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Luke 22, and we begin to read our portion at verse 14: "And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 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. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you". Now please note in passing, and I'm not going to comment too much on this, it was the Passover that the Lord Jesus sat down to celebrate with His disciples, the apostles. We have here in this portion a mention of two cups - that often confuses people - but the fact of the matter is, in the Passover feast there were four cups. Now it is the second cup mentioned that He consecrates as the cup of the new covenant, verse 20, but that answers the question, 'What's the other cup?'.

Hopefully over these weeks, having suspended all presuppositions and traditions regarding the principles and practice of the Lord's Supper, we have achieved some kind of biblical consensus concerning what the apostolic practice of the breaking of bread was...

Verse 21: "But, behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table. And truly the Son of man goeth, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations", my trials. "And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.  And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough".

'The Practice and Principles of the Lord's Supper'. Hopefully over these weeks, having suspended all presuppositions and traditions regarding the principles and practice of the Lord's Supper, we have achieved some kind of biblical consensus concerning what the apostolic practice of the breaking of bread was. Let me just remind you of what we have established up to this point. We asked the question in our first study: why should we practice the Lord's Supper? Three answers were given: it was first instituted by Christ Himself; second, it was practised in the Acts of the Apostles; and third, it was explained in the Epistles - therefore it is clearly a church practice. The second question we asked was: when should we celebrate the Lord's Supper? The answer that came back was: often. It's not stipulated exactly, in fact they broke bread from house to house every day - in the beginning it was a love feast, it was a kind of family meal with God's people. Eventually it evolved under apostolic direction to, it would seem, a weekly practice on the first day of the week. We derived from that that what was apostolic practice must become modern day principle for the Church of Jesus Christ. It was probably also practised, we saw, in the evening.

The third question was: how should we practice the Lord's Supper? We saw several things: we ought to look up, it is the Lord's Supper, He is no longer on a cross or in a tomb, but He is enthroned in heaven, He is the Lord. We are to look back, we are to remember Him in His life and ministry here on the earth, and in His death. We are to look out, we are to show forth His death till He come. There is a sermon in the Supper, even for unbelievers - while they do not partake of it, there is something that they can view in it. We are to look forward, it is 'Till He come' - and we are, in preparation of eating and drinking of it, to look in, to examine ourselves lest we eat or drink damnation unto ourselves.

We ought to look up, it is the Lord's Supper, He is no longer on a cross or in a tomb, but He is enthroned in heaven, He is the Lord. We are to look back, we are to remember Him in His life and ministry here on the earth, and in His death. We are to look out, we are to show forth His death till He come...

Now we saw in our second study, that being last Sunday morning, certain principles that affect how we practice the Lord's Supper. The first was: we are to remember that Christ is in the midst. 'Where two or three are gathered together', He said, 'There am I in the midst of them'. So the Lord Jesus, alone, is the gathering centre of His people. We appropriate His presence by faith as we consider His promise that He will be there with us. The second principle that affects our practice is the priesthood of all believers, 1 Peter 2 - and therefore all, male and female in Christ, are priests, and we are to worship as such. Of course, there was the prohibition of the sisters of speaking publicly in the church that we saw in 1 Corinthians 14, yet before God we are all equal as priests to worship in spirit, and offer up spiritual sacrifices to the Lord. Therefore a priesthood is not reserved for a particular type of person, but is for all believers.

The third principle was: there is to be no officiating ministry. Ephesians 4 verse 12 tells us that there were certain gifted men given to the church who were there to equip the saints for the works of ministry. So the ministry, as a term, is for every believer - and we saw in 1 Corinthians 14 verse 26 that each one had something to contribute, although too many were doing it of course, and that is an ironic statement...yet we see that more than one person at least was involved in the early church gathering. All the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given to men are to be used, scripturally, and to the edification of the saints in the local assembly. Though, because we believe in the priesthood of all believers, and though we do not as such believe in the exercise of a one-man ministry alone, we ought not to make the mistake of thinking that 'no one-man ministry' means 'every man or any man ministry'. I fear that I may have been misunderstood in some of what I have said over the last couple of weeks. We highlighted the fact last week that you don't need a gift to pray to God in a worship service, you don't need a gift to read scripture, you don't need a gift to raise a hymn - but you do need a Holy Spirit given gift to minister the word of God, that is not for everyone, or indeed anyone. If you are not gifted in that regard, you should keep silent - but if you are gifted, and you feel God has gifted you, you should exercise that gift; and it is the overseeing brothers who should really order that gift in a sense, and regulate it as such.

