1 Corinthians 14:26 The Apostle Tells How to Conduct a Local Church Meeting

1 Corinthians 14:26 What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

This directive is the only clear strategy in the New Testament on “how to have church.” Other Scriptures point to and support this approach.

1 Peter 4:10-11     As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Romans 12:3-8    For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Ephesians 5:18-19 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

These directives to the Ephesian and Colossian churches don’t explicitly speak of a church gathering, but they make most sense in that context. For instance, we don’t ordinarily go around speaking to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs except during “church” gatherings.

There are, of course, other types of meetings mentioned in the New Testament. Evangelistic meetings as in Lystra, Athens, and other cities used the “main speaker” model. The same is true of Troas where Paul came as a “guest speaker” and he himself preached until daybreak!

1 Corinthians 14:26 appears to be the only directive for a local church meeting in the entire New Testament. Can you name any other?

This raises the question “Why would this be the sole model for New Testament church gatherings?” Many reasons, I’m sure, but I will lead with four.

1) The 1 Corinthians 14:26 model stresses the personal responsibility of every believer. Each believer is expected to come to the meeting prepared to serve or share in some way. No spoon feeding here!

2) This model allows the full use of various gifts. Healings, words of knowledge, revelations from the Word are all in order. The common model where the pastor does it all tends to stifle the gifts of members. If they can’t use their gifts, why did God plant the gifts in them in the first place?

3) This model allows God the freedom to move in unexpected ways.

4) 1 Corinthians 14:26 keeps people on the edge of their seats. No boring church here!

Let me share our experience at the Church of the Living Water in Muscatine, Iowa. We are fresh to this experience so we have no claim on excellence. In our first six months we found the 1 Corinthians model a key component in the transformation process of our fellowship.

When I asked our congregation on a Sunday morning how our church has changed recently, four adults quickly stood to testify. All were enthusiastic. The first said we have more participation, the next said we have more love and understanding of suffering. A third stated we have more sharing and a fourth noted people’s lives are changing to be more like Christ.

Is the 1 Corinthians 14:26 model the only way to do church? No, but it appears to be the most Biblical. My  book Local Churches Global Apostles examines some surprising patterns of effective churches in the New Testament era. Get the book. Could it be a guide to the transformation you are looking for in your church?

I’d like to hear from other pastors, apostles and church leaders who are using this model. What has been your experience? I’d like to hear from you.

This article was originally published July 9, 2013, updated on November 4, 2020.

The Great White Throne Judgment—Who Gets Judged and Who Doesn’t?

What is the Great White Throne Judgment?

As I share my faith and listen to people, I find almost everyone believes in some kind of judgment at the end of life. A sense of “final reckoning” seems to be written into the conscience of every man of every culture whether or not he is religious. In fact, the Bible is filled with stories of judgment from Genesis to Revelation.

Please see some of the judgments that relate specifically to the Great White Throne Judgment listed here.

Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city (Mathew 10:15).

. . . the LORD, for He is coming,
For He is coming to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
And the peoples in His faithfulness (Psalm 96:13)

And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42).

Act 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

Rev 14:14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.

The events of the Great White Throne Judgment are written in Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them.

I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.

Then the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them; each one was judged according to their works.

Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

This is the Final Judgment, an eternal judgment, and part of the doctrine of eternal judgment taught in Hebrews Chapter 6.

Who is the judge?

At first I understood Him to be God the Father, the Sovereign Ruler of the universe to be the judge. But not so fast. According to John 5:22 and 27, the Father has given all judgment to the Son in order that all may honor the Son.

Notice that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will escape this judgment (verse 24)!

Who are the subjects?

Who must appear? All those who have rejected Christ Jesus and the salvation He offers must stand before this throne to be judged. All the unsaved must appear. Not one who has refused Jesus’ offer of salvation can escape judgment at the Great White Throne. All the dead, both great and small, shall look up into the Face of God. The term “dead” is used seven times in these five verses and refers to the spiritually dead.

No believers of the church age will be judged. Believers in Christ will, however, be judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ (not the same as the Great White Throne Judgment) to be repaid for their deeds, whether good or bad.

When will the Great White Throne Judgment take place?

At the end, after the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth, and before the advent of the new heaven and the new earth.

What is the basis for the judgment? Why is anyone there? 

Unbelievers are at this judgment because of their rejection of Christ as Substitute for the guilt of their sin. Their disbelief is demonstrated by their works.

