Summary: The Way we were is about how church was meant to be according to God’s Desire in Acts, you can also listen to this message at www.preaching.co.nr
“This is How Church Should Be,” is often influenced by denominational traditions, personal preference and sometimes cultural and generational demands. Some people want church loud; some want it quiet; some want it short; some want more worship, more prayer, more love, more social action, more preaching. Today’s society want it to be more embracing of difference. People’s perceptions of how church should be goes on and on. Even in this group there are many different ideas of how you think it should be.
I would like to discover from the Bible, particularly the book of Acts, “Church as it was meant to be.” Perhaps the outcome could be that we do Church without personal, generational, cultural or denominational influences. If we can do church as it was meant to be then maybe we can practice things the way God intended them to be.
We are all products of our social conditioning. What we think, how we dress, what we eat have all been influence by those around us. However, now we are in Christ we no longer need to conform to the patterns of this world. (Rom 12:1-2) It is now possible for those who have been freed from the blind bondage of Sin and Satan to experience spiritual conditioning, if we will allow the Word and Spirit to influence our heart, thinking and behaviour. We can be how we were meant to be. (Rom 8:5-13)
There are many definitions of “Church.” My, and I hope simple, definition of Church is: ‘a Community of God’s People, Committed, Connected and Covered.’
1. Connected means you are a part of the Body, NOT JUST PHYSICALLY but in your spirit…1Cor 5:2-4 ……Phil 2:2 “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.”
2. Committed means this is your spiritual home, where you are fed good, home-cooked ministry, where you fellowship, and where you give.
3. Covered by spiritual leaders; not dictated to or controlled, but where you choose to submit. The Difference between a Covered & Uncovered Christian is,
an uncovered Christian says, “I am doing this because God/Spirit has told me.”
A covered Christian says, “Can I talk with you? Will you pray about this? I will listen and pray over your counsel.” A covered Christian may even say, “I don’t agree but I will submit and follow.”
God began His Church, with a design of how His Church was meant to be. The day the Holy Spirit was poured out, everything about God’s Church was how it was meant to be:
1. The Presence of God was felt so much, they were in awe.
2. The Power of God was evident in signs & wonders, salvation, healing & deliverance.
3. The People of God boldly Proclaimed the Word of God.
Today the church has all kinds of issues to be concerned about, such as Charity law, Health & Safety law, Insurance, Bills, Child Protection Policies. Those concerns are important and need to be dealt with. However, they can’t take precedence over the Presence of God being felt, the Power of God being evident and the People of God boldly Proclaiming the Word of God.
It is therefore God’s design and plan that His presence be felt at ECC, His power be evident at ECC and His Gospel be proclaimed from ECC.
Unfortunately, as quickly as sin got into the Garden of Eden it got into the early Church. Disputes, division and darkness found its way into the heart of God’s people and so the Church became more concerned with its men and methods rather than its mission.
Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. Why? God never suggested it. God can use one man just as much as He can use eleven. They focused on a method of, “we must have 12” and not on, “we have got the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:12-26)
Preference was given to Hebrew widows and so complaining arose. (Acts 6:1-15)
A dispute arose whether to trust Paul or not to trust Paul. (Act 9:26)
There were questions over what was clean or unclean. (Acts 10-11)
There were disputes over whether to circumcise or not to circumcise. (Acts 15)
Amidst the Disputes, Division and Darkness of men’s hearts, we can glean something of how, according to God’s design, Church was meant to be.
The local churches of Acts didn’t have names so they couldn’t be identified or disassociate themselves from other groups.
It’s perhaps a necessity for local churches today to have a clear and identifiable title because there are so many weird and wacky groups out there. However, some need to think about what they call their church:
Devils Lake Church, Devils Lake, North Dakota
Grassy Butte Church, Dickinson, ND
Boring Methodist Church, Boring, MD
Penguin Baptist Church, Penguin, Tas.