In order for us to have our best days ahead with Jesus individually and for this church to have its best days ahead with Jesus, we have to identify what has made itself at home that doesn’t belong. Timothy Ateek walks us through John 2:13-22 reminding us to value what Jesus values.
Christmas Eve | John 1:1-14
All Hands On Deck | December 2022
God is Here | John 2:13-22
From Good to Godly | 2 Samuel 6:1-16
Living a Life of Faith, Not of Logic | John 2:1-11
“Why Doesn’t God Do Something?” | Revelation 21:1-8
Marriage and Family | Psalm 78:1-8
All Hands on Deck | May 2022
Good Friday 2022
Leveraging Our Lives for the Sake of the Gospel | 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2
Good evening, Watermark family. I hope all is well. Thank you so much for flexing and joining us at 4:00 p.m. on a Saturday. My name is Timothy Ateek. If we've never been together, I'm one of the teaching pastors here at Watermark. It's just good to see you. You're going to find something out right now about me that you can judge me for.
I spend a lot of time at home in my home office. That's where I do the majority of writing for my sermons for Watermark. In my home office, there are two bookshelves that sit in front of me all day, every day. We moved to Dallas back in January, and when we moved, there were certain things that made their way onto those bookshelves. I realized as I was preparing for this message there were certain things that ended up on those bookshelves that just kind of moved in and made themselves at home. They don't belong there, but that has somehow become their home.
I just want to show you some of the things I picked up from these bookshelves that don't belong. There's a lint roller. It seems like the place it goes is on those bookshelves. This is a sack of my ties. I clearly don't wear ties often. I wear one tie. If I'm officiating a wedding or a funeral, it's the same tie every time. These are just there in a grocery sack on my bookcase. That's what these are.
There's a used Amazon gift card. There are instructions to the golf tee game from Cracker Barrel. You know that game that's on the table? Well, I have the instructions on how to beat it. For some reason, that has been living on my bookshelf for eight months. I can sense the judgment, but that's just reality. There's a fishing license. You might be like, "Oh, TA fishes?" No, I don't. I had this for the one time my father-in-law wanted to take my kids fishing, and I was along for the ride.
There's an iPhone 6. This is going to the Smithsonian tomorrow, but it has been on my bookshelf for the last several months. Then I cannot tell you where this came from, but this is a cedar block that keeps moths away. I've truly never seen this in my life until I grabbed it for this message about two hours ago. These are some of the things that have been on my bookshelf for several months now. They've just kind of moved in and made themselves at home.
There's kind of a reason for that. One of the reasons is that we've been renting, so we just kind of threw stuff in, knowing we were going to move soon, but the reality is, as I looked at those things, I was like, "Okay. These things have found a home, yet they just don't belong." Some of you see that, and you can't fathom that. You're a neat freak, and everything has its place, and if something is out of place, you feel it and can't sit still.
Others of you… I just want to challenge you. When you get in your car, just look around. See what has found a home in your car for a long time. Open up your trunk and see what's in there or go to your office or your kitchen or your living room. Just look around. For you, that's just where it lives. Other people would show up and be like, "Why is there a hockey stick in your kitchen? It doesn't make sense," and you're like, "That's where it goes." It has just found a home.
The reason I tell you that is we're going to step into the Scriptures this afternoon, and we're going to look at this story where Jesus is going to step into the house of God and identify some things in the house of God which have made themselves at home that just don't belong. It's going to allow us to have a conversation about this church, and it's going to allow us to identify, "Hey, are there some things here at Watermark that have just kind of settled in and made themselves at home but don't really belong here?"
Then it's going to allow us to turn inward and look inwardly to the homes of our souls and evaluate, "Hey, are there some things that have made themselves at home in our lives that just don't belong?" The goal of this message is health. In order for us to have our best days ahead with Jesus here at Watermark or in order for us to have our best days ahead individually with Jesus, we have to pursue health. We have to be willing to look around and see if there are things that have made themselves at home in our lives that just don't belong.
