A Call To The Remnant

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The great tragedy of the Sunday morning service!

Posted by appolus on May 2, 2018

The most important crisis facing the Body of Christ is the Sunday morning service. It really helps to know a little bit about the history of the early church and what it looked like. For the most part it would be in houses or for special occasions if there was more than one house gathering in a town or city, they would come together in an open field, especially if someone like Paul was coming. The gathering was just that, and there was a meal. Breaking bread meant just that, it did not mean a communion wafer and a ritualized affair. People were actually together, hanging out, singing hymns, sharing, giving testimony, asking for prayer. This thing called “the church service,” is something that morphed out of that. Bottom line, it really was not that complicated, the most important aspect of the gathering was that the Holy Spirit was there, Jesus was preeminent.

Can this be changed? Not in any meaningful way. I do believe however that the time is coming soon when the enemy will tear down every religious building in the world that will not bow down to him, only then I believe will the Body of Christ return to its roots, by necessity. If we were to take the pastor out of the average church in America, the congregation would be at a total loss. For centuries they have taken on the role of spectator and not participant and this has rendered them, for the most part, impotent and reliant upon “the guy at the front,” and not the Holy Spirit.

Oh how I would love the problem that the Corinthian church had in their midst and Paul had to correct. Everybody had a tongue or a word or a spiritual song or a prophecy. Paul wrote and told them to limit it to two or three of this and two or three of that and let there be order in all of it. You can take a wild man, full of life, and tone down his behavior, but what can you do with a dead man? What would your church service look like if there were two or three tongues and then interpretations. Then two or three prophecies, then two or three songs initiated not by a “worship leader,” as part of a practiced program but by the Holy Spirit Himself through the vessels of His choice. I think I am safe in assuming it may not look like anything you have ever seen, but there it is, laid out, in the Scriptures, directions from God how to conduct our Sunday gatherings.

Part of the problem is that the vast majority of churches not only do not practice the gifts but do not even believe in them, so there would be no chance of a reverting to 1 Cor 14. The very service itself for the most part, has a design that would make it impossible for most congregations to gather in a Biblical fashion ( 1 Cor 14) even if they wanted to. So we are talking about something very radical here, very primitive, something that would counter endless centuries of the traditions of man. It now seems like if we were to return to the order of worship that was first laid down for us, it would take a revolution to bring it to pass.

But lets suppose we do have a willing congregation. What would that look like? Well, some of us may remember the different kinds of professors at college. Some were great teachers and many were not. They all had qualifications, but clearly there were teachers that you could tell were called to their profession. The best professors always included the whole class. They elicited questions on whatever the subject at hand was and through those questions and the response of the class, we were taught. These classes were always invigorating and these teachers had a great skill at keeping the class on topic because in every class there were always left fielders who would ask unrelated questions. To me, this would be the gifting of an elder or teacher in a 1 Cor 14 setting, gifted by the Holy Spirit to do what secular institutions do all the time.

We have fleshed this out. We had a series of meetings in Missouri a few years ago. People came from all over the country. There were many pastors there. We had three days of meetings without any agenda at all. We would start around 8 or 9am, gathered around in a large circle and someone would open with a prayer and a Scripture. 12 hours later we would finish. Throughout the course of a day there would be singing, praying, sharing, testimony, laying on of hands and none of it was scheduled, the Holy Spirit was our leader. Now, if a group of men and woman from varying backgrounds, mostly pastors ( who can be the most difficult to deal with because they are used to being in charge) can yield and follow the leading of the Lord through His Holy Spirit for 12 hours, how easy would it be to have this kind of service on a Sunday morning for a few hours or however long it lasted? Not difficult. It is not about the degree of difficulty, it is about yielding and surrendering to the Holy Spirit and having Jesus preeminent in the meeting. Ultimately it is about obedience. Scripture is out touchstone, it is from Scripture that we stand or fall. How does your Sunday morning service compare to 1 Cor 14. Not at all? Why not?

11 Responses to “The great tragedy of the Sunday morning service!”

  1. Tama said

    Amen & Amen to this!

