Friday, October 25, 2013

God's House

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are God’s household. Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” 
- Ephesians 2:19-22

“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a Chosen Race, a royal priesthood, a Holy Nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 
- 1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10

As I read these words, I am challenged to examine my life to see if I really believe what God says about me.  Do I really believe that because of the Gospel I am now no longer lost, sinful, hopeless, and separated from God, but that I am now His child, a fellow citizen with His saints, and part of Holy people who are to be the place where He has chosen to allow His glory to dwell. I am also challenged to examine my life to see if I am living out that mighty calling. We are called to be His house His temple, but what does that really mean?

Think about it for a minute. What is a temple built for?

In my travels around the world I’ve seen a couple of different religious temples and all of them have many of the same things in common. Temples are the places people go to looking for God. What people do in them may look a little different depending on the god that is suppose to live there, but everyone I observed was going there looking for God.  They all went there either to worship, pray, offer a sacrifice for sins or for blessings, seek wisdom, fellowship with other worshippers, but ultimately all of them were there to honor and elevate the god they believed lived in that temple.

Another thing temples have in common is that there is usually some sort of image of the particular god that is supposed to dwell there. I remember in Mongolia we visited a Buddhist temple. As we went in we saw a huge, eighty-foot high statue adorned with gold. Surrounding that statue were thousands of smaller little gods crafted by a full time idol maker who worked diligently in his shop off to the side of the big painted one.  It was a strange site to see and honestly really sad to me. I knew that it was just a dead statue covered with gold leaf. It was shiny and impressive (being the largest indoor statue in the world) but God did not live there.

In fact He doesn’t dwell in a temple made by human hands, He lives in one He is building for Himself. According to scripture God lives in us in the Spirit.  We are His temple. The Church is His dwelling place. The Church (not a building but the people) is where people really need to go to find God.  In the Church we worship, we pray, we fellowship, we find wisdom to live by, and ultimately we should be gathering together to elevate and honor the One True Living God of the universe. We are created in the image of our God as well. Sort of like that big statue, we are also supposed to represent our God and make known what He is like to the world. But un-like that big dead pile of plaster and paint, we are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him as living images, created by a Holy, awesome, living God to glorify Him in and through our lives in His creation.

Everything about us should be a representation of the God we belong to. The way we talk, the way we dress, the way we marry or date, the way we keep our word, work at our jobs, abide by laws, respect authority, forgive and show grace, spend money, the choices we make like the way we choose to entertain ourselves, everything we do should be done in the Name of Jesus to the Glory of God. Why? Because we are His temple, the place where He has chosen to let His Glory dwell.

But do we get that?  If a person were to observe our life would they come to the conclusion that God was in our midst? Who are we really representing? Paul asked the Corinthian church the same type of question. After assuring them of their true identity as God’s beloved children through the  Grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in chapter one (see verses 1-9), he begins to deal with the many sin issues that they were tangled up in. In chapter three he asks this question.  “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” I think that is a pretty good question for us to ask ourselves each day.

Because of the Gospel we are His people, His beloved children, His building that He delights to dwell in and among. We are the bride of His beloved Son. We are the body of Christ. We have grace and peace with God almighty. We are living breathing representatives of Him because He lives in us.

Therefore, today, lets put away everything that hinders our worship, our prayers, our fellowship, and our witness and seek to live Holy lives that glorify our Holy God and Father and our Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s encourage one another to live in obedience to the Gospel from our hearts because He loves us and we are His people. And when people come to God’s temple looking for Him, lets be ready to give them the reason for the HOPE that is in us. Better yet when we are out and about in our community like next Thursday night at Fall Family Festival, lets take the temple of God and His presence to them!

Thankfully in Grace,
Shannon Compton
Life Group Pastor