The Church Service

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:15 am

Thanks Matt for being interactive. This is how people get to know one another.

I have arrived at this point by observing what is working, and what is not working, primarily in the realm of teaching - but this is not the foundation or my motivation for this. My argument is actually a theological one.
It’s clear to me, as I’m sure it is to you also, that we are raised with Christ - we are in Him and He in us - Our new life is ‘in’ the body of Christ - we are a one loaf - one Body, each member belongs to all the others - the numerous passages that declare we are all one Body - we are the body of Christ - combine that with all the verses to love one another, commands to love your neighbor as yourself - combined with the call to forgive, care for, do good works and produce fruit - discipleship - the biblical encouragement to ‘know’ Him and seek Him, can be just as well be applied to know and seek one another in Him, etc. etc. all the sins that had separated us from one another are removed in Christ when we are placed in His body, the New man – Christ – whose body we are now members of: His body our home, not to mention a reflection of the love shared in the Godhead, something we will reflect among each other, and more! = all this is why fellowship is the main event.

Teaching is not the ‘goal’, if you think about it, the Gospel is not even Gods ‘goal’ for us. The Gospel says He died for us 'in order' to reconcile us to God, so we could become one with Him, one with His body. His Body is the goal; the New Creation is in Christ, of which we are all members. The Assembly was made of people who believed the Gospel, and were included into His Body the Church. So how did sitting in a pew become the ‘goal’ of becoming one with Christ? You agree the sermon is not what Christ died for. Do you agree the sermon was made for man, but man was not made for the sermon? (humor)

I’m out of time again but,
First, you seem to think that Sunday is the God-ordained day for Christian fellowship. I don't. I think it should happen everyday. I do not consider Sunday more sacred than any other day. Evidence that the early church utilized Sunday in a special way is not the same as saying that is a biblical command.
We are not sure why Sunday, but God thought at least one day a week was good for devotion. Sunday may be man ordained but that’s not the point, Sunday is the accepted day among Christendom and even secular society at large to have a ‘Holiday’. Pastors make Sunday the ‘sermon’ day, not God. And quite often one day a week is all I get, like I said I want to be One with God and His Body the Church, at least once a week, that should be the 'goal' of the Church. And I believe pastors should make this their goal also, that's my goal at least. Somebody tell me where I'm wrong with this.

God bless
(please excuse, I rushed this)

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:53 pm

I obviously have a lot to say, I too would love to stand at the microphone and pontificate all my thoughts, expound on scripture, pound on the pulpit and shake the Bible in the air (kinda), but would I?

I occasionally want to lecture during my bible studies, because I have so much I want to get across, stuff I think is of ‘vital’ importance to ‘everybody’. But I have to catch myself and remember the point of the Gospel (and that He gave Himself for ‘them’), the person saved, and the reason they came. I need to engage them, to find out what ‘they’ thinking. How can I know if they can’t tell me? I may open ‘occasionally’ with a 5 minute introduction, and I try to never pontificate longer than 3 minutes, yet still if I can write the intro out, have someone else read it. If I ‘had’ to give a sermon I would limit it to 15 minutes (Ronald Reagan said a speech should never last more than 20 minutes).

So how could I give a sermon on a Sunday morning, the day Christians should ‘come together’?

(Church means the assembly, so how can they assemble if they do not come together? So how can they be assembling if they are not communicating? Assembly isn’t stacking things in a room, to assemble means to put things together, come together as one. We could not call it a meeting, we could not call it love, we cannot call it friendship, or participation, or contribution, or sharing, or communion, or Koinonia. So we cannot call ‘the service’ Church. Yet you ‘can’ have worship, communion, and teaching in an assembly!)

I am not ‘entirely’ against the sermon on Sunday, once in awhile I suppose is okay, but ‘I’m’ not going to go unless I have already exhausted my opportunities and energy to sit and talk with my other Christian brothers and sisters on Sunday morning. I already said it would have to be Christian conversation, predominately around the Bible, including songs, prayer and communion. I do not think we could exhaust that kind of time together.

Am I against all sermon time then? No, Have a time and place for sermons, evangelical outreaches, lectures, but advertise it thus, don’t associate it with ‘Church’ service, assembly or worship (I do go to lectures). I believe structure and order be held to for Church meetings, but speakers must be disciplined enough to not dominate or disrupt what should be taking place – the communion of the Saints with God and each other, in Christ. Amen


(Again seekers can come or be brought to a sermon on 'any' another day or night, just don't lead them to believe the sermon was 'Church')

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psimmond
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Re: The Church Service

Post by psimmond » Sat Jun 22, 2013 10:11 am

After giving this topic a lot of thought, here are some of my thoughts:

1. Listening to someone teach from the Bible for 30-45 min. seems appropriate.
A. I think this teaching could happen any day of the week, but I have no problem with it happening Sunday morning.

