Monday, January 23, 2012

Going Deeper - week of January 22

Yesterday, I talked about the church as the people of God who are called to "gather" and "scatter" preaching the word wherever they go in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The question I want to raise in our study this week is what is the church, and how does the church's essence affect our day to day lives?

(Read Ephesians 2:11-22)

So what is the church?  According to Ephesians 2:19 and 22, the church is God's household and therefore "a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit".  So the church is people, who are brought together through faith in Jesus, so that "through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit." (verse 18)  So the church is not only a physical reality (a gathering of people in this world), but also a spiritual reality (included in Christ so that He is our peace and by Him we altogether are brought near to God).

Since this is the church, then how should the spiritual reality impact our day to day lives?  It is interesting to me to consider verses 19-22 and especially the reference made there to a building.  Buildings were important in the history of God's people.  Israel had a tabernacle (a tent) in which Moses and priests would go to meet with God (see Exodus 35-40).  Later, when Israel was settled in the "promised land" King David chose to build a temple (see 2 Samuel 7).  God did not tell Him to build a temple, as God had told Moses to build a tabernacle, still David felt a temple was what God needed.  God did not allow David to build the temple, but gave that job to Solomon (see 2 Samuel 7:12-13).  So from then on the temple became the place to meet with God.  However, when Jesus came the Bible says "The word became flesh and dwelt (literally, "tabernacled") among us."  Jesus was Immanuel, which means "God with us".  He was God's dwelling place.  He was the temple!  (see John 2:20-21)    

And when Jesus ascended to heaven He promised to send the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1:8).  The Holy Spirit came to dwell in our hearts through faith, so that now we are God's dwelling place!  This means that wherever we go from day to day we bring God with us.  So the church is no longer a physical building, but a spiritual household which "gathers" to worship God together, and then "scatters" to re-present God in the places we go.

So how are you re-presenting God everywhere you go?  Can people see God alive in you?  Do they know that He lives because He lives within you?  Let's talk about it!

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