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Old May 4th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Default What does "church" mean to you?

What does "church" mean to you? I mean, what do you think it should be? Personally, I think that if the apostles or first Christians were to come and attend many of our churches today, that they would be honestly appalled at what they've become. Many are more like social clubs then anything else.

When I read the Bible, I see "church" as being where the early Christians gathered together to worship God and learn more about Him. Yes, it was joyous in some ways, but it was also very serious business to them. It often meant life of death quite literally. (still does in some countries) In the early churches, salvation was not left to chance or even "alter calls". It was a very personal thing and was considered the most important thing in a persons entire life. Everything hinged on it. No one "assumed" someone else was saved just because they showed up.

For one thing, the churches were usually quite small, at least compared to today's churches. Everyone knew everyone else that attended. I don't mean they "knew them in passing" like we know most people, but they really knew them. They knew what each person was going through in their lives, the ups and the downs, and what each person needed most, and their trials and well, everything. They really considered each other brothers and sisters. CLOSE brothers and sisters. Again, not like we do today. They usually didn't just see each other at "church", but saw each other regularly during the week as well.

Although they had a "pastor", each of them were mentored until they were just as capable of leading as the pastor was. Their pastor wasn't supposed to do everything like they do now days. Back then, when people went out witnessing, they would witness to someone and when that person became saved, that person was brought back to the church and became part of their family. that person was then taught daily, (discipled/mentored) until they too were quite capable of leading a church. There was none of this, "let's go witnessing" where people go out and witness, hoping to say the sinners prayer with someone and then pat them on the back and say congrats! You're saved! Go find a church!" Witnessing was full time and was very much like having a new baby, because once saved that person had to be discipled until they had become a mature Christian.

Doctrine was very important to each and every person in the "church" then as they were each expected to know all that God had taught them so far. The letters from the apostles weren't just read to the people, but instead after they were read, the people memorized them! They didn't want to lose a single word of what had been said. Do you realize what that means? That means that many of the older Christians actually memorized what we call the entire new testament! Every word was precious to them and was received that way.

That's why when someone started spouting off about some strange doctrine, everyone knew right away that it was false, and it was NOT tolerated, not for one minute! They were told it was false and why and if they didn't repent they were tossed out on their behinds! Nor was it done in a "hush hush" manner. Everyone was then told to avoid that person because they were teaching false doctrine.

Can you see that happening in our churches today? Unfortunately it wouldn't happen in most.


When the group in the "church" got to large to comfortably know everyone and work together this way, then some of the most mature members left with their families and started new churches. That's how they grew. But you can bet that that new church taught exactly the same thing that the other church taught. After all they all learned together and discipled each other so they knew what was true.

Nor do I think that the children were sent off to Sunday School to hear nice bible stories. (not that there's anything wrong with hearing bible stories) Salvation was just way to important to think that they would have left their children out of it. The children were also discipled, only of course they were taught only what they could understand at their age. However, they were mainly taught the Gospel. The other stories were to support the Gospel story. They weren't interested in "entertaining" their children. They wanted their children saved just as surely as they were. What appalls me today is how many children of Christian parents, that have gone to Sunday School most of their life, have no clue at all what the Gospel is, much less how it relates to them.

As for people living in unrepentant sin, that just wasn't tolerated either. They took their faith seriously and everyone that was there did as well. If they didn't, then they left and didn't come back. Being a Christian wasn't for wimps and certainly wasn't just for Sundays. Remember, everyone knew everyone, so they knew when someone was living in sin. They didn't just hope these people would get right with the Lord, they insisted. They would explain to the person what the sin was and why it was a sin, and what the person needed to do. If that person then chose not to repent and change, then they were shown the door. Nor was it kept hush hush to avoid embarrassing that person. That would have been difficult anyway since everyone probably already knew about it anyway. What happened if the person fought repenting?

1 Timothy 5:20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

can you even imagine this happening in one of our churches today???? They'd probably be sued!!!

This was the way of life for Christians when Christianity first started though. That's why it grew like wild fire. That's why people were willing to die for their faith. They actually knew what their faith was and why!!! Most Americans don't!

