Restoring the Apostolic Church

 

Restoring the Apostolic Church

by Jerry L Dean

C. S. Lewis said, “I need Christ, not something that resembles Him”

Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles . . . 46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Inspired by our General Superintendent David Bernard I set out to preach a series of sermons entitled Restoring the Apostolic Church. Our goal is not to merely see the church reformed but to see the church restored.

This was Charles Parham’s heartfelt desire at the beginning of the last century and it led to the great outpouring of the Holy Ghost in Topeka, Kansas.  Charles Parham said if the apostles did it, we want it.

In Matthew 28:20 we read, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …”  Jesus left nothing in writing for His apostles to follow.  He trained them and promptly told them to go and teach others.

We are all believers because of what the apostles taught.  Jesus prayed in John 17:20 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”  He knew that we would believe on Jesus because of the words of the apostles.

Jude challenged us in verse 3, “… earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”  Jude taught that the gospel message was given to us by the Apostles. “But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 17).  

To see the Apostolic Church restored it is important that we seek what the Apostles taught, not those who came along after. Though we are curious as to what the church fathers taught, their writings are not the foundation upon which the church is to be built. “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”

For instance, several centuries passed before the doctrine of the trinity as we know it today was adopted by the church.  For two centuries the Holy Spirit was not thought of as a separate person in the godhead.  To see the church fully restored it is essential that we find out what the apostles and Jesus Christ taught. The apostles were the men that Jesus gave understanding to.  “… then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45). 

Both Jesus and the apostles warned that false teachers would come into the church.  “For I know this that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:29-30).

Over a period of several weeks we sought, through preaching, to identify areas where the church must be restored.  

Restoration of the Apostolic Doctrine

Luke recorded, “they continued steadfastly in the apostles doctrine” (Acts 2:42).  Peter stood with the eleven and preached on the day of Pentecost.  The listeners were brought to conviction.  When the listeners asked Peter and the disciples, “what must we do?”  Peter did not reply “Well, you’ve believed so you can go on home now.”  Peter taught these men how to respond to the gospel. Repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.  This doctrine needs to be restored to all churches.  

Restoration of the Apostolic Experience

In Acts 10 Peter was called to the house of Cornelius.  While he preached the Holy Ghost fell on Cornelius and his house.  Later Peter would say of this experience, “And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15).  The experience of Pentecost was repeated at Cornelius house.  That same like gift is being restored around the world today. 

In Christianity Today there was an article entitled, “Poll Says Many Pentecostals Don't Speak in Tongues.”  Adelle M. Banks, Religion News Service, reported on 10/06/2006 that speaking in tongues, long a hallmark of Pentecostalism, is not practiced by a significant number of charismatic and Pentecostal Christians, a new 10-country survey shows. The survey released by the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that experiences of divine healing of physical ailments were far more prominent for those who affiliate with the vibrant and growing segment of Christianity.

Researchers found that many Pentecostals and charismatics attend worship services where speaking in tongues and other signs of the Holy Spirit are evident. But in six of the 10 countries surveyed, at least 40 percent of Pentecostals said they never pray or speak in tongues. "I think that the classic Pentecostal belief that speaking in tongues was the real evidence of the second baptism of the Holy Spirit is, at least in practice, not widely accepted around the world," said John Green, senior fellow at the Pew Forum and a longtime observer of religion and politics. “ 

The Apostolic Experience was the baptism of the Holy Ghost!  It fell upon everyone who was in the house on the day of Pentecost; it fell upon the city of Samaria; it fell upon all of Cornelius house; it fell upon the 12 disciples at Ephesus; it is still falling today.

Kelsey Griffin wrote about a WATERED DOWN FAITH (Isa 1:22): Some Christians do not like their New Wine (Act 2:13) too strong. They are like the Israelites of Isaiah's day who watered down their wine so that it would not be too potent to drink. (8-7-10)

Personally I would rather have the original without any adulteration whatsoever. I enjoy being hot rather than lukewarm (Rev 3:16) and had rather add to my faith (2Pet1:5-10) than take away from it. I know it gets too hot very quickly for some but (just like my salsa) I will take the "spicy" rather than the mild any day. I have never cared for the average or mediocre; I'll take my New Wine from the top shelf! I'll take it straight – from the Book of Acts!

Let me meditate on the Word of God in the same manner and for the same purpose that the cow ruminates on the grass. No cow eats so it will have milk for Mr. Brown, it eats for its own nourishment and Mr. Brown's milk is only a byproduct. I ruminate on God's Word for my nourishment and not to fill someone else's glass. However let me share with the world all the by-product of my insights in His Word. Freely I receive so let me freely give!

I have been called an extremist. Well I've never considered myself extreme enough when I consider that eternity is extremely long, heaven is extremely holy, His Word is extremely accurate, hell is extremely hot and my God is extremely good!

I have been called a conservative and I have been called a liberal; I am neither one; I am a follower of Jesus Christ! I take His word literally to the extreme! I like my steak well-done whether it is from the steak-house or the church house! I enjoyed the milk in my infancy but today give me the strong meat of the Word (Heb_5:11-15). Let me wear out and not rust out! When He comes let me still be in the saddle with my boots on! If I am ever taken to court and tried for being a true Christian let me be found guilty as charged! Let Him have no problem identifying me as one of His when He returns for His own! I want to make sure some stone does not have to cry out in my place, "Hosanna to God in the Highest! Bring forth the royal diadem and crown Him Lord of all!"

