A. In light of the promised Kingdom and resurrection, the Church is called to worship, discipleship and evangelism. These functions of the Church are all in direct relation to the coming Kingdom. We worship the Sovereign One who will judge the living and the dead; we walk in righteousness in preparation for the righteousness that will soon be established on the earth; and we appeal to all creation to flee from the wrath to come.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men… 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again… 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. (NIV 2 Corinthians 5:10-20)
B. God has given the Assembly the gift of a deposit of his Spirit as a Helper to aid in our perseverance and testimony of Jesus. The Holy Spirit is the grace of God given to believers to sustain and empower them in their sojourning during their time of exile. Given in response to prayer, gifts of the Spirit are administrated through the five-fold ministry for the edification of the Body.
… in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. (NIV Romans 12:5-8)
C. All of the functions and elements of the church are best accomplished through a home-based form. The corporate-based model is not only ineffective (because of the excessive financial and temporal burdens), but it is also illogical (in light of the imminent destruction of the Day of the Lord and the preceding antichrist regime).
But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 35 Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. (NIV Luke 12:31-36)
What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away. (NIV 1 Corinthians 7:29-31)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; 16 for all that is in the world– the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches (Gk. bios, “possessions” ESV/NLT)— comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever. 18 Children, it is the last hour! As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come… 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he has promised us, eternal life… 28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming. (NRSV 1 John 2:15-28)
Meaning: 1) life 1a) life extensively 1a1) the period or course of life 1b) that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth, goods
Origin: a primary word; TDNT – 2:832,290; n m
Usage: AV – life 5, living 5, good 1; 11
1. Church planter and missiologist David Garrison keenly summarizes 10 advantages of home-based fellowships:
a) Leadership responsibilities remain small and manageable.
b) If heresies do occur they are confined by the small size of the house church. Like a leak that appears in the hull of a great ship, the heresy can be sealed off in a single compartment without endangering the whole.
c) You can’t hide in a small group, so accountability is amplified.
d) Member care is easier, because everyone knows everyone.
e) Because house church structure is simple, it is easier to reproduce.
f) Small groups tend to be much more efficient at evangelism and assimilation of new believers.
g) Meeting in homes positions the church closer to the lost.
h) House churches blend into the community rendering them less visible to persecutors.
i) Basing in the home keeps the church’s attention on daily life issues.
j) The very nature of multiplying house churches promotes the rapid development of new church leaders.
2. Corporate holdings are not inherently evil but must be maturely and shrewdly managed (cf. Lk. 16:8ff; 1 Tim. 6:17ff) in the equipping of the Body of Christ. If a corporate holding begins to disempower the ministry of the common believer, it must be crucified. Wealth and assets must be used to bless people, rather than people being used to build wealth and assets.
After one week of fasting and prayer, I suddenly heard the Holy Spirit tell me these words, “Oil Station”. When the Lord returns his followers must have oil burning in their lamps… Until that time our church had experienced God’s great power in our midst, and had seen miracles and many people come to the Lord. But this was the first time we ever seriously implemented a training programme to send new workers into the harvest field. We called the Oil Station the “Prophet Samuel Training Centre”. During the [two-month] school, each student was required to read through the entire New Testament and memorize a chapter a day. One month after the start of class most of the students could quote the whole Gospel of Matthew by memory. We all lived and ate together in the cave… Every morning we awoke at 4:30 a.m. and washed. At five o’clock we worshipped the Lord. We then prayed for all our co-workers in the field for the next few hours. At eight o’clock the first class of the day commenced. Every day we ate only two meals, at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. We took turns at cooking and doing other chores. In the evening we all had homework to do… These young workers, filled with God’s oil, were welcomed and appreciated all over China. They became gospel warriors. On 16 January  our church elders laid hands on the young workers and sent them out into the field. They scattered from our home base to all parts of China.
A. No metaphor is more commonly used concerning the church than that of a “body” (cf. Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:17; 5:23; Col. 1:24). A body by definition is living organism. The use of the body metaphor is used intentionally to emphasize the quality of life, in and between believers. The healthy functioning of the body is the highest goal of the apostolic church.
1. Like all organisms in creation, the church is called to be fruitful and multiply (cf. Gen. 1:22, 26; Is. 45:18; Mt. 28:19; Mk. 16:15; Lk. 24:47; Acts 1:8). The church was always intended to be a living body, designed by God to be healthy and fruitful.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (NIV Matthew 28:18-20)
2. As the human body is designed for intimacy unto fruitfulness, so also is the Body of Christ designed for intimacy with God (cf. Jn. 15:4ff; Col. 1:23; 1 Jn. 2:24ff; Jude 1:20) unto fruitfulness in converts, those born of God and discipled in light of the Day of the Lord (cf. Jn. 1:13; 1 Pe. 1:3; Jam. 1:18; 1 Jn. 3:9; 5:1).
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. (NIV John 15:5-6)
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. (NIV Colossians 1:22-23)
But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (ESV Jude 1:20-21)
3. The church ought to naturally reproduce as it walks in holiness and righteousness amongst unbelievers. Focusing on the quality of life in light of the Day of the Lord, it ought to be obvious to everyone that Christians are not living for this age. There should be no need for spiritual “artificial insemination,” unnatural evangelistic programs within the Body.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge. (NRSV 1 Peter 2:11-12)
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. (NIV 1 Peter 3:15-16)
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (NIV Colossians 4:5-6)
4. As there is no explicit “fruitfulness strategy” within a marriage, so also is there no explicit “church planting strategy” laid out in the New Testament, because fruitfulness is the assumed product of intimacy. The reason we come up with such strategies in the modern church is because we have been intimate with “other lovers” (e.g. money and power), which has created illegitimate children—money-makers and power-brokers who are neither citizens of heaven nor heirs of the kingdom.
