The First Church of Jerusalem

Acts 11:22 Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.

The first local church was a missionary church.

Now, here is the first local church in world history.

Acts 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.
12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.
13 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
14 Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.
15 And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,
16 After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:
17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.
18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God:
20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day.
22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:
23 And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia:
24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:
25 It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul,
26 Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth.
28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;
29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.
30 So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle:
31 Which when they had read, they rejoiced for the consolation.
32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.
33 And after they had tarried there a space, they were let go in peace from the brethren unto the apostles.
34 Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still.
35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

I gave you this long passage to show you one important thing-- The first local church, which was based in homes only, had order and solid leadership. This came only after the Holy Ghost "had come upon them" in power to serve and lead. If your House Church is just a easy going sort of social club for Bible believers, something WILL go wrong.

So, be sure you have clear objectives as you start this ministry, and seek a simple but steady strategy to come into the maturity of Christ as a local church.

Baptist Heritage and other mongrel denominational claims

Please read the article on this Journal. You must resist the urge to start a clique of snobs in your little fellowship. You have all the distinction you will ever need from Jesus Christ. Do not confound that blessing by adding your own special patented snobbery:

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Paul and the House Church-- Minimum requirements

I want to just give you a couple of examples, and you go on to study the book of Acts and Paul's writing to see what else you can learn:

Acts 16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;
12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.
13 And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

Beware of the Jackboot attitude which says women are nasty and dangerous. Also, note that Paul almost always used any existing zeal for God which he found. He made sure the Gospel of Jesus Christ took power over what was there though before it was called a church. If a bunch of Catholic priests asked me to start a Bible study for them, I would do it in a flash friend. What an opportunity to start something, just as long as no deals were cut.

Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

The result?

1 Corinthians 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Philemon 1:1 Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
2 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:
3 Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4 I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers,
5 Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;
6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.
7 For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

Philemon had a good sized home I gather because he could afford slaves, like Onesimus. I see that Philemon clearly took the lead in many things. I believe that the head of any Christian home is the pastor of his family. The Jackboot Baptist and Pentecostal preachers don't like that-- they want to be the only pastor in the whole church. Some even teach that the most important man in any Christian woman's life is her pastor first. This is wicked.

If there if no reason to do otherwise, the leader of any House Church should be the head of the home where they meet. The Bible teacher may be some other man, or several men who are skilled in the study of the Word. But, let the head of the home lead in general.


Peter and the House Church-- Not lords

1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

Even if the House Church meets in your home sir, YOU are NOT the Lord of that local church. It is a very common thing to see a family start a House Church, and as it grows, that family will slowly entrench themselves as the leaders at all costs. They have no concept of what Peter is talking about here. It is a very mature man who can call the saints to his home to meet and then let other lead.

Also, please note that Peter commands the leaders of the Lord's Church to feed the Flock of God. Not lording it over them, yet feeding them. This takes humility, and it takes study of the Word, for the only authority of the true servant is the Word, not the servant himself. So, you better know the Word and study it if you expect to see saints submit to Christ instead of you.

Where did Peter get so motivated over feeding the Flock of God?

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

Not, "sheer my sheep," and not "beat my sheep." If you are going to feed the sheep, you will have to have the food to feed them, and that is found ONLY the Word of God. These Jackboot pastors have only five sermon topics they preach on, and often only six hymns they sing. Their spiritual world is extremely tiny since they are so busy exalting their excellency and chasing sheep down the road who are trying to escape. Thus, the sheep are starved and malnourished. A veritable famine is in the land today in Fundamental churches--

Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

Pastoral Authority versus Serving the Sheep

Matthew 18:23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.
25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:
33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

The Jackboot pastor who beats on sheep who do not please him and serve him is suspect of damnation. I find it very hard to believe that these brats are born again, for their actions are precisely opposite of those of Jesus Christ. They cannot be in a personal relationship with Jesus and behave the way they do.

1 Corinthians 9:19 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

Why do Jackboot pastors seem to build up a church fast and lose it equally fast? Answer: They cannot gain souls because they will not serve all men.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If God the Son, creator of the universe, could take on the form of a servant, how can we take on the form of a Jackboot Drill Sergeant? We do all err from time to time, but the way of life of the pastor of a local church, or the leader of a House Church, must be TO SERVE the saints.

