1 Corinthians 3.16 “Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
2 Corinthians 6.16 “…we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
I realize that many who see this will say, “Oh come on, relax. Don’t be so obnoxious.”
I get it. Yet I wonder, do you think that words meant something to Jesus? Do you think that the choice and use of words was important to Him?
There are times in life when words SHOULD mean something specific.
When I stood with Gayle on November 29, 1975, our wedding day, I had already told her I loved her. It had passed from “I like you” to something more. And when Dean Simpson asked me to repeat after him my wedding vows, I did NOT say, “I might”, I said “I DO.”
Do you believe in Jesus as your Savior and Lord? I think this question DEMANDS a precise answer. “I think I do” will not be enough. “I might” will not be enough.
I do not know how I grew into this “mess,” but words have become increasingly important to me over the last decade or so.
One of my “pet peeves” is to point out phrases we humans use that I find “interesting.”
One of them is the common response you hear from a receptionist at an office. He or she will often say, “May I ask who’s calling?”
And my reply is, “Yes.”
There is almost always a pause as I wait for them to ask me, “who’s calling?”
Here is another one.
Certainly you have heard, and many of you may even use this one, “I’ll be honest with you.”
Okay. Think about this. A person has been talking with you for a few minutes. They have shared some information with you. You have been listening. Then, the phrase “I’ll be honest with you” is inserted and they share something else.
Now, what does this mean? Does this mean that everything, or most everything that they had just told you was “not honest?”
Come on now! This is one of the most worthless phrases humans use! Or, maybe they really mean it.
I will confess, “I HAVE NEVER USED IT!” And I won’t!
Imagine Jesus using this!
I do not have time or space here to fully explain the Hebrew use of language. If you are interested, you can study this philosophy on your own. Suffice it to say, the Hebrew language is a concrete language. It is not abstract. In other words, if I said to you, “You turkey!” then you would probably sense you I was joking with you about something kinda dumb that you did or said. In Hebrew, however, that is not the case. In Hebrew, I would LITERALLY see you as a turkey.
There is a big difference.
Some of you have already heard me talk about the word “lucky.”
When I was coaching, often someone would say “good luck, coach.” For many years I would just say, “thank you.” Then I began to get convicted. YES, CONVICTED!
To say that I am lucky, to me, is a slap in the face of my LORD! Nothing happens in my life that does not come by way of Jesus. There is no luck involved! Nothing happens by chance!
So I began to reply in this manner. “Thank you for your encouragement, but I am a Christian and I do not believe in luck.”
As you can imagine, the “good luck coach” greeting soon diminished!
I just want to speak truth.
And this brings us to this blog’s theme. I still do not go to church.
Like many or perhaps all of you, I have had hundreds – if not more – of people ask me “where do you go to church?” over the years. I must confess that I myself have asked folks the same question. (FULL DISCLOSURE HERE)
But many years ago, like with using the word “lucky,” I became convicted again.
IF I AM THE CHURCH (well, part of it) THEN HOW DO I GO TO CHURCH!? The church goes to church?
To me, this is not Biblical. In fact, to say I “go to church” reinforces the error that it is the building that lives and is important, not people.
Some have remarked with the hope, in this current “crisis” we find ourselves in, that many believers will get a new sense of what “the Church” really means. Since we are not physically gathering together, the importance of the building is greatly diminished.
I met with the other elders of our local congregation the other day at our building. One of the brothers remarked, “it sure seems lonely doesn’t it.” And I thought, “Well, yes it is. And there are massive cathedrals all over the world, and million dollar buildings across the United States that sit empty.”
But “church” has continued. And maybe, just maybe, the church is flourishing in a way that other believers in other countries have experienced for years under persecution. The “underground church” in China for instance. And other times and places where “the church” has been driven into isolation.
So when sometime says to me, “Where do you go to church,” it becomes a little awkward, but I have to explain that “I do not go to church.” I fellowship with other believers at Franklin Covenant and in a home meeting in Sylva, but I do not go to church.
Jesus says the truth. “Wherever two or three are gathered together in My Name, there I am.” (Matthew 18.20)
The church exists in a locked jail cell. The church exists around my dining room table. The church exists in a submarine or space shuttle.
The church has no walls, no boundaries. It has no heating and air conditioning. It has no sound system (other than my voice!) The church is not confined or defined by brick, metal or mortar.
The church is a living organism! WE ARE THE CHURCH, the TEMPLE OF THE LIVING GOD!
The same is true when someone says “Your church.” What is “your church” doing for Sunday morning these days? Or, doesn’t your church meet just off the Highlands Road?
But it has never been “my church.” I do not have a church. It does not belong to me.
So when I reply that “I do not have a church,” it sometimes makes for awkward conversation, but to me, it is an opportunity to SPEAK BIBLICALLY, which is to speak TRUTH.
The church belongs to Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I am not going to judge you or try to “correct” you in your own use of language. So please do not change anything you say (or do) because of me. This is where I am in my walk with Christ. You are where you are.
But, I STILL DO NOT GO TO CHURCH!
And that is enough, for now.