But these are things that should be happening in our churches today. Christianity isn't a social club, nor is it just another way to teach morals to people. It's life! And even right here in the US, it's still a matter of life and death! It's about our eternal life!

Most of us wouldn't even hesitate to stop a child from playing with fire if we saw one doing that, but we hesitate and then think of all kinds of reasons why we shouldn't jump in and stop a fellow brother or sister who is playing with spiritual fire and endangering their relationship with God. Why is that? Does God mean so little to us? Does the other person mean so little to us? No, I think that it's more that we're more concerned that the other person will "like" us and not think we're some kind of religious nut job. The reason for that though is because our churches have gone so very far away from what they started out as. No one, or at least very few, have any spiritual back up. Everyone's "on their own". Even though they may belong to a church.


I seriously doubt if in these end days that we'll ever have churches like the original ones. I bet we do during the tribulation day though. Going back to the original way it was done is the only way they'd be able to survive during the Trib.

Here's some verses we can all think about in regards to what "church" should be:


1 Timothy 5:20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

1 Timothy 1:20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they were not straightforward about the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter before them all, "If you, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you compel Gentiles to live as Jews?

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

Philippians 2:15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

Acts 2:42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45. and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47. praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.


Acts 5:3 But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself?
4. "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'' 5. Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last. So great fear came upon all those who heard these things

Philippians 1:27 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

1 Corinthians 5:1. It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles that a man has his father's wife! 2. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, concerning him who has so done this deed. 4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5. deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7. Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us.

2 Thessalonians 3:14 And if anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed.

2 John 1:10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Galatians 1:8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Romans 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits.''

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
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Old May 4th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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Cindy, thank you for posting your thoughts and beliefs regarding the Church and how it was and is. I agree whole-heartedly. I also think that you held yourself back in what you think today's churches are. I felt like you would have really loved to say so much more. I thought of so much as I read it, but you drove your point home in such a Christ-like manner by allowing scripture to speak for you.

I pray that all who come and read (lurkers and members alike) will be blessed by the words in this thread and the words that are taught in the Bible about what a "Church" really should be, especially in today's world.

Bless you, Cindy!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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you know me too well Cheryl! Yes, there's more I could say, but I figure it's something we all need to really think about for ourselves. Now days, we're pretty much on our own as far as living the Christian life. Even those of us who attend really good churches. (good by today's standards anyway) I'm not sure it would even be realistic to try and have a real church like they did back then. I'm sure it would be labeled a cult and possibly rightly so. It would certainly be easy in these days for it to turn into one. No, better to let the Lord handle it, and continue to do the best we can with what we have. Like I said though, during the Tribulation, I'm sure the church will revert back to what it used to be. It will have to in order for any of them to survive.

I know it sounds really strange, but in many ways, the new believers in the Trib will be really blessed by having that kind of church again. For one thing, they'll mature in their faith much faster and much further then many Christians ever do in our times. Persecution tends to do that too, but it's also due to the type of church they'll have.

Most of us simply claim that we don't have the time to immerse ourselves in God's Word the way we'd have to in order to grow that way. We find all kinds of excuses for why we can't. But the Trib believers won't have that luxury. I'm sure they'll be deep in God's Word every spare minute they have, for as long as they are able to survive.

In a way I guess I kind of envy them. They will be great Saints for the Lord, and bring many into His kingdom. Their faith will be strong and secure and their testimonies are going to be just incredible to hear when we finally get to meet them in heaven!

That's partly why I don't worry so much about unsaved friends or family. I know they at least know enough that the rapture will convince them of the Truth and they will be saved. Their lives for the next 7 years will be horrible--for whatever part they survive, but their faith will shine like the brightest stars in heaven and far surpass mine!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 04:45 PM
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Good work, Cindy.

This passage particularly strikes home for me:

Quote:
There was none of this, "let's go witnessing" where people go out and witness, hoping to say the sinners prayer with someone and then pat them on the back and say congrats! You're saved! Go find a church!" Witnessing was full time and was very much like having a new baby, because once saved that person had to be discipled until they had become a mature Christian.
I see this all the time. IMO, there's a lot of pastors in the world whose hearts are in the right place & they preach the gospel straight from the Word but they drop the ball when it comes to mentoring, teaching, & growing their congregations, especially the new Christians.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 04:56 PM
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I agree, Brad!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:01 PM
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WOW, what a post, Cindy. It sure spoke to me.

