The religion of American Christianity was conceived and currently run by men who have completely ignored one of Christs’ most fundamental missions for the church; and there is not one pastor or preacher in America that has ever, and probably will never, preach or teach this one concept.
In fact, unless an individual Christian has read this concept from the Bible themselves, it is guaranteed they have never heard of this theory. The theory is plainly documented in the book of Acts when the early church first received the Holy Ghost and began to worship God as a unit.
They and the Apostles were just beginning in the worship of the Holy Ghost and marveling in the new powers and revelations of God; rejoicing and operating in a parallel realm of heavenly places on earth, seeing and performing miracles of healing, casting out of devils, speaking in new tongues and languages, and many other miraculous works of God being done by ordinary people.
Many people today ask why those same miracles are not being performed by church leaders, such as going into hospitals healing the sick, and the casting out of devils and unclean spirits from people, and signs and wonders documented in the times of Jesus and the early church. Granted, some preachers try to perform these feats and some even pretend to, but if any are performed, they are performed in deception and viewed with skepticism by unbelievers and many believers themselves.
The power of God is severely limited in the church today because they lack that fundamental condition that the early church possessed in being able to perform those kinds of miracles. The operation of all the spiritual gifts together as given in 1 Corinthians 12, which reads:
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:” 7-10.
Even Jesus himself told the disciples what kind of powers to expect once they believed and received the Holy Ghost; in St. Mark 16:17, 18 it reads: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Unfortunately, the church does not perform these acts in front of the world because they do not know how to use the power of the Holy Ghost and because many lack faith and belief in the powers. As a result, the world of unbelievers simply sees the church as powerless, scam artist, and liars and they also assume the Bible is useless and just a collection of mythological tales.
Unless the church today can harness the power of God like the early church did, today’s church will never know or use the powers of God effectively and as they should be used. Regrettably, there is a difference in thinking between the two church ages that has caused today’s church to miss the ability to understand and use God’s powers. And that difference is church commonality.
The early church was bound together by a common rationale that today’s church lacks tremendously. They were not individualist like today’s church members are, they were united on all things; in what the Bible called “having all things common.” The scripture reads:
“And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” Acts 4:32.
The mind-set of commonality is missing in the church today and have been replaced by individualism, which is a component of American capitalism, that teaches that everyone should look out for themselves in the struggle of rugged individualism and survival of the fittest. Many of today’s church leaders value this mind-set over commonality because they have submitted to American values.
Politically speaking, this form of church commonality and community living is considered by many church leaders as socialism and is frowned upon by anyone American supporter of the capitalist, free-market spirit, in which most megachurches and prosperity church pastors believe in and teach. Wealth and income inequality is rampant in America as well as in the churches.
However, the power of commonality in the early church embodied the power of God’s grace, which enabled the believers and leaders to understand and use the powers of God. In other words, when commonality is practiced among a group of Holy Ghost filled believers, God’s power is magnified.
Another look at this concept continues in Acts chapter 2:41-44, which reads: “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. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common;”
This verse reveals that the believers remained committed to one doctrine and form of worship and were not broken into factions like today’s church. It also shows how they ate together and prayed together and admiration and the fear of the Lord was upon them all, which unleashed the powers of God for them to perform miracles, signs and wonders.
Verse 46 says they also continued every day “daily” with one accord, meaning they all believed and knew the same things about God. They went from house to house in gladness and singleness of heart. There was no strife among them, jealousy, competition or sedition among them but they worshiped God as one believer, together in the spirit.
The spirit of individualism in today’s church have destroyed that singleness of heart that God once gave to the church. Most people today are only concerned about what God has done for them because they are being taught by preachers who submit to individualist thinking and lifestyle. “I got mines now you get yours,” and “keeping up with the Joneses,” mentalities have infiltrated and corrupted the church; thus, the power of God is diminished.
In fact, the power of God’s grace and singleness of heart was so strong among the early church that they had no more interest in the things they possessed from the world and began to sell those things and give the profits to the apostles, who would distribute it among the rest of the people in the church to make sure everyone had what they needed. Acts 2:45 reads: “and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.”
Verse 34 and 35 of Acts 4 reads: “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, and laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
Notice the trust the people had for the leaders, the Apostles. They were willing to sell their homes and other possessions and give all the money to men who were preaching of Jesus Christ. That level of trust does not exist in today’s church. People would never give everything they have; instead, they are taught to give a percentage (a tenth) of their earnings that represents their individual offering to God.