If you have a Bible, I want to invite you to turn with me this evening to John, chapter 2. If you've been at Watermark the last couple of weeks, you know we are in a series through the book of Genesis. We're pushing "pause" on that because of Awaken weekend. I want to share with our church family the message I'm going to be sharing with young adults tomorrow morning.
As I prepared to speak to young adults this weekend, it was just clear, "This is a message the people of Watermark need to hear." It kind of fits perfectly with one of our strategic initiatives we are leaning into as a church, that we want to deepen our theology of God and his church. My hope is that as we look at John, chapter 2, it would do that for us. John, chapter 2, starting in verse 13:
"The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, 'Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.' His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'"
This is a story about Jesus stepping into the house of God, the temple of God, and identifying things that don't belong, and he ends up driving them out. We see Jesus kind of go Dude Perfect Rage Monster-like in the temple. Let me just tell you, anytime you're reading your Bible or studying it, pay attention to the times where Jesus shows great emotion, because when you pay attention to those moments, what you're seeing is what Jesus really cares about.
Anytime Jesus feels deep sadness or deep compassion or is amazed at someone's faith, pay attention to that, because you're seeing what Jesus Christ truly values. Now, this is a story, as I said, about Jesus cleansing the temple. What we are going to see is Jesus Christ cares deeply about the temple. What I want you to realize is Jesus cares deeply about the temple, and so should we. That's where I want to start.
That might sound weird to you, because when you think of temple, you might think that me referring to the temple is me referring to basically church for Jews, but that's really not what I'm referring to. When you see temple or when we talk about the temple, what you should think about most is the presence of God. If you were to go and study the Bible, you would see that the temple is basically synonymous with the presence of God.
It starts all the way back in Genesis, chapter 2. The garden of Eden is considered the garden temple. We see God walking with Adam and Eve. He is there. God, in the garden of Eden, is declaring, "I'm here." Then when God leads the nation of Israel out of slavery to Egypt and begins to lead them through the wilderness, he commands them to erect the tabernacle, and the presence of God fills the tabernacle. That was how God declared to the nation of Israel, "I'm here."
Then when they entered the Promised Land, King Solomon built a permanent tabernacle known as Solomon's Temple. The presence of God filled Solomon's Temple, and God declared, "I'm here." So, when we talk about the temple, what we are most specifically talking about is the presence of God.
So, here's what I want you to see. Verse 13 says, "The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem." The Passover was a very important time of year for Jews to come together. It was a national holiday and a national celebration where people would come to Jerusalem to remember what God did when he delivered them from slavery, captivity to Egypt. Some commentators believe the population in Jerusalem at Passover would swell to about 250,000 people.
Here's what I want you to understand. Imagine about 250,000 people are flooding Jerusalem. When people would come to Jerusalem where the temple of God was, it was said they were coming to where God lived. So, you have 250,000 people who are coming to, in a sense, meet with God and celebrate all God has done. It's kind of like Awaken weekend. You have people coming from all over the Roman Empire.
You have people coming from everywhere to meet with God, and God is there. That's where his presence resides. So there's this anticipation that there are going to be spiritual highs. It's like the last night of camp where everyone puts their trust in Jesus again, and everyone declares, "I'm never going to sin again for the rest of my life." The young adults are leaving, saying, "Oh, Jesus wrecked me in the best of ways that weekend." That is what should be happening at Passover.
So, you have all of these people coming to town. Jesus shows up, and what does he find? Verse 14 says, "In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there." Now, let me give you the background on this. He first sees people who are selling animals. That wasn't a bad thing.
The reason they were selling animals was because people would come to make sacrifices to God, but people were coming from all over the Roman Empire. So, instead of people having to drag a lamb halfway across the Roman Empire to Jerusalem or carry their pigeons on a long journey, the leaders were just making it easier, so they sold animals for people to purchase to make sacrifice.
