Precedents in the New Testament for the use of “House Church”.
Acts 2:46, Rom.16.5, 1 Cor. 16:19, Col.4:15, Ph’m. 2
LITURGY: People Work: “The work of the people”.
1. “A prescribed form or set of forms for public Christian ceremonies or ritual.
2. Often Liturgy. The sacrament of the Eucharist. (Late Latin litugia,from Greek leitourgia), public service, from leitourgos, public servant: leos, leit-, people (variant of laos) + ergon, work.”
“American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language”
Seven Markers in Early Church Ministry
“Then they that gladly received his word (I), were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued steadfastly in the apostle’sdoctrine (II), and fellowship (III), and in breaking of bread (IV), and in prayers (V), And fear came upon every soul (VI), and many wonders and signs (VII), were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
Our Lord Jesus set the bread and wine as the central theme for when we come together. In coming together the primary directive was to have fellowship with Him in the Holy Spirit. We are to bring ourselves to Him to enjoy His presence and for His use in the building of the Church. All honor, glory and praise belong to Him. He is the Creator-God made flesh. When we come together it is for the express purpose of meeting Him and allowing Him in the Holy Spirit to flow through us to meet the needs of each other in Him. There is no other purpose for The Church. It is not to become a mutual admiration society, a social club or an expensive entertainment theater.
Stepping Stones of Faith for a House Church Ministry
7 Reference points of N.T. Fellowship, Acts 2:38-47
7 Stations of the O.T. Tabernacle, Exod.27:1
- Gate of Redemption
- Altar of Death
- Lavour of Peace
- Bread of Fellowship
- Censor of Prayer
- Menorah of Revelation
- Ark of Power, Holy or Holies
Songs of Joy*
1.Gate of Redemption
The Door of the Sheep Fold
Songs of Praise*
*Music should be woven into the fabric of the seven steps to support and to facilitate. Music should never be for the purpose of entertainment or for the personal praise of the musician during the liturgy. It is best if the musicians are not upfront but are an integral part of the total assembly of believers who are also bringing their gifts to the King of Kings.
Gate of Redemption (Entrance into the Kingdom)
This first step would be to enjoy some songs of joy in coming together. Disciples would come bringing friends, food gifts to be shared with others, wine, bread, oil, water and whatever the Lord led them to bring. Any gifts of money* would be placed in a box by the door to be later dedicated to the Lord’s use. In this introduction to the Kingdom, the thought should be centered in personal testimonies and other means of presenting the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. The focus here should be upon the ministry of our Lord in Salvation, Sealing (baptism by water) and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for the work of the ministry. Jesus Christ is the “Door,” the only door, into His kingdom as the ultimate free gift of God. Entrance requirements: Repentance from dead works and Faith in Jesus as Christ and Lord, Baptism in separation/sealing from the world and the Empowering of the Holy Spirit. If any would come into this Gate into His Kingdom, the books of their hearts and lives must be opened to God. Under grace, all is the Lord’s and when we come to God and join His Kingdom it must be with open hands and heart. We must truly renounce our citizenship in the cursed and carnal world that we live in, (Romans 10:9-10, Acts 2:38-39). In the Early Church, this would be the beginning of a time of fellowship. These seven steps have no time factor or weight as to importance. The main concern is to walk with and stay in the Holy Spirit. Let the anointing of the Holy Spirit take precedent at all times as you proceed through the seven steps. This is a time of challenge for folks to reach for the Kingdom’s vision and to embrace the Kingdom for themselves. This is a time of the decision to change sides in the eternal battle of darkness and light; a time to become a citizen of heaven and a warrior in the eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a time to set aside self-centeredness and pride. Music should include songs of joy in the Church. This is a wonderful time for the saints to share their victory in Jesus with testimonies and praise.
2. Altar of Death
Songs of Praise*
God’s eternal law is fulfilled under and by grace. This time is for “Apostles Doctrine” & understanding of our Lord’s New Testament (will, legacy) The Altar of death, “Not my will but Thine O Lord.” It is the place of death for the carnal nature. The Tabernacle Altar was the place where the blood of the sacrifice was shed, a place of death. The altar is not only symbolic of the Lamb of God that would die for the sins of the world but we also, as sinners, are represented in the death as well, (1 Cor.3:15). This may take time and much “Apostolic Doctrine,” to gain access but it is there our flesh begins the process of being crucified with Christ, ( Gal.2:10, Romans 8:12-13, Gal.5:24, Rom.6:6-23, John 12:24-25). At this time the Holy Scriptures would be read and the prophetic words of God’s ministers given. There would be time for interaction and lively open communications. This is the time for prophetic teaching. Sometimes it may be to reprove, rebuke and exhort, (2 Tim.4:2) and at other times it may be for edification, exhortation, and comfort, (1Cor.14:3). Again the key here is to be sure that this time is precious and all who say things in public should be careful to speak only as the Holy Spirit gives the anointing. It should be a forum and totally open to questions and support from others, (1Cor.14:26-33). This is a time for the Saints to be challenged to die to the world, the flesh, and the devil, and to be crucified with Christ, (Gal.2:20). This is the time for personal repentance and a challenge toward a holy life in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit, (Rom.8:6-14). Music should include songs of praise.
