How did the Acts church worship God? Do church worship services today look anything like it? Are there any similarities or would the Acts apostles wonder what “church worship services” today are if they see them?
The Acts church was solely dependent on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Not churches today. They are helpless without their man-made worship programs. Instead of being Spirit-led, they are led by their worship programs. I’ve seen churches unable to start worship without their programs.
Anyway, man-made programs are predictable. They start with prelude, Scripture reading, opening prayer, and so on. They end with closing prayer and benediction. I don’t know why they have to “open” and “close” in prayer. Now, the question is, did Jesus or the Acts church do these things? Did they even have “special numbers”? If not, what did they do then?
For sure, there were no printed worship programs then. No “assigned” persons who’d lead in prayer, worship or read passages. There were no message titles, written objectives, Scripture passage or a list of the speaker’s credentials. No outlines. They just came to worship and worship simply started naturally, as the Spirit led.
To be sure, a worship “service” then usually had the following [Acts 2.42]:
- They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching
- To fellowship
- To the breaking of bread
- To prayer
- Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe
- Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles
Nothing of this sort happens in churches today. Apostles’ teachings? What most churches have today are pastors’ teachings or how pastors interpret the bible because they have no genuine apostles. They say there are no more apostles today because God has abolished their office. And they have become obsolete in church so only pastors now run the show—wherever they got the idea. They just decided among themselves that apostles and prophets in churches are no more.
What they refer to as “apostles” today are missionaries. The bible does not teach that. Apostles did mission works but they were not missionaries as we have them today. Apostles did signs and wonders continuously.
I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles. [2 Corinthians 12.12]
Fellowship? Fellowship during the Acts era was when they worshiped together, and worship was when they had fellowship. What fellowship they have in church today is party time with bible study, parlor games, special numbers and food, a far cry from the fellowship the Acts church had. Well, food is a good idea. But parlor games and bible quiz?
Often, fellowship is more like a college prom where the boys try to impress the girls and vice versa, and then they decorate that with bible passages. Fellowship in the Acts church was a gathering of Jesus’ family.
When Jesus gathered with his disciples they had the Word. They broke bread. People got healed. Demons were tormented and fled with cries. No games, no entertainment. They had signs and wonders which then was almost always part of their gatherings.
Breaking of bread? Do you know a church that breaks bread during fellowship? They only do that in church services, not fellowships. But the Acts church did. And what most churches use today for breaking “bread” are those small, round, white crackers which they borrowed from the Roman Catholic Church.
And they use powdered juice drink for their “wine.” Jesus and the Acts church never used them. I wonder where they got the idea.
Church fellowships today have prayers, but a sense of awe? They just keep claiming that, “God is here,” but you very seldom have a sense of God’s true awesome presence. It is often more imagined than real.
And many wonders and signs taking place? Where are those in churches today? Often, the few that are claimed to be happening are either doubtful or downright bogus. For a terrible lack of genuine supernatural moves of God in church, they try to make up with showbiz entertainment, hi-tech musical instruments, rock-style worship leading, concerts, and beautiful programs.
Worse, some pastors make fun of God’s signs and wonders because they can’t produce them. No real presence and power of God.
The Acts church had a simple “worship program”—Word, prayer, fellowship, and power of God. In short, they pursued after the Jesus LIFE and pleased God and turned the world upside down. Churches today use worldly ways and do everything to attract people, to no avail. You don’t see God anywhere. Just man’s programs and efforts. The world turns it upside down.
But they do have mega churches today, full-packed with people. That’s what they go crazy for. As long as they gather a lot of religious people in their church buildings, they call it “church.” But whether God’s awesome presence is there remains to be seen. What’s sure to be there is God’s omnipresence—God is everywhere, even in beer houses and motels.