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WELCOME TO LIVING WORD FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
BIBLICAL INTRUCTIONS AND RULES WHEN WE MEET
We welcome all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to come and worship our Father and Lord through our Lord Jesus Christ with us!
We believe that the body of Christ must work in its God given roles to reach the lost sheep of God and to bring them back to God through the Evangelical message of the Gospel, which is the power of God for salvation for ALL WHO BELIEVE, Romans 1:16.
Having said this, the reunion that the word of God calls the assembly or the congregation of the righteous is just such. We believe that the reunion of the assembly of the righteous or the body of Christ is indeed the body of Christ. The members of the body of Christ, as the word of God itself claims, are members of God’s family and Christ’s body also known as the church; they are those who first of all believed in the message of salvation, the
Gospel, who have been born again of the Spirit of God, John 3:3-21; Romans 8:8-9 and consequently those who have been baptized by the Holy Spirit in the body of Christ; see 1 Corinthians 12:13.
In addition, we believe that as the Great Commission commands the church leadership to:
Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
And also based on later Apostolic practice, those who have believed in the Gospel and the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and have been born again of the Holy Spirit and baptized by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ, must also be baptized in water in obedience and by the authority of the commandment of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although we do not believe that water baptism dispenses special grace needed for salvation, rather only faith in Jesus work of redemption and His Lordship does, we must all be obedient to the Lord’s commandment dispensed in the Great Commission to baptize in water as well as to want to baptized. For a new believer to obey this commandment is the second act of obedience given by the Lord Jesus ( the first one is to believe in Him and repent of our sins) and therefore these are the demonstration of our submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe therefore, that it is essential that all new believers be immediately baptized in water as soon as possible after their conversion.
In addition, we feel that the central part of coming together as members of the body of Christ is for the edification of the body, and the elder/pastor (s) to teach the word of God in sound Christ centered and Apostolic centered doctrine and therefore to make disciples of Jesus Christ by, as the Lord said, becoming obedient to His word and authority.
We also feel that the main responsibility of the believers is to become Christlike in their behavior and to be obedient to the word of God, remembering that God’s teachings are commandments we must obey and not suggestions that we can take or leave.
Rather, if one does act in such manner, in other words, disobedience to God’s word they will, by Him mostly. be chastised and disciplined but also knowing that in the most severe cases of unwillingness to submit to God’s word in obedience in an obstinate and stubborn manner, not only will cause negative consequences in a believer’s life but also will cause the church leadership to take action in applying Scriptural commanded discipline of its members, see Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5.
Jesus commanded us to love one another as brothers and sisters and children of God,
John 13:34-35 and the New Testament Scriptures are filled with the same similar commandments
1 John 4:7-11 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
1 Peter 1:22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
1 Timothy 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith,
This last passage opens up the motive for all we do in the body of Christ, in Ephesians 4:11-16 it is clear that the demonstration of the love we have for God and for each other is primarily helping each other to grow in faith and in the process we are used to call sanctification, which is simply put being conformed to the image of Christ in thought and behavior, see also Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 2:16.
In Ephesians 4:11-16 we understand that God has called some people to be in leadership roles of ministry in the government of the body of Christ
Eph 4:11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
so that they can aid in the function of ministry and growth of believers in Christ likeness, which again is sanctification, or as the passage says, come to the unity of the faith and the complete stature of Christ,
Eph 4:12-13 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
Also, so that believers will not be deceived by false doctrines, this means that an act of love on part of the elders/pastors is to teach sound doctrine and to guard and protect it so that believers will be edified, built up in the truth of God and not be deceived:
Eph 4:14-16 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–
This is one of the main purposes for which we assemble ourselves together, to become more like Christ and all this process is and should be an act of love, motivated by God’s love and expressed in this way.
Eph 4:16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supply, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This is the practical expression of the Great Commission explained.
While the preaching of the Gospel outside of the church walls is the expression of God’s love and mercy for the lost, the teaching of God’s doctrine is the expression of God’s love to the body and the obedience to God’s word is the demonstration of our love for God, see
John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
1 John 5:1-3 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
Therefore, as we meet as born-again believers, we do so to worship God together in song and word and in edifying one another in God’s love. These are the reasons why we meet.
