Intro: When we speak of the church, we are often
referring to this building where we meet throughout the week and gather for worship.
However, this building is not the church! It is a place where the church gathers. 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. What we are sitting in today is
not the sanctuary, you, if you are saved, are the sanctuary of God. The word
"temple" in verse 19 refers not to the whole place of the temple, but just to
the Holy of Holies, the place where God dwelled. What Paul is trying to tell us is that we
are the dwelling place of Almighty God! I do not know how that touches you, but that is a
sobering realization to me.
Somehow, we have the opinion that what we do has no effect on us
spiritually. The truth, however, is vastly different. If you are saved, God lives in you.
Therefore, everywhere you go, everything you do, everything that touches you, in effect,
touches God. That is why Paul tells these Corinthian Christians that they are God's
Temples. It appears that many were using their bodies for immoral purposes and were
defiling their temple. (Ill. In Corinth, there was the Temple of Diana. Diana was the
goddess of sex and love. In her temple, there were over 1,000 female priestesses. In
reality, they were nothing more than prostitutes. Because to worship Diana, you had to
have sexual intercourse with one of the temple prostitutes.) Many in this church were used
to this lifestyle. They reasoned that God had saved their souls and that their body was
different. They had the mind set that said "What I do with my body has no impact on
my spiritual walk." This is worlds away from the truth!
When God gave His plans for the Tabernacle, and later on the Temple, He
set forth in no uncertain terms the plain fact that He demanded purity in the materials
and construction, otherwise, He would never fill it with His glory. God will not fill a
dirty temple. This morning, I want to focus for a while on this concept of Christians
being the "temple of God." I would like, in doing so, to draw some comparisons
between these earthly, fleshy temples and the temple that stood there in Jerusalem. I
would like to preach for a while on the idea of It May Be Your Body, But It's
Still God's Temple. As I bring this message, please allow the Lord to speak to
your heart. It may be that you have been letting your guard down and using your body to do
things that aren't right in the sight of God. If that is the case, I want you to know that
there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. Perhaps, we just all need a reminder of whose we
really are. Think on these things as we look at It May Be Your Body, But It's
Still God's Temple!
There are several comparisons between our bodies and the original
Temple of God. It is that common ground I would like to address this morning.
I. A PLACE OF
A. The earthly Temple was a place wholly dedicated to God and His glory.
Nothing that defiled was allowed on the grounds. When something out of the ordinary
occurred, God took immediate steps to take care of the problem. (Ill. Nadab and Abihu -
Lev. 10:1-2 - These sons of Eleazar offered strange fire before the Lord and God killed
them. It appears from the text, Lev. 10:8-11, that these men were guilty of drunkenness
before the Lord.) Be that as it may, the earthly temple was a place set apart for God and
B. These earthly bodies we dwell in are also set apart for His glory!
According to our text, no one in this room has the right to use his/her body for anything
other than that which glorifies the Lord, v. 19b, 20. The reason? We have been bought with
(Ill. Jesus went to Calvary and paid the price for our sins. When we
came to Him by faith in His shed blood, we entered into a covenant relationship with God.
In that relationship, He has promised to love us, keep us, provide for us and ultimately
take us to Heaven to spend eternity with Him. Our promise was to turn from sin and follow
Him totally. In truth, when we came to Jesus for salvation, we gave up all claims to our
body and what we desire to do with it. We do not belong to ourselves, we belong to the
C. Therefore, regardless of what we are doing, if it does not bring
honor and glory God, then it is sin - Rom. 14:23; 1 Cor. 10:31!
(Ill. Jack Hyles was asked by a girl in college to go to a dance. His
reply is classic. He said, "I'd love to go to the dance with you, but I can't."
When asked why, he said, "I have no feet." The girl was quick to see that he
really did have feet with which he could have danced and told him so. He simply told her
that when he got saved, he lost control of those feet and that now he didn't have any feet
to use for dancing. His feet had become God's feet.)
II. A PLACE OF DEVOTION
A. The temple was place where men gathered to worship God. They came to
the temple and glorified the Lord. It was a place where songs were sung, prayers were
prayed, hands were raised, praise was rendered and God was magnified. The temple was a
place of worship - Isa. 56:7.
B. Just as that temple was devoted to God as a place of worship, these
bodies are to be places where God is worshiped. The truth is, these bodies will render
worship to one God or another! (Ill. These Corinthian believers. With their mouths they
acknowledged Jesus Christ, then with their bodies they participated in the worship of
C. The question may arise, "How can I worship God with my
body?" The answers are many, but here are a few.
1. Present It As A Living Sacrifice - Rom. 12:1-2,
covenant with God that you will use your body for nothing that will dishonor and degrade
His Name. (Ill. Make WWJD a standard for living, not just a catchy slogan!)
2. Prostrate It In Prayer - Jer. 33:3, Take you body
aside from the world and go to the Lord in prayer on a regular basis. Nothing glorifies
the Lord quiet like people who trust Him enough to call on Him in faith.
3. Practice His Presence - Heb. 13:5; Matt. 28:20,
never forget that Jesus is ever with you. Learn to walk in the knowledge of His abiding
presence. If you will stop to consider that Jesus is there and He is watching, it may
prevent you from engaging in activities that would dishonor His name.
4. Praise Him Continually - Heb. 13:15; Psa. 47:1,
determine in your heart that you will no circumstance of life, no bump in the road to stop
you from having a thankful heart of praise before the Lord.
