Houses in Which to Eat (Season 5, Episode 5)

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Houses in Which to Eat (Season 5, Episode 5)

As time goes on, more churches (even among brethren) are hosting meals as a function of the local church. But should churches be involved in this practice? As with every question, we must strive to determine if such activities are authorized. This will be determined by examining the word of God, not by observing the cultural norms in our society or the current trends in the religious world. So in this episode, we’re going to examine what Paul had to say to the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians 11:17-22.

Article: Houses in Which to Eat

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Houses in Which to Eat

Family dinner

As time goes on, more churches (even among brethren) are hosting meals as a function of the local church. But should churches be involved in this practice? As with every question, we must strive to determine if such activities are authorized. This will be determined by examining the word of God, not by observing the cultural norms in our society or the current trends in the religious world. So let us examine what Paul had to say to the church in Corinth.

But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.

What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you” (1 Corinthians 11:17-22).

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The Mission of the Church

Church building

There are many different churches all over the world. Why do these churches exist? What is their mission? That answer will vary from church to church as men fashion their churches according to their own desires. We will consider a few possible answers later in this article.

But what is the mission of the church of our Lord? The answer to this question will not be found in human opinion or tradition, but in the word of God that has been revealed to us in the Scriptures. So let us see what the Scriptures say about the mission of the church.
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Gospel Preaching and Ice Cream Parties

Recently, a local church here in Bowling Green held a weekend gospel meeting. The announcement that appeared on the front page of their website inviting people to attend also contained an invitation to an “Ice Cream Meet n’ Eat” that would be held at the home of one of the members.

Incorporating this invitation into the announcement on the church’s website for the gospel meeting makes it easy for one to get the impression that this ice cream party was an official event sponsored and paid for by the church. The fact that it was located at a member’s house would not necessarily indicate that the church was uninvolved. A church might decide to host a social event at such a location in order to provide a more casual environment or because they church does not (yet) have a fellowship hall or similar facility in which to host the event on-site. Denominations host social events on their property and off-site all of the time. People are accustomed to these things happening. So even though social events have no place in the work of the church (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:22, 34), many people would not think twice about it.

Though I do not know this for a fact, I assume that this particular ice cream party was paid for by individual members and not by the congregation (even though the announcement somehow ended up on the church’s website embedded within the invitation to the gospel meeting). However, this does beg the question: Is it appropriate to use social events (like ice cream parties) as a means of enticing people to come listen to the gospel?
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Church Services vs. The Super Bowl

Watching Football

The biggest sporting event of the year – the Super Bowl – will kickoff this Sunday evening. The televised game garners much attention, even from those who are not sports fans. Super Bowl parties, large and small, will be held in every part of the country.

Many congregations typically have regular assemblies scheduled during this time. As Christians, what are we to do? We have several options, though not all are equal in merit. Let us examine these in light of the Scriptures.
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“Preach Christ, Not the Church”

Crosses

In the religious world, we have what seems to be a countless number of churches. All have their particular name, creed, organization, and practices. But when we turn to the pages of the New Testament, we read of the one true church. Jesus promised to build one church (Matthew 16:18). Jesus purchased one church (Acts 20:28). Jesus is the head of one church (Ephesians 1:22-23). The one true church is the universal body of the saved.

Whenever we read of churches (plural) in the New Testament, it refers to local churches. “All the churches of Christ greet you” (Romans 16:16). Paul wrote “to the churches of Galatia” (Galatians 1:2). The book of Revelation was addressed to the “seven churches” in Asia (Revelation 1:11). Notice these are all local churches, not confederations of local churches, or denominations (i.e. the Baptist church, Methodist church, Episcopal church, etc.).

Yet this teaching that there is but one true church is not popular. Most professed Christians believe that one church is as good as another. People are told to join the church of their choice. After all, they all believe in Christ, so they are all basically the same. This is the mentality of many. They do not want to condemn or be critical of any other church. They do not think we should do so either. So they tell us to preach Christ, not the church.
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Quenching the Spirit

Near the close of Paul’s first epistle to Thessalonica, he gave several brief exhortations. One of these was the instruction, “Do not quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). What does it mean to “quench the Spirit”? The Greek word that is translated quench means to extinguish, or put out. This makes us think of extinguishing a fire. The word of God is compared to a fire elsewhere as Jeremiah described it as “a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9).

We should also remember that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). To “quench the Spirit” is to remove the power from the gospel. After all, the revealed word is the product of the Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; John 15:26-27). The gospel is designed to convert the lost and edify the saved. Quenching the Spirit prevents these things and, ultimately, will cause us to forfeit our salvation. So we should look at how we are to preach so as not to quench the Spirit. How do we “quench the Spirit”?
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