Summary: We are the Church and we are the Temple. The Church is not a building we come to. The Church is people, people called out of darkness. We do not come to a Temple to offer animal sacrifices. We come together as the Church to offer ourselves to God.
SERMON TITLE- “The Temple and The Church”
SERMON SERIES or OCCASION- Final Words
DATE- July 26, 2015 LOCATION- Shelbyville Christian Church
Illustration/Story/Quote/Statistic- (Quoted from Barna Group “Americans divided on the importance of Church) What, if anything, helps Americans grow in their faith? When Barna Group asked, people offered a variety of answers—prayer, family or friends, reading the Bible, having children—but church did not even crack the top-10 list.
Although church involvement was once a cornerstone of American life, U.S. adults today are evenly divided on the importance of attending church. While half (49%) say it is "somewhat" or "very" important, the other 51% say it is "not too" or "not at all" important.
Spoken Need- Now why is that? A lot of those interviewed said that the church is irrelevant to me personally, hypocritical, or they point to moral failures and fights within the church as reasons to not go.
Why should we go? Why do we need to go to church or come together each Sunday at all? Is there a reason? Is it important?
Transition- What would you say makes Church important to you?
Please Turn in your Bibles to...
1 Corinthians 3:5-17 New International Version (NIV) says...
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
Context and Background- Paul is using an illustration about construction to talk about the work of ministry in the Church. Those of us that serve God understand that we are here to see something built for God. We don’t people want people to come for us, but to come for what God is doing in their lives.
King David one day looked at his palace made of cedar and thought “It’s not fair that I live in this wonderful palace, but the Ark of the Lord dwells in the tent.” So he desired to build a Temple for the Lord. And God told him that he would not build that Temple, but that his son, Solomon, would. Solomon did build that Temple and dedicated it to the worship of God where people could come and pray and sacrifice to God there.
A Temple is a place or structure built specifically for worshiping a deity. It is dedicated for that sacred purpose and therefore itself is considered sacred, a holy place.
Consider then the significance of saying that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, dedicated to the sacred purpose of worshiping God.
We are like that traveling tabernacle during the time of Moses in the desert. The tent of meeting where Moses and the people of Israel could go to inquire of the Lord. That is how close we are to be to God.
The purpose of those who work in the ministry is to build God’s Temple, to make disciples, to build on the foundation of Jesus Christ a people whose purpose is to be a vessel for the Lord and to bring Him glory.
The Church means the assembly of called out ones. It comes from the Greek word ekklesia, which means a calling out - a gathering of citizens called out from their homes into some public place for an assembly. People in Jesus’ time would assemble for many reasons and they would come together for a specific purpose because they were summoned, called together for that purpose. For us Christians then, why do we gather; why do we assemble? What were we called out of?