I was saved into a tradition where we never went to church. Oh, we came together for the breaking of bread . . . we assembled on the Lord’s day . . . we went to meeting on Sunday (morning and evening) . . . but we were pretty choosy about our words . . . and so, we never went to church. Church wasn’t some place to go to . . . it was us people. Church wasn’t about a program or a set of activities . . . it was about a power and an anticipated dynamic. And, while I know that it’s way too easy to major on minors, I sometimes do think that we believers would be better off if we chose carefully our words. It was a phrase that jumped off the page at me in 1Timothy that brought this to mind . . .
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth. (1Timothy 3:14-15 ESV)
The church of the living God. Talk about taking the common place and elevating it to the sacred. Actually, I fear we have made “church” commonplace . . . it has always been a sacred. Oh, that we would recapture something of the awe of the holy church of the living God.
It is a household . . . an inhabited place . . . a dwelling place . . . constructed that someone might move in. And that Someone is the living God . . . and that “place” is His people. Those He has redeemed . . . those with reconstituted spiritual DNA who are now alive to God . . . those He has quarried into living stones “being built up as a spiritual house . . . to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ . . . that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Peter 2:5, 9).
The house of God is not four walls, a sanctuary, some classrooms, and a fellowship hall. Oh, that we would look not at the building but in the mirror and gaze at the house of God. That the awe-o-meter would go off the scale as we consider that we are the church of the living God! That a holy sense of grace-dependent responsibility would take hold of our hearts as we come to grips with the fact that His intent is that “through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be known to the rulers and authorities in heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10). That His people would not “go to church” but instead anticipate “coming together” realizing that He has joined us together as a spiritual structure growing “into a holy temple in the Lord. In Him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph. 2:21-22).
A dwelling place for God . . . the church of the living God!
If that isn’t a high enough and holy enough calling how about the fact that we are to be “a pillar and buttress of truth”?!? What’s a buttress? It’s a support . . . the NIV says “foundation”. The church of the living God (aka us) have been tasked with being the support and the pillars holding up the truth. How’s that for a job description? “Uh, what’s your job?” “Oh, to be a dwelling place for God . . . and to be the foundation for truth.” Really!?! Yeah, really! How we dumb it down when we say, “I’m going to church.”
Again, I don’t want to major or minors . . . and it’s not about whether or not we say we “go to church” or “go to meeting”. But let not the people of God lose sight of the reality that they are the household of God . . . let the redeemed not forget that they have been called out as dwelling place for the living God. Let’s not dumb it down . . . let’s always be mindful of how high and holy is our calling as the church.
Who is sufficient for these things? . . . Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God . . . (2Corinthians 2:16b, 3:5 ESV)
By His grace . . . for His glory . . .