Kingdom Whole Gatherings
"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
just as by the Spirit of the Lord,"
2 Corinthians 3'18.
"... when you come together
as Christs' Called-Out People ..."
1 Corinthians 11'18.
Whole Gatherings include ministries such as psalms, hymns, spiritual songs, preaching, teaching, the manifestation of the Spirit and Elders praying over needy Believers.
These meetings were of much significance and mutual benefit.
The name Whole Gathering used here is intended to be inspirational. It's a reminder that Saints who are called out of the world will gather together "... till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11'26).
The two words come from two scriptures:
Whole is found in 1 Corinthians 14'23: "... if the whole Ekklesia of Christ comes together in one place".
Gathering is found in 2 Thessalonians 2'1: "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him".
Kingdom Whole Gatherings take place on the Lord's Day which is the First Day of the Week the day of the week when Jesus rose from the dead.
The Lord's Day Gathering is for honouring the Father and celebrating Christ and all that they are to the Children of God - and a day for the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
It is the foremost day for Believers: John the Elder "... was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day" (Revelation 1'10).
The disciples came together to break bread on "... the first day of the week" (Acts 20'7). And "on the first day of the week" the Saints gave to others (1 Corinthian 16'2).
On the First Day of the Week Believers also celebrate God's Creation and their own new creation. As 2 Corinthians 4'6 says:
"For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
In these larger gatherings of Saints there's a range of ministering to God and to one another that are not likely to be experienced in their fullness in House Gatherings.
In this gathering of new Believers, Saints, Elders (which may include an apostle, prophet or evangelist, shepherds and teachers) the ministries there may be:
Giving thanks together.
Celebrating the Lord's Supper-Table.
Remembering Christ until He comes again.
Being filled with the Spirit.
Participating in the manifestation of the Spirit.
Ministry of the gifts of the Spirit.
Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
Singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord.
Singing with grace in their hearts to the Lord.
Giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
Submitting to one another in the fear of God.
Manifesting the fruit the Holy Spirit.
Preaching the Word of Christ.
"Could gatherings like the ones Paul refers to happen today?". Surely, the answer would have to be "Yes".
Another question could be: "How was it that such things seemed to just happen among those early Believers?" (And many other Believers since, no doubt.)
Again, the obvious answer would be: "... by the working of the Holy Spirit".
Again: "Why are the kind of gatherings that were for building up, comforting and exhorting the Corinthian Believers not experienced today?".
An immediate answer may be" "Because they are not expected or anticipated".
But could does Peter give an answer as to the kind of preaching what was preached then? He refers to:
"... those who have preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven ...", 1 Peter 1'12.
In fact, he was the first to "preach the good news ... by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven" on the Day of Pentecost.
As well as him there's John, Philip and the others who went to Samaria, Aquila and Priscilla, Timothy and Paul.
He was more specific, saying:
"... my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power," 1 Corinthians 2'4-5.
And what was the aim of his preaching?:
"that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God".
Further to that he explained:
"I will come to you shortly, if the Lord wills, and I will know, not the word of those who are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power," 1 Corinthians 4'19-20.
And "power" is the substance of the word of Christ:
"For I am not ashamed of the good news of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation ...," Romans 1'16.
"For the word of God is living and powerful ...," Hebrews 4'12.
And Jesus, the Anointed One, the Lord, the word of God Himself is:
"... the power of God and the wisdom of God," 1 Corinthians 1'24.
The Greek word for "power" used here is dunamis and means "ability, power" according to Strong's Concordance. It is used 72 times in the Kingdom scriptures of Acts 2'1 to Revelation 3'22.
Should present-day Believers expect, even anticipate, this kind of preaching?
The Believers who took part in the very first New Covenant Kingdom prayer meeting obviously did. And the Holy Spirit affirmed them and made sure it was recorded.
They were direct and fervent as they asked for and expected to receive power:
"... grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,
by stretching out Your hand to heal,
and that signs and wonders may be done
through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.
And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness," Acts 4'29-31.
We could challenge ourselves further and wonder if we simply don't believe as the early Believers did.
Is unbelief preventing Believers from receiving these powerful ministries of the Spirit? Unbelief is a very powerful thing. Look what happened when Jesus went "to His own country":
"Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.
And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching," Mark 6'5-6.
Let us remember that "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" Romans 10'17.
And added to that, let us heed these words:
"... earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way".
"And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."
"Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy."
(1 Corinthians 12'31;13'13;14'1)
BEING DISPOSED TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Jesus' Called-Out Disciples were disposed to the Holy Spirit. They were open to Him. They were willing to obey Him.
When a Whole Gathering comes together in Jesus' name the Holy Spirit is present. It is there that:
"... the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all," 1 Corinthians 12'7.
From Him Christ's People minister His various gifts to each other, for the glory of God. The disposition of the early Believers was what might be called naturally spiritual and spiritually natural.
They expected and anticipated to experience holy spirituals. (See The Spirit in Whole Gatherings 1&2 on the Menu.)
WHAT IF WE DID?
Suppose Believers gathered today in the same manner of openness as those early Saints? Would the Body of Christ enjoy the same blessings today?
""Now the Lord is the Spirit;
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,"
2 Corinthians 3'17.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ,
and the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit
be with you all. Amen."
2 Corinthians 13'14.
Prayer. Heavenly Father, thank you for all your abundant love and grace to your people. Thank you, too, for the refreshing ministry of the Holy Spirit.
And, Lord, restore to your People the powerful preaching of "the Good News with the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven".
In Jesus' name. Amen.