I sure wish that I would have had/or had, folks that would have followed up with me after I was saved. I was floundering around, and still am to be honest, as I really have no church or teachings to go by. I have you all and I am sooooo thankful for that, plus, I have numerous teaching CD's by Rev. Charles Stanley, other than that, however, not much.

The Lord will reveal Himself to me, and I will learn, I just need to keep pursuing.

Thanks again for the lovely message.
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:26 PM
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Me too Susie! You know, what you said is very true though and we can't forget that. The Lord Himself will teach us, if we ask Him too and you simply can't ask for or get a better teacher then Him!
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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:50 PM
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You know, what you said is very true though and we can't forget that. The Lord Himself will teach us, if we ask Him too and you simply can't ask for or get a better teacher then Him!
Amen and Amen to that.!!!!!!!
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Old May 7th, 2008, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad
Good work, Cindy.

This passage particularly strikes home for me:

Quote:
There was none of this, "let's go witnessing" where people go out and witness, hoping to say the sinners prayer with someone and then pat them on the back and say congrats! You're saved! Go find a church!" Witnessing was full time and was very much like having a new baby, because once saved that person had to be discipled until they had become a mature Christian.
I see this all the time. IMO, there's a lot of pastors in the world whose hearts are in the right place & they preach the gospel straight from the Word but they drop the ball when it comes to mentoring, teaching, & growing their congregations, especially the new Christians.
yes, I agree, but it shouldn't just be the pastors. Every single Christian needs to be doing that. Someone that's been studying for 1 month is able to help someone that just opened their bible for the first time. Someone that's been studying for a year can help the one that's been studying for 6 months, etc. It should be a never ending chain. Very much like it is here at FH, with everyone helping everyone. Sure someone may get something wrong, but that's where another person that's a little further along comes in and explains it to them. Everyone should be always learning, always growing, and always sharing with others what they're learning. People should be encouraged to ask questions and then instead of simply being told the answer, they should be shown how that answer was arrived at so that they will be better able to find their next answer themselves. When done that way, you have a good solid mature church full of believers that know their bibles and can effectively lead others to Christ and disciple them. Another neat "side effect" of that is that the more you disciple others, the more you learn yourself.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 09:41 AM
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I agree Cindy. I didn't mean to infer it was all on the pastor's shoulders but they are generally looked to for leadership in the church & if they aren't proactive then usually the church members aren't either.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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that's for sure Brad. Unfortunately there are a lot of pastors that seem to like the idea that the're the "head" of their church and don't seem to be interested in empowering the rest of the congregation. I didn't think you meant to infer that Brad... Just wanted to make it clear in case others thought that's what I meant.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 10:59 AM
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Lee found an article that was great for the challenge thread, but also fits perfect in this thread in showing one of the main area's the churches have fallen down on their job in our times. Let me quote some of it show you what I mean:

Quote:
One might wonder how the people of “the world” are able to stay blind in this very prophetic time in history. Personally, I was one of those people living in blissful ignorance, not so long ago. I was one of those Christians who weren’t really a Christian, but was told since I was little that I was, so I didn’t questioned it. I didn’t look inside to see if I was. I didn’t question my standing with God. I just lived my life without much thought of the eternity. From what I knew, I was saved because I believed in Jesus. I had my ticket into heaven and no one could snatch me out of His hand from what I understood. Yet, I never read the Bible, I rarely went to church most of my life, and I didn’t worry about it either. I didn’t feel guilty about my sin because hey it was paid for by Jesus and was not going to be remembered by God, so who was I to dwell on it? Anyone out there relate?

