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The Scriptural Basis for House Churches

Discussion in 'House Churches & Cell Groups' started by My Brother's Keeper2, Oct 19, 2017.

  1. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    This is rather lengthy, so I'm dividing it into several posts. Please read all before replying. Thank you.


    Jeremiah 7:4 “Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
    8 “Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 “Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery and swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal and walk after other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—that you may do all these abominations? 11 “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD.

    God instructed the prophet Jeremiah to stand at the temple gates speaking those words. When King David decided to build a temple (1 Chronicles 22), the Lord sent Nathan the prophet to speak to him accordingly (emphasis added):

    2 Samuel 7:5 “Go and say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Are you the one who should build Me a house to dwell in? 6 “For I have not dwelt in a house since the day I brought up the sons of Israel from Egypt, even to this day; but I have been moving about in a tent, even in a tabernacle. 7 “Wherever I have gone with all the sons of Israel, did I speak a word with one of the tribes of Israel, which I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’
    10 “I will also appoint a place for My people Israel and will plant them, that they may live in their own place and not be disturbed again, nor will the wicked afflict them any more as formerly, 11 even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies.
    The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. 12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’
    In his youth, David appeared to recognize that God could not be confined to a building (2 Samuel 22:7). Although God reminded him of this and seemed to be foretelling of a spiritual house and kingdom rather than an earthly one, God permitted Solomon to build an earthly temple. When David commissioned Solomon to build the temple, he gave his son a detailed blueprint for the design, including specific weights (1 Chronicles 28).

    God again voiced his displeasure with the use of the temple for wicked practices and the concealment of wickedness by the Hebrew people through the prophet Malachi:

    Malachi 1:10 “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.

    After Jesus went with his family to the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem at 12 years of age, he was found discussing the scriptures with the teachers in the temple (Luke 2:46-47). As an adult, Jesus taught in the temple courts and the synagogues (Luke 19:47 & 21:37, John 18:20) where he preached the gospel of the kingdom of God (Luke 20:1, Matthew 4:23). This initiated the transition of God’s chosen people from an earthly nation to a spiritual kingdom. Jesus spoke of his own body as the temple (John 2:21) and foretold the destruction of the temple made by human hands (Luke 21:5 & 6).

    Immediately following Jesus’s ascension into heaven the disciples, “after worshiping him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God” (Luke 24:52-53). Notice that they worshiped Jesus before going to the temple. A physical structure isn’t necessary for worshiping God and the Christ. Jesus had told the Pharisees, "But I say to you that something greater than the temple is here” (Matthew 12:6).
     
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  2. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    The Jewish Christians continued to assemble in the outer courts of the temple (a public place) until it was destroyed in A.D. 70., but also met in private homes where they broke bread together (Acts 2:46). They taught and preached daily in the temple and in homes “the good news that Jesus [is] the Christ” (Acts 5:42). The apostles preached in the synagogues where they sometimes gained converts (Acts 17:2,10 & 17). They preached in the marketplace (Acts 17:17) as well. When the apostles Peter and John went to the temple in Jerusalem to pray, they used the opportunity to perform a miracle and spread the gospel (Acts 3:1-10).

    The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in A.D. 70 as foretold by Jesus (Matthew 24:1&2; Luke 21:5&6). As the Church dispersed into regions beyond Jerusalem and to the Gentiles, the early Christians of record met predominantly in private homes and when persecuted, in the catacombs, for more than 200 years until the reign of Constantine in Rome when Christianity became commingled with pagan religions. One early Christian church in Asia Minor met in the home of Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:3-5; 1 Corinthians 16:19). Another congregation met in the home of Nymphas (Colossians 4:15), and yet another in the home of Apphia and Archippus (Philemon 2).