We see this in Acts 13, if you turn with me to it just for a moment to highlight this, Acts 13 please. We get a glimpse into the early church of Antioch, and in verse 1 we read: 'Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul'. So there we have several men who were recognized by the Holy Spirit, and also by that assembly, as being prophets and teachers - several in the one place. We see later on, just as an aside, in chapter 15 of Acts and verse 32 that 'Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them' - that was in Antioch. So there were these already there who were recognized in chapter 13 verse 1, and then later in chapter 15 verse 32, Judas and Silas come along, and because they are gifted of the Holy Spirit and ordained of Him alone, they are allowed to exercise their gift in Antioch. So although we are saying there is no officiating ministry, we are not saying that everyone should get up and minister God's word - far from it - but those who are gifted by the Holy Spirit.

Then fourthly we saw our fourth principle, after Christ being in the midst, the priesthood of all believers, no officiating ministry, what is vital is the presidency of the Holy Spirit. We looked in detail at this in 1 Corinthians 14. So what we have really in the record of how the early church operated is what we would know as an open meeting. There was no set order. Now we touched upon the fact that many have accused such a gathering of lending itself to abuse, and we agreed with that - but we said last week that that is actually what would seem to be an apparent weakness, but it is actually a strength, because this open meeting shows whether or not the Holy Spirit is allowed His sway in the church. It demonstrates very graphically to us whether men who have been gifted by Him are exercising their gift, or whether or not for one reason or another that gift is stifled. It also shows us how the assembly, generally speaking, is exercised by His ministry. So it's so important to maintain this, the presidency of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 14:26-32 we get a unique glimpse of how the church met at that time. In verse 26, you remember Paul started by these words: 'What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble', and the phrase 'when you assemble' is repeated over and over again in that portion between 1 Corinthians 11 and 1 Corinthians 14. It's anticipating the coming together of the church for its meeting, the verb is used five times at least in chapter 11 of 1 Corinthians in the context of them coming together to observe the Lord's Supper.

If you want to be taken back, like in a time machine, to the early church and get a first-hand glimpse of what the church's meeting was like then, you have that there in 1 Corinthians 14 verses 26 through to 34...

So if you want to be taken back, like in a time machine, to the early church and get a first-hand glimpse of what the church's meeting was like then, you have that there in 1 Corinthians 14 verses 26 through to 34. The practice of the New Testament Church, here it was: Christians gathered together around the Table of the Lord to worship the Lord by the reading of scripture, by praying, by singing hymns, by sharing preaching, by taking part of the emblems of Christ's passion in the bread and in the cup - and also 1 Corinthians 16 shows us that there was also a collection, probably, at that weekly gathering.

So I want you to imagine this: a gathering that the Holy Spirit convenes, He is the chairman. He has gifted and ordained those who should minister - not a denomination, not an organisation or an institution, but the Holy Spirit. Not every man is doing it, but those whom the Holy Spirit has appointed and gifted and given something to share. The singing comes inspired, in a secondary sense, by the Holy Spirit. This is quite a unique gathering.

Now someone at the door last week and asked me a question which inspired me further to share this with you this morning, and the question was this: should not all our services, therefore, be like that? If this was the gathering of the early church, should not all our gatherings be like this? Now the answer I'm going to give to that might well tie together a lot of loose ends that have been in some people's minds regarding this, and indeed it might prevent misunderstanding concerning what I'm going to say in this message. Let me explain to you: in 1 Corinthians 11 through to 14 we have the biblical meeting of the church, and it is the only record that we have in scripture of the meeting of the church, met together as the church. Now that's very important: it's the only record of the meeting of the church met together as the church. In other words, Christians met together at different times for other things, but this is the way the church officially, if you like, met together on the Lord's Day.

