The most intimate glimpse we have of the early church at worship is found in (1 Cor 14). It contrasts dramatically from today’s churches. It was free and informal, having:
- No professional ministry
- In the service itself there was no settled order at all.
The early believers did not come to the worship meeting to hear a sermon from one man or simply to receive; they came to give. Much has been lost by the renouncement of these privileges. (1 Cor 14:26,27) The words “every one” points to free participation, but because such freedom might lead to disorder, Paul counsels “Let all things be done unto edifying.” The speaking should be by course or by them.
NB!! Paul is basic in his attempt to bring order into the worship. He declares that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Thus don’t by faith begin to manifest the gifts of the Spirit, but wait for God to originate the moving of His Spirit. We know that God inhabits the Praises of His people; (Psalm 22:3). Thus when you come together, greet one another with a Holy kiss (2 Cor 13:12)(1 Peter 5:14). Put your faith into action by demonstrating the Love of God (1 Cor 13).(Eph 5:18-21) Be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourself in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks to God in the Name of Jesus, and submitting yourself one to another in the fear of God.
NB!! (Prov 15:13) A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirits broken.
NB!! (Prov 17:22) A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
NOTE: Thus your attitude towards God will change and thus your countenance towards other people will reflect the glory of the Lord. Your attitude will change, and you shall walk victoriously over any situation.
(Col 3:16) We are told to put on the new man, the fruits of the spirit, and perfect love, with the peace of God that transcends all understanding ruling in your heart, by the word of Christ dwelling richly in you, in all wisdom, and then when we meet, to teach and admonish one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord, and whatever you do in word or deed do it all in the Name of Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him. Thus God set among us the 5 fold ministry for our perfection in Him, (Eph 4:11-12) for our edification as the body of Christ, and for the ministry in its working. i.e.: The Apostle; Prophet; Evangelist; Pastor and Teacher.
The 5 Fold Ministry:-
- The Apostle: One who is sent like a missionary, but chosen and ordained of God not man. i.e.: The Holy Spirit said, “separate unto me Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2) for the work whereunto I have called them”. His primary function is to lay the foundation for the establishing of a body of believers.
- The Prophet: The mouthpiece of God, or His oracle. Declaring the righteousness of the Lord, pointing out National sin as separating the people from Gods blessings. Working with signs and wonders and miracles.
- The Evangelist: Declaring the Salvation of the Lord on a personal basis. Bringing people to repentance. Solving the God-man relationship problem, and bringing in the ministry of reconciliation.
- The Pastor: The Shepherd, taking care of the flocks needs, and maintaining the path of true fellowship between the people and God. Counseling the people with the Word of God and giving instruction by the unction of the Holy Spirit.
- The Teacher: The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, whom Jesus said the Father would sent to lead and guide you into all the truth. (See under: Prophet, The Teacher the Holy Spirit). Your Growth: (is dependent upon yourself). (2 Tim 2:15) Study under the direction of the Holy Spirit, to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
NB!! This is how the Church, the Body of Christ begins to function as a living organ. Each member fitly joined together under the leadership of Lordship of Christ. We are not puppets who must receive instruction as children, but are individuals through whom the Holy Spirit may manifest Himself. One Body Controlled By one Lord, and One Holy Spirit: (Acts 2:45) They sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. They continued daily with “one accord” “in the temple,” and “breaking bread” from “house to house”, Praising God and having favor with all the people. (Acts 4:34-35) Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of land or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold.
(James 1:26-27)A man must be able to bridle his tongue, if not his religion is in vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the Fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (Rom 15:26-27) Relief of the poor was a general practice, not only are you responsible for their spiritual welfare, but their material welfare as well. (Acts 6:5) The head of the church did not appoint people to a position, the choice was made by the multitude. i.e.: There were no transplants, only promotion from within.
Approaching God as a True Believer:
We must come to the Word of God with an open mind, a teachable Spirit and a willingness to follow the Holy Spirit as He unfolds truth from the divine standpoint. As light is granted, it must be obeyed. Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit, is true fellowship with God.
NB!! Mary, Queen of Scots, asked John Knox – the only man who could make her weep – “Who shall I obey then, you or the Pope of Rome?” Knox replied, “Neither, Madame, ye shall obey God as He speaks in His Word, for the Holy Spirit is never conterminous unto Himself.”
Dr. Herbert Lockyer says, “The nearest approach to the later idea of the church as a building is suggested by Paul when dealing with the matter of tongues
(1 Cor 14:19,28,35). We must get it out of our minds that in the 1st Century a church consisted of bricks and mortar. What the Apostles meant by a church was not an edifice with pulpit, chancel and pews, but a congregation or society of regenerated people built together like living stones and content to meet in some upper room in private dwellings like that of Mary, mother of John Mark.”