    When Peter was freed from prison, he knew to find the local church assembled for prayer at the home of Mary, the mother of John Mark (Acts 12:12). After Paul and Silas had preached three Sabbaths at a Jewish synagogue in Thessalonica, a hostile mob raided the home of Jason looking for them, and dragged Jason and some of the brethren out of the house to stand before local officials (Acts 17:1-7). Clearly, a Christian congregation was assembled at the home of Jason also. Other New Testament references to churches assembled in houses include 1 Timothy 5:13 and Acts 20:20.

    The temple of the scriptures was specific to the Jewish nation. Paul declared to the Christians at Rome that “the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Romans 9:4; emphasis added) belong to the Jews. Considering that the Hebrew people of the Old Testament were given specific directions concerning the temple’s design and who was to have oversight of its construction, where is the construction of an edifice designated for Christian worship authorized? The scriptural pattern of record for Christian assembly is the house church.

    The apostle Paul declared to the men of Athens, “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things” (Acts 17:24 & 25). He asserted that we, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19). Yet again, he said: “what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” Paul also quoted from Leviticus 26:12: ““I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be my people”” (2 Corinthians 6:16). The actual Church is not a physical structure, but a people. Paul describes it in Ephesians 2:19-22:

    19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
     
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  3. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    Some people today claim that the early Christians did not erect buildings for worship because they needed to remain hidden due to persecution. However, New Testament scriptures show that Jesus and his followers were initially persecuted because they taught openly in the temple and synagogues. An example is Acts 17, in which Paul (accompanied on one occasion by Silas) taught in synagogues at Thessalonica, Berea and Athens. Another example is Acts 19 in which Paul taught in a synagogue at Ephesus. Both Jews and Gentiles heard him and believed while others opposed the gospel message, with some becoming violent. In Athens, Paul was taken to Mars Hill (the Areopagus) by a group of philosophers to further question him. When he met with resistance in Ephesus, Paul began teaching at the school (sometimes translated “lecture hall”) of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). In the latter location, pagan worshipers were offended when Paul’s ministry discredited their religion, weakening the city’s economic prosperity generated by the pagan temple (Acts 19:23-27). Perhaps the early Christians would have avoided conflict had they constructed their own buildings where they could assemble and keep to themselves, but Jesus did not commission the construction of another temple or any physical structure. His followers were simply obeying his commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28:19).

    Building structures for Christian worship perverts the true Faith because it involves re-allocating the voluntary collection intended for distribution to the needy saints (Acts 11:29; Romans 12:13; Romans 15:26; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 9:1-15). Ironically, members of modern religious assemblies are often pressured into giving more and more of their means, even to the oppression of the poor, contrary to the teaching left on record by the apostles. God never authorized funding for building projects, building maintenance, utilities, printed and digital materials, instrumental music, choirs, social functions, entertainment, etc. for His Church. Paul fittingly said, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).

    Unfortunately, most house churches today are guilty of many of the same issues plaguing those that gather in public buildings. First is the tendency of people to assign a name of their own choosing to a church. Throughout the New Testament the Church was referred to collectively as the Church of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 10:32 & 15:9; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 3:5 & 15), which denotes ownership. Individual congregations were usually referred to as the churches of God (1 Corinthians 11:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:4; ), and on one occasion the churches of Christ (Romans 16:16). Individual congregations were often identified by locality (Acts 8:1; Acts 11:22; Acts 13:1; Acts 18:22; Romans 16:1; 1 Corinthians 16:1; 2 Corinthians 8:1; Galatians 1:2 & 22; Colossians 4:16; 1 Peter 5:13; Revelation 1:4 & 11; Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, & 18; Revelation 3:1, 7 & 14), and also referred to as the churches of the saints (1 Corinthians 14:33). Sometimes a congregation was identified by both locality and ownership (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1 & 2:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:1).

    People often take liberties within the informal atmosphere of house churches to modify sacraments and doctrine set forth in the New Testament, or ignore them altogether. In the absence of sound teaching and church discipline, individual house churches become diverse in their beliefs. To resolve or avoid conflicts arising from such diversity of beliefs, house churches tend to focus on socializing with their worship services hinging on entertainment. They neglect our duty to our Creator, showing little to no reverence for Him, for our Savior Jesus Christ and for His holy word. With little to offer spiritually, many house churches ultimately disband or are dissolved by other churches which meet in designated public buildings. Some even begin funding building projects to construct their own meeting places apart from the home.