Now, of course, some will think automatically of Acts 2:41-42, let me read those verses to you: 'Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers'. People will say, 'Well, there's four activities, including the breaking of bread, that the early church did'. Now here's one of our problems: we have separated those things, we have made them four things. No doubt, of course, there were instances when these things were practised individually in the early church - but when they were, they were not the meeting together of the church as the church that we have here in 1 Corinthians 14. Therefore, some believe, and I would include myself among their number, that when the early church met as the church they did all these things at the one time. What you have in Acts 2:42: 'They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers' - these happened, I believe, at the one and the same gathering.

Now, does that mean that everything else that Christians do today, and have done through history, is wrong? Of course it does not, because assemblies can organise outreaches such as this one this morning, the Family Service, or this afternoon, Sunday School, the Gospel Meeting this evening, a Bible Study that we have on a Monday evening - there's nothing wrong with these things, they are not unbiblical, but they are non-biblical in the sense that you'll not find these prescribed as individual meetings in the New Testament. That doesn't make them wrong, but what we do have that is biblical is this practice of 1 Corinthians 11 through to 14 - it is the gathering of the church as the church around the Lord's Table. So it couldn't be said that any of these other gatherings, whatever they may be, constitute the church meeting as the church as we see it in 1 Corinthians 14. Now, am I splitting hairs? Well, you might think so, but I don't think so, because I believe the Lord's Supper has come to be secondary to these other things. There's where the problem is: it was never secondary in the New Testament, it was primary, in fact it was unique - it's the only thing we find mentioned! Not that they didn't do other things, or we shouldn't do other things, but surely we ought to get things in the right order?

Maybe some of the problem regarding how churches at times, even our own, convene the Lord's Supper is that we have robbed the original church meeting of several of the features that were in it...

Maybe some of the problem regarding how churches at times, even our own, convene the Lord's Supper is that we have robbed the original church meeting of several of the features that were in it, because we tend to do these things at other times. For instance, I am grieved, particularly over the last couple of weeks - I don't want to sound negative, but sometimes we only pray when we're going to break the bread and drink the cup. I don't know whether you've noticed that, but over the last couple of weeks prayer has hardly been made until that point. We must make sure that what we are doing is biblical, not just in how we do it, but in the variety that is involved in our doing of it. In all likelihood, in the early church they did everything at the one time, and therefore there was great variety in that meeting - the apostles' doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers. Perhaps some of the monotony - it's only a suggestion - of our practice from time to time is due to a departure in this area?

Now here's a lesson, even if it be a secondary one - I believe, anyway: any departure from apostolic pattern will eventually prove detrimental. If you want to remember that, just remember two words: departure and detrimental. Any departure from apostolic pattern will eventually prove to be detrimental. Now, when handling the Scriptures our objective must never be to improve upon the way we do things, let's suspend that right away in our minds. We should be asking: how would the Spirit have us do things? I think it's exemplified here in the apostles' doctrine, and I'll give you the facts as I believe the Holy Spirit has given them to us in the New Testament, and it's up to you what you do with them.

As is always the case - and although I have said in caveat at the beginning of this series, it has not been my aim to critique errors regarding how others practice the Lord's Table - it is the case that man-made traditions have marred the Spirit's pattern that we find in 1 Corinthians 14 in particular, and has quenched the Spirit's power in His church. I would have to say that even among those who would seek to practice what we call an open meeting, in similarity to 1 Corinthians 14, there are certain do's and don'ts that have evolved that are equal to man-made traditions and rules. I have heard these myself. I have heard some say there should be no Bible exposition around the Lord's Table - you should just sing, pray, and praise God. We'll deal with that one in a moment. Others say Bible ministry should be, if it occurs, devotional not doctrinal. Now, I think it's unfortunate that those two terms, devotional and doctrinal, have come to be seen as mutually exclusive - in other words, that you can't have the two together. I think they're complimentary. I think all ministry should be, to an extent, devotional. It should not be coldly doctrinal, yet at the same time ministry should not bypass the head on the way to the heart. Doctrine and devotion should go together.