“As for the preaching side of their ministry, the Apostles largely used the open air. Paul, for example, preached wherever he could get a hearing – in a synagogue, by the riverside, on Mars Hill, on the steps of the citadel, or in a hired house under the shadow of Caesars throne. He never wasted his energy on building shrines.”
Definition of the word Church:
Used in the local sense, than Church. (Ecclesia) denoted a body of believers meeting in a particular place.
i.e.: At Jerusalem (Acts 5:11 8:1) Antioch (Acts 13:1 15:22) Caesarea (Acts 18:22) Thessalonica (1 Thess 1:1) Corinth (1 Cor 1:2 2 Cor 1:1) and (Rev 2,3). Paul localized the word to represent a single household, or small group assembling in private homes for worship and fellowship. (Rom 16:5) (1 Cor 16:19) (Col 4:15) (Philemon 3). Used comparatively, the church describes the whole body of believers, whether in heaven or on earth. (Eph 1:22) (Eph 3:16,21) (Eph 5:23) (Col 1:18,24). Paul uses the term to donate the sum total of existing churches as forming one body. (Acts 9:31) (1 Cor 10:28) Then the Apostle used it to describe the Church as ideally and positionally the body of which Christ is the Head. (Eph 1:22)(Eph 3:7,11,21) (Eph 5:25)(Col 1:18-24) This Spiritual or ideal concept of the Church dominates Ephesians.
TERMS EXPRESSING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HEAD AND BODY:
- The Body of Christ. (Eph 1:22,23) (Col 1:24)
- The Bride of Christ. (Eph 5:31,33) (2 Cor 11:2-3) (Rev 19:7 21:9)
- The Glory of Christ. (Eph 3:21) (2 Cor 8:23)
- The House of Christ. (Heb 3:6)
- The House of God. (1 Tim 3:15) (Heb 10:21)
- The Habitation of God. (Eph 2:19-22) (1 Pet 2:45)
- The Temple of God. (1 Cor 3:16,17)
- The Temple of the Living God. (2 Cor 6:16)
- Gods Building. (1 Cor 3:9)
10.Gods Husbandry. (1 Cor 3:9)
11.Gods Heritage. (1 Pet 5:3)
12.The Church of God. (Acts 20:28)
13.The Church of the Living God. (1 Tim 3:15)
14.The Church of the First Born. (Heb 12:23)
15.The Israel of God. (Gal 6:16)
16.The Flock of God. (1 Pet 5:2)
17.The City of the Living God. (Heb 12:22)
18.Mount Zion. (Heb 12:22)
19.New Jerusalem. (Rev 21:2)
20.Heavenly Jerusalem. (Gal 4:26)(Heb 12:22)
21.Spiritual House. (1 Pet 2:5)
22.The Pillar and Ground of Truth. (1 Tim 3:15)
23.The Family in Heaven and Earth. (Eph 3:15)
24.A Mystery. (Eph 3:9) (Eph 5:32) (Col 1:25,26)
25.The Light of the World. (Math 5:14)
26.The Golden Candlesticks. (Rev 1:20)
27.The Salt of the Earth. (Math 5:13)
28.One Bread. (1 Cor 10:17)
29.An Elect Race, Royal Priesthood, Holy Nation. (1 Peter 2:9)
The Attitude of the Body:-
- We should confess no Head but over Lord Jesus Christ; who is “over all God blessed for ever. Amen.”
- We should know no “church”, but that of all believers, who together from His Body.
- We should gather to no other Name than His.
- We should acknowledge no authority, but the Word of God, as taught by the Holy Spirit.
NB!! We belong to an “Organism” not a “Organization”.
Entrance into the Body:-
In the early Church participation in the worship of the Church as a member depended upon the recognition and acceptance of three essentials:
- a) Repentance of Sin
- b) Faith in Christ
- c) Confession by Baptism
NB!! We hear a plea for “Unity” today in what is called the Church, a man made organization, but, the Church of Jesus Christ has never been disunited. It is a living “Organism” with Christ as the Head and has been fitly joined together by the Power of the Holy Spirit, which has never been broken.
i.e.: There is only “One Church”.
Unity of the Spirit:-
- One Body. (Eph 4:4)
- One Spirit (Eph 4:4)
- One Hope of your Calling (Eph 4:4)
- One Lord. (Eph 4:5)
- One Faith. (Eph 4:5)
- One Baptism. (Eph 4:5)
- One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Eph 4:6)