Summary: Is God’s house a building? Does His house have rules, systems, or structure? How can we be His house unless we know?
House - “House Rules”
Psalm 127:1 – KJV
1Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
Message - If GOD doesn’t build the house, the builders only build shacks.
Ephesians 2:19-22– Message
19-22That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
1 Peter 2:5 – NIV
5you 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.
As Christians we have our own language, don’t we? We use terms/phrases that non-Christians don’t understand. “Are you saved?” Saved from what? Have you been found? Found? I didn’t know I was lost! Have you been washed in the blood? That’s gross!
Some of the terminology we use for church can be confusing unless you are an insider. For instance when we talk about the corporate identity we might use the word kingdom or body. We understand that those terms mean our church. However, the term I want to look at is house.
Before I can start talking about the concept of the church as a house I probably need to stop and mention to you that when I use the word “house” or “church” I am not talking about this physical building. In fact, God himself tells us in Acts 17:24 that God, even though He dwelt in a physical tabernacle in the Old Testament, no longer lives in temples built by hands. So it wouldn’t matter how much stained glass, marble, or gold we adorned this building with God doesn’t live here. According to what I read to you from Ephesians and 1 Peter we are His house. He brings together the discontented, the indebted, and the dismayed – those marked by pain. In His own power and ability He joins us together, fits us together, unifies us, and shapes us into a dwelling place. Our part in this is that we determine, by how we obey and respond to his shaping, whether or not we are establishing God a palace or a shack! Some of us are asking God to settle for a shack! But I believe God wants to work in us to establish and build a beautiful house for His dwelling place!
Now we are also told that unless God builds the house we build in vain. In other words, unless the house is constructed according to His standards, His specs, His orders, and His blueprint then we are wasting our time. God never lives in a house He has not built. He is not obligated to come and live in our church just because we call it a church! He will only live in what He builds! You can go back and discover from the Old Testament that any time the folks built something according to His plans that it was at those moments that His glory would fill the house. I want that here, don’t you? I don’t want to build a clique or a club. I want to see God’s house establish in and through us so that His glory will live among us! I don’t want to build something and then beg God to come and bless it. He isn’t obligated to do so. That is true of this house and true of your house/life. Our only hope to see His glory is to build our church/life according to His instructions.
I have discovered that in the natural every house operates differently. Each house has its own system, structure, and order. Maybe in your house the Dad was the boss. That is a patriarchal system. Maybe in your house the order was that the Mom was the boss or the glue that held everything together. That is a matriarchal system. Or maybe in your house the kids were in control. That is called a jacked up system! In some houses everyone is early. In some everyone is late. In some houses people don’t talk about real issues. In others, dirty laundry is displayed for everyone to see. Systems and structures change in every house and if you don’t know those systems and structures you can be miserable and find yourself in a house full of trouble. For instance in my house if you raised your hand as if you were going to strike back you were – go ahead and pick out your casket you are a dead man. You need to know that if you were gonna live in my house.