His Word ... a prophetic perspective

Home

Home church in local family assemblies is the true ekklesia

Does Anybody Out There Hear Me?

        Today, when we speak of the “church” we have a mental image of what we have known all of our lives, good, bad or indifferent. However, when Paul speaks of the “church” in the Bible, he is talking about a living organism composed of the true saints of God that functions as a family does and that met in a home to be the body of Christ. This includes, but is not limited to, male spiritual headship, as it should be in the individual families.
        I’m attempting to establish through my articles “God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly,” “The Spirit Of Antichrist,” “God’s Will And Purpose,” and “Women Keep Silence, or Don’t Lose Your Head, Please!,” that the concept of the institutional church, as we know it today, has absolutely no legitimacy in God’s economy, plan, will and purpose for His ekklesia.
        I’ve edited and excerpted some comments from my article “God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly,” here:
        In the New Testament the new members of the true Israel met daily, primarily in homes, and centered their activities around prayer, teaching of God’s truth and a shared meal. In the beginning, all things were shared in common. “And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need” Acts 2:44-45). This was done as acts of generosity at the beginning. But later, after immediate needs were met, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common” (Acts 4:32). (This was not an example of biblical communism: private ownership was still retained—“the things which he possessed”).
        When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost 3,000 were saved. These people were on a pilgrimage from distant places and carried with them limited resources. Because of their newly found faith, they wanted to linger and also engage in the spiritual activities which were prompted by their new understanding of Jesus. So those who could shared what they had with those pilgrimage visitors so they could stay and learn. They also met daily primarily in homes and also in synagogues and the temple.
        Meetings in the homes engendered a sense of family, and the new converts soon found that their new lifestyle, free of idolatry, incest, adultery and pagan practices and beliefs was liberating. In this liberating spiritual climate, there was a conscious awareness of acknowledging and worshipping Jesus as the Son of the true and living God instead of their lifeless images and idols, and focusing upon “one another” in recognition of the revelation of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God. This fulfilled not only their desire for congregating, or assembling with other like-minded Christians, but also provided a means of expressing their love for fellow “family” members. They acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God and the one true Shepherd to whom they were accountable, and “ministered” to “one another” as family, experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit. Meetings were usually held in the larger homes of wealthier members who underwrote the expenses of providing for the common meal and also for helping the poor among them with daily baskets of food.
        The Lord’s Supper was instituted by Jesus as part of a meal to memorialize Him. He did this at a Passover meal with His disciples. Passover was a time of deliverance for the Israelites. In the same way, the Lord’s Supper is a time of deliverance for disciples of Jesus. Jesus has delivered us from the consequences of our sins by the shedding of His blood.
        In following the pattern established for the Passover meal, the New Testament pattern is for the bread and wine to be served after an ordinary meal has been eaten.
        This is a time of special significance for the true disciple of Christ.
        Being part of a local assembly and of living stones in the house of the true Israel presented a stark contrast with their former lifestyles. They were now part of a family that took care of each other when they were hungry, or without proper clothing, or in need of a place to live, or sick, or lacking a means of transportation, or in need of a comforting and loving family.
        Apostles, prophets and evangelists had been raised up and sent out from the local assemblies to establish assemblies in other places. Missions had been started in Samaria and along the Palestinian coast. The Good News of the kingdom of God and His Christ had been noised abroad. New local assemblies had been established.
        The eternal purpose of God was being realized. These various local assemblies, polarized in unity around the truth of God, bound together in love, were reproducing in image and likeness of Jesus, and fellowshipping in the true sense of the word. They shared what they had with those who didn’t have. They socialized through meeting daily. They supported outright those who needed food, clothing, shelter, medical care, transportation and loving family relationships. Apostles and prophets were raising up elders and deacons in those local assemblies. Evangelists were being sent out. The dynamism of wholesome growth and expansion was set in motion.
        Eventually, with the passage of time, the newness and excitement of their new found faith faded and they began to meet once a week. And there came a time when Paul had to say: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:29-31).
        By the end of the first century Godly truth, polarizing unity, love reproducing in its own image and likeness, and total fellowship—all the elements necessary for wholesome growth and expansion for realizing Gods eternal purpose—were being bogged down by language, cultural, societal, political and religious changes which heavily influenced and changed the biblical concept of the true Israel as the household of faith.
        In the fourth century, Emperor Constantine institutionalized the ekklesia of God, the called out assemblies, as the Christian “church” and integrated all other pagan religions into one pot and called it Christianity. The true Israel went from being disciples of Jesus Christ to a “church” of glass, steel and brick institutionalized buildings. There were tremendous problems relative to persecutions for the true disciples of Jesus Christ. New theological beliefs sprouted up every day and many councils were held over a period of time. Most of them aligned newly evolving theology with scripture.
        It’s tremendously difficult for people to let loose of pre-conceived ideas of the meaning and form of “church” and to embrace the true and full biblical meaning of what Paul was talking about, from the “church in the wilderness” spoken of by Stephen in Acts right down to the numerous biblical home churches, i.e., ekklesias of Paul’s day.
