The Temple…Then and Now

The Bible’s description of Solomon’s Temple suggests that it was 180 feet long, 90 feet wide, and 50 feet high. He spares no expense in the building’s creation. He orders vast quantities of cedar from King Hiram of Tyre (I Kings 5:2025), has huge blocks of the choicest stone quarried, and commands that the building’s foundation be laid with hewn stone.

Let me speak to the unbeliever for a moment.  If you don’t read beyond this introduction, let me speak to you while I have you.  The term Born Again was not coined by some Baptist preacher in the last few years.  It is a Bible term spoken from the mouth of Jesus (John 3:3).  Being Born Again is synonymous with being “saved” or obtaining “salvation.”

 In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gait, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”  Centuries later, Robert Frost penned these words, “Two roads diverged in the wood, and I took the one less traveled by…and that has made ALL THE DIFFERENCE.”  Let me lead you down the Roman’s Road to Salvation (a road less traveled)…it will make all the difference in this present life and the next.

  1. For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23).”  Since Adam and Eve sinned, we have all been born with a sinful nature that has alienated us from God.

2.      “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).”  Because of sin, we are all headed for an eventual death.  But it’s not just a physical death we will endure if we die without the gift of eternal life, but also a spiritual death.  This spiritual death is not only an eternal separation from the presence of God, but is, in fact, an eternity in Hell.  But eternal life is different from eternal death in that you can spend eternity in Heaven with the Triune God.

3.      “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”  God sent Christ to die for our sins (John 3:16). 

4.      “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).”  It is Christ whom we must call upon to save us from Hell.

5.      “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness;  and with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10).”  I think that verse is pretty self explanatory, but I can sum it up in a way that’s as easy as A-B-C.

A-    Accept that you are a sinner…

B-     Believe that Christ can save you from your sins…

C-     Confess your need of salvation to Him…and Call upon Him to save you

True Biblical salvation is simple.  The world has made it difficult through rituals and traditions of men.  Nothing can earn you salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).  You may think, “I don’t believe the Bible.  I believe there are many ways to Heaven.”  I say, it doesn’t matter what you believe, the truth will remain the same.  I may believe that at this very moment I am writing this in a cozy log home in the mountains, but the truth is that I’m in hot and steamy Rhode Island.

I don’t know if Robert Frost was thinking about Matthew 7 when he wrote “The Road Less Traveled.”  But he knew going down that less traveled road made all the difference in his life.  Give God’s “less traveled road” a chance to make all the difference in your life.

Simply pray a prayer similar to this model:  Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner and I need salvation.  I know and believe that you died for my sins, and that without you I am headed for Hell.  I accept you as my Saviour and ask you to save me and make me Heaven bound from this moment forward.  I ask this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I must caution you on one point.  Do not think this can be done in the spirit of what is commonly called “quick prayerism.”  In other words, an emotional response that is not accompanied by sincerity and a desire to change 180 degrees from your present life may appear to you for a time that you are truly saved.  Time will tell the validity of your salvation.  The first step in determining the true nature of your salvation is if you are willing to do the following:  1) Join a Bible believing church, and 2) begin studying and allowing yourself to be discipled by other mature believers to begin the process of growth and maturity in your life.  Otherwise, an insincere prayer of salvation will yield little fruit and you will find yourself quickly falling away.

Now, if you choose to accept Christ as Savior, or if you are someone who already has been saved, allow me a moment to remind you of something from Scripture.  According to First Corinthians 3:16, we who are saved have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us:  “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?”  To understand the seriousness of that verse, let’s travel back in time to when the tabernacle and the temple housed the Lord in what was called the “Holy of Holies.”