5. Place Your Body In His Hand For Service - Rom. 6:16,
you will yield your body to one master of the other. It will either be the gods of this
world, (The world, the flesh, the Devil), or it will be the Almighty. Yield yourself to
the Lord and He will use you for His glory and bless you. These other things, will just
leave you broken and empty.
D. Can you honestly say that you are using your body as a "House of
Worship" before the Lord?
III. A PLACE OF DUTY
A. The temple was a place where men carried out the duties they had been
given by the Lord. Things such as the sacrifice, the tithe, the offerings and prayers were
all carried out here at the temple. It was a place where duties were performed.
B. These fleshly temples are also places where we are to carry out the
duties we have been given by God. (Ill. We need to adopt the same mind set as the great
Apostle Paul. Even though God was using him to pen the Scriptures and to preach the Gospel
under a mighty manifestation of divine power, Paul still referred to himself as a
"servant." The word there is literally a "Bondslave." One who has made
a conscious decision to give the totality of himself up to Jesus and to His will. A person
who relinquishes all claims to self, to gain and to glory. A person who wishes nothing
more than just to be exactly what God wants him to be.)
C. Is your temple a place where the duties of the Lord are carried out?
There are many areas where we are duty bound before the Lord. In witnessing, in worship,
in prayer, in tithing, in obedience, in holiness, in righteousness and in thousands of
other ways, we are duty bound before God. So then, how do we stack up?
IV. A PLACE OF DEATH
A. That old temple in Jerusalem was the scene of many deaths. Millions
of animals were taken there and slain on the altars in obedience to God's commands. While
there was praise, singing and worship in this great place, there was also the stench of
death. Every time anyone went to the temple, they were immediately confronted with a death
B. Like it or not, men should be confronted with the same scene when
they come into contact with God's temples. You and I are challenged to be dead to certain
things in this world. According to the Bible, we have been born again, 1 Pet. 1:23. As a
result, we are a totally "new creation", 2 Cor. 5:17. Therefore, we are expected
to be dead to our old way of life, and to the way of life held so dear by this world
system. Col. 3:1-9. In these verses, we are told to put off, or consider ourselves dead
to, certain activities. Among them are:
1. Fornication - Any illicit sexual sin. Premarital
sex, extra-marital sex, homosexuality, lesbianism. This term runs the gamut of sexual sin
and is all inclusive. (Ill. The only safe sex know to God is that which occurs within the
boundaries of marriage. I'm not just talking about intercourse, I am referring to ANY
sexual expression. It is forbidden by God. That may seem repressive, but it is right. It
is by the Book, and if you want to dishonor and defile your temple, you will have to deal
with God about it.
2. Uncleanness - Impurity of thought or life.
3. Inordinate Affections - Evil desires and passions.
4. Evil Concupiscence - An evil lust for the forbidden.
(Ill. This is the sin that fueled Adam and Eve's fall into sin!)
5. Covetousness - Greed, or the sin of not being
satisfied with what you already have.
6. Lying - We should always speak the truth and never
try to gray it out. There is such a thing as absolute truth.
C. What this boils down to is that we are put these bodies to death for
the glory of God. He doesn't want us killing ourselves. He does want us to retrain
ourselves and reign our bodies in. We are to control them and not the other way around - 1
Cor. 9:27! Here, Paul says that He "Keeps under his body." That phrase means to
"hit under the eye." It is a boxing term and it means to punch or to beat into
submission. If you do not control your body and its passions, it will control you!
V. A PLACE OF DISPLAY
A. When men saw the temple standing there in Jerusalem, they were
reminded of God. They were mad to recall that there is a God in Heaven who loves sinners
and has made a way for their redemption.
B. These bodies, as temples of the Lord, are our witness to the world
that we have been redeemed. Every time the world sees a child of God, they see a
manifestation of the power and the grace of Almighty God. That is why Paul referred to the
Corinthian believers as "his epistle", 2 Cor. 3:2. Paul is telling them that
everywhere they turn, everywhere they go, they are living, breathing love letters to
humanity. Letters that say to sinners, "What God has done here, He can do in
you." You may be the only sermon some people ever see. That is a message that needs
(Ill. The Temple in Jerusalem was covered over with gold. It sat on the
highest hill in the city facing east. Every morning, when the sun broke over the horizon
it cast its light onto this great structure. It literally blazed in the glory of the sun.
Ill. Perhaps this was the reference point for Christ's words in Matthew 5:14. Day of
night, the temple of God was always alight with the glory of God. There is a lesson here
for you and me. We are to be such reflectors of the glory of God that men can see His
power working in and through our lives. We are to be bright shining examples of His saving
C. Whether you like it or not, you are a witness. Your life either
speaks well of Jesus, or you bring dishonor to him by the things you do and how you live.
His plan for us is summed up by Paul in Phil. 1:27, "Only let your conversation be as
it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I
may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving
together for the faith of the gospel;" What kind of statement are we making about
Conc: Yes, it is your body, but if you are saved, it is still the temple
of God. So, how are you treating the House of God this morning? Are you totally Dedicated
to Jesus this morning? Are you using your body to worship Him in true Devotion?
Are you fully executing your Duties before the Lord? Have you put those
things to Death in your life that dishonor Him? Is your life a pleasing Display
to the saving grace of God? If there are needs, bring them to Jesus, won't you? Some here
are not even saved. You are not God's temple, but you can be if you will make your way to
this altar and call on God, He will save you by His grace. God is doing business today,
will you give Him the right of way in your life?
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