Intro: Have you ever noticed how many churches there are in even small communities? I’m from a very small town in Michigan [one traffic light ‘downtown’] and within the city limits there are five different churches. This is not an unusual thing; even in the city of Seminole you will see two or three churches within one block. Sadly, the fact that there are many churches available does not mean people are faithfully attending them.
Sometimes people minimize the value of Christian assembly; they feel it is not important to gather as One in the church because they can experience God elsewhere. Sometimes people magnify the holiness of the sanctuary; they only experience God’s presence when in the church building. Neither mindset by itself is a healthy one. It is true, Christ lives in us and we can enjoy His presence every day no matter where we go; however, when we gather at church to worship we can enjoy the fullness of Christ’s presence with us operating as we share His many gifts and graces.
In Chapter 7, Stephen has been falsely charged with blasphemy against the temple. Stephen recognizes the importance of the temple—he never seeks to minimize the value of a structure in which to gather and worship—but he exalts the supreme importance of God above the temple. Stephen tries to impart a greater wisdom to the Pharisees about blasphemy; the charge they have leveled against him. Stephen recounts the history of the Tabernacle in order to guide the Jewish leaders to see they are actually blaspheming against God by confining Him to a temple.
I realize you and I can enjoy the loving presence of God every day, but please don’t forget how important it is to share your gifts and graces with other believers in worship, as well as your witness to unbelievers in your day to day. Make the most of each day as you live in this world—it’s God’s footstool.
Acts 7:44-53 NLT
44 “Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses. 45 Years later, when Joshua led our ancestors in battle against the nations that God drove out of this land, the Tabernacle was taken with them into their new territory. And it stayed there until the time of King David.
46 “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who actually built it. 48 However, the Most High doesn’t live in temples made by human hands. As the prophet says,
‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Could you build me a temple as good as that?’ asks the Lord. ‘Could you build me such a resting place?
Didn’t my hands make both heaven and earth?’
51 “You stubborn people! You are heathen at heart and deaf to the truth. Must you forever resist the Holy Spirit? That’s what your ancestors did, and so do you! 52 Name one prophet your ancestors didn’t persecute! They even killed the ones who predicted the coming of the Righteous One—the Messiah whom you betrayed and murdered. 53 You deliberately disobeyed God’s law, even though you received it from the hands of angels.”
Prayer: Father, please make me mindful of your precious presence, today. Don’t let me carry you around in my spirit and not acknowledge what a Gift you are in me. Let me be your temple and resting place where you can speak the Truth to my soul. I love you, Lord! In Jesus’ name. Amen.