Saturday, September 19, 2009

Publically and From House to House

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ. Acts 5:41,42

This passage, and many more like it, was the normative life of the early church. Public meetings were not like they are now. Today, we build buildings and open them to the public. Publically, in the early days meant going to where people didn't know Jesus. Sometimes the message was met with great enthusiasm, sometimes it meant getting stoned. All of the apostles experienced stonings, beheadings, imprisonment, and floggings for speaking publically. Very, very few preachers today, truly speak publically. They are usually surrounded by a great throng of admirers saying amen. A visitor is a distinct minority in this not so "public" setting.

Most of the persecution came from religiously minded folk. Stephen was stoned for speaking against the Pharasaical interpretation of the law and their trust in a building, the temple. If you went to any church today and spoke against their building, doctrines or rituals you would get "stoned" as well. Actually we are more civilized here, you would simply get thrown out on your ear or treated with the death of silence called shunning.

So now we have public meetings that aren't really all that public. They are more like a school rally before a football game.

But what about the house to house part. That place where people get to really know each other. That place where love can be lived out. That place where real interactive learning takes place through healthy questions and answers. That place where all 55 of the one anothers in the NT, love one another, encourage one another, provoke one another unto good deeds, etc. is done. That is considered optional at best and practiced by few.

Many Christians today can't imagine gathering without a sacred building as a focal point. The early church couldn't imagine gathering with a sacred building as a focal point.

Jesus said, If they persecuted Me they will persecute you. Who is the "they"? Religious leaders. Non-religious people simply think you are irrelevant.

If you don't think this is true, just tell somebody that their church building does not represent the heart of God. You'll find out very quickly where their passion and their treasure is.

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