Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one bod so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:12-13
With all the churches closing their doors to formal activities, the trend has provoked in me one of my fun hobby horse ideas, that I thought I would address here again. Not just for fun, but to anchor our thinking into biblical values that might help us keep thinking in a way that reminds of the heart of God and the gospel of Christ.
Churches have closed their doors until further notice…well sort of. The church has closed the doors to their buildings, but it sounds funny to say that churches are closed. Of course, the reality is that some formal meetings, programs and activities have been suspended, but the “church” is not closed. It is alive and engaging and still a vibrant part of our community. We are learning that when our normal meeting structures have been removed we have to engage differently. But this creates an opportunity that we have not always done well – we have to work at our connecting. We may be confined a bit to our homes and some workplaces, but the church is still the church. I had a friend mention that this past Sunday was the first time he has not been to church in many years. I suggested he will be with the church as we connect on livestreaming, but just not at the church building.
While this is quite different than our normal routines, I am hopeful that we all gain a new appreciation for coming together as the church; it is the gathering of believers that makes up the local church, not the building. Most of you know that I won’t even call the auditorium the sanctuary because I believe, as the text would indicate above, that the sanctuary, the temple of the Holy Spirit, is His people. God’s people are the sanctuary for God, God’s people are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Herein lies the most profound truth – the church is people indwelt by the Spirit. It is not the building and as we move about and engage the world, we are the church scattered in the world. We are to sow seeds of the gospel everywhere we go and be a light unto those who do not yet know Christ. The world is undoubtedly impacted more by the church when we are out there than when we gather together. That is the nature of God’s mystery and majesty of His design.
This dynamic is as wondrous as it is mysterious. The living presence of Triune God indwells His children. Wow! That is staggering and all because of the gospel of Christ. His sacrifice opens the door to unimaginable possibilities. We now have access to all the resources of heaven that are both necessary and sufficient for life and Godliness, which is the same thing as saying He makes available His grace. He will continually lead us in His triumph (not ours) and “through us manifests the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place” (2 Cor. 2:14). This is the confidence for every child of God regardless of giftedness, talents, ethnicity, social or economic standing. We are the fragrant aroma of Christ because His Spirit abides in us.
We are the church, the temple of God, the sanctuary of Triune God. What an outstanding privilege and honor that God would choose such broken vessels to manifest His presence. Of course this “sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him” does mean that we manifest His character and His grace by the way we live. I suspect that when Christians flaunt a fleshly attitude in life that the aroma has a way of turning to a stench, but aside from a complete disconnect between who we are in Christ and the way we live in Christ, we are making a difference by being His children in every place we go.
May your hearts cling to Him in the midst of uncertain times,
Pastor Brad Little