Then there were money changers. That wasn't a bad thing. The reason there were money changers was because there was one type of coin that was to be offered as a temple tax. Every Jewish male over 20 years old was supposed to pay. There was one type of coin. It was the most costly type of coin, but you had all of these different currencies from around the Roman Empire that were coming. So, they would have money changers who would take foreign currency and change it out for the correct currency. Yet Jesus shows up, and he is extremely frustrated.
Here's what it says he does. Verse 15: "And making a whip of cords…" That's hilarious to me. He makes a whip on the spot. He shows up, and he's like, "Did you bring a whip?" "No." He's just sitting there like… I don't know what you would use to make a whip, but I find it fascinating that he makes an impromptu whip. And what does he do?
"…he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, 'Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.'" So, Jesus shows up, and he is furious. Why? It's not because of what they are doing. It's because of where they are doing it. That's the issue. It's not what they're doing, because they're offering a service, but it's where they are doing it.
Let me ask you this. By show of hands, who here has had their quiet time before in Walmart on Black Friday? Anyone? You have? How was it? Was it amazing? Okay. Anyone here had their quiet time at a petting zoo? No? How about at Six Flags? Like, you're just right in the middle of your favorite ride. No. Why? Because it's not the most conducive place to meet with God.
That's why D.A. Carson, the one who wrote the leading commentary on the gospel of John, said this: "Instead of solemn dignity and the murmur of prayer, there is the bellowing of cattle and the bleating of sheep. Instead of brokenness and contrition, holy adoration, and prolonged petition, there is noisy commerce." See, the issue wasn't what they were doing; it's just where they were doing it. They prioritized convenience and attendance.
What's interesting is at this point in time, the presence of God had departed from the temple, but for the religious leaders, it was business as usual. They continued to conduct their services. They continued to host Passover without any awareness that the presence of God had left the temple. So, Jesus shows up to a generation that had no value for the presence of God. And what does he do? He begins to clean house. He begins to get rid of everything that doesn't belong.
Remember what my point was. My point was Jesus cares deeply about the temple, and so should we. At this point, what I've shown you is that Jesus cares deeply about the temple. Now, a question you should be asking is, "Why should I care about the temple? I understand why Jesus cared about the temple, but why should I care about a structure that is actually no longer standing in a country where I do not live?" Well, we're getting there.
After Jesus makes an impromptu whip and drives things out of the temple, he has a conversation with the religious leaders. Listen to what it says. Verse 18: "So the Jews said to him, 'What sign do you show us for doing these things?'" That's interesting. They're not saying, "How dare you do this?" They're saying, "Hey, who gave you permission? What authority do you have to do this?" They're asking because they might be realizing, "Hey, it's possible that we're doing something we shouldn't be doing, but we need to know who gives you the authority to show up and do this."
And what does Jesus say? "Jesus answered them…" This is why you should care about the temple. Dial in. "'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' The Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?'" John, the author, gives us clarity. "But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken."
This is very interesting. They're like, "Hey, who gives you the authority to show up and drive all of these things out?" and he says, "Destroy this body, and it will be raised up in three days." Jesus is talking about his own body. He's making a declaration that the temple of God is transitioning from a building to a body. The temple of God is no longer a building, but the presence of God on earth is now residing in the person of Jesus Christ.
The leaders don't realize what he's talking about, but Jesus is actually talking about his death on the cross and then his resurrection from the dead. The imagery is very important, because the temple was the place where the high priest would go once a year to make atonement for the sins of the nation of Israel. One person, the high priest, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, this very special room.
He was only able to enter it one time a year. As I said a few weeks ago, he would wear a rope around his ankle and enter the presence of God. He wore a rope so in case he died in the presence of God, people could pull him out without having to go in after him. When the high priest was in the Holy of Holies, he would take the blood of an animal and sprinkle it on the altar to make atonement for the sins of Israel.
