x481.......What would it look like--
What would the church look like if suddenly every existing Christian church decided to repent of the incorrect concepts of authority and ministry?
We would start to resemble the church which is illustrated to us as our example in the Bible. We would not totally forsake the assembling of ourselves together--we would still get together in the churches all together --perhaps once a month--or every few weeks--as the Spirit of the Lord directed us.
We wouldn't necessarily have to sell all our church buildings--but they would start to become functional centers for us to operate out of--beside just "ornamental sancturaies" for us to worship the Lord in. The church building could becomes a place of organization----for all or any of the people within the church to meet in and begin to operate together in ministries--ministries which spread the Gospel-heal the sick-bring deliverance--and feed and care for the poor (first the poor within the church--to 1st make sure that no Christians within the church have any lack--so that they can be free to serve God fully--we will never be the body of Christ fully until we are out of lack--and God's way for us to be out of lack is to give to one another within the he church--and specifically NOT to give all to leadershi!)
So, for example--those who feel they have an evangelistic anointing would meet together in the church and begin to pray and talk and plan way to evangelize the community--BUT IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ALL AS EQUALS--ALL ON A COMMON BASIS!
[Problem we have today: Very often churches sponsor an "evangelistic seminar"--But what usually happens at one of these seminars is that a leader--someone "in authority"--comes and we just "sit under" his teaching. Now this may help and encourage us and perhaps empower us in some way (the best teaching always will do this)--yet it still is "under authroity"---and NOT as equals--not as "having all things common" as the church in the Bible had it. Result---- people do not really get together and feel empowered to do so--they become reliant on the next appearance of a "true evangelist"--and are "sheeped" into not doing anything themselves]
When we read the Bible we see something great that we often overlook. The apostles--the people who had just walked and talked and followed Jesus through his ministry in the earth--and had witnessed His death and resurrection--did something great--something that every leader of every church ought to take as an example. They sat down with all the people--"from house to house"--considering themselves to be "common" with all the people--all the newly saved and Spirit-filled people--and simply shared the Gospel--and encouraged them to do the same. They sat down in fellowship--in "commune" on a common level with all the people--(they did not dictate from a pulpit!!)--and shared what Jesus had taught them in a simple way--and quickly empowered them to go and do the same-----to go and share the Gospel with others.
Think of it from the apostles point of view. Here they were, having followed Jesus for 3 years--and seen and watched and participated in all His miracles--and in fact had done a lot of miracles themselves--(they had already been functioning as apostles during Jesus ministry). Now, after the day of Pentecost, they had thousands of new Christians to deal with. What did they do?
Did they decide to raise money and build a building for all the people to meet in on Sundays and collect a tithe and decide that all these people were "under their authroity"? Did they say to people "you know, we actually worked with Jesus Himself--you are new babes in the Lord, you need maturing and teaching from us before you can even think of serving God"
No---instead they went about from house to house--teaching their doctrine to the people and in the process releasing them to serve God right in their homes--just as Jesus had done in His ministry. They were teaching and releasing --teaching with the point of releasing--and NOT teaching with authority over others in order to hold people under their "pastorate".
They brought people directly into the "apostolic method" of operating. Simply realizing that wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in the name of Jesus--God could operate--Christ could operate His ministry through whoever was present. They met in small groups (although the church had thousands of people)--frequently--as often as possible--7 days a week--but not by a rule which says all members MUST be present at one day or given time. Every memebers house was considered and respected as a "house of God"---no one person had a greater house than another.
If we did repent of our wrong ideas about ministry and authority, people would come together and sit down together--just as they did in the book of Acts--with all things common--in fellowship together--and begin to organize themselves to function in their own unique gifts and anointing to serve God together. We would see the rebirth of the apostolic ministry in the earth.
Other groups would get together and discuss how the church should feed the poor in the community--others would get together and form deliverance ministries--and be "sent" to those who need the minsitry (NOT sit in church and pray for those in need to be sent to the church building!). Still others would work together to pray for the sick--going out to the sick in the community--to the hospitals etc.--. People would get together and pray together and the Lord would show them specifically what He wants them to do--who he wants to do what ministry--who he wants to go to what place and do what thing. This would be the operation of the true "Spirit-lead" church. This is what the church (the body of Christ ) would look like in operation under the true Head--Christ.
This is what is illustrated to us in the Bible--why don't we just do it?
--more about apostles after Pentecost--
the apostles--who had every right to feel superior to the people who were now newly saved and added to the church, went and had fellowship with all the people--prayed with the people--were all together with them--and had all things "common"
This word "common" has a Hebrew connotation to it. It is a word which has the connotation "like unclean meat". What does this mean? Unclean meat was the common type of food--not the holy types of food which were offered as sacrifice to God. What did it mean that they consider themselves to be "like unclean meat? This is (or at least should be) the understanding of all Christians. We are all like unclean meat--we are all sinners--saved by the grace of God found in Christ. None of us ought to be exalted (just as Jesus had taught the apostles--they were humbled by the example that Jesus had set for them--the true understanding of the Gospel creates humble people--not exalted people). So the apostles had the right clear understanding that all church leadership ought to have--that we are all like "unclean meat" we are all sinners saved by grace---we are all on a a common level--none of us ought to be exalted above another--none of us ought to exercise authority over others. The apostles followed Jesus example--carried on His ministry as they had witnessed it--they continued it in the earth--they humbly went about to all the people who had just been saved and explained the doctrine He had taught them--explained the Gospel--and the call to pray for the sick and to bring deliverance to those in need--and to feed and care for the poor--and to humbly encourage others to do the same--to humbly release one another to the good works that Jesus had demonstrated to them in His ministry.
They met in the temple daily--but NOT a temple which they had built. This was the Jewish temple--the very temple whose leaders had just convinced the Roman governor to execute Jesus. This was the enemies camp (if we read ahead in Acts we will see that the leaders of this temple attempt to put the apostles in jail repeatedly). This meeting in the temple was a magnificent witness to Christ's enemies. It was a witness of the power and forgiveness of God--that the same people who were Jesus' followers would march into the temple-- with those who had just crucified the Lord. This was an incredible witness to the priests of the temple--and the Bible tells us a short while later that many of the priests themselves were being saved!
They sat down and ate bread--had meals together with all the people. They did not build themselves a castle and ask for the support of the people toward their singular ministry--they were freely releasing all the people to serve God and preach Christ--again on the most common level--in the homes of the people--NOT in a temple which they built--they fully understood what it meant that they were now ALL the temple of the Holy Spirit.
They did these things daily--and God added to the church daily. Doesn't every one of us as Christians desire to see this result? But are we willing to humble ourselves and operate the way that the Bible church and Jesus and the apostles demonstrate to us?