According to Philippians 1:1 it is composed of believers, elders, and deacons. There is no Scriptural authority for unbelievers being in fellowship.
In the churches out of which the early brethren came, the wheat and the tares were growing together.
The activities of the local church are described in Acts 2:42. They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. “They continually devoted themselves”, etc.
They met together in the Lord’s name for the Lord’s Supper, worship, praise, prayer, fellowship, testimony, ministry, discipline, baptism, and the preaching of the Gospel.
When they discovered that the local church should be governed by a plurality of elders and deacons they implemented this immediately. They also found out that the Church should evangelize the world.
From these discoveries developed what we now know as Scriptural Principles of Gathering. Principles like these, coupled with the leading of the Holy Spirit, led these early brethren into a deep relationship with Christ and with one another.
These same principles also caused them to separate themselves from ungodly systems—2 Timothy 2:19, 21.
1. From the beginning these early brethren met together as called out companies, in the name of Jesus Christ alone.
2. Because they met in the Lord’s name they confidently claimed His presence—Matthew 18:20.
3. They were subject to the headship of Christ and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Sovereignty of God, lordship of Christ, authority of the Word.
4. They were guided by elders. There is no higher authority in the assembly.
5. Instructed and taught by gifted brethren.
6. The unrestricted exercise of the priesthood of believers was practiced.
These conclusions were not arrived at quickly or easily.
There was great exercise of heart, and there were long seasons of prayer and travail in the presence of God.
From this sacred atmosphere the pattern for a NT assembly evolved and these godly men grasped firmly, by faith, the principles of gathering as the Spirit revealed them.
Describe the kind of men who were at the beginning.