Understanding the Difference Between Being the House of God and Being In the House of God!
(Ver 2.2) Today I will teach on a Bible basic truth that every Christian should know. There is an interesting difference between being in the house of God and being the House of God that many preachers that I have heard must not clearly understand. I have been in numerous church services where either the pastor or the worship leader gets up behind the pulpit and says “It’s good to be in the house of the Lord”. I guess I know what they are trying to say, but technically speaking that is a very false statement and directly contradicts what the Bible says in so many aspects. That statement also portrays a false reality to unsaved people that is easily taken wrong or misunderstood. Those types of statements leave people with the impression that if they come to church, they have satisfied their religious obligation to God. However, the Bible says that the church building that you are meeting in is not the house of God! You see the Bible clearly says that God does not dwell in the buildings made by the hands of men anymore. We know this is what God use to do in the Old Testament when God told Moses to build Him a temple and the Ark of the Covenant. Jesus in Matthew taught that David entered into the house of God to eat the show bread. But, these were all natural symbolic representations for a much different spiritual reality that was to come. Here is one of my key verses for today’s lesson and I hope you can see what it says:
Act 7:48 Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet,
So here we have a major problem with the statement that too many preachers make. God clearly tells us in the Bible that it is impossible for man to build or make anything that is worthy of God’s dwelling place. If you read the next verse and the context you will see what I am talking about. God does not dwell in your man made church building; so when you say He does you leave a very false image in the minds of your listeners. However, there is another reality that God may show up at your church service if you invite Him in and then choose to let Him come in. I’ve heard ministers describe the presence of God at their meetings appearing like a cloud that would roll in over the people and then amazing things would happen. However, some people saw the cloud and others did not see the cloud. There are many examples of this type of cloud in the Bible if you look for them (Exo 16:10, Exo 19:9, Exo 24:15). I gave you 3 instances found in Exodus but God appears as a spiritual cloud several other times in the Bible as well. Then there are also literally many church buildings around the world that God does not ever show up in, because He is not welcome. Oh, sure they pretend that they are doing the right things and singing the right songs and acting out the parts pretty well. However, they neither know God nor are known by God so they worship with their lips, but Jesus said their hearts are far, far away. Jesus warned some religious people like this in Matthew 23:27 calling them “whited sepulchers that are beautiful on the outside but inwardly were unclean and full of dead men’s bones”. So God is not interested in your external religion or your outward religious ideas of being righteous. Just as God did not show up in the Jewish temple anymore, God will not show up at your church if your heart is not right before Him. These are examples of how important it is to be precise in exactly what you believe and to know what the Bible says. So where is the house of the Lord now? Or maybe I should have asked who is the house of the Lord now? If you study your Bible you will find that it says the people in the church are now this house of God:
1Ti 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
As you search the Bible you find verses that read much differently than what some men preach and teach. Here is one of those examples. You of course can take this verse literally or figuratively. I believe that this temple is symbolic based upon the scriptures that I will show you in a minute. First, let me ask you what is the church of God or again I should say who is the church of God? Let me give you a few quick scriptures that hopefully will make my point that you can see for yourself:
Rom 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.
Here is God calling the people that meet in the house the church and not the building where they meet. This can get more complex than this, but this is the basics of the lesson today. You see the people that meet together in a building can be holding church services, but technically this is not the church. God clearly calls the people in the building the church and never is there any physical building called by this name or title in the Bible. This is really a very important difference to recognize.
1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
Again we have the people living in the city of Corinth being called the church of God and not a building. It further qualifies that not everyone in the city is the church, but only those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus. So it is much more important to be in Christ than it is to be in a building with a name on the outside. This is the mistake that pastors are leaving people with when they tell them they are in the house of the Lord today. They should be saying it is good to be in Christ Jesus and be the house of God.