        Because those who name the name of Christ today have no concept of what a biblical home church, i.e., ekklesia is, much less what their purpose is, according to God’s eternal purpose, they think that the “church” today that they are involved in personally, and what they see and hear being preached, taught and practiced is the same thing that Paul was talking when he talked about the first century New Testament ekklesias.
        There is limited or no understanding that Paul’s written and spoken instructions conveyed a contemporary meaning that created a totally different mental picture that colored the understanding of all those who were there to read and hear his words.
        Everything today’s institutional church devotees think, say and do relative to “church” is run through a standardized religious institutional mindset that reflects only personal experiences and today’s cultural derivations and deviations of what man has accomplished in disobedience to God’s will and purpose for His true ekklesia.
        Some proponents of a home church, i.e., ekklesia attempt to recreate the institutional church system in their living rooms. Others are stuck on different themes on a variation of the clergy/laity system and/or otherwise retain some type of formal atmosphere. This is self-defeating. However, if a conscious and conscientious attempt is made to refresh one’s thinking with the historical facts related previously and that becomes the true scriptural reference point then most, if not all, of the problems in understanding Paul’s comments are easily understood. Try it. You’ll like it!
        Imagine that the people in your family have experienced a tremendous miracle, a real life-changing miracle that centers upon one historical person of unquestionable spiritual authority. Throughout the years you have been instructed to continue to memorialize this person, as per their request, by meeting together regularly for group socializing and sharing a regular, ordinary meal and then conducting a short ceremonial procedure with bread and wine at the conclusion of the meal. After this there is a time of sharing with others in the family, and continued socializing with them and of offering aid and support for the less fortunate members of your family. The older members of the family watch over the whole proceedings and, if and when requested, offer their advice if there seems to be a problem or a question. The younger, physically stronger male relatives take care of things that need their muscle behind it. Then the head of the meeting, the one you are to spiritually memorialize, is spiritually recognized and focus is given to them which activates spiritual gifts that the family members had previously received from that same person. In this way the person communicates to each and every individual their will and purpose for what that person would have them to do to achieve their previously stated will and purpose. The meeting then becomes a dynamically functioning, living organism that represents the body of that person and pursues that person’s will and purpose as their reason for existence. Each individual there is edified and strenghtened in their resolve to live their life according to the teachings of the historical person of unquestionable spiritual authority. Because of their lifestyle, their sphere of influence continues to expand and many people see them as salt and light and state their desire to become part of this very special family. And, in fact do become members of the family.
        At this weekly informal family gathering do you change the procedure and condense the regular, ordinary meal into a cracker and a thimble full of grape juice? Do you wear formal clothes to this informal family meeting? Suits and ties? Do you arrange all the chairs in the home in such a manner that they all face a real or imagined podium? Do you greet everybody at the door and give them a pre-printed list of procedures to follow during the meeting? Do you tell all the women present there that they can’t talk, but must remain silent? Do you commission and endorse one select member of the family, or an invited stranger, to stand up to be seen by those in the chairs that are facing him or her? And then allow that one person to speak for an hour or two? And that one person is the only one allowed to speak out a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation? Is this person the only one that can prophesy? And when they speak out a blatant scriptural error, nobody can correct them? Do you try and find the musically inclined in your family and then isolate them into a group unto themselves to be the only ones that play musical instruments and sing? And they hand out song sheets or display the words through an overhead projector? And everybody has to sing the same thing that they have pre-selected, instead of following the leading of the Holy Spirit? Are the wives spiritual heads to their husbands at home and so you now recognize them as spiritual heads at the family meeting? Do you take Bible verses out of context and use them to collect a pseudo-tithe from all the family members? Do you give the money to the person who you allowed to do all the talking and ministry? So they can build a big building and hire people to staff it? Do you ignore the fatherless, the widows, the strangers in the land, and the poor?
        All that junk doesn’t make sense does it?
        Hopefully, you get the picture ... Yeah, I know some won’t ... especially those who make their money and get their power kicks and control kicks from the institutional church system. It would be downright disgusting for them to have to get a real job and then pursue God’s will and purpose the way God says we are to do in His word, the Bible.
        The perversion of the names of the doma ascension gifts that Jesus gave us so that we could continue to grow and mature in Christ is yet another erroneous mindset. These gifts are from the Head of the ekklesia, Jesus as mentioned in Ephesians 4:11. As such they are headship gifts and are functions for males in the ekklesia. As I mentioned in “Women Keep Silence, or Don’t Lose Your Head, Please!,” God may allow women in these headship roles when the men of the ekklesia rebel and refuse their male headship responsibilities. If the men continue to be lax in assuming their male headship responsibilities after the women have assumed them, the situation will become evil. I stated my scriptural proofs in my article. The Greek words describing those individual gifts have wrongly become “titles” instead of functions. And, of course, the male crowing roosters must establish their pecking order of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor and teacher. Now add to that mess the false doctrines that have evolved in less than one hundred years that include the Word/Faith, Shepherding, Reconstruction, Latter Rain, Apostolic, Third Wave, Third Day, ad infinitum, “movements” that people know and love (instead of the word of God) and where does that leave us?
