Jack Carroll - Fundamentals - Arizona Convention - October 25-28, 1951

I am going to say to you folks here in Arizona, a few of the same things that were said in San Diego and Bakersfield, and further North, about the Fellowship Meetings on the “First day of the week.”  It has been said that the real test of a good convention is not exactly what takes place in the convention meetings, but to a very large extent, what takes place in your Fellowship Meetings on the “first day of the week” during the year.


I hope all of you, at the close of the convention will take your concordance and look up this word “fellowship.”  I don’t know where it originated, but it seems to me that it is right and scriptural to think of our meetings on the “first day of the week” as Fellowship Meetings.  The Roman Catholic Church speaks about the Mass; other church systems speak a great deal about their “Communion Service;” the Church of England speaks about the Eucharist and so on…   When we think of the “first day of the week,” we remember the custom that existed in the New Testament days when the disciples of Jesus came together on the “first day of the week” to break bread.  The Breaking of Bread is simply a symbolic way in which we renew our fellowship with our Master and Lord, and with each other.


There are two fundamentals of the faith of Jesus that are vital to a true understanding and interpretation as recorded in the New Testament.  First, is the “Church in the home,” and in the home only, and secondly; the “Preacher without a home.”  These two are Foundational.   We cannot, we dare not, depart from either of them; and if we do, we become a part of that great Babylonia system that is blinding the minds of men and women the world over to the “simplicity that is in Christ.”


No preacher can be in our fellowship if he is not prepared to be as homeless in this world as his or her Master.  One of the very first conditions that God’s ministers have to face is willingness to have fellowship with Jesus and His homelessness.  “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.”  No man or woman can share in his ministry unless they are willing to have fellowship with Jesus, the Son of man and Son of God, in His homelessness.  There is another condition we might mention:  fellowship with Jesus in His poverty.  No man or woman can share in this ministry, unless they are willing to forsake all.  There is equality in this.  It matters nothing whether they have little or much, but it matters everything, that actually and literally, they “forsake all;” otherwise they can have no part in this Ministry.


While I’m speaking about the Ministry, there is a third condition that those who go forth in the Name and Way of Jesus must face.  Jesus said, “Freely ye have received, freely give.”  No one can enter this ministry who isn’t prepared to give as freely as He did.  If we ever heard of any one in the Ministry raising a collection or making an appeal for money, we would immediately exclude them from this fellowship.  God sent His servants into the world to be givers and not getters; therefore, God’s Bond Servants and Hand Maidens are characterized by their loving and giving and sacrificing and proving the promise He gave in the beginning…”seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all else will be added unto you.”


If every friend we have in this world turned their backs on us today, we could still go on, for the promise of God remains the same today as it did in the beginning.  Our responsibility is to “seek ye first the Kingdom of God” and the promise He has made to his Servants is eternally sure.


Maybe there are some in this meeting today who are thinking seriously about entering into this ministry.  The two fundamentals we mentioned, already, are worth making a note of: the “church in the home” and “the preacher without a home.”  The men and women who have ministered to you from this platform these days have made themselves homeless and poor, for the Gospel’s sake, and are deliberately laying down their lives day by day; denying themselves of all they might have had or been and could have enjoyed, in order that they might bring the message of God to you.  I hope you value and appreciate this ministry.  There could be no New Testament apart from this New Testament Ministry.



       The Church in the Home. 

 

Some years ago some of us were in the City of Rome, Italy.  We were on our way to Naples to have some meetings there.  One morning while in Rome, we planned to visit one of the oldest churches in the city; the Church of St. Pudenzia.  When we reached this building, we found it was 16 feet below the level of the present street.  The debris of hundreds of years was built up until this building was 16 feet below the level of the street.  The Franciscan priest took us through this building, and afterwards he took us down to examine the foundation of another church on which the present one had been built.  It was very interesting to us to examine the walls of that ancient building.  The priest then said, “I’ll take you down still further.  This original church was built on the foundation of a private home."  Se we went down, and there in that particular room where the floor had a beautiful mosaic pattern, he said to us, “the early church met for worship in this home, and in this room.”  We were pleased to hear that.  He added, “This home is supposed to be the home of Pudens that you read about in II Timonthy 4:11.” That was even more interesting to us, and we enjoyed the thought that we were actually standing in the room where the first Christians in the city of Rome met to “break bread.”