When Jesus says, "Destroy this temple," as a reference to his body, what he's saying is "It's no longer the blood of an animal that will make atonement for the sins of Israel because my blood will be shed to make atonement for all those who would put their trust in Christ." It's no longer a high priest making provision for the nation of Israel once a year. Jesus Christ is making provision once and for all for all those who would put their trust in him.
So, Jesus is saying the temple is transitioning from a building to a body, but here's the thing. Again, my point is Jesus cares deeply about the temple, and so should we, but if you're doing the math, then what you should be thinking is "Okay. So, Jesus did die, and his body was raised from the dead, but then he ascended into heaven, so he's no longer even here on earth. Why should we care about the temple, Jesus' body, if it's no longer here on earth? Maybe it transitioned back to the physical temple."
Well, the physical temple was destroyed in AD 70, so there's no longer a building or a body. Drum roll, please. This is why I say, "Jesus cared deeply about the temple, and so should we." Listen to what the apostle Paul tells the church in Corinth in 1 Corinthians, chapter 3. Don't miss it. "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple."
Here's what you need to understand. We just studied the book of 1 Corinthians for five months. The apostle Paul is looking at the people of God who make up the local church in Corinth, and when he says, "You," that you in the Greek is plural. He's saying, "You, the collective people of God, are now the temple of God."
So, temple is now a reference to the universal church. The people of God all over the world make up the temple of God. The temple of God is most clearly seen and reflected in local communities, local churches. We here at Watermark Community Church… When we gather together, like right now, we collectively are the temple of God.
So, here's the question we need to answer. If Jesus were to walk into the temple of God, which is not the building of Watermark but the people of Watermark… If he were to walk in right now, what would his response be? Would Jesus look around at all of us, worshiping, studying the Word…? Would he walk in and be like, "That's what I'm talking about"? Would that be his response, or would there be things Jesus looks at and drives out, because there are things in us here at Watermark that have made themselves at home, yet don't belong?
So, I want to identify some things that could potentially make their way onto the bookshelves of our church that kind of find a home that don't belong. It's good to realize we are the temple collectively. Let's just be clear on that. We are the temple collectively. As the temple collectively, let me just encourage us. We have to be careful, because our tendency can be to prioritize convenience over God's presence. Let me just identify how convenience can be a temptation for you and me and those in leadership here at Watermark.
The reason convenience can be a temptation for you over God's presence… The way that might manifest itself is that you begin to think, "You know what? I'll go to church when I can go. You know what? Saturday night we had a late night, and it would just be easier to catch the stream at home." The temptation would be to minimize the importance of gathering together with everyone else who collectively make up the temple of God. There's kind of this movement these days where people believe, "You know what? I'll catch the stream. I'll catch the podcast when it works for me." What you're doing is prioritizing convenience.
Do you know what the temptation will be for me and for others in leadership? Well, here's what you need to understand. When you listen to church consultants or those who are talking about the future of the church… I read one this week. He said, "Here's the way church is going, and you'd better get on board, and if you don't get on board, you're going to see your church declining." What do we need to get on board with? On-demand church. That's what he was saying.
He was saying, "You know what? This is the future of the church. On-demand attendance will trump live attendance, and if you can't get on board with that, you're going to see decline." So, our tendency in leadership can be to prioritize convenience. "Okay. Well, we need to give people what is most convenient for them," which is on-demand online church and not calling the temple of God, the people of God, together.
Another way we, as leadership, could be tempted to prioritize convenience over God's presence… There are these statistics coming out about Generation Z, the next generation of worshipers. What it's saying is that Generation Z's attention span is now down to eight seconds, which is shorter than a goldfish. So, the temptation in leadership can be to say, "Okay. Well, then how do we cater to that short attention span?
We need to make our services as short as possible. We need to make our messages as short as possible. We need to make the worship set as short as possible. We need to be as efficient as possible in worship so we don't lose people and their attention." So we will make things as convenient as possible just to make sure we cater to a shorter attention span. That will be our temptation.
