KEEPING GOD'S TEMPLE CLEAN
1. Please open up your Bibles to (John 2:12-25). This morning's lesson will be gleaned from these verses. (Read John 2:12-25).
2. To set the stage to this story, in the Old Testament, every Jewish male was expected to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem each year for the Passover Celebration (Dt. 16:16). This was a weeklong festival—the Passover was one day, and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread lasted the rest of the week. The entire week commemorated the freeing of the Jews from slavery in Egypt (Ex. 12:1-14).
3. Sometime before the Passover, Jesus, making His pilgrimage to Jerusalem, went to the temple courts and found some people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. After seeing this, Jesus got upset and made a whip out of cords and began driving out all of the merchants.
4. To help us better understand this story, I want to try to answer two questions.
a. First, what were the moneychangers and merchants doing in the temple courts?
(1) Many Jewish people traveled for days to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem, so instead of bringing their own animals on the journey to sacrifice, they would buy them from the merchants at the temple courts. Before they could purchase the animals they had to exchange their money for local currency from the moneychangers in order to pay for the animals and the temple tax. The merchants and moneychangers were at the temple providing goods and services to the people.
b. Second, why did Jesus get upset with the merchants?
(1) I believe that Jesus got upset with the moneychangers & the merchants because of their greedy practices.
(2) According to Dr. Lawrence O. Richards, the moneychangers and merchants were so corrupt that they were charging up to 100 times the mark up on their goods and services. That means if a dove normally costs 1 dollar, they were charging 2 dollars. Jesus got upset with these businessmen because they were cheating the people.
(3) Jesus also got upset because the merchants had turned God’s house of worship into a business. They had forgotten, or didn’t care, that God’s house is a place of worship, not a place for making profit.
(4) Wouldn’t you get upset if merchants setup booths outside our church building selling their products while we were trying to worship?
(5) Jesus didn’t like His Father’s house being exploited by greedy merchants, so He chased them out to purify and cleanse God’s temple.
THIS MORNING, WE WILL LOOK AT SOME LESSONS THAT WE CAN GATHER FROM THIS STORY.
I. FIRST, WE MUST KEEP OUR LIVES AND TEMPLES CLEAN FROM SIN & CORRUPTION.
1. According to the Bible, where is the temple of God located today? The answer to this question is in (1 Cor. 3:16).
2. Brethren, the temple of God is no longer located in Jerusalem. It is now located in each and every one of us. The temple is located within our bodies.
3. What is the significance of the temple of God? In the OT, God’s temple was a sacred place. It was a place where God Himself resided and where people came to worship Him. Today, God’s temple is still a sacred place where God dwells
4. Question…if Jesus came today and looked at the temple of God in you, would He have the same reaction as He did in Jerusalem with the corrupt merchants? Would He get angry at what He saw or would He be proud of what He saw?
5. If Jesus looked into your temple today, would He find it polluted with sin and corruption? Would He find blatant sin polluting and ruining God’s temple?
6. If the Lord did an inspection of your heart this morning, would He find:
a. Anger, bitterness and hatred hidden down in your most Holy of Holies?
b. Would He find your sanctuary full of lust and sexual morality? Would He find your temple full of sin or would He find it white as snow?
7. Brethren, if we have pollution in God's temple, then it's time for us to clean it out and stop trying to hide and cover up our sins.
One day a man purchased a white mouse to use as food for his pet snake. He dropped the mouse into the snake’s glass cage, where the snake was sleeping in a bed of sawdust.
What did the terrified creature do? He quickly set to work covering the snake with sawdust chips until it was completely buried. With that, the mouse apparently thought he had solved his problem
No matter how hard we try to cover or deny our sins, it’s fool’s work. Sin will eventually awake from sleep and shake off its cover and eat us alive.
8. My friends, it is time for us to clean our temples and our hearts and stop trying to hide our sins from God. We need to sweep the sins out of our lives so that our God will continue to dwell and live within us.
a. (Ps. 139) teaches that God knows everything that we do. Before a word reaches our tongue, God knows what it is. We cannot hide our sins nor our lifestyles from God. He knows what’s in our temple! And our God will not live in a dirty and polluted house.
9. If your temple is clean and a fit place in which God can live, then praise the Lord. If it is not, then you ought to do what Jesus did; flush out the corruption from the temple courts. If God cannot live in your house today, then you cannot expect to live in His mansion later.
II. SECOND, HOW CAN WE CLEAN OUT THE SIN AND CORRUPTION FROM OUR TEMPLES?
A. The first way to clean up the sin and pollution in our lives is to become a Christian.
1. If you are not a Christian, then your heart is full of sin and corruption. If you have not been saved by the blood of Jesus, then you are crippled by sin. And there is no way that God can live in a body contaminated with sin. But once you become a Christian, all the sins that you have ever committed are forgiven by God. You become a new person in Christ.
a. To Become a Christian, all you must do is:
(1) Believe in Jesus Christ (Jn. 8:24).
(2) Repent of your sins (Lk. 13:3).
(3) Confess faith In Jesus Christ (Mt. 10:32).
(4) Be baptized or immersed in water (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).
(5) Live faithfully to the end (Rev. 2:10).
In the book entitled, “The Whisper Test,” Mary Ann Bird writes: I grew up knowing I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school, my classmates made it clear to me how I looked to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.
When schoolmates asked, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.
There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored—Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy—a sparkling lady.
Annually we had a hearing test…Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in the class, and finally it was my turn. I knew from past years that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something, and we would have to repeat it back—things like “The sky is blue” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words that God must have put into her mouth, those seven words that changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said, in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.”
God says to every person deformed by sin, “I wish you were my son” or I wish you were my daughter.” This morning, during the invitation song, clean up your crippled body, clean up your heart, by becoming a child of God.
B. Another way to clean up the sin and pollution in your life, if you are all ready a Christian, is to do some spring cleaning and get rid of the sins that are hanging around your closet.
It seems like every year, around spring, I sort through my closet and throw away all my old, outdated clothes so that I can replace them with some new, stylish clothes.
1. In a similar way, we need to throw away, get rid of, and remove all the sins that are in our closets. We need to get rid of our sins so that our house and temple will be clean so that we may have a good relationship with God.
a. We must leave our lives of sin, and “stop doing wrong” as (Isa. 1:16) says.
2. If we want God to live in our temples, we must get rid of our sins.
C. Another way to clean up the sin and pollution in our lives is to come clean and confess our sins to God.
One time, a college freshman went to the dorm laundry room with his dirty clothes bundled into an old sweatshirt. But he was so embarrassed by how dirty his clothes were that he never opened the bundle. He merely pushed it into a washing machine and when the machine stopped pushed the bundle into a dryer and finally took the still unopened bundle back to his room. He discovered, of course, that the clothes had gotten wet and then dry, but not clean.
1. God says, “Don’t keep your sins in a safe little bundle.” Instead, He wants us to unravel all of our dirty laundry or sins and present them to Him so that He can make them clean.
1. In closing, if Jesus came today and looked at the temple of God in you, would He have the same reaction as He did in Jerusalem with the corrupt merchants? Would He get angry at what He saw or would He be proud of what He saw?
2. If you think that Jesus would be upset with the condition of your temple, then allow Him this morning to clean it. Allow Him to drive out the sin that is polluting your life.
3. Through His blood, He can make your heart spotless and pure.
4. Make your life right with God this morning, as we stand as we sing.