3. Lavour of Peace
Songs of Praise*
In the New Testament this would be the Unity of Fellowship, the parts of the body of Christ here are being brought together as the results of the washing of the word. Open fellowship reconciliation and restoration are included as preparations are made for the Lord’s Supper. This mystery was also evident when Jesus washed His disciples in the form of foot washing just prior to the last supper prior to His crucifixion. This is the time for the exchange of the Peace and the place of personal reconciliations. In the measure that we forgive we are set free. We are told, “Beware lest a root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many are defiled.”, (Heb.12:15, 1 Cor.11:28-33, Matt.18:15-20, Lk.17: 3-4, Matt.5: 22-24, Psalm 133). This is a time of fellowship with a light shared meal and perhaps foot washing as lead by the Holy Spirit. This is also a time of preparation for The Lord’s Supper. This should be a time for heart healing, repentance, forgiveness, and absolution. (1Cor.12). This is a time to cement the unity of the Church in the bond of peace. In the O.T. Tabernacle, this step was represented by the Lavour or Basin of water used by the priests to wash their hands and help wash each other. It was also large enough for the baptism by immersion of gentile converts into the family of Israel in Solomon’s Temple. Remember: John was actually using our Lord Jesus as a pillow at the last supper. There should be one mind and one spirit enjoyed among the Saints in this preparation for the Lord’s Supper. Non-Christians and nonbelievers should be cautioned to not partake of the Lord’s Supper due to the potential for God’s judgment, (1 Cor. 11:28-32). This is a time for being fitly joined together in brotherly love, (Eph.4:11-16). Hearts should by now becoming alive in faith to break bread with our Lord, He said He would personally be there with us in a very special way through His Holy Spirit at this time, (Luke 24:35, Matt.18:18-20). A declaration of absolution should be ministered to the fellowship at the completion of this time by the presiding elder, (John 20:23). Music should include songs of praise of the church and begin the songs of worship of the Church.
4. Bread of Fellowship
The Lord’s Supper
Songs of Worship*
“The Lords Supper” is a memorial set aside by our Lord to experience His real presence in His forever family. It is to this family that we must become committed to in the fellowship of His suffering. To share in the same loaf and to drink of the same cup at His Table of Covenant is to commit to those with which we share of these same elements with each other and Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord set apart these elements as spiritually being His body that was broken for our healing and His blood that was shed for our redemption. This experience is the very heartbeat of the Christian Community, (1 Cor.10:17). At the end of this time, the worship should continue and go on into general prayers. At this point in the O.T., one would be entering the Holy Place in the Tabernacle and this 4th Step would lead to the Table of Shew Bread, representing the Bread of Life. The Lord has taken this bread and through breaking, it compared it with His body broken for us and then asked us to feed on Him in our hearts by faith. This in the New Testament is the time when we identify with Him, renew our vows in His Kingdom and enter into His presence by the Holy Spirit. This time will become a time of deep communion with the Lord and His forever family for His directions for our lives. The past is forgiven and forgotten and the future is in His hands. This is the time of His love and fellowship in and through His Church. It is a time for believing faith in His mystical and holy presence to begin to be experienced among the believers. The Lords Supper may be very simple or may include deep worship of any kind. This is an excellent time for personal laying on of loving faithful hands in prayer for those who are receiving communion.
