CHURCH AS JESUS INTENDED

All of the following verses clearly show that New Testament churches were only and always house churches. What about all the verses that are in the New Testament where believers met in church buildings ꟷ ZERO!

  1. “Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives… they went to the upstairs room of the house where they were staying… They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus” (Acts 1:12-14).
  1. “On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability” (Acts 2:1-4).
  2. “They…met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity” (Acts 2:46).
  3. “From house to house, they continued to teach and preach” (Acts 5:42).
  4. “But Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church…he went from house to house” (Acts 8:3).
  5. “When he realized this, he went to the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where many were gathered for prayer” (Acts 12:12).
  6. “When Paul and Silas left the prison, they returned to the home of Lydia. There they met with the believers and encouraged them once more. Then they left town” (Acts 16:40).
  7. “There were many lamps in the upstairs room of the house where we were meeting” (Acts 20:8).
  8. “I taught you publicly and from house to house” (Acts 20:20 NIV).
  9. “Give my greetings to Priscilla and Aquila…also give my greetings to the church that meets in their home” (Romans 16:3-5).
  10. “And give my greetings to the believers from the household of Aristobulus” (Romans 16:10).
  11. “Greet the Lord’s people from the household of Narcissus” (Romans 16:11).
  12. “Give my greetings to Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermes, Patrobas, Hermas, and the brothers and sisters who meet with them” (Romans 16:14).
  13. “Give my greetings to Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and to Olympas and all the believers who meet with them” (Romans 16:15).
  14. “Gaius says hello to you. He is my host and also serves as host to the whole church” (Romans 16:23).
  15. “For some members of Chloe’s household have told me about your quarrels, my dear brother and sisters” (1 Corinthians 1:11).
  16. “The churches here in the province of Asia send greetings in the Lord, as do Aquila and Priscilla and all the others who gather in their home for church meetings” (1 Corinthians 16:19).
  17. “Please give my greetings… to Nympha and the church that meets in her house” (Colossians 4:15).
  18. “They must be silenced because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach” (Titus 1:11 NIV).
  19. “I am writing to… Archippus, and to the church that meets in your house” (Philemon 1:2).
  20. “If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement” (2 John 1:10).
  21. “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come, and we will share a meal together” (Revelation 3:20).

Since there is no verse in the New Testament that says “the church met” in any building, that may be one of the reasons a necessary qualification for being a New Testament leader/elder was to be “hospitable”: “An elder… must enjoy having guests in his home…” (1 Timothy 3:2).

All New Testament churches only met in believers’ homes. None of the apostles, no church leaders, or Christians ever even mentioned meeting in or constructing any kind of church building. House churches were the only church pattern for meeting in all of the New Testament. And the New Testament home church pattern was the only church model for all Christians for over 300 years!

I strongly urge anyone interested in knowing more about church as Jesus intended that you get Jim McCotter’s book Church revolution today. Jim has been involved in establishing hundreds of house churches and indirectly thousands,

CHURCH AS GOD INTENDED

As narrated in the Book of Acts, the New Testament Church is both a prescriptive and descriptive account that illustrates a pattern for contemporary congregations.

The following are 7 essentials the contemporary church must embrace for missional movement.

Acts 1 shows how 120 disciples of Jesus spent 10 days together in prayer, comparing Scripture and making leadership decisions. This ensured that the foundation of the burgeoning movement would be secure. Their goal was to work towards oneness as it related to the understanding and preaching of the Good News of the Messiah.

Without this period of waiting upon God and reflection, the massive spontaneous addition of 3,000 people after Peter’s first sermon could have resulted in chaos and destroyed the movement. The contemporary Church must take adequate time every season to wait upon God in prayer and biblical reflection in order to be ready for the Gospel’s movement.

Acts 2:42 says that immediately after the Day of Pentecost, the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ doctrine, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Visitors to Jerusalem that converted, abandoned plans to go back to their homeland so they could sit under the apostles’ teaching.

This apostolic doctrine shaped their social gatherings, common meals, and corporate prayer. Without this, the activities of the Church would have been based upon subjective experiences and opinions of gatherers. The contemporary Church must also establish believers in the first principles of the faith if they are going to experience a prolific Gospel movement.

Acts 5:1-12 relay the narrative of the judgment upon Ananias and Saphira.

This illustrates how the standard of holiness and the fear of the Lord must be maintained to ensure the health of the Church. If God allowed them to continue lying, manipulating, and receiving honor deceptively through giving gifts (which amounts to dirty politics), it would have spread like yeast and eventually would have corrupted the Church.

It is not an accident that God began to do extraordinary miracles as soon as this couple was removed from the Church (Acts 5:12-14). The contemporary Church must understand that we limit the capacity for God to move through us whenever we allow unbiblical standards to permeate our Church.

Acts 6:1-7 Almost immediately after the birth of the Jesus movement, ethnic sectarianism and bias reared their ugly head. This took place when the Greek-speaking widows were being overlooked when food was being distributed. Peter had enough wisdom to appoint 7 men of integrity and wisdom who would oversee this ministry, resulting in every widow’s needs being met, the Word of God spreading, and the number of disciples multiplying.

Acts 7:54-60 The martyrdom of Stephen, demonstrates an amazing pattern for us to follow in the contemporary church. God cannot bless a Gospel movement if the saints are unwilling to give their lives to advance His kingdom. Even Paul said that he was always given over to death so that the life of Christ might manifest through him (2 Corinthians 4:11). A contemporary church filled with people who only gather to have their felt needs met will never advance the Gospel. Jesus said we would have power after the Spirit comes upon us to be His witnesses. The word witness comes from the word martyr. Hence, a faithful witness overcomes the enemy when he is not willing to shrink from death (Revelations 12:11).

Acts 7:58, 8:8 The early Church did not skip a beat but continued to thrive after mass persecution broke out against them. Even though they were forced out of their homes and lost everything, their mind was on spreading the Gospel! Wherever they were scattered, they preached the Word. This resulted in major churches being planted in the cities of Samaria and Antioch and resulted in their chief antagonist, Saul, being converted and becoming the greatest of the apostles. The contemporary Church must persevere amid persecution (similar to the powerful Gospel movement we see today through the persecuted churches in Iran, China, and India).

Acts 13:1-2 Instead of being bogged down with endless church committees and deliberations, the Antioch church elders spent adequate time ministering to the Lord and fasting. Giving God space to move upon them, released a divine strategy that changed the entire world. The contemporary Church must also prioritize seeking the Lord and waiting for the strategic Spirit to illuminate our hearts so we can labor for the things God ordains instead of asking God to bless our agendas.

Adapted from article ”8 lessons churches can learn from the book of Acts” by Joseph Mattera, Christian Post Feb. 20

CHURCH IS A PEOPLE WHO, NOT A PLACE AT

I love that mantra for church, because it makes it clear that the church is not a building but a people who take seriously the GREAT COMMISSION for the church to GO and make disciples.

Torben gives us a simple “model” of what to do when you gather with small groups to disciple each other.

The simple model based on JESUS IS THE CENTRE and IN (fellowship), UP (focus on God, communion a good start)  and OUT (take the Gospel to the world)