|Gathering Unto His Name - Traditions|
Paul uses the word "tradition" in a good sense in 1 Corinthians 11:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-15, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6,7. A tradition is a handover, truth handed down either by spoken word or written record. When Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I have received of the Lord that which I delivered unto you..." (1 Corinthians 11:23), he was handing down truth - delivering a godly tradition. Timothy was commanded ?to commit to faithful men" the truth he had learned from Paul, and they in turn would be able ?to teach others also? (2 Timothy 2:2). This is godly tradition.The Traditions of the elders of Israel made up a vast amount of material. There are 32 pages in the Mishna on how to cleanse vessels. Traditions have a very bad sense in the Gospels and in the experience of Saul of Tarsus. Matthew 15:3, ?Ye trespass the commandment because of your traditions." Mark 7:8, "Ye leave the commandments of God and hold fast traditions." Galatians 1:4, "Being more exceeding jealous for the traditions of the fathers."
TRADITIONS OF ASSEMBLIES??
It is sometimes claimed that many assembly practices are merely traditions. People who say this describe a tradition as a practice that has no scriptural authority. It may once have had meaning, but is no longer relevant. We need to ask, "What are these traditions that should be done away?" Asking this question, I have been given the following list of "traditions" so called.
THE NAME OF GOSPEL HALL
Isn't it a second name? Hall is not a formal name. It is a word like room, garage, home, barn or shed. The Carnegie Music Hall is a place for people to gather to hear music. The Gospel hall is a place for people to gather to hear the Gospel. Fellowship is not based on what Christians call their building. No Christian belongs to a Gospel hall; the building belongs to an assembly.
TIME OF THE BREAKING OF BREAD
The principle of first things teaches us to give worship the first place. ?On the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread? (Acts 20:7) is an important pattern. It agrees with NT teaching (Mark 16:9; John 20:19, 26, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The command of the Lord is "As often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do proclaim the Lord's death" (1 Corinthians 11:26) and NT assemblies did this every first day of the week
THE CIRCLE AT THE BREAKING OF BREAD
It is not the shape of the circle that is important, but "in the midst" is God?s authority model, not a pyramid, but a circle with the Lord in the midst.Two great principles are found in Hebrews 10:25 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1. The word for ?gathering around? that is only found in these two verses is equivalent to the word epicenter. Just as we will be gathered around Him in the air, so we have the great privilege of gathering around Him in an assembly now.He is the true Gathering Center, the epicenter. We can express this great spiritual principle in a visible way when we gather around Him (Heb 13:13).
The Spirit?s leading does not begin after we arrive at a meeting. The characteristic of the ?sons of God? is that they are led by the Spirit of God (Rom 8:14). Phil 3:3 teaches that it is by the Spirit that we worship. An assembly is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He must preside in it (1 Cor 3:16).
THE BACK SEAT
1 Cor 14:16 describes the ?seat of the unlearned?. Some have taught that the meaning of ?unlearned? is merely that the man was unlearned in the tongues that were being spoken. If this were its meaning, then this man did not have any distinction from the rest of the company because six times in the previous verses it says that no one understood the tongue, not even the man who spoke it. Verses 23-25 explain that the unlearned man was ignorant about the Lord being present in the midst of the assembly. The whole church was already gathered together when he came in (v 23), 50 he was not part of the assembly and unknown to the saints as to whether he was unsaved or only unlearned.The remainder of the description of this hypothetical case points out that hewas unlearned, but was a true believer who was able to worship God. This is a clear case of a saved man who was not in the fellowship of an assembly and he occupied the ?seat of the unlearned?. This practice is not merely a tradition of assemblies. It has behind it the truth of the within and without of an assembly. We freely admit that it would be better to call it ?the seat of the observer?rather than ?the back seat?.
