Volume. XXIX, No. 17
Sunday, 26 October 2014


Gods Holy Temple


Introduction

 

My family and I recently bought a house and moved into it. It was a time of great upheaval prior to, during and after the move, and addressing the many issues necessary for returning our previously rented house to the landlord's property agent. After a month or so, we have somewhat gotten used to the new location and are settling into our new house. It is a bright and cheery house, for which we thank the Lord immensely for His blessing.

 

I know many of you have moved before, and can empathize with what we have gone through. In fact, there were a few families that moved houses about the same period we did.

 

Now that the dust has settled, and we start properly arranging the furniture, organizing where things need to go, and looking at the house in detail in light of our plans, we begin to see that though the house was in a "move-in" condition there is still much work needed to make it home.

 

I could not help relate my recent experience of moving into a new home with the text, "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." (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

 

Though the main emphasis of this passage is with reference to the Church, it can and has often been applied to individuals as well. There is nothing wrong with applying this to individuals because the Church is made up of individuals, and for the Church to be right with God, its individuals must be also. It is hoped that as we consider this passage for ourselves, we will seek to keep ourselves undefiled before God, as we are the temple of God.

 

The Holy Spirit's home in us

 

We all know that when we first received Jesus Christ into our lives, the Holy Spirit came upon us and started to live within us, in a sense making us His home.

 

"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:17)

 

We may all have different testimonies of how we came to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, but I am sure we can all remember the wonderful relief and assurance of a great burden of sin being lifted from our hearts, and the joy of forgiveness flowing from the love and grace of our Heavenly Father.

 

Why, we may ask, is it necessary for the Holy Spirit to dwell in us after we have become Christians? This question is answered by many passages in the Bible, some of which are …

 

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:26-27)

 

 "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." (John16:13)

 

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27)

 

"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man" (Ephesians 3:16)

 

Though we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, if we recollect our past, we quickly come to the realisation that there is not in ourselves, or by ourselves, the ability to do God's will.  Time and time again we have broken New Year's resolutions or failed to turn over a new leaf when we depended on our own abilities.  How wise and magnanimous is our Father in Heaven to give us someone (who is with us all the time) to teach us, comfort us, guide us, intercede for us and enable us to walk by faith in obedience to God's perfect will. Yes, we falter, but the Holy Spirit picks us up and dusts us off so that we can continue to have a meaningful relationship with God. We should be so grateful to God for the Holy Spirit.

 

But what a home we are to the Holy Spirit. When we first become Christians, we welcome Him into this humble home with open arms. "Humble" because it is obviously too flimsy, too decrepit, too filthy and dark with sin for us to even have some hope that it will be suitable for the Holy Spirit.  At first, we promise Him the run of the home and that He can do what is needed to make this His home as well. But, as time goes on, we suddenly find that we have restricted the Holy Spirit to certain rooms in our lives only. We keep the keys of the other locked rooms to ourselves, rooms where we have stored our idols, lusts and secret selfish ambitions from Him. We fight constantly with the Holy Spirit when He tries to clean up the home. We prefer to let the grass grow long, the cobwebs hang from the ceiling and corners, keep the windows covered with dusty old curtains that light may not uncover our shame, and leave the mess of our life as they are.

 

Yet in all this battling and anguish, the Holy Spirit remains loving, patient and kind to us as He continues working in us, sanctifying us. Slowly but surely, He does transform us and in so doing we begin to surrender more and more of this home to Him.  "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost"(Titus 3:5)

 

Though I have referred to our bodies as the Holy Spirit's home, it is better likened to as a temple. In the Old Testament times, the Temple was the place where God resided, in particular the inner sanctum called the Holy of Holies. So let us then consider our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

 

How do we defile God's temple?

 

1 Corinthians 3:17 says, "If any man defile the temple of God ...".  This means that such a thing is possible, and so we may ask how this is done. A simple answer to this question could be, "Continue as we were.", for we were defiling our bodies (against God even before we became His temple) when we were yet in our sins.

 

But, this will not help us, for when an answer is too broad and without specifics, it does not help our understanding of the situation, neither is it helpful for us to understand what we must avoid or do to remedy the situation. So let us delve a bit deeper into this matter, and look at just three points; while remembering that we are the "temple of God"; it is God's temple, it belongs to Him and not to us (for He has redeemed us from our sins for Himself).

 

We are going back to basic Christian fundamental truths here, and when we fail to let God sit on the throne of our lives, we defile His temple. When we decide what we are going to do or make plans for the future without God, or considering whether He will be pleased with such plans, or proceeding with our plans even when it goes against God's will, we defile His temple.

 

Consider also that temples of other religions are always adorned with great beauty and grandeur. We often take offense when we are asked to dress modestly and appropriately as we take it as an affront to our rights. But when we consider that we are God's temple, should we also not adorn ourselves in a manner that will enhance the beauty and grandeur of being a child of God, to be pleasing and glorifying to God? When we dress ourselves up inappropriately as Christians, we defile God's temple.

 

Temples are also purposely built for reflection and worship. How are we treating our bodies to enhance its ability to worship God? Are we ingesting things into our bodies that will distract us from God (e.g. consuming things that we know are harmful to us), or using or abusing our bodies that will cause us to turn away from God (e.g. not allowing our bodies to have sufficient rest or losing self-control), or filling our minds with thoughts that will lead us astray?  If we are, we defile God's temple.

