Many of us are passionate about the Word; we really are. Some preachers in the institutionalized church love the Word, but for some reason when it comes down to the structure of the church, we chose to ignore the Word. A simple private Bible Study can show us that must of what we are doing is man-made; it is not hard to see; it does not require a deep revelation or a doctoral degree, it is right there on plain sight.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42 (ESV)
It is important to point out that a little over a year after these verses one thing change; they no longer met in the synagogues, they met exclusively in homes. Acts 2:42 is the modus operandi of the church:
- The primitive church was devoted to the Apostle’s doctrine: Learning the apostle’s doctrines was at the center of their gathering, not just an add-on.
- The primitive church was devoted about fellowshipping and breaking bread with one another: These folks were in each other’s lives; like a true family. Their experience in coming together was rich, not looking at the back of each other’s head watching the Sunday show.
- The primitive church was devoted to praying together: Prayer was an essential part of their gatherings. These folks pray and minister their gifts to one another.
The result of this divine formula was amazing:
- There was an awe about the church: Not hype, not emotional manipulations, but an awe.
- Supernatural manifestations, signs, and wonders.
- There was togetherness: This was a true family.
- There was trust as they had all things in common.
- They gave it all to the family of believers: This was real, this was not a game; they showed what was in their hearts, by giving their treasures to the church. That is why in the primitive church, even as they suffered great persecution, nobody was in need (Acts 4:34)
- Amid all their troubles they enjoy great favor.
- As a family they met every day, and they experience joy and gladness.
- The Lord added, not members, not folks from other churches, but people folks who got saved under that ministry.
Beloved, I must admit that I have never… ever seen this divine formula in operation. We have all being affected and infected by the Constantinian contamination of the church. We all need a detoxification from the man-made church. The buildings, the pulpits, the extravagant worship teams, the one-man-shows, the smoke, the self-centered music, the preacher turned motivational speaker, the water down gospel, ignoring sound doctrine, labored as divisive, the feel-good messages, the Sunday productions, the love for money and power and the list goes on and on. None of that is of God, none of that is biblical, none of that is the church of the Bible… at all.
When the children of Israel got out of Egypt God have them go through a spiritual and physical detox. It took them only three days to grumbled against God,
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water.23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Exodus 15:22-24 (ESV)
Not too long after that, in Exodus 16:3 the children of Israel expressed how much they missed the food in Egypt, “and the people of Israel said to them, “Would that we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the meat pots and ate bread to the full, for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” (ESV)
See, the children of Israel did not realize that God wanted to transform them completely, body, soul, and spirit, but they were resisting the detox process. Many of us are going through the same thing, we missed the preacher, we miss dressing up for church on Sundays, the music, the prestige and the sense of security, no accountability and somebody to scratch our itchy ears. As a former pastor in the institutionalized church, I am in the middle of that detoxification myself; in between going back to Egypt or pressing on towards the promise land.