Being God's Holy Temple

This past week as I preached on Ephesians 2:11-22, one of the things we saw is how God has created the church to be His living temple.  God’s presence is no longer to be encountered in a place in Jerusalem, but who we are together as the church in worship of Him.  I hope this created in you a fresh realization of the significance of what is happening as we gather on Sunday mornings.  While we can, and should, pursue our relationship with God on a daily basis, it is through us gathering as a church that God is most deeply worshipped.  

With that in mind, here are some practices that I would encourage you to do for our Sunday gathering.

1. Prioritize our gathering

We all miss church gatherings every now and then, but that should never be done lightly.  Jewish people used to travel for weeks to be able to spend one day in God’s temple.  We get the privilege of being God’s temple together every Sunday.  In light of what it means for us to be God’s temple as the church, we must not neglect to prioritize being together as the church.

Do not stay away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encourage each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Heb 10:25 CSB)

2.  Pray for our gathering

As we gather as the church, Satan absolutely hates what happens.  He wants to blind our eyes (2 Cor 4:4), lead us astray (John 8:44) and make our hearts dead (Eph 2:2).  Gathering as a church is spiritual warfare.  

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly place…  pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance (Eph 6:12,18 ESV)

  • Pray that God would give you ears to listen, a heart to apply and a spirit to worship.

  • Pray that God would empower you to be used to encourage someone else.

  • Pray that God would use you to greet someone new and touch them with the love of God through your warm welcome.

  • Pray for a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit, so that you might have a manifestation of his Spirit for our common good.

  • Pray that God would use this gathering to draw unbelievers to himself, so that new disciples might be made.

  • Pray that God would use this gathering to draw believers into deeper knowledge of Himself, so that disciples might be matured.

  • Pray that Jesus would be honored through each part of our liturgy given in the Sunday Service preview.

3.  Plan to get the church building at least 20 minutes early

Getting here early:

  • Positions you to be able to greet new people, who always come to church early.

  • Gives you the opportunity to minister to someone before our service even begins, which might free them to experience the service in an even more meaningful way.

  • Allows you to experience the full liturgy that the pastors have put together, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, for your spiritual benefit.  

Getting here early doesn’t just happen.  It requires planning.  What time do we need to get up, what do we need to have done the night before, what time do we need to be out the door, etc…?  When we plan this way we are communicating that we want to be here to love others and are eager to experience God.  

4.  Please invite someone new

We don’t exist just for the people who are in the church, but those who do not have a church.  While we are God’s temple, there are more stones here that God wants to add.  He is all about making his temple bigger so that his praise wiIl be louder.  Who are the people that God has given you a divine appointment with for the sake of inviting them to church?  Your co-worker?  Your neighbor?  A family member?  Someone you meet at the park, grocery store, bus route, or ballpark?

The cool thing about inviting someone to our Sunday gathering, is that not only does it further our mission, it will also change your experience.  It is just true that you will be more attentive when you have someone with you that you invited out.  You will be out of your “routine” and you will be more engaged, because you will be thinking through your follow up interaction.  So invite someone out, for their sake and yours!

Christ Church, living temple of God, prioritize, pray, plan and please all for His glory!

- Pastor Jeff

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