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Church Membership: Holiness, Prayer, Scripture Study and Worship – (Pt.1)

Reading: 2 Chronicles 2:1-6 (KJV)
And Solomon determined to build an house for the name of the Lord, and an house for his kingdom. 2 And Solomon told out threescore and ten thousand men to bear burdens, and fourscore thousand to hew in the mountain, and three thousand and six hundred to oversee them. 3 And Solomon sent to Hiram the king of Tyre, saying, As thou didst deal with David my father, and didst send him cedars to build him an house to dwell therein, even so deal with me. 4 Behold, I build an house to the name of the Lord my God, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings morning and evening, on the sabbaths, and on the new moons, and on the solemn feasts of the Lord our God. This is an ordinance for ever to Israel. 5 And the house which I build is great: for great is our God above all gods. 6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him?”

Introduction
Let us begin this study with a look at Three questions:
1. What is the House of the Lord/Temple (v1)?
2. Who is Solomon the prophesied builder of the House of God (1 Chron. 28:5)?
3. What is expected as the primary reason for the existence of the house of God?

The exposition (for those who want to know the story behind the story)
According to David, God told him that his son Solomon would build the House of God” (1 Chronicles 28:4-6). The message was clear, however, it seems David, for the age in which he lived, did not get the full picture of the prophecy. God told him the kingdom in question was to be an eternal one (1 Chronicle 28:4). Implying that the “House of God” was also going to be eternal. However, King David interpreted the “Solomon” in the prophecy in terms of his immediate son, who became the king of Israel after him (1 Chron. 28:6). However, God was talking about eternal things (v4); but David and his people understood it as referring to the immediate son of David, Solomon. He was talking about a spiritual house of God, but they were thinking about a physical House of God.

In later years however, Isaiah mentioned and pointed to the true Solomon (Isaiah 9:6)
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
It has to be noted that “The Prince of Peace” is another rendering of the name Solomon (Shelomoh from Shalom = “peace). For us as Christians, we know that the Isaiah 9:6 text is about the messiah – Jesus the Christ (see Luke’s reference in Luke 2:11), that is why this text is read during carols services.

The Apostles explained the meaning of the “House of God” clearer in the following texts.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Cor. 3:16)
You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)

If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth. (1 Tim. 3:15)
Therefore, the true “House of God” is the Church, which the true “Prince of Peace” – Jesus the Christ, the true Solomon has started building (Matt. 16:18). To be continued.

Discussion Questions
1. The Apostle Paul advises us to live lives worthy of the Churching/calling we have been Churched/called. What lifestyle do you consider worthy of Church membership?
2. How do we cultivate the lifestyle, which is worthy of Church members?
3. What are some of the challenges to living the life that is worthy of our calling into membership of the Church? (You may want to discuss them along the following lines:
i. Political ii. Social iii. Economic iv. Emotional v. Religious

Prayer Points
1. Let us pray for Church members to live out their calling in holiness.
2. Let us pray for the Church to be relevant for calling people into the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ in all ages.

Author: Rev. Kofi Amoateng
(Senior Minister, Methodist Church, Ghana)

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