Summary: This message examines whether or not you should leave your local church to meet in a home church.
My own memories of church. I remember going to church EVERY SUNDAY. The
place was Grace Protestant Church, on 92nd street in Canarsie (a portion of Brooklyn). I
remember The church bell, which was rung by Uncle Henry reminding everyone on the
block that it was time for church. I remember that after school, the boys attended wood
shop in Pastor Watt’s basement. I remember flying paper airplanes in the “fellowship
hall” after church on Sunday night, waiting for dad to get out of his “board meeting.”
I never struggled with going to church. I loved church.
Our 3 children asked for many things that they knew they would never get. But they
never complained about going to church. Today, our children and their spouses all love
their church and are actively involved.
But for many others, the church has fallen under hard times.
Some are saying, The church won’t survive.
Reggie McNeal: “Unless the church in North America makes big changes we are facing
Neil Cole: “American Christianity is dying. Our future is in serious jeopardy. We are
deathly ill and don’t even know it.”
George Barna: “If the local church is the hope of the world, then the world has no
“Local churches have virtually no influence in our culture.. The church appears
among entities that have little or no influence on society.”
Or consider the book titles on the shelves of Christian book stores: Life After Church,
Divine Nobodies, Dear Church, Quitting Church, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church
Anymore, Pagan Christianity, They Like Jesus but Not the Church,
Or consider just some of the titles of books by Emergent church leader Brian McLaren:
The New Kind of Christian, Finding our Way Again, Everything Must Change.
Today, the family of Faith Bible Church will pledge a significant portion of our resources
for a building for the CHURCH. So far, 28 pledges have been made, averaging more
than $8500 per pledge! That’s a powerful commitment to the future of our church!
WHAT DOES GOD HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE CHURCH?
The word used for Church is the word ekklesia. It is used 112x in 109 verses
Most simply, it means an assembly. It is used of the Universal church (Matt 16:18) and
Jesus gave His GREAT COMMISSION to the disciples, after his resurrection. He told
them to GO into the world. When He did, He was speaking about the CHURCH.
TIMING of Matthew 28:19 Therefore GO and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name ...”
The church did not begin until after his death and resurrection. His work was complete! Someone said, "When Jesus’ work on earth was done, the churches work had just
Notice how important the church was to Jesus as he left this world. He said, "wait in Jerusalem" (Acts 1:4-5). He said "all power will be given to you..." (Acts 1:8) What happened next? The CHURCH (Acts 2:1-2)
THE RESPONSE to this great work of the church is given in Acts 2:41-42. At the conclusion of Peter’s message, Three thousand were saved, baptized and added to the church. That’s quite a beginning.
Since that beginning, the Church grew. And as the church grew, it grew in the context of local churches all fulfilling the commands of Christ and believing in the Gospel
The first point of growth was Jerusalem/ Judea. Then, Samaria. Acts 8:14 “when the apostles in Jerusalem heard....” Finally, the gospel was preached to the Gentiles. Acts 10:44-47 (Peter was present in Samaria and when the gospel goes to the Gentiles in Acts 10. Peter was the key leader of the Church in Jerusalem and his presence validated that the next concurrent phase of the church’s expansion was taking place).
Persecution spreads the message into ANTIOCH. Acts 11:22 news of this reached the ears of the church at Jerusalem...”
I love the church of Antioch! It is the first major church spoken of since we read of the beginnings of the Church in Jerusalem. Do you recall the specific historical events that took place at the local church in Jerusalem? They experienced persecution (Acts 4 and 5). They experienced church conflict and the resolution of that conflict related to the Greek Speaking widoes (Acts). They saw Stephen martyred (Acts 7)
Finally, when the Lord wants to get them back on track with the pattern of the Great Commission, he sends persecution (Acts 8:1). The result of that persecution is that the church spreads to Antioch.
ANTIOCH. The first truly GENTILE CHURCH. Acts 13:1-2
This new church in Antioch is responsible for many other new churches, as Paul and Barnabas are sent from the Antioch church on their first missionary journey (Acts 13-14).