I really like this explanation of what happens in some house churches.
In Acts 2 there is a section of Scripture that talks about a new community of believers that formed after Christ returned to heaven and the Holy Spirit came. It talks about the things they focused on and the results.
Acts 2:42-47 – All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity– 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.
What are the four things they focused on as a new community?
- The Apostles teaching – this would have been the Old Testament, the teachings of Christ that they had heard, and the way they believe the new community of believers should live.
- Fellowship – this is about doing life together as a new community of believers. It would include helping each other, worshiping and praying together, getting to know each other, and being one in Christ.
- Sharing meals – this means everyday fellowship and sharing meals with one another including sharing communion. This is about deeper relationship more than just seeing people in church once a week.
- Prayer – prayer is our lifeline to God. When we pray alone we become closer to God. When we pray with others we get closer to each other and seek God’s blessings, help and direction together.
As a result of doing these four things, we see a number of results or blessings.
- Sense of awe – they were in awe of what God was doing in their midst.
- Signs and wonders – the Apostle performed miraculous signs, wonders and miracles.
- Regular meetings – the new community met together regularly in homes and at the Temple.
- Shared – they shared money and possessions and regularly shared meals.
- Worship – they worshiped together daily in the Temple.
- Favour – they enjoyed the goodwill and favour of the people around them.
- Saved – more people got saved and were added to the church.
The thing I find interesting is when we as Christians focus on the right things and are fully devoted to them, great things happen. Devotion to God and His Kingdom, brings blessings and all types of Divine favour.
Let us purpose in our hearts to devote ourselves to the things of God. Things like the Bible, fellowship, sharing and prayer.
Hello all, here are the links to my sermon from yesterday. It was from 1 John 4 and titled, “A call to love one another, watch out for false teachers and live without fear”.
The main points and a summary of each are below…
1. A warning to watch out for false teachers
In verses 1-6 John gives us a warning against teachers who speak of things not from the Spirit of God.
1 John 4:1-3 NIV – “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2
John recognised that false teachers with ulterior motives were coming into the church to lead people astray. John warns us to test the spirit that is behind what they are saying.
2. A call to brotherly and sisterly love
In verses 7-16 John reminds us again to love our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is the third time in four chapters. It is something John is pretty passionate about.
Verse 12 says “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
I don’t know about you, but I want a complete love. I want to follow Christ’s example of sacrificial love and I want to help my brothers and sisters in Christ who are in need as we saw in chapter 3.
3. Perfect love drives out fear
My last point for today is perfect love drives out all fear. Tucked away in verses 17-18 is a powerful point about fear – perfect love drives out fear.
Verses 17 and 18 in today’s readings says, “In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
So, in the context of our passage today, we can have confidence on the day of judgement, because we trust Christ. We know and have experienced His perfect love that reaches out from eternity and drives out all fear. Our rewards for what we have done with our knowledge and faith in Christ will be handed out.
One question I have been asked a few times lately is “what do house churches do when they meet?”
Here is something I found at http://www.house2house.com in the FAQs section. It says it better than I can…
“Again, this will vary from church to church . . . but here are some of the basic elements that tend to be present in every house church:
FOOD – When you get together, eat! It provides a great atmosphere for people to have honest open communication with each other.
OPEN PARTICIPATION – 1 Corinthians 14:26 is the basis for what we do when we get together. The key is “Each one has…” Everybody should be able to take part.
BIBLE STUDY – Keep it simple and interactive. A great technique is to look over a few verses together and then share with each other what each person gets out of the verses.
PRAYER – Find out what is happening in each other’s lives and take the time to pray for each other. Expect God to move powerfully and to speak to the group as you pray.
SIMPLICITY – Make sure that whatever you do can be duplicated. If the church is going to multiply rapidly it must be kept simple.”
As you can see from this house churches or relational, simple in structure, involve prayer and Bible study and encourage everyone to be involved.
Last night we had some friends over for a home group / house church meeting. We had a meal, shared, prayed and did a discussion style Bible study. It was a nice time.
During the night I shared some brief thoughts on 1 Timothy 4:6-16. Basically it was a blog post that I have shared before on this blog and the content of a MP3 on my website. It took probably 30 minutes to prepare originally.
I found it interesting that when I shared it, it opened up some discussion and got us started. We talked about the passage and then went off some of other tangents and asked some questions about other passages too.
It was a real discussion Bible study like I have read about in many of the house church / simple church books I have read. We all asked questions of the text and to each other. Collectively we came up with some thoughts.
I have to say I enjoyed this style of group discussion. The preparation was simple, it took no time at all and it served as a tool to spark some conversation where we were all encouraged.
The great thing is we all participated equally which is the goal of the discussion Bible study.