Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY SEPT. 23, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“After this Jesus went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days. Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, Jesus drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the money changers’ money and overturned the tables.”

“And Jesus said to those who sold doves, ‘Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!’ Then His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.’”

“So the Jews answered and said to Him, ‘What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?’ But Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.” John 2.12-22

Something To Consider:
After His first miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding feast, Jesus left Cana and traveled to Capernaum. Capernaum means village of comfort. We are told that His mother, His brothers, and His disciples went with Him, even though Capernaum was approx. twenty miles from Cana and Nazareth. And even though the Passover Feast was approaching they went with Him to this village of comfort.

Prior to turning the water into wine Jesus was looked upon as a son by Mary His mother, an older brother by His own brothers, and a traveling itinerant teacher by His disciples. Jesus began to manifest His glory and now His traveling companions are having second thoughts about Him just being a teacher who has come from Nazareth, or just an older brother, or just a mother’s son.

What is Jesus to us in our 21st century generation? Is He merely a man who lived a long time ago and said many wonderful things in His short thirty-three year life? Or is Jesus more than a mere man in our inner most thoughts? Is Jesus, as a minister once witnessed while visiting a jewelry store to buy his wife a gift? While shopping, he overheard the conversation of an individual wanting to purchase a cross necklace. The salesperson asked, “Do you want a plain cross or do you want one with a little man on it? The minister could not believe his ears!

Do we see Jesus as a teacher come from God, or a prophet sent by God to proclaim the truths of God? Or is Jesus Himself God? Is He the Word that was in the beginning with God and yet was God? Is He the Word of God come in the flesh in the person of Jesus as a mere man to reveal the truths of His Father and the truth of the Word of God, while being tempted in all points as a man and yet without sin?

God forbid He should be any less in any of our minds. And God forbid Jesus is ever seen as simply a little man upon a piece of jewelry to be purchased and displayed without any true knowledge of who He is and what He has accomplished for mankind.

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus knew what went on in the temple at Jerusalem. Since the age of twelve He probably visited the temple once a year at Passover. So, for some eighteen years Jesus was aware of the religious merchandising and of the doing business as usual that was being allowed in His Father’s house, the Jewish temple of God. All those years He had watched the misrepresentation of God by the pious appearing religious leaders, and now a time of cleansing had finally come. Jesus could no longer hold back the passion of His zeal for the house of God.

What is it that we see when we enter into the so-called house of God on any given day of worship in America? Do we witness the beauty of the Lord being demonstrated in the lives of the leaders and those gathered to worship the Lord? Do we witness the true heart-felt love and worship of a loving and yet holy and righteous God?

Do we experience the preaching and teaching of the whole truth of the Word of God, or only that which upholds the non-biblical doctrines and traditions of men as in the days of Jesus’ visit to the temple in Jerusalem? Be careful in how we answer these questions!Do we find the way, the truth, and the life of the living and powerful Word of God being truthfully taught under the influence of the Holy Spirit, or under the influence of greed and a human desire to increase membership rolls and the financial coffers of the church and those in leadership?

Do we as true believers in Christ and hungry for the things of God, more often than not experience professional religious men in leadership positions doing business as usual as those in our lesson of a lifetime today? If so, may God help us to be willing to look elsewhere for the spiritual nourishment of the Word of God that we desperately need! God help us to look directly into His Word for spiritual guidance and direction!

Something More To Consider:
Jesus, seeing the religious leaders doing business as usual, demanded, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.” Until now the temple had become a place of doing business as usual. It was just another place, another way, and another means of taking advantage of God’s people. How shameful! As leaders in training let us begin to remove anything and everything that resembles doing business as usual. Let us with God’s divine direction and discernment; remove these things from His temple. And let us begin with the cleansing of ourselves by way of His Word!

Let us as born again enduring to the end true believers in Jesus Christ, seek to remove from the temples or places of worship in these end times all things that represent doing business as usual as did Jesus. And if we and others are not successful in our endeavor because of the religious greed-filled religious leadership in our local place of worship, then let us seek the Lord for removing ourselves from that place of doing business as usual. Let us be respectful and loving in our biblical endeavor, but let us be willing to honor our God in the place we choose to worship Him.

And yet, this spiritual house cleansing process must begin in the house of our own human temple and earthly residence of the Holy Spirit. Let us be willing and ready to remove all that does not honor and please our God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. According to the apostle Paul writing in his first letter to the Corinthian church in chapter 6 and verses 19-20, Paul declared, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

A Few Final Words:
It is our Christian duty to maintain an honoring temple of the Holy Spirit within our bodies, these individual places of worship of Almighty God. And yet, Jesus in Matthew 26.41 explained to His disciples in their moment of weakness in the garden of Gethsemane, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh [the flesh of our body] is weak.”

Knowing our body of flesh is weak; will we allow God’s Spirit to take these things away, the things of doing business as usual? Will we be open to the removal of anything that does not honor God, anything that does not please God, anything that is contrary to holiness and righteousness in Jesus Christ?

Also, according to the apostle Paul in Philippians 4.13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But the question remains, will I, will we? Will we do whatever it takes to remove from ourselves all things that reflect an attitude of doing business as usual if it is contrary to the Word of God? Will we do whatever it takes to remove ourselves if need be from organized religion if it refuses to cleanse itself from within of all that reflects doing business as usual simply to keep up the outward appearance of their spiritually advancing the kingdom of God?

If religious institutions are misrepresenting God by doing business as usual as in the temple in the days of Jesus, in order to grease one another’s palms with the worldly monetary exchange of whatever generation, let us seek God’s wisdom in what we do. Meanwhile let us cry out to God to take these things away, beginning in the temple of our own body, heart, and mind!

Our Father in heaven, may we as the temple of Your Holy Spirit, spiritually become houses of prayer, rather than houses of reproach. In Him Always, Amen!

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