Our worship is spiritual (John 4:24). without mechanical device or aid, yet the Lord left us five physical elements, water (baptism), bread, cup, long hair and a covered head. (Gen 1:26-28; Heb 2:1-10; Eph 1:22-23; 1 Cor 11:1-16).Far from being a minor, non essential teaching, the truth of the Headship of the Lord Jesus is one of the greatest truths in the Bible. What an honor and privilege that an assembly can show to God, angels and the world a truth that will yet be displayed to a wondering universe.The passage on headship (1 Cor 11:2-16) teaches two coverings, the long hair as well as the veiled head of sisters and the short hair and uncovered head of the man. These are not meaningless traditions, but are spiritually significant practices of godly assemblies.
THE CONDUCTING OF ASSEMBLY MEETINGS
All seven meetings of an assembly: the Lord?s supper, and the meetings for prayer; gospel, ministry, report, elders and discipline are from the New Testament. Shepherding ministry, teaching and Gospel preaching are the three functions of the three gifts that were given by the risen Lord for the maintenance of testimony (Eph 4:9-16). As in such passages as 1 Corinthians 14, we still pray, sing and speak from God?s Word when we meet together.
?A meeting? is a meeting with the Lord, and there should be reverence and awe at His Presence. A casual attitude is expressed by casual dress. A meeting is not casual. The usual excuse given is, ?If my heart is right, outward appearance does not matter,? but only God can see our hearts, others see the outward appearance. There cannot be testimony, unless all that expresses it can be seen and appreciated by the eyes of others.
The New Testament is silent on music, but has much to say about singing. The singing of 1 Corinthians 14:16 was accompanied by two things, ?the spirit and the understanding?. This would have been the place to give teaching about a musical instrument, but none is mentioned. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, two other elements accompany singing. They are ?melody? in the Ephesian passage, and ?grace in the heart? in Colossians. Even the word ?melody? which is akin to ?orchestration? does not help people who want to use musical instruments in an assembly. This ?melody? is made in the heart and is the result of being filled with the Spirit.Even though the ministry of music occupies a very large place in many denominations that profess to be guided alone by Scripture, there is not a line of instruction in the NT about a musical ministry. Hebrews 9:1-22 teaches that along with the animal sacrifices, altars, vestments, incense, gold, silver and priceless gems, the silver trumpets, ram?s horns, timbrels and harps of the OT were only shadows that were fulfilled in the coming of Christ and then withdrew.An assembly is a temple of God, but it is not the outer court where the musical instruments were employed. It is the inner sanctuary (naos, not hieron) where no musical instrument was ever admitted even in Old Testament days.O Lord we know it matters not how sweet the song may be, No heart but of the Spirit taught, makes melody to Thee.Many kinds of musical instruments are connected to Babylon (Rev 18:22).
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Readers have left 3 comments.
3. Lord's Supper
GAETAN ROBICHAUD, Unregistered
Happy new year to every one of us!
Moses, I just want to clarify some things with you about what you commented above.
I AGREE with your points 2, 3, and 4.
Point 2, Mark 16:9, is about the resurrection of the Lord. He rose on a Sunday.
Point 3, John 20:19 mentions the first day of the week, but a similar event occurs the following Monday (not a Sunday).
Point 4, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, this collection is not in a gathered company of saints. Each individual was instructed to set apart a certain money at home (money for
helping poor saint at Jerusalem).
But I DISAGREE with your point about Acts 20:7. The teaching of the Lord's supper only came at the end. Before the cross, the Lord himself instituted a new way. "Take
this and do it in remembrance of me" (end of gospel). Later, Paul received instruction from direct revelation (1 Corinthians 11).
The chronology of events:
> End of gospel before His death (Luke 22:19,20 & Matthew 26:26-27); directly from the mouth of the Lord Jesus
>> 1 Corinthians 11 (written 55 AD); direct revelation to Paul about how to conduct the meeting
>>> Acts 2:42,46 (written 62 AD); the action of the meeting (New Living Translation is clear on that)
We have to get the right verses and the context of each verses to understand the Lord's supper.