It is imperative that we understand that meeting together as believers is not and should not be a religious ritual nor is it an optional thing. God not only desires that we meet but commands us to do so in His word and gives very good reasons as to why.
First of all, we cannot teach God’s word nor help each other as a family to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, and secondly, we cannot express or practice God’s love for each other, if we avoid partaking in the assembling of ourselves together, in fact, God’s word commands us this:
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Living Word Fellowship Church will never be closed, and services will always be available. Obviously, there may be extenuating circumstances that may at times dictate that the assembling of ourselves may have to be interrupted, however make no mistake, these circumstances will be rare, these may be extreme and severe weather occurrences, sickness of the pastor or serious family emergencies.
Services will always be held even if the day of meeting falls upon holidays, we never stop worshiping and honoring God and coming together around His word to grow in His image and love.
The attendance of the services therefore is always the spiritual responsibility of the person who is required to attend. As a shepherd of God’s flock, I commit to always be available to guide and preside over the assembling of the body of Christ because pastors must lead by word and example.
1 Timothy 4:12-13 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
We believe that participating to the assembling of the believers in worship to God and to grow in Christ should be a privilege, and honor and something a believer should desire above all other things.
As mentioned, the role of a pastor or elder in the church is for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
that we should no longer be children, tossed to and from and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head–Christ–
As a Shepherd my main responsibility is to care and feed God’s flock in spiritual ways.
It is not the job of a pastor or elder to acquiesce to the carnal and selfish whims and desires and wants of the congregants, it is the pastor’s job to obey God and to please God and not people.
Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
As a pastor I will try with all my might and with God’s help and His grace, to obey the call He placed on me by the authority of His word and the Apostolic instruction given in:
2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
I will fulfill this ministry at the best of my ability and will do so by expressing God’s love in obedience to my pastoral call but always within the truth of God’s word and never apart from it.
My call is to feed God’s sheep with His truth and to be like a real shepherd is with his flock, to lead, feed, give aid and protection from evil and the evil one and his deceptions, to dispense the spiritual medicine of God’s word for the removal of sin, and at times to correct if it is needed.
My job as a pastor is not to entertain nor to make the assembling of God’s children a means of entertainment or to adopt worldly strategies to attract sinners. The assembly, the congregation of the righteous is just that and ought to be only that. It is not a place where sinners can come and hide their sinfulness and remain comfortable in it. It is my call to make sure that all who attend know Christ as Lord and savior and are indeed born again of the Spirit.
Hebrews 12:15-16a looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person
My call is to feed the sheep of God and not to entertain goats and to make sure that all who attend indeed not fall short of God’s grace.
As God’s word commands elders, I will attain to be such as Peter commands as well:
1 Peter 5:2-3 Shepherd the flock of God, which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.
As a pastor my call is just such a call, a vocation, not a job or a career, I do not require a salary to do what God has called me to do, I follow the words of Jesus my Lord who said:
Matthew 10: 7a and 8 b and as you go, preach.
Freely you have received, freely give.
I also realize that the word of God gives leeway for a minister to receive remuneration in love offerings from the generosity of the believers who appreciate the work of their pastor does, but this is not ever to be a compulsory and obligated pay or salary. I do not seek an obligated salary nor ever will. God’s word does say:
Galatians 6:6 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.
1 Corinthians 9:11-14 If we have sown spiritual things for you, is it a great thing if we reap your material things? 12 If others are partakers of this right over you, are we not even more? Nevertheless, we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do you not know that those who minister the holy things eat of the things of the temple, and those who serve at the altar partake of the offerings of the altar? 14 Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.
These are the duties and responsibilities of the pastor toward the flock and these and these only: to preach, teach, exhort, and rebuke, correct and even discipline, guide, direct and counsel God’s flock done all in the love and truth of God.
BELIEVERS’ DUTIES TO THE SHPEHERDS AND TO EACH OTHER
Believers have spiritual responsibilities as well. Believers are commanded by God’s word to have a certain demeanor and behavior toward their elders and toward each other as well, but mostly all of this is submission and obedience to God and not to men.
God’s word and not the pastor, commands believers to:
Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.
1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine.
