Summary: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

Text (1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;” One of the most elementary principles of Christian thought and life is expressed in these words: "Ye are not your own." "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit." "Glorify God therefore in your body." The sense of Divine ownership rather than self ownership is the inspiration of all Christian dignity and strength.

Last week I was in Buxar, Bihar, India where I was privileged to dedicate a new church building for God’s glory. Several Hundreds of people participated in the service, majority of them were non Christians. The neighborhood villagers and residents were extremely delighted to see a church in their own village. It was an exciting time as we were gathered to dedicate the new church building and set aside for God's glory, and yet I tried to seize the occasion to point out what believers well knew, that a church is not a mere building, but is people, and, though the building was beautiful, useful and essential in the carrying out of the plan that God has given , it was not what our Lord had in mind when he said, "I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," (Matthew 16:18 ). Jesus, of course, meant the people, and the remarkable thing about the church is that it is a growing and living organism, made up of people whom Peter calls "living stones" (1 Peter 2:5). The Greek word Ekklesia, which is translated throughout the New Testament as “Church,” refers to a gathering of people, not a building. The church is that universal, mystical body made up of every person who has trusted Jesus Christ by faith and has been born into the family of God.

Why do people highly regard and esteem church? Why do they try their best to be good and not to do any wrong when they are in the church? If we notice, no one speaks bad words or smokes or gambles or gets drunk in church. Why? The obvious reason is because people believe that church is sacred (holy) place. In the old dispensation of the law, the tabernacle and later the temple were given over entirely to God for His sacred use. They were called “holy” because they were separated and used for His purpose and glory alone. It symbolized the house of God on the earth. The idea of the old temple was not that of the modern church, which is a building in which men may gather to worship God. The old temple was a shrine for Deity to dwell in; and this Divine presence in the central shrine was conceived as hallowing the entire temple buildings, right through to the outer courts and gates. So, if "Christ dwells in our hearts by faith," if our souls know his Divine presence, - then all the forces and powers of our body are consecrated, and ought to be hallowed. Our whole life, in its narrower and in its wider circles of relationship, must be thought of as sanctified, treated as pure, made and kept ever "clean," ever "holy."

According to the New Testament, in Acts 17:24, "The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands”

In John chapter 2:19 Jesus told the religious leaders, "Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” This is our Lord's answer to the Jewish request for a sign which should warrant His action in cleansing the Temple. John 2:21 tells us that Jesus was referring to HIS BODY. Christ's body was like the Temple, as it regards those religious services which were performed in it. In the Temple was a standing oracle; in Christ's humanity dwelt the true and living oracle of heaven. In the Temple was the altar of sacrifice and the atonement for sin. Both derived their efficacy from Him who His own self bore our sins. The Temple was the house of prayer. However Compared with Christ body, the temple at Jerusalem, in all its glory, beauty, and service, was but a meager structure. We must ever be on the alert to see realities, and not let our eyes be deceived by mere appearances. Though they killed Jesus (they destroyed the real temple) by nailing Him on the Cross, but He resurrected on the third Day! As He is resurrected Christ is a temple for all nations. In Him God dwells accessible to all: anywhere, irrespective of sacred times and places. Therefore Every Christian with Jesus in their heart is a temple of the living God. This is why Apostle Paul taught, “You are the temple of God” (I Cor. 3:16). The reason he can say that is because we have been redeemed by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because of redemption and resurrection, the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in the redeemed.

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