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Archive for August 1st, 2018

When we gather in a disorderly manner.

Posted by appolus on August 1, 2018

The question for today is, ” Can God bless a people and congregations who stand opposed to the Biblical mandates He laid down?” I want to share a piece written in the 1840s to show that this is not some new teaching or new concerns for the saints. There are examples in every century of God’s witnesses testifying against a disobedient people. Who are these disobedient people who so cavalierly disregard the Word of God? I will let you answer that question for yourself and see how your own gathering or congregation stand up against the Word of God for the Word of God is the measure of all things. We rely upon Scripture alone to provide our goal-posts. We know that cultures and people and this world are ever-changing. New trends, new thoughts, new ideas, but the Word of God never changes. We know that Heaven and earth shall pass away but the Word remains forever. Within it lies the thoughts and commands of God. It is His diary and His auto-biography and every true saint of God loves the Word and is led and guided by it by the power of the Holy Spirit. No revival ever takes place without first the acknowledgement that how we are living or how we worship God is deeply lacking or flawed. This is the beginning of it and the end of it is actual change. If there is no willingness or desire in us to change how we live or how we serve God or how we conduct our services then should we expect any change? It’s a wee bit audacious to cry out to God to come down when at the same time we are willfully ignoring His express instructions on how to gather. Here is the piece by Joseph John Gurney taken from his book of 1842………….

In order to bring our subject to a satisfactory conclusion, we must, in the last place, inquire what was the primitive plan of conducting congregational worship. If the clerical system which crept into the church in times of diminished vigour and purity, and to which the generality of Christians are accustomed in the present day, had been instituted by our Lord, and practised by his earliest followers, there can be no doubt that we should have found ample notices of it in Scripture. We should have read of the congregations of the Lord’s people, each under the presidency, guidance, and teaching of some one appointed preacher who should act as the head, heart, lungs, and tongue of the whole assembly; on whose lips all were to hang; on whose doctrine all were to depend, to the utter exclusion of the rest of the congregation.

Page 162. But so far are we from finding such a pattern in the New Testament, that a directly contrary view is there presented to us. The apostle Paul has given us, incidentally indeed, yet most graphically, a living description of the Christian assemblies for divine worship as they were held in his own day see 1 Cor. xiv. There we find that the vocal ministrations, practised on these solemn occasions, were, in no degree, restricted to the individual tenant of a pulpit; but were completely congregational, conducted under the immediate influences of the Spirit in the liberty of the Holy Ghost. One had a psalm, another a doctrine, another a tongue, another a revelation, another an interpretation. On all were poured forth, under different administrations, the gifts of the same Spirit.

Above all the blessed gift of prophecy, through which the word of truth was freely preached, was liberally diffused by the Great Head of the church so that “all might prophecy” (when rightly called to the work), and all be edified. Here the whole body is represented to us as alive in the native power of truth a joint and united spiritual priesthood, prepared of the Lord to offer up “spiritual sacrifices, acceptable unto God through p163 Jesus Christ.” Now since all the vocal offerings of primitive congregational worship, were thus prompted by the moving of the Holy Spirit, it follows that when no such divine motion was felt, the congregation must have remained in silence. Nor is it, as I apprehend, possible that such a system of worship could have been conducted in true decency and order, on any other basis. “Keep silence before me, all ye islands, and let the people renew their strength; let them draw near, then let them speak.” “The Lord is in his holy temple; let all the earth keep silence before him.”

When we gather in These awful commands must surely have been found to have a virtual application to the primitive assemblies of God’s people; composed, as they were, of persons who dared not speak aloud in divine worship, except as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance. At such times of awful silence, the Lord Jesus Christ must have been felt to be present with them, taking the office of Preacher into his own hands, and ministering to every member of the body, according to its need. He is indeed “the Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which God pitched and not man” our Prophet as well as our Priest, who still speaks, p164 by his Spirit, “with authority” “as never man spake;” and it is only as we are gathered to a living dependence upon his teaching, that we can really grow and flourish in religion, and bring forth the fruits of righteousness to the praise and glory of God. In the whole matter of Christian ministry as its author, conductor, inspirer, and theme, and above all, as He who teaches us immediately by his Spirit our Lord Jesus Christ is, and ever will be, our ALL in ALL. Could we but renounce our dependence on the systems, forms, and contrivances of men, and put the fulness of our trust in His wisdom, love, and power, there is every reason to believe that his truth would spread with wondrous energy; and mightily would that blessed day be hastened when “the kingdoms of this world” shall “become the kingdoms of our Lord; and of his Christ.”

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