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                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

               Does Your Temple Need Cleaning? (21:12-14)


1. Shortly after entering Jerusalem at the beginning of His final week,
   Jesus entered the temple - Mt 21:12-14
   a. Angered by the presence of the moneychangers and merchants, He
      drove them out
   b. He decried their turning the house of God into a den of thieves
   c. With the temple cleansed, He then healed blind and lame

2. Jesus had cleansed the temple before - Jn 2:13-17
   a. It was during the Passover, three years before
   b. Then He rebuked them for making the house of God a house of

3. In both cases, we see Jesus' anger for their misuse of the temple...
   a. Not that there was anything inherently wrong with buying and
   b. But it was not the proper place, or use of the temple

4. How about your temple?
   a. Is it being properly used? 
   b. Does it need cleaning?
   c. Are you aware that you even have a temple?  

[Yes, you do have a temple.  As with the temple in Jerusalem, it is to
be used in the service and praise of God.  If it is not, then it too
needs a cleaning!  What am I talking about...?]


      1. Your physical body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who in you
         - 1Co 6:19
         a. This "indwelling" refers to a special relationship between
            you and the Spirit
            1) By which God strengthens you - cf. Ep 3:16
            2) By whom we can deal with the power of sin - cf. Ro 8:
         b. As Solomon recognized with the temple in Jerusalem, no
            physical dwelling can contain the omnipresent God - cf.
            2Ch 6:18
         c. Such is true of the Spirit of God - cf. Ps 139:7-12
         d. Yet the uniqueness of the Spirit's presence in the life of
            a Christian is such that it is proper to speak of Him
            "indwelling" the Christian - cf. Ga 4:6
      2. What is said of the physical body, is also said of the church
         as a whole - 1Co 3:16
      3. What is said of the church as a temple, is also true of the
         body - 1Co 3:17
         a. Defile the temple of God, and you incur the wrath of God!
         b. For the temple is to be holy!

      1. The temple of Jerusalem was to be a place of prayer - cf. Mt
         21:13; 2Ch 6:19-21
      2. So your temple, including both body and mind, is to be devoted
         in service to God
         a. Your body is to be a living sacrifice - Ro 12:1; cf. Col 3:
         b. Your mind is to be renewed, focused on things above - Ro
            12:2; cf. Col 3:1-2

      1. We have seen how the temple in Jerusalem was abused
         a. A place designed for prayer, turned into a marketplace
         b. A place that need to be cleansed, once and again
      2. The same can be true of our temples...
         a. We can become guilty of setting our minds on earthly things
            1) We begin serving our bellies (fleshly appetites), rather
               than Jesus - Php 3:18-19
            2) We find ourselves unable to abide by will of God - Ro 8:
         b. We can begin offering our bodies to that which it does not
            1) Some which is inherently sinful - cf. 1Co 6:13-18
            2) Other things (cares, riches, pleasures of life) which
               detract us from our true service and hinder our ability
               to serve God with our bodies - cf. Lk 8:14

[What is the condition of your temple?  Perhaps you are in need of a
"major overhaul" (salvation).  Perhaps you need some "spring cleaning"
(restoration and rededication).  In either case, the principles for
cleaning are similar...]


      1. Jesus is an expert at "temple-cleansing"!
      2. Even more so, when it comes to cleansing the temples of our
         bodies and spirits
         a. He knows that it must occur from the inside out - cf. Mt 
         b. He died, that He might purify us - Tit 2:11-14
         c. His blood is the cleansing power to purify us from all sin
            - 1Jn 1:7
      3. How do we ensure the presence of Christ in our "temples"?
         a. Through faith - Ep 3:17
         b. Through obedience - Jn 14:21,23; 1Pe 1:22
      4. For the non-Christian, such faith and obedience includes
         a. For baptism unites us with Christ, that the body of sin
            might be destroyed - Ro 6:3-4
         b. For in baptism we put on Christ - Ga 3:27
      5. For the Christian in need of cleansing, faithful obedience
         includes repentance and prayer - cf. Ac 8:22
         a. Repentance, as Christ counseled the Laodiceans - Rev 3:
         b. Prayer, through which the Lord is allowed back into our
            hearts - Rev 3:20

      1. Jesus exercised strength to overturn the tables and drive out
         the merchants
      2. Even more so, does He offer strength for the Christian
         a. Without Him, we can do nothing - Jn 15:4-5
         b. With Him, we can do everything - Php 4:13
      3. Thus we need to stand strong "in the power of His might" - Ep
         6:10; Col 1:11; cf. Isa 40:29-31; 41:10

      1. While we are dependent upon Christ for our cleansing, we 
         cannot sit by idly
         a. We must "cleanse ourselves" - 2Co 7:1
         b. We must "pursue holiness" - He 12:14
      2. This involves both "putting off" and "putting on" things in
         our life
         a. As counseled by James - Jm 1:21
         b. As instructed by Peter - 1Pe 2:1-2
         c. As commanded by Paul - Ep 4:22-32; Col 3:8-14
      3. Our cleansing will be greatly facilitated by what we allow in
         our minds
         a. For things that are worthy of praise and virtue will ensure
            God's presence in our lives - Php 4:8-9
         b. Our transformation will take place as our minds are renewed
            - Ro 12:1-2


1. In what condition is your "temple"?
   a. Is it a place where God, Jesus, and the Spirit can reside?
   b. Is your body and mind "a place of prayer", one that brings glory
      to God?
   -- Or have you allowed the mundane things of life to so preoccupy
      your "temple" that it is not what God intended, a place that is
      common and profane?

2. If your temple needs cleaning, then look to Jesus...
   a. Only He can provide the cleansing you need
   b. But He also provides power for godly living

3. But be careful that you do not just let Jesus clean your temple
   and nothing else...
   a. For cleansing without replacement can make thing worse - cf. Mt
   b. Therefore we must fill our "temples" with prayer, praise, virtue,
      and godliness
   c. Otherwise our "temples" will soon be filled with idols

Do not forget the words of the apostle Paul:

   "And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are
   the temple of the living God."

   "As God has said: `I will dwell in them And walk among them. I 
   will be their God, And they shall be My people.' Therefore `Come
   out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch
   what is unclean, And I will receive you.  I will be a Father to
   you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD

   "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse 
   ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting
   holiness in the fear of God."
                                               (2Co 6:16-7:1)

Are you participating with Christ in your cleansing, and perfecting
holiness in the fear of God?
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