We read of King Josiah's blessing and the subsequent cleansing of the nation. 2 Kings 23.24, says, "Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. He did this to fulfill the law's requirements written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the Temple of the Lord." 1 Chronicles 13.14 also points out that "The Ark of the Covenant remained with the family of Obed-Edom in his house for three months, and the Lord gave a blessing to everything he did." Interestingly, the Ethiopians claim that the Ark of the Covenant, the sacred chest with the Ten Commandments given to Moses by God, is not lost but is on the grounds of Our Lady Mary of Zion Church in the ancient city of Aksum, Ethiopia, where the Emperors are crowned. However, no one is allowed to see it. The New Testament book of Hebrews tells us that it also contained Aaron's rod and a pot of manna. According to tradition, the Queen of Sheba, named Makeda, brought back the Ark from Jerusalem and left a copy in its place. It is sacred for Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia and something they are willing to protect, if necessary, with their lives. ✞
Satan in Job 1.10 accuses God of protecting his servant Job from hardships saying, "have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds spread throughout the land." Later, Job complains in Job 16.7, "Surely, O God, you have worn me out, you have devastated my entire household." In Ezekiel 44.30, the prophet learns how a special blessing would rest on his household, "the best of all the first fruits and all your special gifts will belong to the priests. You are to give them the first portion of your ground meal so that a blessing may rest on your household." ✞
We might also consider how Jesus' presence blesses the faithful household as the Lord does with King Josiah's blessing. In the Old Covenant, God cleansed the sins of penitent people. Will God give you and your household an Obed-Edom type of unique gift? ✞
As a result of Saint Paul's preaching, the entire family of the synagogue ruler, Crispus, believed in Christ. In Acts 16.31, we read that Saint Paul and Saint Silas in prison reply to the jailor, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your house.'" In Acts 16.32, "Then they spoke the Lord's word to him and all the others in his house." Acts 18.8 says, "Crispus, the synagogue ruler, and the entire Crispus house believed in the Lord and many of the Corinthians who heard him believed and were baptized." Acts 18.26 explains, "He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained the way of God more adequately." ✞
Paul explains in Acts 20.20-21, "You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but has taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." Again in Acts 21.7, Paul says, "We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day." ✞
Saint Paul greets the Cenchrea house of faith, the Aristobulus and Narcissus households, and his dear friend Epenetus. Cenchrea (otherwise called "Cenchreae" is a seaport town about ten miles from Corinth in Greece. It is here that Saint Paul has his head shaved to keep a vow he had made. We read about this in Acts 18.18, "Paul stayed on in Corinth for some time. Then he left the brothers and sisters and sailed for Syria, accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. Before he sailed, he had his hair cut off at Cenchreae because of a vow." In Acts 28.17, we discover that "Three days later he called together the leaders of the Jews. They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day and came in even larger numbers to where he was staying. From morning till evening, he explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets." ✞
The reaction to Saint Paul's urgings seems to have been mixed, for we hear in Acts 28.24, "Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe." As a result of this in Acts 28.30-31, "For two whole years, Paul stayed there 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." Saint Paul later commends the Christians in Cenchrea in Romans 16.1-5, "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church in the Cenchrea house of faith. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints and give her any help she may need from you, for she has been a great help to many people, including me. Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia." ✞
Later, Saint Paul adds more people to be commended in Romans 16.10-11, "Greet Apelles, tested and approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the house of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my relative. Greet those in the house of Narcissus who are in the Lord." Finally, he includes in Romans 16.23-24, "Gaius, whose hospitality the whole church here and I enjoy, sends you his greetings. Erastus, the city's director of public works, and our brother Quartus send you their greetings." Saint Paul leaves a great impression on many people in that area, both high and low in Roman society. ✞
The Acts house of faith in the New Testament often gathers in a home or the temple courts to worship, pray, and enjoy fellowship. Acts 2.46 informs us of the Early Christians' worship habits and that "every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts." "Day after day," writes Saint Luke in Acts 5.42, "in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ." ✞
Acts 11.14 tells us an angel appeared to Saint Peter in a dream, saying, "He will bring you a message through which you and all your house will be saved." Acts 12.12 adds, "When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying." Acts 16.15 furthermore tells us about Lydia's House of Faith, "When she and the members of her house were baptized, she invited us to her home. 'If you consider me a believer in the Lord,' she said, 'come and stay at my house.' And she persuaded us." What did the Early Christians do in their House of Faith? ✞
The question arises about how Jesus views the House of Faith servant in the New Testament Gospels. Matthew 10.25 reads, "It is enough for the student to be like his teacher and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his house!" Matthew 10.36 explains, "a man's enemies will be the members of his own house." Jesus knows their thoughts and says to them in Matthew 12.25, "Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." ✞
Jesus continues to ask in Matthew 24.45, "Who then are the faithful and wise servants, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his house to give them their food at the proper time?" John 4.53 also reveals another house of faith, "Then the father realized that this was the exact time at which Jesus had said to him, 'Your son will live.' So he and all his house believed."
1. How important is it for the heads of houses to be House of Faith servants?
2. What do the above passages tell us about unity and the inclusive nature of the house?
3. How is the House of Faith, "the church of the Living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth?"
4. How can the House of Faith servant be saved? ✞
Paul greets the Corinthian Houses at Philippi and Colossi as well as Timothy's house. Saint Paul writes much about Christian homes or houses of faith in various places. He writes to the Corinthian houses in 1 Corinthians 16.19, "The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house." He also recalls in 1 Corinthians 1:16, "Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don't remember if I baptized anyone else." Later, Saint Paul writes concerning houses of faith in 1 Corinthians 16.15, "You know that the house of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints." In Ephesians 2.19, he further reinforces their faith when he writes, "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household." ✞
In Philippians 1.1-2, Saint Paul ends his letter with a blessing, "Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." In Colossians 4.15, Saint Paul concludes, "Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and Nympha and the church in her house." In 1 Timothy 3.12, Saint Paul instructs the household of faith's orderly running and how it must make sure its leadership is appropriately qualified. "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well." He further writes, in 1 Timothy 3.15, "if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth." Saint Paul greets his household friends in 2 Timothy 4.19, "Greet Priscilla and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus." He writes in Philemon 1.2, "to Apphia our sister, to Archippus, our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home." ✞