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Is This How A True Church Should Be ?

Below is an extract from a write up about Early Church practices. It gives us an insight into how the Christian church was in the days of the Apostles and Early Chuch Fathers. We have glimpses of how they lived and their general attitude to burning issues such as church offerings, the poor , materialism , church leadership , etc .

We know that each local church would have its own set of challenges, but generally speaking, is this a pattern of how the church is meant to function ? Is your church anything like this?

                                                                          LIFE  AND  FELLOWSHIP  IN THE EARLY CHURCH

"Tertullian's description of the Christian meetings: "We are a body knit together as such by a common religious profession, by unity of discipline, and by the bond of a common hope. We meet together as an assembly and congregation, that, offering up prayer to God as with united force, we may wrestle with Him in our supplications. This violence God delights in. We pray, too, for the emperors, for their ministers and for all in authority, for the welfare of the world, for the prevalence of peace, for the delay of the final consummation.

We assemble to read our sacred writings, if any peculiarity of the times makes either forewarning or reminiscence needful. However it be in that respect, with the sacred words we nourish our faith, we animate our hope, we make our confidence more stedfast; and no less by inculcations of God's precepts we confirm good habits. In the same place also exhortations are made, rebukes and sacred censures are administered. For with a great gravity is the work of judging carried on among us, as befits those who feel assured that they are in the sight of God . . . The tried men of our elders preside over us, obtaining that honour not by purchase, but by established character.

There is no buying and selling of any sort in the things of God. Though we have our treasure-chest, it is not made up of purchase-money, as of a religion that has its price. On the monthly day, if he likes, each puts in a small donation; but only if it be his pleasure, and only if he be able: for there is no compulsion; all is voluntary. [They are taken] to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents, and of old persons confined now to the house; such, too, as have suffered shipwreck; and if there happen to be any in the mines, or banished to the islands, or shut up in the prisons, for nothing but their fidelity to the cause of God's Church, they become the nurslings of their confession. . . . One in mind and soul, we do not hesitate to share our earthly goods with one another. All things are common among us but our wives." (Tertullian, Apology, 39)

Justin M  wrote this about Early Church meetings: "And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought [etc., see below]. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows, and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds, and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need.But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead." (First Apology, 67) "

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huxley, what's wrong with your 4korner head. must you try to disrupt every xtian thread you find?

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Romans 15:5

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a[b] spirit of unity [/b] among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus

Ephesians 4:3

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace

Ephesians 4:13

until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Colossians 3:14

And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity

Isaiah 33:6

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure

Romans 12:5

so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.

1 Peter 4:1

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

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I find some of your posts not only audacious but very disturbing. This is the scriptural response to your contribution:

3 "Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Old and New Apostates

   

5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. [/b]11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

   

12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”

   

[b]16 These are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts; and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. 17 But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: 18 how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. 19 These are sensual persons, who cause divisions, not having the Spirit.

   

20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, making a distinction; 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh." Jude 3-20.

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Huxley, the sheer fact that you are quoting this scripture to advise christians is enough to have the entire passage cast out of the bible completely. How Dare You?!!

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Ah, could stop laughing about this one. How come this is a RANT? I have simply just showed you bible verses that indicatethe way the early church used to behave and be run. How is any of that my opinion?

Why do you christians pick&choose from ya bibles? DO ya think dog is happy with the way you guys mis-handle his very own bark (words)?

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Have you no ounce of respect or decency anywhere in your calloused bones? since it has long been evident you don't have a heart.

   This is a christian topic soliciting christian responses. Please go and rant elsewhere.

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This is how a true church should be, following Peter's example narrated in Acts 4: 32 - Acts 5- 11;

Acts 4:

32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,

37 Having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

Acts 5:

1 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.

3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

Can Peter's behaviour here be described as anything near compassionate? He seemed to be only concerned for the money from this couple. Many pastors in today's churches are behaving like Peter in Acts. They are only concerned about the money the congregations brings in and are lacking in the brotherly/sisterly compassion you would expect them to have. So beware which church you patronise.

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These days we continue daily in one civic.

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While I agree whole heartedly the early church left excellent footprints in the sand for us to follow, it is important to highlight that in this time and kind of society we live in today the way we practice our faith and display our "oneness of accord" will not and cannot be identical.

  I belong to small fellowship on campus with students and a couple of graduates and though no one has never shared any property or sold all their possessions, or collected offering or tithe, there is not one among us who is ever in need and someone else doesn't help meet that need in some way.

  Also we sometimes fail to acknowledge that the early church had faced many problems and dealt with many many issues. See the writings of Paul and the stern rebukes in the book of Revelations. So lets not fall prey into thinking a 'perfect church' ever existed or will ever exist. As long as we're in this human bodies, we will be imperfect people, making up an imperfect church which Christ will someday come back and bring the perfection into completion.

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This is just the way it was in the Acts of Apostles where people do things together in unity and in love for the brethren. Even on the day of Pentecost, the unity existing  among the disciples played a major role in the manifestation of the power of Holy Ghost. In the following Bible passages, one could see the role unity (one accord) played.

Acts 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Acts 4:24 And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:

Acts 5:12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch.

Acts 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

Even people sold their properties willingly and donated the proceeds to the church for the use of the brethren but where is the unity today?

I think we all should go back to the days of old and worship God in the most primitive and unsanitised way (old school) as it was done then because therein lies the undiluted power of God.

This Emporium post is indeed a clarion call to action.

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