Did the Book of Acts church meet in church buildings?

Acts 2:1, With one accord in one place. The location of this event was likely in the Solomon’s portico area of the temple mount, and not in the traditional site of the upper room located on Mount Zion in the City of David, which is southeast and outside of the temple mount area. (See notes at Acts 5:12.) Here, the disciples were gathered in one accord. This is likely the spot where the Acts 2 Pentecost gathering occurred. The reasons for this supposition are these: First, this area was large enough to accommodate thousands of people (unlike the traditional upper room location on Mount Zion in the City of David). Second, people from many nations would have been passing through the city gates located in this area en route to the temple and would have heard Peter preaching. Third, mikveh pools were located just to the south of the Temple Mount (and are still visible today) where those who repented and believed could have been easily and quickly baptized.

In one place. Where did the early believers hold their meetings? In “church” buildings? 

  • Acts 2:1 In one accord in one place. The upper room or on the southern steps of the temple?
  • Acts 3:1 At the temple at the hour of prayer at the Beautiful Gate.
  • Acts 3:11 Peter preaches in the temple area at Solomon’s Porch.
  • Acts 4:5, Peter preaches to the Sanhedrin.
  • Acts 4:31, The place or room where they were assembled was shaken.
  • Acts 5:11, The church was not a building, but the body of redeemed believers—the saints, set-apart ones.
  • Acts 5:12, The church met at Solomon’s Porch in the temple area—all in one accord.
  • Acts 5:42, Met daily in the temple and every house where they taught and preached Yeshua the Messiah.
  • Acts 8:3, The church met in houses (Greek oikos meaning “an inhabited house, home, any dwelling place, building of any kind.”
  • Acts 9:20, Paul preached Yeshua in the synagogues of Damascus.
  • Acts 10:22, 44, Meeting in Cornelius’ house, and the Spirit falls.
  • Acts 12:12, Gathered together praying in Mary’s house.
  • Acts 13:5, Peached the gospel in the synagogues.
  • Acts 13:13ff, Went into the synagogue on the Sabbath for the purpose of preaching the gospel, and on the next Sabbath as well (v. 44).
  • Acts 14:1, Preaching again in the synagogue.
  • Acts 15:21, Go to the synagogue each Sabbath to learn Torah.
  • Acts 16:13, Meeting by a river side, customary prayer was made on the Sabbath.
  • Acts 16:40, Lydia’s house a gathering place of the brethren.
  • Acts 17:3, Paul, as was his custom, reasoned with the Jews on the Sabbath in their synagogue.
  • Acts 17:5, A congregation in Jason’s house.
  • Acts 18:4, More reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue every Sabbath.
  • Acts 18:7, The house of Justice was a gathering place for the believers.
  • Acts 18:19, More preaching to the Jews in the synagogue.
  • Acts 18:24ff, Apollos preaching in the synagogue where Priscilla and Aquilla met him.
  • Acts 19:8, Paul continues to preach in the synagogues.
  • Acts 19:9–10, The disciples of Paul met daily in a school for two years.
  • Acts 20:8, Sabbath evening, meeting in an upper room.
  • Acts 28:23, In Rome, Paul preaches the gospel from his place of lodging.
  • Acts 28:31, From his own rented house, Paul preached the kingdom of Elohim and the gospel for two years.
 

Do I really need to go to church?

From the Christian Post at https://www.christianpost.com/news/why-are-millennials-leaving-church-millennials-explain-192845/

Why Are Millennials Leaving Church? Millennials Explain

Nearly one year ago, Sam Eaton, a millennial from Minneapolis, wrote a blog post detailing “12 reasons millennials are over church.” Since then, he has received thousands of hateful and angry comments. But what he wants Christians to know is that that was his love letter to the American church.

“I got a lot of hate for this,” said Eaton, an elementary school music teacher and founder of a suicide prevention ministry called Recklessly Alive. “I love the church like Christ loved the church. I want to see it prospering and I look around and I see my generation has left.”

