THF SUNDAY SERVICE
TOPIC: DRAWING GRACE THROUGH THE HOUSE CHURCH
TEXT: 2 Samuel 6: 10 – 12
PREACHER: Rev. Ebenezer Olawuyi
God has promised us Grace and Mercy this year but we must understand how to tap into the grace and grow in it. If you don’t understand, it is likehaving a missile in your hands filled with bullet but not knowing how to shoot it when you have an enemy in front of you. This reminds me of a story I told you before: a small boy always disturbs his dad of having reptiles in his room, after which his dad will come to kill them. One day, his dad gave him a missile to shoot the reptiles, but when next the reptiles came, he couldn’t use it and had to call on the dad again.
One of the ways to tap into grace is the house church, also called the “house cell”, the “house fellowship” or the “home church.” The house church actually was the foundation of the New Testament Church; they started in homes. The scripture says the Apostles broke bread from house to house; they had fellowship together.The bible talks about churches from homes, like the house of Aquila and Priscilla in Romans 16:3 – 5. We have quite a number of examples in the bible. The bible talks about the church in the house of Philemon also, in Philemon verse 2. Apphia was the wife of Philemon, Archippuswas the son of Philemon and all of them were in the church, what a wonderful family! You also hear about the church in Laodicea in the house of Nympha in Col. 4:15.
A church is a gathering of God’s people together. The building is the church building, it is not the church. We are the church. When believers come together, they become the church. We can have a church in a building this way and we can have a church in houses, also called the mini church or house church; they are the micro church. In the New Testament church, we have church in different houses.
When the people of God come together, the bible says “God is in the midst of them”, this is an example of what happened in the days of old – thetypology of the Ark.The children of Israel dare not joke with it. The bible is interesting, you have to understand the Old Testament to understand the New. God brought the Israelites out of Egypt as his own special people, they would be special to him, becausehe will use them to demonstrate His might to the whole world. When they get to Sinai, God gave them the law to show them how to behave. Few days after that, the children of Israel rebelled, this was when they met Aaron and contributed their earrings. God was angry and so many of them died. After that, God started telling them what to do, how to build the tabernacle which is also called the Tent of Meeting and the Ark inside the tabernacle which would represent the presence of God in those days. God is in the midst of us just like today, when we gather together.
In those days, the Ark has to be in the Holy of Hollies. Because of what happened towards the end of Exodus, the children of Israel and even Moses could not enter the ark. God was speaking from inside the Ark to Moseswho was outside the tent. God told him that even him, Moses cannot enter the ark until they do what is right. In the book of Leviticus, God started telling them what to do so that they won’t misbehave, after they have done that, in Numbers, the bible says God then spoke to Moses inside the Ark; thatwas when Moses could enter. They stayed one year in Mount Sinai and couldn’t move ahead, God then told them to later move ahead when they know how to behave. He told them the Ark must always go before them, that way nobody can conquer them. The Ark must go before them, the Levites surrounding it, thenGod told them the different tribes and where they should be. God gave them the order for them to move – Judah in the front, the Ark between and the other tribes would follow.Meaning that as they move, the ark of God’s presence must go with them and if they do anything to violate God’s instructions, He would no longer go with them.
This same Ark was brought into Obed-Edom’s house. They carried the ark wrongly, they were not even supposed to put the Ark on the ass, and Uzziah died. David was afraid and had to put the Ark in the house of Obed-Edom. I don’t know why David did that, maybe because he thought Obed-Edom’s house is so holy that God will show mercy unto them. In the whole house of Israel, the only place he could put the ark was in the house of Obed-Edom and lo and behold, the same thing that killed somebody, the bible says within three months, God so prospered them that the whole nation heard about them. 12 months is too much for God to change your story. Within three months, the story changed to the extent that they all heard about it, because the Ark was in the house.
In the days of old, the church left auditoriums like this and went into the houseof Aquila and Priscilla, Nymphas, Philemon… in different houses. About two to three years ago when we were having house fellowship, I remember the testimonyof Mrs. Olobayo, who had been looking for a job and two or three months after the house fellowship got into their house, she got the job and the story of the family changed. Now, they want a house fellowship in their house because they want a greater testimony.
BENEFITS OF HOUSE CELLS
- You experience God’s raw powerssssssss:When a church comes into your house, it is like heaven has come into your house; God has come into your house. In 1 Sam. 5: 1-5, the Philistine took that same Ark which represents the presence of God and that idol, that demon could not stand the presence of God. When God’s presence stands in your house, there is no demon, no generational curse that can stand it. The Bible says Dagon fell down with its face downwards. Because they didn’t know what it was, they thought the Ark was just plank and put it in Dagon’s house, but God’s presence dealt with that god, the demon in that land. Whenever you carry the house of the Lord, oneof the things that happen to you is that demonic powers are destroyed – thisis one of the benefits of house cells. You see the power of God in that family where house fellowship takes place. When the ark came into Obed-Edom’s house, he prospered,when the Philistines took it, they were destroyed.
You want God’s power in your family?Desire house cell, long for it. It is an easy way to demonstrate the raw power of God. Sicknesses will disappear, lack will go, things troubling you will disappear. Why? Because God’s presence has come to tabernacle in your house. This year, this experience of the bible will be raw in our families. That case of Mrs. Olobayo is just small, more doors will be opened.
- You make the word of God to work easily in your family. Anytime you do things that He has commanded, this was seen repeated in the Bible about Moses and the Israelites, and anytime things are repeated in the Bible, God is saying something. If you want the New Testament experience, do what the New Testament church did. What did they do?
