What The Bible Says About House Church.

Published October 24, 2013 by

A House Where Jesus is Worshiped

The first time a group gathered to worship Jesus and offer him gifts was in the house of Mary and Joseph. “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:11)

Peter’s House is used for a Healing Meeting

In the early days of his ministry Jesus used the house of Peter to minister to the sick. “When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in a bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her and she got up and began to wait on him. When evening came, many who were demon possessed were brought to him and he drove out the spirits and healed all their sick.” (Matt. 8:14-16)

Jesus Preached to Crowds Assembled in Homes

The things we do in our church buildings today, Jesus did in houses, in the open air, and in the temple courtyard during his years of public ministry. “Several days later he returned to Capernaum and the news of his arrival spread quickly through the city. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there wasn’t room for a single person more, not even outside the door. And he preached the word to them.” (Mark 2:1 Living Bible)

The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit Came to a House Church

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.” (Acts 2: l-2) Many of us have never before considered the number of foundational events that took place in someone’s house. The first worship service happened in a house. The first communion service was in a house. Jesus preached and healed the sick in a house. The gospel was first preached to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was in a house. And the first churches that the Apostle Paul started were all in houses. Over the centuries we have moved away from these simple methods and have added many things that have slowed the spread of the gospel into all nations.

In the Streets and in the Houses

“They worshipped together regularly at the Temple each day, met in small groups in homes for communion and shared their meals with great joy and thankfulness.” (Acts 2:46) The early church not only met in small groups in homes but also in larger gatherings in public places. The most rapid growth of the church, both in the past and in the present day has been when the church was not using formal meeting places, but remained flexible and mobile.

Saul of Tarsus Attacks the House Churches

“But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house: and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.” (Acts 8:3) Where did Saul of Tarsus go to find “the people to the way” to drag them to prison? He found them meeting in houses. He himself would later start churches in houses on his missionary journeys.

House Meetings and Open Air Meetings

“Day after day in the temple courts and from house to house they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the news that Jesus is the Christ.” (Acts 5:42) They did not meet in the temple proper but rather on the temple grounds or in the vicinity of the temple where the people were gathered. These were open air meetings. The concept of house church opens up the idea that church can take place anywhere two or three believers gather, even the two disciples walking on the road to Emmaus with Jesus in the midst.

A Praying House Church Delivers Peter from Prison

“Peter, therefore was kept in prison, but prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.” (Acts 12:5) It is clear that “the church” in this verse was meeting in the home of Mary the mother of John Mark for after Peter’s miraculous release from prison through the visit of an angel he went directly to where the people were praying for his release and in Acts 12:12 we read, “. . . and when Peter came to the house of Mary, the mother of John, whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying . . .” Consider the powerful influence one house church can have in the events of history. They saved Peter’s life that night through persistent prayers!

The History of Christianity, by Lions states that, “Christians had no special buildings but met in private houses. Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.) was asked by Rusticus the Perfect: `Where do you assemble?’ Justin said, ‘Where each one chooses and can, or do you fancy that we all meet in the very same place? Not so, because the God of the Christians is not circumscribed by place.’”

In his book, CELLS FOR LIFE, Ron Trudinger says, “They initiated the practice of meeting daily in the temple and of breaking of bread from house to house: this term can also be rendered: `In the various private homes.’ Synagogues were used for a while, but as we see in Acts 19, it was not long before many of these were closed to Christians. But we continue to find references in Acts and the Epistles to churches in homes.”

The House Church That Opened the Gospel to the Nations

“The following day, Peter arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people.” (Acts 10:24-27) This is a good example of how to start a house church. Someone who is hungry for God calls together a number of his family and friends and has a man of God share the Word. So simple! This meeting in the house of Cornelius was historic. It was the breakthrough that convinced the Jewish believers that the Good News was for all the nations of the world and not just for the Jews.

Lydia’s House Was Europe’s First Church.

“After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house where they met with the brothers and encouraged them.” (Acts 16:40) The church of Philippi was formed in the house of Lydia. We are not told how the church grew, but when the group could no longer fit in Lydia’s house, they probably formed another group somewhere in the city and continued to divide and multiply.

Paul’s Rented House

“For two whole years Paul stayed in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 28:30-31) These final words in the book of Acts reveal that Paul not only made use of the homes of others for the proclamation of the gospel, but that he also used his own rented house for spreading the good news. The fastest growing movement in the world today, the Christian Movement, began in houses. It had its greatest growth while it remained a fluid, simple, mobile, relationship-oriented people


Robert Fitts

Robert Fitts is the author of “The Church In The House”. He is the founder of Outreach Fellowship International. Learn more at www.robertfitts.com

Article credit: house2housemagazine.com

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