“The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.” – Acts 10:9-13 (NLT)
I’m not too sure how many of us out there really have said, “reading the Book of Leviticus made me a better Christian.” After all, there are way too many directions for way too many sacrifices found in its pages and once you get to chapter 20, you have lots of punishment for those things that get violated. And when you get to chapter 23, the appointed festivals are listed and are to be observed. The “Feast of First-fruits” and “Feast of Weeks” had their place in Jewish living, but as I have said in the past, when Jesus Christ shows up on the scene, He will flip the script on everything Jewish. So much so that his own people were ready to give him a good old-fashioned stoning.
We can’t assume that a lot of this tradition had disappeared as the 1st century church was being established. In the Book of Acts, we can see that Jewish believers still went to the Temple for worship and maintained observing the annual holy days. The Samaritans got drawn back into things and it won’t be too much after that when Paul will do the Lords will into grafting the Gentiles into “The Way.” And once Peter gets over his issue with eating with uncircumcised men, he tells the other Jewish men about how, by the Glory of God bestowed unto those Gentiles, the church is on its way to growth. HOWEVER….Let’s get back to the 21st century and re-ask the question…What if the Apostles came to our church today?
I think one of the most unfortunate things they would see is the lack of reverence for the gathering of God’s people. They would see the last-minute people walking the aisles looking for seats just as service was beginning. They would see folks carrying frozen coffee drinks and a breakfast sandwich instead of a Bible (yes, I am gonna have to dismiss your Bible app) as they slid across the pew bench. They would see folks still in the foyer catching up with each other while the worship music is being played. James, Peter, and John would most likely be caught in the cross talk of moms making lunch plans for right after service. They would see men just sitting there looking as if being in God’s presence is a chore instead of a joy. Oooops, there went someone’s cell phone (wonder if it was Jesus calling?)
Way back in the 1st century, it seems as if the hunger to be in His presence was all that mattered. Now it seems as if we pencil it in as part of our “to-do” list. There is a huge call for people to get to the things of God, and I am not too sure the state of the American church is ready for it. In some of the churches that I’ve been in the past few months, I have seen some of what I wrote about in this Freedom Fighter actually happen…but not in every church. It seems just as YHVH saved a remnant of Israel to maintain the lineage of His Son is how He is maintaining a remnant of the Church that Jesus built some 2,000 years ago.
I don’t mean to be a “Debbie Downer” about this either, far from it. Rather, I wish to encourage you to get into the remnant. Be in that Church of (insert your hometown here), be united with El Elyon, The Most-High God and learn from The Master Himself, Jesus Christ. We can spend decades studying where the true church is at and yet still miss it because we spent too much time adding to it. We need to be radical about our church life so that it becomes contagious. We need to stop ourselves for a moment and take a look and see if what we are doing has an effect on the surroundings we live in; see if there is an impact and if it isn’t, we need to make adjustments. Because quite frankly, we can’t complain about the state of the world we live in if we can’t maintain the state of true worship we need to have in our churches. Amen?
Written by Chris Hughes: Chris, a graduate of The Colony of Mercy (11-2003) is married (Kathy) with two adult children (Kevin and Karen) and has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008.
Daily Quote: “In the majority of our meetings there is scarcely a trace of reverent thought, no recognition of the unity of the body, little sense of the divine Presence, no moment of stillness, no solemnity, no wonder, no holy fear.” — A.W. Tozer
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
“Hear a just cause, O Lord, Attend to my cry; Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.” Psalm 17:1