As some of you know my wife and I are in North Carolina visiting my brother and his wife. We have been blessed with a safe journey so far. While driving around Wilmington I couldn’t help but notice the quantity and quality of the denominational “church” buildings. This phenomenon is not unique to Wilmington and I am sure many of you have can find fine examples in your own cities. Men have been constructing opulent edifices to God for millennia, so this phenomenon isn’t even unique to our time. The cathedral was often one of the most costly and time consuming construction projects in medieval Europe. Countless mideval builders went to work everyday believing that their work on this church could ensure they and their families entered heaven. In the name of God men have spent countless amounts of money on buildings. I wonder how much value they really have.
What a nice building you have… Is it worth anything?
What purpose do any of these objects of wood, metal, and stone have in service to God? Does God want your building? Does God even care? Jesus told the Samaritan woman in John 4 that, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” He also remarks God is seeking true worshipers that worship him in spirit and in truth. If God is a spirit and true worship can only come in spirit, what value does your building have in worship? Jesus says that it does not have ANY value as an object of worship.
Could we call these buildings houses of God? The temple was the “house” of God, God allowed it to be built. Further it was magnificent, if God allowed the temple he should have no problem with our buildings, right?
Acts 7:48-50 brings this topic clearly into perspective. “Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?'” God is a spirit, does he need a house?
So then, who is the building really for? When it comes right down to it, these magnificent buildings are not for God they are for us. They do not bring God glory they bring us glory. They are constructed to satisfy the lusts of the eye and the lusts of the flesh, not in service to God and not for the glory of God.
Where does God reside? What is his building?
Paul tells us in II Corinthians 6:16 that “we are the temple of the living God.” We are the temple. God does not place any value in any structure we might build in his name. He does value a life committed to him. God prizes your eagerness to serve him, God prizes your dedication to him. You want a nice building? Live your life following Christ to the best of your ability.