From that home we went to St. Peter’s Cathedral, the largest Roman Catholic Church in the world.  We wandered around that immense building, inside and outside, went up to the dome and looked down into the crypt where Peter is supposed to be buried.  From there we went to the cupola and looked over the city of Rome…the city of hundreds of church buildings.  One of our company, remarked that every step taken from that church to the home 50 ft. below the level of the street to give to the world St. Peter’s Cathedral was in the wrong direction, and only tended to blind the minds of men and women to the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ.


We make no secret of the fact we are deliberately and purposefully teaching men and women how to do without these great structures; these public buildings for the worship of God.  We’re teaching people how to do without the priest, parson, and hired preacher, and how to do meet together every “first day of the week” in homes consecrated to God and there like those first disciples, remember our Lord and Master in the Breaking of the Bread.


No home is too lowly or too lovely for God’s people to meet in.  All meet on the same level and same way, and with the same purpose in their hearts.  We do not choose homes for god’s people to meet in because of their beauty.  We choose homes for their convenience and the worthiness of the people who live in them.


I am not sure if I told the friends here in Arizona about an incident that took place some years ago in Vancouver.  It may help you to understand why God’s people come together on the “first day of the week” in homes consecrated to God and not in public buildings.  In the city of Vancouver, there was an exhibition held by the Church of England.  It was really an exhibition of curios from Palestine and the East—many from Palestine.  It was organized for the purpose of raising funds for the Church of England, missionaries laboring in Palestine.  There was a full-sized model of the Tabernacle and its fittings.  They also had a model of the home of Martha and Mary and Lazarus; that was also interesting to me.  They maintained that this particular home was more than likely the kind of home that Jesus was entertained in.


Lectures were delivered on different subjects.  One of them was on the Passover Feast.  The lecturer was a prominent preacher of the Church of England.  He was a very clever and able man, and his lectures most interesting and instructive.  He told us the story of the Passover Feast.  He emphasized its purpose and made one point that was of special interest to me.  In his lecture, he made the statement over and over again that the Passover Feast was established in the homes of the Children of Israel, and throughout all their history, was never celebrated anywhere else but in their homes.  Never taken to the Temple, never taken to the synagogue.


After it was over, the lecturer invited any to come forward and ask any questions they wished.  With some others, I went forward and asked him first of all the question, “Did I understand you to say that the Passover Feast was established in the homes of the children of Israel, and never celebrated anywhere else?”  He answered, “Yes, that is true and I’ll say more.  To this very day, wherever the Jewish people keep the Passover Feast, it is celebrated, not in their synagogue, now in their temples, but in their homes.”


I asked, “What is the relationship between the Passover Feast and the New Testament breaking of bread, or as he would term, 'the Communion Service?'"   He answered very simple and to the point, ”The New Testament Breaking of Bread is the perpetuation of the Old Testament Communion Service established in a private home in Jerusalem.”  “Where was it continued?” He said, “They broke bread from house to house.”   I then asked him, “ When did the people of God cease to 'bread break from house to house?'"  He answered, “I don’t know, neither can I justify the Church in taking the Communion Service out of the homes of the people of God and placing it in the hands of a priest in a public building.”  I then asked, “Don’t you think it would be a good thing to take it back to where the Lord Jesus established it?”  He threw up his hands and said, “ It would be revolutionary; it would turn the world upside down,” and hurried away.


I’m not sure that all of you value as you should the privilege that is yours on the first day of the week of meeting together in a private home that has been consecrated to God.  Let me remind you that in this, you are actually and literally fulfilling the scriptures.  When you leave you home and go to the home of another on “the first day of the week to break bread,” the scriptures are being fulfilled.  That ought to be a great comfort to you.


