(J. C. Philpot,
"Servants and Sons" 1841)
In the New Testament Scriptures, we find mention
made in several places of "the house of the God."
The New Testament never, in any one instance,
means, by "the house of God," any material building.
It has come to pass, through the traditions
received from the fathers, that . . .
buildings erected by man,
collections of bricks and mortar,
piles of squared and cemented stones,
are often called "the house of God."
In ancient Popish times they invested a consecrated
building with the title of "God's house",
to make it appear as though it were a holy place in which
God specially dwelt. They thus drew off the minds of the
people from any internal communion with God, and
possessed them with the idea that He was only to be
found in some holy spot, consecrated and sanctified
by rites and ceremonies.
The same leaven of the Pharisees has infected the
Church of England; and thus she calls her consecrated
buildings, her piles of stone and cement, "churches,"
and "houses of God."
And even those who profess a purer faith, who dissent
from her unscriptural forms, have learned to adopt the
same carnal language, and even they, through a
misunderstanding of what "the house of God" really
is, will call such a building as we are assembled in
this morning, "the house of God."
How frequently does the expression drop from the
pulpit, and how continually is it heard at the prayer
meeting, "coming up to the house of God," as though
any building now erected by human hands could be
called the house of the living God.
It arises from a misunderstanding of the Scriptures,
and is much fostered by that priestcraft which is in
the human heart, inciting us to believe that God is
to be found only in certain buildings set apart for
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New Testament believers met in HOMES.
" . . . the church that meets in their home." Romans 16
" . . . who gather in their home for church meetings." 1 Cor. 16:19
" . . . the church in her house." Col. 4:15
" . . . the church that meets in your house." Philemon 1:2