Where did the Original Church Gathered?
As stated before, an argument can be made that buildings are not necessary for Christians to gather. In his interaction with the Samaritan woman Jesus stated in John 4:21-24
“believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (NIV)
Notice how Jesus minimized the place of gathering and went into the sincerity of worship. Jesus also tells us in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV) The church is centered around Jesus; as a matter of fact, the church is the Body of Christ; without Jesus we have no church; what we have is a form of godliness. Jesus established that wherever two or three gather in His name… He is there. Beloved, we can have church at any moment and at any time. Trying to put God in a box is something that He himself do not like. In Acts 7:44-50 the Scripture tells us,
“Our ancestors had the tabernacle of the covenant law with them in the wilderness. It had been made as God directed Moses, according to the pattern he had seen. 45 After receiving the tabernacle, our ancestors under Joshua brought it with them when they took the land from the nations God drove out before them. It remained in the land until the time of David, 46 who enjoyed God’s favor and asked that he might provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built a house for him.
48 “However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says:
49 “‘Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
What kind of house will you build for me?
says the Lord.
Or where will my resting place be?
50 Has not my hand made all these things?’ (NIV)
The hyper emphasis on buildings is the direct result of Constantine’s paganistic version of Christianity. The most common place for Christians to gather were at homes; not because there was something special about a home; but because Christianity is about a family, is about sharing our lives. Who do we bring home? Family and friends; how much more our brothers and sisters in Christ? But let me ask you this, when was the last time you fellowship in your own home with brothers and sisters from your church. I always say that until you eat in my house and I eat in yours all we have is a God bless you relationship; it is not real… a fake Sunday relationship!
We have plenty of Biblical references that the original church met at home. You may not like what I am saying, but this is what the Scripture say,
(All reference in the English Standard Version)
And Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:
How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house,
First Corinthians 16:19
The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.
Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia.
Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a servant of the church at Cenchreae, that you may welcome her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints, and help her in whatever she may need from you, for she has been a patron of many and of myself as well. Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks but all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks as well. Greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in Asia. …
And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
To be continued…