Eaton was joined this week by two other millennials to discuss his controversial blog post on “The Table” podcast, hosted by Dr. Darrell Bock, executive director for Cultural Engagement at the Hendricks Center at Dallas Theological Seminary.

Bock invited them to try to better understand what millennials are thinking and why so many are leaving church.

For one, millennials want to be mentored, not preached at.

“Preaching just doesn’t reach our generation like our parents and grandparents. See: millennial church attendance. We have millions of podcasts and Youtube videos of pastors the world over at our finger tips,” Eaton wrote on his 2016 blog.

“Millennials crave relationship, to have someone walking beside them through the muck. We are the generation with the highest ever percentage of fatherless homes. We’re looking for mentors who are authentically invested in our lives and our future. If we don’t have real people who actually care about us, why not just listen to a sermon from the couch?”

Eaton clarified on the podcast that he’s not advising churches to stop preaching the Gospel to the younger generation.

“But if you’re relying on that to drive millennials into your church, it’s just not going to work because if I’m struggling with fear today, I can sit at home with my sweat pants and find 50 sermons by Francis Chan about fear,” he explained. “Yes, keep preaching but also come around us … teach me how to live these things out.”

Millennials not only want to be mentored but they also want to be heard and valued for who they are in a world that says they’re not good enough.

Another reason millennials are “over church” is that they’re sick of hearing about values and mission statements.

“Stop wasting time on the religious mambo jumbo and get back to the heart of the gospel,” Eaton wrote.

Expanding on that, Eaton said this week that though churchgoers need a common mission, they’re not impressed when the church spends more time talking about the mission statement than putting it into action.

Kat L. Armstrong, executive director of Polished, a ministry for young professional women, believes integrity is a big issue among millennials.

“I think millennials are serious about integrity in a way we’ve never seen before,” she said on the podcast. “Let’s have some integrity behind our words.”

Part of that includes serving the “least of these,” Eaton noted.

While many churches schedule countless “church-type activities” such as Bible studies, social functions and planning meetings, very little time is being devoted to helping the poor or least fortunate, Eaton argued.

“I’m not saying we shouldn’t be studying the Word of God; we should be studying that every single day. You should be in a Bible study … [or] in a small group but if that’s it, you’re kinda missing the point of this book (Bible),” he explained.

“I just don’t know how you can read James or Matthew 25, the least of these, and just go back to your normal American life and not live it out.”

Millennials are also tired of the church blaming the culture for everything, Eaton noted.

Nika Spaulding, director of Women’s Equipping and Curriculum at Watermark Church in Dallas, said the young adult generation needs help interpreting the culture.

“Rather than hearing it’s evil and dangerous, help us interpret it,” she said on the podcast. “That kind of teaching requires nuance … to help you navigate this world that is utterly broken and yet has redemptive value throughout it that we can find.”

The church also needs to start addressing controversial issues rather than avoiding it.

Issues include career, education, relationships, marriage, sex, finances, children, purpose, chemicals and body image.

“We don’t like how the world is telling us to live, but we never hear from our church either,” Eaton, who once struggled with suicidal thoughts, lamented.

“Tell us what the Bible says about these issues and then give us some space to wrestle with it ourselves and let us talk to God about what the Bible says,” he said.

Another big issue millennials have with churches is distrust and misallocation of resources.

“Over and over we’ve been told to ‘tithe’ and give 10% of our incomes to the church but where does that money actually go? Millennials, more than any other generation, don’t trust institutions for we have witnessed over and over how corrupt and self-serving they can be,” Eaton wrote.

What millennials want is “painstaking transparency” — such as a document on the church website tracking every dollar, he suggested.

Spaulding noted, “We’re being lectured all the time, ‘you’re living beyond your means’ and then you look at this $5 million debt of a [church] building.”

She said her church has a rule “where if my budget went on the front of the Dallas Morning News, would I be comfortable with that?”

