Do you remember when you were a kid and you put your hands together in a way and said, “Here is the church, here is the steeple, and when you open the doors, here are all the people?” And then you wiggled your fingers to show the people in the church. Each person is in the building, and together they make up the church.
That little child’s play with fingers gives an accurate description of the church. First, some kind of structure is needed. It could be a house, a tent, an ornate cathedral, or a simple country church. Then, it just takes a few people to make a church. The people come and gather around God’s Word, and there is church.
The most important part of a church is the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. A retired pastor once told me that if a church had to decide for some reason to have either worship or bible study. The thing to do is to have bible study. For in bible study, people are honoring God and are also building up their knowledge of God. In learning about God, they are learning how to live their lives in a spiritual way.
If we were to build a new building, we would have an architect make plans for the new structure. In the plans, there would be a foundation, and then support beams to hold up the roof and to tie the walls together. With a solid foundation and strong support beams, a building can endure just about anything nature can put out and last for many years.
But a church is not like any other building, it is built differently. The structure where people come to worship, pray, and study God’s Word is built like any other building, but for a church to be a church, it is built on the faith of the people.
For a church to be place of faith, it must be built on a foundation, which can only be Christ. People who go to church come to learn and build their lives on all that Jesus is and has come to show us about the kingdom of God. Jesus came to this earth to teach about God the Father and His love for all people. And who could do this better than Jesus, who is God’s own Son.
Each one of those little fingers that we are wiggling is a person who looks to build on Christ. What is best for us to think about is that we are each a temple. God’s Spirit dwells in us. When we look in the mirror, we don’t see a temple. All we see is skin with some blemishes, scars, moles, and warts, so it might be hard to think that we are temples.
What may even more difficult to believe that we are temples of the Spirit. God has His Holy Spirit in us, and we are holy and perfect in every way. Because we have the indwelling of the Spirit, we have salvation and are ready to go to heaven at any point that God should call us. But until that day, we are to put every effort into building a temple that is worth the dwelling of the Holy Spirit.
The fact is that our bodies and minds are very much of the flesh, which is full of sin. Our human egos that can show much arrogance are very poor building blocks for a temple that houses God’s Spirit.
All we are to do is to construct a building on the wisdom that God has for us by his Spirit. Christ is our salvation by his death and resurrection, and the Spirit builds up on this foundation all that is good and holy.
Imagine giving a tour of your church, and you are one of the founders of the church and are quite proud of the building of that was built. But as you are showing the building, you don’t talk so much about all the craftsmanship that was put into the building although there is quite of bit of intricate work done to God’s glory. Instead of talking about the building as you walk through the sanctuary, you talk about the members who sit in the church.
In the back seat is a family whose dad has lost his job, and they are struggling to make ends meet, but they are persevering. In the middle on the end is a woman who has been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatments and still has hope for healing. And then there is a young man who has been suffering with drugs, but he has been coming regularly now for several months, and it seems that he is beating his addiction.
Each of these members who are very human with tough circumstances is also very intent on constructing faith temples. They know that by building on faith in Christ by the Spirit is the only way to get through their days.
A church had worshipped in their school’s gym for many years. They finally were able to build a sanctuary next to the school. They planned the church after the style of European churches. In the constructing of the building, the pastor had a very good eye and could see a very elaborate stained window with a rose was off center. The builder didn’t think it was, but he got up and measured and saw it was off by less than an inch. He had to set the window all over again. We need to be very mindful on how we build our temples. Our temples of the Spirit are often off centered with sin. God gives us forgiveness for those sins, so we can build again by the Spirit. When we open the doors of the church and see all the people, we find each one is building a faith temple by the Spirit and that is the church.