What is it?
If your like me when you hear this word Congregation a picture like this is what comes to your mind. Not this
The bottom picture is also considered the congregation. This got me thinking so I had to do a bit of research.
Qahal-assembly, convocation, congregation
I always understood that congregation was the “New Testament” Church. Turns out the Hebrew words for congregation are are through the Old Testament.
Qahal is used 123 times while edah is used 149 times. Very interesting that The Father called His people the congregation long before any mention of modern day church. This got me to thinking… Why do we see a Jaw dropping 34,000 + denominations today?
Sundays in the Park
We live in a fairly small town. I have always thought it was sad that we had such separation amongst believers on Sunday. I always longed to live in a place where all the believers could come together as one body and become a unified force. I still to this day feel like you could turn a town around if everyone worked together.
Years ago while doing a church plant we found another church that wanted to create some unity in the body. We meet with the leaders and came up with a plan to meet in the park once a month and have a worship service together. We were able to do it one time and a great turn out. Everyone from both churches gave it rave reviews and discussed how we should do this again. I was so excited that for the first time in my life I saw a glimpse of some unity between denominations. My hopes were soon dashed when I talked to the leaders of the other church and they explained that due to financial constraints they would no longer be able to participate in the services at the park. They explained that they had property, a building, and other bills that required a steady income stream. The pastor told me that he loved the idea and wanted to but it came down to money. If he didn’t meet at their building they would lose money each week that we had the joint service because not all of his congregants would attend and their contributions would not attend as well. He explained that financially they just couldn’t make it work out and both him personally and the church had too much at stake and could not afford to lose this income. They liked the idea of unity but just couldn’t go all the way.
How could get so far off from a “one true church” Most groups out there claim that they have a handle the truth and you should join their side because it is the only way. In my church experience we would have discussions wondering why the other groups couldn’t see it our way. Today as I have become reacquainted to the Hebrew concepts I have learned that there was so much wrong with my thinking. For instance the entire discussion between our church and his church was completely self centred. It was all about how we saw things. About how we thought the church should operate and be. We knew there was a unity principle found in scripture but it has nothing to do with what you and I think or feel.
Our true identity in this walk is to have more of Him and less of us. In essence we are to become less human as we learn to trade our fleshly desires for His ways. The way we do church was never to be about what we wanted, what we liked, what the seekers like.
I hate to tell you this… They are all flawed. They Enemy has tricked most of the world including the church. We are busy arguing and fighting over non salvational issues such as
1. What’s our “style of worship” ?Huh? Worship has a style? I don’t think you know what worship is.
2. What’s our view of the Trinity?
3. What’s your stance on being “seeker friendly?”
4. Weekly or Monthly serving of the “Lords Super” Which I just call THE PASSOVER.
This list could go on, and on, an on………………………………………………….
We all know and admit that this is such a shame that this has happened and we all know this is not right. So what are we to do?
GET BACK TO THE SOURCE
The source is the congregational model is what we see in the Old Testament. One in which the Lord is followed by His Holy Set Apart people. It involves us following Him and keeping up with some rules. Yes being saved by grace is not a free pass to do whatever. A system where we are all following the cloud of God together, going where He goes and doing the things He has told us that He likes.
“Do not worship the LORD your God in the way these pagan peoples worship their gods. NLT
This scripture makes it crystal clear that we have no right to decide that worship is defined by what we mean in our hearts. It is not about what you and I like, what’s popular, what makes money, or what sells. It’s about doing what He says, doing His will and obeying Him.
We are meant to be one. When we get back to the basics and away from church doctrines, the doctrines of men, things begin to simplify.
I have been so excited to recently find out that true unity is possible! Here it is, It’s so simple!
Keep the Sabbath-The Sabbath is the mark, the seal
12 Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. Ezekiel 20:12
Study the Sabbath changing from Sunday. Does the bible speak of this change? no, but the pope in 321 AD did.
***Pope Declares the Sabbath Should Not Be Celebrated:
“If every Lord’s day is to be observed joyfully by the Christians on account of the resurrection, then every Sabbath on account of the burial is detestably Jewish. In fact all the disciples of the Lord lamented on the Sabbath, bewailing the buried Lord, and the Jews exulted. But sadness reigned for the fasting apostles. In like manner we are sad, saddened by the burial of the Lord, and rejoice with them in the Lord’s resurrection. Neither in fact is it proper to feast [on the Sabbath] as the Jewish custom observed by the Jews.”
Do you base your opinion on thinking the church meets on Sunday’s because of the Pope’s position? Do you assume that the new testament believers completely abandoned keeping the Sabbath just because they meet on Sundays? (Because they were not welcome on Sabbath in the Synagogues)
Follow what our source text says or follow what the Pope says? Whose mark do you want to take? Whose Yoke do you want to be under?
2. Keep the feast
These are His feast
Leviticus 23:4 “These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.”
3. Eat Clean
Leviticus 11. I was taught that “I the Lord does not change” We either believe that or we don’t.
When we start doing these things we unite ourselves to people that went before us and the people that will come after us. Now this is sounding like unity.
The enemy has deceived us into thinking that Jesus came and Ended the law. If you follow this logic you are saying we are in lawlessness? Who is the man of lawlessness again? Oh yeah, that’s scary.
So back to the start. We are to be His congregation, we are not doing it by following “church fathers” and doctrines of men. We must go back to the source and understand that the New Testament does not trump the Old Testament. The work together.
When we get back to the source we can begin to see unity again. Want you join me in becoming the congregation again?
***Source: Cardinal Humbert quoting Pope Sylvester I (A.D. 314-335) regarding the Sabbath: Humbertus Silvae Candidae Episcopus (11th century French Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, 1010-1061 A.D.), Adversus Graecorum Calumnias(“Against the Slanders of the Greeks”), Patrologia Cursus Completus, 1853, Migne J. P., Volume 143, column 937.