    True New Testament/New Covenant churches meet in private residences. Otherwise, they will plunge into the same monetary evils mentioned earlier, which detract from the true purpose of the gospel of Christ. While meeting in a public place for Christian worship may not be sinful in and of itself, there are few public places today where churches can assemble that does not at least require paying rent. When money becomes involved, the scriptures tell us that all sorts of evil will result. For a house church to take root and thrive spiritually its members must fully understand the gospel of Christ, recognize the true significance of assembling in private residences to worship God, and be committed to observing all of Christ’s teachings left on record by his chosen apostles.
     
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  4. friend of

    friend of Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Welcome to CF! A few verses that came to mind upon reading your thread are—


    Hebrews 10:24-25
    24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
    25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    Matthew 18:20
    20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

    1 Corinthians 12:27
    27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


    I'm of the mind that all assembly is good. We are the body of Christ, not a building. God bless!
     
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  5. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    Bolded: Exactly the point--the Church is the body of Christ and not a building. But, if we deviate from Christ's teaching by omitting something or adding to it, we no longer belong to the body of Christ. To be a member of Christ's body, we must keep him as the head and recognize his authority. He has not given authority to erect buildings in his name. He warned us of the dangers of money, which corrupts. How can a "church" be doing his will if the collection is being diverted from the needy saints to a building fund, building maintenance, utilities, etc? Won't the needy saints be neglected? (I have known this to happen and the poor of the church were maligned). What other source would the church use to fund the construction of a meeting place and then maintaining that building and paying utilities for it? Where is that use of the collection authorized in the New Testament?

    Just wondering what you are thinking on this. :scratch:

    BTW, Matthew 18:20 refers to church discipline. Those verses you quoted are certainly true, but many stray from the gospel when they take a few verses out of context to support their opinion while ignoring scripture that clearly contradicts it. That is the problem I have with organized religion and most house churches. Everyone has the right to worship as they please, of course, but the importance of worshiping in a house church is something that has been placed upon my heart in seeking God's will. :hug:
     
  6. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    Just wanted to say that I don't intend to offend anyone; I just want to give people food for thought because this is an issue that has been placed on my heart. There were times in my life I also believed that it doesn't matter where or how we worship God. But, I have seen how money corrupts the best intentions when people decide that God will be honored by the biggest and highest quality organ, an elaborate sanctuary that's beautiful to the eyes and comfortable for parishioners, social programs and incentives that attract youth and families, eye-catching church grounds visibly appealing to passersby, etc. People rationalize that these things will bring people into the church and further the gospel. Yet, God does not require and has not sanctioned any of these things; they only lead to conflict in churches and deviations from the real purpose of the gospel.

    I know from personal experience how easy it is to be deceived by mankind's alterations of the true gospel. They become traditions that we readily accept as the norm. Or, we may compare the church we are a member of to other churches and think it's superior because of certain scriptures it upholds but then fail to recognize other scripture that it doesn't uphold. How can a church provide for the needy in the congregation and the community when the money instructed by the apostles to be collected in the New Testament churches for the needy, which those who prospered were encouraged to give to the extent they had been prospered, is siphoned from the needy to the projects and expenses I mentioned above? In my experience, I have seen churches turn to a prosperity doctrine and use it to condemn the poor, suggesting they are lazy or haven't been blessed by God because they have sinned. This is the same mindset of Job's friends, and some church leaders even use the words of Job's friends to support their doctrine against the poor and infirm although God chastised Job's friends for their beliefs. Those beliefs are not supported anywhere in the scriptures--in the Old Testament nor the New Testament--but people will take a verse or two of scripture, or a portion of a verse, out of context and apply it to their own ideology regardless of who spoke the words and God's response to those words. That is extremely dangerous and I addressed that issue in a post on these forums about prosperity gospels.

