The Elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture

The elements of the pattern of church service and life can be seen in scripture.

True worshippers are to worship in truth and spirit (John 4:24), by the Spirit of God (Philippians 3:3). True believers remained in the teaching of God (2 John 1:9). They would have obeyed God as opposed to rebelled against God (1 John 3:10).

Men, women, and children would have gathered together to hear what was being taught – It may have been that only children who were old enough to understand who were in church service (such as those who were age 12, the age of when Jewish boys have their bar mitzvah, which happens to be the age of Jesus when he was in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening and asking questions) (Deuteronomy 31:12; Nehemiah 8:1-3; Luke 2:41-47; Luke 18:15-17; Ephesians 6:1-4; Colossians 3:20-21; 2 John 1:1).

They met together on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). They met in the temple courts, in people’s homes, beside rivers, in synagogues, and in lecture halls (possibly schools) (Acts 2:42-47; Acts 16:13; Acts 19:8-9).

The church leaders were male elders and male deacons and female deaconesses (Acts 6:2-8; Acts 16:13; Romans 16:1; Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-10).

The communion supper (also known as the Lord’s Supper) was observed (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18-32).

Prayers were offered up to God alone, in harmony with the will of God (1 Corinthians 14:15–16; Nehemiah 4:9; Matthew 6:9,;1 John 5:14).

Songs were sung to the glory of God and thanks to God was given (Ephesians 5:19-20; Psalms 95, 96, 98).

A free will collection was taken (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The Church was not involved with business (Matthew 21:12–13).

Sometimes church discipline occurred (Matt. 18:17).

The Scriptures were publically read (Colossians 4:16; 1 Tim. 4:13), and the Word of God was proclaimed (Acts 20:7; 2 Timothy 3:16–17; 2 Timothy 4:2).

Indeed, each had a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation (1 Corinthians 14:28).

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Should every Christian share the gospel, or evangelize?

What does the Bible say about whether every one who claims Christ as their savior should share the gospel? Should every Christian evangelize?

First, we must realize that we need faith to please God – needing to believe in God’s existence and that God rewards those who seek Him.

Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Second, we must realize that it is only by grace through faith that we are saved, not based upon anything we do, can do, have done, or will do.

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The faith we  must have is one which changes our lives – not be a intellectual assent to the proposition that God exists.

James 2:14-26

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

Acts 26:20

20 but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and alsoto the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.

 

 Finally, we must realize it is only by hearing the Word of God that we are saved. Indeed, the goal is for people to hear and believe.John 5:24

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

Romans 10:11-14

 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” 17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

So faith comes from hearing the word of Christ.

But who is supposed to share that faith?

First, we know there are some who are called or gifted to share God’s word to equip the saints for the work of ministry and building up the body of Christ until we all attain the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

What is the work of an evangelist? I think we can see it in 2 Timothy 4:1-5

1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

I think Paul described the work of an evangelist when he told  Timothy to preach the word, to be prepared, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort with complete patience and teaching, to be sober-minded, endure suffering.

In fact, the word ‘evangelize’ comes from Evanggeliso, translated in Acts 16:10 as “preach the gospel”.

Acts 16:10

10 When he had seen the vision, immediately we  sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

But while there is an office or role of evangelist, all of us are to be humble, tender, righteous,  prepared to suffer for doing good, and to give an answer for the hope that within us.

1 Peter 3:8-17

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

This is apologetics – talking about God.

This is not saying to try to win souls to Christ, or to be a used car salesman for Christ – as if trying to “sell” Christ to others. This is saying to talk about what God has done in your life. This is saying make God look good by letting others know of your experience with God. This is giving God the glory and credit for what God has done.

Although Paul certainly tried to win people. Indeed, he was compelled to do so.

1 Corinthians 9:16-23

16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! 17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship. 18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, thatby all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.

But although he was compelled to share the Gospel, He also asked people to pray that he would have an opportunity to share speak the mystery of Christ. Indeed, Paul told the Colossians to conduct themselves wisely with outsiders, speaking gracefully, so they would know how to respond to each people.

Colossians 4:2-6

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving; praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.

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Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

This tells me we must be willing to talk about God to others, and that we must vary our approach with people, finding the way or words which are most effective for each people.

But again, who should be sharing the gospel? We know Paul was an apostle, appointed by God. Jesus told the Apostles they would be His witnesses to the ends of the earth.

Acts 1:8

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, andto the end of the earth.”

Indeed, Jesus gave the Great Commission to the apostles, which many believe is given to all Christians, telling them to go and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to observe all He had commanded them.

Matthew 28 :15-20

16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Certainly every Christian is to let his or her light shine by doing goo works so God may get glory.

Matthew 5:13-16

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We see in Philemon 1:4-7 where Paul prayed the sharing of Philemon’s faith may become effective the full knowledge of every good thing that is in use for the sake of Christ. This seems to be talking about faith, while Paul also spoke of deriving much joy and comfort from his love because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through him. That seems to be putting his faith and love into action so that people were refreshed.

I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints, and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ. For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.

Parents are to bring their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord – not provoking them to anger.

Ephesians 4:1-4

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

 Does this mean everyone you talk to about God and Christ will become a Christian? No. Sometimes you plant seeds; sometimes you water. But it is God who makes people become Christians – who gives them faith.
 
1 Corinthians 3:5-9
5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

Indeed, God has to cleanse us, give us a new heart, and a new spirit, and cause us to walk in His statues.

Ezekiel 36:24-29

24 For I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances28 You will live in the land that I gave to your forefathers; so you will be My people, and I will be your God.29 Moreover, I will save you from all your uncleanness; and I will call for the grain and multiply it, and I will not bring a famine on you.

Christ is the author of our salvation.

Hebrews 2:10

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

Christ is also the author and perfecter of our faith.

Hebrews 12:2

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 But God uses us for His purposes. As we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God will use us to speak as and when HE desires – like He did at Pentecost.

Acts 2:1-4

1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In fact, scripture tell sus that what is within you will flow from you – good and bad.

Luke 6:45

45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

If you are filled by God, that will be what you speak of.

Jesus spent three years teaching his disciples before He told them to wait  and they would  receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they would be His witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. Then once the Holy Spirit filled them, the Holy Spirit caused them to speak as HE wanted them to speak.

It is GOD who works in us to both will and work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.
 

So yes, we are all to talk about what God wants us to talk about. Some of us are to win people to Christ. Some of us are evangelists, preachers, etc. But all of us can talk about God, and raise our children in the word of God. All of us can love others in ways that God is glorified. All of us can live in a way that if we are asked, we can share what God has done in our lives to give us hope. Some of us plant. Others of us water. God causes the growth – not you and not me. Let God do the work through you, and God will get the glory too – as He deserves.

Acts 6

 

Day 6, Acts 6

 

The leaders of the first church recognized that the urgent should not distract them from what God had called them to do. So they told the church to choose, to elect, to vote upon, leaders of helpers to meet the needs of the people in the church so the elders could focus on prayer and the ministry of the Word.

 

Acts 6:1-7
 Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. 2 So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. 6 And these they brought before the apostles; and after praying, they laid their hands on them.

7 The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith.”

But then we see that several false witnesses lied on Stephen, because the Jews were unable to cope with his wisdom and the Spirit.

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