Do you go to a “New Testament Church?” Probably not. (PART 3 of 4)

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Church Leadership, Theology

Moving forward we see, in Acts 2:44-46, a reminder that functionally the church was using a two-pronged approach of daily meetings for prayer in the Temple and the Lord’s Supper in private homes.  They also essentially adopted a complete and total rejection of personal property and individual ambitions.

Later, Peter appears and preaches his brave message (after a miracle of God) and we are reminded of the Temple being used for prayer in Acts 3, but not necessarily for the “church.”

In Acts 4 we see the believers gathered again for preaching and prayer, but the “place” they were meeting isn’t identified…we just learn that it is “shaken.”  On a more alarming and convicting note we get reminded that they still hadn’t abandoned this idea of communal property.  Individuality was obsolete with these first Christians.

In Acts 5, we see their meeting place and choice of frequency.  Again, it was a combination of the Temple and the home (with daily frequency).  What can we glean from this information?

Not entirely sure, but it was obviously a workable solution to making converts.  In Acts 5:12 the believers met in the Temple and despite striking fear in observers, people kept joining them!

Whether for convenience or curiosity Peter went from House to House preaching and teaching.  Seems pretty logical that it was believer’s houses that he approached.  Nothing like knocking on the door of a Temple Guard’s house trying to preach Jesus to ensure you will get arrested.

Acts 8 begins the persecution of the church, which forced it underground and seemingly into homes exclusively for that is where Paul went to arrest people.

In the very next chapter we see the church enjoys a peaceful time where they are strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit.  Much of the reason for this may have been the conversion of their greatest enemy…Paul!  Nothing is said specifically here about where they worshiped or how they did those meetings during these two phases.

In Act 12 “many people” were praying for Peter to be released from prison in a home.  It’s odd for Peter to know to come there after his miraculous escape from jail if this wasn’t a normal meeting place for believers, but they aren’t called the church here.

We find the church gathered, with its leaders, in Acts 13 and 14, but the location and the way they worshiped is still missing.

As we move to Acts 15 we find a much better organized church trying to get clarity on some church polity issues and receiving encouragement from the Apostles.  At the end of Acts 15 we hear that the church of the entire city gathers to hear from Paul and Barnabas as they read a letter that contains some instructions from the church in Jerusalem.  No idea where they met…

In Acts 16 Paul goes into Lydia’s home to encourage her and other believers, but this may have just been for the benefit of her and her family.  It doesn’t mention a church.

Acts 20 gives us Paul doing an evening service Troas, which may have been in a home.  It had multiple rooms and an upstairs, but it could have been a church building with a balcony for all we know…although is very unlikely.

In the next chapter, Acts 21, Paul stays with various families, but nothing is said about if it was the “church” or what he did there.  At one point a prophet does come and prophesy that Paul will be arrested and bound by the Jews.

The book of Acts ends abruptly, with Paul doing regular teachings about the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ, from his rented home in Rome.  It doesn’t mention the church, but it could be assumed that those who were coming were Christians.

The only other mentions of Churches, in specific locations, are in the closing of Paul’s letters.

Romans 16:3-5 and 1 Corinthians 16:19 tells us that the meeting Paul had with Pricilla and Aquila in Acts 18 resulted in a church being started in their homes.

To Be Continued…

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