The Four Houses Of God: Acts Series #13
Do you find it difficult sometimes to conceive of God as being “with you?” Do you think of God, maybe, as in heaven; maybe peering through the clouds, moving things around on earth, like a man moves checkers when he plays checkers? So many people conceive of God that way, and you can tell it. For example, they say, “When I prayed, my prayer didn’t get above the light bulbs.” Well, maybe they have failed to understand that God also lives beneath the light bulbs.
This chapter is about The Four Houses Of God. We need to learn how to practice the presence of God. Where does God live? I mean, if, if you wanted to write Him a letter, do you know the address? Do you have the zip code? Does God live in a building like the local church? We call this the house of God. But, is it?
In Acts 7:47-48, we read: “But Solomon built him an house. Nevertheless, the most High [that’s another word for Jehovah God], the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet. Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me, saith the Lord, or what is the place of my rest?” Where on earth does God live?
It may surprise you to know, as we take this book, the Bible, and study it, we’re going to find out that God has lived in a series of houses. God creates a house, designs a house, lives in it for a while, and then if the house gets dirty, God moves out. We are going to learn a powerful principle throughout all of this message, and it is this: that God will not live in a dirty house. Now, others will, but God will not.
I heard of some college boys, and the college team had a mascot that was a goat. They had no place to keep the goat, and some of the boys volunteered to keep it in the dormitory in their room. They said, “You can’t do that.” They said, “Why not?” They said, “Because of the smell.” “Oh,” they said, “the goat can get used to that!” Now college boys may live in a dirty house, but God will not.
The Primary House: Adam
God has lived in a series of houses. God’s first house was a man, and his name was Adam. Adam was a house and God lived in Adam. In Genesis 2:7 the Bible says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul.” And there you see the first house and God designed that first house.
Throughout this message you’re going find four words that begin with the letter D, so I want to put them in your mind right now. The first is the word Design; the second is the word Desecration; the third is the word Desolation; and the fourth is the word Destruction. Design, Desecration, Desolation, Destruction. We will see a theme that goes all the way through this Bible study. And, again, I want to say, if you get a lock on what I’m about to write, you’re going to be incredibly blessed and exceedingly helped.
Now, Adam was a house designed. God designed Adam. Adam was a house of three rooms. The outer room was called his body; the inner room, his soul; the innermost room, his spirit. Now God formed Adam of the dust of the ground and that is his body, and God gave him physical life. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and that is his spirit. The word breath and the word spirit are the same word, the spirit of life. Adam became a spiritual creature. And then the Bible says, “…and he was a living soul.” Now there you have the three parts to Adam’s nature and the three parts to your nature. All human beings are body, soul, and spirit. Sitting in your seat is a body, soul, and spirit.
That’s the reason the apostle Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; faithful is He who calleth you, who also will do it. And I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless.” I am writing about your body, soul, and spirit. Now God made Adam a house – not a house for Adam; Adam was a house, and that house was a house for God to live in. Let me explain it.
Adam’s body was what we would call the outer man. The Bible calls our bodies a house. And with his outer man, with his body he knew the physical world and had physical life. This was primarily the world beneath him.
But Adam also had an inner man. That inner man is his soul. The Greek word for soul is psyche’. It’s the word we get psychiatry and psychology from. The soul is the mind, the emotion, the will. It’s what makes you, you. It’s your personality. It’s your sense of humor. It’s your taste, your likes, your dislikes – all the little idiosyncrasies and proclivities that make you the wonderfully unique individual that you are. Now your soul is on the inside. You can see my body; you can’t see my soul, but you can feel my soul as I write because you can hear my mind, my emotion, and my will. And that’s an expression that my body is making of the real me that’s on the inside. And so, with your body you have physical life, and you know the world beneath you. With your soul you have psychological life. You know the world around you and the world within you.
Now what about your spirit? I used to think that soul and spirit were basically the same thing. In Hebrews 4:12 says, “The Word of God is quick and powerful; sharper than a two-edged sword, that divides between, dividing asunder between soul and spirit.” And remember our verse, 1 Thessalonians 5:23: “…and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless…” So, your spirit is different from your soul. Both are invisible; both are inseparable, but they are not identical.
With my body I have physical life and know the physical world, the world beneath me. With my soul I have psychological life and I know the social world and the world, around me and within me. But with my spirit I have spiritual life and I know the world above me. We were created to relate to three worlds – the physical world, the social world, and the spiritual world.
