New Testament Church Proliferation Digest


Spreading the Gospel via House Churches



NT Church Proliferation Digest Thursday, September 5 2002 Volume 02 : Number 159
Re: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace
[NTCP] Give me some "How To's"
Re: [NTCP] Give me some "How To's"
Re: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.
RE: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace
[NTCP] elder designates their age - pastoring, their role
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.
RE: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace
Re: [NTCP] Jesus not God but as a god
Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.

Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 20:19:57 -0500
From: "J. Guy Muse" <jmuse * gu.pro.ec>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace

Bruce (and anyone else interested),

Several of us on this list justed returned from a fantastic weekend in
Waco, Texas where the Labor Day 2002 House Church Conference
was held. This same Luke 10 subject that you ask about below was
shared by three different individuals and how God is showing them
to implement the model in urban areas.

I have a short document in MS Word 97 written up, but would have
to send it to you separately since attachments can't be sent to the
NTCP list. Let me know if you are interested.

Guy Muse
Guayaquil, Ecuador


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Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 19:50:57 -0600
From: "JC Elder" <jcelder1 * earthlink>
Subject: [NTCP] Give me some "How To's"

Hello all,
I seldom post, but I read almost all of what is posted. I have a question.
How do you deal with people in your group who have severe emotional or
spiritual problems. The reason I ask is because I don't believe that most
groups deal with people in a way that brings healing. They tend to want to
ignore emotions and give "spiritual aspirin" as one friend calls it.

The reason that I ask is this. For years I have struggled in churches. I
have talked to lot's of pastor & lay people who have prayed for me and tried
to "counsel me". The problem is, their answer always seems to be for me to
"DO" more, get more involved, forget about myself. The attitude is that the
past is unimportant and there is a "field to harvest". I followed that
counsel for many years. I found that it only helped mask my problems, not
heal them. I feel like there is not time allowed or support given for
someone to heal.

The problem that I see is that in the house church it is not any different.
Even though it is a smaller group, the same attitude is present. We have
simply moved from the pew to the couch.
How is the body suppose to heal if the bleeding, wounded parts of the body
are rejected? These are the questions I am struggling with right now as I
try to help myself and other's. any suggestions? Real suggestions (no
spiritual aspirin please)

JC
Pueblo, CO


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Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2002 08:15:33 -0400
From: jferris <jferris154 * mac>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Give me some "How To's"

JC Elder wrote:

>How is the body suppose to heal if the bleeding, wounded parts of the body
>are rejected? These are the questions I am struggling with right now as I
>try to help myself and other's. any suggestions? Real suggestions (no
>spiritual aspirin please)
>
>JC
>Pueblo, CO
>
Dear JC,

I believe that the single biggest problem in our culture today is the
absence of "natural affection", Storge.
Of the four loves, Storge, Phileo, Eros, and Agape, Agape is the spinal
column of the other three. The natural loves, Storge, Phileo, and Eros
are fallen, just as natural man is fallen, and without Agape, as
redefined at the cross, they are spineless. As soon as something goes
wrong, the natural loves are withdrawn. Only in Agape are they redeemed
and made unoffendable.

Agape, all by itself, however, has no expression. At the point of
expression, at the point of being sensible of one or more of the five
senses, it comes to us aesthetically wrapped in one of these other
loves. These other loves are the point of contact, the point at which
Agape becomes tangible. We can talk about Agape all day long, in fact
The Church has been talking about it for almost two thousand years, but
until it is "felt", until it is expressed, it is just a disembodied
concept. It is at the point of expression, the point of contact that it
empowers its object.

The three natural loves are wonderful in the moment, but flawed in the
long run. It is only in Agape that they are redeemed. Agape redeems the
foundational love that parents were meant to have for their children,
Storge, This is the love what from the very beginning introduces us to a
sense of value and being valued, the sense that we belong and are
important.

Phileo continues this sense of belonging in a community of peers, where
the reciprocated affection among the mature and maturing, continues the
value transfusion first experienced as Storge.

Eros turns up the heat, focusing and intensifying, the sense of
belonging, beyond the capability of intellectual expression. Agape so
merges with the passion of Eros that, in the end, it includes us in, and
takes us to, a spiritual union which was in God before the world began.
This is the stuff out of which the union of Christ and the Church is
made possible.

