What the world calls church today in the main is far different from what the original Apostles would consider to be the church of Jesus Christ. Today’s church is completely different in every material particular from what the head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ envisaged when He said: “I will build My church.”
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a religious organization.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a building.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a body of incorporated trustees.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a non-profit philanthropy.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a denomination.
The Church of Jesus Christ is not a mixed multitude: a gathering of born-again Christians and unbelievers.
The Church of Jesus Christ has been defined by the Lord as the gathering of born-again Christians. “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20). You cannot gather in the name of the Lord if you have not repented and given the gift of eternal life. Therefore, the ‘two or three’ must be infused with a Hypostatic Chip to signify translation from death to life.
A mixed multitude is not a church. A mixed multitude in the name of church is a tragedy. The Holy Spirit does not have fellowship with unbelievers. “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with wicked intent!” (Prov 21:27). The Holy Spirit dwells in the spirit of saved people through the instrumentality of implanted Hypostatic Chip. They were the fruits of the preaching of the gospel by travelling members of the five-fold – Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers.
In the beginning of the church age there were gatherings in private home made up of born again and baptised persons. The purpose of such gatherings was to have fellowship with the Lord and one another and bread. Unbelievers dared not presume to join in their fellowship activities. Rather, they esteemed believers highly and kept away from them.
House churches were not owned by anybody not even the Apostles who set them up principally for discipleship. They had leaders who did not assume any cloak of superiority over the other members. They were all deemed to be equal. There was no clergy/laity dichotomy. Every one of them was bestowed with at least one gift by the Holy Spirit.
Strangers were not normally allowed access into the living rooms where they met sometimes on daily basis. Those who believed they were people of the Way and desired to join the fellowship were subjected to rigorous test to determine their spiritual status.
24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.
26 So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
27 And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace;
28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (NKJV)
In the days of the original Apostles anyone who wanted to join the fellowship of the brethren would be required to show evidence of the new birth through Salvation Testimony and in addition speak in tongues to enable the leaders ascertain by discernment his or her claim to being a Christian. For the Apostles, baptism by immersion in flowing water and baptism in the Holy Spirit were required for acceptance as a believer. To them that was the meaning of being born again. It was one of the pillars of the ‘Apostles’ doctrine.’
1 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples
2 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
3 And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4 Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
7 Now the men were about twelve in all. (NKJV)
The church of Jesus Christ is the ecclesia, the called-out ones. Apart from few fellowships that unfortunately do not admit to being churches, there is hardly any congregation anywhere in the world today that measures up to the standard set by the original apostles, which the Lord commanded that we should imitate.
Commitment to church services such as being a ‘worker’ in the assembly of believers has led many to believe they are serving God. Being a ‘worker’ would appear to be irrelevant if we follow the Bible-pattern of fellowship. Apostle Paul said: “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.”
Today, the running of the church is mostly in the hands of a group of people I refer to as ‘convicted unbelievers.’ They are experts when it comes to ‘churchianity.’ They are very religious. In most cases they believe that the old covenants are as valid today as they were in the days before Christ.
We need to go back to the pattern set by the original Apostles of the Lord and those who succeeded them. There is urgent need for REPENTANCE. It is the only way to avoid the pre-rapture catastrophic events prophesied by Jesus in the Book of Revelation chapters 2 & 3.
#REINVENTING THE #APOSTLES’ #DOCTRINE AND #FELLOWSHIP.