I know the world beneath me, the world around me, and with my spirit I know the world above me, for the Bible says this: that God is a spirit, and they that worship Him worship Him how? In spirit and in truth. The Bible says, “God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we’re children of God.” Now what makes you more than a clever animal with a thumb juxtaposed to your fingers and something that can walk aright, what makes you absolutely unique and distinct is that you have a spirit.
Animals don’t have a spirit. Animals have a body. Animals have a soul. But animals don’t have a spirit. Now in, in the book of Genesis where it speaks of the living creatures, it’s literally the word is “living souls.” They have a soul. Your dog has a mind, an emotion, and a will, but he doesn’t have a spirit. No dog can pray. No dog can know God. No dog can worship. He can wag his tail. He can have a big time, but he can’t know God.
You see, plants, and aren’t these beautiful? Plants – they have a body, but they don’t have a soul. Animals have a body and a soul, but they don’t have a spirit. Only man, made in the image of God, has a spirit.
Now Adam was a house of three rooms, and God likes a three-roomed house. The outer room was his body, the inner was his soul, but the innermost room was where God dwelt. God says, “I will dwell with him that is of an humble and contrite spirit.” Adam’s innermost being was, the human spirit was the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. When the Bible says that God walked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, how did He walk with Adam? Did He walk along beside him? Well, God doesn’t have a body, a physical body. He walked in him and with him. Adam was a house of God, and God lived in Adam and He walked and talked in Adam.
God does things by threes. God is a triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Everything that God has made represents the triunity of God. For example, space. Space is what? Height, width, and depth. Now height is not width, and width is not depth, and depth is not height, but all are part of the same. You can identify all of them, but you cannot separate them. You see, that’s the way God is. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, the Father is not the Son, and the Son is not the Spirit, and the Spirit is not the Father, yet all are one. They are not identical, but they are inseparable. All are God. Take time, for example. Time is past, present, and future. Now the past is not the present, the present is not the future, and the future is not the past. All are one, and yet all are easily identified. Everything that God has made reflects the triunity of God: space and time and man. You were made to be a house for God to live in. Adam was God’s first house. Adam was God’s primary house.
However, Adam’s house was desecrated. God gave Adam a warning. Not a threat, but God gave Adam a warning. God said, “Now, Adam, there’s going to be a tree in the Garden of Eden. Don’t eat of it. If you do eat of it, the day that you eat thereof, you will surely die.” Well, Adam disobeyed. Adam did eat of the fruit of that tree. And the Bible tells us in Genesis 3:6 that Eve took the fruit, she ate, she gave it to her husband and he ate, and, therefore, sin came into that house. Sin sullied and dirtied the house. And so, here’s a house designed, a house of three rooms, and then here’s a house desecrated. God said, “Don’t do it,” but she did it. God said, “Don’t do it,” but he did it. Sin came in and dirtied the house that God was living in.
When Adam’s house was designed and desecrated, it became desolated house. What happened with Adam sinned? I’ll tell you what happened when Adam sinned. God just simply moved out! God won’t live in a dirty house. And so, God had said to Adam, “Adam, in the day that you eat, you will surely die.”
What is death? Death is not the separation of the soul from the body. If I were to give a gasp, have a massive coronary when I was preaching, God forbid, but fall down dead, maybe one or more medical doctors would come up and look for the vital signs, and say, “Well, Dr. Davis is dead!” but he/she would be telling a lie. I couldn’t be dead because Jesus said, “He that lives and believes in Me shall never die.” Yet, I live, I believe in Him, I can’t die. You’re looking at a man that is impossible for me to die.
All I would do is just simply move out of this house. The real me would go to heaven. “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” Death is not the separation of the soul from the body; death is the separation of the spirit from God. Have you got it? That’s what death is. God said to Adam, “Adam, in the day that you eat, you will surely die.” Well, if you read your Bible, Adam lived for more than 900 years, and yet God said, “You’re going to die that very day.” How did he die? He didn’t die physically; he died spiritually. And when he died spiritually 900 years later, his spiritual death caught up with him and he died physically.
Adam died immediately in his spirit, progressively in his soul, ultimately in his body. He died immediately in his spirit, progressively in his soul, ultimately in his body. What God literally said to Adam was, “Dying, thou shalt die. Dying, thou shalt die.” That is, it was a process. He died immediately in his spirit, progressively in his soul, and ultimately in his body. Life is very much like flowers, cut flowers. We take cut flowers, and we say, “Aren’t they beautiful? Oh, you have live flowers.” No, they’re not live flowers; they’re dead flowers.
