We do forget sometimes. Yes we do. We can become so enamored with all the peripherals of doing church that we forget the main purpose and definition of the Church. The Church is defined in several ways in the Bible and many more in our minds. It is the family of God. It is the community of believers. The house of the redeemed. It is an army in the world in which we live. But these are all secondary to the main definition of the Church and its purpose.
The Church of God’s first purpose is to be the House of God. The place where God himself is to dwell in our midst in a very substative way. God has always sought to dwell with His people in very tangible ways. To literally manifest His presence to us in ways that don’t just have to be “spiritually discerned”. When God is dwelling in a place, He is much to “big” to be overlooked.
God dwelt with the man and the woman at different times of the day in the garden. God dwelt in the tabernacle of Moses, the Tabernacle of David, and in the Temple of Solomon. He “tabernacled” among of us in the person of Jesus and this same presence is to be in the New Testament Church.
Paul says this about the “House of God”…
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NASB95)
16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
…This is a question as much as it is a statement! Do you really know that you ARE a temple of God. Do you really know the Spirit of God dwells in you?
Peter makes this incredibly clear in…
1 Peter 2:5 (NASB95)
5 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.
…This is an awe-inspiring scripture which tells us as we gather together as believers we become a holy habitation of God.
I am thoroughly convinced that what we tend to call “revival” is to be the constant state of a healthy, Spirit dwelling Church body. Several things hinder this…but at the top of the list must be a lack of genuine faith in this area. We simply don’t believe the Church is first and foremost the “House of God”. So we go to church to “have services” when God desires we come for a “meeting”. A meeting with Him.
We go to church to sing our songs, listen to what we hope will be an entertaining sermon, take up an offering and then go back home judging the mornings subject matter as being “good” or “bad”. Either way our conscience is cleared because we have done our religious duty…but did we meet with the Father? Did Jesus manifest His presence by doing what Jesus always does which is to save, heal, deliver, and instill a sense of wonderment and awe because of what He did? Did the Holy Spirit have such free rein in our midst that He and He alone had His way…or did we box Him into ours?
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and by now I have “been there and done that” so many times I’ve become “bored” with Church as usual. Or could it possibly be I’ve come to a place in my spiritual walk with the Lord that all I really want is “God encounters” because even good services tend to leave me empty now…unless the Lord shows up. It is after all “the Father’s house” and if He’s not there, something vital is horribly missing.