488:  What Can We Learn About Church From the Early Church

488: What Can We Learn About Church From the Early Church

There is an old saying that goes, Success Breeds Success.  And this is true.  But the opposite is also true.  Failure Follows Failure.  In other words, if we do the same thing we have failed in the same way, yet expect it to be successful, we are fools.  This also goes for how we do church today.   The book of Acts shows us what church should be like and yet we fail to heed its advice.  Why is that?  And what can we learn about church from the early church?

How did the early church “do” church, as we call it today?  What was their worship service like?  The following are some things they incorporated into their time of corporate worship.  When you read these, ask yourself this, What are we doing that they didn’t do?  And what have we added to our worship service that they did not?  Your answer may surprise you.

•   There was a time of singing.
•   There was a reading of His Word.
•   There was an exposition of His Word.
•   There was a time of ministry to each other.
•   There was a time of sharing for others in need.
•   There was a time to partake of the Lord’s Supper.
•   There was a time of prayer.
•   There was a time of praise and testimony.
•   There was a time of humility and confession.
•   There was a time of verbal commitment to Him.
•   And there was a time of fellowship and the sharing of a common meal.

Does this look like your Sunday morning time together?


What Can We Learn About Church From Them?

There are also two other aspects of their worship time that are glaringly missing today.  The first is their reliance on the Holy Spirit.  We see this from the first chapter of Acts and continuing through the entire book.  And the second is the fact they recognized that the Holy Spirit gave each of them gifts, and He expected them to use them to minister to others.  This was not a spectator sport.  Everyone had something to contribute.

A simple look into their time together will give us great insights into the early church.  For example, consider Acts 13:1-3, and the calling of Paul and Barnabas to missionary work.

Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.  As they ministered (leitourgéō) to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

Note the key elements in this passage, ministry to the Lord (worship), prayer, fasting, the Holy Spirit speaking among them, being in agreement, missionary work, the laying on of hands, and their trust in God for sending their own out into the unknown.  Ah, this sounds like real church, doesn’t it?

If you want to find out more about What We Can Learn About Church From the Early Church, keep listening.

The following message is on what church should be but is no longer.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

487: You Can Always Begin Again Tomorrow
486: What Do I Believe?
After DC, Where Do We Go From Here?
485: How Can We Recover What We Have Lost
484: Some Questions I Want to Ask Joseph

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487:  You Can Always Begin Again Tomorrow

487: You Can Always Begin Again Tomorrow

One of the great things about the Lord is the fact He is slow to anger and abounds in mercy.  In fact, Lamentations says “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They (His compassions) are new every morning; Great is Your (His) faithfulness” (Lam. 3:22-23).  Do you know what that means?  It means no matter how bad yesterday was, we can always begin again tomorrow with our God.  Always!

Do you believe that?  Do you truly believe that?

If so, it means that no matter how great your sin, or failure, or disappointment, or bitterness, or unanswered prayer you suffered from yesterday, it is just that— yesterday’s news.  And today it is all forgotten, all forgiven, all put to rest.

God promises His compassion is new, fresh, and in abundant supply every time we open our eyes and behold the new morning.  They are new every morning.  Not some mornings, but every morning.  God provides His mercy and compassion to us each new day, regardless of how we defiled the day before.

Therefore, in wonder and appreciation, we cry out to our God, “Great is Your faithfulness!”


Can I Really Begin Again Tomorrow?

Absolutely.  But the problem we often struggle with is not condemnation from God.  But self-condemnation.  We can’t imagine God’s mercy and compassion are so great it will revive us of our guilt for the things we have done wrong.  But it does!  All we have to do is accept it.

How should we respond to God’s mercy and compassion as we enter into the turbulent waters of 2021?  Consider the following.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  Yet in all these things (tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, sword) we are (present tense) more than conquerors (how) through Him who loved us.

For I am persuaded (to be fully assured, confident, convinced) that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord – Romans 8:35-39.

And if God’s Word is true then we must learn to rest in how God sees us, even in our sin, and not how we see ourselves.  For nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  Nothing.  And that includes our own self-condemnation.

