CAN WE GO FORWARD AND NOT ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE FIRST CHURCH?
QUESTION: Should the present apostolic paradigm restore the church BACK to “the way of Christ and His Apostles?” Should we try and try to replicate how they did it? Or…. is the Lord speaking to us in Present Truth about new ways to build?
I wonder if one of our biggest apostolic problems is that we are trying to go back and reproduce what the first Church did? Perhaps this is a mistake! Could you bear with me? However you think the Church should be—could you just shut down your personal ideas for a moment — and open up to consider something new?
I know this topic of trying to reestablish the Church in Acts is almost a sacred issue to many apostolic ministers. But… Scripture never mentions that we should copy the first church(es).
We need to ask, “Was the Acts Church the pattern of God that we are to copy exactly for today?” Personally, I have lived my own incredible and extremely miraculous Book of Acts. Unlike any other.What is imperative to me, is to discover what works today! The movement of the Holy Spirit is NEVER the same!
Let us pushhhhh to open our understanding from where it has been before! Let us usher in the new! The Lord said long ago, “Behold, I’m doing a new thing (Is. ). And He is saying it today!! “Do you not hear it and know that it is true?”
To think that new ideas only stem from ancient truths can lead to sentimentality that become restraint. Old wineskins of nostalgia make us Sleepy…zzz… Lethargic. We “GOTTA” move our ideas forward! That’s not compromising with evil… it is holy, right, and good!
Trying to reproduce what was long ago seems to be a common sentiment of most ministers today. But, what was the “Original First church?” Was it the “one true church” for all of us to copy?
Not all present Truth is an ancient truth – Old wineskin doctrinal thinking can cause us to not apprehend what the Lord wants to say to us today. We can no longer filter every new idea by what we think happened 2000 years ago.
Sure, there is no new thing under the sun. But, God’s Word is new every morning… the cloud is moving. It is! There are NEW THINGS, new ideas, and new answers.
Everything in the world is changing. Medicine, science, technology are unrecognizable from ten years ago. Every molecule on earth may still exist in various forms – but they are not the same as they were. NO. These inventions and concepts did not exist in a micro-cell typology in early times.
Science proves there are NEW atoms being created right now through nuclear fission. Even as you read this article, new atoms are being created throughout the Universe. Every single star is making new atoms. Scientist can create new elements that have never existed before. We become a NEW (never been before) creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). The Lord tells you — there is NOBODY like you to Him. No fingerprint is the same. No snowflake is like another. All things are not static or just emerging from one form to another.
Do we stilllll expect the Lord to speak to us from a burning bush?
We see churches still doing the same ol’ thing – and nothing is happening. Ministers are preaching what worked for them 20 years ago – and most of it doesn’t work now. We need fresh revelation for this hour. I’m desperate for MORE!
Jesus finished. That never happens again. He died for the Church. It was birthed from His side. Apostles MUST protect all that Jesus died to bring forward.
Knowing that, why do we continue to do the same thing and expecting different results? Truth is, in many ways, the Church is losing ground in America and many other nations. Hurt people are leaving by the droves… bored, wanting MORE. Disappointed ministers and pastors are leaving their positions by the thousands… hurt, disillusioned, and giving up.
The First Church was an imperative event at an unique time in history. But, what practices of that church applies to us today?
WHAT DID THEY DO IN THE FIRST CHURCH THAT WE SHOULD IMITATE?
The first New Testament Church was amazingly profound. One of the foremost things to copy was how these believers cherished one another and were close. “Behold, how they love one another.”
We read about the early church is that “they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (v.42), and “the Lord was adding to their number daily those who were being saved. Breaking bread.
We embrace the mandate to bring the Kingdom of God to earth.
The apostles communicated with various churches and traveled (walked hundreds of miles or rode on horses sometimes) to minister to believers.
The apostles appointed consistent teams of elders (Phil. 1:1; 1 Tim. 4:14, 5:17-19; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1-5). These elders seem to have been equal and yet differing in job descriptions.
It was on fire with the Holy Spirit.
They spread the Gospel beyond their culture, beyond their own political ideas, and racial groups. Etc.
WHAT THEY DID FIRST THAT WE SHOULDN’T FOLLOW.
Does every principle in the first Church apply to the other churches in the New Testament? We see many are first time events that cannot happen again.
We no longer have a congregation of believers who actually walked and talked with Jesus when He lived here on earth
All the first believers were still identifiable as Jewish in their social culture and ethnicity. They still went to the temple in Jerusalem, and also assembled in homes for apostolic direction, teaching, prayers, and communion. Many in the first church(es) were still bound by their Jewish cultural traditions (Matt. 15:8-9). For us, the fulness of the Old Covenant and the end of the age has come. The Mosaic Law is no longer binding. The Jewish Feasts are fulfilled. This was a New Day. We must look at Scripture from a New Testament lens.
The church will never again have the opportunity to receive the Holy Spirit for the first time.
A spectacular sound came from heaven – should that happen every time we meet? Do we expect tongues of fire” to rest on everyone’s head every time we gather?
In Acts, we see that immersion baptism in water is followed by speaking in tongues. No passage outside of Acts suggests this exact same sequence of events. In other Epistles, the story of groups that received the Holy Spirit was unique — and we don’t need to repeat any of these formulas. Receiving continues differently with everyone.
They did their best to maintain the Word of God by oral tradition. The early Church had no New Testament. Even after 4th century, Churches had only small portions of the New Testament. Scripture was not commonly available until after 1441 AD and the invention of printing press. (We don’t need to repeat that either.)
Acts does not give us an exact blueprint for how the Church should be constructed for all time. Paul moved forward beyond what was first established – he ate pork, stopped circumcision, and preached to Gentiles. Those things were not the practice of the “first” Church. Revelation expanded and still should be!
We never again have decide to include the first Gentile believers.
Again, there is no Scripture that says we should replicate the First Church! But… YES!!! WE SHOULD “IMITATE” THE CHARACTER OF THE APOSTLES and follow the way they live. “Retain the standard of sound words you hear from me (2 Time. 1:130. Be an imitator of me” (1 Cor. 4:16), 1 Cor. 11:1). Practice what you learn, receive, and hear (Phil. 4:19).
But, we are not supposed to imitate the apostles in their initial cowardice, doubt, or unbelief (Acts 17:30), or their hypocrisy (Gal. 2:11-14). The apostles were too afraid to remain with Jesus when He was crucified. We don’t want to be like them – afraid to take a stand.
The first church wrestled with sin issues too. Their congregational infighting was serious enough that the apostles had to appoint seven men just to oversee that difficult dilemma (Acts 6:1-7). You see, the first Church was not an ideal model in everything.
They met in homes and also in large arenas. They did not own their own large building. Nor did they serve cookies and coffee to keep visitors happy.
The risen Christ within pulls us to live in a new Melchizedek priesthood — that whole topic was one that the original apostles barely understood and only Paul wrote about.
We don’t have to re-dig the ancient wells with a pick and shovel like they did in the Old Testament either! Bringing heaven to earth is NEWNESS revealing!
We acknowledge and respect the days of the early Church, the ancient landmarks, the wells dug before our time. We are not removing them… just confidently building new ones also!! Our new wells have FRESH, living and alive, water springing forth. The molecules may have been on earth from the beginning – but they are now totally reformed into new water.
Is it faulty interpretation to think that old way was the “True church” that we should imitate? The seals open as we renovate and update! Hear the NEW PROCEEDING Word as we advance past old understandings. The Lord is ever always revealing…