What is the outcome? 

There is only one result—eternity in the lake of fire with the devil. All who are there will be tormented day and night forever and ever (Revelation 20:10).

Remember God did not intend for anyone to be sentenced to hell. Hell was not prepared for humans, but for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).

That’s enough bad news. Want some good news?

I Have a Question about the Great White Throne

Will Believers Serve as Witnesses at the Great White Throne Judgment?

Here’s my question about the Great White Throne Judgment. Will Believers Serve as Witnesses before Great White Throne?

This is something I tend to be very dogmatic about: “Don’t be dogmatic about the end times.”

Somebody once quoted Scofield about the notes in his famous bible. Another scholar disagreed and commented, “Scofield is in heaven, and now he knows better.”

I have taught (when I finally learned there was such a thing as the Great White Throne Judgment) that only unbelievers were present at this final judgment. Now I’m wonderdering, “Does Scripture teach that believers are also present to serve as witnesses for the prosecution?”

And perhaps for other purposes as well?

What do you think? Please advise me. Please show Scripture for your thoughts.

1Cor 6:3 Do you not know that we [the church] will judge angels? We know that Satan is judged in verse 10 of Revelation 20 and sinners in verse 11. Could these events be simultaneous? Some commentators teach that Sastan is judged at the Great white Throne Judgment. And if Satan is judged then, why not his angels also at the same time?

And when will we believers judge the world if not at this judgment (1 Cor 6:2)?

Here are more Scriptures that lead me to ask the question about saints being present at the White Throne Judgment.

The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here (Mat 12:41).

Jesus’ words strongly indicate that the repentant sinners (believers) will be present at the Judgment as witnesses in this great courtroom drama. They will testify against those who rejected Christ and His claims.

Mat 12:42 The Queen of the South will rise up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.

In Revelation 3:9 the believers in the church of Philadelphia were promised that certain unsaved people would someday worship at their feet (Rev.3:9).  At that future time these unsaved people will know that Christ has loved the very people whom they once persecuted. This is an amazing promise for all of God’s people down through the centuries who have been abused, persecuted, injured and attacked by unsaved people. 

Thanks to the Middletown Bible Church for the insight regarding Revelation 3:9 and related Scriptures.

If this scenario does not unfold at the Great White Throne Judgment, then when would it take place?

Apparently this will also be the time when all the unsaved will bow their knees before Christ and confess that He is Lord  (Phil. 2:9-11).

In 1 Corinthians 6:2 Paul writes to the Corinthian believers and says, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?”  During the thousand year kingdom age, the Lord Jesus will be the primary Judge (Isaiah 33:22), but church-age believers in their glorified bodies will also be given delegated authority to exercise judgment.  Judgment will be given unto them (Rev. 20:4; compare Matthew 19:28).   

What do you think? Please advise me. Please show Scripture for your thoughts.

Thank you.

At the Judgment Seat of Christ Believers Get Backpay for Their Work

Because I had no knowledge or teaching about the Judgment Seat of Christ, I was clueless when it came to some basic questions.

“Are there different degrees or levels in heaven?” asked my mother one day when I was still college age.

“If we’re saved by faith, why do many Scriptures say ‘God will render to every man according to his works?’ Isn’t this a contradiction?” I had big questions and no answers.

After graduating from Luther Theological Seminary in 1970 I went to a small non-denominational church in Little Rock, Arkansas. Mel Amerine, a gifted pastor and teacher was teaching about “The Foundation Doctrines of the Faith” from Hebrew 6:1-2.

In my Lutheran background I was unaware of the doctrine of eternal judgment as listed in Hebrew chapter 6. In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing about the judgment seat of Christ. But as the teacher kept speaking about the topic and drawing his congregation into the Scriptures, I realized that some of my biggest Bible questions were getting answers. I learned there are many judgments in Scripture, not just one big one at the end. I discovered that yes, we are saved by grace through faith, but we will also be judged for our works. Believers will be repaid for what they do, whether good or bad. Major portions of Scripture began to fall into place for me. What a relief!

