Summary: This lesson is inspired by Jim Cymbala's "My House Shall Be Called a House of Prayer." Just as the Temple was a place of prayer, the new temple, the church, should be as well.
1. Personal Devotion
A man walked up to a vending machine, put in a coin, pressed the buttons labeled, "coffee, double cream, sugar." No cup appeared, but the nozzles went into action sending forth coffee, cream and sugar. After the proper amounts had gone down the drain, the machine turned off. "Now that's real automation," said the man. "This thing even drinks it for you." That is just how some people want their faith. They want to make a deposit of some money and let the rest take care of itself automatically. But, there is no such thing as automated prayers or worship. Following Jesus requires personal devotion.
2. Jesus Demonstrated his devotion to his Father in numerous ways such as Mark 11.15-19
3. This seems out of place for Jesus -- "meek and lowly," "Good Shepherd," etc.
I. Purpose in the House
A. The Place of Meeting [Tabernacle and then Temple
1. The Place God Chose to Live
2. The Place God Chose for Prayer
Exodus 25.22 22 There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.
3. Hezekiah; Jehoshaphat turned to God in the temple when threatened -- prayers and answers
B. The People of the House -- Belonged there
1. Those selling the animals -- needed for sacrifices; difficult to transport animals for great distances -- may become blemished; Sadducees kept the flocks near Bethlehem to sell for temple sacrifices
2. Money changers
a. Temple Tax; Had to use Jewish coins
b. Changed money with high profits
C. The Problems in the House
1. Set up business in the Court of the Gentiles instead of the SW corner of the temple mount
2. They gouged the people with high prices [In times of Hurricane Andrew -- [Merchants raised prices on bottled water
3. Jesus used his presence and authority to cast them out
4. Remember the WHY we do God's work, not just the WHAT; why do you do what you do as a Christian; even attending worship right now? We can do right things for wrong reasons --
5. The people Jesus cast out of the temple were in the right place doing right things for wrong reasons -- they were in the temple but not in the spirit of the temple; supposed to help people into God's presence but out of sync with him -- businessmen, not worshipers
D. The Property Owner
1. Jesus' reminder to the people -- this is not your house, it is my Father's house (Luke 2); my Father's house is to be run my Father's way -- not your way
2. Application -- this is not your church/my church -- it belongs to Christ/God; don't run it your/my way -- God's way
a. I am afraid we have so taken over the church that we have driven God out -- certainly true in our country, once founded on God's teachings now we are without him -- church, too
b. We have adopted business practices for church -- and have become marketers/salesmen of what is holy -- 2 Corinthians 2.17
17 For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.
c. What is the answer to the dilemma?
II. Prayer in the House (for the nations) -- Isaiah 56.7
A Key Characteristic of Christian Worship is to be the Aroma of Prayer
A. The aroma of prayer must permeate us and our gatherings -- Preaching, yes but NOT house of preaching; songs yes, not house of singing
B. Have you noticed that the church was not born in the preaching, but in Prayer?
14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120)
2. Acts 4 -- arrest of Peter and John -- went back to prayer meeting -- "give us boldness" -- place shook; given HS and spoke in boldness
3. Throughout the book of Acts their instinct was to always prayer -- afraid; intimidated; persecuted; challenged; 1 Thessalonians 5.17)
C. Precious to God -- Revelation 5.8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.