Acts 2:42, New King James Version (NKJV)
42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Consider the simplicity of the early church, which is the body of Christ. Notice the four easy elements that define the home church meetings that took place in Jerusalem in 33 A.D. You will find all of those elements of worship in the following outline of our church’s worship times.
Consider the simplicity of the continued worship of the early believers in Christ, in Acts 20:7. In this passage, you will notice that the fellowship meals continued. The remembrance of our Lord’s Death, through “the Lord’s Supper, The Communion,” was probably a part of the meal. It is important to remember that we, the body of Christ, are “The Communion.” We use bread and wine, or grape juice, to focus on the broken body and shed blood of Jesus. Still we, the body of Christ, are “The Communion.” We are “The Communion Of The Saints.” In the Acts 20 passage, you can see that after the fellowship meal, the Apostle Paul preached to the believers who were present, “until midnight.” Now, a little ‘tongue in cheek;’ please don’t have anyone speak “until midnight.” Seriously speaking, when you lead a church group, you need to know about how long a guest speaker is going to preach. You will also need to know something about the speaker before you authorize that person to address your group; that can save you much embarrassment. You will also need to hold to acceptable times of prayer, and of anything else that takes place in your group.
New King James Version (NKJV)
Ministering at Troas
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
Compassion Church Outline Of Apostles’ Doctrine, Fellowship, Breaking Of Bread, Prayers
Please let me tell you about the breaking of bread during our church’s times of worship. In doing so, let me take you to Matthew’s account of the Passover Seder. We have found that account to be the best description of how Jesus took the opportunity of the Jewish passover meal to look back to the events of the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, and then look forward to His soon to occur death, burial, and resurrection. We will start with our leader reading Mt 26:17-19. Then the food items will be given to everyone. We have paper plates, 9 oz plastic cups, napkins, and hand sanitizer that we all use to clean our hands. It is a hand pump, and is always present on our table. Then, the leader will give thanks for the “meal,” or ask someone else to give thanks. Then we will begin to share our meal, and have a time of fellowship throughout the sharing of our words. The leader will determine when the next reading will take place, and will read Mt 26:20-25. It is good to point out that Judas was present, and that Jesus treated him the same as He did the other disciples, and also washed his feet. No one is left out. (Please read my post 022814, and focus on the Corinthian account.). The leader will read vs 26, and ask someone to take a piece of the bread that is part of the meal, and break that piece and pray, as it relates to the body of Jesus being broken. All of us will break a piece of bread and eat it. The meal continues. The leader will determine when the next verses, 27-28, will be read, and will read those verses. Someone will be asked to hold the cup before them, pray for it, as it relates to the shed blood of Christ, and lead the rest of us in the drinking of the juice. The leader will read vs 29 and mention that we will share in the passover with Jesus in the millennium. We will continue our meal (we love to eat! It’s a joyous time for us). When we all have finished the meal, the leader will read vs 30, and lead a song, or ask someone else to lead a song. “Amazing Grace,” “Let Us Break Bread Together,” or anything else that fits the moment. Then, the leader will ask someone to pray for travel mercies for our people. Then, we will clean up and fellowship some more. Then we will leave.
Consider the preparation that goes before each of our worship services. Each Friday when I wake up, it is usually dark. I think, “God, how great this is. You created this day that is being preceded by darkness.” Then, the darkness turns to dawn. I will say, “God, you did this; You did a great job!” As the dawn turns into day, I think again, “Wow! God! You really did it! What a great job you did of creating this wonderful day.” This time of day, from dawn until Sunset is the Preparation Day (John 19:14). The Jews used it to prepare for the Sabbath, the Lord’s Sabbath, which would would arrive at Sunset, on every Friday, and stay until sunset on Saturday, every Saturday. During the day I am keeping the Lord’s Sabbath on my mind, and thinking that God made it, set it apart from every other day of the week, and made it Holy. (Gen 2:1-3). During the day I am preparing for our Friday Evening Sabbath Service, which will begin at 6:30, which will be close to dusk, sundown, the beginning of the Lord’s Sabbath. During each Friday, I will not do anymore than I absolutely have to do. I will go to Walmart and buy French Bread, cheese chunks, bananas, and grape juice (low cal, low sodium, low sugar). I will return home at about 3:30 and begin praying and listening to worship and praise music as I prepare to lead our people in their worship and praise, and Bible study and communion. I will usually arrive at our church’s meeting place at 5:30 and will begin setting things up. The first thing that I will do is to put up a cross in front of our big window. Then, I will set up chairs and my pulpit. Then I will pray, read my Bible, and sing to God. At 6:30 our people will begin a time of fellowship, sharing, praying, encouraging, and singing praises to God. We may sing a song, and then pray. Or we may sing all of the songs and pray. We may pray for each other, and we may pray for whatever God will lead us to consider. Until 7PM, we will have this time of fellowship. It is very casual, and very worshipful. At 7PM, we will begin a Teaching Sermon. At 8PM, we will begin a preaching sermon. At about 8:30 we will come around our big table and begin the sharing of our fellowship meal of bread (already sliced), bananas, cheese, and grape juice. We always use Matt 26:17-30 as a guide. It shows the transition from the passover to the Lord’s Supper. A prayer is given for the meal. We eat and fellowship. A prayer is made for the bread (the bread that comes from the meal – not a realistic presence of Christ’s Body. We break the bread and continue with our fellowship meal (we are standing). Then, we will take of the cup of juice – not the actual blood of Christ, but juice that came from the meal on the table. Then, we will continue eating (isn’t that good?). When we all have finished the meal, someone will lead in a song (Mt 26:30). Then, and only then, we will clean up, and fellowship more. It is about 8:45 PM when we will leave. We will have seen day turn to dusk, and dusk turn to darkness. Wow! That is great. What is important is that nobody has taken the meal in an unworthy manner. Jesus served Judas, and washed his feet. (Please read my posts on communion). Our people are being trained to minister to others. Each person in our church is being prepared to lead this fellowship meal and communion service. Women will be better able to minister to other women if they are trained to do so. Therefore, we include our ladies in the leading of the fellowship meal and communion.
As you have read this post of communion, you will have notice the aspect of our Friday Evening Sabbath Worship. My blog address that subject; I encourage you to read the posts that teach on the Lord’s Sabbath. In them, you will notice that Sabbath worship is not a requirement for the church. Still, it is a time that lends to Holiness. It is working well for our church. (Please see my posts: 011714, 020314, 021514, 021614, 022114, 030714, 032014, 042514, 042514-3, 041014)
For a time of worship, please consider the two following songs. May they draw you into close communion with our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
In The Presence Of Jehovah
Holy Are You Lord
John 4:24, New King James Version (NKJV)
24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”