospel of salvation, healing, deliverance, feeding he poor visiting prisoners, praying of the the sick, feeding he poor. this is what jesus did. he did it through apostleship--regular folks working together in small groups , praying and receiving the instructions from the Father, to carry out the mission.
And this is exactly what the folks in the upper room were doing.
they did NOT have a pre-ordained set of rules of ministry and function as we do.
they met with simple expectation.
they prayed together as equals.
They received the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and used this empowerment to further the Gospel.
Look at what they did..
"........we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts2:11)
But how did they get to that point?
It was not their own authority they were funtioning under. It was not their "best guess" about how and where to carry the Gospel. they received the instructions for carrying the Gospel by meeting together in an un pre-ordained manner.
No "house of God" (the house of God is people in the new covenant, not a building)
No altar, no pulpit.
No human authority.
Brother s and sister in the Lord, meeting together, praying together, in the small group that jesus had demonstrated, but praying to receive the direction of the Gospel from the Head (Christ--not man!). And then being in the functional small group, they were able to quickly go out and be "sent" to carry the Gospel.
Need another example?
What about this one..
1 ¶ Now there were in the church that was at Antioch
certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was
called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been
brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. (Acts 13:1-4)
Here we have the same type of meeting. A group of equals--all minister. Notice that it does not say they were "under the authority of pastor so-and-so". Instead, "prophets and teachers" the simple new covenant understanding that ministry is a gift "in all and through all of us" (since God is in all and through all of us!--see Ephesians 4 please!).
Who is the ruler?
Who is "in authority?
He is not physically present, but He can be contacted, by prayer and fasting.
then He speaks... "..the Holy Ghost said, ....."
"SEnd" Saul and Barnabas. Apostleship the goal, since apostleship gets people saved. Apostleship furthers the Gospel. Apostleship is God's method of operation and His way of doing things.
Shouldn't we seek to be in agreement with God and His ways?