A church building is just a building. In the United States, churches are located in every type of building. For instance, some churches find themselves in storefronts located in strip malls. It is more and more apparent in today’s world that the building isn’t the church.
Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4:20-24, ESV
Jesus had engaged the Samaritan woman on spiritual matters. She realized He was more than a normal man. He knew one of the sticking points between Jews and Samaritans is where they worshipped God. However, it is the woman who brought up where.
When she did, look at Jesus’ response. There would come a time (and it wasn’t too much longer historically speaking) when God was not worshipped in either place. Her focus was on a place. She wasn’t the only one guilty of this mistaken notion. This was a prevailing attitude of both Jews and Samaritans at the time. However, the Scriptures (“what we know”), which is what Jesus was referring to when He spoke about salvation coming from the Jews, doesn’t present that the only place to worship God is in a specially designated spot. God’s people worshipped Him in many different places. There was no room for added on rules and regulations (“what you do not know”), something both Samaritans and Jews were guilty of.
Truth be told, it’s an implicit attitude among many folks in congregations today. We place too much emphasis on our church buildings. But God can and should be worshipped anywhere. God should be exalted wherever we are. We don’t need a special building.
Are you focused on spiritual things? Are you devoted to the truth of the Bible? Are your thoughts and actions guided by both? When both of these are true in a believer’s thoughts and deeds, that is an act of worship. This is what God is seeking from us. This is what God is expecting.
This isn’t to say that church buildings aren’t important. They provide a place for believers to worship together. We are commanded to meet with fellow believers, to edify and equip each other, and to worship God corporately. So don’t read Jesus’ words to mean you can skip coming together with other Christians. That’s not His point. Scripture doesn’t support that argument. We are to gather together.
Will you worship in spirit and in truth? Will you seek to let your actions represent such worship? Are you willing to be the type of worshipper God is looking for? We can be. We should be. Let us be.