Body Ministry – BT17
What else was the early Church devoted to doing together?
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According to Acts 2:42, the earliest Church “had been continuing steadfastly in the teaching/doctrine (a) of the apostles and/coupled the intimate/communal koinonia fellowship – the breaking of bread (b), and the prayers (c).” They were in unity because of this simplicity of devotion: “routinely continuing with one accord devoting themselves to conversational-prayer (c)” (e). Even the apostles had to make a choice of what to be devoted to: “We will devote ourselves to proseuche conversational-prayer and to the service/ministry of the logos message.” Obviously, you have to hear from Jesus, the Logos Message, to preach His logos message! Even husbands and wives need to do this (d). In Acts 12:12, we find many gathered in a house proseuchomai conversationally-praying – that’s all they were doing, having a conversation with God together. <Notes> a) didache, b) this was the Lord’s Supper and the concurrent love feasts, c) proseuche: watching, listening, waiting conversational-prayer but since it’s plural, likely also includes deesis supplication-prayer, though often these are separated: Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:1, 5:5; Hebrews 5:7, d) 1 Corinthians 7:5, e) Acts 1:14.
Now later in Acts 2:7-12, we see that the reason for gathering on the 1st day of the week was for breaking bread, but Paul used it to say goodbye before his journey and he ended up rambling way too long, but the context makes it obvious that “prolonged speeches” weren’t the norm! Oh, that the modern church would return to its roots! Some churches today want to have one preacher after preacher all day, and they think that would be revival! I heard a “revival expert” at a church say this! But that’s not what you see in actual revivals, except maybe preaching the gospel from tree stump to tree stump, dock to dock, and tent to tent! From Act 4:23-31, the congregations were begging God to give them boldness to speak the logos gospel message of The Truth while God brought signs & wonders – and they got this prayer answered because God shook the place and filled them by the Holy Spirit so they could continue to speak the logos gospel message of The Truth of God with boldness! Maybe our churches are praying for the wrong things!
According to Hebrews 10:25 it was to “be routinely encouraging (b) [reciprocally one to another] and so much more greatly as you see ‘the Day’ [of Christ’s return] drawing near (a).” Now that’s encouraging church koinonia fellowship! In Acts 14:27, we see missionaries declaring to the congregation all that God had done with them. I think in 40 years I’ve only seen this twice and they kept it short, because the so-called “leaders” had so much else to do in their schedule. <Notes> a) eggizo: approaching God to join or commune with Him, a common Hebrew idiom for prayerful worship – Hebrews 7:25; James 4:8, b) parakaleo.
How about finding consensus within the Body-of-Christ? In Acts 15:1-29 you see a large gathering of the apostles and elders to discuss decisions to make, and this is where they listened to testimonies of God’s confirming actions, but then they made sure these decisions were “good with the whole church” and “good to the Holy Spirit” (a) before finalizing them. When’s the last time you saw the whole church discuss issues, listen to testimonies, and consult the Holy Spirit so that everybody was “on board?” We also see this “consensus or agreement” taught by Jesus in Matthew 18:19-20, “For where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name/authority, there am I among them, so if even 2 of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” Finally, when is the last time you saw prophets taking turns giving their revelation and the rest of the Body-of-Christ “weighs (b) in what was said” so that “ALL may ongoingly learn/understand to be informed/understand (c) and/coupled ALL ongoingly are encouraged (d)” (e)? <Notes> a) that means they must have ALL asked and listened for the Spirit, b) diakrino: to judge thru-the-realizing-channel-of thoroughly, thus to investigate or discriminate thoroughly either rightly by close-reasoning or wrongly by going too far or vacillating back and forth, as determined by the context, c) manthano, d) parakaleo, e) 1 Corinthians 14:27-40.