The House Church Movement 3 (Multiple Elders, Houses vs Buildings) | Victor Tey

 

This final part on the “house church” movement goes over the impracticality of expecting churches to always have multiple elders and always meet in a home. This sermon goes into depth on the qualifications of a bishop and deacon which I hope will help those that desire one day to hold one of these two offices.

Churches do not always have to have multiple elders

  1. It is correct that in Acts the churches always refer to elders (plural)
    1. It is also recounting a time when christianity was booming
    2. Acts 14:23 – ordained them elders in every church
      1. Every church had multiple, or across multiple churches?
      2. What if only one person was qualified?
    3. Titus 1:5 – Titus alone left in Crete to ordain elders
      1. Doesn’t it need to sometimes start with one person?
  2. Are there even multiple men qualified to have multiple?
    1. Let’s look at the qualifications
    2. Titus 1:5-9
      1. “ordain/appointed” – you are selected by another authority, not self-appointed
      2. “If any” – not a special call of God, but a man that fulfills certain criteria
        1. Judges 6:11-14 – have not I sent thee?
      3. “blameless” – not sinless but not accused of wrongdoing.
      4. “wife/children” – married with children
      5. “steward” – responsible for the physical possessions of the church
      6. “not selfwilled” – doesn’t mean they don’t do things their way but they are doing what’s best for God and others
      7. “not soon angry” – there is a time to be angry, but he has patience (needed when dealing with people of all backgrounds)
      8. “not given to wine” – not a drunkard, self-control, disciplined
      9. “no striker” – physical fighting
      10. “not given to filthy lucre” – no desire to be rich, will potentially be handling large amounts of money as a steward of God for the church.
      11. “lover of hospitality” – you need to be willing to share your living space with many other people, keeps you real to the church.
      12. “lover of good men” – not only the rich and powerful, but those that walk in the spirit.
      13. “sober” – can think clearly, not soon angry, quick to hear, not emotionally driven
      14. “just” – fair, will need to sometimes make a judgement between believers
      15. “holy” – separated from the world
      16. “temperate” – disciplined, consistent, even when you don’t feel like doing right, people are counting on you. Faithful in the small things, who shall put into your trust the true riches (souls)?
      17. “faithful word” – not just any word, awake enough to realise not all bibles can be God’s word. He’s holding fast something, not nothing that must be constantly sought for…
      18. “been taught” – is teachable, can learn new things, be corrected
      19. “sound doctrine” – not just holding fast with unsound positions
      20. “exhort/convince” – two different things, or the same things?
    3. 1 Timothy 3:1-13
      1. “vigilant” – on guard for false doctrine and false teachers
      2. “good behaviour” – “holy” as per Titus 1
      3. “given to hospitality” – it comes naturally and easily, likes to serve others
      4. “apt to teach” – “sound doctrine, exhort/teach” as per Titus 1
      5. “patient” – “not soon angry” as per Titus 1
      6. “how shall he take care of the church of God?” – family is the proving ground, the importance of being married with children, not easy to keep a family in order and still be serving God.
        1. Story of the orthodox priest who is celibate.
        2. Bread not moldy is proof of transubstantiation?
      7. “not a novice” – not a beginner, naive, not much experience in the faith, exposure to multiple positions, easily influenced by the wrong people, rich people
      8. “them which are without” – either those outside of church, or the poor, keeps him humble
      9. Deacons
        1. “not doubletongued” – one face to bishop and another to the members
        2. “even so must their wives” – it’s not just the bishop that needs to meet qualifications, but also their wives
        3. “wife/children” – deacons also must be married with children, no women deacons.
    4. Doesn’t mean if a person doesn’t fulfil these qualification they are no longer legitimate, think of it like a job description. You can get the job even though you may not be qualified. The decision is up to the hiring manager.
    5. Character is emphasized over doctrine.
  3. If you had multiple, why not spread them out?
    1. Less travel time
    2. Reach more areas with the gospel
  4. Can you afford to pay multiple?
    1. Is it just about a status?
    2. All my expenses are not covered and this is not even ideal, but people want us to have two people in the same situation?
    3. Accountability? they are accountable to both God and the church. You don’t need to be a bishop to keep a bishop accountable.
  5. There doesn’t need to be a hard and fast rule, liberty among God’s people.
    1. There is no clear command in regards to the number of bishops/deacons a church should have.
    2. If we followed the NT pattern, we should only consider getting deacons once the church has thousands of people.
    3. Acts 2:41 – 3000 souls.
    4. Acts 6:1 – disciples multiplied
    5. Should just be in response to the needs and abilities of the church.
      1. More complex churches may need more workers.
      2. Churches without men apt to teach may be more deacon heavy.

A house is a building

  1. “Are you a house church or do you have a building”
    1. We’re not meeting outdoors…
    2. A house is a building
    3. Is it only a house
      1. If one person owns the property?
      2. If the bishop pays the whole rent amount?
      3. If someone lives there?
      4. Are we still a house church if we meet in a separated garage space dedicated for church meetings?
      5. Are we still a house church if the hall we meet in is equally distant from the separated garage?
      6. How far away can your building be before you’re no longer a house church?
    4. What if the house is not big enough for the church size?
      1. Will need a much larger space if you’re sitting in a circle on couches as opposed to in rows with stackable chairs?
      2. Do you split the church just to stay in smaller buildings?
      3. What if there is no bishop for the new church
      4. Why seek to plant churches without elders?
      5. Why is it okay for the church in Jerusalem to be thousands of people and the word of God is multiplying?
      6. Did God allow them to be split up by persecution because they were big, or because they were not going into all the world?
  2. Only people from the USA seems to take this view because their houses are huge
    1. What about people living in Singapore and Hong Kong studios?
    2. Sydney homes aren’t that big unless you’re a millionaire.
    3. Would you prefer to risk the local council fining you $6000 for using a home with a large church or just rent a hall?
    4. We ought to stand up against tyrannical laws. But we need to prioritize our resources.

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