5. Censor of Prayer
Songs of worship*
Our call at this step is to intercede for the people of Israel, Rulers and for the gentiles that are to come to the saving knowledge of Christ Jesus. It is time to confirm the Kingdom of God and to destroy the strongholds of evil. A time to raise up the banner of righteousness. Since we have waited upon God for the revelation of His will, it is understood that the prayers that follow will be answered since the requests are clearly within the will of God. Angels will act on our behalf in bringing about the answer and will do battle against the fallen angels in the war for the souls of our friends, children and all mankind. Prayers are to be directed toward the Heavenly Father in the name of Christ Jesus. As the censer of incense in the O.T. was the next feature in the tabernacle it represents the General Prayers of the Saints of the past as not forgotten by GOD. Prayers are for our Lord’s Kingdom on earth, for the peace of Jerusalem and the nations of the world, national leadership in the world governments, families of the church, revival for our nation and the nations of the world, those who are ill and in other places, missionaries of the church in other locations, children of the church and world, leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ, House Churches across the nation, China and the world. Prayer should include the Health and Financial support for the families in the ministry and those in need. This is a time set aside for the fellowship to be one mind and one spirit in support of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. As our Lord prayed, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt.6)” It would be most fitting to pray through the Lord’s example of prayer at this time. That is to consider each basic thought of His teaching to the Disciples as a point of reference in touching things by prayer in our world today. Continue with songs of worship in support. This time should not become a duty or a ritual but very personal and guided by the Holy Spirit.
6. Menorah of Revelation
Holy Reverence, “Body Life Ministry”
Songs of the Holy Spirit*
Prayers have now been directed toward the need of the Saints. The Holy Spirit will now begin to move the Saints into spiritual unity through those prayers into revelation. The Scriptures speak of the seven eyes of God and the seven spirits of God that are in the earth to show His glory. They are the 1) Spirit of the Lord, 2) the Spirit of Wisdom, 3) the Spirit of Understanding, 4) the Spirit of Counsel, 5) the Spirit of Might, 6) the Spirit of Knowledge and 7) the Spirit of the Fear (Awe) of the Lord (Isaiah. 11:2). This is a time for the release of “Body Life Ministry” in “Holy Reverence” The saints here are to begin to pray for one another and to expect the 9 Gifts of the Holy Spirit to be released for individual needs as heart faith is achieved and activated, (Acts 5:12, Heb.11). At this point, faith should begin to be generated for the release of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit under the anointing of God. This is a time for young Christians to reach out and grow in their callings under the guidance of the elders. This is not a time for the confusion but of order and discipline in the Holy Spirit for the building of the ministries of the Saints and the building of the House Church. This should become a highly joyful time in which the essence and presence of the Holy Spirit is very evident in confirming the Word with signs following. Songs of praise, worship and of the Holy Spirit would be very supportive at this time. James 5:13-19.
7. Ark of His Presence
Great and Mighty Signs by the Apostles (Elders)
Benediction and Songs of the Church*
“The Ministry of Elders” to the Lord in the Holy Place. In this final step, believers have come in the door to where the Tabernacle of God is with men. With Christ-centered hearts, believers have set Christ first, have been washed by the word, forgiven all who have offended and established heart peace, sat at the table with our Lord, have then prayed at the censer of intercessions for His will and submitted to the Spirit of the revelation of His power. Now all are clean and ready to enter the Holy of Holies and to be in His presence. It is here that His “friends” can have true heart communion and fellowship with each other and with our Creator. Here all, in freedom and abandon may worship Him and be raised into the heavenly to view the earth from where Jesus sits and rejoice as a joint heir with Him in His Kingdom. This is the time for the ministry of the Elders for any remaining needs, a time of deep spiritual fellowship, songs of joy and words of peace, (Acts 2:38, Eph. 4:11-16, 1 Cor. 14).
In the manuscript of the Book of Acts, written by St. Luke, this was an exciting time in which the Elders (Apostles) were given great authority for “Mighty Signs & Wonders”. This is the last of the seven steps of fellowship it is the time for ministry to the deep needs of the Church. Many should go home with glowing reports of God’s presence, love, and healing. As a result of this time of victory, the House Church will grow with lightning speed. Read the Book of Acts, their word went throughout the known world at that time very quickly due to signs following and confirming the word that was spoken. In the O.T. this time would be compared to going into the “Holy of Holies” in the Tabernacle of Moses in the wilderness. The Holy Spirit should be given the opportunity at this time to make a clean sweep of all of the needs found in the House Church fellowship through the Elders, (Acts 5:16). This is an excellent time for songs of worship, songs in the Spirit, songs of the Church, and the old hymns that we seldom sing anymore but have profound thoughts of our Lord. At the end of this time, there should be a benediction by the presiding elder.
This is where the living stones can be fitly joined together, (Eph. 4:11-16). Please consider that these seven steps will take some time to flow together. Also the steps each week may not have the same weight. Some weeks the Holy Spirit will amplify one step and the next week may be another. One week may be for salvation and another week may be for fellowship. The vision is to allow the Holy Spirit to guide all through each of the seven “Keys To The Kingdom”. These steps are not to become a “Program” they are road markers so that we will not lose our way into His wonderful presence, (Isaiah 35:8). (Read 35:3-10).