Or even this. Because biblical illiteracy is at an all-time high right now (meaning, people don't know their Bible or understand it)… Do you know what the temptation will be? This is happening. The temptation will be that we need less Bible and more inspirational self-help. Like, "I'm going to give you a verse. I'm going to read a verse for 30 seconds, and then I'm just going to kind of host a pep rally for 10 to 15 minutes of excitement. 'You can do it. Just go out and try harder. You're amazing.'"
If we're not careful, we'll cater to that, and if we're not careful, our spiritual stomachs are going to shrink so small that when we open up the Word of God and teach the Word of God, people sit there like, "It feels like too much," when God's Word is satisfying and holds the truth to life and joy with Jesus.
Another thing we need to be careful of is the fact that our tendency might be to prioritize attendance over God's presence. That's what the leaders did at the temple. The leaders at the temple prioritized convenience. That's why they had the money changers and those selling animals in the temple. They also prioritized attendance. It was just about getting people there. They didn't care about creating an atmosphere and environment where people could worship. They just cared about getting people there. If we're not careful, we can prioritize attendance over God's presence.
Do you know what that can look like for us in leadership? The temptation would be to look at the fact that on Sunday mornings this place has been jam-packed. We've had more people showing up here than since the pandemic. Our temptation can be to look at that and just celebrate that, but attendance only tells us how many people showed up. Attendance doesn't tell us whether the Spirit of God moved in people's lives or not. It would be a huge miss for us to celebrate people showing up if there's a lack of stories of God moving coming in.
The temptation for you will be that showing up is what matters. Like, "At least I made it." You're kind of flying in hot, getting your kids checked in. You're running 10 to 15 minutes late, but it's like, "Worship is going on, but I still haven't gotten my coffee." So you go get your coffee, and then you're texting your friends, making sure you find where your friends are.
You miss all of worship, and then when you do get in for those one or two songs, you click into autopilot worship, where you're singing, but your mind is elsewhere. It's like, "Way maker… Oh yeah. I've got to text him back. Uh, promise keeper… Oh, you know what? Cane's is going to be amazing today after church." You're singing, but you're not really there. But you know what? "At least I'm here." If we look at this story, what we see, if we see anything, is that Jesus despises attendance without worship.
Then I'll just identify one more tendency. Our tendency will be to prioritize preference over God's presence. There's kind of this movement… I saw it a lot in college ministry. Our tendency will be to shop and hop when it comes to church. If we find one thing we don't like, we leave. Or we make celebrities out of pastors and worship leaders, so we get to the point where we only really like learning from certain people.
I remember hearing a guy say, "No one speaks to me like this one person." I'm like, "Why?" God's Word is sufficient, and if someone is teaching it, you want to be open to receive that. When we create these preferences, it basically creates a grid. If we're only willing to learn from certain people, we're going to miss what God wants to do in our lives every single Sunday.
Or we critique more than we apply. If we're not careful, when we leave church, the question we'll be asking is, "What did you think of church today?" That's a critiquing question. The right question to ask is, "What did God say to you today?" Because if we're the temple of God, that means God is here. When we gather together, God is here. If God is here and wants to speak to you, are you ready to hear from him?
What an encouragement that can be to you and your friends or you and your family when you get in the car and ask the question, "What did God say to you today?" That's when life change begins to happen. Can you imagine if God's presence became precious to his people and we began to believe, "Hey, we are the temple of God collectively"? Imagine what would happen here at Watermark if we really believed that.
So, when we show up here on a Saturday night at 4:00 p.m. or Sunday mornings at 9:00 or 11:15 or 5:00 p.m., we show up with the conviction "God is here, and we get to meet with him." No one is spectating. No one is just watching. Everyone is worshiping. Everyone is collectively leaning in, saying, "God is here. I want to meet with him. I want to hear from him as we study his Word. As we sing, I'm setting my gaze on him. I am fixing my attention on him, because he is holy, holy, holy. He's worthy of all of my attention and affection right now."