Look with me for a brief intro to the Judgment Seat of Christ. A person is saved (justified) by grace through faith. John 3:16 plus many other Scriptures establish this foundational fact. Jesus took the full penalty for our sin on Himself! Later, every believer “must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed (rewarded) for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (II Corinthians 5:10)

St. Paul explains more about this judgment in I Corinthians 3:8-15. Notice the context is in relation to our works, our labor. It says our works will be tested by fire. Yes, there’s fire at the judgment seat of Christ. (That was news to me; I thought fire was only in hell.) Anyway, everyone’s work that survives the fire test will be rewarded. If a man’s deeds are not approved, he will suffer loss. Loss of what? Loss of reward in heaven even though he himself shall be saved. Wow! This puts a fear of God in me. It also makes me happy—I hope to get rewarded!

The believer in Jesus Christ will be rewarded for his deeds, his service, his attitudes, his willingness, his motives, his words. Everything will be revealed, nothing hidden.

The Bible describes the rewards in various pictures or symbols: crowns, inheritance, nearness to the throne in heaven, degrees of glory, and level of authority in heaven. I began to read the Bible with new eyes. This whole subject of inheritance or rewards is a major Bible theme. How could I have missed it?

It all stems from the judgment seat of God where a believer is judged on the basis of his service!

Photo image by Scott Rodgerson on Unsplash

Julie Cano’s Cancer Healing without Chemo

Julie Cano’s Cancer Healing without Chemo

Julie and her daughter visited our home in about 2018. I caught up with her while she was raking our yard. (Thank you, Julie.)

Her report shows how it is possible to receive cancer healing without chemo. Praise God for gentle, non-toxic, and natural cancer healing therapies.

There are at least 300 proven non-toxic cancer healing remedies available today. People don’t have to die from cancer anymore.

I have been informally counseling people with cancer for the past five years. I rely on the insights of Bill Henderson who was instrumental in my own cancer success story. Now I’m starting a cancer coaching business on my own.

If you need help beating cancer, contact me in the form below. Like Julie, thousands of people with all stages of cancer are healed due to natural therapies.

BTW, Julie Cano’s cancer healing without chemo is in no way due to my counsel. She was healed before I met her. I merely interviewed her and gained insight from her testimonies.

Check out my book for help to overcome cancer.

Thank you!

Jesus Took Total Judgment for Sin upon Himself at the Cross

Taking the full judgment for sin was the great work of Jesus Christ at the cross.

Scripture records many and various kinds of judgments.

I once counted about 15-20, depending on how someone translates or combines. Here’s a partial list:

· Saints will judge the world–I Corinthians 6:2

· Saints will judge angels—I Corinthians 6:2

· A church court system—I Corinthians 6:1-8

· Christians need to judge themselves–I Corinthians 11:28 and 31

· Judgment following the Eucharist (Holy Communion)—I Corinthians 11:29

· Church discipline—I Corinthians 5:12-13

· Judgment of nations–Matthew 25:31

· Judgment of cities—Matthew 11:22

· Human “judgmental-ism” (criticism)—Matthew 7:1

· Judgment of the 12 tribes of Israel—Matthew 19:28

· Evaluation of prophecies and messages—I Corinthians 14:29

· Reproofs in life–Proverbs 15:10

· Discipline from a Father or from Father-God–Hebrews 12:5-6

· Judgment for sin at the cross—John 3:18, John 5:24

· The Judgment Seat of Christ—2 Corinthians 5:10, I Corinthians 3:8-15

· The Great White Throne Judgment—Revelation 20:11-15

Some judgments are eternal, some are temporal.

The doctrine of eternal judgment is the last of the Foundational Doctrines listed in Hebrews 6. This article confines itself to the judgment for sin on the cross, the first eternally significant judgment. (Notice these foundational doctrines are “elementary principles” and basic building blocks to enable believers to grow into Christian maturity.)

Judgment for Sin at the Cross

This is the most astounding, mind-boggling judgment of all. It was formed in the heart of God and executed upon Jesus. It is at the heart of the gospel; it’s what makes the gospel glorious. It bewilders and confuses the human mind unless balanced by other judgments which are all a part of this great doctrine–the doctrine of eternal judgment.

John 3:18 The believer in Jesus as Savior is not judged. What a liberating truth! Has it sunk in? Do we dare believe it? And why is the believer not judged? Because Jesus took the penalty for sin on Himself.

John 5:24 The believer already has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has already passed out of death into life! What judgment does he by-pass? The Great White Throne Judgment. This verse is personally meaningful to me. God used it to give me assurance of my own salvation.

