Monday, July 13, 2009

House of God

Saturday, as we were driving home from Grandfather Mountain, I noticed a sign by the side of the road. The sign read, "Burning Bush House of God - The Place Where God Is."

My first thought was that it seemed a bit arrogant to call your church the house of God. Then I realized that this church was only stating up front what many congregations feel about their church buildings. Parents tell their children to be quiet in God's house, songs are sung about bringing praise into the house of the Lord, and people talk about going to church to meet with God.

The problem with this kind of thinking is that it comes from a faulty view of our relationship with God. It is a view based in the Old Covenant, where there was a Temple that was the centralized place of worship. This building was the place where the people would go to sacrifice, to bring their tithes and offerings. The Temple was the center of the Jewish nation, of their way of life.

Jesus came as the fulfillment of everything the Temple and its sacrifices represented. He fulfilled the Law and turned the entire system of worship upside down. Now, the Spirit of God would dwell within the followers of Jesus. The temple would no longer be a building made with human hands, but would be those who believed on the Messiah, both individually and corporately. There is no longer a "house of God."

We no longer need to go to a particular location to worship God. We don't "go to church," we are the church. While there is nothing wrong with followers of Jesus gathering together in a building, we should never think that we can only worship God at certain times or at certain places. Jesus said that he is in the midst of any group gathered in his name. That gathering can take place in a "church" building, a home, a coffee shop, a park, or a pub. In fact, a location out in the marketplace may be a very effective way of spreading the Gospel to those who do not know God.

No comments:

38 Years and Counting

On this date thirty eight years ago, Jan and I were married. We have been through a lot in that time, most of it good, some it challenging, ...