x151.......Church In The House
Acts 8:3* As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Romans 16:5* Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
1Corinthians 16:19* The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.
Colosians4:15* Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
1Timothy 3:5* (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
1Timothy 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.
Philemon 1:2* And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
As we can see from these scriptures--the location of the new testament church was in people's houses. The people mentioned here had churches (groups of Christians) meeting in their homes. It is clear that the new testament church met in small groups in peoples homes--as well as "assembling"t hemselves together. The large assembling was on occasion--as the Spirit of God lead--such as the upper room on the day of Pentecost--- they would worship God and pray perhaps for days at a time--until everyone was filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit.
But it was the homes of believers which functioned on a daily basis--that was "...the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." The houses of believers were the place in which they met--to work there ministries unto the Lord together--to pray together--to work out plans to get more people into God's kingdom. The "church which is the house of God" was the functional place for Christians--it served as the place where people could learn (and quickly) who Jesus was--and what a great salvation we have in Him. They understood fully that they were now "the temple of the Holy Ghost"--they saw no need to build temples to God--but rather they were interested in functioning--7 days a week--as the living temples of God in the earth--filled with the Holy Spirit.
This was the apostolic method which Jesus had demonstrated to them.
" For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20, KJV).
Most Christians understand this verse of the Bible. We all know and have experienced the operation of Christ in our midst--outside of an "official" church building. We have all prayed with other brothers and sisters in Christ and beeen ministered to by the Lord. And most of us know and understand that this can happen anywhere, in our homes, at work, in the streets--God is faithful to His word. But what we perhaps do not realize is that the church in the Bible used this as their operational plan. They purposefully met everywhere they could, with the purpose of bringing the ministry of Christ within them, to everyone they could possilby reach. Their own homes were perfectly fine, to meet together in these small apostolic groups--pray in the Spirit--receive the command of God, and ACT UPON IT!
"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus." (Acts 13:1-4, KJV).
Note these verses in the book of Acts. A small group of people (although people who KNOW their calling--their ministry--they know they are prophets and teachers!)--meet together. Now the Bible does not specify that they were in a home, but it does say that they were "in the church". If the Bible is true to itself (and I most certainly believe that it is!)--it is refering to the people as "the church"--the actual meeting place is totally immaterial. (Of course, conversely, the Bible does NOT say that these men were meeting on Sunday, under the authority of the pastor---right!?). But what happens here, is the simple and pure operational plan of the church in the Bible. They pray together, in this small and ready group, and the Holy Ghost speaks. Again this lines up perfectly with the commands which the Bible gives for meeting together as outlined in 1Corinthians 14....
"How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying."1 Corinthians 14:26, KJV
Again the Bible does not specify, but certainly the Holy Ghost may have
spoken in tongues--or any type of prophetic word. The point taken here
is that God may speak through anyone, and therefore we ought to keep ourselves
in a format from which anyone can speak. If the church were to always and
only meet as a large group, it can hinder God from speaking. In a home,
in a small group, God can speak more readily--since He says He will speak
through anyone. And then notice the final result---ACTION! They immediately
obey God when He speaks. They lay hands on Saul and Barnabas, and send
(Greek: apostello) them--release them to a further apostleship. Again,
the church meeting, in the home--in a small group--allows God to speak--and
allows quick and ready obedience to the will of God. These verses are commonly
taught as some type of "special calling" of Paul--but the truth
is that this was the common, day-to-day operational plan of Christians
in the Bible. And one of the keys to it all was the church, in the home.