A) For your church sanctuary is the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live in the sanctuary and walk among them. So keep the carpets and the furniture clean, for the sanctuary is holy ground. B) For your Sunday services are the temple of the living God. If people wear their Sunday best and the leaders perform skillfully, I will make my presence known as I move among them. C) For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, I will be their God and they will be my people." (See 2 Cor. 6:16 if you're not sure)
Even though answers A and B might seem kind of silly, and most of us know that C is the correct answer, ask yourself the following questions: Which one of the above is important to your church? Do church members put a high value on the building and especially the sanctuary, calling it the house of God and the place where He dwells? Or is there an emphasis on dressing up and looking nice to go meet with God?
In either case, I’ve got a reminder for you: God doesn’t dwell in temples or sanctuaries made by human hands. And you don’t have to dress up for Him; He is with you when you are naked in the shower or hanging out in your underwear or doing yard work in your grubbies. He is with you all the time, not restricted to buildings or dress codes, because He lives in you.
Stop and think about that for a minute. Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Sustainer of all that is, lives inside of you. Not in a church sanctuary. Not in a holy temple on some remote mountain. Not even in a worship service, although we may sense His presence more strongly as we open ourselves up to Him.
No, the Living God doesn’t live in any of those things. He lives in you. He lives in me. He lives in each and every believer in Christ. So all that effort that we put into keeping the sanctuary clean? It would be better to put that kind of effort into keeping our lives and thoughts clean. And all that money and attention to detail that we spend on our Sunday morning clothing? We would be better off giving the money to the needy and paying attention to the details of our relationship with God – talking to Him regularly, studying His Word, and developing relationships with other believers.
Don’t misunderstand me – our buildings and our personal appearances are important in that we need to be good stewards and be thought well of by others so that they too might come to the Lord – but God doesn’t dwell in those things. He dwells in you. He dwells in me. Christ in you and Christ in me is the hope of glory and the light of the world.
"He is with you all the time, not restricted to buildings or dress codes, because He lives in you."
It doesn’t matter how gloriously a temple is adorned or how magnificent the music sounds as it echoes through the chambers. God doesn’t dwell there. All of that is just a picture of how God lives inside each one of us when we give our lives to Him and invite Him to come and live inside us.
Look again at 2 Cor. 6:16 and invite God to become a living reality in your life. If you have done that before, do it again with a fuller understanding that you are the temple of the Living God and that He is worthy of you adorning your life with good works, kind words, and godly attitudes. You are His temple; let his temple resound with His praises echoing around the chambers of your innermost being. You are His sanctuary; keep yourself clean from worldly influences and the lusts of the flesh. Be set apart for Him just as the temple of God in the Old Testament was set apart for Him.
And finally, rejoice that God no longer dwells in a temple like in the Old Testament or in sanctuaries made by men. For that means that His presence is no longer restricted to a certain geographical location but is available to all who call upon His name. We can meet with God in our bedrooms or prayer closets just as surely as we can meet with him in a church building.
So take advantage, meet with Him right now. Wherever you happen to be, begin calling upon Him and talking to Him and thanking Him that He is so readily available. Invite Him to be a living reality in your life and carry yourself as a living temple of God in a way you never have before. Carry Him with you into every conversation, every relationship, and every difficulty that you face. He will calm the storms of your life and give you a peace and a power in prayer that you never had before.
Let’s Pray Together: Father in heaven, thank you that You live inside of me, not in buildings or man-made sanctuaries. Teach me how to honor You in my body, in my conversations, in my thoughts, and in everything I do. Help me to carry Your presence into every aspect of my life. Let other believers sense Your presence in me and come to me for encouragement and prayer. Let those who don’t know You yet sense that there is something different about me and inquire about You. Give me boldness to represent You and carry Your presence into my workplace, school, or other everyday situations. I love You, Lord, and long to see You move in the people and situations I bring before You now…(continue praying as you feel led)
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