Christ's Household Church
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20. Christ's Household Church

God's Divine Vehicle

ArmPaul the Apostle writes in 1 Corinthians 12.27, "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it." Christ's Household Church was the foundation of faith in the early days of Christianity, in fact, for the first three centuries. Saint Paul writes to Timothy, his young companion and colleague, in 1 Timothy 3.15, "God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth."

Christ's Body

Remarkably, God chooses to operate today, as in the Early Church, through the household Church. You, I, and countless others who love Jesus are God's perfect vehicle, "Christ's Body!" The Body of Christ is most visible in the household. Christ's church is a small team of Christian friends and family who work and worship together. Homes in the Early Church were extended families with parents, grandparents, children, teenagers, widowed relatives, servants, many babies, and infants. They also embraced other single persons, childless couples, and small family units. In the New Testament record, the household church conducted its worship services at home. They gave baptismal instruction, performed baptisms, celebrated the Lord's Supper, and no doubt, other ceremonies around the kitchen table.

Household Church Worship

Household of ChristHousehold church worship has been the foundation and essential element in the Christian Community from the Early Church. Each household is distinct in that its specialness lies in the mix of individuals who are the actual Body of Christ there. When we see the church congregation, we need to remember that the authentic Christian community, the household of faith, is hidden beneath the surface and, as such, is sacramental. The assembly is the outward visible sign, and the members of the Body of Christ are the inward invisible grace. These assemblies are the engine of the church!

A Worshipping Unit

Group of PeopleIn both the Christian and the Jewish traditions, church household worship and not the church or synagogue is the actual center of religious life. The New Testament Church and Early Church identified church worship in the home as the basic worshipping unit. Billy Graham (1918-2018) the evangelist said, "the foundations of civilization are no stronger and no more enduring than the corporate integrity of the homes on which they rest. If the home deteriorates, civilization will crumble and fall." The Christian church always has had household worship as its basic unit. The real question is, "Do we worship every day in our homes or only on Sundays at church? ✞

Jesus Christ's Community

Muscle Man Cartoon CharacterJesus Christ's community is the basic unit of the Christian church. Every congregation is unique, just as every Christian person is unique. Here is my experience. When I look in the mirror, I see an elderly balding male. While my appearance is important to me, it is only one part of who I am. Scratch the surface, and a multifaceted individual with all his likes, dislikes, and quirkiness appears. You are the same too. The individual Christian community is also unique, for the makeup of every congregation is different. The church may have the characteristics of a jolly, middle-aged lady or even a starchy spinster with her head in a book.

Incarnate Extension

Kate WillardThe Jesus community is an extension of the incarnation of Christ himself. The household is a conglomerate, a "Me" with her personality like any other body! In the New Testament, the community of God's people uses "ecclesia" some 109 times out of 114 occurrences of the term. The word occurs twice in the Gospels, 23 times in Acts of the Apostles, and 46 times in Saint Paul's writings. We can draw three conclusions. First, "ecclesia" or "ekklesia" is in both the singular and plural applies to "a local assembly of those who profess faith in and allegiance to Christ." Second, "ecclesia" designates the "universal church," and third, "ecclesia" is "God's congregation."

Church on the Rock

The word for church appears only twice in the Gospels. In Matthew 16.18 Jesus says, "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." Matthew 18.17 reads, "If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church. And if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

Church Restoration

Our Church FamilyThe household body members of Jesus Christ's church have a clear and focused plan for the future. The household body may be a model for the Early Church, but how do household body members operate today? What is God's plan for her? In a small church, there may be one or two groups of members. In a large church, there would be many more. These models will restore what we now call "the church" to a bright and focused plan for the future when rediscovered.

Family Basis

The basis of the Christian church is the family. Every extended family in Roman times included not only blood relatives but also others of the same faith. There would be a household head, usually but not always male, his wife (or her husband), children, and grandchildren. Also, there would be slave men and women, children, and sometimes freemen and women who had bought their release from slavery but remained part of the household. The head of the house took personal responsibility for each household member, if necessary, defending them in court. Households enjoyed being together and found fulfillment in one another's company. Their relationships defined them as household members. If you are loved and accepted by the other household members, you are part of God's household. In caring and upholding one another, members of the Body of Christ often grow closer than blood brothers and sisters.

"Christ's Household Church"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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