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Does God Live In Our Church Buildings?

We all know that in the Old Testament God at certain times lived, or maybe better expressed, had His presence in certain places. Examples of these places were, the burning bush, a mountain, and most importantly, the tent and temple of Israel.

The New Testament brings a new dimension to Godís presence. No longer does God live in buildings made by men. (Acts 17:24) He lives in people, both collectively and individually. The church, as well as individual people are described as temples, that is, a place where God dwells. (1 Cor. 6:19, 1 Cor 3:16)

While growing up in an evangelical church I was told that the building in which I entered every Sunday was the "house of God", and therefore we had to respect this building. We could not talk loud. We could not run in Godís temple. People could not sell things. So many things could not be done because this was where God lived.

Now how do you correlate the idea of our church buildings being a place where God lives with the New Testament idea that He doesnít live in buildings made by man. Well, you donít. You agree with what the New Testament says. God does not live in our buildings. He is only there when we as Christians gather in His name, and allow Him to participate. Since the Holy Spirit lives in us, when we gather, God is there by His Spirit. Once we leave the building, God cannot be found.

The thinking that God is always in the church building, and the building being His house seems to have disappeared to a degree. This was the prevalent thinking when I was young (1950ís and 60ís), but not so much so now.

So what has changed? Two things seemed to have happened in my thinking. One change is that many have come to understand the New Testament thinking on this matter. The other thing which I think has happened is that my generation has lost its zeal for the Lord and as a result has relaxed its thinking on many things the church used to teach, including the idea that the church building is Godís house.

Really, the first reason for this change is preferable. Sad to say that in my generation of Christians, many have sled into a relaxed, lazy, and indifference approach to correct Biblical teaching. Along with this slide is the indifference to any teaching whether correct or not. Because of this indifference the idea of God living in our church building has disappeared in many places, not all. The change in this good, but the reason for the change is bad.

We should all realize that the intent of the New Testament age in which we live is that God Himself, by His Holy Spirit can live within individual Christians. When Christians gather together, and allow the Holy Spirit to participate in our activity, then God is in the building in a special way. Once we leave, He leaves to.

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