I have been thinking lately of the fellowship the early Christians must have enjoyed as they met together from house to house, and what it must have been like.
I can imagine the families bringing a dish of food or a good loaf of bread the women had lovingly kneaded and baked to share with their brethren. Perhaps there might have been something from their garden, cooling fresh cucumbers fixed with garlic, herbs and oil. If it were summer, there might have been a selection of summer fruits. Or, instead, since times were hard for some, there may have been only enough loaves or a few fish to share between them. But as when Jesus had multiplied the loaves and fishes, they would be filled as they shared, since they had gathered first of all, to feast upon the Bread of Life came down from heaven amongst them, and within them, each and every saint filled with the manifest presence of the Son of God through His Holy Spirit.
What eagerness and joy must have been in their hearts as they prepared this love feast and looked forward to the gathering where they were meeting together to share the love they had in their hearts for one another, and their Lord Jesus Christ.
I can imagine the love flowing like pure oil as they greeted one another, and began sharing holy conversation as they assembled.The women would have prepared the table and set out the food, then one of the brothers would have thanked God for their food, and asked Him to bless it before they began eating in the customary style.
What may have occurred after that, it seems, would have been the Holy Spirit moving among the saints in the ordained fashion as He alone gave unction according to each ones obedience; as the scripture indicates in 1 Cor…
26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
Of course none of us were there, so we can only surmise what the early saints gatherings were like for sure. We can only look through the glass darkly according to what the scriptures say. But how many of our own assemblies even vaguely resemble such a glorious and spiritfilled time of gathering in such pure harmony and under the power and unction of the Holy Spirit, who, in His wisdom would have already prepared each one specifically to participate in the true Body Life Christ intended.
Friends, this is so very simple.The Lord hasn’t made it complicated to assemble together in such fashion. It simply takes obedience and love…even as the Apostle Paul admonishes in the beginning of this chapter, to persue LOVE.
Yet, since the beginning of the primitive church, this simple, loving practice has been corrupted, and nearly obliterated from our gatherings. And why? Who gave man the right to tamper with the way the Lord set up, and ordained the way his people were to participate in their assemblies? No one. But in doing so, man has taken away the right of each saint to participate in pure and Holy Body Life, and handed it over to hirelings who attempt to interpret what the Spirit is saying to the assembly. I can only say hirelings, because they have usurped the authority of the Holy Spirit in their meetings. In essence they are Nicolaitans, who practice the doctrines and deeds of the Nicolaitans, who’s activities the Lord Jesus said he hated.
These things should not be so. They can and should be repented of, and not participated in. We can correct ourselves and return to the simplicity that is in Christ, by simply obeying what the scriptures plainly show us.
Even in this hour, with a “church” on every corner, and the feeling of being caught in between the world, and it’s evils, and the unscriptual organized mainstream churches, we can still pray for, and seek out other believers who believe the way the Lord set up his Body in the beginning is the most perfect and blessed way to assemble. God will provide that way. He will provide that fellowship. Simply believe and have faith in God. Be patient, and wait upon the Lord, and He will provide in due time if you are willing and obedient, and not willing to “settle” for cheap, counterfeit substitutes, but desire the authentic fellowship the Lord wants us all to have.
Many beloved saints have done the best they could with what they had in hand, in between these two worlds, to provide such fellowship via the Internet. God bless them. I fully understand we are living in different times; perilous times indeed. A scattered people, and this makes it doubly difficult to meet in a perfect setting, as did the early saints. Yet, I believe with all my heart, that God will fill the void; He will provide that ingathering and fellowship in due time, as we continue to seek His face, and cry out to Him.
In the meantime, if need be we must wait…let us love one another as unto the Lord. Always
As a new believer, I was blessed to be able to be a part of such an authentic fellowship in my home, 5 days a week. It was just as described in the scriptures. Those of us who were so blessed in this assembly had no real part of making it, or forcing it to happen….it just happened out of our love for the Lord and the desire to be together and share in a most natural way. It was holy and beautiful. It was of the Lord. And once you have tasted it, you will never be satisfied with anything less.
May Grace and Peace be Multiplied to each of you,