    Often the social programs and incentives, plus outward appeal of the church building and grounds, are used to draw people into the congregation to increase the church's revenue. So, church leaders tread carefully in what they teach in order to retain members and attract new members. Just wondering how people see that those things I mentioned, in terms of building and property expenses, are justified?
     
  7. Seek.1st

    Seek.1st Newbie

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    Thank you for sharing your study on the topic here, My Brother's Keeper2. What you have revealed is very powerful.

    I've been doing a similar study, focusing more on the collection/offering taken up weekly in most churches today. I considered posting it in another thread about the collection/offering on this website, but was afraid people would be offended. However, it really fits into what you have said here regarding re-allocating the collection for the needy saints and money being a cause of conflict in the church.

    As you already mentioned, the collection in the first church was for the benefit of the needy saints, and it was voluntary not compulsory. The primary theme in the scriptures surrounding the collection is the commonality/community of believers. Those who prospered and were more able were to help those less fortunate and less able to help themselves:

    Acts 4:34&35 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. (ESV)
    There is no reference to an offering/collection plate being passed around. I'm not sure where that practice originated.

    While some of the saints were inspired by the example set by those who gave willingly and generously, Ananias and Sapphira were apparently envious of the respect such men received because they themselves sought the praise of men. They were not willing to forgo the financial/material loss completely, so kept part of the proceeds and lied about what they had done. They essentially did a good deed but grudgingly, for the wrong reason, because they were driven by greed rather than goodwill. It led to their destruction.

    Acts 4:36-5:4 Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth, who was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement), and who owned a tract of land, sold it and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
    But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with his wife’s full knowledge, and bringing a portion of it, he laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”
    (NASB)

    Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
    But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to man but to God.”
    (ESV)
    (continuing into the next post)
     
  8. Seek.1st

    Seek.1st Newbie

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    In the N.T. scriptures, no earthly "reward" is promised in return for someone's generosity:

    Acts 8:18-20 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
    Paul said the generosity of the saints increased their harvest of righteousness and seed for sowing, i.e., by bringing other to Christ:

    2 Corinthians 9:1-15 For it is superfluous for me to write to you about this ministry to the saints; for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the Macedonians, namely, that Achaia has been prepared since last year, and your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I have sent the brethren, in order that our boasting about you may not be made empty in this case, so that, as I was saying, you may be prepared; otherwise if any Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we—not to speak of you—will be put to shame by this confidence. So I thought it necessary to urge the brethren that they would go on ahead to you and arrange beforehand your previously promised bountiful gift, so that the same would be ready as a bountiful gift and not affected by covetousness.
    Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,
    “HE SCATTERED ABROAD, HE GAVE TO THE POOR,
    HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS ENDURES FOREVER.”

    Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God. Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
    (NASB)

    Now it is superfluous for me to write to you about the ministry for the saints, for I know your readiness, of which I boast about you to the people of Macedonia, saying that Achaia has been ready since last year. And your zeal has stirred up most of them. But I am sending the brothers so that our boasting about you may not prove empty in this matter, so that you may be ready, as I said you would be. Otherwise, if some Macedonians come with me and find that you are not ready, we would be humiliated—to say nothing of you—for being so confident. So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.

    The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. As it is written,

    ‭“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
    ‭his righteousness endures forever.”

    He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
    (ESV)
    The Greek word "prothumian," translated as "readiness," means "eagerness." Paul notes in his 2nd letter to the Corinthian church that their generosity inspired the churches in Macedonia to contribute also, although they were themselves poor. No one was coerced or shamed into giving. There was a two-fold purpose of the contribution: providing for the needs of the poor saints and expressing thankfulness toward God for their blessings.

