MAIN POINT: WE ARE GOD’S TEMPLE.
1) FIRST, WE ARE GOD’S TEMPLE BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN BROUGHT INTO HIS HOUSEHOLD.
i) Coming to Christ brings a change in a person’s status. When people come to Jesus Christ, we cannot treat them like second class citizens. Some Christians do this theologically by teaching a doctrine of ‘baptism of the Spirit’. Other Christians who are closer to the core of evangelicalism do this practically: sometimes we treat people as second class citizens until they are “discipled”. Discipleship is good, people need to grow in their faith—however the moment someone is saved they belong to God.
ii) Those who belong to God are part of God’s temple. If there are no second class citizens in the kingdom, then we need to make every effort to preserve unity with the body of Christ. We cannot treat fellow Christians like strangers and aliens. This is often how we respond to people—we give people the cold shoulder. They do something we don’t like, perhaps we do not talk to them. Perhaps we leave the church. Perhaps we let our dissatisfaction fester and brew until it bubbles over like a pot of boiling water.
2) SECOND, WE ARE GOD’S TEMPLE WHICH IS BEING BUILT ON JESUS CHRIST.
i) The apostles and prophets laid their foundation once for all time. This verse I believe is one of the reasons we should not consider apostleship and prophecy to continue today. There is no need—the foundation has been laid—just as Jesus Christ does not need to die be raised from the dead a second time. To be an apostle in the NT you had to see the risen Lord—these gifts do not continue today—despite what some churches proclaim.
ii) Every local church that true belongs to the one church of God must be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Our first core value:
Jesus Christ will be our cornerstone.
We believe that Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of the church. The universal church is the body of Christ. Our local manifestation of that body at PMBFC will be a group of believers that value the LORDSHIP of Christ over all things. Our local church will attempt to faithfully build this church upon the foundation that Christ has laid in His death and resurrection for His people. Only through Jesus Christ’s work can we actively worship our Triune God.
(2) True churches must build upon Jesus Christ. Paul writes this:
1 Corinthians 3:9-16 9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. 14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
(a)There is a right way and a wrong way to build. If we build on the foundation other than Christ our efforts are in vain. It is wasted. It is judged.
(b)What kind of things today go on in the evangelical church that do not build people into Christ? Why do you come to church? Where is your heart when you enter these doors? What are you “looking for”? I would suggest that most people look for a whole list of things (some of them good) but they do not look for Christ—the best.
3)One of the primary ways we build people on the foundation is solid teaching and preaching that points people to Jesus Christ through making the Scriptures clear.
(a) First, we are teaching the Scriptures. A while back I encountered a sermon online where the pastor basically opened up Dr. Seuss and said “see there are Biblical principles here”. He spent more time going verse by verse in Dr. Seuss than in the Bible. Then when we got to the Bible he just shared a general principle like: God is faithful. –That does not root people in Christ.
(b) Second, preaching Scripture is not to make us feel good about ourselves like popular psychologists and motivational speakers. What is the Word of God for?
2 Timothy 3:16 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
“To cut off the sinner from all reliance upon himself, his merits and his powers; and throw him, naked and helpless, into the hands of the Holy Spirit to lead him to Christ in faith; should be the one great aim of the ministry.”
–Ichabod S. Spencer
“Grow not offended with the minister if he comes too close to you; remember that is his duty. And if the whip goes right around you and stings you, thank God for it, be glad of it. Let me, if I sit under a ministry, sit under a man who uses the knife with me sometimes, a man who will not spare me, a man who will not flatter me. If there should be flattery anywhere, let it not be at any rate in the pulpit.” –Charles Spurgeon.
(c)Third, preaching Scripture to edify must point people to Jesus. If we are temple, we must constantly be rooted, united and built deeper onto that foundation. It is too easy to simply give moralistic lessons in the church. Even in our Sunday schools with our children we teach them the Bible stories so that they learn they are sinners and that salvation is found in Christ alone. That is Christianity. Moralism takes those same Bible stories and says: “how can you be a good person this week?” The answer: you can’t! David, a man after God’s own heart fails miserable—none of us have the heart of David. We shouldn’t challenge children to ‘be like David’—we should challenge them to trust Christ! It is only in that way David is an example.
- (i) The first step of applying a Bible story is not to say: “How can I be like the character in the story.”
- (ii) The first step in applying a Bible story is to say: “How do I see that I am a sinner?” and “How do I see my need of a Savior?”
- (iii) If you teach a Bible story and your applications could be taught in a Jewish synagogue or in a liberal church that denies Jesus is God then you have not rooted people in Christ—you are not building them on the foundation of Christ.
- (iv) Bible study leaders, Sunday School teachers, parents—are you pointing the people you instruct to Jesus Christ? If not be warned—you cannot lay a foundation without laying it upon Christ.
3) THIRD, WE ARE GOD’S TEMPLE BEING UNITED SO THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT MIGHT DWELL IN US.
i) Many of you know I am not a ‘name-it-claim-it’ preacher—I do not promise false prosperity. I do however believe that there is a promise in these verses. I believe it is a promise for our church: If we build ourselves on the foundation of Jesus Christ we will prosper. OUR CHURCH WILL BE ROOTED AND IT WILL GROW.
ii) I cannot promise we will pack the sanctuary, I cannot promise our budget will be in the millions of dollars. But I can promise, that if we are zealous for building this church on the foundation of Christ, we will be ‘doing church’ right. It will be favorable in the eyes of the Lord. He will bring true unity building us into Jesus.
iii) We are God’s temple. The question for us today: are we seriously going to build on the foundation of Christ? What will that look like for PMBFC? What distractions and false measures of success will you give up? We need Christ alone.