Acts 2:42 which explains the function of the church: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
I went into a Costco warehouse recently, to buy for a filter for my air conditioning unit. That was my main reason for being there, so I went about “hunting it down, intent on buying it, and getting out of the store”. That’s the type of shopper I am.
But, these stores are a marvel. I could eat lunch there, buy groceries, go to the pharmacy, go to the optometrist, get sporting goods, go online and buy a car, buy a vacation, get flowers and on goes the list. My MAIN THING was to buy an air conditioner filter. But, there seemed to be an endless list of services, merchandise and goods. The Funny thing was that my shopping cart was full to the top of all kinds of things by the time I reached checkout which I had not intended to buy.
When I got home I realized I had forgotten to buy THE MAIN THING: an air conditioner filter. But, what an experience! Still, I had forgotten the MAIN THING. Have you ever done that?
(My wife is very careful about sending me to the store for anything, because I will come home with anything and everything!)
It seems to be a little like that with “church” now-a-days.
The Church is described in the Bible as being “The Body and Bride of Christ”.
It is the Ecclesia (Ekklesia). In Christian theology that means both a particular body of faithful people, and the whole body of the faithful. The Church is YOU and ME and our beliefs about God and man and their relation to each other.
The MAIN THING of the Church is JESUS and the main purpose of the Church, it would seem, can be found in Acts 2:42 which explains the function of the church: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
According to this verse, the purposes/activities of the church should be 1) teaching biblical doctrine, 2) providing a place of fellowship for believers, 3) observing the Lord’s supper, and 4) praying.
But, upon going to a variety of churches I found healing services being the highlight of most services and the main attraction at some churches. At another church, speaking in tongues were a primary function. In other churches, budgets and building programs were prominent. There are ‘mother’s morning out’ programs, summer camps, vacation bible schools, cooking classes, financial classes, day trips for seniors, concerts, health seminars, art shows and the list goes on. What a marvel.
But, I have been looking for a Church that focuses on THE MAIN THING most of the time, which is Jesus and the devoting of themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
One church we attended, for quite some time, would regularly give an “altar call” at the end of a sermon. Many would come for health concerns, financial needs, relationships in need of restoration, family concerns and a myriad of other needs or wants. I discovered, over time, that very few ever came to confess and repent of their sins, surrender and humbly submit to the Lordship of Jesus and commit to follow Him as a fully devoted disciple and disciple-maker.
I also noticed that almost no one gathered in their homes for the purpose of devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Folks got together, but, it was for dinner or cards, for example. These were more like ‘exclusive groups’. You know the type, “we 4 and no more” types. Cliques.
It seems that when the Church devotes themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers, they will also reach out to the lost, pray for the sick, care for the needy and poor, socialize together in order to have fun, and everything else a Church BODY or Church family might do.
But, it also seems to me that THE MAIN THINGS, in too many churches, has been obscured or diminished by the plethora of ‘spiritual goodies’, entertainment, social activities and special church programs.
Just a reminder, a building and our relationship to a building are not THE MAIN THING. And, Ecclesia is none of this.
Ecclesia is not a legal entity such as the incorporation of ‘the church, and our relationship to that entity is not THE MAIN THING. And, Ecclesia is none of this.
Ecclesia is not owned or managed primarily by any man or woman or group of people, and our relationship to any man or any woman in the management or ‘leadership’ are not THE MAIN THINGS. And, Ecclesia is none of this.
Ecclesia is not a 501(c)(3) government approved organization and our relationship is not with the government and its rules, and it is not THE MAIN THING. And, Ecclesia is not this.
THE CHURCH is YOU and ME and is about our relationship with Him. THE MAIN THING is JESUS.
THE MAIN PURPOSE is devoting ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Now it appears we will be tested. It appears that attitudes in America are moving away from a Christian World View and leaning toward a secular or anti-Christian world view. Now, we will see how well the corporate church and her 5o1(c)(3) model works in a relatively hostile America.
Throughout history, the Church has endured severe persecutions, hostile governments and deadly attacks from other religions. But, the Church of Jesus Christ has not just survived, but the Church has endured the fiery trials and has overcome tribulations and has thrived, overcome and grown.
The Church has overcome by KEEPING THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING: JESUS as Lord and King and by devoting ourselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
Let’s keep THE MAIN THING, THE MAIN THING.
Your Brother and Friend,