And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.
You can’t expect a result when you don’t follow the principle. The bible says, “Elijah put the wood in order.” The Word of God says, “Forever, your Word is settled in heaven”. If you want New Testament result, follow the New Testament method and one of it is that the church was not only in buildings like this, it was also in houses.
- House Cells provide an opportunity for true fellowship than the regular church meeting: It is an opportunity for you to share, express love,receive words than the regular church setting. Acts 2:46 – in church, few people would come to share testimony, some are shy, but when it comes to house fellowship, you know each other and can share testimonies. It provides opportunities for true fellowship.
- It provides an opportunity for openness and involvements: Because it is an informal and relaxed environment. It is not like the church where everything is formal, the house fellowship is informal and relaxed. It allows people to be open. One thing like it is Bible Study group where people who wouldn’t talk before talk. Acts 4:23 – after the church has been threatened by the Jewish council, they were released and where did they go? They returned to their own company where they were frees. In house fellowship, you return to the place where you are more comfortable and free.
Human beings are social beings, we don’t just live, we don’t come to church alone because of sermon but because of relationship. You want to share and relate with somebody, if that is not there, the purpose of the church would be defeated. Those who just come to church and go that way are not deriving the best benefits of the church. You want to have friends and people to relate with. You want someone to share with,the church is for relationship building and the house fellowship provides such benefits because it cuts across different levels of maturity, you have the young, adult, teenagers… all of them.
- It also fosters growth and spiritual development: It is an outlet for you to serve God and one another and to participate. When you are in the house fellowship… 1 Cor. 14:26 – the scripture talks about when each one of us gathers together, one person has a song, one has a teaching, one has a tongue, one person has interpretation… each person when we come together, we are all gifted. It provides each of us with the opportunity to serve. Unlike the church, the house fellowship gives you the opportunity to participate and serve. It may be the children who will take offering and people you never imagined would begin to teach the bible. It provides you such opportunities to serve, to pray. The house of Philemon was such a wonderful house, the mother, Apphia, the son, Archippus and the father, Philemon were serving. By the time the house fellowship starts, you will be surprised at what the children would be doing and what the elder ones would be doing also.The house cell is a grace to draw grace into your life.
- It is a place to motivate and stir one another to do works (Heb. 10:25 – 26): When you gather together in house fellowship, it challenges you to want to do. You see the good things to do to advance His kingdom. You see people doing good things and you are challenged to do what will advance His Kingdom.
- It is a place for discipleship and leadership developments as gifts are identified (Heb. 5:12). There are people that by now should have grown beyond where they are, but it is like they don’t have the opportunity to exhibit that grace in their lives. The house cell is an opportunity to disciple people. In those days when we had house fellowship, some leaders now were identified in the fellowships. You see peoplenotjust good with preaching, but good with organization. There are some people that are good with caring for another, you see and identify it in them. Different gifts would be identified in the fellowship. Leaders are developed and people are grounded in the word and the love of God so that they can be properly established.
- It is a place where needs are discovered and love demonstrated (1 Pet. 3:8):When we are in the auditorium this way, there are people with needs. In the days of old, it almost causedcrises; there were people with needs which were not met and the Apostles had to make deacons. Sometimes, people are passing through stuffs and the leadership of the church are not aware of it because it is very easy to get lost in the midst of a big congregation, but where there is a house fellowship, it is easily discovered. It will be easy to identify that this person is sick, has a need, just gives births, etc. We discover needs and it is an opportunity to demonstrate love. In some places, for a naming to take place in the church, it must pass through the house cell. If it doesn’t pass through the house cell, the church would not be involved. People should know you; the church is your family. Some of us emphasize biological family more than spiritual family but do you know that if your father, mother, brother or sister is not born again, by the time they die, you will never see them again. However, your brothers and sisters you see in the house of God who are believers are those you will see. So, which one lasts longer? Needs are met, feel free in the house fellowship.
- It provides accountability in the Church:It makes you to be accountable. People know you, know when you are not around and quickly make provisions. Cain asked if he is brother’s keeper… you are supposed to be your brother’s keeper, you ought to be your sister’s keeper also. You need to account for others.
- It provides an opportunity for evangelism (Matt. 28:19 – 20):The house fellowship is actually the meeting of believers and unbelievers and people of different levels together in aplace at a certain time to share the word of God. What you do is that you invite others, your friends, and in the process, they hear the word of God and would be changed; they would be saved. It is easier to attend a house fellowship than to attend a church. It is easy for a person to be invited to a house fellowship which is near them than a church which may be far from them.
The summary of it is that why the house cell is so important is because the Ark of God, the presence of God, has come to tabernacle with you. House cells are not forced on people, they are willingly wanted by people. You don’t force it on people, if you do so, the blessings will not come. Even if suggestions are made, the family must be willing. Everything must be done willingly, cheerfully and joyfully. Bringing house fellowship into your house is bringing God’s favour into your house, it is bringing God’s prosperity into your house and family as a whole because you will be the first partaker of the blessings. We wait for the transformation that God wants to do in this church and it will start through you. Amen.
Let us Pray
Sing: Here I am,
As for me, I will serve the Lord.
Say, Lord I am available for you. This year, let your grace be demonstrated in my life. Anything that I need to do to tap into and draw your grace, Lord help me to yield. Help me to follow the cloud of glory as it moves.