Meanwhile back on earth, the tangible loves are more and more in
deficit. >From the deficit comes dysfunction, from dysfunction, every
form of depravity, and "because iniquity abounds, the love of most grows
cold". It seems like, for those of us who believe, this should not be
so, but in context, it seems to be believers love that grows cold.

Agape empowers at the point of contact, at the point of being
communicated. All of the natural loves are communicated by look, touch
and tone. Storge being the most foundational of the empowering loves,
when it's not there, there is confusion about the other two. In our day,
misplaced Eros has become epidemic, and even phileo has become suspect.

As believers we are encouraged to express Storge to one another, Romans
12:10, but with the Storge deficit at such epidemic levels, and Eros so
out of control, the likelihood of confusion and moral failure is
prohibitive even in the Church. If love is to be expressed and received
in its most foundational and empowering form, then we have to return to
the foundations, the new foundations, in fact the new and only
foundation, Jesus Christ. He is the foundation stone, "No other
foundation can any man lay than that which is laid in Christ Jesus". He
is the foundation that the builders have rejected. It is to Him that we
must return. Only Christ can establish the foundational relationships,
which are the new creation fulfillment of the old ones, the ones in
which we first experienced, or were suppose to experience the Storge
empowerment for living. And, only Storge backed up by Agape is powerful
enough to reverse the damage done by the love deficit of our present
culture.

God has loved us into a process of restoration, recreation, even
procreation of new life. Having said that much, it also must be said
that, this is not a process we can participate in by force of will, or
intellectual assent. It can only happen by the Grace of God. We are
graced into it, loved into it, but first we have to sense and receive
the love. There is only one source. "We love because He first loved us."

I was sharing with my son recently, about the Love of God. I knew about
it intellectually for years, and I had even responded to it at that
level. When I was baptised in the Spirit, I received a much greater
experiential sense of His Love, but still remained quite clueless. Love
may be a decision, but it's not something that happens in response to a
command. God loves because that's who He is. We love in response to His
love. Love is a response. "We love because He first loved us." Even the
love of a husband for a wife flows out of His Love, "Husbands love your
wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her." That much
is no more than Jesus died to make possible among us all, "As I have
loved you, so ought ye to love one another." We ought to love one
another as Christ loved us. "There is one who sticketh closer than a
brother."

"Oughts" set legal standards and limits, but the content does not come
by "oughts". In the final analysis, the decision to love is the
willingness to be a victim, the willingness to give ourselves up for
each other. That doesn't come by obedience, it doesn't come cheap, and
it doesn't come easily, it comes as part of the package which is the
Love of God. I never really understood this "incredible" love until I
found it by His grace in my heart for others. Natural love is more or
less explainable, but the Love of God "surpasses knowledge." You just
have to experience it flowing out of your own heart in order to begin to
understand it. "It's not the hearers about God's love, but the lovers
with God's Love who understand it" or, at least, begin to understand it.
What an unspeakable Gift. To know it in the vertical is life to receive
it on the horizontal is affirmation of life.

Yours in Christ,

Jay


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Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 12:27:25 -0400
From: forwarded <forwarded * homechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace

From: "Nahmen" <nahmen * livingwaterfound>, via an unrecognized address
- - forwarder

- ------------ info page: http://world-missions.org/planting <><><>


I Would like info on Luke 10.


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Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 12:50:20 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.

Sam said:

>A lot has been said about the erratic nature and demeanor of Gene Edwards,
>but I must be frank with you, he is one true spiritual father who has really
>taught me through his teaching the importance of several KEY components to
>whatever form and structure we place on our gatherings.
>
>1. It is the LIFE of Jesus that adds definition and form to what "it looks
>like" for everyone.
>
>The Lords Supper is a physical representation of our partaking of Him. We
>come and we eat together of a meal that sustains life in us physically. In
>like manner we eat and partake of all His goodness when we eat together in
>unity and agreement. The Lord's table should be the essence of our coming
>together.

Hi brothers,

Is this a later development in Gene's thinking, Sam? Where did I overlook
it in his writings? I read his "How to Meet" long ago and came away
wondering if he believed in the Lord's Supper - much less as it being the
"essence of our coming together."

Fill me in.

David Anderson


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Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 19:07:05 +0200
From: "Keith Smith" <castillofuerte * airtel>
Subject: RE: [NTCP] Question - The Man Of Peace

Guy, I for one would be interested in a copy of your MSWORD "Luke 10 doc.
Please e.mail me.

