There are many people who see the descriptions found in the book of Acts as prescriptions. For these people, house church is most likely going to be the expression of Christianity they embrace. It may even be joined with a loathing (or condescension?) of any form of “organized” faith, because as we all know, those early believers were as unorganized as a 12-year old’s closet…
This isn’t meant to be an argument over church buildings or paid clergy, but it is wise to consider how we believe the Holy Spirit wants us to digest what we see on the pages of Acts. I’m always on the lookout for guiding principles, because I see these as being relevant regardless of geography or culture. I have to believe that the truth of God’s Kingdom is transcendent like that. And one of these concepts jumps out at me in the form of three simple words: day-by-day.
In our culture, getting people to commit themselves (their families!) to attend a church service every Sunday morning is a big challenge. Increasingly, it seems that even the faithful attendees tend to be more of a 70% kinda crowd. Mid-week? Fuh-getta-bout-it! Home groups? I commute! And yet the “day-by-day” principle creeps into the end of Acts 2 as a description of the nuts and bolts of “the Way.”
“And day by day, attending the Temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” [vv. 45-47]
The Kingdom of God emerged through a people who were together all the time! In the specific sense, their community’s growth was directly proportionate to the regularity and practicality of its fellowship. In the general sense, God was active in the same way they were active – day-by-day! So maybe we’ve set the bar way too low, and consequently, our use of time tends to be more like our pagan neighbors than our 1st Century brothers and sisters.
And for everyone who is avoiding the local Body during the week – whether it meets in a house or a traditional building – in the interest of being salt and light or winning the lost? Consider that line in verse 47: the believers were “having favor with all the people” while they were attending the Temple together! The Kingdom of God did not suffer in Acts 2 because those pesky disciples were spending too much time together, talking about the Gospel and listening to apostolic teaching – it expanded!