From House to House
Many have commented that we are living in the midst of a Third Reformation of the Church.
The First Reformation put the Bible back into the hands of ordinary people and disciples recognized once more that we are made right with God by grace through faith. The Second Reformation, the Holy Spirit was poured out on all disciples and the gifts of the Spirit became acknowledged and accessible to ordinary people. In this Third Reformation, disciple making and church are being placed back into the hands of ordinary people. This reformation is a reformation of structure or wineskins…
As it was in the beginning (of the church), so shall it be in the end…
Around the World, in the past 20 years or more, there has been a literal explosion of Church Planting Movements. (Sometimes described as Disciple Multiplication Movements). Through these movements, ordinary people are empowered to plant churches by gathering disciples in the places where they live, work and play.
Churches can be as simple as gathering from house to house as they did throughout the Book of Acts and the Early Church.
The word house or household in the Greek is Oikos. Oikos was the building block of society and would include the extended family or relatives, household servants/workers and neighbours. The church met from oikos to oikos…
In this article I want to pick up on some aspects of meeting from house to house…
With One Accord
‘So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart’ (Acts 2:46)
In another place it says;
‘All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had’ (Acts 4:32)
When we are united in Christ…what can stop the advancement of God’s kingdom? This sense of oneness leads to great joy, simplicity and sincerity and believers sharing everything they have…
Being of one mind is possible as ‘we have the mind of Christ’. As each disciple hears and obeys Jesus we can collectively swarm like a murmuration of starlings…
‘And everyday, in the temple and from house to house they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ’ (Acts 5:42)
In various translations the words; day after day, every day and daily are used here.
The same word is also used here;
‘Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today”, so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God’
This word ‘daily’ is also used in Acts 2:46 as we see above. The result of their meeting daily was that ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (Acts 2:47)
This act of gathering daily, advances us beyond a mentality of church that is program specific; service and meeting based, to an altogether different conception of church. What would church be like if we met together daily with one accord, ate together, encouraged one another as the Lord adds daily to our number?
In Public and Private
In a few places in the Book of Acts, we see the church meeting both in public and in private (from house to house). Jerusalem is one such example, where they met in both the Temple Courts and in homes. Ephesus is another example, where Paul rented the Hall of Tyrannus daily between 11am-4pm for the public dimension of his work. The work that was done publicly was apostolic in nature. They preached publicly the resurrection of Jesus and equipped the saints in making disciples. The apostle Paul describes the work he did in Ephesus here;
‘I did not shrink back from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house’ (Acts 20:20)
However, the church in Jerusalem only met in the Temple Courts for a short period, as we know the Temple was destroyed in AD70. When the Temple was destroyed, the church continued to flourish…
If you want to attempt to destroy the church, you are going to have to go house to house, as Saul (who later became known as Paul) demonstrates…
‘But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison’ (Acts 8:3)
Notice, to ‘ravage the church‘ , this meant entering ‘house after house‘ . It’s impossible to stamp out the church because if you ban public meetings, the church will continue to meet from house to house. And if you try to stamp out the church in one house, you have to go to house after house and still, the church will continue to spread…
Whose House Are We Meeting in Next?
So whose house are we meeting in next?
There’s a sense of excitement when meeting from house to house. You don’t fully know what to expect. Each household brings something different and the Holy Spirit speaks through the various people assembled at that particular moment.
The Early Church meeting from House to House just replicated what the disciples had seen Jesus doing consistently for 3 years throughout Israel. In every town and village they were to search for a Man of Peace/Worthy Person and stay in his house (oikos) until they left town (Matthew 10:11).
We then read of household after household who received Christ and later of the churches that met in houses wherever the gospel spread.
Here are some examples:
- Cornelius’ House (Acts 10:2)
- Mary’s House (Acts 12:12)
- The Jailers House (Acts 16:32)
- Lydia’s House (Acts 16:40)
- Titius Justus’ House (Acts 18:7)
- Priscilla & Aquila’s House (Romans 16:5, 1 Corinthians 16:19)
- Nympha’s House (Colossians 4:15)
- Philemon’s House (Philemon 1:2)
The Four Devotions
So what’s stopping you from opening up your house?
Are you already gathering from House to House?
What are some of the challenges?
What are some of the opportunities?