By the time of Christ, the Temple was still the order of worship of the day. All men worshiped in the Temple. Then when Christ was born, lived and went to the cross and rose from the grave, there was a fundamental change in the idea of worship. Worship was not to be in a Temple or a Tabernacle. But worship was to be done in spirit and truth in the hearts of men and women. Worship was not to be primarily done only in a building, but now the temple was in the spirit of the new believer in Christ.
The directions that Christ gave his followers concerning how they were to worship Him are:
What did Christ teach Peter, James and John about the establishment of the local church?
During those three years with the Apostles, Christ taught them in various places but not in a single local building. Christ was with them daily, teaching them.
Now as to how many there were besides the eleven, we do not know. We do know there were 120 that were in the upper room. As to how many were following Christ at the time He died, we do not know.
If there were small groups of believers meeting in homes during this time, I don’t know. But when Christ died, they were scattered and afraid. When Jesus was risen, He met with the eleven in a mountain in Galilee where Jesus had appointed them.
At this time Jesus gave them the commission of Matthew 28:19-20.
Christ did not give instruction for how to build a building. But He gave instructions for how to continue what he had come into the world to accomplish. These eleven were to take the message of Christ into all the world and teach all nations those things He had taught them.
The book of Acts chapters one thru eight gives us Peter’s and the other apostles’ story, and from chapter nine we learn about the ministry of Paul.
Apparently Peter was preaching in a central place where people were gathering for worship and teaching by the Apostles. Acts four states "and as they spake unto the people..." there were about 5000 men that believed. There must have been a great crowd that came to this place to hear Peter and John speak. Later, Acts 4 vs. 31 says, "and when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together." So there was a central place of meeting, at least where five thousand men were saved at one time. (Acts 4:4).
Most likely the setting was outside on a hill side. How often they met in this large setting I do not know, but I would say daily.
Then in Acts 6 the numbers of people being saved were multiplying (numbers growing). This must have been in a central place where the people met for worship. And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, after there was concern about the welfare of the believers. And they chose out Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor and Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas to be servants in the body of believers.
Now the question would be, did these people leave this central place and then go to their homes for extra teaching? Who would teach them in those first few months? There were only twelve apostles and now the seven men.
In Acts 8, we read that there was a church at Jerusalem and because of the persecution, they were all scattered about the regions of Judea and Samaria. Here was really the start of church groups all over the regions.
Jesus established the foundation of the local church. He did not establish a local church.
- We do know that 120 people were commissioned to go to Jerusalem and wait ten days for the coming of the Holy Spirit. They met in the upper room. I am not sure if this would be a meeting in the local church, but that is not the issue of this paper.
THERE ARE TO BE SPIRITUALLY GIFTED BELIEVERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
- Moses, the leader of the tribes of Israel, led them in building the Tabernacle.
- Solomon, the king of Israel, achieved the building of the Temple.
- Nehemiah was the leader of the group of people who went back and rebuilt the wall at Jerusalem.
- Gifted people were hired or asked to work in the area of their abilities.
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant