There is only ONE QUESTION to be asked about the open meeting. And that is NOT “Do I like it?”, NOR “Does it make me feel good?”, NOR “Was I entertained?”, NOR “Did I enjoy it?” But BE SURE & ASK: “IS IT SCRIPTURAL?” If you will seriously read the New Testament LOOKING SPECIFICALLY for the least hint of how they conducted themselves when they gathered together, you will see WHY we are so STRONGLY CONVINCED that the New Testament church had “OPEN” services.
You must remember they were already used to an open meeting. Jesus was free to take part in the temple & synagogue services. Paul, when visiting synagogues was also given opportunity to share with the congregation, by teaching or preaching. If you will read 1 Cor.14, you will see that it was an open meeting they were having, and the only thing Paul rebukes or tries to correct is the emphasis on tongues, and the wrong use of tongues. He stresses that the MAIN THING NEEDED WHEN THE CHURCH GATHERS TOGETHER is to EDIFY ONE ANOTHER. Then in verse 26, he makes it VERY CLEAR: “How is it then brethren? WHEN YOU COME TOGETHER EVERY ONE OF YOU have a Psalm, a doctrine, etc.” He says ALL can prophesy in verse 24. WHAT IS IT TO PROPHESY? He explains that in verse 3: it is to speak to men to edification, exhortation, or comfort. Every one of you can do that, he says. Everyone of you can have a psalm, a doctrine, a hymn, a spiritual song (Eph.5:19). WE MUST NOT QUENCH THE SPIRIT OR DESPISE PROPHESYINGS (1 Th.5:19 21). WE MUST do things decently and in order (1 Cor.14:40). WE MUST MINISTER ONE TO ANOTHER as good stewards (1 Pt.4:10 11).
The following verses clearly show that an open meeting was EXPECTED & HOW IT WAS DONE:
1. HAVE things wherewith ONE may edify ANOTHER… Rom.14:19; 1 Cor.14:4,12,26; 1 Th.5:11.
2. BE ABLE also to admonish ONE ANOTHER… Rom.15:14; Col.3:16.
3. COMFORT ONE ANOTHER with words… 1 Th.4:18; 5:11.
4. REPORT to ONE ANOTHER on the work… Acts 14:27; 15:4,12.
5. EXHORT ONE ANOTHER… Heb.3:13; 10:25; 1 Cor.14:3.
6. PROVOKE ONE ANOTHER to love & good works… Heb.10:24.
7. CONFESS faults ONE to ANOTHER… Jms.5:16.
8. MINISTER gifts ONE to ANOTHER… 1 Pt.4:10 11.
9. WASH ONE ANOTHERS feet with the word… Jn.13:14; Eph.5:26.
10. HAVE a psalm, a hymn, a song, a doctrine… 1 Cor.14:26; Eph.5:19; Col.3:16.
11. ALL are priests:… 1 Pt.2:5; 4:10 11; Rev.1:6; 5:10. to offer spiritual sacrifices… 1 Pt.2:5.
a. of yourselves… Rom.12:1 2.
b. of your money… Heb.13:16; 1 Tm.6:18 19; Ph.4:18.
c. of your prayers… Ps.141:2; Rev.5:8.
d. of your praise… Heb.13:15; Psalms; Revelation; 1 Chron.
EVERYONE in the congregation can take part in the above. EVERYONE can have something when he comes to meeting and the prophets can speak two or three, one by one (1 Cor.14:26 31; Eph.5:19). We are responsible to refresh others (2 Cor.7:13; 1 Cor.16:18); to lift up the hands that hang down (Heb.12:12; Is.35:3); to ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER (Is.41:6; 1 Sm.30:6; Mal.3:16); to serve ONE ANOTHER by love (Gal.5:13); that with ONE MIND & ONE MOUTH we may GLORIFY GOD (Ph.1:27; Ps.50:23; Rom.15:6). We must worship in spirit AND in truth (Jn.4:24) and be filled with the spirit (Eph.5:18; Rom.8; Gal.5). If you will consider carefully Jesus’ command to wash one anothers feet, you will note that He is not talking about the obvious, physical act of washing feet. He told Peter, “You DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM DOING” while he was actually WASHING his feet. There HAS to be a spiritual application to what He was telling them to DO. He said we are clean, but our feet get dirty in our walk in this world. We need to come together and WASH ONE ANOTHERS FEET. HOW? By doing the above things FOR ONE ANOTHER that we are TOLD TO DO.