Romans 6:10 The death that He died, He died to sin, once for all. That means once–for all sins, for all men, for all time and eternity. The same is emphasized in Hebrews 7:27; 9:12, 26, 28; 10:1-18. Did Jesus suffer enough for sin? Did He pay the full penalty, or do we have to pay some more? Must we add to His payment, or is the one sacrifice on the cross all sufficient for all time and eternity?

Romans 8:1 There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. The Greek word for condemnation is literally “down-judgment”. (Use an accurate Bible version here; some translations add conditions.)

Isaiah 53:8 When Jesus Christ was crucified the stroke (of judgment) of God’s righteous anger against sin fell on His Son instead of on all the world. We deserved the punishment (of hell) but Jesus took it instead of us!

Romans 4:8 “BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE SIN THE LORD WILL NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT” What an astounding statement. It makes clear the man has sin, but God does not take the sin into account! Paul uses this truth to anchor justification by faith through grace regardless of the quality of a person’s life. It’s salvation based on grace, not determined by the amount of sin in his life.

2 Corinthians 5:19 God is “not counting their trespasses against them.” This is the offense of the gospel. It doesn’t seem fair. It scandalizes our sense of justice. We tend to think a man should have to take responsibility for his sin. Do we dare let this Scripture stand?

John 12:31 Just before going to the cross Jesus announced, “Now judgment is upon this world.” At the cross the balance of authority and power changed in the entire universe. Satan was defeated, Christ was exalted, sin’s penalty was dealt an eternal blow, and God’s righteousness was forever established. A new, never-before-heard-of covenant was initiated. In this all-new modus operandi the believer was declared “righteous,” and the basis for salvation and the kingdom of God was settled forever.

Truth in Scripture must be balanced

Yes, absolutely, these Scriptures are balanced by other Bible judgments. Judgment is not one monolithic event on the Last Day. Someone who accepts the truth of God’s judgment for sin at the cross of Calvary, but doesn’t acknowledge the fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ gets a wrong impression. He may think, as some accuse, that the believer can go out and live any way he wants. That’s wrong.

God in His love has initiated various judgments for various purposes. Scripture is loaded with judgments of discipline, correction, and reproof for sin. Some are severe, even to physical death (1 Cor 11:30).

Study the Judgment Seat of Christ in II Corinthians 5:10 and I Corinthians 3:8-15 and The Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20:11-15. Each of these awesome courts relates to the Calvary judgment of sin and helps us understand why the gospel of Jesus Christ is so great.

And let me know what you think. . .

Photo by Grant Whitty on Unsplash

Our Dream Comes True

Ethan Anderson became lead pastor of the Church of the Living Water on August 9, 2020.

This fulfills Kari’s and my hopes and dreams for Ethan and the church.

This process has been going on for at least 20 years. Probably before—since his birth. At times we were not aware of God’s plan. At other times we lost sight of God’s plan. But in recent years it became most evident to us and to the congregation that Ethan was the man to take leadership in the church.

Ethan has served as youth leader, “intern,” missionary, and most recently as associate pastor. God called him into ministry at a young age. This calling was confirmed by prophecy in Goshen, Indiana at a ministers’ conference in about 2000.

He was ordained into Christian ministry at the Church of the Living Water on July 19, 2020.

At the time of his ordination, Ray Oehme (Vineyard Christian Fellowship, Muscatine, Iowa) informally representing pastors and churches of our city, gave a stirring accolade to Ethan, his character, and ministry.

Ethan will become the senior pastor of the church, but more than senior pastor. He will become point man of a team that will continue to lead the church forward. I will continue as a teaching pastor on the team. Current and future elders, deacons, interns, in fact, all the congregation will serve as members of the team to reach the community and bring the Kingdom of God.

A Leadership Team ministry carries several advantages over the single leader model. It avoids a “one man show.” It blends the strengths of several leaders. It brings diversity. It allows for leaders to travel and minister in a wider circle. It fulfills the New Testament vision for multiple leadership.

As such we are submitting to the Holy Spirit and building His vision to become a New Testament Church.

I encourage you all to pray for Ethan, Bethany and their family. Let’s all encourage Ethan and support him as he enters a new leadership role.

Do You Want to Beat Cancer with Gentle, Non-toxic Healing?

Do you want to beat cancer with gentle, non-toxic treatments?

I’m healed of stage 4, inoperable cancer and am now helping people beat their own cancer–no matter what kind.

Here’s why I’m beginning a cancer coaching ministry.