The tabernacle in the wilderness, and later, the temple in Jerusalem consisted of three parts:  the outer courtyard…the holy place…and the Holy of Holies.  The holy place and the Holy of Holies were separated by a large veil.  This veil represented the separation of God from the Israelites.  Now, it was so special to enter into the Holy of Holies that the High Priests were the only ones allowed to enter.  Even then, they had to tie ropes around their waste or ankles before going in so that if they passed away while ministering, the people in the holy place could pull them out without they themselves entering unlawfully into the Holy of Holies.  It was improper to approach the presence of God outside of His ordained way.  Don’t forget, God was so revered and awed by people that anytime a person in the Old Testament came face to face with God, they immediately fell on their faces in worship knowing that they would not be able to survive seeing God in all His glory.

Even the priests, who were ordained by God to minister in the temple, had to prepare themselves to the tee before entering God’s presence knowing the awesome privilege and responsibility that came with the duties of priest.  They had to wash themselves thoroughly.  They had to dress in particular garments.  They needed to bring burning incense with them so that their vision would be obscured.  Being in the presence of God was a sacred privilege to the priests, and approaching God with the proper reverence was important to God.

Now, when Christ died on the cross, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  This signified that we now had the opportunity, through the blood of Christ’s death, to enter into the presence of God.  But understand this…our innermost heart has become the new Holy of Holies where, according to First Corinthians 3:16, the spirit of God dwells in us.  That’s incredible!  We get saved and the Holy Spirit indwells us.  That’s great…or is it…

Those Old Testament saints who found themselves in the presence of God dropped and gave God reverence, believing they were unworthy to address Him face to face.  What do we do?  We rarely give it a second thought.  We walk, talk, eat, breath, think, and act in the presence of God in the general omnipresent sense, but we also do all these things with God’s spirit dwelling in our hearts.  So where we go, and what we do takes place with the presence of God in us.  So when we sin…we drag the Holy Spirit down with us (First Corinthians 6:15-16).  That’s why Paul implores us that, Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (First Corinthians 10:31).

There are two areas that every Christian needs to examine to determine how much reverence we give to the truth that we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  The first is our level of separation from the sins of this world.  Do we think it’s OK to sit and listen to vile comedians?  What about our fantasy lives (especially the married people)?  Do we tolerate being around people who are sinful and unremorseful?  Do we allow the unregenerate in our lives great latitude with their language and the use of the Lord’s Name in vain?  God is right there in our hearts through all those things.

The second area that is less studied, but is just as important is the fact that we take better care of the front of our houses than we do the temple of God…and I’m not talking about taking care of your local church building.  No.  I’m talking about how the sins we involve ourselves in often have physically deteriorating consequences on our physical bodies associated with them.  God gave us one body after He created us for a purpose.  If you destroy the body, and make the Spirit of God live in a dilapidated, run down temple in dire need of renovating, you will soon find yourself incapable of carrying out the tasks God has asked you to do for Him.

We have much less conviction about sin and the need to take care of our bodies than the church had generations ago.  We have become complacent, lazy, and self-destructive, and I too fit in there to some extent.  If we’re honest, we all fit in there.  We take the truth of our bodies being temples and our hearts being the Holy of Holies for granted.  We don’t need the smoke of incense to blur our vision, because we have put blinders on.  We make no attempt to wash ourselves and purify ourselves both physically and spiritually like the priests did (that speaks to separation as well as caring for the physical aspect of our bodies).  Nope, we take the spirit of God down into the depths of carnal sins, all the while our bodies, His temple, fall apart.  We are like landlords who have no regard for their tenants.

Much is said about those who don’t value the lessons of the past and continue to do the wrong things in the present.  A couple of weeks ago we spoke of the Old Testament saints and how important the tabernacle was and how important being in the presence of God was to them, so we can be like them more.  Let’s strive to make our temples comparable to the Old Testament dwelling place of God.

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This entry was posted in Backsliding, Blessings, Body, Character, Godliness, Heaven, Holy Spirit, Purity, Resentment, Restoration, Sexual purity, sin, Spiritual Growth, Testimony, Wisdom and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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