Church as Jesus intended as described in the Book of Acts.
1) All believers were baptized.
2) All believers were added to the church.
3) All believers did all four church functions.
4) All church meetings were held in homes.
5) All people in the city heard the gospel.
The four church functions as described in Acts 2.
1) God’s Word
3) Breaking of Bread
In N.T. churches everyone participated in all four church functions.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4
Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. Romans 14:19
“I (Paul) myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to instruct one another.” Romans 15:14
The leadership of the church is a man just as leadership in the home is a man. Paul made that abundantly clear.
“But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God… For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.” 1 Corinthians 11:3, 8-9
“Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.” 1 Corinthians 11:11-12
“If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.” 1 Corinthians 11:16
The house church meeting must be orderly:
“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.” 1 Corinthians 14:26
“If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God.” 1 Corinthians 14:27-28
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” 1 Corinthians 14:28
“If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged.” 1 Corinthians 14:30
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Colossians 3:16
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
“See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or do not subtract from it.” Deuteronomy 12:32
“Do not go beyond what is written.” 1 Corinthians 4:6
What do traditional churches add that is not in the N.T.? What do traditional churches subtract that is not in the N.T.?
Do you need to have elders before you can or should function as a church? Remember Paul’s first missionary journey? For almost two years none of those churches had any elders (Acts 14:21-23). At the birth of the church, after “3,000” and then “5,000” were saved and new believers “added daily” to the church in Jerusalem, the vast majority of their house churches would not have had spiritual leaders meeting with them.
“When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” Acts 14:21-23
There were two categories of leaders in the N.T. church and in fact in the O.T. there were only two categories of leaders: National Leaders = priests, and City Leaders = elders/judges.
Two categories in the N.T. church: National leaders = apostles, and City leaders = elders/overseers. The Apostles ruled over God’s people in cities, and their elders. And elders would rule over God’s people in one city.
Does God have apostles for today? Many traditional Christians do not believe God has apostles for today and were only for the beginning foundation of the church. However, we believe there are many N.T. Scriptures confirming that God has apostles for today. So why is this so important? If God has apostles for today and traditional Christians think and teach otherwise, they would again be “canceling out the Word of God”
The word “apostle” in Greek is “apostolos” – it simply means, “one sent forth”. The Latin word apostle is “missionary”.
1. Jesus the Apostle – “sent forth” by God the Father (John 17:3; Heb. 3:1).
2. The 12 apostles – “sent forth” by God the Son (Luke 6:13; Acts 1:22).
3. Today’s apostles – “sent forth” by God the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:4). Paul & Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Andronicus & Junias (Rom. 16:7), Two unnamed brothers (2Cor. 8:23), Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25), Paul, Silas & Timothy (1Thes. 2:6), Multitude of apostles (Acts 15:6, 12).
“And he (Jesus) gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 4:11-13
The N.T. says (Ephesians 4:11-13): “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ. 13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God…”
All of this information and more is found in Jim McCottrell’s book Church Revolution Today. You can get it on http://www.jimsbookstore.com