    2 Corinthians 8:1-4 Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, (NASB)

    We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints— (ESV)

    Romans 12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.(NASB)

    Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (ESV)
    The churches in Macedonia made a conscious decision to give support to the poor saints in Judea although the were themselves living in poverty. The need elsewhere was greater. The collection was for a specific purpose and was not compulsory but out of love and goodwill toward the fellow saints.

    Acts 11:29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. (NASB)

    So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. (ESV)

    Romans 15:26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. (NASB)

    For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem. (Berean Literal)
    Paul instructed the church in Corinth to set something aside until he arrived, suggesting this was done for a limited time since nothing was to be collected during Paul’s visit, which likely included a first day of the week.

    1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so do you also. On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come. (NASB)

    Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come. (ESV)
    Paul noted in 2 Corinthians 9 that he would be sending brethren ahead of him to arrange for the contribution the saints at Corinth had already promised.
     
  9. Blade

    Blade Veteran Supporter

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    You know... as I think about this. We know there were house meetings (Church) and there was later buildings where they met. I believe the way it is now, and there are house churches and home Churches.. I think God knew all about this and is part of it. I really dont think it made it past Him.

    And if you ever just started meeting with one.. grew into 4 then 12 then 30.. its like split up or do you want something bigger? What some do IN some Churches ..that can be just man not God
     
  10. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean when you say God knew about this (the future construction of church buildings?) and that it didn't make it past Him. If you're saying God must have approved of the construction of buildings for worship since he had foreknowledge, I'm sorry but I disagree.

    God has foreknowledge of many things but it doesn't make them acceptable to Him. He knew when he created mankind that people would sin, but He still drove Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. He knew that Judas would betray Christ, but Judas was condemned. There were issues Christ addressed with the churches of Asia Minor in Revelation. He told them if they didn't repent he would remove their candlestick (they would no longer be recognized as members of his body). The apostles also addressed many issues with the New Testament churches. They didn't assume God would accept their deviations from His plans, but they tried to correct those issues.

    There are many discrepancies between the New Testament churches and most churches today. I don't see any reason to think God just accepts the deviations from the pattern He set on record. God had a plan for His Church when He sent His only son to the earth to establish for Himself a people. I don't believe God changes His plans to coincide with the deviations mankind makes because I don't see where it's supported in the scriptures.

    The use of public buildings for worship will always engender the problems that come about when money and material things are a factor. And why would a church growing to the point of needing to start new congregations be a problem? Growth is a positive thing when it's for the right reasons (people wanting to do God's will and not because of gimmicks or pride in a fancy building). Some of the apostles traveled throughout Judea and other regions establishing congregations and some cities did have multiple congregations. So, there were no restrictions placed on establishing new churches, as long as they abided by the same pattern.

    Edited to add: Many churches today are shrinking in membership. That means fewer people available to fund building and grounds maintenance, utilities, mortgages (if applicable) and sometimes new instruments and furnishings, which translates into a greater financial demand on church members. Megachurches are more popular now. They attract people with their gimmicks, elaborate buildings, entertainment and "feel good" doctrines. How is this more acceptable to God than the pagan practices (and their temples) of Biblical days?
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  11. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    ~Respectfully snipped for focus~
    I want to emphasize from the scriptures quoted here that, after the collection was taken up, certain disciples personally carried the contribution to Jerusalem to be distributed to the needy saints. It's possible the churches began collecting another contribution after Paul and the brethren left, but we are only given this occasion (involving multiple churches) and in Acts of distributing to the needy saints as examples. There is no example of taking up a collection for a building project, furnishings, instruments, printed materials or any other purpose, let alone passing around an offering plate.

    More food for thought:

    The first assembly of the saints after Jesus' ascension into heaven consisted of 120 people (Acts 1:13-15), all gathered into an upper room. They were all gathered again on the day of Pentecost when 3,000 souls were added to their number (Acts 2:41) and more were added day by day (Acts 2:47). They were attending the temple together (as Jews), but also breaking bread together in their homes (Acts 2:46). That's a lot of people in one place, even if gathering in a mansion, but they likely divided into smaller groups to break bread in the homes.

