x112........The 3 Places they met in the NT Church--which we replace with Sunday worship
Ac 2:46* And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Ac 5:42* And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
There were three places that the early Christian church met together--they were as follows--
HOMES--The home of every believer was considered to be a church. It was a place of worship and prayer. The meeting of people daily in their homes was central to the belief of the early church.--Why? The home is the perfect environment for people to study the word--pray together (and all be heard and effective!)--and for new Christians to grow quickly--simply by the fact that they can ask questions and have them answered quickly. Needs that are prayed for in a home can be quickly answered by God--Why? because there is agreement--the Holy Spirit can answer quickly--It is simple common sense that we are more comfortable in our homes than anyplace else. This also has the effect of raising Godly young people--Most young people who are successful in the lord and were raised in a Christian home--- were really raise in a church--whether they realized it or not.
1Ti 3:15* But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The Bible truth of the New Testament is that the "house of God"--the home in which God lives--the home in which people have invited the Holy Spirit to live--the home that worships and prays to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ--is the church.
TEMPLE--The early church after the day of Pentecost met daily in the temple. Now the first reaction to this is the idea then that we should meet in our "church" every day. But this "temple" was not a temple which the believers had built--but rather the Jewish temple. This was the same jewish temple--with the same Jews--the Pharisees and priests which had a matter of months before--convinced the Roman government to crucify Jesus! This "temple" was the enemies camp! Throughout the first chapters of the book of Acts we see that the apostles were many times attacked by the leaders of the temple--
1* ¶ And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, 2* Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide. (Acts 3:1-3)
These were the same temple leaders--the priests etc. which had persecuted Jesus and His followers while He was alive--and contributed to His crucifixion--Yet now, the early church is, in fact, warring against them--or rather the spirits that controlled them--and in fact was winning!
7* And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)
Many of the priests were actually getting saved! What this early church did---one of the places that the Spirit of God lead them to meet--was in the world--in fact directly in the enemies camp! They had learnt this from Jesus--He always went before the Jewish temple and the pharisees and priests--no matter how many times they rejected him--or attacked Him--He realized the importance of going to everyone with the Gospel--especially those who were against it. Doesn't this give us the suggestion that we should be gathering in places in the world where the enemy has a stronghold in our communities? Shouldn't we have meeting in public places--perhaps in the poorer sections of our cities--What about meeting in a bar? The Bible clearly tells us that we must go forth with the Gospel--We know that a person need only call upon the name of the lord to be saved--yet--
13* For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14* How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15* And how shall they preach, except they be sent? .....(Romans 10:13-15)
WE certainly need apostles--people to be "sent" to our towns and cities everywhere--No one gets saved if we have turned the defintion of the church into "Holy Ghost clubhouses!"
Ac 1:4* And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Ac 4:31* And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.
Ac 11:26* And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
The early church did something that I beleive Christians are finally learning the value of in our time--they "assembled" themselves. Here we see three times mentioned in the Book of Acts--the first of course is the "assembling" of the day of Pentecost--the next is some time after--in which the disciples needed a refreshing from the Lord--and the third time shows us how that Paul and other apostles came to a city and stood for an entire year in the "assembly" ---(note that the "assembly is "with the church" the assembly--is not the church itself---)
What the early church did is meet together--when the Lord commanded them--and until the Lord told them to leave---they all met together in what we would call "revival"--praying and praising God together--until everyone was filled with he Spirit--until God had competed the work that He had started. This is the Spirit of revival--and it is important for all Christians to experience--this is what the assembling of ourselves is all about--
Heb 10:25* Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
This is the scripture that is always used to command people to attend church on Sunday--but if we study these words in the Bible we find that "assembling" really met revival--the "church of the living God is "the house of God--
"........the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (1Timothy 3:15)
The "assembly" is not the church. The church is you and me--the body of Christ in the earth--and it also is the "house of God". In the Old Covenant there was the need for a temple--a place of sacrifice a place where the Spirit dwelled--but --
1Co 6:19* What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
2Co 6:16* And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
One of the most important difference between old and new covenant is that h Holy Spirit dwells inside of people--not inside of a temple made by hands. We are the temple--not a building!
But, 1700 years a go, a Roman emperor declared Sunday as the correct day of worship for all Christians. We hold fast to this belief and in so doing, many many Christians limit God to this one day a week temple worship--never coming to the real assembling of themselves--not believing or allowing their home to be the church--and certainly not witnessing the Gospel out in the world. We have the strong belief that the service to God of these things is really only for "some" and not for all--a majority of Christians are hamstrung by tradition--not believing that they have any gifts to serve God with--instead of church being a place where Gods' people can move in their gifts and pray and praise God--it becomes a quick ritual. We believe there is no other alternative to "going to church on Sunday" and living our lives in the world without God the rest of the week. Many Christians run in and out of Godliness and the world, simply because they see no other alternative--and in fact they believe they are doing everything that God wants them to by attending faithful Sunday services.
Sunday church has replaced all these concepts that the Bible tells us--and yet if we think--most of us were saved by someone who went into the world with the Gospel--someone who was "sent"--to the ungodly temple we were in. Doesn't the devil win big when we in our churches believe that we are serving God when we are in fact hiding fromt the world and standing in judgment of it?
What about the homes that are ruined--marriages and families destroyed--simply because Christians do not recognize that their home is the real church of God. If we had real respect for this fact would not our children be raised into their calling and life with God? Instead we expect someone at "church" to teach our children all about God in Sunday School--and then we allow our kids to live just like the world the rest of the week--just like we do!
By replacing these gathering places with Sunday service--have not we limited God in our lives? Are't we far from the move of God that these believers of the Bible saw? Isn't this one of the major reason why we are not getting our whole town saved?