Mike Ford, reflecting on a Lutheran memorial service he had attended, describes the liturgical formula in a Lutheran service, including communion at the end of the service. The entire nominal Christian world (Orthodox, Protestant, and Roman Catholic) appears oblivious to the understanding that a memorial (such as Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Pearl Harbor Day) is kept annually. Equivocating with the expression “as oft as you drink it in remembrance of me,” the world’s churches believe they can do this ritual monthly, weekly, daily, or on any special occasion. Many argue that since we do not know the exact hour that Christ and his disciples kept the Passover, we can keep it whenever we want. It is further argued that since Christ changed the symbols of the Passover, the “spiritual intent is more important than the physical ritual, rendering the exact time of its observance unimportant.” Some sentimentalize the Passover ceremony by suggesting that, since newlyweds often celebrate the anniversary of their first date on a monthly basis, Christians also could take the Lord’s Supper in a similar manner. Another spurious argument made is Paul’s admonition in I Corinthians 11:21-22 against drunkenness at these events, suggesting that this was perhaps a frequent occurrence. The changing of the symbols at Passover did not augment the days people could keep it; the frequent practice of a Lord’s Supper derives from Pagan, not biblical origins. The Passover is a once a year ceremony for all baptized members.
We do not often think of fellowship as a means of devotion, but when we look into the book of Acts at the unity of the early church, fellowship was a priority of those first members of God's church. Clyde Finklea reveals that Christian fellowship is more than just getting together on a regular basis; it is sharing with each other on a higher, spiritual level.
Through Acts 1-15, God (primarily through the work of Peter, Paul and James) has removed His work out of the Judaistic mold, creating the Israel of God (the church) designed to spread to the Gentiles. Though certain ceremonial and civil aspects of the law were (for a time) suspended, the Law of God was never suspended, especially as it relates to defilement of conscience or disregarding of scruples that could cause permanent spiritual damage or unwittingly place one in communion with demons. We must always conduct ourselves with the long —term spiritual interests of others paramount on our minds, being sensitive to conscience and scruples of others as we exercise our 'rights.'
John Ritenbaugh marvels that human beings, having been given free moral agency, can accomplish what God had intended them to do all along. The apostle Peter, using the details of fulfilled prophecy (couched in David's psalms), convicts the crowd of their culpability (as we all need to be convicted) in the death of Jesus Christ. Peter clearly establishes the Messiahship of Jesus, showing His connection to David's prophetic psalms (such as Psalm 16) and David's lineage. The formula for receiving God's Holy Spirit—repentance and baptism is explored—and compared to current practice. The early church experienced a high level of cohesiveness by continuing in doctrine, fellowship, sharing meals, and praying together.
[Editors Note: Audio quality improves at the 4 minute mark.]
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