How many times have we heard how awesome it is to be in the presence of God. We hear people say how God “showed up.” We hear people literally begging for the presence of the Holy Spirit. I love the heart of these people who long for what they already have.
A ubiquitous God doesn’t need to show up. You don’t need to go looking for air, you just breathe. A fish doesn’t look for water, it simply dwells in it.
Old Covenant saints had to wait for the presence of God to show up because they did not have a receptor for His Spirit. In other words, even though God was ubiquitous, He limited His presence to only rest upon His saints.
The presence of God is not limited to three-dimensional space! He is everywhere at all times!
But just like we need a diving apparatus to survive in water, or how we have a space suit to survive in space, and an earth suit to survive on earth, we need to be clothed in the spiritual to thrive in the spiritual. The clothing in this case is not external but internal — the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what we need to survive in the spiritual realm!
Every Sunday morning, much ado will be made about being in the “House of God.” More specifically, people will talk about how wonderful it is to be “in the Sanctuary” and how we must labor with our efforts and our money to keep “the Sanctuary.”
Indeed, a lot of emphasis is placed on physical “places of worship.” This sounds spiritual and holy but it is terribly misguided.
If you’ll spare me a few moments, I’d like to talk about the “presence.” Let’s start by taking a look at some words of Paul that are obvious to this discussion and some words of Jesus that would not seem so:
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP) 19 Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, 20 You were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body
The first thing we see is Paul telling us that the presence of God does not dwell in buildings made with the hands of men but the hearts of men made by the hands of God. We were purchased with the Blood of Jesus to become part of the family of God and the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.
It was never God’s intention to dwell in buildings. When God created man, He breathed His life into us. He gave us his appearance, the ability to think and speak, and His essence. God created the earth to be the dwelling place of His dwelling place!
Something we need to consider is what theologians call “creative intent.” Nowhere in the creation account is there a “place of worship.” If places of worship were so important to God, surely He’d have established one with the man He originally created, Right?
Fast forward to David. David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David loved God and was the first man after Adam to catch a glimpse of God as Father (Psalms 68:5, 89:26). He wrote in Psalms that He wanted to dwell in the house of God:
(Psalms 27:4 KJV) One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
David caught the heart of God — it was God who wanted to dwell in His people!
David wanted to build a temple for God but God passed that responsibility to David’s son, Solomon. Solomon did, indeed build the temple but, eventually, the people placed more emphasis on the temple instead of its Tenant. This caused the people to veer from the precepts of God which led to centuries of captivity.
In the Old Testament, it was said that God inhabited the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). But thanks be to Jesus, God now inhabits us (Romans 8:11)!
In the Old Testament concept of cities of refuge, sanctuary referred to a place where a person guilty of a crime could flee to to save his life. Jesus took this concept and turned it upside down — saving us from destruction and cleansing us so that He could take sanctuary within us. He saves us to dwell in us to keep us safe from the effects of the world.
Now, when people talk about “sanctuary” in the context of buildings, they speak of something consecrated or set apart. But Jesus, by His Blood, has consecrated and sanctified forever:
(Hebrews 10:10 AMP) And in accordance with this will [of God], we have been made holy (consecrated and sanctified) through the offering made once for all of the body of Jesus Christ (the Anointed One).
We have been made his Temple! And wherever we go, the place of worship goes with us. Wherever we go, the presence of God goes, too!
The sanctuary is not a building! Our sanctuary is in Christ and His Sanctuary is in us!
© 2018 – Derrick Day (www.derrickday.com)