Thanks and blessings
Keith


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Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 13:03:33 -0400
From: David Anderson <david * housechurch>
Subject: [NTCP] elder designates their age - pastoring, their role

wrote Jay

>I think the problem is not the need for title where the one who is
>functioning in a position is concerned. Rather, I believe that, "elders"
>for instance, were ordained or appointed in places where The Lord had
>raised them up, so that the younger ones would know who to go to in the
>event of a difficulty or conflict in fellowship with other believers.

>Again, Pastors need to look up, not down to find elders. Most of the
>time, elders are needed to clear up conflicts with pastors, and their
>adherents.

Hi Jay,

I appreciate your bringing the association of age into this discussion of
eldership. This connection is long overdue.

As I see things, It is the elders themselves who are to perform the
pastoring, shepherding role. Ergo, they are the same.

1Pet. 5:2 (elders) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the
oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy
lucre, but of a ready mind;

Acts 20:28 (elders) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the
flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the
church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

best regards,

David Anderson


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Date: Thu, 05 Sep 2002 13:09:41 -0400
From: "Samuel Buick" <aom_canada * hotmail>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.

Hi David:
In several of his books, and I will dig them out, and on one particular
audio tape of his, he says that people should gather and eat together and
let the Lord knit them together and see what the Lord does in the midst of
no agenda on the part of those who gather, other than to gather and eat and
see what the Lord does. I believe that is the very essense of coming
together and sharing the "common meal" (Lord's Supper).

Sam


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Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 22:17:46 +0200
From: "Ampe Pronk" <marcusampe * tiscalinet.be>
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Jesus not God but as a god