In the Gospel of Matthew there is that little phrase, “that the Scriptures might be fulfilled.”  He Himself, deliberately sought to fulfill the scripture in His own life and ministry, and we can have a part with Him every “first day of the week” whether it’s in our own homes or in the homes of others.  We can have this assurance in our hearts that we are fulfilling the scripture.


The second thing that can bring us comfort every “first day of the week” is this: we are registering a protest against that world system, christiandom, churchianity, or call it what you want; that is blinding the minds of men to “simplicity that is in Christ.”  We demonstrate week in and week out throughout this year that we can “ worship God in Spirit and in Truth” according to the teaching of God’s Word and without the machinery that men consider so vital and necessary today in the worship and services of God.


I have visited some of the greatest religious buildings in the world and I don’t say this boastingly.  I have been to St. Peter’s in Rome, St. Paul’s in London, other buildings in Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels and British Isles.  I have wandered inside and outside these buildings with a question in my mind and heart, “What was it that induced men to establish in the world these systems of religion that only blind the minds of men to the 'simplicity that is in Christ?'”


Every “first day of the week” the Lord’s people have the privilege of coming together at the appointed place and hour to keep what we sometimes speak of as a double appointment - with each other and with our Master and Lord.  That is the reason why every child of God should plan to be in his or her place on the “first day of the week” in the home where he or she is expected to be.


Some might say, “There are four or five, or twenty churches, in the city where I live and would it be all right for me to go to a different place every Sunday? I am a little bit discontented; I am a bit dissatisfied.  Couldn’t I move around a little”?  No, my brother or my sister!  If you form that habit and practice that thing, you are walking disorderly.  You are not showing an appreciation for the privilege for fellowship at the appointed time and place on the “first day of the week” and you might soon find yourself on the outside of this fellowship altogether.


It should be understood clearly by all that no leader or elder is self-appointed or elected by the church.  All elders, or those who lead meetings are appointed by the Servants of God and are responsible to them.


I think it would be a very good study to look up the references to the “Church in the home” in the New Testament.  Acts and the Epistles.  Those of you who have the privilege of having the Church in your home can get great pleasure out of the thought that you are having fellowship with those first Christians who used their homes as you are using your home.  We are very grateful to God’s people throughout the whole world, like Mr. And Mrs. Carter, who put their home and property at our disposal at a time like this.  Where we can come together to hear God’s Word and spend our days in brotherly fellowship with one another.


Every meeting on the “first day of the week” consists of four parts.  Each of them is important.  There’s Singing, Prayer, Testimony, and the Breaking of the Bread.  This is true all over the world.  I have been in homes in different parts of the world and this is the order.  I don’t know how it came about; the simple, natural, arrangements for us to sing, pray, testify, and Break Bread, then sing a closing hymn and go home.  How different it is from the gorgeous ritual of Roman Catholicism and all related systems.  How wonderful and beautiful is the “simplicity that is in Christ.”


Singing is important.  We hope that all of you recognize the value of this part of the meeting.  These hymns were written in order to help us express our thanks to God, our praise, our prayers, and purposes.  It is a wonderful thing when we sing these hymns as the language of our hearts.  I appreciated what Eldon told us about the hymn book the other day and came upon a hymn I had given out in meetings, had others sing it, but never saw the real beauty until that day.  Every word of that hymn, the words of the chorus, seemed to find a response in my heart, and this could be true of all in the first part of every meeting.  You can sing one or two hymns.  I don’t think hymns should be selected at random.  I think the person who is leading the meeting should recognize this in a serious responsibility, and should realize that the song should be an expression of the prayers and praises of God’s people who meet together.  When we select hymns here on the platform, we don’t do this randomly, but select those that will best express the desires, praises, and purposes of God’s people.


The second part of the meeting is prayer.  We like God’s people to kneel in prayer.  There are some who can’t do this.  If you can, and the home is large enough, I think it is appropriate and a Scriptural attitude….an attitude of helplessness and always appropriate in the presence of God.


