Out of the Pew and Into the Home Pt 2

In the last article we considered the fact that much of Jesus and the early church’s activity centered around homes (see Out of the Pew and into the Homes Pt 1 and Luke 10).   It wasn’t because there were no religious buildings to use.  Jesus and Paul both used synagogues and Paul even used a public building called the “School of Tyrannus” in Acts 19:8-9.

An important reason Jesus instructed them to go into receptive homes had to do with the nature of God and what He is building, a family.  Getting into homes and household (households were the relational networks associated with homes) is a key to expanding the family of God (mission).

Not to be Disconnected from His Presence/Power

When many think of a relational context associated with homes, they limit it to simply hanging out with others, enjoying their company, and experiencing a family feel.  In Luke 10 however, the family/relational gatherings were also to have the presence and power of God at work “heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.”

We cannot have a disconnect between the relational activity and the power and presence of God coming among us.  It isn’t a matter of having a “relational time” or a “Spiritual time.”  The Kingdom is never to be dualistic like that.  The whole idea is that we connect with the family in heaven as we connect with, or seek to extend the family on earth.

One of the main purposes of our being built together is to be a dwelling place of the Spirit.  Connecting with God to see His power/presence at work should be a natural part of connecting with others.  This should happen in connecting with fellow believers as well as those outside of God’s family.

Jesus tells the seventy to cast out demons and proclaim, “the kingdom of God has come near you.”   Some of the most amazing Spiritual encounters I have had in my life were with small groups of people gathered in homes in which the power and presence of God showed up though prayer, laying on of hands, and prophetic words.

The seventy did this as they entered into receptive homes.  In verse 17 they returned rejoicing that “even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”   God’s throne is never to be disconnect from His footstool” Acts 7:49.  When we gather with people (both fellow believers as well as unbelievers) we need to always seek to connect with His presence and power.

Continued Relational/Family Context

The family/relational thrust of the Kingdom continues in Luke 10 as a lawyer stands up to challenge Jesus by asking Him a question about how  to inherit eternal life.   Jesus told him it was about loving God and loving your neighbor as yourself (a very family/relational idea).  The lawyer obviously couldn’t argue with His revelation but tried to sidestep it, and justify himself by asking, “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus responded with the story of the good Samaritan vs 30-38.  It was an amazing story of a man traveling on a roadway who was beaten, robbed, and in desperate need of care.  Two religious people, a Priest and a Levite, deliberately ignored him as they passed by.  Then a Samaritan (normally not associated with God’s people) connected with and cared for the man in need.  Jesus indicated that the Samaritan fulfilled the idea of eternal life as he walked in his normal everyday experience.   He also showed them, and us,  that even if you live in a religious context, it is no guarantee you will express the heart and life of God.  The whole point of the story is that we need to relationally extend care to those in need who we connect with on the roadway of everyday life.

Another Household Setting

Luke 10 continues to another setting that emphasizes the relational context of home and family in missional work with the story of Mary and Martha Vs 38-42.  Jesus went into the receptive home (in the same way He sent the seventy into homes) of Mary and Martha.  Martha was busy doing good things serving her guest without really connecting with Him.  Mary on the other hand sat at the “Lord’s feet listening to His word.”  Jesus commended Mary in responding to Martha saying that what she was doing was the most important thing, connecting with Jesus.

This is another important relational emphasis of the Kingdom extending (mission) in homes. We must remember that as we enter into people’s households to connect with them, our ultimate aim is connecting them with the presence of Jesus.  We are always looking for ways to do that.  We release God’s word through conversations (“say to them the Kingdom of God has come near to you” vs 9), as well as prayer.  Even if they don’t know Him, we can offer to pray.  As we do God’s presence comes near and they connect.  Who knows what may happen next?

Homes and households are to be strategic bases of Kingdom/Missional work.  Let’s look for ways to get people into our homes/households, or go into their homes to see the work of God’s Kingdom expand.  Our ultimate aim is demonstrate, and do everything we can to lead them to become part of God’s household.  Eph 2:19-22  So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household…In whom we are being built together into a dwelling place of God.

Here is a great clip from a message about the church being a family connected to Luke 10.

 

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Out of the Pew and into Home Pt 1

Much of the Kingdom activity of Jesus and the early church was centered around homes.

