Some of the most treasured moments in my life have been times spent with God’s people in God’s house… in what we sometimes call a “church building” (a building dedicated to the gathering of people for worship, service, and the Word of God). I’ve met God there among His people and enjoyed precious times of inspiration, illumination, prayer, worship, fellowship and life transformation!
But times like that are not limited to a “church building!” In fact, The “Church” should NOT be equated with a building – it is God dwelling with and manifesting Himself among His people! Here’s some Scripture that makes that very point:
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, THERE AM I AMONG THEM!” (Matthew 18:20)
“DO YOU NOT KNOW THAT YOU [in Texas – “ya’all” – It’s plural, check the context] ARE GOD’S TEMPLE AND THAT GOD’S SPIRIT DWELLS IN [or among] YOU? … God’s temple is holy and you are that temple!” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF GOD, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 IN WHOM THE WHOLE STRUCTURE, BEING JOINED TOGETHER, GROWS INTO A HOLY TEMPLE IN THE LORD. IN HIM YOU ALSO ARE BEING BUILT TOGETHER INTO A DWELLING PLACE FOR GOD BY THE SPIRIT. (Ephesians 2:19–22 ESV)
As a result if this New Testament truth, I used to tell my students that it was a misnomer (no, almost a “theological felony”) to call a building “the church!”
I can tell you, as a result of that truth, I’ve experienced God’s profound, powerful presence in our home in a time of devotion, worship and prayer, in a small group gathering of believers, sharing fellowship with fellow believers from other churches and “denominations,” in a service project with fellow Christians, and other corporate settings!
So this morning when I read these words during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I relished each wonderful word and phrase… It described my experience, my heart, and my sentiments perfectly! I think it will yours as well!!!
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God… Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! … For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you! (From Psalm 84:1–4, 10-12 ESV)