Using The Home To Build Fellowship
Text: Act 2:46
A. Expression of fellowship in the home.
In the 1st century, Christians opened their homes for the church to meet. a. The church met in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Rom 16:3-5; 1Co 16:19). b. The church met in the home of Nymphas (Col 4:15). c. The church met in the home of Philemon (Phm 2).
They met together for worship, as well as fellowship. a. They gathered for teaching and preaching (Act 5:42; Act 20:20). b. They gathered for prayers (Act 12:12). c. They gathered for meals (Act 2:46).
With the passing of time, the use of homes as meeting places for churches began to decline. a. By the 2nd century, church buildings began to be built. b. By the 3rd century, the emperor Constantine designated Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and gave many of the pagan temples to Christians for use as meeting places. c. Today, people misunderstand the term church to refer to the building.
With this subtle shift of activity away from homes to church buildings, it has contributed in part to a decline in fellowship among many Christians. a. Members no longer meet together as often. b. Members no longer spend time together as often. c. Members no longer fellowship together as often.
B. Extension of fellowship to the home.
Worship can enhance our fellowship with one another but there are limitations. a. Limitation on quantity of interaction. b. Limitation on quality of interaction.
The home can enhance our fellowship with one another in overcoming these limitations. a. Better quantity of interaction. b. Better quality of interaction.
C. Exhortation to fellowship in the home.
Practice of hospitality. a. Practicing hospitality is a demonstration of good stewardship (1Pe 4:9-10) – in doing so, we entertain God’s messengers (Heb 13:2 [YLT]). b. Fellowship is enhanced when we invite others into our homes to show hospitality to them.
Participate in visitation. a. Participating in visitation is a demonstration of pure religion (Jas 1:27) – in doing so, we are doing it unto Christ (Mat 25:39-40). b. Fellowship is enhanced when we visit the homes of others to show love and concern for them.