The call to prayer was too inconvenient for most everybody who saw Jesus alive after the resurrection. Only 120 showed up in that room. Only 120 determined it was necessary to actually obey Jesus. To them, Jesus was more Savior than Lord.
Living on the right side of Acts one requires obedience. It requires us to be people of extravagant, inconvenient prayer.
Acts 2 started with prayer in an Upper Room and it continued with prayer daily in the temple.
"Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. 5:17).
Today we have innumerable people naming the name of Christ who are living in constant disobedience by refusing to live a life of continual prayer.
Corporate prayer is such a clear and obvious mandate for Christians that it is beyond shocking and nonsensical that so many are not investing in it. They are living after the resurrection but before Acts, presuming that all is well and there is nothing left to be done. Both resurrection power and Holy Spirit power are required before we can even begin to understand our life purpose—much less fulfill it.
The corporate prayer meetings are the most important meeting and every Christian must be in attendance. In fact, In Acts 2 corporate prayer was a daily occurrence. This is what must return to our churches today.
"And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart" (Acts 2:46).
This means we can no longer continue without coming together for Holy Spirit-infused prayer every day and presume it's OK or normal. It's not. Those living on the right side of Acts one can't stand the thought of going a day without encountering God in prayer with other believers.
Acts Christians were radically invested in both corporate church gatherings and planting of new churches.
I'm grieved at the number of Christian "church haters" (is that even possible?) on the rise. People are creating theologies that argue against the corporate church setting that are laughable.
Consider Chinese Christians who gather together every morning at 4:30 a.m., seven days a week, to pray and worship together as the church before they begin their day. In America, we think a couple hours a week is too inconvenient!
Can somebody explain to me how coming together with other Christians every day to pray on fire is a bad thing? How is that something doctrines are being created to oppose? Truly those are doctrines of demons.
Some might say that they don't need to attend church because "they are the church." They would be incorrect.
From my article, "You Are Not the Church:
If we understand the meaning of the word 'church' we could never presume that we alone are the church. That idea is contrary to the origin of the word (ekklesia, meaning "assembly"). In fact, that word has secular origins. It literally means an assembly of people who have been called together by an authority in the city or region. Wow! That sheds a lot of light on what the church is.
The church is an assembly of people organized under defined governmental leadership. It's a regular gathering of people who are deeply agreed and in pursuit of mission advance under God's apostles, prophets and other governmental leaders.
Further, the pure definition of the word reveals that it isn't used as easily in the context of the global company of believers as it is in the regional and local gathering of believers.
The definition reveals that it's a well-defined local group vs. a loosely defined larger group of people (who mostly don't know each other at all). We can't be a part of the church if we aren't gathered together with other parts of the church. Church is corporate.
Additionally, the church is a group of people who assemble, fellowship, pray and respond together to apostolic teaching. That can't happen in a more nebulous global context.
Inherent in the church's core call are the expectation of assembly and a corporate response so as to ensure the local mission is fulfilled. Again, a fulfilled mission can't be realized without this type of intentional and faithful participation at a local level where communication and commonality are clearly defined.
Those living in Acts Holy Spirit power understand the need to be rightly aligned with men and women of God. They understand the church gathering isn't foundationally a social one. It's a strategic one. Great numbers of people coming together to pray and to receive apostolic instruction is necessary on a daily basis if we are to advance the gospel in victorious fashion.
The church is a military. It has a mission.
Church haters have gripes about how they were treated, about disagreements with focus, about not being recognized, about most anything. True, biblical, Holy Spirit-empowered Christians are ready to die to their own opinions and serve. Today, when people are rejected, they run from the church with complaints in their hearts. Two thousand years ago, when Jesus was rejected, He died for the church with love in His heart.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 20 years and is a sought-out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored nine books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at the International House of Prayer (IHOP) in Kansas City. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing a prayer- and revival-focused ministry school in Detroit called theLab University. John's mandate is to call the church in the nations to repentance from casual Christianity and to burn in a manner worthy of the King of kings. He is equipping people to confront the enemies of God (established religion, Jezebel and so on) that hinder an extreme, sold out level of true worship.
For the original article, visit johnburton.net.
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