Taking the Bible as a lead
In Jesus days people came together in the synagogue but also in their homes to study the rolls of the holy writers. For them it was clear that God had given these people the power and facilities to write down Gods Word. For the followers of Christ it was clear that they had to take the stories about Christ Jesus and the writing of his apostles also into account. The books of the Old time received a brother in the writings of the new time, after Jesus his resurrection. The Old and New Testament became the two pillars of educational material to build up faith and to keep to the Commandments of God.
Enthusiast followers of Jesus took the time to come to study these writings, which we know now as the Bible. They felt united in holding that the sacred Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, are inspired and are the final authority for authentic truth. They did not doubt the countenance of these writings and knew that if they prayed to God they also would receive guidance to follow and to comprehend them. They followed the rules of the Scriptures and wanted to establish their beliefs and faith in beliefs that harmonize all scriptures on each subject. The apostles had warned them to be careful not be carried away by worldly thoughts and that they should not make non-scriptural words to an article of faith.
In the early times of this time account, some had seen that Jesus was wholly flesh while on earth. While Jesus was miraculously begotten by God through the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary, they accepted that the Bible implies that she did not remain a virgin thereafter and many of the early Christians had met the other children by Joseph after the birth of Jesus. One of Jesus brothers had followed and believed in him. The people around Jesus could witness him. They had witnessed or heard about the many miracles, and about the most curious event, namely that this holy man had been raised from death. But there were also many who had nothing seen and by the growing years had nobody in their circles who had met people who had known Jesus in real life. They had to believe without seeing.
Studying the Bible those people interested in the Word of God were fully convinced that this Nazarene Jew by his death had brought them salvation. They knew that man is mortal by nature, and that immortality became available now, but only by meeting conditions of obedience. They held, as we hold today, that the human soul is not a distinct entity, but is the result of the union of the body and the breath, or spark, of life, and that death is the dissolution of these two elements. Jesus had died, been put in the grave, but after his resurrection had gone up to his Father to which he always stayed humble. Jesus always had pointed out to his Father as the One who did everything and to whom we had to give honour. Therefore they did not accept the position of co-eternity or co-equality between the Father and the Son. But they were pleased that since his resurrection Jesus had received the divine nature and could be the mediator between them and God.
Believing that Adam and Eve were created perfect, the believers position is that the sin of disobedience in the Garden of Eden resulted in all their posterity being born under the blight of sin, imperfection, and death. Because death is the dissolution of body and breath, every Bible Student should be aware that the soul that sins dies goes out of existence, and that we cannot escape death and the return to dust and ash. But in Christ Jesus they found the promised Messiah who was going to return. It is he who shall then start the resurrection process which begins in the future kingdom of Messiah. He had given his body as a ransom at the cross of Calvary. This peace offering is efficacious for all who have ever died. It promises resuscitation for all humanity in Christ’s 1000-year kingdom, along with the opportunity to obtain and maintain perfect human life for eternity. The ransom also provides for the rehabilitation of planet earth to perfect Edenic conditions.
From Pentecost onwards many thousands started to look forward to the return of Christ or Second Advent. At his first advent, Jesus had begun calling out from mankind a special class to be his church, or bride. To these he promised a part in heaven with himself and the Father, and a kingdom role of reigning over mankind with himself for blessing all the families of the earth. Those who accept this invitation make a complete consecration or commitment to do the will of God as they see it revealed and at the cost of a surrender of the right to a life on earth. This consecration is witnessed by a baptism (complete water immersion,). The expectation that Jesus Christ would return to finish the work that he began two thousand years ago became an important part of their faith. They followed the advice Jesus and his apostles had given, to study the Word of God and to come regularly together, also to remember the Breaking of the Bread as a sign of the New Covenant.
To organize such meetings they had to find places where they could meet, certainly after they were not welcome any more in the synagogues. In the different villages and small communities small groups were formed. By giving many ‘house parties’ the ‘house churches‘ were formed. Each group selected its leaders (elders and deacons) by a total vote of their consecrated members, and cooperated with other congregations as determined by that local group. But such meetings or gatherings brought also expenses. To cover them they paid entirely by freewill voluntary offerings with no collections of mandated costs.