THE CHURCH IN YOUR HOUSE
BY W. C. PARKEY
Every home should be a house of God! The early church did not own church buildings. They met in the upper room. They met in the Temple. They met in Solomon’s porch. But most of all they met from “house to house,” that is, in the homes of various individuals. (See Acts 2:46; 5:42.) The Bible mentions churches in the homes of Acquilla and Priscilla (I Corinthians 16:19), Apphia and Archippus (Philemon 1:2), and Nymphas (Colossians 4:15).
When two or three Christians gather together in the name of Christ, His presence is there (Matthew 18:20). When two or three agree together in prayer, it shall be done (Matthew 18:19).
There is a need for the structure of an organized ministry and outreach. Thank God for buildings, carpet, pews, air conditioning, ushers, a P. A. system, the electronic organ, and all the other helps we use in our churches. Still, there is a need to take the worship, the ambiance, the fervency, and the practice of our religion to our homes after the Sunday night service.
Every House Should Be a House of Prayer
The home of Mary was a house of prayer. When Peter was released from prison, he returned to the house of Mary, the mother of John Mark, where a prayer meeting was going on. John Mark later accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey. Mark became the author of the second Gospel and a companion and confidante of the apostle Peter. Evidently his life was shaped, as many lives have been, by his home being a house of prayer.
My parents’ home was also a house of prayer. Some people state that they never heard their mother pray, but I heard my mother pray many times. I would find her in the bedroom or in the living room praying on her knees.
One evening, as my father was praying in the bedroom, my sister, who was seven years old, went in to pray with him. He then called the rest of the family to join in prayer, and as we prayed my sister was filled with the Holy Ghost.
My home has been a house of prayer. When my children were young, I taught them to pray. We prayed together the children’s prayer, “Now, I lay me down to sleep…” When my oldest son went with me to a special service, Brother T. F. Tenney in his message said, “You need to pray for yourself.” That night when we went to pray my oldest son said, “If you don’t mind, Dad, I’ll pray my own prayers from now on.”
That went well for awhile, but when he reached the age of twelve he seemed to lose interest not only in prayer but also in church. I was concerned, and I prayed that God would help me know how to deal with my son’s situation. The Lord impressed me with a thought: Your son is like a flower. If you force the bud to bloom, you will destroy it. But it will open in its own time.
One night while his sisters were praying in their room, Bill joined them and really began to pray. He repented that night in the bedroom. He was baptized on Sunday night and soon received the Holy Ghost.
Is your home a house of prayer? Peter prayed at Simon the Tanner’s house in Joppa, and God gave him a vision of the salvation of Gentiles. Cornelius was praying in his house in Caesarea when God told him to send for Peter, who would tell him how to be saved. Peter raised Dorcas from the dead at her own house. Great things can happen in your home when you pray.
Your Home Ought To Be a of Worship
The Jews had a hang-up. They thought that the Temple at Jerusalem was the only place a person could worship God. The Samaritan women had a hang-up. She thought that because her fathers worshiped God on the mountain of Samaria, a person could not worship God anywhere else. Jesus told her, “Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father” (John 4:23). He then said to her, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23).
The Ethiopian eunuch went to Jerusalem to worship. As he returned home by the way of Gaza he still did not understand the Scriptures nor the power of God. Then Philip joined his chariot. While riding along, Philip preached Jesus to him, and they stopped by the side of the road for Philip to baptize him. The Ethiopian returned to his home in Ethiopia rejoicing! He knew that he could worship God in a chariot, that he did not need to return to Jerusalem. Tradition says he brought the Christian message back with him to Ethiopia. He made a place of worship in his homeland.
There can be singing at home! The psalmist wrote, “Let the saints … sing aloud upon their beds” (Psalm 149:5). If you cannot sing in the choir at church, you can sing at home. You can sing without a congregation and without musical instruments; you can make melody in your heart to the Lord. (See Ephesians 5:19.) Paul and Silas sang in the jail house, their room for the night. They worshiped that night in jail, and through their worship came the salvation of the jailer, for he believed and was baptized after the midnight service. Get a song in your heart and take it home with you. Someone may hear you sing and be blessed. If no one else is, you will be blessed as you sing with grace in your heart.
Your Home Can Be a Place for the Word
The Word of God should be read at home! The commandment that God gave to Israel was, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Before there was a BREAD program to read the Bible through in a year, my mother read her Bible through each year. My dad was a farmer, and when he could not work in the fields he was at home reading the Bible.
One evening when I was a high school student, my sister began to read aloud from the Book of Revelation. The passage she was reading brought me under conviction and made me see my need of prayer. To escape, I went to the car to listen to the radio. I turned the dial to a Baptist preacher’s radio broadcast, and he was reading the same passage of Scripture. I went back in the house and asked my dad if we could have a prayer meeting. I prayed through to victory that night because the Word of God was read at home.
We often discussed the sermon (not the preacher) when we came home from church services. We discussed the Sunday school lesson when we came home from Sunday school (and we still do). Someone told of a preacher who several years ago came to visit a family. To impress the minister, the mother said to her son, “Son, go and get the dear old book that your mother loves so much.” The mother expected him to bring the Bible, but the son soon returned with the Sears and Roebuck catalog! It is time to dust off the Bible, take out the pictures and pressed flowers, and read the Bible in our homes.
Florence Westburg lived on a Kansas farm where there was no church. The only way she could go to church was to catch the public school bus to town and then catch the Greyhound bus to the next town. But she talked about the Bible at home. When she listened to preachers on the radio she kept up a commentary contradicting their erroneous teaching while she was ironing or cooking. Today, one of her sons, Francis Westburg, is a pastor in Cushing, Oklahoma, and another, Leonard Westburg, is a pastor in Kansas and also serves as the superintendent of the Kansas District. Her daughter, Melissa Anderson, is the general secretary of the Ladies Auxiliary. Her children are a tribute to a home where the Word of God was read, remembered, and discussed.
Your Home Can Be a Place for Revival
There can be revival in your home. The Azusa Street Revival in Los Angeles, California, began when William J. Seymour preached a sermon about the Holy Ghost in a small holiness church. The pastor put a padlock on the church doors to keep him from returning. But he began praying in a home on Bonnie Brae Street. Soon people began to receive the Holy Ghost, and the crowd quickly became so large that the services were moved into an old building on Azusa Street.
The Gentile revival in Caesarea began in Cornelius’ house with his family, his friends, and his near kin. Peter’s mother-in-law was healed in her own home. When people have revival in their homes, when they pray in their homes, when they sing and worship in their homes, they come to the church building ready to worship God in Spirit and in truth. They do not have to wait for the altar call so that they can pray through-they prayed through at home.
Do you have church in your house? Or is your home a worldly place? Is it a reflection of the world or a replica of the church? Why not have church in your home, a place to pray, to sing, to read God’s Word, and to worship Him. When the service ends on Sunday night at church, why not take the spirit of that service home and let it continue throughout the week? You will have revival, you will see miracles, and you will find victory in your life.
Brother Parkev is the pastor of Cornerstone Tabernacle First United Pentecostal Church in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He is also a member of the Board of Publication.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, SEPTEMBER, 1994, PAGES 7, 9, 10. THIS MATERIAL IS
COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.