The part of ACTS mentioned in the previous post, The Upper Room Fallacy, is an amazing picture of Yahshua’s Bride, the Church. How does it differ from the Church today?
Firstly, they BROKE bread. This has been taken to mean fellowship at church every Sunday or so, and sharing Holy Communion. The people who were present at the temple for Pentecost and the falling of the Holy Spirit were the same ones who celebrated Passover seven weeks earlier. They saw the events surrounding Yahshua’s crucifixion. They participated in the decision to crucify Him. In verse 37, Peter reminds them of this with the consequence that their hearts were pricked.
The point I am making here is that the celebration of Passover ONCE A YEAR did not stop or increase to once a week. The practice of sacrificing animals ceased for them. The breaking of bread does not refer to Passover or communion but simply having a meal together in the various places they fellowshipped. Verse 46 says they went from house to house, eating their meals with gladness. That is quite a difference from today’s Church. Read also the story about Eutychus being killed upon falling out the window in Troas, before Paul prayed for him so he was raised from the dead (ACTS 20:7-12): And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to BREAK BREAD, Paul preached unto them… When he therefore was come up again, and had BROKEN BREAD, AND EATEN, and talked a long while…
Another difference to today’s Church is in ACTS 2:44-45: And all that believed were together, and had all things in common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
The rich among them sold their properties and possessions to bless the poorer ones. Some must have kept their houses in which to have shared meals. The richer members probably bought smaller houses, rented, or perhaps they set up a communal type of lifestyle. Whatever their accommodation arrangements, they DID NOT have a church building but continued daily with one accord in the temple (v.46).
They continued living according to their Law and were being led by the Holy Spirit. Daily people were added to the Church. Fear of YHWH was upon their souls for their terrible act committed against His Son. As a result of the above, many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
When did you sell your house and unnecessary possessions to aid such people as widows and orphans (single parent families) or ministries in the Church? Have you ever asked YHWH His will concerning this for you? When was the last time your church or part thereof fellowshipped and shared a meal at your or some other member’s house? If your church membership is too large, how about holding meetings in a park for unbelievers to witness and share in what you do? We do not have a temple today but Yahshua’s temple is not built with human hands. It is built of His people. You are one of the uncut stones. Do not hide this glorious temple behind four walls and under a roof. Be open, fresh, and new, as was the New Testament Church. Make new members and old feel special when you tell them, “We’re coming to your house to fellowship, and we’re bringing the bread!”
By this above I am reminded about some incidents I have experienced in the last few years which reflect today’s often inadequate Church. I left a church a couple of years ago because of some of these disappointing experiences. This particular church is a social club. One Sunday after the service I suggested to one of the elders we, as a church, take tracts to give out to the spectators entering our local football stadium. You know, do some actual WITNESSING. Every excuse was made why we shouldn’t or couldn’t possibly do this. One was that the people would probably just throw the tracts into the bin without looking at them.
The next suggestion I made concerned families who’d had their houses inundated by recent flood waters and lost virtually everything. I though each family in our church could collect a box of basic needs and just go share them around in the flood ravaged suburbs. My son and I, while helping in the cleanup, had seen first hand how desperately needed were items like toothpaste, soap, tissues, toys for the children, just anything and everything. I heard more excuses, ummming and arrrhing, but absolutely no doing.
When I suggested having an open air service in a park sometime the excuse was: “But we probably have to have permits and council permission for that…” COME ON! A group of people sitting on picnic rugs and chairs listening to someone speak and a few guitars playing? It wasn’t like we were a thousand people strong who would get in the way of the trees clapping their hands! Or a soccer game. It was a little church with perhaps 30 people most Sundays.
The next disappointment happened to my friend. She was a member of a ladies’ ministry to which I also had once belonged. Because only three or four ladies were attending one week and one of them was with me in the morning going to court, it was decided by the leader and founder of the ministry they would meet at another friend’s house. So Rosemary cooked and prepared all morning to serve the ladies coming to her home. After court was finished the friend with me received a phone call from the leader–who was in the habit of doing this–to cancel. We assumed of course she would call Rosemary.
Later at home I received a call from Rosemary. ‘”What’s happening?'” she asked me, “Nobody has arrived for the meeting.” I myself was never going. She rang me because she was too afraid of ringing the others who were supposed to be at her place right then fellowshipping, eating and enjoying the food she had taken great care to prepare.
“Didn’t L…….. ring you?” I exclaimed in disbelief, before filling her in about the cancellation. Apparently she hadn’t been rung.
“It’s all right,” said Rosemary.
“It’s NOT ALRIGHT, Rosemary,” I said back–STRONGLY–along with a few more choice words.
And it wasn’t alright. Certainly not from a Christian group, person, or leader. It’s NEVER alright to do something like this, ESPECIALLY if we are Christians.