Why and how do we do our home church?
The point of any church is that we must heed God's call, His plan, purpose, and principles all associated as His children and representatives. Why? We belong to God and our call is to trust in Him, not in traditions and what has come before. We are to seek Him and what is to come in life and in ministry, and in His second coming. This world is a mere shadow of things to come; we are bound for Heaven where glory awaits us. So, how do we live now? With our eyes upon Christ! We must live lives that declare who Christ is by faith and lived-out deeds. We are to think about Jesus, and ponder His precepts and call so He is our life and our all-in-all (James 1:12-18; Rev. 2:10).
The house church can be a phenomenal platform to proclaim and apply the Gospel Message as we live out our mutual faith and respond to Christ with our gratitude and spiritual formation. And to do this, we must always realize it is Christ whom we serve and why we serve others. We must think, study, and ponder how His principles are to affect and impact us, as He is Christ the Lord. We are to see Him, believe in Him, know Him, and thus love and obey Him so our entire lives and our living room church is infused in Him and His Way. Further, we are called to make this happen by seeking His truth, His teachings, and to walk in His ways by trust. We are to do this with hope because He gives us the confidence to have courage and the empowerment of faith, all because of who we are in Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; Heb. 2:9; 12:1-2).
Hebrews 10:19-25: How to Be in Our Homes When We Are Also a Church
· We do our home church as brothers. This is a reminder that we are all a part of the body of Christ, in community with one another and in unity with Christ from His work. Therefore, we are never alone, away from God, or away from one another (unless we isolate ourselves, as these early church folks were seeking to do).
· We do our home church with confidence, meaning we have the ability to be bold and go before God because He has saved us, renewed us, and empowered us. We do not earn or deserve this outpouring; it is a gift of love and grace. (Heb. 2:1-4; 4:15).
· We do our home church when we enter the Most Holy Place, meaning we have access to God's Heavenly Temple where before, in the earthy copy, only the high priest had access, and then only once a year. This is a monumental opportunity and shows us the depth and magnitude of how much we have been saved.
· We do our home church by the Blood of Jesus. The sacrificial death and following resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ appeased the wrath of God for us. Because He did this, we can receive salvation as well as the joy and honor of forgiveness for our sins. God was more merciful with us than we could ever be with anyone else, or could ever deserve. No matter what we go through from persecution or loss, we could never even catch a glimpse of all that Christ gave to us through grace (Matt. 5: 3-12; Rom. 5:9; Rev. 1:5-6)
· We do our home church through the curtain. This represents the presence of God and refers to the Temple and the veil that hid God's presence from the people, because no one with sin could approach Him. The ark of His covenant was kept behind the veil. Here, Jesus tears the veil so we can approach God in an understandable and able manner. In context, this is a metaphor-that Jesus is the veil that was torn for us, His body torn to open the way for us to enter into God's presence, and to know and worship Him. This is also further argument for how Jesus is superior to Moses and the Law (Ex. 25:10-22; Lev 26:11-13; Num. 12:7; Duet 10:1-2; 2 Kings 25:8-10; Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Heb. 3:6; 6: 13-20; 9:3, 23; 10:19-20; Rev. 3: 10-13; 4:6-8).
· We do our home church because we are in the house of God. This is a contrast to Moses who was the "house," as in linage of Law and Covenant. Now, Christ is over all, as in "Lord of the house." In Jewish tradition, the eldest son took over the family estate and/or business; he was the sole or primary heir. Here, Christ is Heir of all things. God's house was not the Tabernacle or Temple; it was God's people and Christ the Shepherd of us all: those who are His faithful, the faithful remnant of Israel, and then those who accepted Christ (Heb. 3:1-6).
· We do our home church to draw near to God and others, meaning an invitation to enter the presence of God. Now for the Christian, it is worship and our personal relationship with Christ. This means we have clear, uninhibited access to God because of Christ (Gen. 4:2-15; Psalm 15; 73:28; Jer. 30:18-22; Matt. 27:51; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:13-22; Heb. 4:16; 7:19-25; 12:28; 3:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-10).
· We do our home church with a sincere/true heart. We are to be dependable and faithful without ulterior motives to the practical applications and exhortations of Christ's precepts with a willingness to do them (Psalm 24:4; Jer. 24:7; Matt. 15:8).
