Welcome everyone. Last week, Pastor Richard started a new mini-series called The Power of Home Church. In our first blog post from that series; Is Church Really Church? we talked about the four reasons for Home Church. To remind you, here are the four points as to why we think Home Church is so important.
1. Because it follows the Great Commission
2. Because it follows Jesus’ examples of how to do church
3. It also follows the early church example
4 The evidence shows that it works.
Last week, we heard about number 1. The Great Commission. If you missed it, go back and check out last week’s blog. It’s good!
So this week, let’s look at point number 2; Jesus’ example of church.
When we think of Jesus’ ministry we often think of crowds of people don’t we? But the truth is that most of His ministry was spent in small groups. The main focus of His ministry was the 12 disciples. When He said, ‘Come follow me’, He didn’t just mean spiritually, he meant literally! They travelled together, lived together, camped together, ate together, ministered together. Imagine the amount of wisdom that these guys had imparted unto them over the many discussions they must’ve had that aren’t recorded in the Bible. The imagery, the stories, the examples, the pictures etc. This is the most effective kind of discipleship because it’s experiential, it’s real life. It’s not just talking or being lectured to. Have you ever noticed that the sermon on the mount wasn’t to the multitude? Probably not! Who was the real audience? Let’s have a look.
Matt. 5: 1-2
And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying… (underlining mine)
Jesus was teaching His disciples. He wasn’t focused on the crowd. That doesn't mean the crowd wasn't there or didn't try to get closer, but His focus was on depth and quality, not quantity. Wow, that's huge in today's mega church world. Numbers didn’t matter to Jesus.
If we are truly going to disciple people, we cannot do it in huge crowds.
Our next point is that Home church meets the early church’s example of church. In Acts 2, just after the Holy Spirit is poured out on the day of Pentecost, we find them having Big Church and Home Church. What do we see from these verses, particularly in v42-47, about the nature and flavour of the early church?
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Fellowship was key. Praying was essential, and not just from the pulpit - this was the whole body praying together, everybody seeking God together. Breaking of bread - the Lord’s Supper. Eating food - having meals together. They didn’t do these things in the temple. And, of course, they 'ceased not to teach Jesus Christ'.
This is a picture of a committed, loving, supportive community of Christians in real fellowship and real community. It produced great fruit including miracles.
Why did this work so well? Because they had both big church and home church.
Acts 8:3 says; As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Why was Saul going from house to house? Because that’s where he’d find the Christians. To catch them in the act of worshipping Jesus, he went to people’s homes. In Acts, Peter is sent to homes to minister to people. When he was miraculously set free from prison, he went straight to Mary’s house where they were gathered together having church!
In Acts 16, Paul testifies to the jailer and verse 31-32 makes it clear that they are in the jailer's house. Verse 40 finds them going to Lydia’s house. Acts 18:7, 20:20 and on and on we could go. Examples of home church are throughout the whole new testament. There are many more examples.
1 Corinthians 14:26-31 says this; How is it then, brethren? when you come together, every one of you has a psalm, has a doctrine, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. If any thing be revealed to another that sits by, let the first hold his peace. For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
It is very clear on what kind of church he was talking about. Everybody has something to offer! Have you ever been to a big church meeting where everyone got up to share? At our old ‘normal church’ we had an open mic because we wanted to try and do what these verses are saying. But it would get really difficult because how long can you go on for when there are 200 people!?
At home church, we can know that there is an interpreter in the room so we can give a tongue because we know the people we do church and life with. I used to think that verse meant, if there isn't an interpretation, don't give a tongue. Well, how do you know there will be an interpretation until you give it?! That's not what it's saying. It's says 'an interpreter'. Someone who is known to interpret tongues. You can only know that for sure if you do church with these people regularly and in intimate, smaller groups.
The reason we do what we do at Upstream Ministries is becoming more and more clear isn’t it?! We were trying to make this just a two-part teaching, but it’s so important we’re gonna go for three! Join us next week as we explore the 4th point in this messages; the evidence shows that home church really does work. Don’t miss it!
We hope this has been a blessing. See you next week!
If you're interested in Home Church, would like to start an Upstream Home Church or just find out more about us, head to our Home Page.
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