I have appreciated the prayers in California the last few weeks and also here in Arizona.  The prayers have been very brief and very much to the point.  They have been edifying.  I have been in meetings where the same prayer was offered week in and week out, each week of the year.  It is a matter of repetition, repetition.  It would be better if you would pray as you have been praying here…brief.  The place for long prayers is in the secret place.  Short prayers are more appropriate in the meeting place.  I have known some young converts who go to meeting with older people and say, “I can’t pray like that.  I can’t pray at all.”  If from your hearts there came one or two partitions, the youngest babe in the family would feel encouraged to take part in prayer.


Now the next part in the meeting is the testimony.  We’ve heard of some who actually preach for 20 minutes in the Sunday morning meeting.  Think of it…20 minutes.  Now, if everybody else preached for 20 minutes, how long would your meeting last?  Suppose there were fifteen in your meeting and each one preached for 20 minutes.  How long would it last?  Five hours!  That would be just a little bit too long.  Out of consideration for all, and for the children, we arrange for the Sunday fellowship meeting to begin at 10:30 and be over about 12:00 noon.  That is an hour and half.  I had a report after a talk of this kind, “We had a nice meeting this morning and it was over at 11:45."


We will find that there is ample time in the meeting for each Child of God to speak in edification, without prolonging the meeting unnecessarily.  We have heard of some who select a long chapter and read that chapter, commenting on every verse.  That gets tiresome.  The better way is to select from any chapter, maybe in the Old Testament, or the New Testament, or maybe in the Psalms, two or three verses that have spoken to your heart, and have given you more light and better understanding of God’s mind and will, and you tell how these verses have been a help to you during the week.  This is the best way to be really helpful.


I hope there are none here in the habit of preaching at or to another.  The last place for any to preach at or to one another s in the fellowship meeting on the “first day of the week.”


A brother was asked,  “Why didn’t you take part today?”  “Oh,” he said, “ the man I had my testimony for wasn’t there.”  I hope none of you are like that brother.


Perhaps I should tell you another story about an Irishman in the part of Ireland where ________came from.  He wasn’t behaving very well.  His conduct was such that the others were getting alarmed and worried.  It was a relief for them when he quit attending the meetings.  He arrived one Sunday morning with Bible and hymnbook in hand and sat down.  They looked at him and began saying inside, “What will we say to this fellow today?” 


They sang a couple of hymns and prayed and then the meeting was open for testimonies.  The man was the first one on his feet and said, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone!”


Wouldn’t it be a very grievous thing if, on the “first day of the week,” God’s children came together to break bread and then be guilty of saying things that would hurt their brethren and “grieve the Holy Spirit of God, wherewith we have been sealed unto the day of redemption?”  On the “first day of the week,” when God’s people come together they should be careful that not a single word they speak will hurt anyone.


If strangers come, you don’t have to hurt their feelings by speaking against other religious systems.  Just forget that altogether, and speak as the Lord had arranged for you to speak, from some work of God, and if you are in the Spirit, speak as God moves you to speak, and give expression to the thought God has given you and they will leave feeling that surely God is in this place.  We have known of some dropping in on the “first day of the week” and when they heard simple men and women speak verses that had spoken t their hearts, said, “How wonderful this is, and how different this is from hearing one person do all the preaching.”


I have sat in meetings and heard God’s people speak and as I listened, my heart was warmed and was amazed when I summed up all the testimonies at how such had been placed that day, on the Lord’s table to edify and build up the Lord’s people.   We are sorry to hear that some older and younger brethren don’t take part as they should on the “first day of he week.”  Even if you only read a verse or two and give a short testimony, this would be good for you.  The more we speak before our brethren, the stronger we grow in Christ Jesus.