Just imagine how this place would change. We would hear more and more stories of people experiencing healing from the brokenness that comes from sin. We would see more and more people giving wholeheartedly of their time and money and talents to see the kingdom of God flourish here at Watermark. We would see revival in this place, and it would overflow into our neighborhoods and into our families and into our work spaces. God is here.
We are the temple of God collectively, but we can't stop there. The reason I said, "Jesus cares deeply about the temple, and so should we" is because we are the temple of God collectively, but not just that. Here's what you need to know. First Corinthians 6:19 says, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
It's saying that we aren't just the temple of God collectively. You are the temple individually. The Greek word here that has been translated temple means the sacred shrine, the sanctuary, the place where deity dwells. If you know Jesus Christ, your body is a house for the living God. The living God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, actually lives inside of you.
Just think about this. If Jesus were to spend the day with you (and I believe he does), is there anything in your life that he would look at and say, "Hey, this has nothing to do with whether I love you or not. My love for you is not in question, but because I love you, I just need you to know there are certain things in your life that have moved in and made themselves at home on the bookshelf of your soul that just don't belong anymore"? Is there anything in your life that Jesus would look at and say, "I need to drive that out because it doesn't belong"?
I used this example months ago, but it just seems fitting as we talk about your body being a house for God. The question I encourage you to answer is…Is the Holy Spirit renting or owning in your life? You think about renting. When you rent a place, it's not yours to do with what you want. You have to settle for the floor plan of the space. You just have to live with the floor plan. You have to live with the wallpaper if it's there. You have to live with the paint color that is on the wall.
You do the best you can with the space that has been given to you to rent, but when you own, you have complete freedom and complete authority to do what you want. When you realize that the Spirit of God lives inside of you, it's just good to ask and answer this question: Are you expecting the Spirit of God to rent or own in your life? Is part of you like, "That's great that you live inside of me, but I want to do what I want to do. I need you to stay out of the room of romantic love, because I want to do what I want to do.
I need you to stay out of the room of my marriage, because I'm going to do what I want to do in my marriage. I need you to stay out of the room of my work, because I want to do what I want to do. I need you to stay out of the room of how I spend my money, because I want to spend money how I want to spend money." Or is there something in you that's like, "You can own. It's yours. I've been crucified with Christ. It's no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me"?
When we were moving from College Station to Dallas at the end of December… I will never forget this. I woke up the morning, our final morning in our house in College Station. We had already signed documents. It was the day the movers were coming. We would never spend another night in that house again.
When I woke up, I walked out into our living room, and what I realized was that one of my kids was half asleep the night before, and when he walked through our den, he bumped this end table. There was a glass of water on it, and the glass of water fell off without him realizing or me realizing, so that water sat on the wood floor the whole night. When I cleaned it up, I realized the wood floor had already begun to bubble up.
I panicked, and I was so stressed out. Why? Because that wasn't my house anymore. What's interesting is that for the previous five and a half years, we lived with different nicks here and nicks there. There was a hole that a door had hit and made a little dent. We lived with that for a little bit. There were different things we would live with when it was our home, but when I realized, "This isn't our place anymore," I began to care a lot about how we lived in it.
I just wonder what our lives would be like if we began to develop that type of awareness, like, "Hey, our lives don't belong to us anymore." It just changes the way you live. We would begin to think, "If God lives in me, is this what God wants to be looking at right now? Are these the words God wants coming out of his mouth right now? Is this how God wants me to be interacting with my kids who ultimately belong to him? Is this how God wants me stewarding my work, which is actually his work?" It just changes the way we begin to think and how we live.