IGNT prints: 1 en arch hn o logov kai o logov hn prov ton yeon kai yeov hn
o logov
Dear Keith,
I must confess I would not be able to fully translate a Greek or even a
Latin New Testament.I did not learn Greek and I have not seen the original
Scriptures, so I doneed to compare different translations in different
languages and see whatscholars say.Philip B.Barner says in his article:
"Qualitative Anarthrous PredicateNouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1: 1" that the
verb preceded bij a predicate ortitle without an article significant more a
qualitative importance has.Meaning that the logos has the nature of the
theos. In the journal ofBiblical Literature, 1973 p85,87 gives us the idea
to read it more as: "TheWord has the same nature as God".When theos is
written the 2¬&Mac176; time without a definite article, placed infront of the verb
several translators do not use indefinite article but donot omit it on other
occasions. Compare John 6: 70 Iscariot= "a devil"; John9: 17 Jesus= a
prophet.John McKenzie in his Dictionary of the Bible gives the solution of
"the Wordwas by the God (=the Father), and the Word was a godly creature/ a
being"In the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament of the
HolyBible. 1999-2001, by Gary F. Zeolla of Darkness to Lightministry we find
the acceptable text: "1 In the beginning was the Word [or,the Expression of
[divine] Logic], and the Word was with [or, in communionwith] God, and the
Word was God [or, was as to His essence God]. "Strange that several
translation where they omit the article in the text,they refer to Strong in
their footnotes, who wrote: Œ&Mac184;ŒµŒøÃÅœÇ; theos;theh'-os = Of uncertain affinity; a
deity, especially (with G3588) thesupreme Divinity; figuratively a
magistrate; by Hebraism very: - Xexceeding, God, god [-ly, -ward].+ G3588:
ŒøÃî, Œ&Mac183;Ãî, œÑŒøÃÅ; ho heÃÑ to;ho, hay,to = The masculine, feminine (second) and
neuter (third) forms, in all theirinflections; the definite article; the
(sometimes to be supplied, at othersomitted, in English idiom): - the, this,
that, one, he, she, it, etc.
Allow me to quote Mark Heber Miller:" Divine: Or, KJV: God; GDS: divine;
MOF: divine.The Greek is KAI THEOS EN HO LOGOS. This THEOS (god) is not the
same as TON THEON (The God) of the former phrase.The Greek, unlike English
and other languages, only has the definite article (HO = the). When the
article occurs it indicates a specific thing; when it is lacking
(anarthrous) it means one of many or a type. Many view THEOS here as an
adjective describing a quality of the Logos. More than a dozen translators
have rendered this &Mac195;¥a god&Mac195;&Mac182; whereas another half dozen have used &Mac195;¥divine.&Mac195;&Mac182;
Some Trinitarian scholars give a severe paraphrase here: BAR: and the nature
of the Word was the same as the nature of God; NEB: what God was the Word
was."
In my language (Dutch) we can find also some omissions of the article,
butwhen we compare other fragments in those same translations we come to
theconclusion that: "In den beginne was het Woord en het Woord was bij God
enhet Woord was een God" would be rightly translated in English as " In
thebeginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
aGod."wich would have the same content as you can find in the English
21stCentury M.H.Miller translation: " In the beginning the Word existed, and
theWord faced toward The God , and the Word was divine." (withe continuing
vers: 2 "This Divinityexisted in the beginning with The God. "/ faced
toward God or "was with God".In an other English version I find: "1 In the
beginning was the Word, andthe Word was with God; the Word also was a god.
2 The same was in thebeginning with God."(RVIC)In our Willibrord
translation (of the Catholic Bible foundation) withimprimatur of the
Cath.Church it is explained in the footnotes that thepeople from the Old
Testament knew the idea of the Word of God. As in another Catholic Dutch
translation (Petrus Canisius translation, Spectrumedition) from the 50ies it
is admitted in the notes that the essence and Johnhis target was to convince
these Jews that Jesus was really the beloved Sonof the Father who came to
the earth, to rescue us. In the introduction theydo agree that John wanted
to write his gospel to point to all themisconceptions which surrounded the
person of the Nazarene Jesus Christ,the Messiah.John 20: 31: 31 "However,
these have been written so that all of youreaders may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of The God. And,because of believing, you readers may
have Life because of his name. "
John dwelled much more fully than the other apostles do on the divine
character of Jesus and explained words and customs which to a Jew would have
needed no explanation. Otherwhile he knew that the people in his time knew
quite enough the God YHWH, so John did not have to explain to the Jews who
He was. John tried to convince the Jews and to the Gentiles that God, who
created first the Messiah for whom everything was created, had send this
Mediator to solve our problems. For them the Alfa and the omega was to come
clear. John looked at the taking of a human form by Christ as a revelation
of
the Father. The "incarnation" of the nature of God, the glory as of the only
begotten of the Father. For John there was the Word of the Father manifested
in the Son. Naturally this Holy Son thinks and handles as His Father.
"In Him are embodied all the treasures of the divine wisdom, the collective
"thought" of God" (Scofield). (John 14:10, 11; Colossians 2:9 )
Jesus is send to us to tell us what His Father wants from us. He is the
Presentation of the Word of God. In that way it is the Word of God which has
come to the earth in a human apparition.
(Psalms 33: 6;Jes 9:6;John 1: 14, 18, 38, 41; 3: 13, 17-34; 5: 36; 6: 29; 7:
29; 8: 42, 58; 10:
30-38; 17: 5; 20: 31; Luke 12: 32; Hebr 11: 3 + Jesus being a Jew)

The Catholic Prisma Spectrum New Testament note indicates that the Word
represents the 'inner
word of thinking'. The thoughts are recognized as being like the way of
thinking of the Father.
The attributes of God were very well known and it is in those qualities we
would be able to recognize the promised Savior. In the property of his
body and soul, Jesus had all the goods of God, but He never would claim that
He was or is God. It are people who are telling that He is God.
In John 17: 1 Jesus does not glorify Himself but warns us how to become
saved. :1 Jesus spoke these things, and then raising his eyes heavenward,
he said: &Mac226;ÄúFather, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so that the Son may
glorify You, 2 just as You have given authority to him over all flesh, in
order that all You have given to him, he will give them endless Life. 3
But, this is the endless Life&Mac226;Äìthat they may continue to know You, the only
True God, and the One whom You sent forth, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified You
upon the earth, completing the work that You have given to me so that I
might do it. 5 So now, You glorify me next to Yourself with the glory that
I possessed next to You before the Cosmos existed.&Mac226;Äù 6 &Mac226;ÄúI manifested Your
Name to the men whom You gave me from out of the world of humankind. To You
they belonged, and You gave them to me, and they have observed Your Word. 7
Now they know that all the things, everything You gave to me, came from You.
"
In several bible text we can read about the relationship of the Word of God
and the Word of Christ in the person of Jesus.
Psalms 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way,
when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their
trust in him.