In fact, even the theory of tithing is debunked in the passages of God’s grace with the early church when a Levite, the tribe of Israel that was supposed to collect tithes, converted to the mind-set of church commonality; the scripture reads: “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet. Acts 4:36, 37.
Of course, any church today that would attempt to practice what the early church did on selling their possession and giving the profits to the church leaders would be deemed a cult, unwise and foolish, and probably flagged for an Internal Revenue audit. No one today even expects the church to act as the early church. This is unconventional thinking today.
However, all the people then had everything they needed as a result of the giving. The Apostles were honest enough to distribute to the people and were not selfish and deceiving as some leaders of today are. The people understood that the apostles were possessed with the very same spirit of God they had, as they “were of one heart and of one soul,” acting as one individual in God’s spirit.
Today, the people are divided by class, education and race, even within the church, which unfortunately determines who has what, which is called politics. And since many leaders today have submitted to the theories and political views of America, they run their churches the same way. Teaching individual freedoms along with a watered-down version of love your neighbor.
Contrary to today’s church thinking of showing devotion to the church and honoring God with the first fruits of their earnings, the early church took the grace of God more seriously and condemned those people who refused to give all the profits to the leaders. In Acts 5:1-5, when a couple decided to keep back part of the profits from their sells, they were considered liars and blasphemers of God, and they died.
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.”
Nevertheless, the early church was empowered with the grace and power of the Holy Ghost and worshiped God every day in eating, fellowshipping, and praying together. This fellowship increased the powers of God in order for them to practice the gifts of the spirit. Trust was increased in God and among themselves, and through all this, they were not touched by or affected by the world around them.
In fact, people came out of the world to join them. Acts 2:47 says the church was, “praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.” The power was so strong that, “There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.” Acts 5:16.
The church does not see this kind of community conversion today. People are not flocking to the churches but are instead fleeing the church in search of other forms of religion and spirituality. The Christian image has been tainted so severely by the lack of faith and power, and the corruption of false preachers, that it cannot grow but is only decreasing in numbers and power.
Thank God the church today still has a chance and can resurrect this power of grace for the church to operate according to God’s plan. But if they do not, they will never reach the fulness of God’s power and will only weaken more. In order to reach the fulness, the church has to regain and exalt the oneness and strength of the Holy Ghost.
First, they have to denounce the spirit of individualism and traditions of men and return to worshiping God every day, by communing and fellowshipping together, daily. Next, they have to gain trust in their leaders who will make sure everyone has what they need, and finally, they have to conduct a sell off of their worldly goods and possessions and deposit the profits into a mutual account. Sounds crazy right?
Well God has given us the recipe for such an act coming from the book of Ephesians, which reads: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16.
The one main, most important word in this passage is love. “…speaking the truth in love,” and “…maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Without love, the persona of the early church will never manifest in the church today. Everyone has to know their gift, purpose, and proper position in the body of Christ, and pray for and grow in the spirit of love, together.
There has to be leaders who understand the mystery behind the empowering of the church and how to make it grow unto itself in love, and how to use the power of the Holy Ghost to perform miracles, signs and wonders. These leaders have to be honest, faithful, and full of the Holy Ghost.
As the scripture above says, the body has to be, in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part.”
This description of the body of Christ means that every believer in the church has a gift and a purpose in the body, and they understand how to fulfill their purpose using the gift. It reveals that as a group of believers, the object is to grow together stronger by using the grace and power of God’s gifts, which operate in unison for the glory of God. Do today’s church leaders understand this? No.
Ephesians 4 goes on to explain how believers are to manifest this understanding and power, which reads: “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ;” vv. 17-20.
The unbelievers have not learned Christ because they walk in greediness – like many church leaders and members do today – and they are vain in their minds and have no understanding of God. Individualism does this to people’s minds. Unfortunately, because the church lacks the grace and power of God in its fullness, many church people are on the same level as unbelievers.
Many may wonder how the church can accomplish this task in today’s world with such opposition to this kind of commonality. The answer is that we as a people are chosen of God to overcome the world and the things of the world. Separation and sanctification from the world is the key. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4.
If the church breaks away from the world and rebuilds a community based on church commonality, yet while remaining in the world but not of the world, the church can overcome and strengthen themselves in the grace and power of the Holy Ghost. And from thence will come miracles, signs and wonders.