Summary: Paul tells the Corinthian Christians that there is a temple in which God does dwell and which should be dedicated as a house of the Lord Jesus Christ, a place of holiness and peace, set apart from the world. As a believer you are the Temple.
THE HOLY TEMPLE
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
Introduction: Throughout history man has created edifices to be used as places of worship to offer sacrifices, and meet with their god or gods. They have build beautiful cathedrals and temples viewed as being places specially set apart for spiritual service and regarded as sacred, and of real or assumed purity. The Latin word Templum from which we get the English word Temple is the equivalent of the Hebrew Beth Elohim, and signified the abode of Deity; therefore, as associated with divine worship, it meant literally the House of the Lord. The Israelites were instructed by God to construct the tabernacle as a meeting place for worship and service to God. In Exodus 29:43-46 we read, “And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory. So I will consecrate the tabernacle of meeting and the altar. I will also consecrate both Aaron and his sons to minister to Me as priests. I will dwell among the children of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them. I am the Lord their God.” Solomon built and dedicated the Temple as a permanent House of the Lord. It was to be the representation to the world of God’s indwelling Presence, Power and Majesty. After observing the temples of Athens built to a plethora of gods, Paul writes, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.” (Acts 17:24) Paul tells the Corinthian Christians that there is a temple in which God does dwell and which should be dedicated as a house of the Lord Jesus Christ, a place of holiness and peace, set apart from the world. That temple is each and every believer.
I. The Temple - the place of God’s Indwelling Presence
A. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
B. 1 Corinthians 6:19 “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?”
C. The unique and special mark of the people of God is God’s indwelling Spirit.
D. So near, so very near to God
I cannot nearer be
For in the Person of His Son
I am as near as He – F.B. Meyer
E. Consider the Privilege of being the physical representation of God to the world.
F. Blessedness is the state of God indwelling man through the miracle of the new birth, when man goes to Jesus Christ for salvation. - - Dr. Spiros Zodhiates, Pulpit Helps, March 1996
G. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
H. Romans 8:9 “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
II. The Temple – a Place of God’s Power
A. J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians 1:19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God."
B. Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”
C. The believer is filled with the power of the Almighty Lord. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the available source of power, comfort, and teaching for all believers.
D. 1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
E. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
F. It is only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that we can do His will and live lives that are victorious and not defeated.
G. A young boy knocked at the studio door of an Italian artist who had died. When it was opened, he explained, "Please, madam, will you give me the master’s brush?" The boy, who had a passionate longing to be an artist, wished for the great master’s touch. The woman placed the brush in the boy’s hand and invited him to try. He made a supreme effort but soon found he could paint no better with that brush than with his own. The woman then said, "Remember, you cannot paint like the great master unless you have his spirit." So too, people who have never been born again are doomed to disappointment and failure when they attempt to live in a way that pleases God. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, they cannot do it. Perhaps you have experienced the new birth and you have Christ’s Spirit living within you, yet you feel so powerless. The reason may be that though you have all of His Spirit, His Spirit does not have all of you. All your ambitions and desires must be submitted to His control. The greatness of the power and effectiveness of your service for Christ is in exact proportion to the measure of your surrender to Christ. --Henry G. Bosch