Other places in the Holy Scriptures to read about the Named Son of the
living God; King of Israel. The One, with power, according to the spirit
of holiness, resurrected from the dead and gone back to His Father, and not
to Himself.
John 1:49; 6:40 6:69; 9:35-38; Mat 16:16; 27:54 ; Rom 1:3-4; Acts 9:20;

Of particular interest are:
1 John 5:10, 20
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son,
that whoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
John 3:18 He that believeth on him, is not condemned: but he that believeth
not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the
only-begotten Son of God.
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: and he that
believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abided on
him.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say to you, He that heareth my word, and
believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come
into condemnation; but hath passed from death to life.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life:
and they are they which testify of me.
1 John 2:23-24 Whoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but
he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. 24 Let that therefore
abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have
heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the
Son, and in the Father.
1 John 5:10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself:
he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar, because he hath not
believed the testimony that God gave of his Son.
In the Bible there is not written that God gave Himself. 1 John 5:11...13:
11 And this is the testimony, that God hath given to us eternal life: and
this life is in his Son.12 He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that
hath not the Son of God, hath not life. ... 13 These things have I written
to you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye
have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
In the Scriptures we are told that Jesus came from His Father and went back
to Him and it is Jesus Himself who says forthright: "I came forth from the
Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the
Father".(John 16:28 )

The Bible teaches that in Jesus dwelt the fullness of God in bodily
form, but the Scripture shows that though Christ had all the aspects of God,
it did not make Him, our Savior, the same as God our creator.
The teaching that Jesus is not God, is not owned by the Jehovah's witnesses
only. Jehovah Witnesses are happily enough not the only ones who take
Jehovah as
their God and Christ Jesus as their Savior. It is not by denying that
Jesus is God, that we would not take in all the marvelous things this Son
of God has done for us. It even does not put Jesus down, to be the person by
whom we can come to God. Jesus stays that only person of prime importance.
In Him God and man met. Jesus, fully as a god and fully man, came to
satisfy a justice that
only He could satisfy.
The knowledge that Jesus is not the same person as God does not do reject
us the gospel that Paul and
the apostles preached.
I, as non-Trinitarian Baptist with several Anna-Baptists, Free Christians,
Nazarenes and all those who believe that the Gospel tells us that Jesus is
the Son of God, do not put aside their believe that Jesus was the Christ who
God had sent to us to make our broken relationship well again. He restored
our union with God!
Acts 3:16 And his name, through faith in his name, hath made this man
strong, whom ye see and know: yes, the faith which is by him, hath given him
this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets testimony, that through his name
whoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
Acts 13:38 Be it known to you therefore, men, brethren, that through this
man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from
which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
2 John 1:9 Whoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of
Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath
both the Father and the Son.

Being born of God, does not make Him or us the Only-one.
Psalms 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said to me, Thou art my
Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Though it never takes away that believing in all those things Jesus took
care off, we can be blessed and sanctified. Never shall calling Jesus God,
make us to be God, neither do it for those who accept Jesus as their Savior,
not God, but well His Son. Perhaps we shall feel as gods trying to be as
saints,but this does not make it, us to be Saints.
1 John 5:1: Whoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God: and
every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten by
him. Acts 8:37; And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou
mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of
God.

1 John 4:15 Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God
dwelleth in him, and he in God.
God shall take care that we are going to see the things right, so let trust
on Him in Jesus name.

Bless you.
Yours sincerely,
Marcus Ampe

~ ~ ~ ntcp info page: http://world-missions/planting ~ ~ ~

info page: http://world-missions.org/planting <><><>


Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 22:20:55 EDT
From: TheologusCrucis * cs
Subject: Re: [NTCP] Components of proper church meetings.

Link,

I thought it was interesting, what you have brought up about the Lord's
Supper and it's place in the life of a community of faith. You wrote:
> >I believe the Lord's Supper is an important practice for any church plant.
> >I'd like to propose discussing what type of things a church should do in
> >

I think it's important to have the theory down before the practice so that
you can recognize like-minded folks to even begin an HC. Perhaps the most
important thing you can do is find out what they believe they are doing when
they come together. In other words, who do they think they are, what are they
accomplishing or commanded to do when they come together in their worship?

I have set before me this criteria after much prayer and study -- I will not
form or join myself to another believer or a group of believers unless they
believe that their worship on the Lord's day (whichever day that happens to
be ;o) is a time for covenant renewal, with community life flowing from that
worship.

