by: Mike Peters
IT would be best to elaborate in a practical way, with your permission, a little more on the following point. The real McCoy, a true expression of God’s reign and “Dwelling Place” amongst His People (Eph 2:22) will not wait for the gavel to pound for the beginning of a meeting. As the People of God, we’ll be singing or praying together in smaller groups continually as a life, without any cues or “meetings” to set us up for that. “As we rise up, as we sit down, as we walk along the way.” In living rooms, in restaurants together — or even in jail together (Acts 16:25‑26)! We will be singing the praises of God inside and outside of “meetings”…because it’s our life.
I don’t mean this in a sappy, theoretical way. I’m serious! There’s really no “opening song” (or “song service”) or “closing prayer” in the Churches that are really walking with a living Head, rather than in uplifting historical observances and good intentions. Life is a song to Him when we “live and move and have our being in Him” — continually offering our bodies as “living sacrifices.” If we are really on target, we’ll sing to Jesus when we’re alone with Him, and we’ll sing with our brothers and sisters at Burger King, and virtually anywhere. We may be singing before 8:30 P.M. or 9:00 A.M. or whenever the gathering happens. “Church” is meant to be our life, not a number of independent lives and gatherings that are “vain repetition” — a protestant version of the rosary. “It was not so from the beginning.”
[Obviously “not forsaking the gathering of yourselves together” in Heb. 10:25 has nothing to do with calendar “meetings” or “services” when read in context. Do look it up. God’s context is not about ceremonies or rituals or organized preplanned and choreographed speech and “meeting”—but about verses 24 and 26, Heb.3:13, and John 13:35. Being Together, rather than lone rangers, is about LIFE together—being together constantly in various ways, to love and encourage and build each other up in our homes and jobs and everywhere, large numbers and small, living and loving and contributing to each other’s lives, as daily family in Jesus.]
We will, if immersed in Jesus and His Purposes, be praying together continually, all the days of the week. There will be no thought of the “official” meeting as the limit or focal point of our adoration, and work for, the Lord. We could easily find ourselves together all night.70 Why? Because that’s Who Jesus was and is, and we are filled with Him if we are truly Christians.71
Jesus said, “My Father’s House shall be known as a house of prayer.” That’s a characteristic of God’s Kingdom. It’s a house of prayer. It does not consist of even frequent or all night “prayer meetings” — it is a “house of prayer.” If we are His, we’ll be living it out, not in “meetings” only, but “daily in public and from house to house,” and “Holy‑Spiriting72 one another daily so that none are hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
True “Church” is a visible life, “a city set on a hill that cannot be hidden” where “all men” know we are His disciples by the love that they see we have for one another.73 Your love, your agape for each other, will blow the world’s cork. They won’t understand how you could keep no record of wrongs, always hope, and always trust. If the world can’t see it happening (though they can harden themselves if they desire), then it is not Jesus. If the meetings are truly worth anything at all in God’s sight, then the “Church” must emanate the visible Life of Christ Jesus on the streets of life, together.
God’s Church, the blossom of His Life continued on earth, was never meant to be a theory that we study about in a classroom. In Acts 2:41‑47 and 4:31‑35, they held all things in common (out of a life surrendered to Jesus, not church ordinance). They shared their very lives together, and “they enjoyed the favor of all the people.” People could see the Kingdom of God happening.
“Church,” from God’s vantage point, must be a visible thing to the world; it’s not simply attending “meetings.” His true church goes far beyond meetings and programs! His Kingdom is “not of this world,” “not in Jerusalem, or on this mountain,” not from 9 A.M. to 11 A.M. on the corner of thus and such a street. That is simply not His Kingdom if it can be defined by times and places, and a “serve‑us” schedule on a calendar. No such church can be found in the pages of the Bible! Moses allowed it because of the hardness of our hearts, but “not so with you.” “It was not so in the beginning.” “In Him we live and move and have our being!”
70 Acts 12:5‑6, 12; Acts 20:7‑12; Mat.21:13.
71 Col.1:26‑27; Rom.8:9‑11; John 14:9‑24; Eph.5:18.
72 Hebrews 3:12‑14. The word used in verse 13 is the verb form of the Name Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit and His Work — “Paraclete” (Greek), “Comforter,” “Called-Along-Side One.”
73 Matthew 5:14‑16; Matthew 16:18; John 13:34‑35; 1Peter 2:9‑12.