Every time I “eat” the Book of Acts it takes on new life.
Recently, as I read through it, I took note of where and when the early Church “went to church.”
Regarding where they “went to church”…
They met on mountains (1:4, 12), in public places (20:20), in upper rooms (1:13-26; 20:5-12), in houses (2:1-2, 46; 10:27; 12:5, 12; 16:40; 20:20; 28:30-31), in the temple (2:46; 3:1), in Solomon’s porch (5:12), along riverbanks (16:13), in jails/dungeons (16:25), and on beaches (21:5).
As for when they “went to church”…
They met on “the day of Pentecost” in “the third hour” (9am)(2:1-2), at the hour of prayer in the ninth hour (3pm)(3:1), on sabbath days (17:1-4; 18:4), on the first day of the week (20:5-12), as well as daily (19:7-10).
Where does it say the Church has to meet in a certain way in a certain place at a certain time?
Many Christians say “Well, you really need to be in a local church because you don’t need to forsake the assembling of yourselves with other believers.” But these folks are merely repeating what they’ve been told without actually studying the two verses they’re getting this from, let alone the context around them. The two verses are Hebrews 10:24-25 (KJV):
“…Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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.”
What does this passage have to do with regular “local church” attendance?
Where do these verses say where, when and how we have to “assemble”?
Well, then why do we assume that those who don’t “go to church” on Sundays are “forsaking the assembling of ourselves together”?
Because we’ve elevated the traditions of men above the Word of God.
Could it be that religion has imposed man-made methods and structures for how, when and where we’re to do church that we’ve completely lost the why?
Jesus defined “going to church” as…
“…Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matt 18:20 KJV
Notice, there’s no when or how, and regarding where, well, it’s IN HIS NAME.
And this is exactly how Jesus “assembled” in the Gospels and how the Church “assembled” in the first century. They didn’t just “assemble” in rooms or buildings. Anyone can gather a group of people in a building — that doesn’t mean they’re assembled. Jesus assembled with his disciples daily, through regular, intimate, face-to-face dialogue and connection, where they ate together, depended on one another, and and engaged in fearless vulnerability.
By the way, the House of God has never been a building but has always and will always be His people (1 Tim 3:15; Heb 3:6; 1 Pet 2:5). We are His Temple (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:15-20; 2 Cor 6:14-18; Eph 2:19-22). Of course, most say they believe this but they really don’t.
Needless to say, life in Jesus is simple. While religion complicates, dictates and manipulates, Jesus liberates!
“…Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Cor 3:17 KJV
Thank you Jesus!