(I. Corinthians 3:16-17), "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
The word "respect" means “to regard with honor; to have a high opinion of; to place a great value upon; to reverence; to submit to the judgment or authority of another.” We have been studying on the subject of "the importance of having respect for the things of God." Thus far we have studied, "The Importance of Having a Proper Respect of God." Without a proper respect for God, the holy things of God and the standards in a church decrease while sin and compromise will increase. Then we studied "The Importance of Respecting the Word of God." Without a proper respect for the Word of God, you will never have a proper respect for God, because God has placed His Word above His name. Furthermore, without a proper respect for the Word of God, you will not receive its teachings as the authoritative Word of God. In short, if you do not believe the Word of God, you are not going to listen to God, the Pastor, your Sunday School Teacher, or any others who teach the Word of God. Thirdly we studied "The Importance of Respecting the House of God." Without a proper respect for the house of God you begin to treat the house of God unholy and begin treating it like a social organization, sports center, or an entertainment club. When proper respect for the house of God is lost so is reverence and holy living before God. Fourthly, we studied "The Importance of Respecting the Man of God." Without a proper respect for the man of God (pastor), you begin to lose respect for the authority of his position and will not follow him as he follows the Lord. In this message we are going to take a look at “The Importance of Respecting the Temple of God.”
- WHY WE SHOULD RESPECT THE TEMPLE OF GOD
The word "temple" as it is in the above passage refers to “the place in which the divine presence of God dwells.” In the Old Testament God had a temple constructed in which He dwelt but in the New Testament God has a people for His temple in which He dwells. If you are saved, God lives in you and everything that touches you – touches God. This is the truth that Paul was trying to relate to the Corinthian Church. The Corinthian Church had the mindset that what I do with my body has no impact on my spiritual walk. But this is worlds away from the truth. When God got ready to construct the Old Testament temple, it was a place wholly dedicated to God and His glory, and 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. Nadab and Abihu are a good example. (Leviticus 10:1-2), “And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.” God still demands purity in His people today or these earthly bodies we dwell in are also set apart for His glory! No saint of God has the right to use his/her body for anything other than that which glorifies the Lord. If you do, God will take immediate steps to take care of the problem. (I. Corinthians 3:17), “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”
- WAYS WE SHOULD RESPECT THE TEMPLE OF GOD
(Romans 12:1-2), “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” How can saints of God respect their temple in which the Holy Ghost dwells? By consecrating their bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices and living holy lives each day of their lives. As the temple of God saints are to be holy not only in the church on Sunday, but everywhere they go every day of the week. Christianity is not just something that happens only in the church but Christianity is wherever saints are because wherever they are, they are the temple of God. Many saints of God live a double life. They live one kind of life when they go to church and they live a different kind of life outside the church. The Bible calls this double life HYPOCRISY. A hypocrite is someone who pretends to be good when there are people looking, but is actually a different person deep inside. God is the one who bought the saints body through the death and resurrection of Christ; therefore this means that God is to be the one who is in control of the saint of God's body.
- WELFARE OF RESPECTING THE TEMPLE OF GOD
(John 10:10), I came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” We have seen from previous lessons that God will bless the saint of God who hears and obeys the Word of God. In the above passage, the Lord Jesus teaches that He came into this world not quantity, full sufficient” Jesus came to give a better life than what sin offers. Think about what sin does to the body and how sin destroys life. The drunkards, drug addicts, smokers, adulterers, just to name a few, all end up with their bodies destroyed and their lives ruined. Jesus wants saints of God to have a better life by abstaining from the vices and sins that destroy the body. But not only will God bless a saint of God who does not destroy their temple with a better life but also a better death. (Philippians 1:21), “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” There are two deaths that saints of God can choose to die. One is a shameful, discouraged, defeated life that has been lived in sin and disobedience; and the other is a victorious death of those who have lived their lives for the cause of Christ respecting the temple of God. But there is also another benefit of respecting the temple of God for the saints and that is a better judgment. (I. Corinthians 3:13-14), “Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” The saint of God who respects the temple of God will receive rewards at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Do you respect the temple of God which you are? Do you regard your body with honor; do you have a high opinion of your body; do you place a great value upon your body?
Pastor Allen Jackson