Sunday, March 11, 2012

Church Building Question

QUESTION RECEIVED: Is it biblical for a church to have it's own building? Isn't a group of people enough for a church?

MY ANSWER:

Jesus worshipped in a building.
A congregation owned it.

Luke 4:16–21
"16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are 1oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. 21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

But you might add that the Jews worshiped in a synagogue in the day of Jesus when He was a young Jewish man.
You would be right.

Jesus led the first communion or Lord's Supper in a house.
We assume the house was owned by someone.
Here He gives directions to some disciples on how to set up worship in a house.

Luke 22:11-13
New King James Version (NKJV)
"11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”
13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover."

Later in the New Testament believers met in synagogues and in believer's homes.
No, Scripture does not talk about building a Christian church building in the first century of Christianity.

So should a church, which is people, have a building?
I can guarantee you the government is not volunteering to let a church borrow a building for free.
To answer in all seriousness, yes a church needs a building. One exception I have heard about was where a church met under a tree in Africa. The climate allowed the meetings to be comfortable.
Why a building? Protection from the elements, rest room needs, heat and or hopefully air conditioning, a place to sit comfortably out of the elements are all good reasons to me to use a building. Sometimes it is not practical to meet in a house. Sometimes authorities limit how many people can be in a house. Their is no standard way in Scripture that dictates what kind of building you can or must meet in.

David wanted to build a house for the Lord. The Lord told the prophet Nathan that He would build David a house. This spiritual house would be built on faith in Jesus Christ the "Son of David".

2 Samuel 7:4-11
New King James Version (NKJV)
"4 But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, 5 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? 6 For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. 7 Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ 8 Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. 9 And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. 10 Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, 11 since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies. Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house."

About using a building? Be practical. We have liberty in our choices of the facility we use in following Christ in our time of worship. One size does not fit all concerning the worship needs and requirements of individual congregations. You might belong to a house church or a large congregation. Some house churches are smaller groups of one big congregation. Some small churches grow large and have to find a bigger meeting place. Building needs will of course vary from church to church.
Choose effectiveness and financial responsibility in this matter. Your church can meet in a home, garage or you can use buy a beautiful old church building or auditorium. Churches must be able to pay and care for their worship place comfortably.
Do not forget the main work of the local church. Make sure the church (the people of Christ) worships the living God, edifies or makes disciples through missions and ministries, and evangelizes the lost.
The church maintains the life saving, sin forgiving gospel of Jesus Christ. Make sure your church does this wherever they meet.

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