1Co 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
This is the last verse that I will show you today that says the church are the people that Paul persecuted and Paul did not burn down buildings or deface a building. When Jesus appeared to Saul on the road and said “Saul why do you persecute me?” Jesus was telling him He took it personally because these people that he persecuted were the church and the body of Christ where God lives today:
1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Here is the main reason that I wanted to get to today that clearly tells us where the Spirit of God is today. You can clearly see that God is not living in the buildings that are made by the hands of men anymore. God has designed and created our bodies to be His temple and dwelling place. So wherever we go God goes. Where ever we are the church is, if you are a true Christian. You see when you become a Christian the Spirit of God comes inside of your body to live and to bear witness with your spirit that you are now a child of God (Romans 8:16). This is exactly why when you tell people they are in the house of God a building made by man’s hands that it contributes to a lie. You can hold church in a hotel and God will be there if He is inside of you. You can hold church in a tent and God will be there if God is inside of you. God is not interested in your building projects, however God will help you build one if that is what you like. I have to say that it is much nicer meeting in nice churches with climate controlled environments than sweating or freezing outdoors. Just build your church building and don’t call it the house of God. I am the house of God and you are the house of God we are a spiritual building made of living stones being built up into an eternal spiritual city of the Most High God. Here is a Bible verse that says what I just tried to say:
1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
The term “lively stones” literally means stones with life in them. This makes us complexly a very unique chosen building material for God’s house. You can clearly see that we are being “built up” to become a spiritual house for God. This is one of the key accomplished works of Jesus Christ. Why was it necessary for God to build a new spiritual house? I have taught on this before, but I’ll say it again for those who do not understand it yet. You see you only build a new house if you have something wrong with your old house. Heaven was the previous spiritual house of God where there were an enumerable number of angels dwelling. So what do you do when some of your angels have been found with sin in them? You should really think about that before you try to answer it. God is a just God and God is God who does not lie and break promises with those in His family. So God’s old spiritual house and family has a major problem occurring internally within it and this causes God to decide to build/create a new House through His Son Jesus Christ. I’ll talk and teach more on this subject soon, so please keep a look out for it, the Bible says some very important things on this subject for Christians who desire to understand.
Let’s get back to God’s new spiritual building project where you can clearly find in the Bible that Jesus is building this new house for God using us the church. We know in 1 Peter 2:5 that it says we are being “built up” a spiritual house. This implies a foundation and then subsequent building layers. Who is the spiritual foundation for this new spiritual house? Of course it is God Himself to some degree who is our foundation as well as a few other chosen individuals that are mentioned in this verse:
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Again we can clearly see that we the people of God in the church building are being built upon a foundation that consists of three spiritual entities. Jesus Christ is clearly called the most important stone in the new building and He is described as the “chief corner”. This was usually in ancient building projects the first stone that was laid and one that all other stones are aligned from. So the first thing that you should grasp is that Jesus Christ is also a stone in this new spiritual house. God became one of us so that we could be made again like one of Him. The next thing that you should observe in this verse is that the Apostles of Jesus and the prophets of God from the O.T. are also living stones that makeup the foundation for this new building. Do you understand this? This is very important that you see. Here is another verse that gives us an additional perspective on the subject:
Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
In this chapter of Revelation God describes another place or actually the same place that we have been discussing but in different terms. In this chapter God describes a spiritual city called “New Jerusalem” and “Holy Jerusalem”. Both of these are the names given to the new spiritual dwelling place of God. If you noticed in this verse that this city contains a foundation of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. That sounds very similar to what we just read in Ephesians 2:20. What we can see are some amazing parallels that are certainly not found here by chance or accident. Both Ephesians and 1 Peter spoke of a building project that is being created by God. We are called the temple of God in the letters written to the church, however in Revelation God speaks of us in terms of being a city. Both are structures with walls and foundations and are built with stones. Here is another verse that certainly applies to our subject today concerning this city found in Revelation 21:
Rev 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
This verse is pretty amazing. It speaks of us as being the tabernacle of God. Tabernacle is a term meaning God’s tent. Isn’t this what Moses built God in the Old Testament? Moses built a tent which clearly meant a temporary dwelling place. What Moses made was a temporary dwelling because it was made by men. Anything that a man makes will be temporary. However, we are now found to be an eternal dwelling place for our God made not with the hands of men. When we leave this planet we will be given eternal glorified bodies like the one that Jesus possessed after His resurrection. This will be a body that will never fail or fade. Therefore it will be a permanent dwelling place for the Spirit of God. God is saying in Revelation 21:3 that God’s new house will be “with” men. The term “with” in this verse means to be joined to Him in marriage and become one flesh with Him. What we see today is a small taste of what we will see in eternity. The Spirit of God being in us today is a pattern for what we will experience forever in eternity. Therefore, God’s New Jerusalem is a spiritual city of People in covenant with Him where He lives and dwells throughout eternity. We will be His people and He will be our God and according to the Bible no eye has seen nor have we even begun to imagine the great things that He has planned for us (1 Cor 2:9). I hope and pray that you enjoyed my short and basic Bible lesson on God’s spiritual building project and have learned that we are that project here today and right now. So the next time when you go to church remember you are not going to the house of God, YOU ARE THE HOUSE OF GOD who is going to a building to meet with the rest of God’s house for fellowship, praise and worship of Him who is In US! God Bless!
Posted on October 26, 2010, in Bible Basics, Bible Study, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, God, Holy Spirit, Interpretation, Jesus, lies, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Salvation, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.