April 8, 2022
“Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles. By common consent they would all meet in Solomon’s Colonnade.”
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“Many signs and wonders were being done among the people through the hands of the apostles. By common consent they would all meet in Solomon’s Colonnade. None of the rest dared to join them, but the people praised them highly. Believers were added to the Lord in increasing numbers – crowds of both men and women.” Acts 5:12-14
There is a growing movement in the Church called the “home church” movement. People seeking a more intimate worship experience are meeting in homes. One of the arguments of “home church” leaders to support their ministry model is that the early believers always met in homes. Today’s passage addresses that assumption.
I don’t have a strong opinion of whether the “home church” movement is good or bad. On the one hand, it seems odd and somewhat cultish whenever people depart from the norm and isolate themselves. Who holds these groups accountable to the Word? “How are we going accommodate for growth and still feel small?” is always the looming question. On the other hand, I developed a growing grassroots ministry that started in my home!
My rule is: I have nothing against “small” ministry, as long as it doesn’t intend to stay that way. When God is working amid something, it grows to His glory. What healthy Christian community growth should look like is a topic for another day. In today’s chapter, two myths of the early Church are debunked.
The first myth debunked concerns how the early Church had “all possessions in common.” While that was true very early on, it wasn’t sustained for a significant amount of time. As soon as everyone jumped on board with that idea, a couple named Ananias and Saphira sought to exploit it, then others. The apostle Paul also rebuked some congregations for giving nothing while praising others who contributed to the ministry.
The second myth centers on how the early Church always met in homes. While it is true that many believers met in homes, in the beginning, the Apostles, along with the faithful & bolder believers, met daily at the Temple Complex. Initially, those who met in homes were those whose fear overrode their boldness to testify & identify with Jesus and other believers. Later, with intense persecution and the eventual destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, all believers had to meet in homes, eventually building their own synagogues, or “churches,” as they came to be known.
Still, the bold proclamation of the Gospel, accompanied by the Spirit’s powerful displays, was the growth engine of the early Church. Let today’s passage challenge us to move beyond our holy huddles and unashamedly proclaim Jesus! For the same reason that we cannot return to Eden, we cannot return to those days immediately following Pentecost. Today is a NEW era, and it demands boldness. Battles are not won by retreating. They are won by boldly yet gracefully and faithfully advancing the Gospel! The Lord goes BEFORE His people, so let’s get moving forward!!