By Andy Engdahl
In the Old Testament, the Sanctuary and the Temple served as the physical place where God dwelt with humans (Ex 25:8, Ex 40:34 and 2 Chronicles 7:1-3). They were also meant to illustrate the plan of salvation in a very real way to people who were often illiterate. The Sanctuary and the Temple were beautifully constructed of the finest materials. The Second Temple with its marble walls inlaid with gold was considered by some to be the eighth wonder of the world. After Christ’s death and resurrection, the Temple was no longer needed, and God permitted its destruction in 70 AD.
We are about to begin the construction of our own church building. We have carefully considered the reasons for building a church structure. Worship of God is a prime reason for constructing a building. We can worship God anywhere, but there is special value in coming together to worship Him as a church family (Heb 10:25). This is facilitated by a building that is designed to promote and enhance corporate worship. The church should be a place of education, especially for our children and young people. Fellowship should take place in our homes, but it is also very important for the church family to fellowship together, and facilities for fellowship have become an important part of our church building (1 John 1:7). One of the most important functions of our church building is to be a place where we can serve our community and introduce Christ to them through loving Christ-like service. This will be an important focus for our church during the coming year.
We recognize that a church building is a physical tool that we should use to further the Kingdom of God. His true Temple/Sanctuary today is His Church, the body of true believers, and not a physical building (1 Cor 12:27). Today, God has chosen to make each one of our hearts and lives His dwelling place (Rev 3:20). We, as a church and individually, are His Temple (1 Cor 3:16-17). Our first and most important building project is the daily building of His true Temple in our lives and in His Church as we become the instruments of the Holy Spirit in bringing others to Christ. The good news is that Jesus in the corner stone of His church (Eph 2:19-22). If we maintain Christ as our corner stone and build on Him, we can rest assured that the building of the true Church will be successful. He is able to complete this work that He has begun in our lives (Phil 1:6).
As we begin the building of our physical church and dedicate it to service for Him, let us remember the importance of building the real Church in all of our lives and trust in the Master Builder. He will see us through.