Summary: Dedication service for a newly purchased church building.
Where Two or Three are Gathered Together
Cornwall- Dedication Service
April 2, 2005
When ancient King David came to the throne, and once the kingdom was settled, under his government, he turned his attention from himself to God and had a deep desire to do something special for God.
2 Sam.7.1- 16- David did not get to do what he wanted, but was assured that it would happen and that his family would know continuance, as long as Israel was a nation- a leadership line that did continue, through a smaller part of the nation, beginning a couple of generations later.
Instead of David, Solomon, his son, did the building.
1 Kings. 6.1, 9, 11-14, 20- 22, 38- a magnificent structure, indeed.
Solomon led in the dedication of the temple-
2 Chron. 6. 1- 11, 12f.- based on what Solomon prayed, we know that the people had some expectations about this building and what would happen there and how that would/could impact them.
However, this proved to be a temporary structure, and after Jesus came, and ascended to heaven, his disciples declared that there is no building that is enough for God- not big enough or grand enough.
Acts 7.44-48, 49, 50- Stephen
Acts 17.22-24, 25, 26- Paul, on Mars Hill. God cannot be contained or nailed down to one specific area or place.
Indeed, the Holy Spirit, in ongoing revelation, taught, and teaches, that God dwells in His people.
2 Cor.6.11- 16- in both cases, Paul is instructing that the people of God form the temple. In our individualistic oriented western churches, many have taken this to emphasize individual importance. Without question, it is true that God inhabits each of us, but that was not the sense of Paul, from the eastern church, or is not the true sense we’re to derive from this. We know that the church is the body of Jesus Christ- the church together- the church corporate- the church in community. It is in this sense that we are to see the reality of God’s inhabiting his temple. God inhabits the church- you, plural, not you, singular- and the whole thrust of OT and NT theology is of God’s working in community and with community.
Today, we meet as part of this community and we know that God inhabits us. God inhabits each one of us, but he is revealed in a greater way as he inhabits us together. Each of us, as a God temple, is limited- we have our limitations, from various sources. We have only so much giftedness and so many talents. But, bring us together, even in a smaller congregation, like this, and what we are individually is ‘new and improved’ and expanded many-fold!
The ancients knew that they had to come to a holy place to be most with God, and they were very limited in how close they could be and how much they could know God, then. We, too, must think of the greater that comes through being together than being alone. Church refers to the ones of God together in His family- it refers to the family of God, not to individuals. You, alone, are not a church of God- some want to be, but they are not. A church is a body- a collection- a number together, and we need to emphasize that word ‘together’.
They had expectations of what being in and around the temple building would mean to them. Similarly, we have expectations and hopes about what being in and around this building, as God’s temple (the temple is in the building), might mean to us.
So, here, and for us, we come together, here in this place, now- our place- Jesus’ place, really.
Heb.10.24f- we need to be together. Our ability to serve and our ability and opportunity to do toward one another and outward from here will be magnified as we are together and as we yield, together, to God’s leading of us. Jesus is the head of this church, as we’ve declared, already, in this service. And the Holy Spirit leads this church, as we declared in last week’s message. We will come here, as we’ve been coming together in Cornwall somewhere, for the past over 30 years. For the next few years, we’ll be coming together here, in this place, which I hope we’ll outgrow as God brings more to this church home or community.
Matt.18.20- wherever 2 or 3 are gathered, Jesus is there, already.
We gather together today, here, for the first time. God is here- we don’t ever need to ask Him- He’s here, ahead of us. He was here, today, before we were here to open the doors. He’ll be here, as we go forward, in this place.
Psa.23- it is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, who are out in front. It is our task, as sheep of God’s flock, to keep up and to follow- to be sure we are following very closely and carefully. This is God’s place and, here, and from here, we want to follow.