Others say that you should only focus on the cross. Can I say very clearly that there is something wrong if, when we are around the Lord's Table, we don't remember Him in His death. There are some Suppers that almost pass without that. But is that all we are committed to remember concerning the Lord? Others say that at a certain time, certain things should be done - this should happen then - I question that. Others say hymns should be sung from a certain book. Now, please don't misunderstand anything that I'm saying: I love the Believer's Hymn Book, I use it devotionally at home as well as round the Table - but the New Testament believers didn't have a book. We should not bind ourselves to any book - it's the Holy Spirit, He cannot be bound, and we should only be bound by that which He has bound Himself to, which is the New Testament.

Now, all of these things - we don't have time to deal with them individually, but hopefully the things I'll share with you will touch upon many of them, if not all of them. But the ultimate truth that I want us to get to is: we have all got to come to the point of submitting to the Holy Spirit's ministry in the Church, that is what 1 Corinthians 11 through to 14 has got to do with. The Holy Spirit is superintending His assembly, He is representing Christ, and ministering Christ, and feeding Christ to the saints - therefore we must do it the way He would have us do it.

It was J. H. Lang, the Bible teacher, who said these words: 'If the average modern Christian could find himself in a meeting of the early church, he might wonder where he had strayed'. Do you think that is the case?

So let us answer this question: how does the Holy Spirit manifest His ministry at the Lord's Supper recorded in the Scriptures? It was J. H. Lang, the Bible teacher, who said these words: 'If the average modern Christian could find himself in a meeting of the early church, he might wonder where he had strayed'. Do you think that is the case? Let's see what the Scriptures teach, and see if it fits our mould in our minds or in practice - and if it doesn't, well then we have some thinking to do.

In Acts chapter 20 and verse 7, remember we looked at these words, I think it was last week, we read there: 'Upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight'. Now it was clear that long hours were occupied with the Lord's Supper here in Troas, but it's also clear that long hours of instruction are implied in this verse. Now I just offer the question to you: whilst we must get to Calvary, and think on Calvary, would this suggest that at this meeting of the early church all they did was minister on Calvary? You can answer that.

We need to remember that the Passover was the foundation for this Lord's Supper feast, it was the forerunner, and there was instruction at the Passover. Exodus chapter 12, let me remind you of these verses, verse 26: 'It shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped'. Now the implication of what Moses shares there in the institution of the Passover is that without that instruction going from one generation to another, this feast of the Passover would become meaningless. Indeed, it would become mere religious formality. So, God ordained that there should be instruction at the feast of the Passover. It is my conviction, it may well be only mine, that one of the reasons that Lord's Table suffers from time to time is a lack of instruction at it, about it. I'll leave that with you. Was instruction a common feature of the Lord's Supper as it was of the Passover? I believe it was.

Turn to our reading in Luke 22, till I highlight this for you - this was the night on which the institution was given by the Lord, and on that night - mark, please - He gave instruction, and notice the vast instruction that He gave. In verses 16 and 18, glance down at it, He spoke to His apostles of how that feast looked forward to another feast when He would renew fellowship with them in the Kingdom of God. In verses 24 to 27, He spoke of the fact that in His Kingdom a humble slave will be as a ruler. On from that in verses 28 to 30, He spoke that rewards and rule in His Kingdom would be gained by sharing in His present suffering and trials. In verse 31 He speaks of the activity of the accuser, Satan, the tempter, against His own disciples - particularly Peter. Then also in verse 32 He speaks that through His own intercession, that attack of Satan and that testing could be limited. In other words, He's talking about His High Priestly ministry - and of course the epistle of Hebrews elaborates on that great truth. Verses 34 to 38, look at it, He encloses a warning that that night would test their faith to such an extent that they never had before, and they would be overwhelmed, and they would be cast on their own resources, and they would fail. Do you think Luke's record is not there to impress upon us the need for instruction? And that instruction took place where? At the Table of the Lord.