God commands believers to remember their pastors, to obey them when they lead them and guide them in the truth of God. This is not blind and subservient obedience in everything, especially never in things that are not in line with God’s doctrine. The pastor/elder’
However, when an elder preaches, teaches, and counsels with God’s word, that is binding on the believers, as I said even before, God’s word does not make suggestions but commands us to obey Him in all He teaches in His word. Obviously, there will be temporal consequences for our disobedience. Therefore, believers are indeed bound to obey and honor, in other words respect, those who rule over them as those who watch over their soul’s health and wellbeing.
Obeying God’s word and counsel given by the elders/pastors is not a suggestion. Respecting and honoring them means to not be rude, arrogant, and disrespectful toward them in a special way when the church is meeting all together, it is never really acceptable, but especially not in public.
God does not enjoy rebellion and dissent nor does He like confusion and chaos.
If a person has questions or even finds themselves at odds with something said by the pastor, the questions and confrontation must be private and respectful.
This brings us to the rules of conduct in the assembly.
RULES OF CONDUCT IN THE ASSEMBLY
Many believers today erroneously think that there are no rules of conduct in the church when we meet. Many of these rules have been abandoned because they have been considered by many church leaders and believers antiquated and nothing more than religious, legalistic, and ritualistic demands. In fact, many also claim that since Jesus was against the keeping of man’s rules and that these church rules and regulations were established by men and not by God in His word therefore, we are not bound to obey them.
They are partially right in saying this, Jesus spoke against the traditions of man that took the place of God’s word. However, we are not here speaking of rules of men but things that God’s word teaches and commands.
Let us list the rules we must keep when we meet to worship God and gather to receive edification.
First, let’s talk about the worship of God. We come together to worship God and there are several ways we do this and some of these ways are implied in principle in God’s word.
Some things are clearly commanded while others we gather by implication through Biblical principles.
When we are involved in God’s worship our attention should be on God, on His person, His works, and His attributes.
We should therefore give undivided attention to what we are doing and do it with true desire and sentiment and not as we are just going through motions. We should love the Lord our God how?
Luke 10:27 So he answered and said, ” ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’
When we worship God therefore, we must understand that worship is a lifestyle, it’s how we should live, and this includes when we come together to worship Him in the assembly.
Our heart, our soul and our demeanor and mind must be engaged in God’s worship.
Therefore, when we meet to worship God, we must:
Avoid being distracted by other things and focus on what we are doing. Loving God means also respecting and honoring Him and all other activities we may be performing other than that are not acceptable.
Because of this when we meet in the church, we must avoid doing things that will cause our focus to be redirected on other things other than God and what is being done and said.
God deserves our undivided attention, it is bad enough we give Him so little of it during the week, therefore there should not be a problem to do so for a few hours on Sunday. I believe God is worthy of our undivided attention.
For these reasons when we meet in our fellowship for worship these rules of conduct for the love, honor and respect to our Father and God:
The very first commandment and principle we will use is the one Paul commanded and used writing to what seemingly was a very unruly congregation where everyone was doing as they pleased.
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
THE USE OF MOBILE PHONES WILL BE NOT ACCEPTABLE DURING THE SERVICE.
(Exception is if one wants to take photos or of Scriptures on screen) There is zero reasons why anyone cannot avoid using the phone for any reasons for just a few hours. In addition, make sure telephone sounds are turned off. If there is an emergency call or text that needs to be addressed, please excuse yourself and go take it in another room. This is not only respectful to God but to the speaker and others as to not distract them.
THERE WILL BE NO EATING SOLID FOODS DURING SERVICE
There is a time and a place for everything, and worship service is not the place nor the time for eating food. It is a time for eating spiritual food and receiving spiritual nutrition. Please make sure you eat before the service or after. That also can be very distracting to others and not conducive to the proper attitude in worship. In fact, Paul writes:
1 Corinthians 11:20-22Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? 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 do not praise you.
Liquids are permitted especially water but others as well.
IT WILL NOT BE PERMISSIBLE TO INTERRUPT THE SPEAKERS AND TEACHINGS
It is therefore encouraged to refrain to ask questions during the teachings. Please write down the questions you may have to ask and ask them after the service in a respectful way. Especially prohibited are public comments and dissension regarding what is being taught. As mentioned before this kind of behavior is considered completely disrespectful and not something God honors at all. This is in fact what Paul meant when he was advising women specially to remain silent in the church.
It is not permissible to disrupt the service in any way. Men and women must attain to this conduct, if people will disrupt services in any way, they will be asked to leave.
