Chapter 6 – The Ordinances Of A Gospel Church
An ordinance is a divine arrangement or institution (Greek: diatage).
This writer is one of a very few people that believes one should follow what the Holy Spirit has instituted in His Church. That means that he believes there are four ordinances, rather than just two as held to by modern Baptists. They agree that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances. Some of them say that for it to be an ordinance that it must show forth the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord.
They say this, but the Bible does not, nor will I. The additional two are: washing the saints’ feet and the feast of charity.
Since there is so little presented to the public on the feast of charity, or the agape feast, we shall cover it first in order. Consider, however, that baptism should be the first respectively of the four.
The Feast of Charity
One real sad result of the negligence on this ordinance is the lack of sacred respect it is given. Such disrespect is as ancient as the ordinance itself, for such drew down upon the Corinthian Church Paul’s harshest rebuke (I Corinthians 11:20 and 11:33). But merely because it is so easily abused does not in the least deny its ordination by God to His church. It was as naturally observed by baptized believers as being baptized was by believers in the New Testament Church age. It is presented as an “immediate response” to their believing and being baptized. Notice this immediacy: “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 steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42)
In verse 46-47, we read: “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved.”
Don’t you know those blissful days were halcyon days indeed for young believers!
No wonder these feast were known as agape, or love feasts, or “feasts of charity.” How their hearts must have burned with love toward God and love toward His redeemed people!
But my point is this: It appears rather undeniable that this feasting together of God’s people was immediate upon their believing and being baptized.