Let’s say you are going have a live tree this Christmas. You go out and cut a tree down. It’s not a live tree. It may look alive, but it died. And when did it die? It died the moment you cut it off from its source of life from the roots, didn’t it?
Around New Year’s what happened will show up. You may take that tree out of the woods and decorate it and bring it into your house and it’ll look mighty good, just like some dead folks decorate themselves and come to church on Sunday morning. They look really good, but they are dead. And I’ll tell you why they’re dead. Because they’re cut off from the source of life and they are dead. They’re decorated, but they are dead, and they died the moment they’re cut off from the source of life. Then, later on what happened shows up when those needles begin to fall. A house designed, a house desecrated, a house desolated. Do you know what death is? God just simply moves out.
What does it mean to be lost? You don’t have to be a bank robber to be lost. You don’t have to be a murderer to be lost. You don’t have to be a blasphemer. All you have to do is just be minus God, just minus God. God moved out. And the Bible says concerning God in John 1:4: “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men….” When the Lord went out, the life went out. And when the life went out, the light went out.
Now, where had God been dwelling in Adam? God had been dwelling in Adam’s spirit. Now, when God moved out of Adam’s spirit, what took over? Who was next in the chain of command? The soul. What is the soul? The mind, the emotion, and the will. No longer is Adam a spiritual man; he’s a soulish man. What motivates him is not the Spirit of God. He’s not lead by the Spirit of God. He is lead by his mind, his emotion, and his will.
Let me tell you how most of the people in this city and in your city and every city operate – by mind, emotion, and will. Their mind says, “I think I ought to do this.” Their emotion says, “I feel like doing it.” Their will says, “I’ll do it.” That’s the way most people operate. They are not led of the Spirit of God. The Bible says, “As many as are lead of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” But now here’s a house designed, a house desecrated, a house desolated, and then a house destroyed. Adam ultimately died and his body went to the grave. Now, that’s the primary house that God built. God had moved out.
The Pattern House: The Tabernacle
Then God built another house. The next house that God built was the temple or the tabernacle. These were different forms of the same kind of structure. In Acts 7:47-48, Solomon said, “Look, I made You a house to dwell in, God.” And Solomon built a wonderful temple and it was also a house of three rooms. If you take away all of the extra accoutrements, in the temple and the tabernacle are basically three rooms. There was the outer court, the inner court, and the innermost court.
The tabernacle was colossal illustration just to help us to understand God is not interested in piles of stones. He uses them. He owns the universe. But He gave a temple to be a wonderful illustration. That outer place, which was the place of sacrifice where the brazen altar was, that represents your body, the outer man, because we present our bodies a living sacrifice.
The next room, the inner room, that represents your soul because that’s where the people met and had fellowship and knew one another as they worshipped together.
Additionally, there was a third room in that temple or tabernacle. It was the Holy of Holies. It was the innermost room. And what dwelt in the Holy of Holies? The Shekinah glory of God. God would dwelt between the cherubim there on that mercy seat there in that ark and the glory of God was in that room. God moved into that room, the Holy of Holies. We call it the inner sanctum: the outer court, the inner court, and the innermost court. Now this was a house designed of God. God told Moses when he built the tabernacle, and God told Solomon when he built the temple, “You make it according to the pattern that I gave you.” Now they didn’t just think it up. God was the architect of that building. God designed that building, because it was a house designed, a house of three rooms, because all that God is and does is reflects His triunity. The outer room, the inner room, and the innermost room. A house designed.
Not only a house designed, but a house desecrated. Remember what Jesus said when He walked into that temple and saw the money changers in there? Remember how He was moved with anger? Remember what Jesus said? Jesus said, “It is written that My Father’s house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples, but you’ve made it a den of thieves.” A house designed, a house desecrated, and then a house desolated because God won’t live in a dirty house. What did God do? God just simply moved out. In Matthew 23:38, Jesus said, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate….” Now notice in Matthew 21 He called it “…My Father’s house…” but in Matthew 23 He says, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate…” You see, it was God’s house, but God moved out, and God said, “You can have it. It’s your house!”