        It leaves the institutional church as a biblically illegal, antichrist system that has long since departed from the truth of the Bible and runs totally contrary to God’s will and purpose. Did I mention all the false teachings about women and all the alleged “scriptural” limitations upon their activities?
        From Genesis on, there is a strong case for male spiritual headship. I have presented this as biblical types and antitypes in my book “Growth In Gifts” parts of which I excerpted for the article, “Women Keep Silence, or Don’t Lose Your Head, Please!,” The whole woman question that Paul speaks of is simply one of taking the family unit, as it functions, or as it should function, and holding a home meeting of the ekklesia of God which continues to follow the functions of the family unit. So the local home ekklesia is a family meeting of families. It’s really that simple.
        Of the elders and deacons, Paul says they must be males. Period. The elder/pastor/shepherd/bishop/overseer is one and the same function, as is seen according to their useage in scripture. When people say “The pastor did this, or said that, or preached something,” I have to state that this is scripturally invalid. There is no such thing as a “pastor” in a biblical ekklesia. The Greek word poimen means shepherd. Once we understand that then we realize there is only One Shepherd spoken of in the New Testament and that’s Jesus. So the plurality of the elders within any given local ekklesia are, in reality, to function as under-shepherds to the true Shepherd. The deacons do the physical stuff. The elders who the flock comes to recognize as shepherds, are always spoken of in plurality, and their functions are to be (under-)shepherds to the flock and to oversee (bishop) them.
        The theme of my article, “A Sinking Submarine,” is the fact that the institutional church system is beyond repair and must simply be abandoned. The saints must begin to meet in biblical home church meetings of local ekklesias according to scripture.
        I said before that the saints are biblically ignorant of the true form and function of a local biblical home church, i.e., ekklesia. Therefore they are not dissatisfied with the institutional churches as it’s the only thing that they have ever personally experienced. Because of widespread biblical illiteracy they only know the traditions and opinions of contemporary others who have vested interests in keeping the perverted and unscriptural institutional church system in place. For these people the institutional church is their source of income, power and control. They will do anything within their human abilities to keep the sick institutional church system.
        When people are not dissatisfied, and they have no vision of what is the right thing to do, then they make no efforts to abandon the old unworkable system and begin to live the new (to them) biblical system established by biblical teachings, guidelines and examples.
        This is a heart-rending tragedy to see so many wonderful people, many of whom truly love God, being part of the antichrist system and out of God’s will and purpose and thriving on false teachings from false shepherds, false prophets and false experiences.
        But they think they are right in the center of God’s will and purpose as they go merrily upon their way to the lake of fire.
        When people talk about “their pastor” or a “church” “pastor” or “youth pastor” (there’s a contradiction in terms) and their behavior, be it good or bad, my only reply is, “So what? They are in a biblically illegal man-made institution which is part of the antichrist system, totally out of God’s will and purpose, practicing, perfecting and perpetuating unbiblical teachings, and attempting to integrate their ungodly activities into mainstream society by compromising the gospel of Jesus Christ so they’ll be accepted by that sinful society which translates into more money for them to keep their man-made brand of “church” alive and well-financed. What did you expect? Why do you act surprised and shocked because the “youth pastor” seduced one of the young ladies, or the “pastor” ran off with his secretary. What did you expect from this scripturally dysfunctional bunch?”
        Question: In a biblically functioning home church meeting of the ekklesia would we have those kinds of problems? (I’m not naive enough to think we won’t have some kinds of problems wherever human beings gather together). But we will have installed and instilled a family atmosphere and there will be much more self-control and biblically imposed control within that controlled environment which will also serve to keep the control freaks [read: control spirits] from finding a place to attempt to establish themselves as the “Number One Person” there [read: find religiously devoted followers of their quirky selves].
        This institutional church system has only one place in God’s economy: it’s a spiritual Babylon, from which the overcoming remnant bride of Christ will depart when they finally come to recognize that fact.
        The institutional church of the past 1,700 years is the problem. I see the solution as abandoning the institutional church system, and meeting in a home church as the ekklesia of God, as is taught and exemplified in the New Testament.
        As we meet together as we are led by the Holy Spirit, rather than some pre-planned, pre-organized, regularly scheduled meeting we become God’s ekklesia.
        The love of God will motivate us to gather together with other like-minded believers who are true disciples of Jesus Christ. It will be spontaneous, extemporaneous and improvisational and we will be led by the Spirit of God in how it’s carried out and who to meet with and when to meet. And what to do or what not to do when we get there. Jesus, our Shepherd, will lead and guide us through His Holy Spirit as to how we are to manifest our “one anothering.” We have that freedom to let the Holy Spirit lead us in this matter of assembling together. We are free to assemble and we are free to not assemble if not led by the Holy Spirit of God!
        As mentioned, there must be a conscious awareness of acknowledging and worshipping Jesus as the Son of the true and living God, and focusing upon “one another” in recognition of the revelation of Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God. This will fulfill not only our desire for congregating, or assembling with other like-minded Christians, but also provides a means of expressing our love for fellow “family” members. Acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God and the one true Shepherd to whom we are accountable, and “ministering” to “one another” as family, experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit is true biblical ekklesia.
        Does anybody out there hear me?
Home