Fellowship – BT7: Christian fellowship is a Body-of-Christ ministry party, not a 1-man show
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See also Body-Ministry – BT9: Church-Clergy blindness about what we do in Church gatherings
In every NT passage that talks about Body-of-Christ ministry you see urgent calls (a) for “[reciprocally and mutually] one another” (b) and “[individually] each one of you” (c) koinonia sharing of the Spirit’s grace-gifts, koinonia sharing of testimonies of God working in their lives (d), koinonia sharing of prophetic-rhema-word revelations even as logos messages of wisdom [from the Spirit] and gnosis-info knowledge [from the Spirit] even in tongues with interpretations and even koinonia sharing as they “conversationally-addressed” or “reciprocally taught one another” a lesson of didache doctrine/teaching [from the Lord by the Spirit] (e). <Notes> a) by the use of the imperatives, b) allelon: a reciprocal pronoun meaning mutual, back-and-forth action. This is not 1-way communication but a dialogue, something you rarely see in church services today, c) hekastos: each individual in a group viewed distinctly. Again, this directly opposes the 1-man show taking over the group, which sadly is the case in most church services today, d) Acts 4:33, 14:3; 1 Corinthians 1:6, 2:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Revelation 1:2, 12:11, e) 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26, 30.
Furthermore, they ALL admonished “by placing in mind through urgent reasoning, instruction, or warning” (a), and encouraged or exhorted (b) one another [reciprocally/mutually], even with instrumental psalms with/without vocals, acapella hymns, and Spirit-kind-of psalm/hymn odes that is likely a reference to anointed, prophetic, and spontaneous music (c). Yes, ALL this was part of ALL their encouragement! <Notes> a) noutheteo: Colossians 3:16, b) 1 Corinthians 14:3, 14:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:18, 5:11, c) 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.
Furthermore, they were encouraged to: “Let us ongoingly consider how to excite/provoke one another [reciprocally/mutually] to unconditional-love and/coupled good (a) works (b), in-possibility-NOT routinely/habitually abandoning/deserting/forsaking the assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging (c) one another [reciprocally/mutually], and all the more as you see The Day drawing near (d)” (e). Man, I’d like to go to that church! <Notes> a) kalos: beautifully, harmoniously, magnificently, inspiringly excellent, b) thus the “labor of love” per 1 Thessalonians 1:3, d) parakaleo: alongside-counselling, advising, encouraging, comforting, d) eggizo: approaching near, often used of communing in conversational-prayer as in James 4:6-8, Hebrews 7:25, e) Hebrews 10:24-25.
There was so much “party” excitement in the early Church about sharing the Spirit’s grace-gifts that Paul had to write 1 Corinthians 14 just to help them understand God’s priorities to build up the Church and how to take turns koinonia sharing so that everybody could learn and be encouraged from each other! “Decent and orderly worship” wasn’t “despising prophecy or forbidding tongues” (a) but encouraging them to zealously pursue them (b) and use them (c) in an organized and loving way (d). <Notes> a) 1 Thessalonians 5:20; 1 Corinthians 14:39, b) 1 Corinthians 12:31, 14:1, 5, 39, c) Romans 12:6; 1 Peter 4:10, d) 1 Corinthians 14:26-33.
Have you ever been in a church where everybody was encouraged to share by taking turns, “letting the others [of the same Spirit-kind] weigh in what is said . . . . so that ALL may learn and ALL be encouraged” (a). There are so many things spoken from the “1-man show, ball-hogging” pulpits in so many churches that could have been corrected or balanced-out if the congregation were allowed to do this – see Coaches and Facilitators! This is a significant part of the foundational problem of The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in churches. There are so many warnings in the NT about any teachers, let alone false teachers because Jesus said we only have 1 Teacher, the Holy Spirit (b) – see Teach One Another! <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 14:27, 29, 31, b) Matthew 23:8; 1 John 2:20, 27.
That’s exactly Paul’s point in Ephesians 5:18-21 – don’t ‘party down’ like the world does by getting drunk on wine and then getting involved in all kinds of sin, but instead ‘party down’ with God’s people by “routinely/habitually being filled to completion by-the-means-of [singular: the Holy] Spirit!” That’s exactly what Spirit-baptism is, the distinct ministry of the Messiah (a). But this church ‘party’ wasn’t to be 1-man show where 1 leader or a small team of “equippers – coaches & facilitators” were going to essentially ‘hog the ball’ from ALL “the saints who do the work of ministry” (b)! No, it’s a church ‘party’ where they ALL “routinely/habitually conversationally-address one another by-the-means-of psalms (c) and/coupled hymns (d) and/also/even Spirit-kind-of-odes (e) . . . routinely/habitually giving thanks . . . routinely/habitually surrendering/submitting-control to one another [reciprocally/mutually] out of reverence for Christ.” Once again we see Paul trying to curb the 1-man show tendency as in Romans 12:3-7!