“I think that holds me to a different level of accountability,” she noted. “Would I feel comfortable telling the 20-year-old who gave 10 percent of their $12,000 salary and the 60-year-old who … also gave me 10 percent of their $150,000 salary, am I valuing their contributions?”

According to a 2013 Barna survey, 59 percent of millennials (born between 1984 through 2002) who grew up in the church have dropped out at some point. Over a third said they left because of the church’s irrelevance, hypocrisy and moral failures of its leaders. Meanwhile, two out of 10 said they feel God is missing in church.

Armstrong said she hopes that churches can put “some defenses down” and “take some ownership on this” as they try to bring millennials back to church.

Bock agreed that change is needed.

“How can we preach and teach transformation and then not be willing to change? That doesn’t make sense at all,” he said. “So to be challenged to do better is not something that should threaten the church, it’s something the church should welcome.”

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Consider this. Perhaps if the “church” was being the church instead of simply going to church, as the Bible teaches, more young people might see the validity of gathering together regularly as the Bible instructs.

Hebrews 10:25, Not forsaking the assembling. The broader scriptural context of this verse gives us some valuable clues about the importance of believers in Yeshua assembling together on a regular basis.

What was in the mind of the writer of Hebrew that caused him to place this admonition about assembling together after his discussion about the earthy versus heavenly tabernacle, how Yeshua is our Great High Priest, and how the blood of Yeshua is much more efficacious in cleansing us from sin then the sprinkling of animal blood on the mercy seat in the tabernacle?

What’s more, the writer goes on to talk about the saints boldly entering the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary by way of the blood of Yeshua and being washed by the water of the Word of Elohim.

After this, he admonishes the saints to not forsake assembling together, and so much more so as they see “that Day” (i.e. the day of Yeshua’s coming) approaching.

What does all this have to do with the saints assembling together? It is this: The saints coming together (on the seventh day Sabbath, biblical feasts and any other times) should be a holy of holies experience — the nearest thing to heaven on earth this side of heaven! In as much as the holy of holy, in Hebraic thought, is a prophetic picture of the bridal chamber where YHVH will meet and spiritually commune with his people, by the saints assembling together, they are rehearsing the soon coming reunion between Yeshua and his bride (redeemed believers who love Yeshua by keeping his commandments) at his second coming. This is the larger context behind the admonition to “not forsake the assembling of ourselves together.”

The Benefits of Being Part of a Local Congregation

Church attendance is plummeting in America. Though roughly 85 percent of Americans claim to be Christian, only a very small percentage of these people attend church services weekly. Those who do, spend only one or two hours a week in church at the most. Even many Messianics or Hebrew roots-type believers have become victims of these trends. There seems to be a lack of discipline about regular church attendance, and many seldom go if at all. For many, church attendance has become a perfunctory ritual; people feel that they need to go to church, but they’re not sure why they do it.  

In Israel in the time of Yeshua and earlier, the synagogue was the heart and soul of each community. It was  the place of spiritual and secular education, prayer, fellowship, and acted as a sort of community center. We see that this was the case among the first century redeemed believers as well.

As many of us return to the spiritual and Hebraic roots of the Christian faith, then perhaps we need to reevaluate the role the local congregation played in the lives of our spiritual forefathers, and what the Bible teaches about this to see if our lives are mirroring the Word of Elohim. If not, then we need to ask ourselves some hard questions as to why so many Continue reading

 

Leviticus 12–15: Dealing With Contagious Sin Pathogens in Oneself and in the Church

Overview of Parshiot Tazria-Metzora (Lev 12–13 and 14–15)

Often these two parshiot are combined in the yearly Torah reading cycle depending on how the biblical calendar falls for the year. Their combining is likely due to the fact that each is relatively short and deals with related subjects: namely, the ritual purity laws. 

As we shall see, the causes of ritual impurity involve sin issues. As a remedy to this problem, the Torah prescribes procedures that the afflicted person had to follow in order to be deemed cleansed and thus be readmitted into the camp of Israel after having been temporarily expelled. All the rituals prophetically pointed to Yeshua’s atoning death on the cross.

