The Place Where God Dwells

2019-12-08 – Year A – Advent 2 (altered for 10th anniversary) – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 84; 1 Peter 2:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12

How Lovely is Your Dwelling Place

  • Do you have a favorite place to be? A place where you feel perfectly content?
    • Laurel Highlands trail.
    • Singing with my youth group.
  • For the sons of Korah, that place was the temple. Psalm 84:1-2, 10
    • The temple was intended by God to be an earthly representation of God’s heavenly courts. A place where heaven and earth meet.
  • When we worship it gives us a foretaste of heaven.
  • Today, we give God thanks for this house of worship. This is the 10th anniversary of the consecration of this building. Since that day there have been approximately 520 Sundays and probably at least 2000 opportunities for corporate worship!

Living Stones

  • The Church is not a building! The Church is people.
    • You all know this because many of you were a part of the decision to leave our old building behind and start over here on Old Jennings Rd.
    • A building can help facilitate the worship and fellowship of the body, but the Church is the people
    • In the Bible, the Greek word that we translate as “Church” is Ekklesia. This word literally means those you are called out or duly called.
      • In the secular world, “Its commonest use was for the public assembly of citizens duly summoned, which was a feature of all the cities outside Judaea where the gospel was planted”
      • This term was used by both Jesus and Paul to refer to the assembly of Christians. Chiefly as the people assembled, not the place where they assembled.
  • 1 Peter 2:5
    • living stones, a spiritual house
      • The body of Christ is built out of many parts
      • Just as this building was built with many different pieces of wood, and steel, and drywall, so also each one of us is an essential component of this spiritual house.
      • The Church is now the Temple of God, the place where God himself dwells by his Holy Spirit. The Temple in Jerusalem is no longer the exclusive dwelling place of God.
      • “The beauty of this new and living ‘temple made of people’ should no longer be expensive gold and precious jewels, but the imperishable beauty of holiness and faith in Christians’ lives, qualities which much more effectively reflect the glory of God.”
    • A holy priesthood, spiritual sacrifices
      • “And we earnestly desire your fatherly goodness mercifully to accept this, our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” (Anglican Standard Text, BCP 2019).
      • “And here we offer and present to you, O Lord, ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a reasonable, holy, and living sacrifice” (Anglican Standard Text, BCP 2019).
  • Welcoming new living stones – The Peterson Family, The Hoopers, and Michele Minkel

Stones with a Mission

  • We are a chosen people – 1 Peter 2:9a
    • God specifically wants YOU on his team! WE are the A-team! First string.
    • We become living stones of the Ekklesia, those who are called out, by Grace, not by birth.
      • Matthew 3:9 – God is able to raise up children of Abraham from stones
    • We are chosen for a purpose – 1 Peter 2:9b
      • We have a mission. A mission that goes beyond this building.
      • Rehearse Good Samaritan Vision: Loving our neighbors and helping them to find God, love God, and share God.
  • John the Baptist
    • The voice of one crying – prepare the way of the Lord
      • The Song of Zechariah, Luke 1:76-79
    • Just like John, we are sent to prepare the way of the Lord
  • Franklin Graham event
    • Franklin Graham forerunners

Conclusion

  • So today, let us celebrate these courts of the Lord and be thankful for them.
  • But let us also be mindful of the purpose of this building
    • To be a place where God is worshipped
    • To be a place where we are knit together as living stones, the body of Christ
    • To be a place from which we are sent out to proclaim the excellencies of God.
  • Prayer #12 – For the Local Congregation (BCP 2019, pg. 649).

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