The Great Thanksgiving Acts 2:38-43, I Cor.11:18-34
Ministry of Praise & Worship
Enter into His presence with praise and thanksgiving, Psalm 150, All aspects of the liturgy should be bathed in thanksgivings, testimonies, music of praise and worship. Except for “Special Gatherings”, the weekly Saturday evening home fellowships should be in the round (forum) to promote interaction and to encourage new leadership. The Elders should enable not rule. The gatherings should focus on Jesus as Lord.
The First Key, The Invitation
Whosoever will, may come and drink of the waters of life freely, (Rev. 22: 17). A simple ministry of the Word of God is sharing the Kingdom of God, the way of redemption. The Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ.
The Second Key, Ministry of the Word of God
Line upon line and precept upon precept, Isaiah. 28:10-13, II Tim: 3:16 Apostles Doctrine. (readings, exhortations, teachings, testimonies, encouragements, visions in the Lord, guidance).
The Third Key, Ministry of the Peace
A time for clearing the decks for action, if you will.Peace among men.
Dear Heavenly Father, through your Holy Spirit, please help me to take inventory of my heart. Please reveal to me any areas of immaturity, weakness or rebellion in my life. Anything that would keep me from the full joy and experience of Your presence here and now. Help me now to bring these unproductive areas of my life to You for forgiveness, cleansing and full pardon and restoration by the gift of Your loving salvation in Christ Jesus. You have declared in your Word that I may, through your Holy Spirit, put to death the deeds of the flesh and that I am more than a conqueror through Christ who loves me and gave Himself for me. And that if I confess my sins, He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness through Jesus Christ my Lord.Help me to set my heart to make restitution or reconciliation as You direct and to be a peacemaker in Your creation. Help me to have Godly fellowship with all of Your children and to maintain the eternal vision of Your Kingdom in the center of my heart. I am your child; my life is in Your hands, Father, I want and need more of Your presence in my life. Please forgive me these confessed sins of my heart and be my strength and help according to my openness with You and according my forgiveness towards all others, in the name of Jesus, the Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Amen.
by the Presiding Elder or Head of House
Almighty God have mercy on you, forgive you of all your sins through our Lord Jesus Christ, strengthen you, and heal you and by the power of the Holy Spirit and keep you unto eternal life. Amen
Our Gifts to Him (Bread, Wine, Oil, Water, Money) with prayer, as set aside by the entrance, should be brought forward and presented at a small cross or holy place. This should clearly be an offering or gift for the Lord’s earthly work. It would be spiritually significant for different believers to offer to provide the elements each week. Financial gifts or offerings should be made at a collection place or box by the door. No mention of giving or money or financial needs should ever be shared during a House Church fellowship gathering. Those who come consider the faith should not feel that they have been invited for the sake of their ability to give.
A SuggestedConfession of Faith
I confess that Jesus Christ is my Lord, Master and Savior. By faith in Christ Jesus I am forgiven, cleansed, healed and made a citizen of His eternal kingdom. Jesus Christ has redeemed me from the curse of the law of sin, sickness, weakness and eternal death through His death on the cross for me. I believe in the Trinity of one God: Almighty Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Creator made flesh, The Word of God who was begotten as the second Adam. He was born of a virgin, died for my sins, rose for my justification and is coming again soon, in great glory, to establish His Kingdom on earth. I believe in the new birth from above, the baptism in water, and the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I confess that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed me from all my sin and I am now made the righteousness of God in and through Christ Jesus. I confess that I can do all things through Christ who is my strength as I abide in Him. I confess that this world is not my home. I confess that I am a pilgrim in a foreign land and I look for that certain return of my Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. I confess that there is but one holy universal and apostolic Church of Jesus Christ and all those who are born from above are brethren and citizens of His kingdom. I believe that the Church of Jesus Christ is being perfected by the Holy Spirit through the Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers and other ministries of His Church until all the faithful come into the unity of the faith and the bond of peace and are changed into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ, (Eph. 4:1-16).
Songs of joy with offering & talents to be presented to the Lord to be brought to the Lord’s table at this time including a love feast if time will allow.
The Fourth Key, The Lord’s Supper
Lord’s Supper: A memorial, and yet more than a memorial, celebrated by the Early Church to signify Jesus’ sacrificial death for the sins of mankind. The form of the observance was established by the Lord at the Last Supper when He offered Himself as the paschal Lamb that the death angel might “Passover.” His death fulfilled this prophetic type and observance. Only Paul uses the phrase “Lord’s Supper” (1 Cor. 11:20), and also John writes concerning the supper in (Revelation 19:9) “marriage supper of the Lamb”. The church fathers began to call the Lord’s Supper the, “Eucharist” or “Great Thanksgiving”, from the blessings of life pronounced over the bread and wine after about A.D.100. The Early Church celebrated the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper regularly as a sign of the new covenant sealed by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though formalized and traditional the Liturgical Church has been faithful in this focus of their ministry. The Lord’s Supper should be a very important reason for the weekly gatherings of the Saints.
