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Saturday, December 3, 2011
THREE KINDS OF BIBLICAL NEW COVENANT CHURCHES (Part Three):
These three kinds of churches are also distinguished by the following:
6.THE VOCAL PARTICIPANTS IN THEIR GATHERINGS:
A. When the church which is the Body of Christ is gathered together:
I don't know of any scripture which specifically addresses the matter of vocal participation when the whole Body of Christ is gathered! When the Lord comes and the whole Body is gathered together for the first time, I'm sure He will give us all the instructions we'll need!
B. When the whole church, the church of God in a city is gathered together:
I Cor. 11:20-34 and 14:23-40 regulate such gatherings. (See I Cor.11:20,22 and 14:23 in the KJV, Darby`s “New Translation”, or Zodiates` “Word Study New Testament”.)
The regulations of gatherings of whole churches of God in cities:
- teach that such gatherings are not for eating the Lord’s supper. I Cor.11:20 This is to be done when the saints come together to eat in their homes (Acts 2:46b; I Cor.11:22,33,34)
-require men to be the vocal participants and require women to be silent. They are to ask their questions of their husbands at home.
-all speaking (prophesying, teaching, speaking in tongues, interpretation, revelation) is to be done one speaker at a time and when another has something to say, the first is to be silent. Thus there is no reciprocal, conversational, or two way communication in such gatherings.
-allow any male believer to speak, as long as they do it within the guidelines of scripture:
In order that all in these very large gatherings may be edified:
-there is to be only one speaker at a time
-tongues speakers are to be silent unless there is an interpreter,
-there is to be speaking by no more than 3 prophets and no more than 3 tongues speakers,
-other prophets are to judge/discern that which is spoken by prophets.
*It is interesting to note that God places such importance on these instructions that anyone’s claim to be a prophet or a spiritual person is to be judged by whether or not they acknowledge that these things are the commandments of the Lord! I Cor.14:37
C. When saints gather as churches in houses:
There is to be exhortation, edification, provocation to love and to good works, loving, comforting one another and praying for one another. (Hebrews 10:24,25) Because "each man" (the generic term "every one", not every male) has received a gift from God for the edification of the body and those who speak are to speak as the "oracles of God" and those who minister are to do so as "good stewards of the manifold grace of God", (I Peter 4:10,11)there is opportunity for ministry from every one.
All "one another" commands and instructions:
-include men and women,
-indicate actions which are mutual and reciprocal,
-indicate that all may participate audibly in the particular activity.
In order that all believers in the gathering may be edified, exhorted, comforted, stirred up to love and good works, in order that all who need prayer may be prayed for, in order that there may be weeping with those who weep, and in order that there may be rejoicing with those that rejoice,
There are no restrictions on:
-the number who may be speaking at one time. (Ministry often takes place in a number of small conversations, homilies or dialogues at one time - especially at meal times!
-the number of tongues speakers or prophets who may speak, (While every person present does not necessarily HAVE TO participate, church gatherings in homes should be small enough so every one MAY participate if they have something to contribute for the edification of others.)
-the vocal participation of women in teaching, prophesying, speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, praying or asking of questions. (A gathering in a house is the place where questions, conversation and dialogue all have their place!) See examples in Acts 1:10-2:4; 4:31; 10:44-46; 12:12-17; 16:34; 18:26; 2:17 with 21:9)
7. OTHER SCRIPTURAL DESIGNATIONS FOR THESE CHURCHES:
A. THE CHURCH WHICH IS CHRIST'S BODY IS ALSO KNOWN AS:
1. The house or habitation of God: Ephesians 2:22; I Tim.3:14,15
2. A holy temple: Ephesians 2:21; I Cor.3:16,17;
3. A building: I Cor.3:9; Ephesians 2:21
4. The household of God, or household of faith: Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 6:10
5. The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. I Tim.3:15
6. "My (Christ's) church": Matthew 16:18
7. The general assembly and church of the firstborn. Hebrews 12:23
B. THE CHURCH OF GOD IN A CITY IS ALSO KNOWN AS:
1. The whole church: Acts 15:22; Romans 16:23; I Cor.14:23
2. The church which is “in” or “at” a particular city or “of” the people in a particular city: Jerusalem Acts 8:1; 11:22; Antioch 13:1; Ephesus Acts 20:17; Revelation 2:1, Cenchrea Romans 16:1; Corinth I Cor.1:2; II Cor.1:1; Thessalonica I Thessalonians 1:1; II Thessalonians 1:1, Babylon I Peter 5:13; , Smyrna Revelation 2:8, Pergamos Revelation 2:12, Thyatira Revelation 2:18; Sardis Revelation 3:1, Philadelphia Revelation 3:7, Laodicea Revelation 3:14
Gatherings of the church of God in a city are designated by the following terms:
1."All with one accord in one place" Acts 2:1;
2. The multitude of the disciples (in a particular city): Acts 6:22.
3. "Gathered the multitude together" Acts 15:30
4. "when ye come together into one place" I Cor.11:20,
5. “the whole church come together into one place” I Cor.14:23
C. A CHURCH IN A HOUSE IS ALSO KNOWN AS:
1. The assembling of yourselves together (for provoking one another to love and to good works, and exhorting one another) Heb.10:24,25
2. Your assembly: James 2:2 (in which one could be seated by a footstool, v.3)
Fellowship among New Covenant believers in Jesus Christ cannot help but be demonstrated. Everyone in the whole world who is enjoying fellowship with Christ and other saints will be endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph.4:3)
Everyone who is enjoying union with Christ will be nurturing fellowship with other saints to which He has joined them in their community (regardless of the denomination from which they have come!) As we have opportunities to gather with all believers across our communities, we need to be prepared to allow God to rule and regulate such gatherings so that unbelievers who walk in off the streets will worship God, fall down on their faces and confess that, "God is in you of a truth!" I Cor.14:25
But it will be through churches in our homes, scattered across our communities, where deep and costly fellowship is forged, nurtured and protected, that the love of Christ will be demonstrated so that unsaved neighbours around us will know that we are Christ's disciples because we love one another! John 13:34,35
(Beside the three kinds of biblical churches described above, do you know of any other kind of church found in the Bible? If so, please leave a comment at the end of this post with the scriptural designation of such a church and the appropriate scripture reference where such is found.)