2. Christians need to be intentional about meeting with each other to really get to know each other so we can carry each other's burdens and encourage each other in the faith.
A. I think this fellowship time could happen any (or every) day of the week. Since many people have weekends off, this fellowship time could take place Saturdays or Sundays. (Since Sunday services typically take place in the morning, this still leaves the rest of the day Sunday.)

3. For many on this forum who diligently study the Bible at home, listening to a Bible teacher may not be as important as seeking out fellowship with other believers; however, this doesn't mean that this component is unimportant for the body as a whole.

4. Along with learning from Bible teachers (and/or studying the Bible on our own or in small groups) & spending time in fellowship with other believers, we should also be intentional about sharing the gospel, praying, and looking for ways to practically show love to our neighbors--believers and unbelievers (but especially those who belong to the household of faith).
Let me boldly state the obvious. If you are not sure whether you heard directly from God, you didn’t.
~Garry Friesen

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mattrose
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Re: The Church Service

Post by mattrose » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:14 pm

psimmond wrote:After giving this topic a lot of thought, here are some of my thoughts:

1. Listening to someone teach from the Bible for 30-45 min. seems appropriate.
A. I think this teaching could happen any day of the week, but I have no problem with it happening Sunday morning.

2. Christians need to be intentional about meeting with each other to really get to know each other so we can carry each other's burdens and encourage each other in the faith.
A. I think this fellowship time could happen any (or every) day of the week. Since many people have weekends off, this fellowship time could take place Saturdays or Sundays. (Since Sunday services typically take place in the morning, this still leaves the rest of the day Sunday.)

3. For many on this forum who diligently study the Bible at home, listening to a Bible teacher may not be as important as seeking out fellowship with other believers; however, this doesn't mean that this component is unimportant for the body as a whole.

4. Along with learning from Bible teachers (and/or studying the Bible on our own or in small groups) & spending time in fellowship with other believers, we should also be intentional about sharing the gospel, praying, and looking for ways to practically show love to our neighbors--believers and unbelievers (but especially those who belong to the household of faith).
I think those thoughts show great balance on this subject.

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Homer
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Homer » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:12 pm

I agree there tends to be too much of an audience/spectator aspect to church but seems to me the argument is going too far. The Sermon on the Mount was, I suspect, much longer than Matthew records it. And Paul, in Acts 20, appears to have spoken for hours, until midnight, at what sounds like "church" to me. Should Jesus and Paul have given the folks there equal time to have their say?
Last edited by Homer on Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Michelle
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Michelle » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:26 pm

SteveF wrote:
I remember what I hear and, in fact, often have to read things aloud in order to get full understanding.
Michelle, you may find this article interesting. There was apparently a time when virtually everyone read out loud to themselves. As discussed in the article, Augustine seemed to consider it an oddity when he watched Ambrose read silently.

http://www.stanford.edu/class/history34 ... aders.html

Steve
Thanks, SteveF, that was a very interesting article. I might just be a throwback. :)

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jriccitelli
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Re: The Church Service

Post by jriccitelli » Sun Jun 23, 2013 2:22 pm

‘I think this teaching could happen any day of the week, but I have no problem with it happening Sunday morning’
This is about interaction, and about becoming one, and it is about Sunday.
I have had some people vehemently argue with me over this, and their best argument has been: “You can have fellowship ‘any day’ of the week, why do you have to insist on Sunday morning!”

I have had the hardest time in getting those arguing with me to see that it is ‘them’ insisting the sermon ’must’ be on Sunday morning, yet I have not heard one good reason ‘why’ we ’must’ have a sermon Sunday morning.
If Sunday (the day) wasn’t the issue why are ‘they’ making an issue over what day the sermon ‘must’ be said? (This is really perplexing, all I can figure is that tradition insists it ‘must’ be so)
I ask them: “If your boss told you that you had to work every Sunday, would you take an issue with it?”
Yes you would. And why? Because Sunday is what western society has normally accepted and practiced as a day off, even if some person does work Sundays they want it to change because all their friends and family generally get together on Sundays. That is just the way it is (I worked Sundays for a year, my social life was cut in half, and people at church thought I was apostatizing). Even stay at home families know that Sunday is the day when others are available to get together. My daughter with 3 kids looks forward to her husband finally being home on Sunday, or going to church. Many people in my world work Saturdays too, and most are busy during the week with something: school, soccer, dance class, report due at work, etc. etc. there is no consistent day to ‘get together’ - but Sunday.

