Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Clearing the Temple

I preached at our church Sunday morning. I was assigned the passage from John 2 about Jesus clearing the temple. It’s a difficult passage to preach in these tough economic times, but I was impressed about three things:

One, God seeks out our sin to clean it out. He is not tolerant or passive with evil in our personal lives or our organizational lives. When Jesus enters our life, He changes the paradigm so that sin becomes sin and is no longer acceptable.

Secondly, I learned that God uses people, not buildings. The Jews asked Him, “What gives you the authority to do this?” (John 2:18) He responded, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (vs. 19, NASV) The disciples didn’t get that He was referring to His body until the resurrection, but it’s clear to us now. Our own bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19)

Sometimes we rely too heavily on institutions and not enough on what God is doing through His people. That’s what’s important, that God works through people. I would suggest that as a mission, when we think about how to relate to each other as group of Christ-followers, we need to remember that all the things we do are not important. Who we are is important – we’re back to being, not doing – because God wants His people to be a temple that He resides in; that residency of Christ allows us to experience the fullness of life.

And finally, I was really impressed and convicted that God rejects those who resist inward change. He says in John 2, the last two verses, that He rejected the people observing Him because He knew what was in their hearts; He knew them. I am convicted that God knows me. He knows the times that I deceive even myself about my unrighteousness, but He’s not fooled. I don’t want to be rejected. I want to be loved by this incredible God, but it will require me to take sin seriously.


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