The people continued to worship in it. They went on and offered their sacrifices. They went on and burned their incense. They went on and sang their songs and offered their prayers, but God was a billion light years away spiritually. He said, “It’s your house.” They were still being religious in it. And it’ll be a great day in America when people stop enduring religion and start enjoying salvation. You can be religious, but, but that doesn’t mean that God has anything to do with it. God said, “That’s all yours. That’s not mine. Is My Father’s house is a house of prayer, but your house is left unto you desolate.” A house designed, a house desecrated, a house desolated.
Then the temple became a house destroyed. In Matthew 24 the disciples brought Him out there and they were going to show Him the temple like He’d never seen it. And they said, “Lord, look at this temple. Isn’t this wonderful?” And Jesus said, “There’ll not one stone be left upon another.” Not one stone left . . . and that’s true. I’ve been there. I’ve seen… not one stone left upon another. That magnificent temple, that house that Herod built, it’s gone! Why? A house designed, a house desecrated, a house desolated, a house destroyed.
The Perfect House: Jesus
There was God’s primary house. That was Adam. There was God’s pattern house. That was the temple. It was a pattern. It was a lesson. Then the next house was God’s perfect house. And you know what house that was? His name is Jesus, the last Adam, who came to restore what the first Adam lost and what the temple was here to teach us about.
Was Jesus a house of God? Indeed, He was. In John 2:19-21: “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it in three days?” But then John said, “But He spake of the temple of His body.” Now Jesus said, “Destroy this temple….” He’s talking about Himself. “Three days, I’ll raise it up.” They said, “Are you crazy? It took almost fifty years to build this thing.” They did not understand that Jesus was talking about another temple, that Jesus Himself was a temple.
First, a house designed. Jesus’ body was the handiwork of the Almighty God. The prophet said, “A body thou hast given me; a boy thou hast prepared me.” His body was the perfect design of Almighty God. That’s the why of the virgin birth. He, He was born, conceived in the womb of Mary. He came as He did, virgin born, to be what He was, sinless. He was what He was, sinless, to do what He did, die for our sins. He did what He did, die for our sins, that we might be what He is, a Son of God. He became a Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born of a virgin that we might be born again. He came to earth that we might go to heaven. He, Jesus, had a house designed.
But not only a house designed, a house desecrated. “Oh, no,” you say, “not that house.” Yes, that house. Isaiah tells us in Isaiah 53, “All we, like sheep, have gone astray. We have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.” My sin, your sin, our sin was placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Our sins sullied and dirtied that house. Peter says, “He bear our sins in His own body.” Our sins, the vileness of our sins was placed upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And that’s the reason you ought to love the Lord Jesus.
There’s hardly anything that moves me more than Gethsemane. And when I think of Gethsemane, even now the tears come to my eyes as I think of Gethsemane, as Jesus prayed, “Oh, Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” What was in that cup?
All of the sins of all mankind. You think not of all the sin in the nations of the world. Think of America. You don’t have to think of all of the cities in America. Just think of your city or town. Think not of all of the sins but think of the sin of lying. Think not of all of the days in your city or town, but just one day. Just think of the lies that will be told in your city or town today. Think of the blasphemy that’ll happen in your city or town today. Think of the sexual perversion that’ll happen today. And then compound that by all of the sins and all of the cities, all of the ages, all of the filth, all of the blasphemy – that was all distilled in a cup, and the Son of God drank it and He became sin. And when He became sin, God the Father had to treat Him just like He would treat any sinner. The Bible says, “God spared not His own Son…” And not only did Jesus bear our sins, but Jesus, the Son of God, became the object of the Father’s loathing.
A house designed. A house desecrated. Now notice: a house desolated. When Jesus hung on that cross, and when flaming fingers of fire spread across the darkness, when the earth rocked and reeled, when Jesus was taking the brunt of my sin, He cried out, “My God, my God, why hath Thou forsaken Me?” I’ll tell you why. God can’t live in a dirty house, and God moved out!
A house desolate; Jesus died alone. Do you understand this? He didn’t have the Father’s comfort. He died alone! When David walked through the valley of the shadow of death, he could say, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I’ll fear no evil, for Thou art with me.” Jesus couldn’t say that. He was forsaken by God and man, suspended between heaven and earth. A house designed! A house desecrated! A house desolated!
Then, a house destroyed. He knew it would happen. And that’s the reason He said in John 2:19: “. . . Destroy this house, three days I’ll raise it up.” He knew it would be destroyed. He knew how God works.