Don't get me wrong -- I like eating as a group at a persons house, or getting
together to sing songs to God, to hear what God is doing experientially in my
friends lives, to hear a couple of people tell how this or that passage of
Scripture was illuminated to them by the Spirit in whatever the context of
their lives, and to pray for each other and carry each others burden! But I
recognize this for what it is -- not the end to which the body strives, but
the blessed byproduct of that end. I will offer friendship to others that do
not view what the church is like I do.

I think worship and covenant are very much tied together. I ran across this
by Mike Horton a while back:

"The OT is largely in the form of a treaty, with the great king or emperor
promising to protect smaller nations that could not generate their own
standing army. In exchange, the great king would receive loyalty from his
vassals. They would not turn to other kings for their security but would
uphold the treaty... It is in this context that we speak about the "covenant
renewal ceremony." Whenever we gather for public worship, it is because we
have been summoned. That is what "church" means: ekklesia, "called out." It
is not a voluntary society of those whose chief concern is to share, to build
community, to enjoy fellowship, to have moral instruction for their children,
and so forth. Rather, it is a society of those who have been chosen,
redeemed, called, justified, and are being sanctified until one day they will
finally be glorified in heaven. We gather each Lord's Day not merely out of
habit, social custom, or felt needs but because God has chosen this weekly
festival as a foretaste of the everlasting Sabbath day that will be enjoyed
fully at the marriage supper of the Lamb. God has called us out of the world
and into His marvelous light: That is why we gather."

And the three main aspects of the New Covenant, instituted by the One who
inaugurated that covenant, is the proclaimed Word, Baptism, and the Lord's
Table. Those that lead His ekklesia are the Elders, who shepherds and leads,
and the Deacons, who serve the physical needs of the Body. Christ has given
gifts, apostles, prophets, evangelists, and shepherd/teachers to build up and
encourage the people of the assembly as to lead the them to maturity and to
equip them to do God's work in proclaiming God's Kingdom come. He has also,
thru the Holy Spirit, given each one in the ekklesia a gift to the
edification and service to others. The mortar that glues this spiritual house
together is love for one another, and friendship.

On that Lord's Day worship, we speak the invocation to the King more powerful
than ourselves to come and rescue us. We read the terms of the agreement --
what our part is (the law) and repent of our inability to meet the terms of
that covenant. Then we speak of our Savior King who fulfilled the covenant
for us, in our place. By His actions in life He perfectly kept the law, and
in His innocence took the penalty and verdict for our transgressions on His
self, in our place (the gospel). We enter into this New Covenant by baptism,
which is both the sign and the seal of this grace. Like Passover, we
celebrate the Lord's Table, which symbolizes and is His Presence with us
(Pepsi and pizza?????). And we give a prominent place to His Word, so it/He
can remind us that, really, this isn't to good to be true, we really do stand
in this kind of grace.

The above can be done formally, liturgically, or informally on any day set
aside to meet together as the Bible commands. But the essentials remain the
same whatever order one would want to put them in: Invocation, the reading of
the law, confession of sins, the Elder's prayer, the preached Word, the
Lord's Supper, thanksgiving and offerings, and a benediction.

Hey, if before or after or on another night everyone wants to hang out and
drink a coke and gather round to eat a meal, or pray for one another, or have
a time of really getting to know each other intimately, or have a biblical
teaching, then go for it! Actually, the gifts of the church will need some
time to encourage and build up and bring the body into maturity and equip
them -- but it isn't during that one weekly meeting wherever it may be.

And this is just my criteria -- I read Mike Horton's book "A Better Way," and
thought this is just saying what I've been piecing together for the last
eight years. I don't agree with him in every aspect -- he's pretty much IC to
the core, and emphasizes a clergy laity divide, but the over-all call I
understood. I don't expect everyone to conform to this (although it would be
nice ;o) -- and I know in the culture that I live in when we live by raw
emotional experience and feelings I'll have a long time to wait before I
finally find what I'm looking for. But this is just my opinion, my offer to
the discussion.

I said all that to say this: I think the Lord's Supper in an HC must be in
the context of the New Covenant.

But anyway. Blessings to you, Link, and to you church plant!

TC


End of New Testament Church Planting Digest V2 #159

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