We have to remember that people are blind, and “we” have the ointment that can cure them. Yet, it seems that even in the church people are passing the buck to someone else to do the dirty work of spreading the Gospel. We just want to reap the benefits of being a Christian without doing the work of a follower. True Christian’s know without a doubt that most churches these days are not giving the full Gospel, so they know that people who are looking to find God in church are still blind after they leave their hip, concert-like, coffee selling churches. Do these blind parishioners know they are blind or do they walk out feeling like they got something spiritual? I can tell you that I was a volunteer in my seeker sensitive church for years and never once questioned my standing with God. I loved going to that church and never thought that it was a watered down message. In fact, I was sure that my sins were forgiven and didn’t even question my habitual sin. In truth, I could go out drinking with my friends and have no feelings of guilt, for I was not expected to be perfect. Once I learned the truth by simply picking up my Bible and reading it, my church actually seemed irritated by my desire to make sure people were told the whole truth.
http://www.raptureready.com/soap/hell3.html
Now compare that experience, which is unfortunately the experience of the vast majority of Christians and non Christians in the world today, with what I posted in the opening post and with what the Bible says about the earliest Christians. Pretty huge difference huh? Do you think any of these Christians today would die for their faith. I don't. Not the ones described by this article, because they have nothing to die for. Nor do they have anything to live for, they just don't know it.

Compare the average "Christian in name only" family today, with the earliest Christian families. They had to make darn sure their little ones knew the Gospel. In the first place, the wanted to make sure because they wanted their children saved. They weren't about to take a chance that their child might live one minute beyond the age of of being able to decide for Jesus, without doing so. They did that even though they knew that there was a very good chance that their child could be killed for believing in Jesus.

That's another part of Christianity that most of us really don't like to look at or think about. Let's look at what Paul said that he himself had done before he was saved:

Acts 22:4 "I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,

Acts 22:20 `And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.'

Acts 26:10 "This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them.

Galatians 1:13 For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it.


Really think about this: Would you be a Christian right now if things were still this way? Would you want your child to be a Christian?

Our answers to that question show in truth our relationship with Jesus. Those who really don't know the Gospel, couldn't answer "yes" to that question. The first churches couldn't take things for granted and had to make sure that everyone in them knew the Truth, because they may very well die for that truth. Yet these early Christians WANTED TO BE CHRISTIANS!!!!!! They loved Jesus!!!! They were willing to die for Him because they loved Him so much!!!! They were willing to allow that their children could die for Him!!!!!! Would you? (these are the questions I asked myself)


That is the difference between what a church should be and what they are today. These are the questions I asked myself that led me to find the real Jesus and get to know Him. I wanted to know why someone would die for Him. I wanted to know why, knowing they would die, they would then go public and preach about Him! I wanted to be just like them. I still do. That's what always pushes me onward to study my Bible more and to talk to the Lord and to obey Him. I hope that those questions will inspire the same reaction in others as well, and that the Lord will grant each and every one of us a heart of love and passion for Him.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:09 PM
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There ae Pasotors who do no preach God's word the woay it should be preached. they prefer the feel good politically correct way of preaching
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:17 PM
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I love this thread, Cindy. I'm so glad you started it. What was it that Susie posted? Oh yes, "It spoke to me." Perfect description.

In answer to the questions you ask yourself.....Yes, I would still be a Christian and still, if my son were still alive, make sure he believed in Jesus too. I fear for those who don't know Jesus. I know they will suffer a much greater fate than to be killed FOR Jesus. To be killed for Jesus is to live. To be killed without Jesus is to die.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 01:30 PM
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I've been following this topic as I agree wholeheartedly with what church should be to what it has become.

I remember my grandma and her family when she was raised. Church was everyday. Everyone knew each other personally outside of just Sunday worship. They were there when you needed help and for reproof.

Today, it seems like churches are more concerned with membership than the Gospel. Where I am at I see a lot of billboards with a "rockstar" type message pushing the type of music to draw people. You go and get a rush with the electric guitar, drums, and smoke...just like at a concert. Makes you feel good, with and I'm alright, you're alright message to follow.

About four years ago there was what appeared to be a start of a revival where different denominations were coming together to pray for our city on a monthly basis. But, like all good things that take time, commitment, and waiting on the Lord...our fast food mentality that is in America...well, it just kinda of fizzled out..

