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                        "THE CHURCH JESUS BUILT"

                Starting The Lord's Church In Your Home

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous study, I offered suggestions on identifying the
   Lord's church today...
   a. The name of a congregation is a good place to begin
   b. Examine the gospel being preached
   c. Compare the practice with the New Testament pattern

2. Whenever possible, we should seek to join ourselves with an
   established congregation...
   a. There are benefits the Lord designed for us from such fellowship
   b. Especially when a congregation is completely and scripturally
      organized

3. But it is not always possible to find a congregation of the Lord...
   a. Where the authority of the apostles' doctrine is respected
   b. Where the worship is in Spirit and truth
   c. Where the church is engaged in the work the Lord intended

4. In such cases, it is possible to start the Lord's church in one's own
   home...
   a. Priscilla and Aquila had churches meet in their home - Ro 16:3-5;
      1Co 16:19
   b. As well as other Christians in the first century - cf. Col 4:15;
      Phm 1:2
   c. My family met in their home for two years when we lived in Taiwan
   d. Indeed, many established churches today began with Christians
      meeting in a home

[If you deem it necessary to start a church in your home, perhaps these
suggestions may be helpful...]

I. GIVE PRAYERFUL CONSIDERATION

   A. TO THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST...
      1. Remember, this is how Christ adds people to His church
         universal
         a. Through the gospel, He calls us - 2Th 2:14
         b. As we heed the gospel call, the Lord adds us to His body,
            the church - Ac 2:41,47
         c. That is why it is so important that the gospel not be
            perverted in any way - Ga 1:6-9
      2. If the gospel we have obeyed is different from that revealed in
         the Scriptures...
         a. By changing either the facts or commands of the gospel...
         b. ...then we have not been saved, and the Lord has not added
            us to His church!
      3. If the church in your home holds to a perverted gospel...
         a. You may be the nicest people, but you are still unregenerate
            people!
         b. You may profess the name of Christ, both as individuals and
            as a church, but you are not truly the people of God, nor a
            part of "The Church Jesus Built"!
      4. As you give consideration to the gospel, these studies may
         prove helpful...
         a. Conversions In The Book Of Acts
         b. Baptism - A Special Study
      -- These and others studies can be found at the EO website

   B. TO YOUR INTENTION...
      1. Why are you wanting to start a church in your home?
         a. Is it because you can't get along with people in another
            congregation?
         b. Is it because you have problems submitting to authority
            (e.g., elders)?
      2. The Lord knows your heart, and will bless your efforts only if
         proper motivated
         a. To serve the Lord faithfully according to His will
         b. To worship Him in Spirit and truth
         c. To be simply Christians, members of His body, the church
         d. To one day becoming scripturally organized as a church (with
            elders and deacons)
      -- Remember that unless the Lord builds the house, labor will be
         in vain - Ps 127:1

[Having obeyed the gospel of Christ in its purity and simplicity, armed
with the proper intention to serve the Lord in all things, you are ready
to begin.  As you meet in your home, be sure to...]

II. FOLLOW THE NEW TESTAMENT PATTERN

   A. WORSHIP ON THE LORD'S DAY...
      1. The first day of the week, when the disciples came together
         - Ac 20:7
      2. The first day of the week, when the disciple laid by in store
         - 1Co 16:1-2
      -- One may worship other times, but the Lord's day is essential!

   B. WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH...
      1. Engage in prayer
         a. We have several examples of group prayer in the early church
            - Ac 4:23-24; 12:5,12
         b. Paul called for prayers to be offered in every place - 1 Ti
            2:1,8; 3:15
      2. Engage in song
         a. Commands to sing can be found in Ep 5:19; Col 3:16; He 13:15
         b. Singing hymns praises God and edifies the brethren
      3. Engage in the Word
         a. Teaching or preaching was part of public worship in the
            early church - Ac 20:7
         b. If preachers or teachers are not present, then just read the
            Scriptures
         c. One might also listen to recorded sermons, or read Bible
            studies from the Internet or other sources
      4. Engage in the Lord's Supper
         a. Also called the "breaking of bread" and "communion" - Ac
            2:42; 20:7; 1Co 10:16
         b. A memorial feast instituted by Jesus Himself - 1Co 11:23-26
         c. The fruit of the vine can be simple grape juice (like
            Welch's)
         d. The bread should be unleavened (like Matzo)
      5. Engage in laying by in store
         a. Also called the "collection" and "contribution" - 1Co 16:
            1-2; Ro 15:26
         b. To provide for the needs of Christians, and to do the work
            of the church
      -- For more information, see earlier lessons related to the
         worship of the church

[Remember that  Jesus promised to be wherever even just two or three are
gathered in His name (Mt 18:20).  When offered in Spirit and truth,
worship can be just as meaningful in a home as in large building.
Finally, one more thought or two...]

III. AS YOU CONTINUE

   A. REACH OUT TO YOUR BRETHREN...
      1. Make contact with Christians in other places
      2. Even though they may be too far away to assemble on a regular
         basis
      3. Communicate with them via the Internet or by other means
      4. Perhaps they can provide additional materials for your study
         and worship
      -- It is edifying to know you are not alone in serving Jesus
         simply as a Christian

   B. REACH OUT TO THE LOST...
      1. Seek to share the gospel of Christ with family, friends and
         neighbors
      2. Offer to have Bible studies with them in your home or theirs
      3. Invite them to your worship on the Lord's Day in your home
      -- Don't forget that we have a Great Commission given by our Lord
         - Mt 28:18-20

   C. REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY...
      1. As you grow, consider renting or building a meeting place other
         than your home
      2. Many people are hesitant to worship in a home; as you rent,
         then build, it develops credibility as a congregation in the
         eyes of the community
      3. Some communities have strict zoning laws regarding the use of a
         home for worship; as you grow, the need to rent or buy a
         central meeting place will become necessary
      -- Consider what will be expedient in your community in reaching
         out to the lost - cf. 1Pe 2:12

CONCLUSION

1. There are certainly benefits to starting a church in a home...
   a. It provides an opportunity for the Lord to bless those in the
      neighborhood and community through your presence
   b. It is easier to create a sense of family and closeness among the
      members
   c. The commute to services is nice if the church is meeting in your
      house 

2. But again, whenever possible we should seek to join ourselves with an
   established congregation...
   a. There are benefits and opportunities to be found in a larger group
   b. Especially when a congregation is completely and scripturally
      organized

3. What is important is that we are only seeking to be "The Church Jesus
   Built"...
   a. Not some man-made church or denomination
   b. Simply Christians, members of the body of Christ, His church

My prayer is that in some way this series may encourage others who love
Jesus to serve Him as His Word directs, to be nothing more than "The
Church Jesus Built"!
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