The Insignificance of the External

Last Sunday we kicked off yet another edition of Discover OGC, our newcomer orientation series.

Per usual I started by presenting a brief apologetic for why church membership is biblical. I took the group to 1 Peter 2:4-5.

[4] As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, [5] you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Peter uses the word picture of a temple, borrowing from Old Testament imagery of the Jews’ place for worshiping God, to describe the nature of the church. God is building a spiritual temple out of living stones. This describes the true nature of the church, not the sticks and bricks of a literal building.

This imagery remains a pertinent reminder as we draw now one month closer, Lord willing, to the opening of our facility on Maitland Avenue. Someone recently sent me this quote by J. C. Ryle that expresses the truth well:

Let it never be forgotten that the material part of a Christian Church is by far the least important part of it. The fairest combinations of marble, stone, wood and painted glass, are worthless in God’s sight, unless there is truth in the pulpit and grace in the congregation. The dens and caves in which the early Christians used to meet, were probably far more beautiful in the eyes of Christ than the noblest cathedral that was ever reared by man. The temple in which the Lord Jesus delights most, is a broken and contrite heart, renewed by the Holy Spirit.

Well said. May we not forget it even as we look forward to the fairest combination of materials we can assemble in a building to house our assembly of living stones.

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