So what happens on Sunday? Getting together? Renewing our friendships from last week? No, what happens every Sunday all across the world – the Church is ushered into rows of chairs to hear one man preach – just what I waited all week to hear. And what’s the message? Love your neighbor? Grow in Christ? Do good works? Forgive one another? Love one another? I guess we are supposed to do this during the week ‘outside’ the ‘church’?? There certainly is no opportunity during ‘the Sunday morning ‘service’ for love.

Yet preachers say do this at home, and do this at work! What, ‘preach’ to everyone at home and work? They never allow interaction at church – preachers rarely demonstrate how to model the love, they always ‘talk’ of, certainly not on Sunday. Conversation at church would demonstrate and model how and what we can do at home. People don’t know how to personally share their faith, talk of scripture and of God because it is not practiced on Sunday. So much is wrong with the Sunday morning time, but this bothers me the most – we are being told to go out and bring people to church – so they can sit in a pew, where they are told to go out and bring people in, to sit next to them in a pew, so they can... Wow, see how they love one another!

Objection! You’re over reacting!

Why, because I love these people?? Why, because I love His body?? Why, because I care??
Call it a defect of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in me wants to love people, yet every Sunday morning I see all the Church for about 10 minutes before and after service, usually out in the foyer or front patio. So why is the fellowship forced out of the church and into the parking lot and hallways on Sunday morning? The preacher has just ate up all the precious time we ‘could have had’ together ‘inside’ the church (with his ‘message’ on loving one another). For ten years I have sat and looked around me at all the people who need community, friendship, discipleship, someone to talk to, someone who cares, all sitting together in a room, yet none of us can talk to each other without disrupting the ‘service’. I can’t handle it anymore, I call it insanity.

Objection! You can’t have everyone talking in church, it would be annoying, and disruptive!

I noted before, that we did have no-sermon church for a year with no pastor at all, for one year. And it was the greatest experience I have ever had at church. Those friendships are still with me today, although that group was dissolved after a new appointed pastor was hired. He put an end to that ridiculous fellowship time with his fantastically enlightening sermons. Yes, before the preacher was hired the Church functioned just as it should, the whole body used their gifts, and 'everyone' fellow-shipped. Some led tables, some handed out bulletins, some gave announcement’s, some led worship, some led prayer, and everyone shared bread.

At another church I went to: we had the 'Connection Nights' for small groups, the large room was set up with at least 40 round tables with 7-8 people each, that’s at least 280 people. Each table had a placard designating what the group was about, and people could join, or move around. There was no problem with noise or disorder, it functioned wonderfully. It was a wonderful night of community.
Although these nights were designed to group together the people for the upcoming small home groups, I do not see why we couldn’t have just met occasionally as we did on the connection nights (?). That large group connection night was as close to Church being a Church as I have ever witnessed.
This large church, just a mile from my home, has rooms large enough to easy facilitate 500 people, with tables! This is an enormous building, with many such rooms. In one such room we have the Wednesday night bible study group meet. In this room we set up 20 or so round tables, and each table has a table leader, but generally a study book is the guide (or more hopefully The Bible is our guide). Even with 140 or so people, this bible night models and demonstrates real Christianity and real assembly. YET! Often at these Wednesday night meetings some speaker will take the microphone and start speaking, and speaking, and speaking. We were just deep in conversation doing just what the Church was supposed to be, and the person will not put down the microphone, auugh.

This has happened millions of times, we have all gone to Church retreats, or event nights at church, we are all sitting around tables enjoying conversation and even bible study together – and somebody gets on the microphone and starts talking, and talking- why did that person decide they have something more relevant to say than anyone else here? There have been people at my table sharing great insight, personal needs, etc. yet they are interrupted and we soon find ourselves shuffled outside again to our cars, what just happened?

During our little Sunday morning bible study where I go now from 9:30 -10:30am, it is about 10am when we are having really intimate productive bible study and discussion, but every single Sunday at 10:35 a deacon in another room pushes a loud buzzer, twice, which means that the bible study must stop and that we ‘must’ head to the sanctuary building to hear the sermon that begins at 11am, 25 minutes from now! (the door to the Sanctuary is actually only 12 feet from the door of the fellowship hall). This is so telling, we are having 'Church' and this deacon actually gets mad that our interactive bible leaders (2-3 groups) do not want to stop (this same deacon never participates in the morning fellowship, and he absolutely dominates the ‘entire’ Sunday ‘night’ meeting we have since he became the leader of it). This has become almost silly, I am observing this whole thing and thinking we ‘are’ having Church, how can it get any better, nobody wants it to stop, yet this guy wants us to stop and go to service??