Needless to say, church has left me today, feeling ashamed for the lack of power demonstrated in our watered down version of the Cross, and I pray come soon Jesus, before I fall completely into the hypocrisy of the majority of church as it has become today.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:03 PM
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The churches in that era met in homes, too--there were no church buildings are there are now. That's something else as different. The format of the worship service was probably different, as well--they probably didn't sing, then listen to a long sermon. There were quite a few differences between the New Testament church and the church of today. Thankfully, some are better than others. I'm blessed because my church has such a great pastor, who believes in teaching with Word, not tickling people's ears.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 02:32 PM
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1 Timothy 5:20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.
"Can you even imagine this happening in one of our churches today???? They'd probably be sued!!!"

They have been sued.

Still there are a lot of pastors who are faithfully teaching and guiding their flocks. The pastor at my church is doing this. And there are a lot of churches full of faithful members who take their faith seriously and try to learn and grow every day.

Some people are critical of "church buildings" and programs because these forms weren't used in NT times, but I think some cultural differences are morally neutral. A group of hypocrites can meet in homes as well as in a church building. Where they meet isn't going to change what they are.

I'm grateful for the Bible studies and fellowship times because it's a good way to meet other believers when you're new to a town.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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What a wonderful thread. Until recently I was in one of those "feel good" churches. I'm so thankfull the Lord me out of it and led us to a real church. We all enjoy church now and its a true bible church, everything comes straight from the bible and they believe in a pre-trib rapture. In my search for a church, I realized how rare this kind of church is.

Lightbearer that is a good analogy, fast food mentality. Get it quick and go out the door, full stomach yet empty of any nutritional value and leaving a person sick and tired in the long run.


When you know the truth and the consequences of rejecting it, how can you not be willing to die for it if you are a christian.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 04:53 PM
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Cindy:
You've started a very deep, vast, informative, whole-heart thread!
I have to ponder on many things here.
Others:
Your comments certainly helped me to even better understand!


I think we have to be careful that we do not begin to saintify the earlier churches and to villify the present churches en-mass; we have not done that here, however, I'm simply asking us to be cautious. :)

There are churches, such as Apostolic Christian Church of America, just to name one, which do not care about "socialties" and "feel-goods," rather, because they are too numerous and too spread out, they meet in either owned or rented facilities, meet most of the Lord's Day, morning service, big lunch & break, afternoon service.

And, if their mission statement's any indication, they are serious about obeying God and staying close to God.

There must be numerous other examples in our United States.

MUCH of the thread starter -- we need back into ourselves and our congregations today.

Perhaps, more later.

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Old May 11th, 2008, 08:02 PM
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wow, deep Cindy....I like small church's.....we are also blessed to belong to a bible believing, preaching church....
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Old May 11th, 2008, 09:27 PM
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There are many wonderful, Bible-believing, God-obeying, Grace-driven churches all over our great country! And, all over the world, I'm sure!

Alas, on the other hand, there are far too many like the ones Cindy and others so accurately described.

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Old May 11th, 2008, 09:36 PM
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thanks everyone for your comments and thoughts! I'm not trying to suggest in any way that there aren't good churches out there now. There are. I belong to one, LOL; Yes, as someone else pointed out, there were other differences too such as that they met in homes. The main reason they met in homes though was because no one had had time to build a church building though lol, not because it's "better" that way. Some people even today meet in homes rather then going to a church building and they prefer it. That's great, IF they're getting the straight Bible truth. However it's important to realize that one thing we can learn from those early church goer's is that it's not where you go, it's what is being taught, that's important. Are you being reached, your needs met, etc. Are you doing your part too?

There is no doubt in my mind that my Pastor would be willing to lay down his life for Jesus. He makes it plain in his teaching what the real Gospel is. Could he improve? Certainly he could! He's human!

There are many other differences between the first "churches" and our current church's that we can also discuss if you'd like. What I was mainly trying to get across though was just a few points at first:

Mainly being that we need to make sure at least for our loved ones, that they know the real Gospel, the real Jesus. Maybe I'm weird, but those questions I posted, really made a huge impact on my life and on my perspective of Christianity and what it's "supposed" to be. We often hear and even use the phrase, "It's a relationship, not a religion", but even that has gotten so well worn that it's almost meaningless to people now. Most people that don't have a real relationship with Jesus, don't realize it. It was only by asking myself those questions I posted, that I realized that I didn't. The thought that something, or someone could be so important that I would be happy to endure torture and or death for it, was alien to me.

