Worship of Religious Buildings

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In Acts 7 verses 44-50 Stephen responds to the accusation that he had spoken against the Jewish temple - by firstly tracing the history of the temple to show his respect for it – because it was ordained by God.

But then he gets to his point in verse 48; “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.”

Even Solomon – who built the first temple, understood that truth. In his prayer at the dedication of the temple he said, “"But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain You. How much less this temple which I have built!” (1 Kings 8:27)

And then Stephen backs up the point in verses 49 & 50 by quoting the prophet Isaiah, “`Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the LORD, Or what is the place of My rest? Has My hand not made all these things?”

Stephen was not guilty of blaspheming the temple. They were, for confining God to it.

Stephen was arguing that God is greater than any temple. The temple was the symbol of God’s presence, not a prison cell for the omnipresent God.

What need did God have for a temple – God, who was able to create suns and stars, able to make a planet such as Earth and fill it to overflowing with everything man could ever need?

What need does such a vast, infinite, eternal God have of a temple, however magnificent. So the Jews were guilty of turning the temple into an idol.

You know many professing Christians can hold to similar unbiblical beliefs about church buildings and halls. A building where a church meets is, at the end of the day – just a building – nothing holy, nothing special – just bricks and plaster and cement!

People get confused as to what the “church” actually is.

The Greek word translated as “church” in the new testament is ekklesia – which mean “called out ones.”

It speaks of those people called out of the world by the Gospel into the body of Christ.

Peter writes in his first epistle that we – the body of believers – make up the church.

1 Peter 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

The Apostle Paul wrote in Acts 17:24 "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands."

Martin Luther wrote that “The church is not wood and stone, but the company of people who believe in Christ.”

So let’s never fall into the idolatrous worship of religious buildings as the Jewish leaders had done with the Temple in Jerusalem.

[Extract from Tim's Message on Acts 7]

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