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Summary: Jesus twice clean the temple. This message looks at "our house" and asks the question, "Is our house clean?" One interesting point is that the temple had become a den of thieves. Often our attitude robs ourselves or others from worship.

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EASTER SERIES 2010

Sermon #1

Do We Have A Clean House This Easter?

Matthew 21:12-15

Matthew 21:12-15 Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 "It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'" 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant.

Matthew 21:12-15 (KJV) 12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,

I. THE CHARACTER OF GOD’S HOUSE

a. Twice the Lord has had to intercede concerning the quality of activity going on in the house of God

b. God desires a pure temple

i. It is to be a place set apart for praise and worship

ii. It is a place to be set apart for prayer

iii. It is to be a place set apart for meditation and contemplation

c. The basis for cleansing the temple

i. The written Word of God

Jeremiah 7:11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.

1. When we think about the character of our church this Easter, are we a den of robbers?

a. Jesus goes even further to say that we are active in this activity – “are making it”…

2. Are we robbing the ability of other to worship in our midst?

3. Are we robbing ourselves of the ability to worship in the midst of God’s people?

a. What is our attitude when entering God’s house?

i. The wrong attitude internalized prohibits me from worshipping God – I rob myself!

ii. The wrong attitude verbalized hinders others from worshipping God – I rob others!

b. To this the Word of God declares that we have turned his house into anything but what it is intended for.

c. Understand the consequence of that activity – God will clean house – more than once if necessary!

ii. The pre-eminence of spiritual activity

Isaiah 56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."

1. Jesus brought about cleansing because the primary activity within the temple was no longer what it was suppose to be

a. God’s house had been desecrated

b. God’s were hindered from worship

c. What activity was happening was happening without a heart for God!

d. The veil of religion brings great indignation from God

II. THE CHAUVINISM OF GOD’S PEOPLE

a. Those in the temple were to be above all else the people of God!

b. The activity of the temple priests was regrettable (to say the least).

i. They abused activity for which there was justification

1. There was justification for having sacrifices there to sell

a. People would have to come from long distances in order to worship at the temple.

b. People would have to come to the temple more than once a year in order to present a sacrifice.

2. There was abuse of what was justified

a. The prices of the animals were scalped!

b. Those who chose to bring their own sacrifice almost always had their offering declared unclean, and would have to buy from the merchants anyway.

c. The temple tax could only be paid in specific currency, and as such, local currencies were exchanged at extreme rates.

3. Even the poorest were exploited

a. “doves” is a direct reference to the offering of the poorest of people.

b. Those with the greatest need were taken to the cleaners.

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

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