Your doorbell rings. You open the door to find a man and woman standing there, him with a briefcase, her with several magazines, both of them with well-rehearsed smiles. You know them at a glance: they are the door-to-door disciples with their own peculiar brand of doctrinal interpretation. Ten minutes trying to rid yourself of unwanted religious advances begins…
From a quick reading of Acts 20:20, one might assume that the apostle Paul went from house to house in order to preach the Gospel of the kingdom to the unconverted. But when we read the entire paragraph, beginning with verse 17, we can understand the intended meaning.
The apostle Paul “sent to Ephesus, and called the ELDERS OF THE CHURCH” and said to them “I … have taught YOU publickly, and from house to house” (Acts 20:17-20). Paul was teaching the LEADERS OF THE CHURCH in their own homes. He was not going from house to house attempting to teach whomever opened the door.
Another misunderstood scripture is Act 2:46: “And they (the twelve apostles and other disciples), continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness.” Notice that these people were all in harmony. They continued daily with “ONE ACCORD.” They were ALL of the SAME belief. This is simply talking about people who ATE TOGETHER as one might have close friends over to his home. It says nothing about preaching to strangers.
In this instance, many had congregated at Jerusalem from many nations in order to attend one of God’s annual festivals, Pentecost. Because they had traveled a long distance, and because they had no home in Jerusalem, the brethren who lived there invited them to come to their homes and eat. (Eating an ordinary meal is referred to as “breaking bread” in the King James Version.) The converted brethren ate in the homes of other converted brethren — they were not preaching in the homes of the unconverted.
The apostle Paul had his own hired house at Rome where he “received ALL that CAME IN UNTO HIM, preaching the kingdom of God” which Jesus had commanded His true servant to preach (Acts 28:30-31). The apostle Paul was taught the Gospel personally by Jesus Christ Himself (I Cor. 15:8; Gal. 1:11-2:2). One of the teachings of Jesus was that we should not force the Gospel upon anyone (Matt. 7:6). Therefore, it is evident that Paul did not go from house to house trying to convert people. When Paul preached publically, it was primarily in the synagogues of his day.
We should NEVER attempt to force God’s truth on anyone. In Matthew 7:6, Christ showed that the truth is too precious for that. We might turn the question around and ask, “Should we invite into our homes just anyone who is going from house to house trying to persuade us to accept his form of doctrine?” Here is God’s instruction:
“If there come any unto you, and bring NOT this doctrine [the truth of God’s Work], receive him NOT into your house, neither bid him God speed” (II John 10).
In conclusion, true Christians are not to go preaching from house to house. Neither are they to accept into their homes any peddlers of religion who might show up at their door. This is the example of Jesus Christ, the twelve apostles, and the apostle Paul.