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Old 02-28-2009, 08:56 PM
Pastor DTSalaz Pastor DTSalaz is offline
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Where did the early church meet? Houses or Church

The early church followed the pattern of the Jews meeting in Synagogues outside of Jerusalem. This happened throughout the book of acts as we will see. Much has been said about how we today are not following the early church pattern. Are they corect?

During the dispersion they developed the use of the synagogue for meeting. They were far away from Jerusalem for Juda to worship at the Temple or in Samaria to worship at Sychar/Mt Gerazim. So they built synagogues to meet and worship at. Even the early Jewish christians still regularly met at the Temple for prayer, worship, and study. As persecution began the meetings house to house became one of the the means as well as the synagogues and this spread the gospel.

Act 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Act 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

Act 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

Act 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Act 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
Act 5:18 And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison.
Act 5:19 But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said,
Act 5:20 Go, stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life.

Act 5:41 And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
Act 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.

Here we find that those from different areas which were from synagogues in differing countries as they came to Jerusalem began to dispute with Stephen. Throughout the regions the place of worship was in synagogues.

Act 6:9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.

Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.
Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.

Once again the disciples as they were known as people of "THE WAY" did not meet in houses but went where they were used to going, the synagogues.

Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Act 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:57 PM
Pastor DTSalaz Pastor DTSalaz is offline
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

Here we see that at Antioch there were in the church. Was this in a home, synagogue, or in their own place of worship?

Act 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.


Act 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

Act 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

Every city they went to, they first met in the synagogues. What happened in Antioch began to take the precedence throughout their missionary journeys. As the Jewish leaders rejected them they turned to the believing Jews and Gentile proselytes. This great of a crowd could hardly fit in a house.

Act 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
Act 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. ( Forsaking the Sacrificial Law ordinances)
Act 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
Act 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

Act 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.

Here after Paul was stoned by the Jews he continues on preaching the Gospel. In every church he ordained elders. This is the first time that we see the distinction of churches. There is one church universal and many individual churches by city or region that comprise that universal church.

Act 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Act 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

At the end of their first missionary journey they leave the area of Antioch in Psidia and return to Antioch in Syria and gather the church together that is there.They are then taken by the church to Jerusalem and recieved by the church of Jerusalem.

Act 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Act 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.
Act 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

Act 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

Act 16:4 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.
Act 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Act 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

Act 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Act 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
Act 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Act 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

It is here that we find after Paul is rejected by the Jews of the synagogue he turns to the homes of believers. This is in Corinth

Act 18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.
Act 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Act 18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.

Act 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.

In Ephesus we still find Aquilla and Priscilla going to the synagogue to meet and worship. We also find that Paul when he returns to Ephesus does the same.

Act 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

Act 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.

Act 19:37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

Paul calls the elders from the church and talks to them. We can see throughout the missiopnary journies he taught publickly and from house to house.

Act 20:17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
Act 20:20 And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,
Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Act 21:26 Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.
Act 21:27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,
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Old 02-28-2009, 09:38 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

The former tabernacle was a building. The new, more perfect tabernacle is a body.

Any one who chooses the former things when the new thing is established is rejecting the new thing, is anti-the new thing, is anti-the anointed body.

I'm confident that the temple was a foreshadow of what God had purposed for fellowship in his Kingdom. What was experienced as a congregation in the the former things of an old covenant has been replaced with a more perfect assembly, a body; the all in all.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:35 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

YMCA's.
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"We did not wear uniforms. The lady workers dressed in the current fashions of the day, ...silks...satins...jewels or whatever they happened to possess. They were very smartly turned out, so that they made an impressive appearance on the streets where a large part of our work was conducted in the early years.

"It was not until long after, when former Holiness preachers had become part of us, that strict plainness of dress began to be taught.

"Although Entire Sanctification was preached at the beginning of the Movement, it was from a Wesleyan viewpoint, and had in it very little of the later Holiness Movement characteristics. Nothing was ever said about apparel, for everyone was so taken up with the Lord that mode of dress seemingly never occurred to any of us."