These two parshiot dealing with diseased and unclean persons immediately come after the laws concerning clean and unclean meats (Lev 11). What the Israelites ate as well as the state of their physical bodies was an important aspect of holiness in the eyes of YHVH.

From these two parshiot, we learn that an unclean person could only become clean through the atoning blood of a sacrificed animal or through ritual cleansing of water by which he was reconciled to Elohim and brought back into the camp of Israel. 

What can we learn from the juxtapositioning of these subjects (i.e. the laws pertaining to unclean meats and unclean people) in the Torah? Simply this. Man can easily become impure and defiled because of his innately depraved, crooked, and wicked heart that is at enmity with the laws of Elohim (Jer 17:9; Rom 8:7). 

Since the fall of Adam, man has been in a state of impurity from Elohim. Thus, sin separates him from the presence of Elohim and from his fellow Israelites. Only the sin- Continue reading

 

Home Churches—The NT Answer to Terrorism

Church bombings in Egypt, churching burnings in Africa and Asia, churches being shot up in America—what’s the solution? Home churches!

Think about it. Home churches are harder for terrorists to find and enter. They’re easier to protect. In a home church, everyone knows everyone, so terrorist can’t infiltrate as easily. They’re usually more spiritually vibrant, so less likely for the devil and his minions to take out. There are less people congregated in more places making it a more difficult target for the enemy to hit and to take out.

Also, it’s easier to invite family and friends to a home church or Bible study than to a building. That works well for evangelism!

Home churches are also tough on the unbiblical model of institutionalized religious structures, centralized denominations and hireling pastors, since it’s generally harder on the business model of the church system (i.e. controlling people for the purpose of collecting money), but it’s better for the people and their spiritual growth. This is a good thing. Plus home churches follows the NT model. Go read the book of Acts.

Home churches were the apostles answer to church persecution in their day. Again, go read the book of Acts!

From The Christian Post at https://www.christianpost.com/news/36-isis-suspects-sentenced-death-killing-christians-egypt-church-bombings-222803/

36 ISIS Suspects Sentenced to Death for Egypt Church Bombings 

Thirty-six militants accused of being part of Islamic State cells in Egypt have received preliminary death sentences for their alleged involvement in the bombing of three churches.

A military court has referred the cases of 36 defendants to the nation’s Grand Mufti with the recommendation that they be put to death. The defendants were convicted of being involved in four different acts of terror that occurred in 2016 and 2017, including the bombings of two churches on Palm Sunday last year, and an attack on a police checkpoint. They’re also accused of being part of the Islamic State cells in Cairo and Qena.

The cases were originally referred to the military court by Egypt’s Attorney General Nabil Sadek.

Two of the attacks occurred on April 9, 2017, when churches in Tanta and Alexandria were bombed during Palm Sunday attacks that were later claimed by the Islamic State terrorist group. The bombings took the lives of 47 people and injured over 120 others.

Additionally, some were convicted for their involvement in the bombing of the Botroseya Church in Cairo on Dec. 11, 2016, which took the lives of 29 people and injured 47. That attack was also claimed by the Islamic State.

The other attack occurred last January when eight policemen were killed and three were wounded during an attack on a police checkpoint in the New Valley.

The Egyptian news site Al-Ahram reports that the military court has referred the case to the Grand Mufti, Egypt’s highest official of religious law who weighs in with legal opinions and edicts. Earlier this year, the Grand Mufti approved the death sentence of a Muslim man who brutally murdered a Coptic priest in a Cairo street.

The convictions of the 36 suspects are subject to appeal. In addition, prosecutors charged three of the defendants with providing other militants with combat training at training camps and with training other militants to manufacture bombs.

According to Daily News Egypt, the case involves a total of 48 defendants who have all been accused of joining an illegal terror group and were not only involved in the four attacks but were also planning to launch other violent attacks inside Cairo that would have targeted Christians.

