Last week we asked: What would the church of the first century, the church Jesus built, the church the apostles worked with – what would it look like if it existed in our community today? What we first found was Christ-centeredness. It was a group of believers in Jesus who have faith in Him and follow His teaching in all things and accepts Christ-centered salvation.
Let’s take it one step farther: If we were to have entered a worship assembly in a first century church what would it look like? Through Scripture, we can do that!
First, we would have found it simple and orderly (1 Corinthians 14:40). The assemblies were intended to give Christians opportunities to be “edified” (1 Corinthians 14:26) – that means being built up. So, people were teaching and preaching; being reminded of the words and actions of God and Christ; worshiping; and serving God and one another.
They Sang Songs. “…teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). We are told many times they sang praises to God (Ep 5:19; 1 Co 14:15; Jas 5:13; Ac 16:25). There is no indication in the New Testament that Christians used instrumental music in worship.
They Prayed. Churches actively prayed (Acts 12:5). Prayers were made for everything from personal needs of members to the request for world peace, from forgiveness of sins to the worldwide spread of the gospel.
They Ate The Lord’s Supper. On the first day of the week, New Testament churches assembled to eat the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7). It was a memorial of the death of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:23-26). As they ate unleavened bread and drank fruit of the vine they carefully thought about the body and blood of Jesus and the meaning of His sacrifice for them.
They Gave Into a Common Treasury. On the first day of the week, each member gave as he had prospered so that the church could carry out the work of the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
If this is what the first century church, guided by the apostles of Jesus themselves, was – shouldn’t we be and do the same? To be or do less is to be and do too little – to be or do more is to be or do too much. If this is what made the Lord’s church His church it will make us His church today. This is what we, as Christ’s church (the church of Christ) at Westside are trying to be today. We want to be Christ’s church – no more, no less. Christ’s church is the same today as it was in the first century. dd