The ‘Church’ Is Not The Temple.
Many Christians consciously or unconsciously assumed the ‘Church’ to be the Temple. Just like the Buddhist goes to the Temple to worship, Christian goes to the ‘Church’ to worship. The Church becomes the focal point of all religious activities. Sunday Services are held in the Church, Prayer Meetings are held in Church, Evangelistic Services are held in Church. From Birth to Burial, the Church took on the responsibilities.
In the early Church, there were no church buildings and Christians did not see themselves playing the role of the Temple. They were a community of God’s People going about praising God and preaching the Good News. Everyone touched by the Holy Spirit was a minister, a messenger of the gospel. The bible recorded in Acts 2:47 “…And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved”. It was this community of marketplace believers that “turned the world upside down”. It was this community of believers that Transformed the Marketplace.
When did the ‘Church’ became the Temple?
Right from the very beginning … “The Empire” (Satan) strikes back. Acts 5, we see deception creeping into the Church through Ananias and Sapphira. Judaism infiltrated into the Church from the very beginning and Paul had to rebuke the Apostle Peter for his hypocrisy (Gal 2:11-15). When the Gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire, the Church was also influenced by Greek philosophies and all other forms of religious rituals and practices. When we read the letters of Paul to Churches in Ephesus, Corinth, Galatia …we see Paul defending the “Faith” from all these infiltration and influences. Jesus foresee all these happenings when He told the parable of “the Wheat and the Weed”. (Matt 13: 24-30) “The Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way …” It is in the End Time, that the Wheat will be separated from the Weed.
The Institutionalize Church
When king Constantine became a Christian, Christianity was made to be the State’s Religion. This was when “Christianity Became A Religion”! This, I believe was when ‘Church’ became the Temple! Magnificent Cathedrals were built … people went to the ‘Church’ to worship. Elaborate rituals and religious practices were introduced into the ‘Church’. The ‘Church’ of God became the Temple of God … like the Temple of Solomon.
Be Warned ! The Nation of Israel in the Old Testament was Removed from the Promised Land because of the Temple.
Solomon Temple in the days of the Old Testament was the center of the Jewish Community. Offerings of worship and sacrifices were being done in the Temple. Tithes were collected through the Temple system. Sadly, the ‘Temple’ became the confidence of the Jewish people instead of God Himself. Elaborate and exuberant sacrifices were offered … But God was not please with their Religious Activities.
When Temple Worship was at its highest point …God sent His prophets to warn them of their unrighteous, immoral living. To the Priests and the People, the Prophets sounded the warnings of God … but they were fallen on deaf ears. “We are God’s Chosen People”, “God Is With Us”, “We have the Temple”, “We will not be destroyed”, such was the confidence the Jewish People had on the Temple.
When the Spirit of God and the Glory of God left the Temple, the elaborate rituals and ceremonies continued to be performed. God was not interested in their Religious Activities but interested in their Righteous Living. When the Jewish People did not listen and repent … God removed them from the Land and destroyed the Temple!
Even, in the land of Exile (Babylon), the Jewish People long for the glory days of Solomon Temple.
In the book of Era and Nehemiah, it was recorded that a remnant of the Jewish people returned and started building the Temple. When Jesus came into the scene, the Temple was rebuilt but not as glorious as the Temple built by King Solomon. To the minds of the Jews, God is raising up a Messiah who will rule over Israel and the Temple will be restored to its former glory. Temple Worship was still the focal point of the Jewish Community. Elaborate laws and rituals were once again established in the Jewish religious system. The Jewish religious leaders questioned Jesus’ teachings because they did not conform to their laws and practices.
Jesus said “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” John 2:19 . To Jesus, He was referring to His own body. To God, the Temple is not make up of bricks and stones … it’s people that makes up the True Temple that God is please to dwell.
I Cor 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s Temple and God’s Spirit dwells in you”.
I Pet 2:5 “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”.
Present day lesson: The ‘Church’ should not be a Place where Religious Activities are performed but the ‘Church’ should be a People in the Marketplace living Righteously – Paradigm Shift.
Stop being Religious …Start being Righteous
to be continued