<Notes> a) Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Acts 11:16, b) Ephesians 4:12, c) instrumental songs optionally accompanied with vocals, d) vocals only, e) a psalm or hymn, but distinct from the other two, like Psalms 33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1; Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9, 14:3 completely-in-different-kind “New Songs/Odes” because likely spontaneous composed by-the-means-of the Holy Spirit, just like tongues are as 1 Corinthians 14:14-15 indicates Paul chooses to psalm by tongues that by the Spirit belonging-to him versus psalms by the mind belonging-to him.
We see this same sharing emphasis in a parallel passage of Colossians 3:15-17 where Paul adds: “You were called/invited IN one Body . . . routinely/habitually teaching and/coupled admonishing (a) one another [reciprocally/mutually] . . . whatever-things you ongoingly DO by-the-means-of a logos message or a deed [DO] ALL in the name/authority of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks” – this how the logos message will dwell in the Church richly.” As throughout the NT the logos message is clearly having to do with Jesus, the Logos Message of God, who is The Truth about God, and His “Great News” gospel message (b) as shared with one another [reciprocally/mutually] in their koinonia fellowship together. <Notes> a) noutheteo: by placing in mind through urgent reasoning, instruction/teaching, or corrective warning, b) Ephesians 1:13; Acts 15:7.
Where in the NT is the common “bible-study discussion” that every church tries to call a “fellowship” and that they suppose is the way “the gospel logos message will dwell in the Church richly?” You will rarely here the gospel taught at our bible-studies, but everything else! You never see the early Church say this in the “when you come together to use your grace-gifts” passages (a)! Owning scriptures or NT writings would only be for the rich and educated that were the exception in the early church (b). The early Christians didn’t dig their teachings or logos-messages out of biblical writings! Instead, the Spirit-given logos messages of wisdom and/coupled gnosis info-knowledge uttered was shared by members in the congregation (c), given to them by-the-means-of the Spirit (d) through prophetic revelation (e). There certainly isn’t anything here about 1 leader doing all the teaching of the logos messages! Nor is their a dedicated team of musicians that play all the psalms and hymns! Quite the opposite! “Each one of you” (f) sharing is the very meaning of koinonia fellowship! When are we going to get back to the only model given us?
<Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, 12:12-31, 14:26; Colossians 3:16-17; Ephesians 4:7-16; 5:18-21, Romans 12:3-8, 10; 1 Peter 4:8-11, b) 1 Corinthians 1:26; James 2:5, c) 1 Corinthians 12:8, d) Colossians 1:9, 2:3; Ephesians 1:17, e) 1 Corinthians 12:7-8; Acts 6:10, f) hekastos: each individual in a group viewed distinctly. Again, this directly opposes the 1-man show taking over the group, which sadly is the case in most church services today.
There is simply no evidence of a 1-man show or even a small ministry-team show. In fact, we see plenty of warnings against this! The very first thing Paul warns the Roman churches about if they want to escape “conformity to the world and be metamorphically changed by a renewed mind” is “I say to EVERYONE among you in-possibility-NOT to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (a). Then he defines what “ought to think” means by talking about the vital praxis functions “each one of you” plays to be part of effective Body-of-Christ ministry (b). It takes team work and a good equipping/facilitating-coach will reel those ‘ball hoggers’ in, but they certainly wouldn’t use up all their practice time ‘hogging the ball’ themselves! But that’s what we see in the modern Church. Worse, can you imagine going to practice and the whole time the coach just lectures you! <Notes> a) Romans 12:2-3, b) Romans 12:4-8.
John warns his house churches to not even trust the teachers that are starting to show up, because many will “try to deceive you.” He questions why they are even following teachers, just as Paul does, which makes these Christians very fleshly (a). John makes it clear that “the anointing (the Holy Spirit) that you have already received from Christ (b) actually, ongoingly meno abides/dwells/remains IN you, so that you have absolutely-in-fact-NO need that ANYONE should teach you, but as His anointing actually, ongoingly teaches you about ALL things and/so is trustworthy and/coupled no lie – just as it has already taught you – [I strongly urge you to] actually, ongoingly meno abide/dwell/remain IN Christ (c). <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4, b) The Holy One of 1 John 2:20 that gives ALL of them ALL eido ‘mentally seeing to perceive-knowledge,’ a term referencing prophetic insight as promised for the New Covenant per Jeremiah 31:34 LXX and Acts 2:17-18, c) 1 John 2:18-27, 3:7.
