The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 85

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16)

Why do you go to church? If you do so only occasionally, why do you not go to church more regularly? What is the level of your commitment to the Lord’s service? What excuse will you use in the New Year? Will the same distractions keep you from regular fellowship this year? Feel challenged by these questions?

It is appropriate for us to consider these questions, because it is customary to make ‘new year resolutions’ at this time. Notice I said ‘customary’. Everyone does it. ‘I will do this’ or ‘I will not do that’. It makes one feel good about the future. It seems ‘the right thing to do at the time’. It holds out a hope for better things.

Now, I am not advocating a New Year’s resolution about church attendance! But I am advocating an examination of the reasons why you go to church! Reasons provide motivation, and the right reasons provide the right motivation for our attitudes and behaviour. To have the right reasons we must often ask questions.

The most important question we need to ask ourselves is whether we expect to meet God in church. And if we do expect to meet Him, why? To answer these questions we must be anchored in this truth: it has always been God’s desire to meet with His people and to dwell with them.

Under the Old Covenant God associated Himself in a special way with the Tabernacle in the desert, and later, when Israel came to be established in the land, with the Temple. In fact, Solomon specifically asked God to identify himself with the temple he had built so that when an Israelite “prayed toward this place”, God would hear and answer the prayer (1 Kings 8:30).

But the good news for us ‘New Covenant’ people is that God does not dwell in temples made of stone. The stone temple has been replaced by one of flesh. It is important to understand that this flesh is not the individual believer, but the body of Christ, the Church, of which the believer is a part. (1 Cor. 3:9; note plural ’you’).

We go to church to meet with God, not because He lives in the building, but because He dwells in us, who together constitute His temple. To assume that we can be His body whilst not having fellowship with other members is a gross misunderstanding of ‘the body of Christ’. We go to church to allow the Spirit to speak to the body through His word, and as members of this body, to encourage one another and worship the Lord together.

No Christian is an island. We need God and each other!

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues