1st of July
I was in a difficult situation some days ago and I was in need of some practical help. In the middle of my difficulties, the Lord started to talk to me about the Church, those who are called the children of God and have received Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He said that He wanted the last congregation, the one that is there when Jesus comes for His bride, to be like the first church, but even stronger. We have to look closely at the first one then and see what is typical for the original church in the New Testament.
I actually want us to look at what happened before the church was formed. We can start with Mat.16:18. Jesus said to Peter: “And I also say to you that you are peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” He continues to say that whatever he binds on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever he loose on earth, will be loosed in heaven. Peter had a revelation that Jesus actually was Christ just prior to this. Peter was the one who lead the first church.
After Jesus had given this assignment to Peter, he denied his friendship to Jesus three times. This was when Jesus was questioned by the high priest. Jesus did not choose one who was without sin. Peter wasn’t even faithful, but He chose one who had a revelation of Who He was. We do know that Peter regretted and cried bitterly since he had not been there as a friend when Jesus needed him. Peter regretted and confessed his sins. We see here that a church- leader must have a revelation about who Jesus is and he needs to regret and confess his or her sins. This is basic for a leader.
Before the first church was started, Jesus had to complete His assignment here on earth. He had walked the suffering road to Golgotha and had been crucified. He had taken our sin, sickness, punishment and pain in order for us to receive peace and by Hid blood we have an open way to the Father. Jesus is really our Savior. Every Christian church must build on this revelation. After Jesus had risen from the dead and revealed Himself for His disciples and some of the people close to Him, He was lifted up to Heaven. This was 40 days after His resurrection. He blessed the people standing there with Him and He said that the Holy Spirit should come to them soon. I really believe that the person who starts a church, must be blessed and anointed by the Lord.
When Jesus left them, the disciples gathered together in the upper room together with many more people. The Bible says that they were 120. They elected Matthew to take the place of Judas, the one who betrayed Jesus and later killed himself. They were together in one accord and they prayed in unity. They prayed and were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come. They were full of expectation. I believe that a living Christian congregation must be full of expectations and working for the completion of the Word of God. They must pray.
Another thing that is typical of the first group is the fact that they were in one accord and in unity. I do not believe that everybody should agree on everything all the time. That could easily smell of control, but they were heading in the same direction and everybody knows what to do and all the gifts of the Spirit are in function. They are not competing with each other. We can read about this in the second chapter of Joel.
On the tenth day, the day we call the day of Pentecost, a loud sound of heaven came and a rushing, mighty wind. It filled the entire house and divided tongues of fire sat on each one of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. The people around them got confused since they heard them speak in their own language. Some people thought that they were drunk. We have a tendency to condemn the things that we do not understand. Peter started to speak to the crowd and referred to what was written, especially Joel and Isaiah. He explained to them what happened when Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead and the fact that God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ. The listeners wondered what they should do and Peter called them to repentance. I quote Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 3000 received the message with joy and were baptized and added to the congregation. The church of the Last Days must preach a clear message of repentance and I also believe that God wants us to be clear about the fact that there are two different places of eternity. We must make that choice in this life. The Word of God is very clear that there is only one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. We cannot come to God if we haven’t accepted the redemptive work of Christ. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Jesus must be central in the church in the Last Days. A Christian church is involved in Christ. How did He live when He was on earth? What did He say to the crowd and to the individual? What did He do? People look at us the same way to-day. What do we Christians teach and how do we live? Do we seem attractive to others? If we don’t, they might not want to have anything to do with us. The devil might help some people in disliking us, but we are often disliked since we do not live like Christ.
Let us go back to the first Church. They kept to the doctrines of the apostles and they had fellowship with the others both in prayers and the breaking of bread. The church must be built on teaching that is founded on the Word of God. Many people have an opinion about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, but are their opinions founded on the Word of God? If it isn’t, I reject their opinions. I do not reject the person, but the teaching. The importance of the Word must be restored.
We read in Acts 2:46 that they came together in the temple and breaking bread from house to house. I think they came together very often since it was every day. I hear about people who live a secret Christian life, but that is not the recipe from the Bible. It emphasizes the importance of fellowship with others. I have lately experienced how the Spirit draws people together from different congregations and there are lots of activities in the homes. I feel that this is a preparation for the Final Church, a restoration of the original.
Signs and wonders. This was typical of the first congregation and I believe that it will be typical for the last one. I have heard a lot about miracles lately and I want to see it much more in my own life. People are drawn to churches where they have signs and wonders. Those churches do not need a known person as advertisement, but the power of God is a good enough advertisement.
In the first church they sold their possessions and goods and they gave to those in need. This is true communism. Whatever you were blessed with, should become a blessing to another. We are not supposed to bring anything with us to the grave and I seriously believe that we should share our goods with others. Many people are clinging to material goods and they see them as their security, but the Lord is our Provider and He is our security. When we give everything back to the Lord, His hands are free to do what He wants.
I close by quoting Acts 2:47: They were praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”
DO YOU WANT TO BE PART OF THE PREPARATION FOR THE RESTORING OF THE CHURCH?