Restoration of Apostolic Fellowship

“And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship” (Acts 2:42).

One man wrote, the diligence of discipleship is seen in the early Church in two very pronounced ways, “continuing daily with one accord in the temple” and in  “breaking bread from house to house.” 

The early Apostolic did not just go to Church, he was the church. Those early disciples did not just go to God’s house, they went from house to house. 

Charles Chargois said, “The Pagans would dress up to go see Zeus and Aphrodite and Hercules. Only Jehovah dressed to come see us. What happens in the spirit-realm at God's House should reveal itself in the neighborhood-realm around our house.  We go church, we don't live at church. When God robbed Himself in flesh, He came to where we live.  He came to they highways, byways, cities, homes, suburbs, and country.  The same is true today, Jesus wants to abide with us where we live.

If we were uncomfortable showing something on the big screen during a worship service in the house of God, we should feel uncomfortable watching it at home.  If you wouldn’t sing it at church, why would you listen to it in your car?  What you are at home is what you really are.  Even better said, what you are on vacation is what you really are. I have heard of people who wouldn’t consider drinking an alcoholic beverage at Applebee’s in Bossier (God forbid, some of the saints might walk in) but they will drink wine on a cruise.  True apostolic restoration will bring the church into our homes.

My wife is an excellent cook however, for me the best meal in town is at Gina’s table. A hamburger off of my own grill is better than any hamburger in this city!  Church must be best in our homes.

We utilize the restaurant because there is no mess to clean up.  When someone else prepares the food we can throw our tip down on the table and walk out.  Someone else fills us our empty tea glass, someone else washes the dishes.  We go out to eat because it is convenient; however it is never as good as the meal I get at home. Coming to church should never equate in our lives to the restaurant experience. Your tithe is not a mindless tip given because someone else prepares for worship and preaching and the pastor cleans up the messes in the church.  Let’s take church home.  Remember, we are the church.  

The Restoration of Apostolic Prayer

Prayer was not a part time business in a true apostolic church!  “They continued steadfastly in prayers” (Acts 2:42). If we want to see the church fully restored, not reformed, we must have a great prayer revival.  We will never have a great revival until we have a great prayer revival.

Jack Cunningham said, ““You never hear of a great revival that did not start with prayer–because there are none. No prayer, no revival. Know prayer, know revival!”

The Restoration of Apostolic Praise and Worship

 “… Praising God, and having favour with all the people” (Acts 2:47).

The early church was made up of Jews who had no doubt memorized and sang the Psalms from their youth. “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments” (Psalm 119:164). They sang them in the temple; they sang the Psalms as they traveled to their feast.  The Jews have always been a people of singing and dancing. 

Street.  Paul wrote, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (-Ephesians 5:19). It is recorded that Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn on the night before His crucifixion, on the way to the garden, they sang a song.  Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises. 

We also know how much praise, worship, shouting, dancing, and exuberance characterized the outpouring of the Holy Ghost at the turn of the last century, most especially at Azusa

We need not be ashamed of real, genuine praise and worship.  Apostolic Praise and Worship must be restored today.

James said, “After this I will return and rebuild David's fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it …” (Acts 15:16 NIV)

It is interesting that the Lord wanted to rebuild, restore, David’s fallen tent.  Not the tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness that was designed by God himself.  Not Solomon’s multi-million dollar wonder of the world. God’s desire is to restore David’s fallen tabernacle.

God would rather come and visit a tent where there is real living praise and worship than to visit a temple where there is only ritual and form.

It is apparent that there are several things that were present at David’s tent – that were not present at Moses Tabernacle in the wilderness.

In Moses tabernacle there were no musical instruments.  David’s tent had many musical instruments.  In Moses tabernacle, there was no shouting.  In David’s tent, there was shouting. Moses tabernacle had no hand clapping, David’s tent had hand clapping.

In Moses tabernacle there is no record of dancing.  In David’s tent, there was dancing.

Moses tabernacle was inclusive with rigid rules about who could worship. All were welcome at David’s tent.  Perhaps the sides of the tent were raised.  The rule that applied was this, let everything that hath breath praise the Lord

The Restoration of Apostolic Signs and Wonders

“And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles” (Acts 2:43).  Paul later said, “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12). The books of Acts is replete with one great miracle after another.  Miraculous healings, miraculous deliverances, miraculous conversions and even people being raised from the dead. 

The world shaking Azusa Street revival was confirmed by many miraculous healings and deliverances.  How can we expect to be the life changing church today without the nine gifts of the spirit working in the church?  Can we be content to continue without a true restoration of apostolic signs and wonders? 

Paul said to the saints in Corinth, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

When we see the church fully restored I am convinced we will begin to see Apostolic Results just like the early church.  “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”

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One Response to “Restoring the Apostolic Church”

  1. Len says:

    Yes it is “Acts 2:38” is the real conversion to go to heaven!!
    Death,burial,& resurrection

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