T H E S I S # 79
A house church is not a cell group (which is an appendage of an evangelical church), not a Bible study, not a prayer meeting. A house church is (or should be) a gathering unto Jesus Christ.
Not a cell group….
There is very little a cell group and a house church have in common, other than both meet in homes. A cell group is governed and influenced by an evangelical church. The denominational rep, perhaps a trusted ‘layman’, relays an approved program to the small group. This is so very opposite to being spontaneously led by the Holy Spirit.
Some denominations are now planting networks of house churches. There is every reason to be suspicious. The two-tier system is still in effect, only less obvious. The ‘reverend’ leaves his title behind, and picks it up again when attending his church sunday morning. His heart and loyalty are firmly fixed upon denominational lords, this a major hindrance to being an agent of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps such a denominational HC is somewhere between a real HC and a cell group.
Not a Bible study….
(See note.) In our quest for spiritual gain, doctrine should never trump relationship…. that is to say, one’s determination to know truth should be less than knowing the Truth, including truth about the Truth…. or said another way, being doctrinally sound is good but being relationally sound is better, much better.
For most evangelicals (etcetera), there was a dismal moment when He was discarded for an it. Our very first days in Christ were full of the wonder of Him. For many, it didn’t take long for evangelicalism (or whatever) to turn one’s focus from Him to one of many its, one of the its being evangelicalism itself, and another being an inordinate (disproportionate, irrational) need to be doctrinally correct.
(Are you experiencing meager fruit? A skewed loyalty is the reason. If you don’t expel your it and reinstate Him on life’s throne, meager will continue to be normal and approaching judgment day will be an embarrassment.)
Doctrine police often cite Ac17:11 which speaks of the “noble” Thessalonicans who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” to rationalize their obsession to be doctrinally flawless. However, those townspeople “searched the scriptures” to determine if the Nazarene was indeed the promised Christ, not to intensely defend/decimate doctrines such as eternal security, the reality of hell-fire, end-time prophecies, and many etceteras.
1Cor8:1: “Knowledge puffs up.” Knowledge puffs the professor, the plumber, the poet, the prosperous and the poor. And misaligned christians. The itch to know for the sake of knowing is less than virtuous. Only the ego is enriched.
The religious love to expound their stuff to the less informed. Not so the fervent.
Knowledge actually comes more readily to those not obsessed with it, those occupied with Jesus. That’s because more of Christ equals more of “the Spirit of Christ” who “will guide you into all truth”.
Ps119:11: “Your word have I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against You.”
A pure motive for learning is to serve Him rightly.
Not a prayer meeting….
This is not petition time, at least not primarily. Prayer, however, is a crucial ingredient to a successful house church. The more prayer, the more fruit. The less prayer, the less fruit.
But a gathering unto Jesus Christ….
What does it mean to gather unto Jesus?
Ten people gather at Merf’s house to watch a football game. They are not gathering unto Merf, just gathering. A week later old Merf has a birthday party and invites the same ten to celebrate his fiftieth. Unlike last week, this time the ten are gathering unto Merf.
They talk about Merf, they celebrate Merf, they kid Merf, they pray for Merf. It’s Merf, Merf, Merf. He sits at the head of the dinner table, they toast him and present him with a real nice gift. Same house, same ten, same Merf. But this time it’s a gathering unto a person, not just getting together.
Gathering unto Lord Jesus is an attitude, a proper mindset. HC people are (hopefully) cognizant they are honoring their King and their God and their Creator. This might prompt a holy hush, speaking softly and carefully as if He were in the room.
Which He is.
Note: This is taken from a series of articles, 333 Words…. Exactly. (www.333words.org)