Indulge yourself in the great North American pastime of a car ride through the suburbs and country and you will soon find yourself, perhaps unconsciously, making inferences about the wealth of individuals from the size and grandeur (or lack of same) of their homes. Beautiful estates tell us that monied people live here; suburban sprawl suggests the young and upwardly mobile professionals. A ride through the inner city may incite the opposite thinking in our minds.
Certainly when we think of the home in which God dwells, it is a fitting expression of His majesty: He is the One Who inhabits eternity. It is the only abode great enough to reflect His glory.
But Solomon marveled that the God Who filled all heaven would dwell among men in the house which he had made (1 Ki 8:27). How much more would have been his wonder and worship had He seen that same God dwell in a carpenter’s hut in Nazareth and lay His head upon the hillsides in Judea!
The house in which a man dwells normally reflects something of his character, status, and wealth.
Paul reminded the Ephesian believers that they were privileged to belong to “House of God” (1 Tim 3:15). The wealth of that house is expressed in the chapters surrounding this expression. Its currency was not the currency of Ephesus but of the eternal. It did not measure its treasures by silver but by truth.
But if a house does not accurately reflect the wealth of its owner, it does reflect his character. The assembly at Ephesus was to reflect, by its behavior and order in a heathen world, the very nature of God: “How one ought to behave in the House of God …” (1 Tim 3:15). Ephesus had its temple to Diana (Artemis), but in that same city was a testimony manifesting the living God.
Ephesus was to reflect God’s character. Each assembly is to make known the quality of the Owner. This is not dependent on size, gift, or earthly treasure. By its order and functioning, each assembly is to give testimony to the “kind” of God we have. To Corinth, Paul wrote that the manner in which they functioned was to reveal the presence of God (1 Cor 14:25), and the control of God (ch 14:33, 40). By their order, mutual love, mutual edifying one of another, and honoring of each other, they were giving testimony to a God Who communes with man, communicates with man, and controls man.
What a privilege, that each company, even though numerically weak and lacking in great gift, can reflect the greatness of the One Who owns this House! What can the unsaved learn about God from the assembly with which I am linked? What can they learn, not only by the doctrine we declare, but by the deportment we display?