    I've been to services in house churches where 30 or more people were present in one room. The idea is that, as the gospel is spread, the Church grows in size so that large congregations naturally split into smaller ones. Even among churches that meet in a separate building for worship (as I think you acknowledged), there are many buildings of worship dispersed throughout any given city. Usually, there are multiple congregations of the same denomination within a single city or town.
     
  12. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    I'm sorry to keep adding to this thread, but I keep coming across other scriptures that contradict the idea of some Biblical imperative requiring a mandatory collection every Sunday and some Biblical basis for a collection plate being passed around the congregation as part of Christian worship to God.

    Romans 12:6-8 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

    BBM These verses in Paul's letter to the Romans refer to abilities within the Church. He was saying that some members have the ability to give just as some have the ability to teach and some to prophesy. Not all have the ability to perform all functions within the Church, but all should perform the tasks within their abilities to the best of their abilities. While all must have the ability to show mercy in personal situations, the need to show mercy might not pertain to everyone in the Church at any given time.

    So often people take part of a scripture verse or passage out of context and claim it as an imperative which they apply to justify their own traditions. Unfortunately, it is hard for people to let go of traditions. Clearly, the apostle Paul and certain brethren delivered the gift that was collected among the various congregations to the church at Jerusalem. That collection was voluntary. There were donations for the needy saints at other times, but nothing suggests an offering plate was passed around every Sunday or every time the churches assembled. Certainly, no collections were taken in the Christian churches to fund building projects, building maintenance, utilities, purchase and maintenance of musical instruments, printed and digital materials, entertainment, etc. My hope and prayer is that there will be people who study the scriptures cited here and take them to heart, that there may be fundamental changes made in how Christians in today's world worship the one true God.
     
  13. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    Someone here inquired about the origin of the collection or offering plate that many churches pass around during services. Some people refer to the weekly collection as a tithe, which is adapted from the OT practice of giving a tenth of one's flock to the priests. Hebrews 7 addresses the discontinuation of the Levitical priesthood and, thereby, the tithes. Peter referred to God's chosen people as a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), with Jesus as our great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14; 10:21).

    The practice of passing around a plate to collect money during church services began in the U.S. in the late 19th to early 20th century, in keeping with "separation of church and state." Prior to that, churches were supported by the government. Obviously, then, the practice is a tradition of Man. There's no mention of such a tradition in the NT church of scripture. We've already explored on this thread the purpose of the collections that were taken up by the early churches, and how the contributions were made.

    Of course, most "churches" today would cease to exist as is without funding. The root of the problem can be traced back to the 3rd-4th centuries, when "Christians" (influenced by pagan cultures) began building structures designed specifically for worship. The notion that we must assemble in a building constructed specifically for worship is perhaps reinforced by the word "church" in English-translation Bibles. The word "church" is derived from the Greek word "kuriakos" which means "the/a lord's household" or anything belonging to a lord. While it is all well to speak of a church as "the household of the Lord," that is not the correct translation of the original Greek.

    The word translated "church" in English Bibles is "ekklesia," which means "the called-out," assembly (historically referring to a political assembly), or congregation. William Tyndale consistently translated the word as "congregation" in the Geneva Bible, but the word was changed to "church" in the KJV and has been retained in subsequent English versions. The idea of a political assembly or congregation being called out of earthly kingdoms and into the kingdom of God (preached by Jesus and the apostles), with Jesus as our King, was seen as a threat to the British monarchy. That's why King James objected to the Geneva Bible and commissioned the KJV, which was a re-translation of the Geneva Bible, and why William Tyndale was martyred.

    A major downfall of many congregations that meet in homes today is that people tend to think of them as a modern concept, and so the people who establish home-based assemblies think of it as their brainstorm which they can structure as they please. It would be great to get back to the roots of Christianity, but first we must recognize and dispense with the traditions of Man. Isn't it ironic that Jesus chastised the scribes and Pharisees for neglecting their duty to their parents by claiming that the contribution they would have given to their parents they had given instead to God (Mark 7:9-13)?