B. The Scriptures also emphasize the church as a spiritual “family” (cf. Mt. 12:50; 25:40; Eph. 2:19; Gal. 6:10; Heb. 3:6; etc.). Like the body metaphor, the goal of a family is quality of life. A family ultimately strives toward health and maturity. Likewise, this is the goal of the five-fold ministry: to father mature spiritual families that reproduce and create healthy spiritual families of their own.
Meaning: 1) belonging to a house or family, domestic, intimate 1a) belonging to one’s household, related by blood, kindred 1b) belonging to the household of God 1c) belonging, devoted to, adherents of a thing
Origin: from 3624 [Gk. oikos, “house”]; TDNT – 5:134,674; adj
Usage: AV – of the household 2, of (one’s) own house 1; 3 [Gal. 6:10; Eph. 2:19; 1 Tim. 5:8]
Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family (Gk. oikeios) of believers. (NIV Galatians 6:10)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household (Gk. oikeios) of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets… (ESV Ephesians 2:19-20)
But Christ is faithful as a son over God’s house. And we are his house (Gk. oikos), if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. (NIV Hebrews 3:6)
1. As in any righteous family, the goal of leadership within the home is not unto the glorification and exaltation of the maturity of the parents; rather it is the goal of the parents to love, train and empower the children within the home, creating an environment and atmosphere of love and common household health.
Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. 15 So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well. (NIV 2 Corinthians 12:14-15)
2. Apostolic ministers are the “chief fathers” within the Body of Christ, those who are entrusted with the gospel out of love for the Family, and equipped to establish others in the faith (cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 2 Cor. 12:14; Gal. 4:19; 1 Thess. 2:11; 1 Jn. 2:1; etc.).
You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, 12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (NIV 1 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
3. The role of the apostolic ministry within the Body of Christ is that of a “fatherly mastermind,” gifted by God to establish a solid foundation for a house within which spiritual families can grow and flourish.
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. (NIV 1 Corinthians 3:9-11)
4. The church can only grow when it is healthy in heart, thought and lifestyle, and the leadership of the five-fold ministry is primarily responsible for the creation of a healthy environment. When young believers are rightly nurtured, trained and equipped, the church is able to effectively reproduce and multiply.
What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe– as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. (NIV 1 Corinthians 3:5-7)
C. The five-fold ministry extends only as far as real familial bonds can extend. Authority must only function within the bounds of love. Those who try to enforce rules and discipline upon those they have no loving relationship with violate their authority.
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. 15 Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. 16 Therefore I urge you to imitate me. (NIV 1 Corinthians 4:14-16)
1. No healthy family organizes itself to become a global cartel, centrally organized in an endless pyramid. Families that are run like a business produce driven and effective children, but they are not mature and loving human beings. Likewise, when leaders become “globally minded,” they are often effective in impact but the quality of fruit in their disciples leaves something to be desired.
For even if I boast a little too much of our authority, which the Lord gave for building you up and not for destroying you, I will not be ashamed… 13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. 14 For we are not overextending ourselves, as though we did not reach you. We were the first to come all the way to you with the gospel of Christ. 15 We do not boast beyond limit in the labors of others. (ESV 2 Corinthians 10:8-15)
2. The five-fold ministry must function in a loving relational network, defined by depth of relationship. Moreover, the five-fold ministry must function in mutual submission unto mutual edification under a common Head. The assumption of ultimate leadership of the Church by any one of the five-fold ministries is death to the healthy functioning of the Body.
There is one body and one Spirit— just as you were called to one hope when you were called– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it… 11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (NIV Ephesians 4:4-13)
 “1) The entire structure of an organism (an animal, plant, or humanbeing)…” [HyperDictionary.com, “Body,” in WordNet® 3.0 (Princeton University, 2006); available from http://www.hyperdictionary.com/search.aspx?define=body.]
 These are basic governmental principles. Those in leadership ought to serve, functioning for the well-being of the whole. Those who lead for their own well-being create an atmosphere of tyranny, even when governance of the whole is unto a good cause. The love and ability of leadership must be proven, or those who are governed will grow disillusioned and bitter (cf. 1 Pe. 5:1-5; Heb. 13:17—Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21—Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1; Jam. 5:4).
 “We must know and love a people before we can disciple them… At home or abroad every discipler needs to ask: ‘For whom am I responsible?’ If a missionary fails to do this, the geographic and ethnic limits of his ministry remain blurred. He will jump from opportunity to opportunity. I asked one of these wandering gold prospectors in Central America what his area of responsibility was. ‘Oh,’ he said, ‘I am winning the country for Christ.’ He goes from city to city preaching in prisons and army camps; he bombs villages with tracts from his Cessna. It’s fun and folks back home eagerly finance it. But he will never plant a reproductive church until he learns to hold the people of a community in his heart.” [George Patterson, “The Spontaneous Multiplication of Churches,” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, 3rd. ed., Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne, eds., (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1999), 596.]