Communion: Paul’s term describing the nature of the Lord’s Supper and thus the term used by many church groups to refer to their celebration of Jesus’ final, memorial supper with His disciples. Paul used the Greek term koinonia to express the basic meaning of the Christian faith. A sharing in the life and death of Christ creates a deep relationship between Christ and the believer and between believers in a partnership unity (See Fellowship; Lord’s Supper.)
Ordinances: Christians agree universally that baptism and the Lord’s Supper were instituted by Jesus Christ and should be observed by His followers. Neither ordinance or sacrament are biblical terms. Some interpreters believe sacrament conveys the concept that God’s grace is dispersed almost automatically through participation in the Lord’s Supper. Others believe ordinance stresses obedience in doing that which Christ explicitly commanded. Extreme dangers are involved in the terms and range from superstition to legalism. The “sacraments” varied in number for a thousand years in the church’s early History. Peter Lombard (about A.D. 1150) defended seven, and Thomas Aquinas (about A.D. 1250) argued that all were instituted by Christ. After A.D. 1500, Martin Luther and other Protestant reformers rejected five of these, insisting that only baptism and the Lord’s Supper have a biblical basis. Most Protestants agree with this assessment. Practically, all must be mixed with faith or nothing spiritual happens. Not only the name and number but the practice and meaning of the ordinances have been a matter of continuing debate. Who should receive baptism or participate in observing the Lord’s Supper? What are essential elements in the observances that ensure validity? What do they accomplish in the life of the individual and the church? Definitive answers acceptable to all Christians have not been forthcoming for these and many other questions, but a survey of biblical basis should be helpful in the search for valid conclusions, as follows:
For in the night in which He was betrayed He took bread, blessed it and gave thanks, broke it and gave to His disciples, saying, “Take this and eat: this is My body which is broken for you, do this in remembrance of me”. Likewise also He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Drink this, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do give witness to the Lord’s death till he come. And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth in me shall never thirst.”
Heavenly Father, we ask you in Jesus name to bless, sanctify and consecrate these elements of bread and wine, that they may be unto us the body and blood of your most dearly beloved Son, Jesus Christ. That we may enjoy His presence through the Holy Spirit in the breaking of the bread and have fellowship with Him. That we may feed on Him in our hearts by faith and secure unto ourselves the forgiveness, freedom, healing and power that He purchased for us by His holy and obedient life, death and resurrection.
His gift for healing.
The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for you, heal and preserve your body unto everlasting life. Take and eat in remembrance that Jesus died for your healing, feed on Him in your heart by faith and receive strength with thanksgiving.
His gift for eternal life
The blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for you, heal and preserve your soul unto everlasting life. Drink in remembrance that the blood of Jesus the Christ was shed for the forgiveness of your sins. Go, rejoice and be free in His gift of forgiveness and salvation.
The peace of the Lord be with you always.
And also with you.
Let us pray.
Scriptures concerning the “Lord’s Supper”.
26 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink ye all of it;”28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom..” 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover? 13 And he sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, “Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.” 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, “Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?” 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And His disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover. 17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.” 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, “Is it I?” and another said, “Is it I?” 20 And he answered and said unto them, “It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.” 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born. 22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body.” 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. 25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the Kingdom of God..” 26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the Mount of Olives.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.” 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the Kingdom of God shall come.” 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.“
John 6 31-59
31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” 34 Then said they unto him, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.” 35 And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.“
1 Cor. 11
20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other His own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. 23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. 29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. 34 And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.
It is my considered feeling at this point of time in my pilgrimage that the Lord’s Supper is more than a memorial or an observance. Rather, Jesus Christ is to be the primary focus of any fellowship meeting of Christians, 1 Cor.11:25-26. In any fellowship there should be the letter (Logos) of God’s Word and also His living presence (Rama) made available through the Holy Spirit. The faith and anticipation that the Lord Jesus will come and dine with His “friends ” through the presence of the Holy Spirit is what makes His presence possible. I like to call this the experience of the, “Real Presence” of Christ. When faith in His real presence reaches this level then many will be saved, healed and delivered by the supernatural presence of our Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Many folks go to church with only the faith to hear a sermon, sometimes even a good sermon, good music, worship, praise, friends, to pay tithes that are collected and to hear what is going on. But not many are taught to come together in faith to meet with the Lord Jesus Christ in the breaking of the bread. It is my feeling that in most gatherings we have replaced our Lord with a master of ceremonies and a religious theater.We long for a personal intimate relationship with the King of Kings through the Holy Spirit. We long to see His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven but we seem to have lost our way. This is my loving personal attempt at contributing to the solution.
