Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)
The Modern Church Is A Far Cry From The 1st Century Church
When people think of a church they have many things that come to mind. The view of the church brings up a lot of diversity in how it is organized, its work and mission, how it is politically connected, and how many programs are available to meet the social needs of a community. Buildings abound with every name imaginable describing each group as this church and that church with distinctive appeals to draw people in. Church involvement is based upon how the church will fit the needs of the individual. Some churches will not appeal to the masses because they do not offer programs that will stimulate and excite. Others use the frivolity of the carnal spirit to engage people in fever pitched resonations of music offering temporary spiritual excitement; all of this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Admittedly – church in the modern world looks nothing like its humble beginnings. Religion has to fit all the social, political, economic and mental needs of a community with programs requiring budgets of small countries. Fellowship halls, gymnasiums, counseling wards, homes for unwed mothers, half-way houses for drug addiction, auditoriums to facilitate large crowds rocking to the beat of a Christian rock band, bingo halls, entertainment venues, kitchens that rival the best restaurants in town, soup lines, clothes closets, trunk or treat, Christmas shows, Easter celebrations … and the list goes on and on. The modern day church has become a small business requiring secretaries, bookkeepers, lawyers, handymen, grounds keepers, and staff overseeing this incredible behemoth of organized religion. In the minds of most people if a church does not cater to these types of programs they are severely lacking and destitute. And then we turn to the New Testament and find that most of what is believed to be an identity of the church Jesus died for is a far cry from truth.
The New Testament church is a body of people that make up the pattern of how the early disciples understood the purpose and mission of the church. Paul explained to the elders at Ephesus they had the oversight and rule of the local congregation. The Holy Spirit had made them overseers by right of authority from the word of God. The apostle explains the church was bought with the blood of Jesus. These men were to shepherd the church in accordance with the pattern of the will of God. In the first century there were many economically destitute people. There were people with drug problems, criminal records, unwed mothers, and social outcast. The political arena was a delicate balance between quiet rebellion and submission to Romans oppression. Pagan worship was filled with loud music, raucous events filled with jumping and shouting and raising hands in the air and the fever pitched appeal of the modern world of that time. What is lost in the minds of folks today is they believe they must cater the Christian model to the modern world as if this has never been done before. It has never changed.
False religion always comes dressed in the apparel of meeting the needs of the carnal mind. Is the church an institution that must address the political, social, economic and carnal heart of all men? Did Jesus die for man to create these bastions of religious institutions for the glory of men? The New Testament church was not a primitive group of ignorant cave men who did not understand the needs of man. The first Christians knew exactly what the New Testament church was supposed to be and for hundreds of years kept the simplicity of the church to its original pattern. Over time men corrupted the worship and organization of the church to meet their own carnal needs. The Roman Catholic Church was the apostate church in the full form of the glory of carnal man leading her illegitimate children of Protestant rebellion to follow in her path – and to modern religion.
The New Testament church is exactly what the name implies. If the pattern, worship and work of the local church are not in harmony with what the scriptures teach then it is not the church Jesus died for. All the liberties men have taken with corrupting the worship of God will not change the simple plan of the first century disciples. It is time for men to return to the old ways of Biblical truth. Let the word of God be the voice of the church today and glorify Jesus and the church He died for. There is only one Lord, one faith, one church and one hope.