#1. WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
Contrary to popular belief, the church is not a building! The church is not a program, or even a meeting. So what is the church? There is only one place we can go to discover the truth about the church, and that’s Gods written word, the Bible. The first time the word, church, is used in the Bible is in Matthew 16:18 where Jesus said, “…I will build my church…” The church belongs to Jesus, and He is building his church. The English word “church” was translated from the Greek word “ekklesia” which simply means a calling out. Who or what did Jesus call out? Did Jesus walk about calling out buildings or programs? Of course not! Jesus walked about calling out people! Jesus called out fishermen like Peter & Andrew, and James and John. Mark 1:20 says, “And straight way he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.”
- What did Jesus call people out of? Their sinful lifestyle, the kingdoms of the world, and Satans kingdom of darkness.
- Their sinful lifestyle: Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in the act of adultery, but he did tell her to “go and sin no more!” John 8:11
- The kingdoms of the world: Jesus said, “… I have chosen you out of the world…” John 15:19
- Satan’s kingdom of darkness: Jesus called people out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness, and into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son. Paul the apostle said, “(God) who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Colossians 1:13
Therefore the church is made up of all the people throughout the world, and down through the ages, whom Jesus has called out of sin, the world, and the devil’s kingdom of darkness. The church is made up of all the people whom Jesus has called out, and called together. The Bible says concerning the church, “…let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works. Not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” Hebrews10:24,25 We are the called out one’s, and the called together one’s. Jesus has called us out, and we have answered His call! We have been born again, and we are the Lord’s children. We are the church!!!
#2. WHAT IS A SIMPLE CHURCH?
A simple church is two or three believers who have gathered in Jesus name. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20. I don’t think it matters whether it’s two or three, or twenty or thirty who have gathered in his name. I suppose you could have a simple church even with two hundred or three hundred gathered in Jesus name. I think the real point that Jesus was making here is that He will be in our midst, IF we have gathered ourselves together IN HIS NAME. Even as few as two or three believers who have gathered together in his name. Two or three gathered in Jesus name, is the church in its simplest form. But make no mistake about it, two or three gathered in Jesus name is still the church! It makes absolutely no difference where they gather. In a park under a tree, or down by the river at a campground, or in someone’s house or apartment, or in a dorm room, or in a military barracks. It is still the church. A simple church!!!
#3. WHAT IS A HOUSE CHURCH?
A house church is a simple church that meets in someone’s house. How is that for a simple answer? A house church is a New Testament idea being renewed in our generation. We meet in our houses on Saturday night, or on Sunday morning, or at other times during the week as the Lord leads us. We desire to recapture the love, unity, and fire of the first century church which met primarily in their houses. “Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my helpers in Christ Jesus….Likewise greet the church that is in their house.” Romans 16:3,5 “Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.” Colossians 4:15 Even Paul the apostle had a house church in his own hired house in Rome! Acts 28:30,31 A true church is not built out of brick-and-mortar, but out of people who live life together. “Like living stones, be yourselves built into a spiritual house.” 1 Peter 2:5
#4. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?
This is a question that we have been asked many times. We have been involved with simple house churches for many years, and I believe the answer to this question is quite simple. We have a strong conviction that the church is first and foremost a family. We are the family of God. We are not a corporation, or an organization, we are a family!!! Families include grandpas and grandmas, dads, and moms, brothers and sisters, and little children! We raised four children of our own, and when you have a healthy, functioning family, you don’t segregate or separate the children from the rest of the family. Most of the time, your children participate with all the other members of the family in the family’s activities. So it is in God’s family, the church! That’s how children learn and grow, by watching grandpa and grandma, dad and mom, older brothers and sisters, etc. Include the children in all of your church gatherings and activities!!!