The Fifth Key, General Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer for guidance in prayer, may be sung. General prayers for the church, nation, leaders and members of the church & families. With the Presiding Elder this is a time for members to hold up their requests before God that the other Saints may say amen (so be it) to what is prayed.
The Sixth Key, Ministry of the Body of Christ
Open Altar, Body Life Ministry:
A continuation of prayers for each other as needed and requested as per James 5:16.
Confirmation of the Word with signs following. The Ministry of the Holy Spirit should be expected to be very evident with supernatural Holy Spirit baptism, healings, deliverance and confirmed prophecy.
At this time the Body of Christ should feel free to minister to one another by the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is also a time for new leadership in the community of the Saints to grow in faith and freedom to minister. It may be music, prayer, scripture, testimony but the elders must be quick to watch that none use this time for the Lord’s glory to bring honor to themselves. The Holy Spirit must be allowed to honor Jesus in everything, The Holy Spirit will withdraw if any seek to be built up in pride or not minister according to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
“Thou shalt not eclipse the glory of Thy God!’
A holy reverence in Godly fear is absolutely essential.
The Seventh Key. Ministry of the Elders
“Great and Mighty Signs’
The Elders are now free to help as needed by example and with instruction in the remainder of things that the Holy Spirit reveals to them. Each service should go, only as far as there is the anointing of the Holy Spirit for ministry. Evenings are preferred for this simple liturgy as time is not so great a factor in the evenings. The saints will come thinking about the meeting with Jesus and fellowship rather than further events of the day such as lunch after Church. The Early Church met on Saturday evening at sundown, as the first day of the week. Sunday morning was the first day of the next six day work week.
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever.” And may the Blessings of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit be with you this day and always. Amen. Jude, 24-25
A well known praise or worship song is appropriate atthis time.This is a time for special announcements if not written in the bulletin. But only if the Holy Spirit is finished and the anointing has lifted and the Lord’sministry has been completed for that time of fellowship. Often I have had meetings close only to begin again after some folks had left. Usually I found a greater anointing due to a heaver concentration of faith. I closed one meeting twice before the Holy Spirit had the faith level to do what He wanted to do with the final remaining Saints.One young man received healing for a newly broken femur in his left leg.
The ministry of the Early Church, as recorded in the book of the Acts may be seen by some as only a Historic story. I personally believe that the general attitude of love holiness and power found in the Early Church must be set strongly in the foundations of any balanced community of believers. In the last days, as the church will come to full maturity, The church triumphant, the end-time church, will be even more powerful than the Early Church. The writing of the final eternal chapters to the unfinished book of Acts will be more powerful than the beginning. The last days will be a mighty demonstration of power and victory as the “Bride” makes herself ready (Rev 19:7) to be presented holy and “without spot, wrinkle or blemish or any such thing” (Eph.5:27) for the union with The Lord Jesus Christ. It is certain, to me, that the Bride, who is to rule with Christ, should be fully engaged in the final preparations and focus to bring great glory to the Lamb. The Bride is, by His grace, a joint heir (Rom.8:37) in an eternal, loving, holy and powerful, union with The Almighty Creator. (Rev.12:10-11). We are fast approaching that day when the Church will experience Jesus in all of His glory. God’s eternal vision for His loving family is: A Kingdom of priests and kings unto our God; a powerful loving family of brethren in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. The ultimate goal of our Almighty Father is a new heaven and a new earth in righteousness with the total restoration of love and peace in all His wonderful creation. God Almighty Himself will preside as the loving eternal Father in His forever family. He has sent His loving invitation and forgiveness into His world; by the life and death of His only begotten SON; That “who-so-ever” may come and drink of the waters of life freely. Our vision must be to become, collectively, a perfect reflection of Jesus Christ. As living stones, fitly joined together we are to be built into the “Bride of Christ” without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. ” ABride” who “hath madeherself ready” for her Lord’s coming, perfected in a balance of God’s love, holiness and power (Rev. 19:7).
“My Church has become an assembly of God’s frozen dedicated to the preservation of the stuff.” Fr. Guy Peltz, 1975
Would it not be better to burn out than to rot out ?