On a lovely Saturday morning in the Early Church you would find the disciples of Jesus headed to the local Jewish Synagogue for worship, fellowship, reading of the Old Testament Prophets and to talk story on the one and only day off in the 6 day work week. And during the time of fellowship the Christians would be sharing their experiences about their new faith with excitement and loving power. And that was due to the example that Jesus set while here. He had told HIS disciples that the things that HE did and they would do even greater things as HE went to be with HIS Father. And the people would listen and those interested would be invited to a Sat. sunset house church gathering at someones home. Food would be brought and shared and prepared by those who were anointed to do so. And while the food was being made ready testimonies concerning Jesus would be given and the elders would share the Word of God. Mostly as Jesus taught and can be found in the Old Testament. So the scriptures like in Psalms 22 and Isaiah 52:13-53-11 & 61:1-3. Would lead into teachings on repentance, salvation, restoration, sanctification and victory in Kingdom living. There was not much paper available in those days so folks had exceptional memories. This was a time of transition for the Church to be born upon the resurrection of Christ Jesus and empowered and guided by the Holy Spirit who came at Pentecost to build the Church.
So when the house-church gathering would come together they had a few tabernacle markers but mostly just tried to follow the Holy Spirit. Those 7 markers are listed in Acts 2;41-43 but were not laws. 1. Salvation and the testimony of Jesus, 2. Sound Doctrine, 3. Fellowship (Agape meal together.) 4. The Lord’s Supper, 5. Prayers, 6. A Holy Reverence and “Body Life Ministry” and 7. The leaders ministered to the remaining needs of the people, Acts 5:16, in the power of the Holy Spirit…. Acts 2:47, “And the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved. and healed. By 1 Cor. 14:26-33 they had come a long way is moving into God’s Love, Holiness and Power in freedom. If interested in more about the 7 markers of an effective Early Church: https://trinity-aloha.org/keys-to-the-kingdom/house-church/
But notice that church was the people in an interactive forum conversation with the Holy Spirit. A forum is when seated or standing in a circle and all are welcome to voice their thought in freedom. A round table if you will. If something is said that is not true then it is up to the leaders and anyone to seek to bring the fellowship back into the Spirit of God. 1 Cor.14:29. So there was always a quick loving 1 Cor. 6, judgment to openly rebuke, reprove and exhort with all long suffering and doctrine when needed. Lies were not allowed to go unanswered: 2 Pet.2:1, Titus 1:9, Col. 2:22, Rom. 16:17
So some Good Traditions of God to help us judge are as follows.
- Is the Bible, in context, used for the authority and doctrine that the ministry supports..
- Does the ministry only lift up Jesus in Love, Holiness and Power.
- Does the ministry have the confirmation of the Power of the Holy Spirit? 2 Tim.3:5
- God’s Truth, sets us free to walk in the Holy Spirit, is their freedom to go and grow?
- Do the leaders work towards universal church unity or support of their own ministry or building needs? John 17.
- Do disciples always have the opportunity to speak, engage and grow with all the other folks who are there.
- Are offerings and giving a matter of a personal decision in the Holy Spirit or is there manipulations or law applied.
- Do the elders and leaders have the freedom to be totally transparent and be loved anyway?
And the list goes on and on concerning vain (prideful) tradition that make the church ineffective. Please go through your New Testament and add to the list. You will find that our vain traditions have really made the Word of God, (Powerless.)
The real issue concerning the Lord’s Church is that the Holy Spirit is not in control of the Church and vain (Prideful) traditions that make some look good only sucks the life out of the Lord’s Church and have replaced the Holy Spirit. It is not about the form, as Jesus was not into a form or liturgy at all. The Church was to be free and guided by the Holy Spirit. We are not guided by the Holy Spirit to use all 7 steps all the time. We have 5 different offices listed in Eph.4:11 and their ministry are substantially different and would require Holy Spirit to have the freedom to guide and support to be effective. All was to be all guided by the Holy Spirit as per the need at the time. One time might be evangelism, another might be teaching basics. But if you freeze all into a form of worship and turn the church into a 1 or 2 hr. theater then the Holy Spirit is still outside with Jesus, knocking to get in as in Rev. 3:20, the prophetic church we are now living in is mostly in rebellion to the clear teaching of our LORD, Christ Jesus..
The New Testament records location names so as to write to them and receive from them but they were not financially separate denominations with special doctrines that restricted the flow of disciples in one direction or another. Our position today should be to honor the prayer of Christ Jesus in John 17 with all who will submit to HIS teachings. And I am working on that for myself as well. There should be no walls in Jesus to keep anyone in or out if they want to learn to walk with the LORD or not. God always honors freewill as only with freewill is love really valid. It is not about names, buildings or denominations but about the hope and the quest to get and keep close to Jesus and do what the Holy Spirit wants us to do and teach others to do the same. God has called us to peace, love, humility & obedience and eventually to become His family and to be like HIM. What good father does not want HIS kids to grow up and become like HIM.
We should not be concerned about family names or denominations but only the need to come into the unity of the faith and the bond of peace through the Holy Spirit. I have never suggested the a building be torn down but that it be used to lift up Jesus. But buildings are not a good investment and do divert funds from evangelism and the poor that are much needed. And it is not up to me to the last word concerning traditions, the New Testament does that very well if you are interested. It is Jesus who was down on vain (Prideful) traditions and HE made a good list. The problem is that not many study what Jesus said to do, They tend to spend energy, gifts and offerings on what makes them look good and for the sake of being worldly comfortable and looking successful, Rev.3:14-22. Personally I see no need to build anything physically as there is plenty of unused space already available for the needs of the Church of Jesus. But when we will ever learn to become really become obedient to our LORD’S prayer in John 17 and work together in HIS great Love.