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Thursday, May 18, 2006

DAILY ENCOURAGEMENT THURSDAY – Confused? Then Return to the Original Model! Part 2.

During the tenure of the great orator Henry Ward Beecher, a visiting minister (Beecher's brother) once substituted for the popular pastor. A large audience had already assembled to hear Beecher, and when the substitute pastor stepped into the pulpit, several disappointed listeners began to move toward the exits.

That's when the minister stood and said loudly, "All who have come here today to worship Henry Ward Beecher may now withdraw from the church. All who have come to worship God keep your seats!" - Today in the Word.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. – Rom 1:21.

Deeply immersed in meditation during a church service, Italian poet Dante Alighieri failed to kneel at the appropriate moment. His enemies hurried to the bishop and demanded that Dante be punished for his sacrilege.

Dante defended himself by saying, "If those who accuse me had had their eyes and minds on God, as I had, they too would have failed to notice events around them, and they most certainly would not have noticed what I was doing." - Today in the Word.

As we continue our series, we realised in Part 1, that many of the new ideas about Church are just that, ideas! By leaving a building doesn’t make us a better Church; we are the Church, no matter what the construction may be.

We determined that whenever a good recipe is abandoned over a long period and becomes inferior, it would be wise to return to the original recipe to see where we began to fail. What did we add, and what did we delete, and what did we change?

Therefore, I suggested that we retrace our steps and our understandings back to the original model given to us in the 2nd chapter of Acts. Yesterday we looked at returning to The Original Salvation Model; today we now look at…

THE ORIGINAL WORSHIP MODEL

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. - Acts 2:42.

Currently, various churches are engaged in various forms of activity, that they call worship to God. Reading the Old Testament, we learn from Cain and Abel, that God does not accept just anything we want to offer Him. Furthermore, Jesus told us that worship can be “in vain.”

'These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.' - Matt.15:8-9.

Worship must be “in spirit and in truth.” God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth." - John 4:24.

Acts 2:42 gives us the original model… They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. They gathered as united believers, devoted and engaged in the following activities:

The Apostle's Doctrine. This is teaching or preaching God's word. We learn from that this teaching can be communicated to each other via “speaking and singing.”

Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. - Eph.5:19. Preaching ought to be engaging… Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. -2 Tim 4:1-4.

Fellowship. This includes sharing or giving into the common work… Now about the collection for the Lord's people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. - 1 Cor 16:1-2.

Breaking Bread. This is the Lord's Supper… Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? - 1Cor 10:16;

On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. - Act 20:7. Notice that these events occurred on the first day of the week, Sunday.

Prayers. Petitions to God were engaged, publicly as a congregation, and privately as individuals.

God seeks and values the gifts we bring Him - gifts of praise, thanksgiving, service, and material offerings. In all such giving at the altar we enter into the highest experiences of fellowship. But the gift is acceptable to God in the measure to which the one who offers it is in fellowship with Him in character and conduct; and the test of this is in our relationships with our fellow men.

We are thus charged to postpone giving to God until right relationships are established with others. Could the neglect of this be the explanation of the barrenness of our worship? - G.C. Morgan.

If this “Original Model” was used as our devoted pattern today, our worship to the Lord would be correct, and sweeter.

Loving Father, help me by the power of the Holy Spirit, not to be led into confusion, but to be convicted and reassured by your word, regarding the teaching of your word, fellowship with the family of God, celebrating communion with you, and praying publicly and privately. I ask this in the wonderful Name of Jesus. Amen

Be encouraged!
GBYAY

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