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This is the 5. Chapter of "The Man-Made Church."

 

5. The Meeting Place

 

by Frank L. Preuss

 

There is no place in the Bible where we find that Christians built a church building. The New Testament covers a period of the church of God of about 65 years, from the day of Pentecost to the time John wrote the book of Revelation, and in all these years we find no record that Christians were building a church building. And they had plenty of time and opportunity to build many church buildings. Often we see a new denomination moving to town and after very few years they have erected their own church building; but not so in the New Testament. There was no law against erecting buildings to worship God, because we know that a Roman official, the centurion, even built a house to worship God for the children of God (Luke 7:5). Persecution was not the reason why no church buildings were built in the early church. There were plenty of churches which were not persecuted for long periods of time, but they still did not built church buildings.

But there are very good reasons why the church did not meet in church buildings and these reasons will become clear when we study the kind of meetings the Christians had in New Testament times. And when we start to think of the spiritual background of denominations we also start to understand why denominations want to build church buildings and how the devil uses church buildings to transform living stones being built into a spiritual house (1 Peter 2:5) into dead stones being built into a carnal house.

The Bible records that the church of God started in a house; in a house in Jerusalem. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2). The Christians were sitting in a house when the Holy Spirit came and started the church. And the great majority of scriptures telling us about the places of Christian activities are scriptures talking of houses. Let us look at such scriptures.

And when they were come in (in Jerusalem), they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James (Acts 1:13).

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they (the believers) were sitting (Acts 2:2).

And they (the believers), continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart (Ac 2:46).

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomonís porch) (Acts 5:12).

As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison (Acts 8:3).

He (Simon who is called Peter) lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side (in Joppa): he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do (Acts 10:6).

And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee (Peter) into his house (in Caesarea), and to hear words of thee (Acts 10:22).

And when he (Peter) had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were (in Jerusalem) gathered together praying (Acts 12:12).

And they (Paul and Silas) said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house (in Philippi) (Acts 16:31).

And they (Paul and Silas) went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia (in Philippi): and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed (Acts 16:40).

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house (in Thessalonica) of Jason, and sought to bring them (Paul and Silas) out to the people (Acts 17:5)

He (Apollos) began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to their home (in Ephesus) and expounded unto him the way of God more adequately (Acts 18:26).

And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together (in Troas) (Acts 20:8).

And how I (Paul) kept back nothing that was profitable unto you (the elders of the church in Ephesus), but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house (in Ephesus) (Acts 20:20).

And the next day we that were of Paulís company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him (Acts 21:8).

And Paul dwelt (in Rome) two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him (Acts 28:30).

Greet Priscilla and Aquila my (Paul's) helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house (in Rome). (Romans 16:3-5).

Gaius mine (Paul's) host, and of the whole church (in Corinth), saluteth you (the saints in Rome) (Romans 16:23).

For it hath been declared unto me (Paul) of you (the church of God in Corinth), my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you (1 Corinthians 1:11).

Ye know the house of Stephanas (in Corinth), that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints (1 Corinthians 16:15).

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (in Ephesus) (1 Corinthians 16:19).

Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house (Colossians 4:15).

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus (in Ephesus); for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain (2 Timothy 1:16).

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house (in Colossae) (Philemon 1-2).

From these scriptures we see that the predominant place of Christian activity was the home.

From Acts 2:46 and Acts 5:12 we know that they met in the temple and in Solomon's porch. Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple (Matthew 24:1-2) and this destruction took place in the year 70 and this destruction might be underlining the New Testament teaching that now the body of believers is the temple where God resides. So with the beginning of the church of God the role of the temple came to an end, at least at this stage of the church age.

And now we want to have a look at scriptures that record at what places the church met. There are four places in the Bible that state the place at which churches met. And in all four cases the meeting place is the same: The home of individual people - people whose names are given. Four times the meeting place is recorded and in all these four instances it is a house. No other building or venue is recorded, only houses. To make it quite clear we are not talking about places where Christians are recorded to have been active or have come together for one reason or another, we are talking about places in the Bible where it is stated that the church meets, where the word "church" appears in the wording. And in all of these four instances, there is no deviation; it is every time a house. It is not a house in two instances and may be a synagogue in the third and may be an inn in the fourth, no, it is four times, without exception, a house of individual Christians.

These are these four scriptures:

Romans 16:3-5:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila my (Paul's) helpers in Christ Jesus: Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. Likewise greet the church that is in their house (in Rome).

1 Corinthians 16:19:
The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house (in Ephesus).

Colossians 4:15:
Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house.

Philemon 1-2:
Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, and to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house (in Colossae) (Philemon 1-2).

There are no other scriptures that state the place where a church met, only the four above and all four have a house as the meeting place. There is no instance in the Bible that tells us that the church meets at any other place.

These four scriptures are an obvious message to us.

 

This is the end of "The Meeting Place."

Next chapter: [6]

 

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