Second, Paul's pattern and emphasis of "the church in thy house" stood in harmony with the doctrine that he taught concerning our true identify. Paul taught that we are the church (Ephesians 1:22, 23). He taught that we are God's building (I Corinthians 3:9), His temple (I Corinthians 3:16), His house (I Timothy 3:15), His habitation (Ephesians 2:22). That's who we are! That is our identity.

God obviously knew that the religious system would attempt to steal away our identity. Our true identity is confirmed and protected in the Pauline pattern of "the church in thy house." All around us there are those who would in practice and speech deny these great truths! Even those among us who profess to know in truth that we are God's building, His temple, and His house, His habitation, will nonetheless deny it in speech and practice. Just listen to these endless phrases of denial:

"Where do you go to church?"

"Our church is over on South and Main."

"He invited us to his church."

"I really love going to my church."

"I see your church is getting a face lift."

"Hurry, we don't want to be late for church."

"Would you stop by the church and pick up our offering envelopes."

ALL of these are the WRONG church! Not a one in the bunch is God's! Do these phrases not trouble anyone?

Paul's "manner of life"(II Timothy 3:10) with the saints stood as a testimony that the body of Christ was the church building of God. The gathering of "the church in thy house" was in clear support this important truth. Religious talk, like that listed above, is lost in the simplicity of home gatherings.

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (II Corinthians 11:3).

Clyde Pilkington

Gladstone, VA

Visit Clyde's web site at http://www.pilkingtonandsons.com

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