This gives opening to other conduct that must be observed in the meetings, as we said before,
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
Paul with Apostolic authority said these things to an unruly church, and he also tells this congregation that in the churches of the saints it is done in this way as well as commanding that things be done decently and in order. There are rules that Paul commanded there should be in the churches, and he also says this:
1 Corinthians 14:37 If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.
These are commandments of God not the rules of man.
As Paul brings these commandments of God to light, we also order in this fellowship that:
NO AUDIBLE SPEAKING IN TONGUES BE UTTERED IN THIS FELLOWSHIP
While in this church we believe that the true doctrinal interpretation of speaking in tongues is the supernatural speaking of the glories of God in human languages not known by the speaker and spoke supernaturally, we must attain to the rule set by commandment of God by Paul and the inspiration of the written word by the Holy Spirit.
The sign of tongues as Paul says is not for the church but was designed to be a prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 28:11 and was addressed to the unbelieving Jews. However, although Paul does not prohibit the speaking in other languages in the proper way, he also does say that it is prohibited to do so when there is no interpretation of what is being said, see
1 Corinthians 14:27-28 If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
There must not be many people speaking in tongues all together, this is also prohibited. One person is forbidden to do so out loud if there is no interpretation because all we do MUST be done for the edification of others and without translation there can be no understanding and without understanding there can be no edification of the others,
see 1 Corinthians 12: 7 and 1 Corinthians 14: 1-5.
Although in this church we teach and believe doctrinally that the sign of speaking in tongues has been done away by God and it is no longer in use today, we also accept believers who still think this is a gift for today and that they have it, to worship with us, but we also MUST attain and place them under the authority of God’s word and ask them to be obedient to God’s word about this rule.
As Paul says, if you want to do so you must separate yourself and excuse yourself and do it privately or be silent if you choose to stay with the others.
PROPER ATTIRE IS REQUIRED TO ATTEND THE SERVICE
Proper attire means wearing clothing suitable to be in God’s presence and in the presence of other believers in love, honor, and respect, and respect for oneself.
By proper attire we do not mean that suit, jacket, and tie and or dresses are particularly required, nor is it obligatory that women do not wear pants.
Although it is always better for a woman to dress better and in accordance with her gender, we do not particularly prohibit the wearing of pants for women.
In fact, we would prefer women wear pants than come with overly short and scant skirts. As a manner of fact, we must prohibit the use of clothing that reveal too much skin on women. The Bible speaks about this very clearly in:
1 Timothy 2:9-11 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
1 Peter 3:3-5 Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.
Paul commands women to attend church meetings dressed modestly and with propriety and moderation. Basically, he is saying, when you come to church do not be overdressed in luxury and or do not come dressed like a prostitute. Unfortunately, today we have both these types of apparels flaunted in the church. Our culture especially today has dictated how women should dress, either flaunting their styles and their bodies. This is wrong in both cases. Women of God do not place the attention on themselves and not on outward appearance but on the spiritual woman as Peter says, the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is very precious to God.
As for the attire of men as well, we do not accept sloppy, dirty attire. A man of God in not required to have suit and tie but at least must have enough dignity and self-respect and specially respect for God and for others as well, PLEASE DRESS DECENTLY! Casual dress code is fine, but we strongly do not encourage the wearing of tank tops especially for hygienic reasons and please, deodorant is strongly recommended.
Mostly, women because of their attire or the lack thereof, should not become a stumbling block and a reason to cause sin in others. While each of our sins are our own, we are commanded in God’s word to not be the cause of sin in others.
Romans 14:12-13 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.
1 Corinthians 8:12-13 But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
We are our brothers’ keepers, and we must do everything according to the commandment to love one another, and any and all of our behaviors that violate this commandment are sin. Therefore, we cannot do as we please even in the way we dress. Besides, why would a woman of God want to mirror and reflect the culture if indeed it takes her down a road she should not travel.
Let us remember, all of us, we are the congregation of the righteous, the born again of God’s Spirit, the children of God and we are no longer of this world, it may then be high time we started acting like it and be as God’s word says we should be and not as our culture says we should be.
In conclusion all must be done as God requires and for His glory. It is for love toward Him, for His honor and respect and for the love of our brothers and sisters.