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Summary: As believers you are referred to as God’s temple. This morning consider what your purpose in life is. Is there anything that has profaned that purpose? Are you in need of Christ’s purification?

Disclaimer: Source material for this sermon has been gleaned from many different sources. I have attempted to acknowledge these sources whenever possible.

CHRIST’S FINAL WEEK: CLEANING HOUSE

MATTHEW 21:12-17

Introduction: Shortly after entering into Jerusalem during the final week of His earthly ministry Christ entered the Temple. What He saw in the Temple angered him as He observed the misuse of the Temple by the moneychangers and merchants. He rebuked them and drove them out from the Temple complex refusing to allow them to use the Temple for anything than its intended purpose. He cleaned house. There are three things that I would have you see this morning – the purpose of the Temple, the profaning of the temple, and the purifying of the temple. As believers you are referred to as God’s temple. This morning consider what your purpose in life is. Is there anything that has profaned that purpose? Are you in need of Christ’s purification?

I. The Purpose of the Temple

A. The Temple was to be a House of Prayer

1. Quoting from Isaiah 56:7, Jesus said in Matthew 21:13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer…’”

2. It was a place for God’s abiding presence to dwell amongst His people.

3. Deuteronomy 12:11 then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.”

4. Replacing the tabernacle, the temple building in the Old Testament was where God met with His people.

5. When Solomon dedicated the Temple he prayed, 1 Kings 8:38 – 40 Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows the plague of his own heart, and spreads out his hands toward this temple: then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men), that they may fear You all the days that they live in the land which You gave to our fathers.”

6. Because it was a meeting place where God’s presence and power would rest the temple was to be holy. By "holy" we mean, "set apart for spiritual service", not that the building was intrinsically pure. The central focus of the Temple was the worship of God.

B. The Believer’s Body is the Temple of God

1. 1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

2. 2 Corinthians 6:16 …For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

3. Pastor J David Hoke has written that “Worship should be a central activity of those who have been indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Because God dwells in us, we are a living place of worship. What an awesome thing to be a living container of the presence of the divine Lord of glory!” – We Are God’s Temple - J. David Hoke, Pastor, New Horizons Community Church.

4. Worship is to feel in your heart and express in some appropriate manner a humbling but delightful sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the presence of that most ancient Mystery, that Majesty which philosophers call the First Cause, but which we call Our Father Which Are in Heaven. - A.W. Tozer, quoted in D.J. Fant, A.W. Tozer, Christian Publications, 1964, p. 90.

II. The Profaning of the Temple

A. Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them.

B. Christ again quotes from Jeremiah 7:11, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:13)

C. Jeremiah charged that Israelites would "steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, and offer sacrifices to Baal," yet retreat to the temple and believe they were safe (Jeremiah 7:9-10). Jesus is saying the same thing about Herod’s (unfinished) temple: The Jews are treating the temple and its rituals like a magic charm; so long as they go through the motions they are safe, no matter how wicked they are once they leave the temple courts.

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