How is the Body of Christ to gather? What are the rules and guidelines for our assemblies in the New Testament? The doctrines of men have so completely infiltrated the church that we don’t have many examples left. Most Christians don’t have any idea what type of gathering is called out in the New Testament.
The Amish still gather in their homes. They usually have two appointed teachers for each gathering, but they do not expect everyone to seek and share the Holy Spirit. The Quakers spend a great deal of time in silent seeking, but they impose so many rules that it is difficult for the orchestration of the Holy Spirit to be heard.
I wanted to present one way to gather and get discussions going amongst the body of Christ. I’m praying that this will guide us all seek one mind on this issue, to truly seek the mind of Christ. I don’t think we should look at this as finding “the right way”. God’s word indicates there will be much diversity in his body
Eph 3;10-12 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him,[d] we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
We should make sure we are building on biblical principles. The keys have little to do with location, structure, or routines. I think the key principles are:
– Quiet Listening
– Expectant seeking
– Responsive Sharing
At a gathering that is led by God and his Holy Spirit we should expect to be transformed by the Renewing your mind, – Encouraging each other in Faith – I’m thinking that the gathering should jointly take on the task of coaching each individual, growing and using spiritual gifts, seeking the mind of Christ, seeking truth (Christ) so that we might be complete and ready.
NLT Rom 12:2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
I see these verses as our foundational building blocks:
Believer Gathering Command, 1 Cor 14;26-40
Living in the Light & By The Spirits Power, Eph 5;1-33
Using our Spiritual Gifts, 1 Cor 12;4-31
Paul’s Message of Wisdom, 1 Cor 2;1-16
God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed, Eph 3;1-21
A Living Sacrifice to God, Rom 12;1-21
I’ve attempted to highlight the more important points in theses super rich passages below. I apologize for including such long passages, but they all seem to feed into the theme, understanding the Body of Christ and how it works. It might be a good thing to keep focused by re-grounding ourselves in these verses regularly, possibly even on a weekly basis. We certainly should not exclude other passages, but we should try to keep focused on how it should work, what we should do, and trusting and relying on God to do his part.
AMP 1 Cor 14;26-40 Believer gathering rules
26What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. 27If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said]. 28But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God. 29So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. 30But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. 31For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged; 32For the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker’s control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary, 33For He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God’s people), 34The women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. 35But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church]. 36What! Did the word of the Lord originate with you [Corinthians], or has it reached only you? 37If anyone thinks and claims that he is a prophet [filled with and governed by the Holy Spirit of God and inspired to interpret the divine will and purpose in preaching or teaching] or has any other spiritual endowment, let him understand (recognize and acknowledge) that what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord. 38But if anyone disregards or does not recognize [that it is a command of the Lord], he is disregarded and not recognized [he is one whom God knows not]. 39So [to conclude], my brethren, earnestly desire and set your hearts on prophesying (on being inspired to preach and teach and to interpret God’s will and purpose), and do not forbid or hinder speaking in [unknown] tongues. 40But all things should be done with regard to decency and propriety and in an orderly fashion.
NLT Eph 5;1-33 Living in the Light
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us[a] and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. 3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. 6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7 Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. 10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
Living by the Spirit’s Power
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. 17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, 19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts. 20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word.[b] 27 He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”[c] 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
NLT 1 Cor 12;4-31 4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. 8 To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice[b]; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.[c] 9 The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. 10 He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages,[d] while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. 11 It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,[e] some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.[f] 14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? 18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” 22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. 27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it. 28 Here are some of the parts God has appointed for the church:
first are apostles,
second are prophets,
third are teachers,
then those who do miracles,
those who have the gift of healing,
those who can help others,
those who have the gift of leadership,
those who speak in unknown languages.
29 Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? Do we all have the power to do miracles? 30 Do we all have the gift of healing? Do we all have the ability to speak in unknown languages? Do we all have the ability to interpret unknown languages? Of course not! 31 So you should earnestly desire the most helpful gifts.
NLT 1 Cor 2;1-16
Paul’s Message of Wisdom
1 When I first came to you, dear brothers and sisters,[a] I didn’t use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God’s secret plan.[b] 2 For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. 5 I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God.6 Yet when I am among mature believers, I do speak with words of wisdom, but not the kind of wisdom that belongs to this world or to the rulers of this world, who are soon forgotten. 7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God[c]—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. 9 That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”[d] 10 But[e] it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. 11 No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. 12 And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths.[f] 14 But people who aren’t spiritual[g] can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others. 16 For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?”[h] But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.
NLT Eph 3;1-21
God’s Mysterious Plan Revealed
1 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. 5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. 8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone[c] this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. 10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him,[d] we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored.
Paul’s Prayer for Spiritual Growth
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father,[e] 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.[f] 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
NLT Rom 12;1-21
A Living Sacrifice to God
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. 3 Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us. 4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other. 6 In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. 7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If you are a teacher, teach well. 8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. 9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection,[e] and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.[f] 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15 Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. 19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say,
“I will take revenge; I will pay them back,”says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.
May God Continue to Guide and Protect Us!