Sure the pastor is sincere and educated, but he could be teaching personally at his own table, maybe with the deeper insight he has, this is what I told my pastor " you could shepherd the tables, or model Discipling at your own table". There is nothing the pastor can say that is more 'meaningful', or could not be spoken by any of the number of the bible believing mature adults we already have sitting in the fellowship hall. And it could be said with care and conversation, I think 'this' is what the Church ‘was’ made up of – disciples, and discipleship.

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Bud
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Bud » Sun Jun 23, 2013 3:28 pm

Homer asked,
Should Jesus and Paul have given the folks there equal time to have their say?
Re: Jesus in the above question, He is the Lord, the head of the "body", so, no, He didn't "give the floor" to others.

He did however appoint and authorize Apostles to teach in His name. No pastor to my knowledge can be equated with Apostle Paul.

So I remain in agreement with my respected elder brother Homer on this,
I agree there tends to be too much of an audience/spectator aspect to church
(partial sentence quote from Homer)

I wonder if previous revivals haven't been cut short due to "the traditions of men" in the church service and many pastors "having rule over" the assemblies rather than serving.

Peace and love to all,
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD gave attention and heard [it,] and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who esteem His name. (NASB) :)

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Homer
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Homer » Sun Jun 23, 2013 5:49 pm

Perhaps some of our difficulty is in our understanding of what the words "church" and "fellowship" mean. We can know that the word church is translated from the Greek ecclesia which meant "assembly", but what does that mean? When we show up on Sunday and go to an adult class, are we in church? Or does church mean when we assemble in the "sanctuary". Or is it at Wednesday night home bible study?

Paul wrote:

1 Corinthians 11:18, New American Standard Bible (NASB)

18. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church (literally "in church"), I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.


Which seems to imply that they could come together not as a church, i.e. the assembling together does not necessarily make it "church". And neither does unity as Paul indicated. Perhaps intentionality of the assembly is what determines that it is church.

I recall four men from a church we attended arranged to play golf one day. After the day at golf they spoke of what great fellowship they had. Others see fellowship as the potluck where they talked about football, hunting, their flower gardens, etc.

Something about fellowship (koinonia) in the NIV Theological Dictionary caught my attention:
Close analysis of the word koinonia shows that Paul never uses it in a secular sense but always in a religious one. It is not to be equated with societas, companionship or community. It is not a parallel to ekklesia and has nothing to do with the local congregation. For Paul koinonia refers strictly to the relationship of faith to Christ: "fellowship with his Son" (1 Cor. 1:9), the fellowship of the Holy Spirit" (2 Cor. 13:14, "partnership in the gospel" (Phil. 1:5), "sharing your faith" (Phlm. 6). In each case the object in in the genitive. The "right hand of fellowship" (Gal. 2:9) given to Paul and Barnabas by James, Peter, and John was not just a handshake over a deal but a mutual recognition of being in Christ.
It seems to me the fellowship Paul had in mind was exemplified by the churches (2 Cor. 7) who collected money and sent relief to the poor Christians at Jerusalem. And today we can have fellowship with missionaries in far away lands, that we rarely if ever see, by supporting their work.

In 1 John 1:7 John links koinonia to walking as Christ would have us walk.

Perhaps in this discussion we are conflating the words "church" and "fellowship".

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Paidion
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Re: The Church Service

Post by Paidion » Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:26 pm

To put it in a nutshell as I see it, and as I understand early Christian writings (including those of the apostle Paul), every Sunday, each of the early assemblies had a love feast (or Lord's supper)—a common meal held in honour of Christ. This was followed by the communion (sharing) of bread and wine, also called the "eucharist" (thanksgiving) in remembrance of, and thanksgiving for, Christ's magnificent sacrifice on behalf of all. Any brother or sister (not necessarily an elder) could give thanks for the bread or wine. There was a time of body ministry— (a hymn, a psalm, a teaching, a prophecy, etc. for the edification of the body of Christ). There wasn't a single "minister" but the body of believers ministered to one another to build one another up. I am of the opinion that this mutual ministry took place prior to the love feast and communion, but it may have followed it. I do not know what time of day these meetings took place. It may have been in the late afternoon or early evening.

There were also other gatherings of the church when an apostle would visit and give a long talk or teaching, such as Paul did when the young man went to sleep and fell out a window. I don't think these long talks or teachings took place on the regular meeting on Sunday for body ministry. Though there were teachings during that time, they were short and to the point.
Paidion

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