  2. Rebecca said

    Since I moved I have gone to three different churches … the first was all humanism; in the second church the assumption was that the whole assembly were disciples of Christ … there was no outreach. The next Sunday was a planned ‘outreach’ through a ‘fun day and a carnival.’ This last church was a praise the LORD church but then added ‘prayers going up and blessings coming down’ philosophy. No they were not like the Acts church. I am still looking …

  3. Nina said

    Reblogged this on For Such A Time As This.

  4. What I see are two very distinct groups of people calling themselves Christians. First, there are those who know something is wrong but haven’t grasped exactly what that is. They see the obvious problems with the numerous denominations and how that conflicts with the one body yet still haven’t seen as they ought. Second we have those that are able to see the distinct differences between institutionalism and 1st century Christian faith and practice. They have one very serious problem though- they are unwilling to pay the price of being obedient. They know that will mean everything from being ostracized from the majority, being labeled all kinds of falsehoods, loss of monies for others and very likely being left to be reliant upon Christ alone, perhaps for many years. Isn’t this the testimony of many of us?

    It ought to scare the hell out of any professing Christian leader the fact that their very lives so clearly echo those of the religious Pharisees of Jesus’ day. How much more when Jesus Himself says of those who refuse to count the cost of following Him: you cannot be my disciple. They shrug off what is plainly a very serious promise and proclamation from heaven itself.

    I agree with you. Our Father will use everything from the watered down messages to suffering and persecution to bring about His revolution. I also agree that at the base is the problem of unbelief which the book of Hebrews equates to disobedience. We the people simply don’t believe this is possible and yet I still find the command of 1 Corinthians 1:10 in my Bible. Who am I to believe, God’s abilities or the past failures of men?

    I’m so tired of all the excuses I hear from worldly men. I’m sure you’ve heard them too.

    Thanks for sharing your own experience. I’m glad a few of you at least attempted to obey God, that’s a start. But I think you, I and a few others know this: Father wants it all- He wants all of our efforts and creations to be relinquished for what only stems from Him and for what is built by Him. He will, and is building His ekklesia. Men cannot name and control what God builds, He alone must be and remain the Head. So be it.

  5. April said

    Hi Frank, You said “we had three days of meetings without any agenda at all”. So I’m not sure why you highlight Sunday. I became so “obedient”, for about five years straight, you would never see my face in a store or restaurant on that one 24-hour day. Now I’m free from all that and claim liberty to obey 1 Cor. 14 at all times. I hasten to add that there are other things I have re-learn to not obey in order to truly obey Christ, alone.

    • appolus said

      I highlighted the word Sunday because that is when the vast majority of Christians gather. As fas as I am concerned April everyday is as unto the Lord. This article is discussing how we gather…………………bro Frank

  6. Prayergate said

    Concerning the gift of prophecy, I wish I could direct every modern-day, self-proclaimed, pseudo-prophet on YouTube and TV (that are idolized by tens of millions of Christians in the New Apostolic Reformation) to a simple set of scriptures in Acts which gives a perfect definition of a TRUE prophet in action. It also shows a couple of TRUE church services in action. Notice that they’re not “predicting” the outcomes of political races, football games or the date of the so-called “rapture”. But rather, their hearts are being knit together in the love and unity of the Holy Ghost. Big difference!:

    Acts 21:3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.

    Acts 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

    Acts 21:5 And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

    Acts 21:6 And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

    Acts 21:7 And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

    Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

    Acts 21:9 And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

    Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

    Acts 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

    Acts 21:12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

    Acts 21:13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Acts 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

  7. exposeevil said

    Reblogged this on Light In The Darkness.

  8. Hi Frank,
    Good post.

    I have given up on “organized religious institutions” altogether now. I don’t know of any other “followers of the Lord Jesus Christ” in my locality presently, but have learnt to just be content in the “wilderness process” that I am in. I understand that I have to live out my Christian faith just led by the Lord, and if He ever sees fit to answer my prayers for another believer to have local fellowship with, then I trust that we will know how to BE His body, led by His Spirit, without being all churchy and religious.

    However, I will just say that I think there are more important things for the true Body of Christ than how institutional churches run their services. Perhaps learning to really hear the voice of the True Shepherd and obey Him are examples.

    God bless,
    Helen

    • appolus said

      Hi Helen, I would agree it is very important to hear the voice of the Lord and be obedient to it, this is why I have had this blog for 10 years, being obedient to the calling of the Lord on my life. …………………bro Frank

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