Friday, 15 May 2009

Turns out that “The Church” is a building after all....

Okay, so before you label me a heretic, hear me out. So I’ve been read 2 Samuel, the bit where David wants to build the temple for God. But God says; through the prophet Nathan in Chapter seven:

“‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 when your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. 15 But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me]; your throne will be established forever.' "

In other words, David wants to build God a house, but God said “No, I will build you a house,” Which I thought is pretty awesome. We come to God with the things we want, trying to “do good,” yet God turns it around and makes it into something even better!!

And today, I was reading Ephesians and 1 Peter, and here are few verses for them:

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 19-22)"

"As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame."Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone, and,
"A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall."They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. (1 Peter 2: 4-8)

Now, traditionally the promise to David has been thought to have bean fulfilled partly by Solomon, but also more fully by Jesus. Yet these passages from the New Testament are using the analogy of the temple for the Church. So in that sense it could be said that the church is in fact a building, albeit a spiritual one.


Now, I might be reading too much into it, but I’m wondering if, in light of these New Testament verses we can also say that The Church is also partly a fulfillment of the promise, as is part of “David’s House.” Paul said that we are children of Abraham though Christ, so maybe we are also the house of David though Christ? The New Testament doesn't seem to makes the link, so maybe it’s pushing it a bit to say that, but maybe Paul and Peter had the promise in the back of their minds when they wrote their letters.
But in any case, we are still Loving Stones of the Temple of God. How often do we say to God “I want to build your kingdom” when God is saying to us “I want to build you into my kingdom”? Another versus from Ephesians 3: 8-9:

"Although I am less than the least of all God's people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things."

Paul calls his “work” his “grace”!! How awesome is that. We are saved by grace, and we should see our “work” for the God as grace, not work. The gospel is all about the riches of God’s grace. I love it. It’s amazing. And I love learning about it.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)"

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