Summary: Message exploring the call to be a "House of Prayer".
Opened with dramatization of the scene in Matthew 21 - overturning tables.
2,000 year old scene that set the stage for anger vs. sin debate.
What motivated this outburst? (Read Matthew 21:12-13)
Quoting the Prophet Isaiah (Read 56:6-7)
What angered Jesus?
What the temple had become, or it not being what it was supposed to be?
No difference between the two? Just semantics?
WHAT IT HAD BECOME –
Most commentators and reflections on this passage take this path.
i.e. Jesus was angry that people were selling in the temple
They were taking advantage of people, financial corruption abounded
This might be the easy out. After all - most churches haven’t become that.
We don’t require sacrifices to worship
We don’t profit from resources we do offer
If Jesus anger is primarily based on what the temple had become,
We might be off the hook with this passage.
WHAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE – provides a much tougher,
more applicable challenge
There are a lot of things a church can become -
- If a house of music. . .but not. . . (The Dame)
- If a house of teaching/preaching. . .but not. . .(A Seminary)
- If a house of entertainment. . .but not. . .(A Theater)
- If a house of fellowship. . .but not. . .(A Country Club, Sorority, Fraternity)
- If a house of compassionate ministries. . .but not. . .(A United Way)
So God says, “My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples.”
Why does God call us to be, and choose to dwell in a house of prayer?
A. IT IS A HOUSE OF FOCUS AND DESPERATION DIRECTED TO GOD.
Turn to I Kings 8
Solomon at completion of the temple – v. 27 to 30 (read) – Night and Day Prayer
God’s Reply – I Kings 9:3 (read)
God was willing to put His name upon that place where people desired to be able to turn their eyes and hearts towards Him, and to cry out to Him in night and day prayer.
Acts – Worship time/Gathering time at the church was called the “Hour of Prayer”
Paul referred to the church, the temple, the synagogue as the House of Prayer
Read through Paul’s letters and see the constant cry in times of tribulation and distress that the believers offer up prayers to God. He says, “Be constant in prayer.” He says, “Devote yourselves to prayer.” He even pleaded, “You also must help us in prayer.”
At times of trail and desperation, we turn to God – everyone does. And God desires for His house to be a place where all attention and urgency is directed towards Him.
Word Picture: In the book of Revelation we read that the smoke of incense is rising up and surrounding the throne of God, and that incense is the prayers of the saints.
If we enter a house of music, a house of entertainment, a house of fellowship – our focus will be on people, sounds, whose here and who isn’t. Whose in tune, and whose kids are out of control. If we enter a house of prayer, our focus is on God. Then our music, our studying God’s Word, even our fellowship become an outflow of being connected, being in communication, walking in intimacy with God and His Holy Spirit
(Example of an earthly wedding – preparations versus the ceremony – eternal wedding.)