Christ as the Head-- The only One worthy to be Exalted

The central problem in Jackboot run churches is that Jesus has ceased to be the Head of the local church, and the pastor has exalted himself. The Jackboot boys will scream "foul" here, but I have watched this for a long time, and many godly men are now calling it just this way. It is so obvious. So, the leader and founder of a House Church must watch every activity of his own, and that of the saints, to make sure Christ stays Head of His Church.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

The husband of the Christian home is the head of his family, but NOT of other families. If a lady with an unmarried husband comes into the assembly, House Church or otherwise, and her husband will not come with her, HER HUSBAND IS STILL HER HEAD, NOT the pastor. The pastor of the local church is NOT the head of anyone. Read that again please.

Colossians 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

The supreme idiocy of the Jackboot pastor is that, while he may claim all power over the saints, he didn't die for them. He will rule virtually every detail of their lives, but he cannot hold anything together, often even losing his family's respect for him. The only "fullness" in these Jerkenhalter popelettes is like the fulness of the Goodyear blimp-- hot air.

As you lead in the House Church, the headship of Christ must be kept 100% unique and final. No infringement may take place on Christ's authority over his sheep. This is insured by the spirit to serve and feed at the same time. This leads us on to our next discussion.


Pastor-- Feeds sheep-- Study and teach

In San Bruno, California, the leaders of a Baptist church threw away their pastor. He was just too common and colorless. He was faithful and a steady Bible teacher, but the church had grown more sophisticated, and it was time to find a man with a doctorate.

They found their Bible scholar, and thought they had the "best they could get for the money" they could offer. The man had been a real success in every place he had been before-- his resume was spectacular. The first Sunday this new pastor got up in the pulpit, produced a copy of the church constitution, and promptly tore it in half. Then he announced, "From now on, I run this church."

If this is how you came to be starting a House Church, after some fool stunt like the story above, may I ask you friend, "Are you going to do the same dumb thing all over again?

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

So, let's be more specific-- What is the foundation if Christ is in heaven, and we are to start building here on earth? Is there another manifestation of Christ which will serve as the foundation? The answer is obvious-- The written Word of God IS the Lord Jesus to us now.

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

The Word and Christ are one and the same thing.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw

Check it out:

God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ gave it to the angel
The angel gave it to John, and
John gave it to you.

You are four steps away from the source. If you want to get ANYTHING right in the Christian life, and in the Lord's Church, the only way will be if you use the Word of God as the final authority in ALL matters. Is the Word of God sufficient.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

1 Kings 6:12 Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father:

Building an Old Testament temple or a New Testament House Church have this in common-- that they must be build on the Word of God and acts of obedience TO the Word of God.

Now, I will make lots of Jackboots mad here, but I think I like it that way. Pay attention:

TO BE AN EFFECTIVE SERVANT TO THE LORD'S CHURCH, YOU NEED NOTHING BUT A KING JAMES BIBLE AND ZEAL. In fact, given the condition of ALL Bible Colleges and about 99% of all Bible Institutes, you should NOT wander around "getting ready." What to do?

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

If you still feel intimidated with Bible study, SEND MAIL, and I will give you a very brief plan for Bible study. It is not as mysterious as you might think, though it IS work. If you are too lazy to study your Bible, you have NO business starting a House Church.

Deacons-- Feed sheep-- Study and teach

How does a deacon deac?

One well known Jackboot pastor in Dayton, Ohio told me personally that his deacons were not given any authority and responsibility in his church. He TOLD me that his deacons were mostly janitors, and he didn't consult them for their opinion on anything. This preacher was counseling me how to direct the work of the ministry.

Does this fit with the New Testament?

Acts 6:1 And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.
2 Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
3 Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.
4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
6 Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them.
7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

So, Stephen was a waiter, a bus boy, right? That's right. A deacon must first be a servant. Any preacher, elder, or deacon who will not serve is a failure by God's definition. But, when the time came to show the power of God, Stephen was also available, and the Apostles didn't slap Stephen down for taking an office that was not his.

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
9 Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.