The “equippers” (a) of Ephesians 4:11-16 weren’t supposed to be doing “the work of ministry” but only coaching and facilitating so that the “saints” could be the ones actually doing the “work of the ministry for the building up of the Body-of-Christ!” Can you imagine going to a football game and watching the head & assistant coaches, water-boys, cheerleaders, and band all out on the field trying to play football instead of the actual football players? Ridiculous! I’d ask for my money back! But that’s what goes on in most churches every week! And for the few churches that do use their services as ‘training sessions,’ do you think any of them have ever been to any sports training sessions, because ask yourself: Who is ‘running the plays’ during these ‘training sessions’ – the coaches or the players? Yet I’ve rarely been to a church service ‘training session’ where anybody but the pastor was doing most of the talking, and there certainly was no ‘practicing of the training’ going on by the congregation that I could see. There was no ‘on-the-job’ training!
I don’t really see very much “reciprocal/mutually one-another” (a) display of submission or ministry. It’s mostly one-directional! The way you can tell is if the band or preacher suddenly stops or ‘hits the ball into the other court’ of the congregation – it’s usually stares back blankly with dead silence or a whimper of participation. The frogs have been slow boiled! The ticks trained well not to jump out after you’ve taken the lid off! <Notes> a) allelon: a reciprocal pronoun meaning mutual, back-and-forth action. This is not 1-way communication but a dialogue, something you rarely see in church services today.
Another purpose for sharing Body-of-Christ ministry instead of today’s ball-hogging, 1-man-shows according to Ephesians 4:14-16 is to INSURE “that we may no longer be carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness of deceitful schemes. Rather YOU’all [who are] routinely/habitually speaking The Truth by-the-means-of unconditional-love, WE are to grow up in every way into Him who is the HEAD, into Christ, from Whom the WHOLE Body is routinely/habitually fitly-joined or held-together dia thru-the-realizing-channel-of pas ‘each of a kind/class/category’ (b) binding-joint that contributes/supplies, kata down-from/according-to the energeia effectual-working by-the-means-of the metron standard-sized-measuring-cup [of Holy Spirit] (c) of hekastos ‘each/every one‘ meros part that actually, ongoingly, [reflexively] makes [as with a performance] the Body grow so that IT builds itself up by-the-means-of unconditional-love.” Whew, Paul creates long, complicated sentences, but you can see his emphasis on ALL parts ministering by each part making the Body build itself up and all by unconditionally-loving one another. This is everybody working as a team!
<Notes> a) apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and/coupled teachers, b) pas rarely means “the whole/entirety of,” c) v. 4:7: “metron measuring-cup of the grace-gift [of the Holy Spirit] of Christ given by grace to each/every-one of us,” thus not based on our natural talents or ambitions. The metron was a single-sized cup that measured the exact same amount of whatever was put into it. It insured that merchant trade was fair, equitable, or just. Our word “metronome” comes from it – a device that “clicks” when the exact same amount of time has transpired! We use it in music to play precisely in time! This “energeia effectual-working by the metron standard-sized-measuring-cup” is referring to the whole person of the Holy Spirit with it’s enabling power given to each Christian without God showing partiality, per Ephesians 1:19, 3:7; Philippians 3:21; Colossians 1:9, 2:12 in Paul’s writings.
There is only 1 HEAD, 1 Shepherd, 1 Leader, and 1 Teacher (d)! But many “binding-joints” that ALL need to share the responsibility of keeping the Body-of-Christ together and growing to the maturity of Christ! EVERYONE needs to be sharing their grace-gifts (a) that kata ‘come down from’ the singular grace-gift of the Holy Spirit (b), as given by Jesus Christ from the Father (c). But that can’t happen if you have the coaches and facilitators equippers hogging the ball! As we’ve seen, ministry is supposed to be “reciprocal, mutual, reflexive, conversational, and focused on the individuals of the group using their Spirit’s grace-gifts” by definition of the Greek words used above! Where is there a stage, a single speaker, a worship-band, or an audience taught in the NT or in early Church Church history before 200 AD when the religion of Catholicism took over? <Notes> a) Ephesians 4:8; 1 Peter 4:10-11, b) Ephesians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 12:4-31, c) Ephesians 4:7, d) Ephesians 5:23; John 10:16; Matthew 23:8-10 – see Teach One Another – BT10.
All this especially came into the Catholic Church after the church buildings were designed by the pagan Roman emperor Constantine, designed with an elevated platform for 1-bishop rule, another non-biblical tradition that came in around 200 AD, with all the people facing him, and all of this “borrowed” from the pagan world of Greek and Roman temples! These are the “stones” building The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit in the Church! This must be reformed!
