However, the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands. As the prophet says,Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me?, says the Lord. Or where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things?Acts 7:48-50
Chapter 7 records the longest sermon in the book of Acts. It is Stephen's brilliant defense of what he believed, and is really a review of the history of the people of Israel. He answers the two charges against him, and he brings a third charge which he levels against the people.
Here in verses 48-50 he argues that God himself, through the prophet Isaiah, had predicted that the temple would not always be an adequate place to worship God. In fact, no building ever will be. God is bigger than buildings. God is the One who made all things, who makes the material from which a building is made, and who makes the men who put that building together. God has not designed that he should be worshipped in a building made with hands.
It is an important point he makes. I have always been disturbed by the widespread teaching that a building can be called the house of God. We should labor diligently to keep our teachers from saying that to our children. No building is the house of God, or ever was. Even the temple, as Stephen points out here, was not rightly called the house of God. When a church building is filled with people, who are indeed the house of God (for man is the house in which God intends to dwell — your body, and my body), there is a sense in which the building is the house of God, because God is there in his people. But when everyone leaves and the lights are turned out, the building is no more the house of God than any other building. It is no more holy, no more sacred. It is nothing more than a building, an empty building to be used for whatever purpose is helpful at the moment. It is not the house of God. You are the house of God.That is the great truth that Stephen tries to get across to these people.
Father, thank you that you have chosen to dwell with your people and make us the house of God. I pray that you would be completely at home in my heart.
Is it scripturally accurate to call a building the 'house of God'? What is the truly amazing truth about where Christ has chosen to live? How does this affect the way we regard His ownership of His residency?