The overall 5 year survival rate for those treated with chemotherapy is 2.1% according to a study by Australian oncologists (Clinical oncology 16:549e560;doi 10.1016/j.clon.2004.06.07).

Permanent cancer healing almost always requires a lifestyle change. Otherwise, cancer has a nasty habit of coming back. People don’t realize this. Cancer came back for me also–within 30 days. I share what I learned of how to keep cancer away.

I can help most people beat cancer permanently with gentle, non-toxic methods.

Gerald F. from Missouri read my book, Answer for Cancer: 9 Keys and became cancer free in about 3 months. (For someone who has been treated with chemotherapy, it takes longer.)

I can help most people beat cancer without chemo, radiation, or surgery.

Bill henderson, my mentor, watched his wife suffer horribly and die from cancer and cancer treatments. Bill reasoned, “There’s got to be a better way!” Subsequently, he has helped thousands of cancer sufferers overcome through gentle, non-toxic methods.

I credit God and Bill Henderson with my own cancer healing. Now I stand on his shoulders and have improved his methods.

Who do you know who has cancer? If you or anyone you know wants to beat cancer and help others, contact me in the form below.

Photo of the enlightened hand by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

What Can an Apostle Do for Your Church?

Fred Herzog, an experienced modern day apostle, gives an answer that may surprise you. I have know Fred for about 50 years. He’s got the goods and is worth listening to in this 42 second video.

What is Ordination?

Ethan Anderson
Ethan Anderson

Ethan Anderson’s Ordination July 19, 2020 10:15 AM at the Church of the Living Water

Hooray! Ethan will be ordained into the ministry at the Church of the Living Water, 3120 Park Avenue West, Muscatine, Iowa On July 19, 2020.

You are invited to come and participate in this celebration of Ethan’s life.

Define Ordination

Various churches or denominations view ordination in slightly different ways. The basic concept among all, however, is “approval for service.” It means “recognition by human authority of God’s calling on an individual’s life.”

More specifically, ordination is to “set into a specific church office, such as pastor or deacon of a congregation.”


Are There Legal Ramifications to Ordination?

Yes, in certain limited cases some ordained clergy can opt out of the social security system for conscience reasons.

What Benefits May Result from Ordination?

Ordination confers confidence upon an individual that he has met the standards or requirements of his church or denomination to serve. It also assures members of that same denomination or group that the individual has met the standard for ordination if he applies for a position with another church in that denomination.

Who Can be Ordained?

Each group sets its own standards or qualifications for ordination. For example, some groups ordain women for certain offices, others deny ordination for women.

At the Church of the Living Water we have a stringent set of standards and procedures for ordination. These were set into our by-laws and adopted on January 25, 1981.

IX. Ordination into the Five-Fold Ministry Offices

A. Application shall be made with the pastor of the church.

B. Testimony shall be given of the purpose and intent of the ministry to which the applicant believes he is being called.

C. Any applicant must have the qualities listed in I Timothy 3 and a proven ministry as recognized by the local church in order to enter one of the five-fold ministries of Ephesians 4:11.

D. Any applicant who does not have the background or experiences which the Board of Directors believes to be a part of the ministry must take training for that purpose.

E Prayer and fasting shall he entered into by applicant(s) and the Board of Directors as a final confirmation before the ordination is granted.

F. All requirements must be met and the Board of Directors shall have a consensus that the applicant is called of God for his ministry.

G. A time shall be designated for the purpose of laying on of hands by the pastor and elders of the church during the ordination. And the applicant will at that time be duly ordained as a minister of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 H. Every applicant who has been duly ordained shall receive certification of ordination in the name of the Church of the Living Water.

 I. Any person duly ordained and operating in the ministry of clergy within the local church shall consider his house as a church parsonage. Upon request the Board of Directors shall specify at the beginning of each year that portion of salary to be designated as parsonage allowance for each minister not to exceed the fair rental value of each said property.

Our by-laws also contain a section on licensing of ministers and certification of missionaries and those in general Christian service.

Why is Ordination Important?

Every believer is called to serve and be a servant to others.

A problem arises, however, when an individual believes he is called by God to be a minister, but his life is so messed up or filled with sin that he is a bad example. Ordination is a safeguard in that it shows 1) God has called and 2) human authorities have confirmed that the individual has met certain life standards.

Again, you are invited to come and celebrate with Ethan, Bethany and the Church of the Living Water family.