With the end of gospel Luke and Matthew, it is not me or the brethren from assemblies, like you say PB, that brought that. It was the Lord himself. SO who are we to
dispute against it? He instituted a simple way to demonstrate His will for us to perform continually until He comes.
1 Corinthians 11 shows the way it should be done. It is detailing everything even rebuking the believers who eat and drink improperly. Paul told them to eat and drink
at home in order for them to focus on the simple emblem.
Because the scroll of 1 Corinthians was written years before the book of Acts, there is no need to enumerate how to do the Lord's supper in Acts 20. The believers
already know what to do from the letter of 1 Corinthians. So Acts 20 also refer to the Lord's supper.
Posted 2013-01-01 08:37:19
2. First day of the week
On the time of Breaking of Bread
I am amused at your assertions. First of all the Sunday morning communion comes from Roman Catholic tradition and not from the Scriptures. All your references do not prove anything as I will show below.
1. Acts 20:7. Firstly this is not an observance of the Lord's supper, but a fellowship meal, as is shown in verse 11. Luke 24:35 and Acts 27:35 shows what it is. Secondly, if Acts 20 is your pattern, then you must gather in the EVENING! Why do you gather in the morning? Paul began to preach for a long time, and only after the service was interrupted by Eutychus' death that they "broke bread", in verse 11. Further, Acts 20 passage does NOT given the believers any instruction about the Lord's supper. It is a DESCRIPTIVE passage, not a PRESCRIPTIVE one! God is NOT the author of confusion, and He has always communicated in plain language if He wanted His people to observe a certain thing, as can be seen in the case of Israel.
2. Mark 16:9 tells nothing about the Lord's supper. Its about the resurrection of the Lord. He rose on a Sunday in fulfillment of the TYPE found in Leviticus 23, the morrow after the Sabbath. Sunday is NOT a Christian day as Catholics have made it to be. It was a JEWISH day found in Leveticus 23, which see. There are ZERO references in the NT instructing any one to KEEP Sunday, but Paul has clearly taught NOT to keep DAYS - read the book of Galatians!
3. John 20:19 mentions the first day of the week. But a similar event occurs the next MONDAY (not Sunday as PB folks insist). Check out verse 26. The text says "after EIGHT days" which brings us to Monday! So what link does John 20:19 have to the Lord's supper? This shows that there are many "unlearned" among the PB leadership (see 2 Pet 3:16).
4. 1 Cor 16:1-2. Now here's an eye opener for ALL the saints among the PB. Nothing in the passage indicates that Paul was referring to the custom of a WEEKLY meeting on a SUNDAY. This assumption came from poor reading of the text. 1Co 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let EVERY ONE of you lay by HIM [individual is in view here]in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. This collection is NOT in a gathered company of saints! Each INDIVIDUAL is instructed to set apart a certain money WITH HIM so that when Paul comes he could bring it. Note the words "lay by HIM". If it is only about setting apart an amount of money by an individual at his own home, then why should it be done only on a Sunday? Since Paul had also given this instruction to the GALATIANS, and had told them NOT TO KEEP DAYS (Gal 4:10), Paul must not have meant to keep this day as special. They were told to set apart on Sunday because of the WEEKLY pay they received in those days!
The Brethren are indeed a good bunch of Christians, but I am amused at their assertions and traditions. You leaders among the Brethren! You are warned by the Lord Himself in His condemnation of the Pharisees that you should NOT TEACH FOR DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.
Posted 2011-12-30 14:40:52
1. music - instruments vs. a cappella
My background (church of Christ) practices a cappella worship; the Greek word "psallo" in the lexicons is always described further as "In the New Testament" and then the unaccompanied instrument. Other groups like the Eastern Orthodox and Primitive Baptist are also a cappella, for much the same reason. History shows the early church was such, for some hundreds of years, and when instruments were introduced anywhere it was with serious protest. Thank you for your summary; I hope my thoughts can help expand the article!
Posted 2011-11-28 09:27:26
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