Acts 7:48-50 – “However, the Most High does not dwell in houses made by human hands; as the prophet says: 49’Heaven is My throne, and earth is the footstool of My feet; What kind of house will you build for Me?’ says the Lord; ‘Or what place is there for My repose? 50’Was it not My hand which made all these things?’” NASB
I want to present a thought based on the declaration of these verses and say the Church Building is not where God lives. He lives in our hearts. We are God’s building as Paul declared in 1 Corinthians 3:9 and in 1 Peter 2:5 we are informed that we are living stones, formed into a living spiritual house We are the focus of the Father, not the shed where the sheep gather.
Why is that worthy of addressing? Because we sometimes forget that we are the letters of God that people read. We forget that we are the building, the church that Jesus is building. We are the representatives of God and are to be the vessels through which He manifests Himself to the world.
I remember visiting Rome and going to the Vatican for a tour. It was impressive but I came away with a sense of sadness because I saw the ornate and the lavish provisions of inside and outside in the surrounding community abject poverty. In touring some of the cathedrals and churches in Rome I saw the incredible investment in making those facilities as ornate and beautiful as possible. I saw ceilings overlaid in gold and many other features costing hundreds of thousands if not millions. The guide said, “We have to make this as elaborate as possible because this is where God lives.” I wept.
The usual contact people have with God, is a believer. I believe in making the local place of worship nice because it is dedicated to God. However, the more I study Scripture the more I realize that God is not into things, buildings, and shrines, He is into people.
The reality of this is seen in the reminder that Heaven is God’s throne, and earth is His footstool. He is the Creator of All Things and it all belongs to Him. In building churches and refurbishing worship centers through the years, I found it impossible to avoid being reminded of Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and He will repay him for his deed.”
An arresting passage is found in 1 John 4:12, “No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” When I read that I almost always recall the parable of the Good Samaritan and the message of Jesus on caring for others and thereby bringing them into contact with God. The religious characters in Jesus’ story, by implication, were too focused on performance and ceremony to care for a needy person. The Samaritan, not a member of the visible religious sects demonstrated the heart of God. Jesus asked, “Who was the victim’s neighbor?” They unanimously acknowledged it was the one who showed mercy. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
You can have the most elaborate, technologically modern, and ornate worship center anyone has ever seen, and it will not touch a heart like you can. If God lives in you, you have the love of God in your heart and you can bring that person into contact with God. That inanimate building cannot. God is not dwelling in buildings made by the hands of man He is dwelling in human hearts. You are the world’s contact with God, so be light shining into darkness and become a vessel through which people can see God through you.
God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!