Jesus – Mark 1:29-35, Mt 8:14, Lk 4:38, Matthew 9:9-12 Matthew 13:1-52, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 7:17-23, 9:28, 10:10, Matthew 26:1-13, Mk 14:3, Mark 2:1-11, Mark 9:33-50, Luke 7:36-39, Luke 8:41-56, Luke 10:38, and  Luke 14:1-24.

Early Church – Acts 2:2, 46, Acts 5:42, Acts 8:3, Acts 9:11-19, Acts 10:1-8, Acts 16:40,          Acts 18:1-10, Acts 20:20, Acts 21:8, Acts 21:30.

 

Romans 16:5 Greet Prisca and Aquila and the church that meets in their house.”

Col 4:15 Greet…the church that is in the house of Nympha.

Philemon 2 the church that meets in your (Archippus) house.

Did their activity center around homes because there were no religious buildings to use? This can be partially true but not completely true.  Why, because there were synagogues all around and Jesus, Paul, and the church did do things there.  I think one important reason homes were used had to do with the nature of God and what He is building, a family.

The accounts of Jesus sending the seventy to labor in the harvest (Luke 10 and Matthew 9-11) presents amazing instructions and context of how God wants us to labor as we are sent.  They contain all the elements of how God’s Family in Heaven sends His family on earth (the church) to carry out His mission.  On phrase that expresses the heart of God’s mandate is “Family on mission.”  A more accurate way to express it “God’s family on earth walking with the Family in heaven, carrying out His mission.”

If we look at Luke 10 we see an amazing family/relational context. The whole chapter speaks about it (more next week).  Working in His harvest field is a family affair.  It is God’s family seeking to extend His family to others (see them become part of Jesus and His family).

In the first 10 verses He sends them out by two’s (harvest is a family function) with the rest joining them later (also see Mt 11:1).  It is a family affair similar to the two brothers working in their father’s field in the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15).

Luk 10:1-42 Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself (He and the others)  was going to come.  (2)…”The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest….(5)  “Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’  (6)  “If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.  (7)  “Stay in that house, eating and drinking what they give you; for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not keep moving from house to house…eat what is set before you;  (9)  and heal those in it who are sick, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.

He tells them to look for houses with receptive people in them.  If found they are to enter into that home (not moving from house to house), eat what is set before them, and base their Kingdom work there (see also Mt 10:11).

Home Based Kingdom Activity

Why does He tell them not to move from house to house?  One reason has to do with family/relationships.  A house represents more than just a physical structure.  Homes are usually connected to relational circles of life that surrounding them.  This is what the Bible calls a “household.”  By entering into a home they were really entering into a household.  A house is a connecting place for a household (family/relational structure).

We see an example of this with Paul entering into Cornelius’ house and impacting his whole household  Act 11:12-14  “The Spirit told me to go with them…and we entered the man’s house…(14)  and he will speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.’

Most statistics regarding evangelism reveals that the majority of people hear the gospel and receive Jesus through a close friend or relative.  When one person gets saved they instinctively begin to share what Jesus did with their family and close friends (household).  Often when one person finds Christ it like pulling a loose string on a sweater.  You don’t always know where it will stop.  The influence on one person will tend to spread through their household.

This home based emphasis also lies behind His instruction to “eat what is set before you.”  Some have a hard time seeing food as being relevant or connected to Kingdom activity.  When you visit other cultures food creates a hospitable and relational atmosphere.  In almost every culture if someone offers you food, they are generally offering friendship and relationship. If you reject food, you are doing far more than saying you don’t want to eat. You are rejecting the opening hospitality and friendship.

In the Gospels you see a lot of Jesus activity around  dinner tables.  You see it in everything from His critical teaching at the Passover meal (John 13-17), the feeding of the 5000, to the woman anointing His feet at the table of the Pharisees house (Lk 7:38-39).  In fact Jesus did so much around meals that it caused his detractors to accuse Him of being a glutton Luke 7:34.

As  God’s family on mission we need to connect with the homes/households of people as a base of Kingdom activity.  It also works both ways.  When we invite people to enter into our homes/households it is a step towards entering into their homes/households.  This is part of what the Bible calls “hospitality” Rom 12:13, 1 Tim 5:10, Heb 13:2.  Lets get out of the pews and into the homes.

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