Christ's Household Church
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Christ's Household Church
Page 22

God's Divine Vehicle

ArmPaul the Apostle wrote 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 the faith in the Early days of Christianity, in fact for the first three centuries. Saint Paul wrote 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."

Divine Vehicle

MirrorRemarkably, God chooses to operate today, as in the Early Church, through the household Church. You and I, who love Jesus, are together as God's divine vehicle, "Christ's Body!" The Body of Christ is most clearly seen in the household. Christ's church is the small team of Christian friends and family who work and worship together. Households in the Early Church were extended families with parents, grandparents, children, teenagers, and widowed relatives, as well as 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, and celebrated the Lord's Supper and no doubt other ceremonies all around the kitchen table.

Household Church Worship

Household of ChristHousehold church worship is the foundation and the most basic essential element in the Christian Community from the Early Church to today. A Household is distinct in that each' specialness lies in the mix of individuals who are the real Body of Christ there. When we see the church congregation, we need to remember that hidden beneath the surface is the real Christian community, the household of faith. This is almost sacramental without stretching the concept too far. The congregation is the outward visible sign and the members of the Body of Christ are the inward invisible grace. These are the engine of the church!

A Worshipping Unit

Group of PeopleIn both the Christian and the Jewish traditions, church worship in the household and not the church or synagogue was the center of religious life. Joshua is remembered for his dedication and in challenging the people of Israel. In Joshua 24.15b we hear Joshua say, "But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." Similarly, the New Testament Church and Early Church both identified church worship in the home as the basic worshipping unit. Billy Graham writing for his generation 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 has always had household worship as its basic unit. The real question is "Do we worship every day in our homes or only on Sunday 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. Each local worshipping community is a unique part of the Jesus Christ community. 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 idiosyncrasies appear. You are the same too. In the same way, the individual Christian community is also unique. 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. She, the household is a conglomerate, a "Me" with her personality like any other body! The word used to describe "church" is feminine. The New Testament Greek word for "church" is "ecclesia," which means "the called-out ones." It was only when the people were assembled that they were considered to be the "ecclesia." In the New Testament, we discover that "ecclesia" is used to describe the community of God's people 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" being 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." The word for church appears only twice in the Gospels. Matthew 16.18 reads, "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." The church may have the characteristics of a jolly, middle-aged lady or even a starchy spinster with her head in a book.

Household Body Members

Our Church FamilyThe household body members of Jesus Christ's church had a clear and focused plan for the future. The household body may have been a model for the Early Church but how do household body members operate today? What was God's plan for her? In a small church, there may have been one or two groups of body members. In a large church, there would have been many more. These models, when rediscovered, will restore what we now call "the church" to a clear and focused plan for the future. The basis of the Christian church is the family. Every extended family in Roman times included not only blood relatives but also those of the same faith. There would be the household head who was normally but not always male, his wife (or sometimes her husband) their children and grandchildren. Also, there would be visiting relatives, sometimes widows or widowers, and friends staying for a while. Also as part of the household would be slave men and women and children and sometimes freemen and women who had bought their freedom. The head of the household took personal responsibility for each one of these if necessary defending them in court.

Household Fulfillment

Household GroupHouseholds liked being together and found fulfillment in one another's company. Their relationships defined them as household members. If you were loved and accepted by the other household members, you were part of God's household. In caring and upholding one another, members of the Body of Christ often grew closer than blood brothers and sisters. Describe your part in the body of Christ. Are you a foot, a hand, an ear or what?✞

"Christ's Household Church"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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