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Chapter 7  House Churches Today

As we have seen in the previous chapter, God's plan for the church is based upon the household. When we allow ourselves to be manipulated into anything but what the word of God maintains, we can not experience the power of God in our lives. We must move forward to stand on holy ground, rooted and grounded in the truth.

Unity in the church is only possible through the freedom of diversity. We must fellowship on the ground that we are part of the body of Christ. We are brothers and sisters together of our lord Jesus Christ. God is our Father. We are the household of God.

Unity in the body is based on what the word of God says, not on what any denomination or man says. Rules of order, confessions of faith, and denominational bylaws are all man's words. We have to look to God's words if we are to see the church accomplish it's assigned task.

The evidence from the book of Acts and the epistles make it clear that the household of God is to operate today in the same manner that it did in the first century. For the church of today to operate correctly, the following three principles must be observed:

First, the church ekklesia is designed as a household. (family) The structure is very simple, and must stay simple. Each family has a head of household called an elder. Every person in the church is a minister of God, responsible to minister one to another. Each household church is responsible to the head of the body, Christ. No church or person has any power over another church or person. New churches are formed when a household can no longer handle the number of people. God will raise up an elder for a new church when the time is right for the church to divide into two churches.

The second principle that is clear from the word of God is, each church is to be self governing and self supporting. As is seen in the book of Acts, the church is to practice plurality. People's needs are to be met by their brothers and sisters in the household. Needs are not greeds. Ephesians 4:28 tells us that we should labor that we may give.

II Thessalonians 3:10 tells us, "This we command you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." We are to work to have the food, shelter and clothing we need, and extra to give. The only two groups the church is to support regularly are widows who are "widows indeed" and over sixty years old with no means of support, and elders who labor in the word and teaching. All others are to work to support themselves and contribute to the needs of the household church.

The third requirement if the church is to manifest power is, each member is responsible to minister the gift. Each person is responsible to win others to Christ. (evangelize) Each person is responsible to speak forth the revealed word of God to fellow believers around them as God inspires them. (prophesy) We each must teach and shepherd those we win until they are strong enough to stand and walk on their own. (pastor, teacher) We are all called out and sent to deliver the message of the gospel. We are the ambassadors of Christ. (apostles) 

God has given us the gift of holy Spirit. That gift has nine manifestations which are our God given abilities to carry out the ministry of reconciliation.

We are God's called out church, a counter culture unlike the world has seen since the first century. We have the opportunity to experience God's power and love in our lives if we are willing to believe.

God promises to the church as a whole are delivered through individuals who choose to believe them, and then operate those received promises in partnership with other likeminded believers. Let us believe and operate.

Link to Chapter 8


    By Neil Tolman
    1996

Neil's House