Reuters reports that 11 of the 36 are being tried in absentia. An official verdict is expected on May 15.

As Coptic Christians comprise about 10 percent of the Egyptian population, the community has faced numerous attacks from radicals in the past year-plus. In addition to the bombings, a number of Copts have been brutally killed in separate attacks and Christians’ homes have been burned.

Egypt ranks as the 17th-worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2018 World Watch List.

The persecution comes as President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has extended an olive branch to the Coptic community and has tried to foster peace and protection for the persecuted Christians.

In 2015, Sisi gave a speech before Muslim leaders at Egypt’s 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University where he called for the Muslim leaders to lead a “religious revolution” that embraces peace rather than violence.

Sisi has also attended masses during Christian holidays to show his solidarity with the Coptic community. After he came to power in 2014, Sisi personally ordered the rebuilding of dozens of churches that were destroyed by Muslim Brotherhood extremists.

“When a law passed by parliament to protect churches was trapped in a maze of bureaucracy and indifference, [Sisi] intervened, ordering it all to be sped up,” American religious freedom advocate and informal advisor to the Trump administration Johnnie Moore wrote in an op-ed this week. “Under President el-Sisi, Egypt’s religious establishment has also signaled moderation.”

 

Church Activities Per the Testimony of Yeshua (NT)


Acts 13:14–15, A synagogue service. In that day as in our day, a typical Jewish Sabbath day synagogue service involved reading the from the Torah and the rest of the Tanakh and then hearing a teaching on what was read or on some other biblical subject. Add these Sabbath day activities to those mentioned in Acts 2:42, 47; 1 Tim 4:13; Eph 5:19–20; Col 3:16; Jas 5:13–14 and 1 Cor 14:26 and we have a list of activities the early believers did when they came together. These include

  • Teaching the word of Elohim (including the Torah), teaching doctrine, presenting the gospel (Acts 2:40–42; 1 Cor 14:26; 1 Tim 4:13)
  • Baptizing new converts (Acts 2:41)
  • Fellowshipping (Acts 2:42)
  • Sharing meals together (Acts 2:42
  • Praying for the sick (Jas 5:14)
  • Singing psalms (Gr. psallo meaning “to play on a stringed instrument a praise song to Elohim,  Jas 5:13) or to give a psalm (Gr. psalmos meaning “a striking, twanging, of a striking the chords of a musical instrument, of a pious song, a psalm, 1 Cor 14:26), for singing in general (1 Cor 14:15)
  • Confessing one’s sins one to another (Jas 5:16)
  • Praying for one another (Jas 5:16) or prayer in general (1 C or 14:14–15)
  • Turning those who are wandering from the truth back to Elohim (Jas 5:19)
  • Reading the Scriptures (1 Tim 4:13)
  • Exhorting (Gr. paraklesis meaning “calling near, summons, importation, supplication, entreaty, admonition, encouragement,consolation, comfort, solace,” 1 Tim 4:13)
  • Exercising the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12) including speaking in tongues and prophesying (1 Cor 14:12, 26, 29, 39)
  • Giving spiritual revelations (1 Cor 14:26)

How many modern day churches do all of these things on a regular basis? If not, maybe it’s time to find a new church…

 

What Is a “New Testament” Church Supposed to Do?

Acts 2:42, 46, They continued. This passage along with 1 Tim 4:13 is a list of activities the early saints did when they gathered together. This included continuing steadfastly in the apostles’s doctrine, which includes “reading [the “Old Testament” Scriptures], exhortation, [studying or teaching] doctrine” (1 Tim 4:13), fellowshipping, eating meals together, praying and praise [and worshipping] Elohim.

Expounding on this further, we read in 1 Cor 14:26, “Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” Spiritual gifts should be exercised when the saints come together as well (1 Cor 14:12).

How many modern church gatherings habitually incorporate these elements into their weekly meetings?

 

New Video: How to Live in a Spiritual God Bubble Above It All

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