The House of God
January 3, 2022 at The First Congregational Church of
1 Chronicles 17:3-10; 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
I once saw an advertisement for a gym membership that
included the words, “the body is a temple.” Did the ad
writers know what that phrase meant? I don’t know, but it
is, like many catchy phrases, taken from Scripture and
touches upon destiny, community, and the influence we
have on one another. And it all started with a question
posed by King David centuries ago.
• Set the stage
In 1 Chronicles, King David was spending some time with
the prophet Nathan and noted that while he lived in
splendor the Ark of God was in a tent-the Tabernacle.
David did not think that was right and that the Ark deserved
a temple, a house for God. Nathan told him to go ahead
and start making plans, for God was with him. That night,
however, the word of the Lord came to Nathan and
informed him that David was not to build a temple. God
had lived in tents for years and had never commanded
anyone to build a temple. Moreover, God noted, that He
took David from a shepherd’s life and placed him as King
over Israel and that He will have a descendant of David
build the temple, but that God will build a house for David;
not one made of mortar and stone, but one made of people
and that the House of David would include One who would
be King forever, even the Messiah. That is the house that
God would build for David.
• The house of God; the family of Jesus
That house figures large in the New Testament, even though
Jesus, the descendant of David who is the King and Messiah,
had no descendants Himself. Nevertheless, the family of
God includes all those who trust in the Lord like Abraham
did of old, whether they are linear descendants of David or
not. Faith in Christ places one in the family of Christ, in the
house of Christ. The beginning of John’s Gospel (1:12-13)
includes these words: “But as many as received Him, to
them He gave the right to become children of God, to those
who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor
of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
• The Temple of the Holy Spirit
Later in the New Testament the Apostle Paul would write of
this house that is made of people and give it the title “the
temple of the Holy Spirit.” The temple is in an ongoing
process of construction and involves a profound connection
between the individual and the church congregation, or for
that matter, between the individual, the church congregation
and others scattered all over the globe who have never met.
• Individual-the individual life affects the community
Twice in 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote that the
church is the temple of God. One time is in chapter six. He
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NKJV)
18 Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is
outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality
sins against his own body.
19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the
Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and
you are not your own?
20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in
your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Here referring to the individual, what we do with our lives is
a matter of divine attention and we must be mindful that if
we are temples individually then we are accountable for
keeping them undefiled.
• Corporate-the community is greater than the sum of the
But the other reference to “temple” is, I think, about the
community as a whole. Paul, writing about the importance
of teaching Scripture carefully reminds the church that they
are the temple, as a community. So we have two ways of
thinking about the temple of God, that house that God is
making that is made out of people. First, what we do with
our lives is noted by Almighty God, for we are, as
individuals, temples of the Holy Spirit and as such are holy.
The second emphasis is on the community. We’re not just
the temple of the Holy Spirit as individuals, but we are also
the temple together. We are to worship together, fellowship
together, and grow together in this journey that is a march to
heaven. Other’s struggles are our struggles and we should
be as concerned about them as they were our own. Other’s
joys and triumphs are ours as well and we can rejoice as if
they were our own. We live together and we grow together.
David, long ago, wanted to build a house for God. It turns
out that God already had plans along those lines, and they
were far greater than anything, I think, that David could
imagine. God is making a house of people, united by Christ,
and we are temples of the Holy Spirit, both as individuals
and as a community. We look to our own living mindful
that we are responsible for keeping and respecting the
holiness of our temples. We also look to each other to grow
together because we are temples corporately. Together we
are the house of God.