Summary: Today I want us to take a look at what God says is to be the way a true Temple for God should look like.
Date: May 24, 2009
Title: Building A Temple
Bible Text: Ephesians 2:11-22
Intro: Building a temple is pretty serious work! People travel all over taking pictures of various temples and religious structures. They stand back and look at the architecture and say things like, “Wow”, or “Amazing” as the look and are in awe of the magnitude of the work done. These magnificent edifices are humankinds attempt at paying tribute to just how awesome and powerful and to be revered their God is! The bigger and more ostentatious the structure, the more powerful and amazing and worthy of praise their God! Look at some samples with me:
1. No one knows exactly when the Shwedagon Paya (or Pagoda) in Myanmar was built - legend has it that it is 2,500 years old though archaeologists estimate that it was built between the 6th and 10th century.
2. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on the edge of a 3,000-feet-high cliff in Paro Valley, is one of the holiest places in Bhutan.
Even Christians over the centuries have gotten into the “My buildings bigger than yours” therefore my God is bigger and better.
3. The National Cathedral in Washington DC
Trans: Well today I want us to take a look at what God says is to be the way a true Temple for God should look like.
I. Building A Temple Requires The Master Carpenter Bringing Together All The Right Building Materials. (2:11&12; Matthew 20:1-16)
A. There is great value in remembering we were separated from God. (vss. 11-12)
1. We always need to ask, what is the “therefore” there for?
a) We learned last week in verses 1-10 of chapter 2 the whole process of being the walking dead and finding life!
b) We were reminded by God’s Word just what kind of people we were.
2. Paul writes here, not that it is just a good idea, no he is making a point that we remember where we used to be.
a) See, the gentiles, the non-Jews were so far from being able to know God.
b) The God of the Jews was considered by the Jews to be a very exclusive God!
c) Jews were not even to enter a Gentiles house as it would dirty them and make them unclean and unable to be right with God till they went through an elaborate process of washing their clothes and themselves.
3. Yahweh was the God of the Hebrews!
a) The Gentiles worshipped a multitude of Gods!
b) And the Jews despised them!
4. As Paul writes here he is revealing to the gentiles in Ephesus that they were far, far away from the true God.
B. Remembering how far we were from God helps us keep a right perspective towards those not yet believers.
1. The Bible here reminds us all that we were once far, far away from God.
a) We were once outcasts.
b) Gentiles – separated from Christ.
c) Our sins had created a virtual wall of hostility separating us from God.
d) Foreigners and aliens to new life in relationship with God.
e) Excluded, without hope and without God.
2. DO you remember those days of being distant and outside the family of God?
a) There is value in you and I never forgetting who we once were.
b) It keeps us grounded and sensitive to the plight of others who need our help.
ILL. Sometimes if we are not careful we can become like the folks on Cape Cod that I got to know when I pastored there. They would regularly complain about the people moving to the cape. The joke was that the last person over always wanted to pull the bridge over with them when they got there. Someone would complain about the influx of new people and you would ask them how long they had lived there and they would say, “Oh, Three years.”
They had just got there and already they were resenting those who were coming after them because they were making it more crowded. Sometimes, if we are not careful, we can look down are noses who are now where we used to be, far from God!
Our culture is one of picking sides. In many cases, like for sports teams it is good fun. But we would be naïve if we didn’t acknowledge that we also live in a day and age that is really not much different than Biblical times. Class envy and class warfare is still a part of life. Issues like race and gender still become imposing barriers between different segments of humanity.
3. Jesus spoke to this very issue in Matthew 20:1-16.
a) In the parable of the workers in the Vineyard those who came first resented those who came later.