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Summary: Jesus gave His life for our sins and He raised Himself from the dead for our life. That’s what gives Jesus the authority to be a temple cleanser. Hallelujah! He won our victory over death, hell and the grave and He has the authority to clean us up.

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This message is an edited version of a sermon given at Loving God Fellowship. Copyright © 2007 Loving God Fellowship, Inc. http://www.LovingGodFellowship.org

You are encouraged to share this message with those you know that are hungry for God’s Word.

Authority to Clean Temples

The Life of Christ Series

By Greg Johnson

June 12, 2007

The Temple in Jesus’ day had become everything but what God intended it to be. Man had took what God had meant for sacred and turned it into a money making machine. The focus had shifted off of God and onto materialism. The question being asked was not “what can I do for God?” but instead “how can I profit from the things of God?” Money was not being utilized for the poor and the needy and instead was being utilized to grow personal wealth. Now, I know it doesn’t happen in our day (tongue in cheek), but it did in Jesus’ day. So much so that Jesus cleansed the temple twice. Jesus cleansed the temple once at the beginning of His earthly ministry as recorded in John 2:13-25 and once at the end of His earthly ministry, during the Passion Week, as recorded in the Synoptic Gospels.

GOD DWELLS IN PEOPLE

Under the Old Covenant, God dwelt in buildings. Under the New Covenant, God dwells in people.

It’s important today to realize that God is not moved by buildings. Man’s building projects does not impress God nor does it move His heart. Building projects are the result of man’s desire and not Gods. What moves the heart of God is people. God loves people. God loves people so much that He sent His Son to make a way possible for Him to indwell them and give them eternal life (John 3:16). It all reached fulfillment at the death and resurrection of Christ.

DRIVING OUT, OVERTURNING AND CLEANING UP

(John 2:13-16 NIV) "When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {14} In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. {15} So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. {16} To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!""

People came from all over to the Jewish Passover. Livestock to be used for sacrifice to God was sold in the temple courts. It was justified as a ministry of convenience. People traveling from a far land did not have to bring their sacrifice with them. They could wait and purchase it at the temple. And there were the money changers. Worshippers were not allowed to give a Roman coin as it was considered unholy, so there were money changers on hand to convert the worshipper’s money. The money changers would charge fraudulent prices for their ministry of convenience.

Jesus came upon all of this materialistic activity taking place under the name of ministry and it appalled him. It was with a righteous anger that He drove out the livestock and overturned the money changer tables. He cleaned up the temple of God.

It’s important to understand that Jesus is still the One that cleanses the temple. We are living under the New Covenant and our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It’s Jesus that cleanses us and changes us. Jesus gets rid of the materialism and improper use of His blessings. Jesus gets rid of the impure sexual use of our body that defiles it. Jesus gets rid of addictive behaviors that do harm to our body including food, drug and alcohol abuse. Only Jesus can genuinely cleanse the temple. Jesus takes the knife of His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit and He cuts away the flesh and changes fleshly desires. We must look unto Jesus for genuine change to take place within us!

DEATH AND RESURRECTION

You see, it’s all about death and resurrection. As the religionists of Jesus’ day asked Him for a sign to prove His authority to be a temple cleanser, He points them to His death and resurrection. (John 2:18-22 NIV) "Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?" {19} Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days." {20} The Jews replied, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?" {21} But the temple he had spoken of was his body. {22} After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the Scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken."

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