In the middle of preaching a couple of Sundays ago, the wonder of preaching the Word of God to people who are physically present in our Sanctuary gripped my soul.
Calvary has only recently regathered after temporarily moving to online worship during the Covid crisis, though we continue to follow a modified schedule and employ social distancing, etc. For several months I preached to an empty Sanctuary! And while I am so thankful for the technology of livestream, radio, social media, online sermons, etc., preaching to people in the Sanctuary was different. Why was the worship experience so different since regathering?
The Holy Spirit was impressing on my heart that with our church regathering, we were indeed “in God’s temple” and “God’s Spirit was dwelling in us” (1 Corinthians 3:16). It is true that every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, but it is also true that when we gather as the Body of Christ we are the temple of God! At Calvary God has given us a beautiful Sanctuary to meet in, but we know that the Sanctuary in and of itself is not God’s temple. However, when we meet as the Body of Christ we are God’s temple and the Spirit of God dwells in us!
Therefore as we praise God, and as I open the Word of God all of us present realize that this is different from watching a service online! In the book of Acts those saved were “added” to the church (Acts 2:41, 47). We are also instructed not to neglect meeting together, “as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).
I realize that because of age, medical conditions, etc., there are good reasons why some continue to stay at home and watch online, and I praise God for the many available options we have to welcome everyone.
However, in these uncertain days, may all the followers of Christ realize the blessing and priority of coming together as the Body of Christ!
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)