The temple existed for worship. Do you know why we say at the end of every service here, "Have a great week of worship"? Because we're not thinking that you're just going to go out and sing songs all week. No. When you live a life of surrender where you say, "You don't just rent, you own," the overflow of your life is worship. You're either going to spend your days fighting with the Spirit of God or surrendering to him.
I'll just tell you this. The quickest path to a godly life is the path of surrender. Just imagine how different your apartment or your home or your family or your neighborhood would be if each individual temple… When you leave here tonight and when you wake up tomorrow morning, you just begin to believe, "God is here. God is here." The overflow of your life would become worship.
What do we do with a talk like this? Let me just encourage you. Let me beg you. Every weekend when you come to church, would you just begin to believe that you are coming to meet collectively with the temple of God, the people of God? Just imagine what would happen if every person stepped into this place believing, "God is here, and we get to meet with him."
Then let me just encourage you. Every day this week, would you wake up, hit your knees, open up your hands, and just say, "God, you own the house. You own. I surrender to you. I want to say what you want me to say. I want to go where you want me to go. I want to look at what you want me to look at. I want to do what you want me to do, but you have complete control. Would you rule and reign in my life?"
Then realize this. It was Jesus who ultimately cleansed the temple. That's important to realize because that wasn't just an act of judgment; it was an act of mercy. You have to realize that in the end it was Jesus who cleansed the temple, and it's Jesus who has cleansed your temple. The reason the Spirit of God can even live in you is because Jesus Christ went to the cross. He died for your sins and mine, and then he rose from the dead. When you put your faith in him… Do you know what he has done? He has made you clean so that he can now live inside of you.
If you're here tonight and don't know the cleansing power of Jesus Christ that comes through faith in him, if you've never put your faith in him, understanding what he has done for you, that's where it starts. We all need the gospel every single day of our lives. In the moments where you begin to act like the Spirit of God can rent but not own… Even in those moments, we just need to be reminded that Jesus is the one who perpetually makes us clean.
I'll close by saying this. The theme for Awaken weekend is The Rehearsal. The thought behind it is that we want to rehearse now for eternity. We want to do now what we will do for all of eternity. The idea of the temple has everything to do with eternity. See, we said that in the garden of Eden, God walked with Adam and Eve, and it was a declaration, "I'm here." Then in the tabernacle… As the nation of Israel wandered through the wilderness, they erected the tabernacle, and God filled it with his presence as a declaration, "I'm here."
Then with the temple he did the same thing, but then Jesus Christ showed up and said, "Hey, the temple is no longer a building; it's a body." Jesus came and dwelt among us, and God in the person of Jesus declared, "I am here." Now the temple of God is the people of God collectively. So, when we gather together, we can be confident "God is here." But when you leave here, you are the temple of God individually. So, as you realize the Spirit of God lives inside of you, you can leave here confidently knowing God is declaring, "Hey, I am here."
Then listen to what Revelation 21:3 tells us. This is a vision of the new heaven and new earth. This is eternity. "And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.'" That phrase dwelling place means tabernacle. The temple of God is with man. "He will [tabernacle] with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God." We will spend all of eternity confident "God is here." Do you want to rehearse for eternity? If we want to rehearse for eternity, then may the presence of God become precious to his people. Let's pray together.
Lord Jesus, I thank you for that reality that you came and dwelt among us. You lived among us. You died for us. You rose from the dead, and then you sent your Spirit to live inside of each one of us and to fill us collectively as we gather together. We just thank you that you, God, are committed to being present with your people. I pray that your presence would become precious to us. I pray that as we gather on the weekends for church, you would guard us from spectating or just watching. May we worship you, believing that you're here.
As we go throughout the week, Lord, I pray that each one of us would realize that you own the house. So, Lord, would you just identify the things that have found a place on the bookshelves of our lives, the things that have found a place and made themselves at home that don't belong. I just pray that you would purify us, your people, and I pray that the result would be greater worship. We need you. We love you. We sing to you. In Jesus' name, amen.