October 15, 2017

God’s House

Luke 19:45-48 (NASB)

Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers’ den.” And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.

All four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life give a description of Jesus “cleansing the Temple” of money changers. Some accounts add additional information to that of Luke. Mark describes how after Jesus had driven out the money changers, He turned their tables over. John vividly describes Jesus anger (2:13-17). What are the lessons we are to learn from the cleansing of the Temple? I think there are at least four.

  1. Jesus calls the Temple of God “My House.”
    As Jesus begins driving out those who were selling, He said to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a robber’s den” (v. 46). Jesus took what God said in Isaiah 56:7 and made them His own words. The physical Temple came to represent something other than the purpose for which it was created. Thus, the Lord Jesus, in word and in deed, demonstrates that He no longer considers the physical temple as His House, but calls it a "den of thieves", thus establishing a new House, built upon the foundation of Himself. “I will build My church…” (Matthew 16:18).

  2. The Temple of God Is now the person with faith in Christ.
    “Do you not know that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, Who is in you? (I Cor. 6:19). Or, “We are the temple of God, for He has said “I will live with them and walk with them” (II Cor. 6:16). One of the fundamental problems with institutional Christianity today is the mistaken belief by priests or pastors that the buildings of a Christian place of worship are similar to the Temple of old Israel.
    1. But Jesus Christ has all authority and His people are servants with willing hearts.
      In the Old Covenant, temple leaders were all male. In the Old Covenant, birthright and gender were everything. In the Old Covenant, a hierarchy of power and authority set apart the priests (all male) from the laymen (males and female). Claiming spiritual authority today is a bad thing.
    2. The dwelling place of God is within the individual believer, not in a building.
      In inaugurating the New Covenant on the night before He died, He told His disciples that through the sacrifice of His body and blood He would inaugurate a New Agreement between God and sinners whereby the world (not just Israel), males and females (not just males), all people (not just priests), could come before the throne of grace through faith in the obedience of God's Son. Your behaviors should be consistent at church with what they are at home, work or gatherings.
    3. The ordinance of Christ is to love one another.
      In an institutional church there is a desire for control. “The ordinances of the church” are set to establish “whose in charge,” and to punish people who “rebel against those in charge.”

  3. Since you and I are now the Temple of God, Christ desire for us remains the same.
    There are three things that Jesus said and did after He turned over the money changer’s tables:
    1. God’s house will be a place of prayer – God’s people are to pray without ceasing (I Thess. 5:17).
      Prayer is the conscience and continual awareness of the presence of God in my life.
    2. God’s house will be a place where Christ’s words are heard – “Jesus taught daily…” (Luke 19:47).
    3. God’s house will be a place where Christ’s words are obeyed – (Luke 19:48).

  4. The enemy is defeated by our commitment to prayer, Christ’s word and love.
    The chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said” (Luke 19:45-48). This is a model for us today of how we do ministry.

You can view the video for this sermon HERE.