In chapter 7 at Stephen's trial, he preached a sermon of such power that all present were under deep conviction. What a pitiful sight to see a Jackboot pastor who is terrified of letting his deacons study the Word and preach it. Watch Stephen wind up his sermon in Acts 7:

Acts 7:47 But Solomon built him an house.
48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
49 Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?
50 Hath not my hand made all these things?
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.
52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers:
53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
54 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

Whenever I left to go on vacation or visit elsewhere, I would ask a deacon to preach for me. I remember being gone for three Sundays with my son Mike in New England, and Will Pardee preached for me. When I got back, everyone was talking about what a blessing Will's sermons were, even my own family. I was delighted, for I had prayed that the assembly would not get the idea that if I were not there they could not be as blessed.

Will preached one sermon on dealing with wicked leaders, and he used several evil characters in the Bible and how the saints dealt with them. This was right after Bill Clinton was first elected. I listened to the tape of the message just recently, and I could not believe how fresh and appropriate it still was.

To me, it was a delight to know that the men in my home church had grown to the point that several of them could step into the pulpit and preach if I were not there. That was not a threat to me. On the contrary, I felt I could commend these men to God and the church in the sense that I had done my job of discipling. It is the utmost pity when a man thinks his deacons must be dumb old boys with no brain and only trust them to push a broom.

This is why your House Church must cultivate every man who loves the Lord and has a good testimony so that these men ALL can open the Word and teach.

Who is "Called" to Lead?

There is a notion out there that a man has to have a "calling" to lead in the church or be a pastor. Well, God told the Jewish father to teach and lead his home, and God held the fathers accountable if they didn't.

There is NO Scripture to sustain this notion that a pastor is some sort of special "called" man in distinction from the father of the Christian home. The word "called" is used in the Bible to speak of many things, and a pastor, father, deacon, lady, believer, and Apostle are all equally "called" by the same Holy Spirit.

So, is there a standard? Oh yes, and it is as plain as the nose on your face.

1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;
4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;
5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)
6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.
7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre;
9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.
10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless.
11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.
12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Anything added to this should be ignored as a lot of Baptist Brider drivel. Beware of wolves in Pope's clothing.

All godly men must participate in decision making

Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren:

To accomplish this, you cannot have a secret method of decision making. That is how Jackboot church leadership evolves.

Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

I want you to read what one church missed out on by not using a godly man in leadership because he was not classy and slick. CLICK HERE

The only reason to keep some man out of church affairs and decision making is if he is on church discipline.


1 Timothy 3:5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

What is implied here is that, if a man KNOWS how to rule his own house, he is qualified to take care of the church of God. At least he is approved for consideration by the Holy Spirit.

It is commonly taught by Baptist Briders and Baptist Heritage that a local church must be started by another Brider or Heritage church and pastor to be legitimate. This is not found in the Word of God, so ignore these guys. They are using the Apostolic era, and Paul's methods, and warping them to say that they are the descendants of Paul etc. They ignore the thousands of churches started in the mission fields by non-Baptists over the centuries, or they will boldly claim that these works are ALL illegal.

A local church is an gather of saints who come together to practice the essentials of the New Testament church, and the Holy Spirit will chose the man to lead them. In the New Testament, most of the churches were lead by the head of the home they met in.

So, is anyone accountable to anyone else? NO, not in the hierarchical sense at least. We are accountable to The Lord only. Any preacher boy in your neighborhood who tells you that you should be accountable to him is to be avoided completely. He is an ego driven man who lusts for power over people. Don't give the man a minute of your time please.

But, one reason we have so many abusive pastors and Jackboots out there bashing sheep is because these preacher boys answer to no one. I want to suggest that you, the leader of your House Church, find a godly older pastor as near to you as possible. I want you to talk to him about what you are doing, and make plans to visit with him four or five times a year so he can talk through some of the things you may need to consider.

You can always send me E-Mail, and I will try to help, but you need a man to man relationship with a godly brother who has pastored for many years and has a good testimony. He need not have a big church, in fact, I would avoid the big church pastor. This man you are looking for must be a man who will pray with you, yet he will prod you and press you in areas where you need help and diligence. You may also want to take along one or two other leading men in your House Church so you all benefit from this brother's wisdom together.

Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

"Church Discipline"

Church Discipline is the term used long ago for dealing with troubles caused by saints who were getting out of line with the Bible standards for the Lord's Church. More recently, Church Discipline has come to be used by Jackboot preachers to cover their sheep bashing tricks.

Thus, we take a brief look at what Church Discipline is supposed to be in the teaching of Christ and the Apostles.

First, Church Discipline is NOT punishment by saints of saints. Church Discipline is NOT revenge against saints, though it can be revenge against sin IN saints, as in 2 Cor. 7:11. Church Discipline is not your way of keeping the troops loyal or from going AWOL (Absent WithOut Leave), as in the US Military.

Church Discipline is....

According to Jesus:

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

These witnesses are on the principle of Moses' Law, so they must be witnesses of the offense previously, NOT of the confrontation, as some of you perverted Anglo / Americans think.

According to Paul:

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Note following the steps in the process:

2 Corinthians 7:11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

You MUST understand the spirit essential in one who feels he must rebuke another saint. If you do not have this spirit, you will simply revert to the Jackboot mentality you fled from... Thus:

Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
2 Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Don't be picky in small things, especially with a new believer. Be sure that the above text is applied only in large matters that can openly offend the Lord and the saints in the assembly.

Let me illustrate. I had a man in a church I pastored who was battling with tobacco. He was making progress, and he was not an identifiable offense to the assembly. I decided to let the Holy Spirit work on him and stay out of it. I let him know I was praying for him thought. He got the victory finally, and there was no need to make an fuss officially over the thing. If a saint is making progress in dealing with a problem in his life, give the person some slack, and see if victory comes by and by.

According to John:

3 John 1:9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
11 Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
12 Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is true.

So, if you have a Diotrophes, do not hesitate to demand that he leave. If he is highly authoritarian, don't give him "a second chance" for he will only use more stealth in his attacks. You may want to ask for the House Church Pastor who is helping you to come and pitch the man (or woman) out of the assembly for you. I, Steve Van Nattan, am available for such duty also.

If you have a Demetrius, let someone outside of your assembly note this, not you. Do not lift up men in the assembly as special.

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Key word: Turn Away. You don't have to whip them, just get away from them. Now, suppose they have somehow worked their way into your fellowship of saints by stealth and then openly start behaving as Paul mentioned? Do you leave them and move to another home? No, not unless the home where you meet is their home. If the home and assembly are not the problem, the way you "Turn Away" from this kind of person is to ask them to leave. Make VERY sure you are dealing with this sort of thing, and then call them between meetings by phone, and run them off. You are NOT under obligation to show such people consideration, according to Paul.

Beware though, for many Jackboot pastors use the above text to thrash people for the slightest error or life struggle with sin and the old nature. The above text is very specific to very wicked people only. One example would be a Mormon or Rhema type Pentecostal sent in to take over your House Church for their own cause.

According to Peter:

2 Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Verse 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Implied: Anyone who offends the saints, after proper and gracious rebuke, should NOT be allowed to hang around the House Church and pervert the Truth and the believers.

According to Jude:

Jude 1:19 These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.
20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

There is always someone talking about "separation" as though they are holy and taking the high ground in the Christian life, when in fact, they are forming a clique of followers. This is what Jude is talking about here.

The key phrase here is "making a difference." You do NOT have to be patient with every pest who causes trouble. Make a difference in prayer and common sense. Sometimes you will pitch them right out the door at once, while other times you will talk to them and rebuke them in love. Some will respond to this and be restored, while others will rebel. Rebels are also out the door so soon as this is clear.

Never chase anyone down the road begging them to return if they left in rage and self-righteousness. They want you to come beg them to return. Never do so please.

A word on pastors and leaders from nearby churches who come visiting:

Ask them before they enter the house if they are there to participate as one of the folks, or do they feel they are the official pastor or presiding deacon for you and your town or area. If they cannot give a straight answer, run them off at once. You will regret it if you don't. You owe NOTHING to anyone outside your local church who has not proven themselves your friends in the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are declared to be counterfeit by some Jackboot local pastor, put him under ecclesiastical arrest, and declare him anathema to your people publicly. Never let him come near any of your services, and if he tries, call the police and have him hauled away. I don't care how big a potentate he is!

Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.

Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD.



