Where is God's House?

By Terry L. Craig

copyright © 20011

When you say the word "church," most Christians in the Western world picture a building.


We Christians have used the words "church" and "God's house" in such common ways that the terms have lost their true meaning.  We easily give directions to a church down the street.  We talk about where we go to church.  We think that when we are in the location where we regularly gather with other Christians, we are sitting in God's house.  But are we?  Where is God's house?


Where DOES God dwell?


"Wheresoever two or more are gathered in my name, there I am also.”  the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18:20 NIV


"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your bodies".  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV


"To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."   Colossians 1:27 NIV


"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands." Acts 17:24 NIV


I know that most Christians will nod when they see or hear these verses . . . but I’m not always sure the truth they reveal has worked it's way into their understanding.


When Jesus Christ died on the cross, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that the curtain (the barrier inside the temple in Jerusalem that kept the presence of God separate from sinful humanity) was torn in half--top to bottom, by God Himselfbecause He would thereafter dwell IN the hearts of those who believed.


The Greek word translated "church" (or "churches") in the New Testament is ekklesia (pronounced ek-klay-SEE-ah) appears 115 times in the New Testament.  Ekklesia applies:  to those who are "called out," to the "gathered meeting," to those who are a "congregation," who are a "community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both."  The word "church" in the New Testament refers to a gathered people, not a place.  Other terms which are synonymous with "church" in Scripture are "the Body of Christ," and "the Bride of Christ"--both of which also refer to a living being, not a building.




If you are a Christian (especially if you are one who labors for the Lord), your witness should matter to you.  Can you claim to be preaching, teaching, or living out New Testament truth if you are regularly ignoring one of its foundational teachings?  The glory of the gospel message is that Jesus died for us, that if we receive Him, He will make His home IN us, and that wheresoever two or more of us gather in His name, there He is also.  Do you recognize what powerful truths these are?  Yet we think nothing of stripping all of that away for the ease of referring to an empty shell of a building as a "church."  What does that say about what we actually believe?



God doesn't long for a temple made with human hands, no matter how elegant it may be.  He already paid the highest price that can be paid for a place to reside.  He gave His only begotten Son for His chosen dwelling place. Jesus died for us, His Bride--His church!


When you are a Christian, YOU are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  When you gather with other believers in the name of Jesus Christ, wherever you are--be that a shack, a boat at sea, an open field, or a huge palace with chandeliers--YOU (collectively) are the church.


I pray you'll consider this when someone asks you "where" you go to church.  It may be a unique opportunity to share the gospel with someone who doesn't know Jesus.  The next time a Christian brother or sister calls a mere building "God's house," it may be time to call them to ponder afresh of the wonders of Christ in us!

© 20011 Terry L. Craig

* * *


Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.


Feel free to print a personal copy of this article out or post a link to it.  All we ask is that you keep the entire article (including the copyright notice) intact, that you don't sell it or use it for commercial purposes, or as part of a commercial work.

Can true community be found online?

Emilya is an Associate VP at her company, a research & development whiz, and the inventor of a micro-computer owned by 98% of the world's remaining populace. It's 2071 and things like physical touch, the need for face to face relationships, and concepts such as church are long gone. Fortified only with micro-sleep and protein bars, she created virtual vacations, and never thought much about what it would be like to have more ... but the discovery of a letter in a black metal box hidden in her attic will cause her to re-think it all... Add the Within the Walls Trilogy by Stephanie Bennett to your reading list.

Futuristic fiction . . . with a spiritual edge.

Within the Walls
Breaking the Silence
The Poet's Treasure

How important is true community? Does God desire for us to live in fellowship with other believers?

In Terry L. Craig's new Scions of the Aegean C series, she shines a light on it!