More Pondering from the Ponderosa. Here is the final post on the Holy Spirit’s indwelling ministry. The church is not a building made of physical material. It has never been. It is a spiritual house. Peter says that we are living stones—rejected by men but chosen by God. We are precious in His sight. We are actually a living spiritual priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices to our High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4–5).
This is truth invisible to human eyes, and silent to human ears, and never before has it entered the mind of man. This is God’s invisible reality revealed. Luke said that when persecution began in Jerusalem, the church was scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). This is obviously not speaking of believers rushing out, busily drawing up blueprints, and putting up physical buildings in these regions with communion tables, podiums, and stained-glass windows, and steeples.
Before Paul’s conversion to Christ, it is said that he ravaged the church, entered house after house, and dragged off men and women, putting them in prison (Acts 8:3). Saul persecuted the church, but it is extremely evident that he was not taking vengeance on a physical building. He was entering houses and other places where the church was meeting and was persecuting people.
Before Saul changed his name to Paul, he became the most feared enemy of the church of Jesus Christ. Singlehandedly he attempted to destroy this entire movement. It is interesting that when the Lord Jesus Christ called Saul of Tarsus to Himself, He asked this stabbing question: “Why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 9:4). Was Paul persecuting the body of Jesus Christ directly? Yes, he was! He was attempting to destroy believers, and believers are the body of Christ.
Ask yourself as you read the following portions of passages if the word church is speaking of a physical building or of people:
- The church is pictured by the husband and wife relationship (Ephesians 5:25–32).
- The church enjoys peace (Acts 9:31).
- The church has ears (Acts 11:22).
- Peter met with the church at Antioch (Acts 11:26).
- The church faced physical persecution (Acts 12:1).
- The church prays (Acts 12:5).
Jesus Christ did not die on the cross for a physical building made of brick and mortar with stained-glass windows. Physical buildings do not enjoy peace. They do not hear. Steeples and stained glass do not pray. All of the following passages speak of the church as the living temple of God, not physical buildings: Acts 13:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 14:27; Acts 15:3–4; Acts 15:22; Acts 18:22; Acts 20:17; Acts 20:28; Romans 16:1; Romans 16:5; Romans 16:23; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 1 Corinthians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Corinthians 6:4; 1 Corinthians 10:31; 1 Corinthians 11:18; 1 Corinthians 11:22; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 14:12; 1 Corinthians 14:19; 1 Corinthians 14:23; 1 Corinthians 14:28; 1 Corinthians 14:35; 1 Corinthians 15:9; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Galatians 1:13; Ephesians 1:22; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 1:2; Philippians 3:6; Philippians 4:15; Colossians 1:18 Colossians 1:24–25; Colossians 4:15; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:5; 1 Timothy 3:15; 1 Timothy 5:16; Hebrews 12:23; James 5:14; 3 John 1:6; 3 John 1:9–10; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14.
If you have read all these posts, lights should be coming on. How did we ever begin to get so far from this? The answer is the invasion of the church by Babylon around 300 AD. Stay safe and stay tuned.