Read The Problem with Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age by Howard A. Synder. Other books are: Right Here, Right Now – Living the Anointed Life with Jesus and Each Other by www.HeavenReigns.com, Pagan Christianity – Exploring the Roots of Church Practices by Frank Viola and George Barna, Re-imagining Church – Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity by Frank Viola, and Christian Mythology – Revelations of Pagan Origins and Christianity – the Origins of a Pagan Religion by Philippe Walter.
Christian koinonia fellowship is more than hanging out in the foyer for 15 minutes before Protestant church service eating donuts and drinking coffee, or shaking the hand your neighbor and saying “peace be with you” as in a Catholic church. It is “each individual part” of the Body-of-Christ energeia effectually-working their Spirit’s grace-gifts during their “coming together” times in order “to build up the Church together – the saints doing the work of ministry!”
The correct image of the “assembly of the saints for fellowship” is that of the “family or household of God” (a). What “family or household” sets up a stage and has everybody face 1 person who does all the talking or to a small group to do all the music playing? When you look at church history carefully, you find that all of this comes into the Catholic Church around 200-350 AD, “borrowing” from old covenant models to build a faulty foundation and then “borrowing” stones from the pagan world to build The Great Wall quenching the Holy Spirit. <Notes> a) Ephesians 2:19; 1 Timothy 3:5, 15; 1 Peter 4:17.
As Christian musicians, do we really just want to perform for an audience or involve the audience in worship to the Lord? Maybe we should consider involving them instrumentally, not just vocally? Are we so concerned about sounding pretty that we can’t see that the Body’s playing to the Lord is just as important as ours? Are we encouraging them to use their Spirit’s grace-gifts by hogging the ball? Is NOT sharing the stage really koinonia fellowship? Is the stage-audience format just a pagan “tradition of men” that actually communicates that we aren’t one big family around the dinner table? Are we creating a party atmosphere where we can abandon ourselves and even get “drunk in the Spirit” or is it more like a business board meeting conducted by Robert’s Rules of Order? Or have we just turned into a Christian concert for the “entertainment of the saints?”
Would people have more fun going down to the local bar? Many people will say they have more actual fellowship at their local bar than at a church! At my local bar I had 25 friends for 15 years that we could talk about anything and learn a myriad of things from one another, but try doing that during a church service – and I’ve been in 15 church ministries! In many ways, the church isn’t meeting fellowship needs! Are we promoting “each other, one another, reflexive, mutual, reciprocal, diakrisis weighing in or judging back-in-forth, sharing, conversational dialogue” or is it 1-way communication to a half-asleep audience? Where is the 1-man show or small-team ministry taught in the NT? Where’s the checks and balances to prevent error and false teaching? Are we asking the congregation to submit to us, but we aren’t submitting to them, when the verses about submission are all bi-directional? Are we still thinking that we are the ministers instead of only the coaches and facilitators for the saints to be the actual ministers? Who really is supposed to be on the field playing – ALL of us TOGETHER, right? Why aren’t we? Why do we still use terms like head pastors when we only have 1 HEAD? Why even pastors or shepherds when we have 1 Shepherd? Why leaders, when we have 1 Leader? Why ‘the minister’ when we are all ministers? Why teachers, when we have 1 Teacher? I guess we just don’t believe Jesus or believe someone else more than Jesus!
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Spiritual Education, Christian fellowship is a Body-of-Christ ministry party NOT a 1-man show, Early church shows all Christians involved in ministry during gatherings NOT just leaders, Early Christians shared their Spirit-gifts during gatherings, 1-man show and ball hogging leadership isn’t koinonia fellowship, Don’t get drunk on wine but the Spirit, Habitually Spirit-Baptism, Church party where everybody shares their Spirit’s grace-gifts, Submission is between everybody NOT just to leaders, NO ball-hoggers allowed, Shared ministry, NO bible studies but speaking from the Spirit, Each person is a functioning joint in the Body of Christ, Only 1 Leader that is Christ, Only 1 Teacher the Holy Spirit of Father & Son, Spirit’s Anointing teaches us all things so need for any teachers, We don’t go to a football game to see coaches & referees play but that’s most church services, Checks & Balance of Body-Ministry deters 1-man-show false teaching, Everybody participating in church is fellowship and is what builds up to Christ’s maturity, Metron gift given to each is the same-size from an impartial God is the person of the Holy Spirit, Catholicism borrowed from the Old Testament, Catholicism borrowed from the world, Catholicism created more than 1 Head Shepherd Leader Teacher, Protestants haven’t reformed enough, Church buildings borrowed from pagan temples, Family of God doesn’t face a stage but sits in a circle around a dinner table