23 Let’s hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, because the one who made the promises is reliable.
24 And let us consider each other carefully for the purpose of sparking love and good deeds. 25 Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.
Have you ever been asked at the end of a Sunday service, “Can we say it’s been good to be in the house of God today?”
Not to be rebellious, but I really hate that question. Simply put, as a Christian I am the “house of God.” God’s Spirit dwells in me. And that makes me a “house of God.” Calling our church buildings the “house of God” only serves to compartmentalize our Christianity into a Sunday-only type of thing, instead of 24-7.
I also hate when Hollywood places distraught people in a church building to pray rather than praying wherever they are. We can pray anywhere at any time.
We may have our favorite places, but any place will do.
“House of God,” is used only four times in the New Testament, much less frequently than in the Old Testament. It’s easy to explain. The first three references, Matthew 12:4, Mark 2:26 and Luke 6:4 all deal with the same instance. And that instance took place in the Old Testament days.
The fourth time the phrase is used is Hebrews 10:21. I don’t believe the writer of Hebrews was describing a New Testament church building or the Old Testament temple. I believe the author was talking about the Church, made up of people—not a church building filled with people.
The Church is the House of God. It’s not a building. It’s people. So, why do I get so upset at that phrase, “house of God?” Because it relegates God’s presence to a place.
I don’t need to be in a church building to feel holy. Or, more importantly, to be holy. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go to a church building. I like to go. I need to go.
Continue reading in verses 24-25. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
I think one of our chief purposes is to encourage one another.
Sundays are meant to encourage us—and spur us on toward love and good deeds. But if I’m going because that’s I’m in the “house of God” I am missing a boatload of spiritual blessings.
Let me close with 1 Peter 2: 4-5: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by [people] but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
That’s the house of God that I’m talking about!
by Rick Reed
For Pondering & Prayer
Simply put, if we are Christians, we are the House of God. And we get to go “to church.” The words we use do matter – because WE are “the Church”!
Prayer: Dear Lord, once more I am amazed to be called the Lord’s Church. Please help me to live up to that name. Amen.