The following message is on the Mercy and Compassion of God from Lamentations 3.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

486: What Do I Believe?
After DC, Where Do We Go From Here?
485: How Can We Recover What We Have Lost
484: Some Questions I Want to Ask Joseph
483: Where Did All Our Leaders Go?

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486:  What Do I Believe?

486: What Do I Believe?

After all the chaos and upheaval we’ve seen in our country these past few weeks that threatens to tear apart the very fabric of our republic and the church, we have come to a place in our lives where we must ask ourselves the question, What do I believe?

That’s right.  What do I believe?

•   What am I willing to die for?
•   What is the mission and calling of my life?
•   What means the most to me?
•   And what truth will I not compromise on?

Or, as Martin Luther said when commanded to recant his beliefs to save his life, “Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God.”

So let me ask you, what do you believe about the times in which we live?


What Do I Believe About the Future of America and the Church?

I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you with confidence what I believe about the future.  And it is summed up in seven short points.

•   I believe we are entering the end times.
•   I believe things will get very bad in the US over the next two years.
•   I believe inflation is a certainty.
•   I believe there will be shortages of food, gas, etc.
•   I believe we will face persecution as Christians.
•   I believe there is a great possibility of civil war.
•   And I believe we must prepare spiritually right now!

And since I believe these things, I will once again implore you, as the church, the Bride of Christ, to consider a deeper commitment to Him than ever before.  In 2021 (or until He comes), consider following Him this way:

•  Consider opening your home for Bible study this year.
•  Consider getting together with others for Bible study, fellowship, and prayer.
•  Consider creative ways to teach your children about the “exceeding riches of His grace” in Christ.
•  And, if you don’t feel compelled to “Go” for the gospel, then consider bringing the lost to you (both home and church) to make disciples of them.

Ask yourself the same question:  What do I believe?  And pray we have the faith to see this journey to the end.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

After DC, Where Do We Go From Here?
485: How Can We Recover What We Have Lost
484: Some Questions I Want to Ask Joseph
483: Where Did All Our Leaders Go?
482: How to Experience God

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After DC, Where Do We Go From Here?

After DC, Where Do We Go From Here?

The following is from Samuel Culpeper with Forward Observer.  I believe this accurately sums up what happened, and didn’t happen, today in DC and what we can expect in the days to come.  Read and be informed.  And be prepared. Then ask yourself, where do we go from here?


Austin, Texas
06 January 2021

I’m writing a quick note this afternoon following today’s protest in Washington D.C. and breach of the Capitol building.  I have three initial thoughts on this and other events that occurred today.

1. Back in November I wrote that, presuming a Biden victory, the Right would assume the mantle of political resistance and proto-insurgent activity.  A Biden administration, after all, will be toeing or crossing red lines on the Second Amendment, religious liberty and the First Amendment, taxes, and a host of other Obama-era policies that riled conservatives enough to form a national protest movement.  I surmised that after a summer of violent attacks, riots, and destruction by the Left, conservatives may be feeling some leeway in how they protest.  After all, we were told for most of last year that riots are just the voice of the unheard.  At a minimum, the grassroots conservative protest movement we saw from 2009 to 2016 is coming back under a third Obama administration, and today is the first notch in that belt.  Low-intensity conflict will continue.

2. Also, let’s reflect on one thing that didn’t happen.  Today’s protest disrupted the Electoral College certification process.  Several Republican politicians noted that today’s protest may have ended what would have otherwise been a marathon of debates where Republicans could lay out evidence of voting irregularities, voter fraud, and unconstitutional activities observed during the election.  It would not have flipped the election results, but it would have put on record exactly what happened during the election.  It’s unclear that Republicans will now continue to protest the certification process, but Biden remains virtually certain to be certified as President-elect, regardless.

3. Naturally, some ask where we go from here.  Some Trump supporters are lamenting today’s breach of the Capitol, which resulted in the death of one Trump supporter who was shot by law enforcement, because it now justifies a more aggressive stance on Trumpism after Trump.  When you can accuse entire swathes of the country of committing or supporting domestic terrorism, you create latitude to act against them.  In short, the Trump purges are coming.

Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO), a Black Lives Matter organizer and democratic socialist, has been in Congress for all of three days.  She announced this afternoon a resolution that calls for the expulsion from Congress those Republicans who “incited this domestic terror attack” through their objections to the Electoral College certification.  The resolution calls for the removal of over 100 representatives and 12 senators, all of whom are Trump Republicans.  It’s just a resolution, but it frames the goal.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) said she’s drawing up articles of impeachment against President Trump.  Several Democrat governors, members of Congress, and political organizations are now supporting President Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment.  There will undoubtedly be further support for his removal before he’s likely to leave office in two weeks.

But this is somewhat beside the point, which is that the desire to punish Trump and his supporters will continue long after President Trump is gone.  There are entire databases and excel spreadsheets of Trump donors, supporters, and administration officials likely to be targeted through use of the government, along with political, social, and commercial means.  This will not end the Trump movement, and risks escalation and political violence.

One thing I’m looking at now is the fate of those who trespassed in the Capitol building today.  Their activities and presence were well-documented, and they likely have been or will be identified.  I would note that most of the J20 and George Floyd rioters got off scot-free due to sympathetic district attorneys who dropped charges and judges who threw out cases, but Trump supporters could get the book thrown at them, which will further inflame their movement.

All this means that low-intensity conflict will continue.  Nothing is over and nothing is ending.  The trends that drove conflict for the last decade are still here, even if the political factions are switching sides of the playing field.  It’s going to be a long decade.

Until next time, be well.

Always Out Front,

Samuel Culper

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485: How Can We Recover What We Have Lost
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485:  How Can We Recover What We Have Lost

485: How Can We Recover What We Have Lost

When we compare the church today with the example given in the book of Acts, we come up short and wanting.  It looks like what life was like in the book of Acts and our church life now are not even related, like they were from different parents, from different planets.  And if you are honest with yourself, you will see how much we have lost and how far we have fallen from the prototype God gave us in His Word.  Which begs the question: How can we recover what we have lost?

What do we know about the early church?  Consider the following:

•  They lived in communities, like one large, extended family.
•  They met in homes or rented facilities.  There was not a million-dollar building on every street corner that sat empty six days a week.
•  Their key distinctive was worship and evangelism.  Or, worship expressed as evangelism.
•  They were led by lay leaders.  You and me.  The guy next door.  There was nothing of the clergy, laity divide.  There were no hired holy-men.  Everyone was obedient to the command of Christ, individually.
•  They were guided by Scriptures.  Not tradition, nor public opinion, nor vote of the congregation.  God and His Word was the final authority.
•  Everyone was a priest.  Each believer had direct access to the throne of God.  Hence, they were all equal in His sight.
•  They had all things in common.  This is probably the hardest concept to get our heads around since we are happy living in a narcissistic world.
•  They were known, both within and outside of the church, as holy men who lived sanctified lives.

Looks a bit different from any church I have ever been a part of.  Can you say the same?


Is it Possible to Recover What We Have Lost?

The early church took the commands of Jesus seriously.  They did not pass them on to someone else or assume they were meant for only those who were “gifted” or “specifically called” to total commitment.  They took responsibility knowing that Jesus’ commands still applied to them, and also to us, some 2,000 years later.  Consider this command:

Matthew 28:18-21 – And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,  “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go (not stay) therefore and make disciples of all the nations, (how) baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

As Keith Green once sang, “Jesus commands us to go.  It’s the exception if we stay.”

So as 2021 dawns on us, consider following Him this way:

•  Consider opening your home for Bible study this year.
•  Consider getting together with others for Bible study, fellowship, and prayer.
•  Consider creative ways to teach your children about the “exceeding riches of His grace” in Christ.
•  And, if you don’t feel compelled to “Go” for the gospel, then consider bringing the lost to you (both home and church) to make disciples of them.

Let 2021 be a year of spiritual renewal and revival for us as individuals and as His church.  After all, it has to begin somewhere.  Why not let it begin with you?

The following message is a call to help the church in Recovering What We Have Lost.

To download the slides to this message, click – HERE

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Our Latest Posts:

484: Some Questions I Want to Ask Joseph
483: Where Did All Our Leaders Go?
482: How to Experience God
30 Ways to Improve Your Home Security Today
481: Praying to the Holy Spirit

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