It is Sunday in Tennessee. It is rainy in Tennessee. It is the Lord's Day in Tennessee. If we think Sunday, the Lord's Day, is a great day to rest, and if we truly believe a day of rest is in the nature of the Creator who rested on the seventh day, then, pray tell, why do we allow jack boot preachers to coerce us into endless activity on the Lord's Day? From rising in the early morning, to possibly 11:00 o'clock at night, many Bible believers are going flat out to "be here every time the doors are open," to prepare a huge dinner at mid day, to work the women all day long in the church house kitchen, to drive a bus, to herd a zillion brats who were sent to the church house by married couples who want them out of the house so they can have sex Sunday morning, to a rollicking Southern Gospel floor show after the PM service.... What a great way to rest!

So, the doctor told you that you better slow down, or you will have a heart attack, right? My dear idiot of the frenzy club, may I make a suggestion....? How about sleeping in next Sunday morning and having some play time with the wife, and then off to Shoney's for a leisurely breakfast, and then "provoke" a few friends over and obey Hebrews 10:25 and have a Bible study, sing some hymns, and have a Bible lesson ready for edification and discussion?

"But," you wail, "That is not 'going to church' " You poor thing. Church is people, not some point on the map with big glass doors that open to receive your attendance. Church is people, and when even one other Bible believer is meeting with you, at the cafe or in your living room, you are "having church." Now, read the following, and please tell me how modern churchianity, with its frenzy and driven man-centered activity, fulfills the teaching of the Word of God:

Hebrews 10:24 (KJV) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Every saint is to exhort other saints at one time or another. This is why pastors are mentioned in only one verse in the New Testament in Ephesians 4. A mature local church in Paul's day did not need a pastor, for every man could exhort and teach. This is why Timothy was never told to appoint pastors, rather; he was to appoint elders, aged men (literal Greek). A local church that perceptually needs a pastor to exhort the saints is a baby immature church. There is no exception to this rule. Clearance Sexton, Lee Roberson, and every monster church pastor, all have a batch of impotent babies sitting in front of them.

Matthew 18:19 (KJV) Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
So, is it essential to have a preacher, bishop, pastor, father, or Pope present in order to "have church" if we have Jesus present?

Acts 8:3 (KJV) As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Paul did not enter into big meeting places, only homes, to find true Bible believers.

1 Corinthians 16:19 (KJV) The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. This couple figured in a central manner in Paul's ministry, and they NEVER BUILT A SPECIAL CHURCH HOUSE!

Philemon 1:2 (KJV) And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: Again, probably a house church lead by a husband and wife.


Our House Church Section

Beware of the Cumulus Lapidum

Which kind of "church" are you "going to"?

New Testament
House Church
Corporate Church
Location Moved from house to house Meets in large buildings with a sign out front calling the building a "church"
Size of Groups Small, intimate groups Large, impersonal groups who rush for the exit as soon as the preacher says Amen
Activities Daily fellowship
Eating and breaking bread together-- Love feast
Daily confess Christ everywhere
Weekly worship service, be at a brick and mortar house "every time the doors are open"
Peach Gospel Sunday morning
Support System Building up one another
Meet for coffee between Sundays
Seek the Pastor's approval
Gossip on the telephone
Have "church business meeting" and move the previous question
Relationships Intimate, personal, loving--
Support widows instead of pastors
Paul supported himself
Remote, little transparency
"Pastoral Rule"-- Keep your place in the order of the peck
Discipling Be an example, Write letters,
Travel and teach--
Appoint elders
Classes, seminars, make lists of members and baptized, drive men and women until the are never home and exhausted
Primary task
of Leaders
Equipping every believer to do the work of ministry
Eat with publicans and sinners
Direct programs, chair meetings, preach tithing, eat Big Macs, hide from the sheep, carry a satchel to preacher's camp meetings

When David Cloud, or any other bastardized supreme potentate, demands that you "become a member" of a "local church" so that you can be "under authority" of a pastor, you must ignore them and flee to the Brook Cherith like Elijah. Leave the organized church to the prophet of Baal and his meddling Jezebel wife. Jesus Christ is in YOU and in your home, and there is nowhere else Jesus wants to go to be "in the midst." Simply invite a few Bible believing friends over, and BE CHURCH.