In the New Testament the new members of the true Israel met daily, primarily in homes, and centered their activities around prayer, teaching of Gods 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 retainedthe 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 Lords 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 Lords 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 didnt 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 fellowshipall the elements necessary for wholesome growth and expansion for realizing Gods eternal purposewere 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.