The ironic things we may find are..
That someone may attend a church their entire lives, but have never actually been a part of the true church.
That many will judge others for not attending a "church" regularly, but are only judging them for being outside of a building made of bricks and stone. Perhaps the people they are judging are a part of the true church, and that those who attend a "church" are not even in the real one.
I know some places that teach that Christ died for the church.. but that the building is a capital "C" and that the people are a lowercase "c." If you're in a place that teaches that.. run.
But for whoever is reading this, please first make sure that you are IN the real church before you start worrying about which building you're a part of. Going to a church building does not mean that you are in a church.
What does church mean though? In it's Greek translation, the word is ekklesia which means a calling out.
God calls out his elect (eklektos) which are the chosen ones, and He calls them OUT of the world to be gathered IN HIM. This is a church, and it is a very Spiritual thing. It has nothing to do with the commercialism we see today.
To say this in the most utmost frankness.. if you are not IN HIM, then you are not in a church. I don't care what building you go to every Saturday or Sunday, or that you're a notable member. You need to be IN HIM. That is all that matters.
Remember when Jesus announced that He was going to destroy the temple and raise it in three days? He said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:19
Have any of you ever wondered what happened to that? Didn't Jesus ever follow through with this? Seems like it was overlooked. Well, actually this was a fulfilled prophecy. Look closely..
When Jesus said that, it was absolutely absurd to everyone else. They said, "Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? " v20
"But he spake of the temple of his body."v21
This actually came true. Three days was Jesus in the tomb, and on the third day, He rose and established a new, Spiritual temple within the believers. This is a fulfilled prophecy, and His Words were true.
(also a side note: why do we seek after the physical things when has been made Spiritual? Millions of eyes are on the rebuilding of Israel's temple, and on physical buildings of churches.. but don't you know that the temple of God is not made with hands?)
"We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. " Mark 14:58
David: "Who found favour before God, and desired to find a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. But Solomon built him an house. Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things? Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Acts 7:46-51
"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands" Acts 17:24
Are you in the temple that is not made with hands? It is an important question that we should all ask ourselves.. But let's look at more verses explaining what the Spiritual temple is.
The Spiritual temple is not a what, but a WHO.
"To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. " 1 Peter 2:4,5
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. " 1 Peter 2:9,10
Well.. if I am a Spiritual temple for God, then how does it work?
"Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. " John 14:23
"At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. " John 14:20
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. " 1 Cor 3:16,17
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. " 1 Cor 6:19,20
"And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. " 2 Cor 6:16-18
So.. if Christ is in the Father, and you are in Christ, then you all are joined together and they will make their abode and dwelling place in you! That is how it works.
And this is a continual thing. God's Spirit lives in you, and is guiding you. He is in you always now. You don't have to wait until Sunday to be in the church. He is in you right now and you can take this anywhere you go.
There is no building for God, and like the Bible says, where can He reside? The earth is his footstool! But God can live in you and be present with you every step of the way.. always and forever.
And if you are the temple of God and He lives in you, then who is in charge of this temple? Who is the head? Don't fall for the new age lie that you are your own god, can make your own rules of right and wrong, and lead your life your way. The temple of God is in you.. but Christ Jesus alone is the head of it. He has the preeminence.
"The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. " Psalm 118:22
"Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. " Acts 4:10-12
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. " Eph 2:19-22
Now you know what the Bible tells us.. do not be deceived by what the world tells you. Do not be afraid of judgment made by other men if they judge you for not being in a physical temple, because they cannot see when you are in the Spiritual temple. That is the only one that matters.
Do not worry about church memberships. When you are IN Christ, you are a member of the body of Christ. That is the only membership that counts.
I pray that our readers will find Christ and be in Him, and that they will experience church in a way that they never have before.