x423.....The Church in Your House
Many churches really don't understand what marriage in God is supposed to be all about. When 2 young people come to a church leader and say they want to be married, many churches will pin them to counseling--as if they are doing something wrong!
The simple fact about Godly marriage is that the homes of Christians are meant to be the home of the church--the "house of God"
Ro 16:5* Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
1Co 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.
Ac 8:3* As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Col 4:15* Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.
1Ti 3:5* (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
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.
Phm 1:2* And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
In the New Testament church, it was the home of every Christian which was "the church"--which was the operational meeting place of the church. The homes of Christians functioned as places of prayer and worship, as well as teaching and counseling and evangelistic outreach. This was the apostolic base of operations--the same operational plan that Jesus had demonstrated. The church which is described in the Bible also fed the poor from their homes on a large scale. The functional meeting place of Christians was the home. This is the reason there is so much advice on marriage and family in the New Testament, and when read in context, new testametn advice on marriage is always in relationship to the Bible description of the church (ex: ephesians 4--1Corinthians 12-14--1Timothy 3)
In fact most of qualification for ministry were all about the home life of a person--
1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. 8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 14 These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: 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. (1 Timothy 3:1-15, KJV).
WE might be confused by the language in these verses--which was written at time in which the organization called the church was a large political ruling organization--tied in with earthly kings and used to control the common people. the people who "ruled" the church had important titles that gave them power over other people--and so it was written into the Bible translation of that day, that it was "titled" people which "ruled" over others within the church.
but if we take the simple understanding of how the church which is represented in the New Testament actually functioned, we can see that what is really being described here are simple requirements for Christians to organize "the church" within their own homes.
[ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT UNDERSTADNINGS WE ARE ATTEMPTING TO BRING TO CHRISTIANS IS TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE WRITERS--AND NOT BY OUR OWN EXPERIENCE--WHICH IS TAINTED BY HUNDREDS OF YEARS OF INCORRECT TRADITION]
A "bishop" is simply a person who organizes others into home churches--and the "deacons (Greek: diakonia--translated every where else in the Bible as "servant or minister") are the people who work in these home churches. (The deacons are the "5-fold" ministers!!) The "test" of the deacons are very simple requirements--most regarding their home--their marriage and family--because this is where the church is going to function and operate--
"....that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God,....."
the "house of God" as much as our experience tell us--is not a "large building downtown where we meet together on Sundays" This type of church operation and function simply did not exist in the times of the Bible. the marriage of two Christians was essential and very important to the move of God in the church of the Bible. Marriage and family was how the church was growing and expanding. When we have made "the church" into a large assembly hall--and disregarded the homes of Christians as "the church" we are limiting God and limiting His functioning in the earth.
Operating in the homes of Christians-- the church of the Bible--with only simple resources, operated 7 days a week (maybe 24 hours a day!). WE build a large building--fill it with expensive decorations and chairs and sound equipment--etc. and meet only 1 day a week! The church of the Bible operated 7 days a week--(not everyone all the time--but people gathering together as the Spirit of God lead them--they had a much greater and easier leading of the Spirit in this way)--just like God does. And it was essential that the health of the marriages and families these churches were powerful in God. (today we have churches which can actually divide marriages and families--requiring service to leadership--rather than allowing ministry to flow through the entire body of Christ as the Bible commands).
Now, there is a Spiritual church which exists in the earth (thank God) and it operates 7 days a week--in people's homes--and out in the streets--this is where the true church operates and always has. the church which is described in the NT bible is really the description of this Spiritual church. For the times that are described in the Bible--the Spiritual church and the physical church were joined together--they operated in the same way together--and God would Iike it to happen again. and it will happen though the homes of Christians and the marriages and families that are lead by God.