Now, what about the body of teaching that we find in John? Turn to John 13, to what is commonly known as the Upper Room Ministry, John 13 through to 16. The Holy Spirit lays down for us a record as to what the Lord spoke at the Lord's Supper. Now first of all in verse 8 of chapter 13, the Lord teaches the disciples that a clean walk, washed feet, is indispensable to fellowship of Christ - what a lesson! Then secondly, if you look at verses 14 to 17 of the same chapter, He speaks that lowliness of heart is essential in disciples, that they should serve one another. Thirdly, in chapter 14 this time, verse 1 and verse 27, He speaks of how we need an untroubled heart - and it is possible by faith in the Lord and in God. We can share in His own joy and His own peace, the same is found in chapter 15 and verse 11. Fourthly, He teaches in this Upper Room Ministry of the life of abiding oneness with Christ, and fruitfulness results from great fellowship with the Godhead. In chapter 15 we see that, right through to verse 16 from verse 1. Also in chapter 14 verse 20, also chapter 15 and chapter 16, He introduces us to the person and the work of the Holy Spirit as the Teacher, the Sanctifier, and the co-witness with every believer in Christ. Sixthly, in chapter 14 verses 13 and 14, we are told of the limitless resources and irresistible energy of prayer in faith and in the name of Christ. Finally in chapter 14, of course, the Lord Jesus introduces us to His own return, which is the hope and goal of the faith of every believer in Jesus Christ.

I'm not criticising how we remember the Lord, but all I'm saying to you is: when the early church met together as the church, they met together to break bread - but they also met together to receive ministry from the Holy Spirit from the word of God!

Now what was He doing in John 13 to 16? He was preparing His apostles for the task and the ordeals that awaited them without the support of His visible presence. He was going away from them, He would send another Comforter, and then He would come again. Now we are presently in that moment of absence concerning the King, that is, the Lord is not visibly with us - though He is there by His Spirit where two or three are gathered. They needed such ministry, and that ministry was received by them at the Table of the Lord, that's where they got it. It's interesting, isn't it? Some say we meet only to break bread and remember the Lord in His death. Yes, we are to meet to do that, and do that we must - but there ought to be much more going on in the meeting of the church. In the early church, remember please, this was their main meeting, and this was the place for the Lord to speak!

Now I know we segregate things, and I don't want to be misunderstood in what I'm saying. I'm not criticising how we remember the Lord, but all I'm saying to you is: when the early church met together as the church, they met together to break bread - but they also met together to receive ministry from the Holy Spirit from the word of God! The Lord, please note, didn't say: 'Convene the meeting of the early church to remember Me', He didn't say that. He said: 'Do this in remembrance of Me', and what was 'this'? Breaking the bread and drinking the cup. That wasn't the meeting, that was the act. Now please don't misunderstand me - what am I saying? Are we to remember the Lord in His death? Yes, a thousand times, yes! Is it only in His death? No! Now something is wrong, terribly wrong, if we do not remember the Lord in His death around the Table, and this is a serious problem. Yet the way we ought to address that problem is not prohibiting any ministry that deviates from the cross. Listen to me: in the early church, forget about what we do now, in the early church ministry was always to be Christ-centred - but to limit all ministry just to one aspect of the Lord's life, even though it be the great aspect, is unhelpful.

You see, the spiritual condition of the apostles was the Lord's theme in Luke 22, wasn't it? Incidentally, the spiritual condition of the Corinthians was Paul's theme in 1 Corinthians 11. In fact, Paul said things were so bad with their personal spiritual condition that they couldn't even eat the Lord's Supper. It was through his ministry that they were warned not to eat and drink damnation upon themselves, and it was from his ministry that they were healed in order to do it one day again. Now let's sum up what I'm saying: if we don't get to Calvary around the Lord's Table, there is something wrong - but the Holy Spirit would minister all the virtues and all the glories of Christ when we meet together as the church. He would instruct us, as Christ did, concerning life in Christ. He would fit our lives for witness of Him in the world around. Therefore, Christ-centred ministry of the word is central to this gathering of the early church, and ought to be central to ours.

Indeed, just in the Tabernacle, which is a type of the real, just as the Laver of water came before the Table of Shewbread in the tent, in the Tabernacle; I believe God's order is the ministry of the Word before we approach to eat the feast. The Word is the water that washes us, that cleanses us, that fits us. Now why am I talking this way? Because I feel that even in our own practice at times the Word of God has been given second place. That can be demonstrated in the standard of ministry that often is given - not always. It can be demonstrated in the lack of ministry that isn't given. Is it not a sign of our weakness when the Word of God comes second place, say, to singing? Don't misconstrue what I'm saying, I love singing, and some of you know that - but when the Lord, and when the apostles had concluded the feast here in the scriptures, before leaving the Upper Room it says they sang a hymn. It was probably the Hallel, Psalm 118, it may well have been that whole section of Psalms - but notice they only sang once. Now don't take a law out of that, that's not what I'm wanting you to do, far from it - but there's a great difference between that and perhaps our practice of singing five or even six hymns in an hour! Yet the whole meeting in Troas, in Acts 20 verse 7, was spent in instruction. I wonder at times what we'd do without our hymnbook! We couldn't survive, perhaps, that whole hour without it - and yet it would seem, at times, that we could survive the hour without our Bibles.

