The House of the Lord

The God who made the world and everything in it
is the Lord of heaven
and earth and does not live in temples made by human hands.
-Acts 17:24

HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OTHERS refer to the church building as “the Lord’s House”?   I have, far more times than I can recall.  I have even done it myself.  There is only one problem.  It just isn’t true.

It is true that the tabernacle and the temple in the Old Testament were referred to as the “house of the Lord” or the “dwelling place of the Lord,” but even this is not true in the strictest sense.  When Solomon built the magnificent temple in Jerusalem he understood this clearly when he prayed,

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? 
Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You;
how much less this house that I have built.”
-1 Kings 8:27

We are grateful for the structures and facilities that have been built for the glory and honor of God.  They are necessary in our culture.  They help advance the Kingdom.  We treat them with respect. We care for them.  We repair them.  We improve them.  We use them for their intended purpose—worship of Almighty God, Ruler of heaven and earth.  But let us never fall prey to the gross error of worshiping that which WE have made for the worship of the ONE who made us.  This is idolatry.

Nor is any worship facility, made by human hands, the only place where God can be worshiped.  Certainly, Jesus preached and taught in the temple courtyard and in local synagogues, but in reading through the Gospel records, it seems He most often taught in the grand cathedral of Nature.
  • Sermon on the  Mount:  When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down.  His disciples came to Him and He began to teach them . . . . “ (Matt. 5:1,2). 
  • The Calling of Matthew: “[Jesus] went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to Him, and He was teaching them” (Mark 2:13). 
  • The Parable of the Sower: Again He began to teach beside the sea(Mark 4:1). 
  • The Feeding of the Five Thousand: “When He went ashore He saw a great crowd, and He had compassion on them, because the were like sheep  without a shepherd.  And He began to teach them many things” (Mark 6:34)

The Apostle Paul also taught and worshiped in the open air.  Acts 16 gives the account of the prayer gathering by the riverside in Philippi (Acts 16:11-15).

There is a unique simplicity and beauty in worshiping in the sanctuary of Nature, created by the hand of the One we worship.  Let us be careful, however, not to worship Nature.  That would be just as idolatrous and profane as worshiping a building.  Rather, let’s allow all that God has wondrously and mercifully created, to lift our hearts, our minds, our souls to Him.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth!
You have set Your glory above the heavens. . . .

When I look at Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which You have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him.”
-Psalm 8:1, 3-4

The awesome, amazing and humbling truth is that God has chosen to make His dwelling within the hearts of men and women who, through faith in Christ, have become living sanctuaries (1 Cor. 3:16-17). 
YOU are “the house of the Lord.” 
WE are “the house of the Lord.”