Quote from Ethel Goss (widow of 1st UPC Gen Supt. Howard Goss) book "The Winds of God"
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:46 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

In Rome the met in the underground grave yards of their pagan predessors. They even dug out new tunnels and chambers that go for hundreds of miles beneath Rome.

Kind of weird when you think about it; but I'll bet the rent was cheaper than a store front in a strip mall.
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Old 03-01-2009, 02:32 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

Here is a interesting article.
http://www.xenos.org/homegroups/theory.htm
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:35 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:48:49)

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:15-18)

In the gospel according to Matthew we have the Lord carrying on a conversation with His disciples, and He then tells them He was going to build His church on this revelation of who he is.


From the beginning we can see its Jesus’ church. He is the builder, and owner. Acts 20:28 says “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

The word build in Matthew 16:18 comes from the Greek word oikodomeo, which means to be a house-builder, construct or confirm build edify, embolden.

So we can see Jesus purchased and is building his church. Next we need to Biblically define church. The Greek word Jesus used for church is ekklesia. This word ekklesia means a calling out, a popular meeting, a religious congregation, assembly.

Jesus Christ himself is the architect of this ekklesia. Over the past two thousand years the term church has been misused and misrepresented far and wide.

Nowhere in Scripture will we find the term ekklesia used to describe an organization, an institution, denomination, or a building. The church (ekklesia) is a living organism made up with lively stones of Spirit filled believers. Church is not something we do, nor is it a place we go. As believers we need to establish in our hearts that we are the church, and where we go the church goes.

Let us look at some other translations of Matthew 16:18

The “Hebrews Names Version” translates Matthew 16:18 as follows: “I also tell you that you are Kefa, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of She’ol will not prevail against it”

William Tyndale who translated the New Testament into English in 1526, and paid for it with his life, translated Matthew 16:18 as follows: “And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter. And upon this rock I will build my congregation: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

The “Analytical-Literal Translation” of the New Testament words Matthew 16:18 as follows: “Now I also say to you that you are Peter [“a stone”], and on this solid rock I will build my Assembly [or, Church], and [the] gates of the realm of the dead [Gr., hades] will not prevail against it.”

This word "ekklesia" in the New Testament was not a religious word.
Ekklesia is used 116 times in the New Testament. Of those 116 times it is translated church or churches 113 times. The other three times it is translated assembly.

In the nineteenth chapter of Acts where Paul, was threatened by an angry mob who wanted to kill him Luke, the writer of Acts, uses the word, ekklesia and the translators of the King James Version translated it "assembly."

And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly (ekklesia) was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, (hierosulos) nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. But if ye inquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly (ekklesia). For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly (ekklesia). (Acts 19:30-41) (Greek word inserts and emphasis mine)

The interesting thing about this passage is that the word assembly in the original language is ekklesia in all three occurrences. Ekklesia just happens to be the word we use to translate, "church." We can see from the Scripture ekklesia is used to describe an assembly of people.

First, it was a confused ekklesia, then their inquiring would need to be done in a lawful ekklesia, and lastly the ekklesia was dismissed. Yet, when describing a building as a temple Luke used the Greek word hierosulos. So when Jesus used ekklesia to say "I will build my church." It was not a religious word. It simply meant a called out group, or crowd, or fellowship, or assembly. The only place in the New Testament where churches is translated using a different word other than ekklesia is in Acts 19:37 and the Greek word hierosulos is used and it means temple. After all it was in Ephesus where the crowd, or assembly (ekklesia) was concerned about the temple of Diana. If the church was a building, an institution, organization, or denomination surely Jesus would have used hierosulos or some other word and not ekklesia. From the Scripture as well as the definition of ekklesia we can clearly see that the church is an assembly of people whenever and wherever they meet.

Jesus did say “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:20)

“Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” (Acts 7:48-49)

The Lord himself is erecting the building and he is doing it with people. The apostle Peter said the following concerning the people of God and the building of the church

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

The word house in first Peter comes from the Greek word oikos, which means “a dwelling” The New Testament temple of God is living breathing Spirit filled people.

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

We have established the church (ekklesia) is people, and the Lord is building his church without mortar and brick, without drywall and carpet. If the church was a building, an institution, organization or denomination surely Jesus would have used hierosulos or some other word and not ekklesia. Therefore, let us always be mindful the church (ekklesia) is people (a living organism with Christ as the head) and not hierosulos. (A Building)

The idea of the church being a building is foreign the the early church. The church is people, always has been, and the early church meet many places among them was house to house.
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:17 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

Thanx for an interesting post W Will. from another Illinois poster.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:57 PM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

I believe that in the beginning Christians were essentially a sect of Judaism. It wasn't until they were declared heretics by Judaism for following Christ that they ceased meeting in the Temple and the synagogues. Please note, even when they met in the Temple or the Synagogues it stirred serious issues with the Jewish authorities who were in authority there. So we see Christians meeting with their Jewish brethren in the Temple and Synagogues...but meeting for Christian fellowship in homes.

After their being declared heretics by the Jewish authorities Christians had no choice but to begin strictly meeting in homes for Christian worship.
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Old 03-02-2009, 05:11 AM
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Re: Where did the early church meet? Houses or Chu

Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? (Acts 7:48-49)

What about that meeting place? If we look into Scripture we will see the early church met in homes. This idea is truly Biblical. It is a practice that the church needs to return to. Some have and more are following. I would like for you to consider this Biblical concept of the church meeting in the homes of believers.

The idea of church in homes is a new concept to many in twenty-first century America. Yet, this concept had its origin in first century Christianity. Jesus himself taught and ministered to many people in the comfort of their homes. Scripture is full of examples of Christ healing, teaching, and ministering in private homes. As we look into Scripture we can see from the very beginning the home was a place for worship and I believe the Lord set it up to be that way.

When the wise men came to worship Jesus Christ and offer him gifts it was done in the home of Joseph and Mary. Contrary to popular belief the wise men were not at the manger the night Christ was born, but came later (Matthew 2).

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11)

As Jesus grew and began his public ministry it took him many places, and the Scriptures give us ample examples of Jesus preaching, teaching, and healing in private homes.

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. (Matthew 9:10)

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. (Mark 2:1-2)

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. (Luke 10:38-39)

When the time came for the Lord to hold the Passover which turned into the Lord’s Supper he also chose to hold it in a private home. He could have chose some place that had a religious significance; however he chose to celebrate it in a common ordinary house, and by doing so Jesus Christ gave his approval for the church (ekklesia) meeting in homes.

And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. (Matthew 26:18)

We can see from these verses of Scripture Jesus preached, taught, and healed people in private homes. There are many other examples in the gospels of Jesus Christ ministering and teaching in private homes.

Jesus spent three years teaching and training his apostles to carry on the work he began, and when he sent them forth after his resurrection they began by meeting in homes.

In The Book of Acts (which is the history of the early church) we can clearly see the early Christians met in private homes. The New Testament Church was born at Pentecost, and it began in the “upper room” of someone’s home.

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

Jesus could have chosen some other place for them to meet and pour out His Spirit like the temple in Jerusalem or a synagogue but he chose a home.

After Peter preached the first message of the New Testament era three thousand souls were added to the church in a single day, (Acts 2:41) and there was no attempt by any of the apostles to build a “Church Building.” Rather the early church would meet in the temple court yard and in private homes.

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. (Acts 2:46)

As the apostles continued preaching and teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God five thousand others believed, and where added to the church (ekklesia).

Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand. (Acts 4:4)

Shortly after (Acts 5) the Bible says “and believers were the more added.” The word of God refers to the more added as “multitudes both of men and women”. Yet, the early church (ekklesia) continued to meet in homes of people.

To be continued...
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