My plea to you is that we must give the Holy Spirit full sway in our assembly, and in all our assemblies. Do you know what we have here in 1 Corinthians 14? It is the characteristics of revival that has been seen all the world over...

The Epistles contain only two brief references to singing among Christians - I don't despise it, but please do note what God's word has to say about it. Ephesians 5:19, particularly Colossians 3:16, listen: 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord'. The exercise of singing was not self-pleasing, the exercise was not even for worship - did you note that? What was the singing for? It was a form of, I quote Paul: 'Teaching and admonishing one another'. The Lord, of course, receives His portion of the song, but it's the part of the heart - nothing to do with the mouth or the din!

Now, let me conclude: I have given you this morning what the scriptures say, nothing more I hope, and nothing less. How do we implement these principles in our practice? Well, that's for another day perhaps - but to summarise what we find in the scriptures: in all likelihood there was only one official meeting when the church was gathered together as the church. It was the meeting at which they remembered the Lord in His death, but it was the meeting at which the Holy Spirit who had gifted men in the church ministered to the church in all of the orb of need that He alone could see was in that church. We don't limit Him as we remember the Lord in His death, why should we limit the Holy Spirit in any other facet or sphere of our existence? His gifts were given to men to minister to the needs that only He could see - 1 Corinthians 14 verse 3 says that he that prophesies with one of these gifts does it unto men to edification, exhortation, and comfort. Now that was the meeting at which the early church broke bread, but something more than that was going on.

My plea is that the Holy Spirit - now this is idealistic to some people, they'll just disregard this and say this is not practical in our modern day and age - but my plea to you is that we must give the Holy Spirit full sway in our assembly, and in all our assemblies. Do you know what we have here in 1 Corinthians 14? It is the characteristics of revival that has been seen all the world over, across all sorts of strains and denominations of Christianity - because you read the accounts: when the Holy Spirit took control, it wasn't men who were in control. Men became the instruments, but the Holy Spirit did His work. Let us not bind Him, let us not hinder Him even by our own traditions, let us do whatever we must - if it mean moving mountains - that He might have freedom to minister amongst us all as God would will. May God bless His word to our hearts.

Let us all pray together: Father, none of us has a monopoly of knowledge or truth, but You have promised through Your Son, the Lord Jesus, that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. We are not seeking these things out so that we can say, 'We've got it right and others have got it wrong', it's not about that, Lord. You know our hearts, it's all about getting back to the primitive nature of the early church, where the Holy Spirit was in control. The Acts of the Apostles could be called, we know, the Acts of the Holy Spirit, for You were turning the world upside down through Your ministry in ordinary, ignorant men. We know that revival has taken place, even this year, in places across our world - and the same pattern is being repeated: God is in control. Oh Lord, we would have that again. Oh Lord, we would be used, but set us aside if that be Your will, that no flesh should glory in Your sight, but that the Lord Jesus should be lifted up, and the Holy Spirit should minister and testify of Him. God, grant it, when we are gathered, that we will get such a vision of all the glories of Christ, and the wonder of Calvary, and the wonder of His risen power, that we will be totally overwhelmed by His living presence with us. We thank You for this morning's remembrance, we thank You for the blessing that it was, but Lord we must say: more about Jesus would we know; oh, more, more about Jesus; show us more about Jesus. Lord, may these sentiments be taken in the spirit in which they were intended. May they not confuse, may they seek to bring us all to a clearer resemblance of the church as it was, and as it can be in our day and generation. We ask these things for the glory alone of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray, Amen.

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Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
December 2007

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "The Principles and Practice of The Lord's Supper - Part 3 " - Transcribed by Preach The Word.

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