- 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
When you hear the term TEMPLE, what do you imagine? Well, many of us immediately have dreams of a grand place, very ritzy, fancy and with every detail perfect. It would be a place to show how utterly beautiful it was for all the world to see and it was often a central theme and goal of the Jewish elders in Jerusalem. In all fairness to them, they were responding in their earthly way to the wisdom they had learned and were trying to apply it to what God had in mind. But, in the process, they frequently put themselves in the mix as well, wanting to show what a beautiful place they had created for God while also letting the people know that they had done it and they deserved credit for it. They had substituted their earthly wisdom for God's wisdom and there is no comparison between the two.
Now, that's not an unusual event and even we Christians today in modern times and here in America do the same thing. Oh, we don't call it a TEMPLE, we call it a CHURCH, and many leaders enter into a bold plan to create and build the largest and most grandiose CHURCH they can, believing that the glory of God needs to be shown in grand array just for the sake of doing so. Unfortunately, in the process, they find they require huge sums of money to pay the note on that new and imposing facility and the main thrust of their efforts become attracting new members and new money sources in order not to default. And in that very process, the search for the truth in the Word of God and its teaching becomes secondary to whatever it takes to get more new members regardless of what their belief is.
Now I don't want anyone to take this as saying that any large and imposing church means the center of their attention is off base, for there are examples of such churches that are very much followers of the Word as it is written. But there are many that are not and that brings to mind the message that the Apostle Paul was trying to bring to the men and women of the Christian faith in Corinth. The Church in Corinth was very divided in what was really the way of God. Many were corrupted by the very nature of their city, one which was beset with high immorality and continuing worship of the Greek gods. But they were truly impressed by Paul, hence their desire to start the Church and it is why he is writing to tell them the error of their ways. And the most important thing for him is to tell them exactly what the Church really is. It's not a temple or a big imposing church facility, no, it is the people. It is the people who when united make up the Church and he wants them to understand that. God created us in His image and He wants us to live for Him first and foremost in a manner that He desires from us. Doing so is a matter of the heart which opens us to the Spirit. When those who want to be Christians open themselves to the Spirit and follow the action steps given, they develop the discernment to determine what God want. They become aware of the greater spiritual knowledge that comes to us from the source of life in a different world through His Son, Jesus Christ. And people, joining together with the Spirit are thereby in tune with the Holy Spirit who gave it to us and that in turn links us to Jesus Christ who is our mediator with God. So, as Paul so aptly put it, we are that Spirit and that makes us a Temple of God. And that Temple of God which joins us together to worship and love God is the Church. It's a group of believing Christians, trusting God's Word and accepting it as God gave it to us and loving Him. Again, that is the Church, not the trappings that we sometimes think are so important. I think that's critical for each of us to understand. Have a blessed day.