2 Corinthians 6: 16 - 18, What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." NIV
"A Christian can say that they love Jesus, and continue to live in sin." The previous sentence goes against the teachings of Christ; however, in today's society, this contradiction is a real threat to the witness of Christianity in the world.
It's easy to love Jesus because He came to earth and paid the price for our sin debt. He never condemned people for their sins; He loved them in spite of their ways. We can love Jesus; but even so, we must also understand that He came to call us out of the darkness so that we can become salt and light to a lost world.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 16 that He will build His church on the revelation of His identity and who He is in us..., and the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against it. Jesus is the very foundation of love and holiness that we are to build our lives upon. Therefore, we must learn the identity of Christ before we can become a holy building or temple that is suitable for God to dwell in. This will require us to seek the Lord for ourselves, instead of trying to become the person that "men" say we are to be.
Much of what is incorrect in the body of Christ can be traced back to a lack of hunger and self-discipline to seek God. Israel was chastised many times by the Lord because they strayed away from God's ways and began to walk in the ways of the heathen. As new covenant believers, we MUST become hungry to be in the presence of God and to know Him for ourselves if we are ever to become the house that God's glory will abide.
Too many times, man will make excuses and exceptions for certain types of behavior, which don't line up with God's Word or character because of the sin in their own lives or the mistakes they have made in the past. We mustn't condemn them because we're all prone to fail on occasion; however, we need to know that our calling is to please God and not man. Therefore, we are to work out our own salvation with FEAR and trembling.
Developing a healthy sense of reverential fear or respect for the holiness of God is the only way for a believing human to live a holy life (Exodus 20). As I mentioned before, we can love Jesus all day long and fail to see any discrepancies with our lifestyle, even though it doesn't agree with God's Word. It's easier to justify sin or a lack of character if it is compared with the human nature in others, but we are instructed to keep our eyes on Jesus as our Example.
1 Peter 2: 1 - 5, Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, the living Stone-rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him- you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. NIV
Throughout the New Testament, Christians are referred to as being the temple or the house of God that is being built up on Jesus as the foundation. It is essential that we build our house according to God's blueprint (Jesus) and not according to man's standard of holiness. As Paul stated in today's text from 1 Corinthians, the Day will reveal whether or not we have built our house according to the pattern of Christ.
If believers don't grow a healthy respect for God, the righteous Judge, then we can be under-developed in many areas of our lives. You may want to take some time and read the first three chapters of the book of the Revelation. It will show you some powerful insights about the churches of Asia. Over and again, the churches "felt" as though they were living a holy life that was pleasing to their Lord. However, as Jesus inspected each church, He would tell them about their strengths and would finish with revealing their weaknesses to them. Even though their weaknesses didn't please Jesus, the churches didn't seem to have a problem or notice an issue until after they had been inspected by the Lord.
Remember, He is the Light that reveals what has been kept secret or hidden in darkness or spiritual ignorance. Jesus has a purpose in the Kingdom of God, and that is to build us (the Church) up into a holy dwelling place for the glory of God to abide.
Hebrews 3: 1 - 6, Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God's house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house, testifying to what would be said in the future. But Christ is faithful as a son over God's house. And we are his house, if we hold on to our courage and the hope of which we boast. NIV
So, how are we as individuals supposed to build our lives by faith, so that we are able to please the Father and be filled with His glory? It all begins with us learning how to become intimate with the Holy Spirit. He is our Teacher and Guide. He will teach us about the Father and will never lead us in a way that is displeasing to the Lord. The Holy Spirit will give us the ability to discern truth. Believers who can discern truth can also discern lies or half-truths. Equally important, He gives us the understanding that we all need to grasp the Word of God and apply its truths to our lives.
As we begin to place our trust in the Holy Spirit and listen to His voice, instead of relying on our personal convictions or values, He will guide us on the path of righteousness that leads us to a holy life. God works in our lives to make the spirits of just men and women perfect. The Father has given us the Holy Spirit to be our assurance or guarantee that we will be fully redeemed from sin and death. If we should ignore His voice and try to live according to man's standards and rules, then we won't have the power or wisdom to please our heavenly Father.
Ephesians 2: 8 - 10, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. NKJV
If you truly desire to please your heavenly Father and have His glory abide in your temple, then you will seek Him with your whole heart. I'll explain this by using Moses and Noah as examples. God gave Moses and Noah very specific details about the structures that He wanted each one of them to build for Him. Both were totally different in every way, yet they served the same purpose. Noah and His entire family were saved simply because Noah wasn't afraid or too busy to listen to the voice of God. As a result of his obedience, he built an ark that was never tested, but never failed. It was filled with every type of animal and enough food to keep them all alive during the time that they were held on the ark. The ark represented salvation to Noah's family as well as the animals.
Moses was also given detailed instructions of how to build the tabernacle of God. This was the mobile temple, if you will, where the Priests entered and offered up sacrifices to God. Just like Noah, Moses followed God's spoken instructions to the letter. You see; it wasn't about Noah and Moses keeping a list of laws. It was their willingness to hear God's voice that saved them.
If you have placed faith in the work of Christ and His cross, then you have a big project to complete before you meet Jesus in person. You must follow the blueprint that God has laid out for you personally to fulfill. Don't worry if you don't know how to understand the blueprints because God has given you the Holy Spirit, and He will show you how to follow God's instruction guide.
If you should try to build your walk with Christ according to someone else's plans, then they will very possibly fail you. We know that God orders the steps of His righteous people. Allow the Lord to form in you a hunger for His holiness as well as His love so that you will live a life that is blessed and well pleasing to Him. At the end, when you stand before the righteous Judge, you won't be ashamed; instead, you will rejoice with exceeding great joy and possess your inheritance. Jesus is the Builder and you are the house, and God desires to fill you with His glory.
Hungry to Fulfill God's Plan,
Pastor Asa Dockery