Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (2 Philippians 4:11-13)
The God who made the world and everything in it… does not live in temples made by man. (Acts 17.24 ESV)
Nancy and I have lived in our present house for over twenty years now. It is a place of wonderful memories. Every room is a treasure trove of past recollection. This was Frances’ bedroom, that was Andrew’s table top, here was Sarah’s wardrobe. All our rooms were interconnected. There was a constant flow of small talk and life between us. Of course, when they became teens there was need for a bit of personal space, but the house was a great place for family life. We loved it. We made the house a home! The house did not make the family. But it helped us greatly in growing the family!
Similarly, a church building is always only a means to an end. It is never the end in itself. God’s glory does not reside in a building. It resides in the church. The church is God’s people. From the time Jesus died and rose again, God’s new building is in the hearts of man. In the New Testament, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16, 2 Cor 6:18, Eph 2:22). But in the Old Testament, God’s “house” refers to a building—the temple. So, it is He who must build this building (Psalm 127:1)! Why? Because the building is a means to an end…the building of His church, His people!
It is He who must stir each one of us to give so that a building can be available for the church to grow to impact the city and future generations. Only God alone can give us the vision, and stir the passion for joyful, generous sacrifice. For unless the Lord builds, we labour in vain! But if He builds and we follow, then building a church becomes both a work of raising a lasting, permanent, great building, and that of building a wonderful, glorious people. They are joyfully and passionately inter-related. And they last!
同样的，对一间教堂来说，这通常只是为了达到目的的方法之一。然而，它本身并不是目的的终点。上帝的荣耀并不会居住在这建筑物里，因为它居住在教会里。而教会就是上帝的子民。打从耶稣被钉死，然后复活，上帝的新住所就是在人们的心里。在新约里，我们的身体就是圣灵的殿（歌林多前书 3:16，歌林多后书6:18，以弗所书2:22）。但是在旧约里，上帝的“家”指的是建筑物 – 圣殿。所以，惟有祂才能建造房屋（诗篇127:1）！为什么呢？因为那建筑是有其目的的…就是建造祂的教会，祂的子民！
Ps Dr Philip Lyn 医生牧师