God’s Permanent House: We
God’s primary house was Adam. God’s pattern house was the temple. God’s perfect house, the Lord Jesus Christ. But did you know God has one more house? Did you know that God has stopped moving? Did you know that God has moved in and He’s not moving out anymore? Let me tell you what God’s permanent house is. You want to see it? Look at yourself. Look at your Christian friends and family members.
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 3: “You are the temple of God.” In 1 Corinthians 6:19: “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which you have of God, and you’re not your own; for you are bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
God has moved into us and God is not moving out anymore. God doesn’t move anymore. Jesus said, concerning this body, this temple, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you….” How long? Forever. “….that He may abide with you forever.” God has stopped moving.
You may trouble understanding this. You may say God won’t live in a dirty house, and yet I know that I’m not sinless. I know that I have failed. I know I have done wrong. Why won’t God move out?” It’s a very interesting and a wonderful question. I’ll tell you why God won’t move out. Because when Jesus died for you, Jesus paid for your sins – past, present, and future – and the Bible says in Romans 4: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Isn’t that awesome? God will clean house, but He won’t move out. Let’s this grab your spirit: “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”
The sin that Jesus died for will never be put on your account if you’ve received Christ as your personal Savior and Lord. He just can’t do it. He will not do it. He will not put that sin on your account. The Bible speaks of the spirits of men made perfect.
Let me give you several lessons. Place these lessons down deep in your soul and spirit. First, there’s a lesson concerning salvation. What is salvation? Salvation is not getting man out of the earth into heaven; it is getting God out of heaven into man. Now that’s the difference. So many people think of salvation as getting your sins forgiven so you can go to heaven. Getting your sins forgiven is preparation for salvation; going to heaven is the by-product of salvation. But salvation is getting God back in here.
Remember when Adam died? Remember how he died? When the Lord went out, the life went out. And when the life went out, the light went out. When the Lord comes back in, the life comes back in. And when the life comes back in, the light comes back in. That’s what salvation is. It’s just getting God in your house.
Second, the lesson concerning spirituality. What is a spiritual person? A spiritual person is a person who practices the presence of God. Don’t get the idea that we come to church to be spiritual. We don’t come to church to worship; we bring our worship to church. When you get saved, every day is a holy day and every place is a sacred place. And God doesn’t dwell in houses made by hand. He dwells in your spiritual house. There are some people who wouldn’t think of smoking a cigarette in church, but who would go outside and light up.
It would be better to blow smoke your local church, than in your spiritual house. We are the house of God. We are the temple of God. We are to live a supernatural life because God lives in us. And a Christian who is saved is naturally supernatural and he’s supernaturally natural. I like people who are supernaturally natural. I like people who are, who are the same in a motel room as they are in the worship service. You know what Jesus called actors? Hypocrites.
Not only is there the lesson concerning salvation and the lesson concerning spirituality, but, there’s a lesson concerning security. God stopped moving. In John 14 “…He, the Holy Spirit, will abide with you forever.”
Now God moved out of Adam. He’s not going to move out of me. What’s the difference? I have something Adam did not have. You see, Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was innocent, but I am righteous. Not my own righteousness; imputed righteousness, imparted righteousness. What’s the difference between being innocent and being righteous? Well, innocence is just what the word implies. He’s never yet sinned. But righteousness is the gift of God. It is the impartation of the holy nature of God. I have something better than Adam had. I had rather be a saved sinner than an innocent angel. God has stopped moving. He lives in us.
Last, the lesson concerning service. What is service to God? Well, service to God is not doing something for God; it is letting God do something through you. God lives in you. And the God in you is adequate for every demand that will be placed upon your life today and for the rest of your life.
And the next time you need love, don’t say, “Lord, give me love.” Say, “Thy love, Lord.” The next time you need patience, don’t say, “Give me patience.” Say, “Thy patience, Lord.” The next time you need wisdom, say, “Thy wisdom, Lord.” Christ is made unto us wisdom, redemption, sanctification. All that you need is in the Lord Jesus. And the Lord Jesus is in you. And the Bible says in Him we’re complete. And every demand of God upon your life is a demand upon the Christ who lives in you. There’s only one person who’s ever lived the Christian life. Do you want me to tell you what His name is? It’s Jesus. And if the Christian life is lived in your neighborhood, in your home, He’ll still be doing it, but He’ll be doing it in you. And the life that you live, it’ll be Christ in you living that life!