By Pastor Ted R. House
It seems that our nation and our society have lost the awe, the reverence, the honor, and the holiness of and for the house of God. The church house is not an entertainment venue. It is not a social club. We have made the things of God very casual. The word casual means “relaxed or unconcerned”. That in itself should give us a heads up. Most of us enjoy being casual and wearing something comfortable. Most of us put on old duds when we go outside to work. We enjoy relaxing in our lazy boy chair in our living room. But, the church house is not our living room or our back yard! It is the house of God! This casual approach to meeting with God is really a lack of respect for who He is. He is a holy God! He is a righteous God! He is the God of our refuge, an all sufficient God, our help in times of trouble!
This casual approach to God has produced casual Christians! The lack of the importance of church, the devaluing of church, the low priority of church, has produced a society that has a take it or leave it attitude toward the house of God. It has produced the attitude that attending church is no longer essential. Only 15 to 20% of Americans attend church on any given weekend. Is it any wonder that America has the problems that it has? Americans have forsaken the house of God. What is the house of God? The house of God is the church of the living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth. In I Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote: "But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." It is the church of the living God! The word “church” comes from the Greek word “ecclesia” which means “a called-out assembly”. Jesus used the word in Matthew 16:18 when He said: "...upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." What are we called out from? We are called out of our sin. We have been called out of that old life style, out of the world's way of thinking.
Jesus was gathering to Himself an assembly of called out people. The church is not a church unless it assembles! It is said that the church is not the building, it is the people. There is a danger in that statement because it justifies the thinking that you do not need to go to church. The verse says: "...that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God...". The word “in” does not mean outside! It goes on to say: "...which is the church of the living God...". The Bible is its own best dictionary. We should know how to behave in the building. Not only should it affect the way we behave in the house of God, but it should affect the way we dress in the house of God! He deserves our best clothes and our best behavior! It is not a casual place!
The house of God is where we meet with God! It is not to be forsaken (Hebrews 10:25). It is the place where we are coming to meet with the KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! I Corinthians 3:16-17 says: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." The temple of God is holy and sacred, set apart for the worshipping of God. We are His temple and we are to meet together in His church house, a holy place, a place in which we ought to know how to behave. I Corinthians 3:9 says: "...ye are God's building." Neither “temple” is to be defiled, both are the habitation of God.