· We do our home church with the full assurance of faith. Meaning we are to have commitment; our faith does not hesitate because we are trusting in and following Christ. This sets us up for the coming chapter 11 and the hall of fame of faith-what godly people do with faith. Salvation is not for us just to be saved and sit in a pew; it is for us to be impacted so we can be an impact to others.
· We do our home church with our hearts sprinkled. Referring to the change and renewal of our hearts and minds when we receive Christ's work and gift of grace and are thus released from a guilty conscience. This is about who Christ is and what He has done, and that we have freedom because of His once-for-all sacrifice (Rom. 1:8-15; 1 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:1; Philemon 4).
· We do our home church with bodies washed. This means a spiritual cleansing. Priests who went through the cleansing rituals could enter God's presence. We are cleansed before God's sight; what an animal sacrifice did in the OT law, now Christ has done permanently for us, and we are washed so we can enter God's presence. (Ex. 24:8; 29:4; Lev. 16:4; Rom. 12:1-3; Heb. 9:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2). This is now symbolized in our baptism as our initiation in our new life as we become identified in and with Christ by His work. In the Old Testament Law, this prepares us to worship God, for our sins are temporarily hidden. Now in Christ, we are cleansed by the new covenant (Ex. 30:19-21; Lev. 8:6; 14:7-9; Ezek. 36:25-29; Eph. 5:26).
· We do our home church as we hold unswervingly to the hope Christ has for us. Meaning to be unshakably confident-without doubt or hesitation-in our trust in Christ. The reason is because Christ is faithful, even when our friends and circumstances are not. Thus, our confidence is in Christ, not the people in the church or how we are tested or treated either inside or outside the church walls (Acts 21:26; Rom. 3:24-26; 2 Tim. 2:13; Heb. 3:1-14; 6:18-20).
· We do our home church to spur and provoke one another. Meaning we are to stimulate another in hope of Jesus, as in being an encourager. This is not just a spiritual gift; rather we have a duty to do it, even when we do not feel like it. This is the support, using our spiritual gifts, all working as a team. This is the strength of the church; without it we will fail. When we are discouraged, when we feel down-we are lifted up. The people with the gift of encouragement will be able to coordinate this; all Christians are able and called to do it. We are also to encourage people who are thinking of leaving the church to stay, and those who have left, to come back (Rom. 15:14; 1 Thess. 5:14; Eph. 4:15-16)!
· We do our home church toward love. We gather with and for the hope, faith, and love that are a triad of primary virtues from which character and Fruit flow out, by the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of the practice of the Christian life, our practical application and exhortation, and what it means to be transformed and renewed so we are changed and can be change agents in others' lives as well. Faith is also in community and mutual, as we each partake in Christ and need one another to grow further in our pilgrimage of Christian living. In so doing, we share Christ and therefore proclaim Him to those who do not know Him (1 Cor. 13; Col. 1:4-5; 1 Thess. 1:3; Heb. 3:7-19).
· We do our home church so we do not give up or neglect meeting together. We are not to give up or neglect or abandon the faith or the fellowship. Meaning "concord," we are better together than separate; we have harmony and strength, whereas, as individuals, we are on our own and thus weak. We are called and made to function as a community; our only foe is our own pride that leads to our own destruction (Prov. 6:9; Matt. 27:46; Rom. 9:14-29; 2 Cor. 4:9; 2 Tim 4:10-16; 1 Thess. 2:1; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 2:1)!
· We do our home church to encourage one another. In Christ together, we can be confident, optimistic, and faithful, buoyed up by one another's faith, practicing prayer and using our gifts as a community. Having perseverance means having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations, and still see and trust in His grace and love. This means having the resolve and determination not to be faint in our relationships or situations, so we will be able to persist in dealing with stress and can accomplish what God calls us to. When we do this together, we encourage one another. We can do this by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31; 18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25; James 5:7-12).
· We do our home church by approaching God and drawing near. All this is about how and why we build our faith so when Christ does come back, we are prepared. Theories of end times do nothing to prepare us; only the buildup of our faith does (1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2:2; Heb. 9:8; 12:26-27; 2 Pet. 3:10).
Jesus understands us and the ways and opportunities and obstacles of life and fellowship in a fallen world; He knows the temptations of sin and pride, what we feel, and how to praise God. He is sympathetic with our plight in life and is concerned what we do with all that we face. He is our example and the One upon whom we are to focus. Are you sensitive to Him? Do you pay close attention to the reality and veracity of Christ? To His Word and precepts? If not, how will you lead a church? What is in your way that could possibly be greater?