THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE
Reading: Matthew 21:1-16
(a)††††††† We have just read the glorious account of Christís entry into Jerusalem!!
(b)††††††† This morning I want us to consider one of the main priorities on the mind of the Lord as He entered the city.
(c)††††††† The first place He WENT to was the Temple!!
So often it is the case with Christians, that they have no real desire to attend Godís house! It takes very little to keep them away!
Often it means that the Devil can manipulate them easily
(d)††††††† From childhood, I feel we nurture the picture of
GENTLE JESUS MEEK AND MILD
(e)††††††† It seems strange then to see Jesus RAGING THROUGH THE TEMPLE, ABSOLUTELY FURIOUS WITH THE SELLERS AND THE MONEY CHANGERS!!
(f)†††††††† The picture of Jesus BLAZING through the Temple doesnít seem to fit in with the childhood philosophy! SO WHAT DO WE MAKE OF IT ALL??
(a)††††††† Like me, perhaps you have come across those Christians, who like this story because it they feel gives them the chance to blow their top and not feel guilty
(b)††††††† This story gives us no such justification !!
(c)††††††† WE LOSE OUR TEMPERS WHEN PEOPLE OFFEND US!!
JESUS NEVER DID!!
The Emperor Julius Caesar, when provoked, used to repeat the whole Roman alphabet, before he permitted himself to speak!
(d)††††††† Through all the false accusations before the cowboy court of the high priest and the farce before the governor Pilate, THE LORD UTTERED NOT A WORD!!
(e)††††††† Through all the TORTURE OF CALVARY, AND ALL THAT WENT WITH IT, HE DID NOT LOSE HIS TEMPER!!
(f)†††††††† The offending nature of the Temple, was not against Himself, but against His Father God!
(g)††††††† I know people who get very upset when people say or do something against THEM! BUT IT DOESNíT SEEM TO MATTER TO THEM WHEN PEOPLE TAKE THE NAME OF CHRIST IN VAIN OR SHOW THEMSELVES OPENLY TO BE ENEMIES OF CHRIST!!
(h)††††††† If we truly LOVE OUR LORD, then we will be VERY UPSET when OTHERS OFFEND HIM. I I think many of us are more upset when people offend US, than when they OFFEND OUR LORD!! THAT IS TOTALLY UNCHRISTIAN
(i)†††††††† The more we love the Lord, the less we will take offence to ourselves.
(j)†††††††† MANíS anger is usually a very destructive thing, bringing about hurt, and even at times murder!
(l)†††††††† In the case of Jesus though, the anger was CONSTRUCTIVE!
(a)††††††† Jesus could see in the Temple, something that was originally good and
righteous, but HAD DEPRECIATED INTO SOMETHING THAT WAS AN OFFENCE AGAINST GOD!!
(b)††††††† Under the old covenant it was good for people to give of their possessions and offer sacrifices to God!!
(c)††††††† But this as we see, HAD TURNED INTO BIG BUSINESS!
(d)††††††† Only the TEMPLE MONEY was acceptable for certain offerings, and this was only available at EXTORTIONATE EXCHANGE RATES!!
(e)††††††† Only the DOVES AND ANIMALS PURCHASED IN THE TEMPLE, again at EXORBITANT PRICES were looked upon as suitable for sacrifice!!
DISHONESTY AND TREACHERY were rampant, and ALL IN THE NAME OF GOD!!
(f)†††††††† I have got to admit, that at times I have met, even Salvationists who were dishonest in the things of God! HE WILL BE THEIR JUDGE!
(g)††††††† Jesus said, "No man can serve two masters" The other master referred to, is of course, on that occasion - MONEY!
(f) It must all have happened quite gradually - GOOD turning into BAD and GODLINESS INTO SIN!!
(g)††††††† It can happen very GRADUALLY in OUR OWN LIVES ALSO!!
According to the Scripture, WE AS CHRISTIANS ARE THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT!!
There is always the DANGER that the TEMPLE OF OUR HEARTS becomes DEFILED AND CONTAMINATED, thereby becoming AN AFFRONT TO GOD!!
(a)††††††† If God is revealing to us that our heart, our temple, is in need of cleansing, then THE LORD HIMSELF, WHO CLEANSED THAT TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM, is willing to cleanse OUR TEMPLE, not in anger, but in Love!!
(b)††††††† When the Lord cleanses, it is a THOROUGH AND COMPLETE CLEANSING.
(c)††††††† The Temple in Jerusalem was looked upon as THE PLACE WHERE GOD DWELT!!
(d)††††††† Let us make sure that the TEMPLE OF OUR HEARTS is fit for His dwelling!!
PRAYER SONG NO 4 IN HAPPINESS & HARMONY
"CLAP YOUR HANDS ALL YE PEOPLE"
9 IN HAPPINESS AND HARMONY
CHORUS "GET ALL EXCITED"