    Passing the Plate

    https://www.onfaith.co/onfaith/2014...fering-plate-mean-for-christian-worship/34448


    Acts 4:34-35 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.

    Mark 7:9-13 And he (Jesus) said to them (the Pharisees and scribes), “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”’ (that is, given to God)— then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
     
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  14. Seek.1st

    Seek.1st Newbie

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    Interesting. Thank you.

    Most people are reluctant to give up traditions that are convenient for them or that have been ingrained in them. They'll take a Bible verse, or part of a verse, here and there out of context and apply it to a man-made doctrine or tradition. It easily deceives people because on the surface it appears supported by the Bible. But, a closer look reveals that it isn't biblical whatsoever.

    House churches sometime do the same thing in misusing scripture. It's hard to convince people that something their church and/or family has practiced for several generations is wrong, or that something all "churches" have practiced for centuries (since the third or fourth century) isn't even biblical.
     
  15. My Brother's Keeper2

    My Brother's Keeper2 New Member

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    People do try to rationalize human traditions by misquoting scripture, and also by comparing themselves to others. Members of the large, ornate Episcopal church (just as an example) on one side of the road may reason that God blessed them with their building because they were able to raise ample funds to erect such an elaborate structure and the building process went smoothly. They may consider their material prosperity a sign of God's approval.

    Meanwhile, members of the small, simple non-denominational church across the road may rationalize that God must look favorably upon them because the building they erected is modest or "humble," or their costs of operation are lower, compared to the Episcopal church across the street and other religious buildings in the area. Some may argue they don't "think" of the building, but the people, as the church. However people rationalize the buildings they erect for worship, the fact remains that God made no provision for such structures in the New Covenant. God cannot look favorably on something He didn't authorize, and he does not accept compromise.

    Neither did he approve organs, pianos, altars, crosses, stained-glass windows, flags, statues, pews, baptismal pools, or any other furnishing. There were man-made pools in Jerusalem, such as the pool of Bethesda and pool of Siloam (where Jesus performed miracles) that John the Baptist and the apostles could have used for baptisms, but we know John baptized people in the river Jordan (Mark 1:5&9, John 1:28 & 10:40, Matthew 3:6&13). John 3:23 also mentions John baptizing at Aenon, a natural spring along the river Jordan. Philip baptized the eunuch in a body of water along the road they were traveling (Acts 8:36, 38). Never do the scriptures mention any of the apostles or disciples of Christ constructing a pool to perform baptisms.

    God isn't mocked when people try to rationalize using money for these structures and their furnishings -- money which was commanded in the scriptures to be used to provide for the poor and needy among them.
     
  16. ace of hearts

    ace of hearts Well-Known Member

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  17. LoveofTruth

    LoveofTruth Christ builds His church from within us

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    Here are some clear verses showing the apostolic patter they followed as led by the Spirit

    “and breaking bread from house to house,” ( Acts 2;46)

    “ 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) Paul knew where to find them.

    “ And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house”(Acts 20:20)

    “Likewise greet the church that is in their house.” (Romans 16:5)

    “...Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house” (1 Corinthians 16:19)

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

    “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house” (Philemon 1:2)

    “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 John 10 )

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

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

    “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 of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people” (Acts 17:5)


    It is clear that the Spirit led them to do this as a pattern and this is the way Paul and others ordered gatherings as they were following God’s order in the Spirit. We know this because Paul was confident that he was following Christ as a wise masterbuilder and he was led by the Spirit in what he did as were the other apostles who followed Christ in this as well. This leading Paul had included whatever things the believers learned from him, and what he did in word or deed, (Philippians 4:9). This would include setting church order in homes around Christ. If Paul did not plant churches this way, where do we think they got the idea to meet as they did? The question is not do we have to do things the way they did ? The question is why would you want to do anything else?
     
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