Another question I asked myself was "What changed Peter????" Here he was a terrified man, running away and then the next thing we know, in only 3 days time, he's changed into the most powerful public speaker for Jesus ever! Defying the authorities to beat him, put him in prision, kill him or whatever. He wasn't scared anymore!!!! Why not????? I knew that was true. I knew it was real. It wasn't faked, it couldn't have been. No one dies for a lie. So what changed him???? That was another answer that I read the bible and dug for, because I sure didn't see changes like that in the people that went to my church back when I was originally asking these questions. So I knew the change had to have come from God. I also knew enough to know that God doesn't change. So what changed? Why didn't we have that now??? I wanted that, and I wanted it desperately!

That's the Gospel that needs to be preached. It reminds me of these verses, which took on a whole new meaning to me in light of those questions:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

1 Corinthians 2:5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power

1 Corinthians 2:4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,
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Old May 11th, 2008, 10:09 PM
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My sister I think you have got my exact read on this perfectly!

Let me tell you a bit about Nehemiah Center.

I studied the Epistles and the Acts diligently before forming the church locally. And in every instance it became apparent that the Apostles and fellow believers met in homes or small meeting spaces. I cannot find one passage to indicate the building of a large church building with stained glass windows and hard bench seats. Rather the early church gathered together to "reason together from the scriptures"

Paul went and planted churches and had overseers which when translated out from the Greek means one who challenges from a skeptical point of view. Clearly the early pastor not only taught the word but was required to ensure that ONLY sound doctrine was taught. There was no feel good-ism. False teachers did abound and went from town to town and oft times spread worthless doctrine and out and out lies. Much like today.

Today those false teachers come into the church by the miracle of TV and the internet! Blessed is the Pastor who dares to speak against the false teachers of this day.

So Nehemiah Center is small about 20 souls locally and 15 or so online who listen. I know each ones name and call them on any week I do not see them. I know their kids names and more often than not I am referred to as "Uncle George" rather than "Pastor George". Our little church has unique seating we have couches and recliners and easy chairs. Pillows and blankets and I encourage you to have a cup of coffee or tea. We are in G-ds house then why not be in His living room?

Our children stay with us and learn from there moms and dads how to worship and pray and read the Bible. Oh and the kids are ACTIVELY involved in the service. Our kids lead prayers and read from the scripture and are encouraged to ask questions. Right now this instance stop the pastor and ask what you don't understand. Oh and our kids are POWERFUL witnesses! I have a 7 year old who has no problem asking you if you are saved and telling you what you must do to get saved.

My congregation knows that if you are not saved you go straight to hell when you die. No if ands or buts. The gospel is proclaimed and the word is spoken. We eat together, we pray together, we love and we laugh and we cry together. The reality is we ARE the family of G-d!

I was gone of and on for 2 weeks guess what the church went on. I am a shepherd of the flock but I am not the head of the church that role is only for Jesus. I do what he tells me to do.

Pull out your Bible and read the book of Titus and then Philemon. That is church my friends that is church.
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Old May 11th, 2008, 11:37 PM
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To me the church is one thing and that is a body, its a living breathing body. We all have a part of this wonderful body, some is called to be hands, legs, eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and so much more. Another thing that is parallel to this is that the church is servants and friends of Jesus, we serve him out of our love for him. We become the true church, the church of missions to others. Church shouldn't be a place of a religion but a place of mercy and grace and servanthood to the community. :)
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Old May 12th, 2008, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgreen20
The churches in that era met in homes, too--there were no church buildings are there are now.
Yes, and I think that may be part of the problem.

Just like people think they need bigger and bigger homes, churches think they need bigger and bigger buildings. You end up spending more time on the possession, whether it's a home or a church building, than you do for the people inside it.

To me, also, church should be a family of believers who can depend on and trust one another - instead of busybodies.
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