 

These points are not exhaustive, and we will probably be able to add to the list as we look to our own lives and experiences in personal reflection.

 

 

What must we do to keep God's temple holy?

 

Now that we have considered some of the things that defile God's temple, things that we ought not to do, we need to also consider what things we ought to do to help keep God's temple holy.

 

 Yes, by taking the "antonym" of some of the points raised in the previous section (e.g. dressing appropriately, taking care of the physical needs of the body, being mindful of what we fill our minds with, etc.), we will be taking steps in the right direction. But these physical actions we take can also be attained by someone who has strong will and determination, who may not even be a Christian. The distinction then between a non-Christian and a Christian taking care of their bodies is God! The motive for a Christian in taking care of his body is because he wants to make it a holy temple for God. It is giving over our lives to God that is necessary and the most difficult to attain (because of our sinful nature that wishes to be like God - Genesis 3:5). It is this reason that we need the Holy Spirit in us (to transform and sanctify us) without whom it will not be possible to please God, for we are told: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Romans 8:7-9)

 

So, to help keep God's temple holy, we must also encourage activities within our lives that will allow the Holy Spirit to nurture and work in us, to conform us into the image of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Some such activities would be the regular daily reading and meditation of God's Word, spending time in prayer, attending Bible studies, joining fellowship groups, serving within the different ministries within the Church, etc. Through our physical and spiritual experiences in these activities, the Holy Spirit will work to teach us principles of Christian living, which inadvertently will also help us to keep God's temple holy.

 

Conclusion

 

Some of us may be saying, "It all sounds like the usual "do's and don'ts" and legalism all over again." I agree that if we adopt the same literal view as the Pharisees in the Bible to each of God's commands, then it will be legalism all over again. But as Jesus pointed out to them then, and us now, we need to understand before applying the principles enshrined in God's commands so that we do not fall into the trap of legalism. The underlying principle here is not, "we must do this or we cannot do that", but how do we take care of our bodies to show that the Spirit of the Holy God dwells in us?

 

If we submit to Him, and let Him, the Holy Spirit will guide and sanctify us in making our bodies God's holy temple, but will we?

 

Deacon Colin Gan


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

*Kitchen Roster - Leader: Today: Bro Phil Surman. Next Lord’s Day: Bro Raphael Ng.

*Candidates for Baptism: Bro Di Wei Lin & XiHeng Wu; Membership Transfer: Bro Sung Hyun & Sis Arum (& Grace) Ma, Bro William Song & Sis Megan Lim.

*Catered Fellowship Lunch today. Adults: $7. Pensioner/Unemployed/Students: $5. Under 5 years: FREE.

*Practices for Mini-Christmas Concert have started. Please come and join to make this event God-honouring.

Praise & Thanksgiving

1. Journey mercies: Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah; Bro Jason & Sis Tabitha Tan & Joel; Bro Ricky & Sis Lucy Kim & Lara (Adl); Bro Joseph Selvanayagam (S’pore/Adl/Melb/Adl); & others travelling.

2. Anniversaries - Ebenezer BPC, Melb, 15th Anniversary (19 Oct); Life BPC, S’pore, 64th Anniversary (19 Oct); Maranatha BPC, S’pore, 24th Anniversary (today); & True Life BPC, S’pore, 11th Anniversary (5 Oct).

3. Church activities in the past week, including Session meeting & Working Bees yesterday.

4. Visitors & new worshippers.

5. God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.

 Prayer Items

1. Health & God’s healing - Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev Edward & Sis Lehia Paauwe; Rev George van Buuren; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser; Preacher Zhang (Sihanoukville); Bros Herbert (Dilly) Anderson (Kenya), Raymond Ang’s father (S’pore), Surish Dharmalingam (Laos), Elton Law, Kang Fun Tan (Sis Felicia’s father - S’pore) & Jason Teng; Sisters Margaret Hooper, Myung Ki, Grace Gan’s father (healing), Choon Fong Lee (KL), Margaret Pearson, Iris Surman’s brother, Corinne Teng, Susan Weng & Mavis Wong’s mother (salvation & healing); Mr Swee Liang Ng; Mr Mang Soo Ong; Bro Peng Cheong Wong; Mr Lucas Lee; Mr Tony Zhang; Mrs Maggie D’Mello (Mumbai); & others in affliction.

2. Post-op recovery: Sis Christabelle Selvanayagam.

3. God’s strength, guidance & provision: Sis Wol Hee Kim & her two daughters (S Korea).

4. Chemotherapy: Sis Queenie Lau (Canberra).

5. iSketch & Tell Studio, YouTube Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim.

6. Cambodia Missions - Bro John Saray & Ministry (Sihanoukville); Bro Chan Thon & Ministry (Siem Reap); Bro Thy Chhay & Ministry (Kratie).

7. House of Hope, Cebu: Salvation of drug addicts.

8. New Life BPC (London) - strength & encouragement for congregation; Resident Preacher Mok.

9. Providence B-P Church, Valley View - Bro David & Sis Susan Weng, & congregation.

10. Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.

11. Journey mercies: Dn Mark & Sis Helen Heah (S’pore); & others travelling.

12. Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.

13. Year 12 students: Bro Samuel Ting; Sisters Narelle Chong, Kai Jun Chua, Natalie Gan, Agnes See & Joey Teh; & University students - preparing for year end exams.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063