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A church with non-believers?
The Principles of the Cell Churches - FAQ about the Cells

The church is definitely a spiritual entity. It's a fellowship of those who have personally put their lives into Jesus's hands, and so accepted forgiveness of their sins and everlasting life.

Nonetheless, one of the main reasons why Jesus still keeps his church on this planet is that believers would have personal contact with non-Christians and would serve those who don't know Jesus yet. In order for the church to fulfill this special mission it has to live in a direct and close contact with non-believers.

The Lord Jesus lived and treated various sinners in a way that made them search and long for Him, they were listening to Him, learning to trust Him and their life was consequently transformed. Those sinners' favor towards Jesus and his behavior with “non-believers” was opposed by the religious leaders, so they said about him: “Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matthew 11:19)

Jesus lived open and transparent life. Even when he taught his disciples or spoke privately with certain people, we often see “inputs” into his statements not only from people who had favor towards him but also from enemies.

Based on his own example Jesus then led his disciples to actively start contacts with non-believers, even to enter their households etc. (Luke 10,5-9)

Later, when the first church was formed, believers followed Jesus's instructions almost exactly. They visited households of their friends and slowly entered homes of strangers as well (especially when they were trying to escape persecution). The result was often that new people in these homes came to know the Lord Jesus personally (for example Acts 11:19-21; 16:15, 16:32).

Similar to Jesus, apostle Paul lived in direct contact with the people around him, he listened to them, observed their life and thinking, and openly communicated with them. That was his life style (Acts 17:23).

Some believers of Paul's time tried to be holy or spiritual in a way that they completely eliminated all contact with the world. Paul, of course, points this behavior out as wrong (1. Corinthians 5:9-11 *see quotation in the footnotes). Apostle Paul teaches the first Christians the exact opposite. At the meetings of the church they should naturally expect presence of non-believers and they should do everything so that their meeting would be understandable and acceptable for them: But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. (1.Corinthians 14:24-25, see also the previous context!).

The stories of spiritual development of many contemporary believers started by becoming friends with Christians, slowly participating in various activities of a local fellowship, and then they accepted Jesus personally.

Even though non-believers aren't part of the spiritual church, based on the Bible records we consider it clear that they should be a natural part of activities and meetings of the local church on this earth. The church should be opened and understandable for non-believers; otherwise she cannot fulfill her mission to which she was called to by Jesus himself. (Matthew 28, 18-20*, Acts 1,8*)


* 1 Corinthians 5:9-11
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

* Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

* Acts 1:8
You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.