Is church for today?
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
When you read this verse, doesn’t it sound to you like God is talking about an actual meeting place? An actual physical, brick and mortar type building? When I see the term, “house of God, which is the church of the living God” And “pillar”, I mean, upon a non pre-conditioned, unbiased first reading, is there any doubt that this verse is talking about an actual, physical building?
Read it again. (I dare you). Did you? Come on, did you really read it a second time? I think that’s a fair request, don’t you? I mean, if we are going to examine this verse, doesn’t it deserve a second look? And right now, I would guess that many of you are looking at it through the lens of “deconstruct and re-word”.
A lot of people say that we are the church, meaning we the people. And yes, it is true that God says that we the people (the believing people), are the body of Christ and His members. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t also to be an actual building called the church. There are actual verses that tell us that yes, we are to meet together as believers, and that, yes, it is an actual physical building we are to go to and that building is actually called a church.
1 Timothy 3:5 For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God? Yes, this church can be read two different ways. When it talks about a man ruling his house, it means his household (his family), and it also means the physical structure he lives in. He does the plumbing, he leads his family in devotionals. The meaning is not one or the other…it is family and physical structure. The same Pastor who takes care of his own house, also makes sure that someone shovels the snow at church, someone mows the lawn at church, so that he can prepare the sermons for the people and tend to their spiritual needs.
I know what some of you house group people are thinking. They met from house to house. They had “house church”. They didn’t do traditional church.
O. Really? …and breaking bread, from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. Praising God and having favour with all the with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47 to 48 So there we have it, right? They went house to house for church? Yes, that would be correct, unless we also read the first portion of the passage. And they, continuing daily with one accord IN THE TEMPLE and breaking bread, from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart. Praising God and having favour with all the with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47 to 48 That is the complete passage. They were in the temple every day, and then they also had daily fellowship in one another’s homes. So why do the house church people always neglect to mention the first part of the verse?
Now, I know that some of you are screaming right now, “Well, there are other verses too” and yes, we will get to them. But for now, before you shoot my duckie out of the sky, let’s let him present his full beak at least before you shoot him down. My point here, with this verse is, they did go from house to house. But that was after they went to the temple. And they were in the temple every day. Why was that? They clearly were open to meeting in one another’s homes. But this in no way took the place of meeting in the temple. Were they just hanging out at the temple? Maybe. But since it says that they were there in one accord, Don’t you kind of get the feeling that they were there for some specific purpose? Like prayer or maybe even…(gulp) an actual worship service? (wow!) Because I know a lot of you want to act like there was just this great commune of Jesus people who met from house to house (they did) and shared everything. And yes. They did that too. Yet the very verse that says
44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
This very passage is directly above the one about meeting in the temple. Yes, these house fellowship loving, commune living folk, met with one accord in the temple, every single day, just as they did in the upper room several verses prior.
Wow. All of you house group people take note: your predecessors also met in the temple. Not just for fellowship in homes. Why did this stop? Why the house group movement. Pain. Pain. Rejection. More pain. Pastoral nonsense. Pain. More nonsense. Scandal. Deadness. Dry sermons. Disallusionment.
Thankfully, in our nation there are more than 2 or three temples on every corner. Move on. Don’t quit church.
I hear you right now. "I am done with church. I will lick my wounds with select believers". Go on then. Heal Recover. Then get back in church. I realize starting over is hard. Please don’t only live the second part of this passage. Don’t isolate and segregate. You do it right, even if your pastor did it all wrong. (He’s been hurt too, you know). Hurt people hurt people. He’s not the only man of God out there. Take a chance each weekend. You’ll find the right place I know you think you’ve found it in your home. Now go live the first part of this passage. Pray about it. (will you please please pray? I mean don’t tell me I have prayed Pray right now)/ The Holy Spirit will help you get back into a church that you love. Give Him a chance. He never quit you. And daily in the temple, AND in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ"--Acts 5:42