There are three ways God speaks to His children: first, by His Spirit in their hearts; second; by His Word as they read it; third, the Lord loves to speak to His people through His people.  It is a wonderful privilege and great responsibility to go to the meeting regularly on the “first day of the week” and feel that God may have some “word from my lips today that will help my brother or sister and that will encourage them to fight the good fight of faith.  We would like all, old and young, to form the habit of taking part so that you may be a channel of blessing to others and in so doing “ye may all prophesy,” or speak out God’s mind and Word.  We do not believe in any one- man ministry, but when God’s people come together, each one is responsible for taking part and ministering to the other.


Now, the fourth part of the fellowship meeting is the Breaking of Bread.  I wish I could help all to understand the real value, the true significance of the simple rite of partaking of the emblems on the “first day of the week.”   The Breaking of Bread and the Drinking of Wine, that speaks to us of the “broken body and shed blood of our Lord.”  This was never intended to be a meaningless form.  I believe when we have a right understanding and true appreciation of the Breaking of the Bread, it can be one of our greatest joys to come together n the “first day of the week” and like those first disciples, remember our Lord and Master in partaking of these emblems.


The Passover Feast was to be a memorial; something to be perpetuated.  Jesus said on the last night of His life, “this do in remembrance of me.”  It occurred to me the other day that perhaps one of the reasons He put such emphasis on remembering Him is because it is so human to forget, forget, and forget.  Week in and week out throughout the year, God’s people, when they come together are reminded of this great privilege.  This partaking of the emblems of the Broken body and Shed Blood of the Lord should bring to them the comfort and assurance that they can begin each week with a clean sheet, ready to “fight the good fight of faith,” and to “follow Him whither so ever He leads.”


A man came to me up north and said, “It’s not the sins I committed before I professed that troubles me, it is the sins I have committed since I professed.”  Therein is one of the real values of our coming together on the “first day of the week,” for we are reminded that sins confessed and put away can be forgiven, and the blood speaks to us of the “remission of sins.”  John said, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.   These things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins: not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” 


Some think that it makes no difference if we sin, but John said, “Sin not.”  When any of you have no sins to confess, no sins to be forgiven, then you can set aside this cup which reminds us of His “blood which was shed for the remission of sins.”


When we partake of these emblems, we think of His love for us, and our love for Him, and when we pass these emblems one to the other, we express our love for each other.


There are some things in connection with this breaking of bread that I might mention.  Every home where the Church meets should have the seats arranged in a way that makes it easy for these emblems to be passed one to the other.  It isn’t right or proper for the Elder to take these emblems to each one individually.  That is not God’s order.  Every individual present, is responsible for partaking or not, so that the one who leads the meeting should, after some brother or sister gives thanks briefly, pass the emblems to the one nearest to him.  When we give thanks, first of all, for the Body given and broken for us.  It doesn’t necessarily mean a long prayer, and the same is true with the cup, which reminds us that sins confessed and put away have been covered by “the blood that was shed for the remission of our sins.” 


The simple way which seems to be the best and most in order is to take the bread and pass it to the one nearest and let that one to the next and so on.  First, there is the bread and then the cup, until it comes back again to the Leader of the meeting.  But you say, “Suppose strangers have come in?  Wouldn’t it be best to pass them by?”  Some strangers come because they are friendly.  When you pass the bread and wine, they may pass it on, others may possibly partake.  Supposing they do, this is nothing to make a fuss about.  Far better this than hurting their feelings by passing them by.  We have seen some who have come to Sunday morning meetings and didn’t know what we believe and in ignorance of that partook of the bread and wine, and later came and attended Gospel Meetings, and decided for Christ and had a true understanding of the Breaking of Bread and the Drinking of the Wine.  Don’t give offense to any.  Act courteously to all, and especially to strangers.


We hope that this fellowship meeting on the “first day of the week” will be a source of comfort and encouragement to every Child of God.  Your week evening meetings can be most helpful — don’t forget them.  I have been surprised this year to hear so many speak of receiving help from the midweek meeting as portions of scriptures studied became to them as a very real source of help and blessing.  May God help all of us to keep true to Him..