Click on links for today’s Bible readings: 1 Kings 13:11-25 and Revelation 21:9-27
Revelation 21:22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.
Today’s verse reminds me that our beautiful church building is not the actual church, nor is it the center and focus of worship. The people who gather for worship, study, prayer, and mission are the church, and the focus of our praise is Christ Jesus, the Lamb of God. The building serves as a meeting place, a learning center, and a sacred sanctuary. It is holy ground where the people of God can gather, but it is not the centerpiece of our worship of God. That esteemed place belongs solely to Jesus, which is why we are called Christians and not Churchians.
Please don't get me wrong; I love our church building and I am delighted about all of the renovation and expansion that has been going on for the last couple of years. It is a safe place for souls and a haven for many people. It serves as a focal point, a gathering place, and house of meditation for lots of people, including me. Whether I am working quietly in my office, or participating in a room full of elders, or sitting quietly in the sanctuary, this church building is very meaningful to me. But it is not the object of my beliefs, worship, or relationship with God. Only Jesus has that place in my life; only He is at the center of my being.
When we all get to Heaven, perhaps initially we’re going to miss seeing churches, hearing church bells, or meeting in church sanctuaries. However, it will quickly dawn on us that Christ is our meeting place, our encountering point, and our real destination. We won’t need temples to contain Him, or churches to welcome Him. His abiding presence will be all that we will ever need and we will worship Him eternally; and isn't this why we go to church in the first place? To worship Christ and enjoy Him forever.
Question for personal reflection
Why do I go to church?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are our everything. You are at the center of our faith and in the fulness of our hearts. We worship You alone and seek to serve You faithfully. You are the reason why we believe in God, and You are the One to whom we owe our lives. Thank You for being our Savior and for allowing to serve, worship, and follow You in many different ways. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message or ask questions, please send him and email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is John’s latest drawing. It’s called ‘Jesus Weeps’ and it reflects the present sad state of our world today. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on the following link: Jesus Weeps.