Refuge or “Holy Club”? - Your Daily Forward Devotional

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Refuge or “Holy Club”?

June 22, 2020

Read Ephesians 2:19-22

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

 
Reflect

What does it mean to be “a holy temple” and “a dwelling place for God”? How does this affect your definition of the word church?

God does not dwell in man-made temples, including church buildings (Acts 7:48-50). As the apostle Paul explains, the Lord dwells in those who have trusted Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and in the church collectively (Ephesians 2:20-22). According to the New Testament, we are the church!

The place where we worship is usually called a sanctuary—which is exactly what it’s supposed to be, right? The word sanctuary means “a place to find refuge or protection.” The first part of the word, “sanct,” refers to an especially holy place. “And let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell in their midst” (Exodus 25:8). So, it doesn’t matter if we meet in a rented movie theater, a great cathedral, or a contemporary new building with the latest technology and comfy seats with cup holders for our lattes. We are the church and God is our sanctuary. And Christ Jesus Himself is the cornerstone, “in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21).

Here’s a difficult reality for some churches today: All too often, even regular church members don’t turn to their own community of believers for support during difficult times. Instead, some hide their struggles and silently seek help outside of the church to avoid being judged, brushed off, or turned away with the proverbial pat on the head. Yet as God’s church, we need to be a refuge, not a “holy club.” We need to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). Imagine how this kind of community would actually look! It can be a reality for the Christian Church, but it begins with each one of us.

 
Pray

Lord, help me to take my place in Your church—to welcome everyone into Your refuge; to share hope, love, and healing. Amen.    

We look forward to your comments, questions, and prayers in these devotionals!
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a year ago
Well, thank you Jesus that I can finally go back to a community of believers this week. I have a horrible time with isolation and have tended to lean on others outside my church building too much. Maybe once I'm back, I can find a way to be helpful to others. Weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. ✝️❤️🙏🏼
a year ago
The Holy Temple is where God's place of worship , the Dwelling Place is where we come to his dwelling place and the Holy Temple is the place of worship, the Dwelling place is where the place of refuge, to meet with God in our quite time with him. The church is we meet with other Christ followers(believers) to hear God's word and encourage one other on as Christ followers be on the right path as well to do what God would have us to live.
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1 reply
a year ago
Actually Cynthia, you and I are the church. The building where we meet together is just that, a building that can be destroyed but we, the church, are safe in Christ Jesus. May the Lord bless you as you realize who you are in Christ.
a year ago
DEAR HEAVENLY FATHER;JESUS PLEASE HELP ME WITH THIS ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT ACCORDING TO TOUR WILL TEACH ME TO HEAR & OBEY I NEED YOUR HELP I DONT KNOW I AM NOTHING WITHOUT YOU;AMEN@HELP ME;JEHOVAH GOD EVERYBODY SEEN WHAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU OPEN THE RED SEA;SHOW UP & SHOW OFF@your child;Christine;Virginia;Crystal@THANKYOUJESUS!@1
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a year ago
This Devotional is speaking directly to me! I would rather seek help elsewhere instead of from my home church.

Lord, thank You for today's word. Help me to share with others and seek help when the need arise from my home church; as we are one in the Body of Christ.
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a year ago
The enemy is always doing his best to break up the church and this is just another ploy. Next time, trust the truth that God desires us to help and lean on each other as part of His body.
a year ago
Guilty as charged. I tend to seek outside help rather than go to my congregation. Lord, Let it begin with me.
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