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What Needs to Be Cleansed From Our Temple Today?

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Lastly, Jesus was appalled at the complete disregard for the gentiles. Realize that the market itself was set up in the Court of the Gentiles. This was the area set aside for the non-Jewish to come and pray and worship God. Mark's Gospel deals with this:


He said to them, "The Scriptures declare, "My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves." -- mark 11: 17 (NLT)


A house of prayer for all nations -- not just the Jewish people. Can you picture the scene here? Herds of cattle, throngs of sheep, doves. Like a New York City street fair there are vendors everywhere -- selling animals, making change, making noise. Then the noise of the animals and the smell of the animals. Doesn't sound too conducive to prayer or worship. The disdain showed to the gentiles here angered God greatly.


In the modern church we can see this manifest itself too as far too often events are about entertaining the saints instead of ministering to the lost. Even outreaches planned with the best of intentions can devolve into being more about the saved than the unsaved. One of the common complaints in larger churches is the cliquish nature of the congregation. Just try taking the pew of someone who has been in that church for many years! A famous illustration tells of a pastor who dressed up as a homeless person, disheveled, dirty, and odorous. He laid down on the steps of his church only to watch as his congregants steered clear of him to enter. He then entered the sanctuary and sat down in a pew only to watch as horrified congregants moved to find seats away from him. Many others complained to the ushers in an attempt to have the person removed. The pastor then shambled his way to the pulpit to give a sermon on the fundamentals of Christianity. Jesus taught on this:


If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. -- Matthew 5: 46-48 (NLT)


Do you get the message here from Christ? We are supposed to be different than everyone else! When Jesus healed the lepers -- He touched them first. He did not have to in order to heal them but He was making a point that we are to touch what the world refuses to!


Even in our own lives it is equally important that we remember what is at stake. I understand it gets lost sometimes in the day to day grind of life but it should never be lost on us as believer in Jesus Christ. That family member we love so much is going to hell unless they can see Christ in us every day. Not the condemnation of religion but the love of Christ! That co-worker, close friend, and next door neighbor -- same thing! My two brothers who I love dearly. That person who might be sitting next to you this coming Sunday. Beloved sometimes we get so caught up with playing church that we forget to be the church. I am not saying that Christmas plays and ice cream socials for the kids are not important -- I am just saying that we need to be careful that we do not fill up the Court of the Gentiles with so much noise surrounding the business of church that we lose sight of why the church exists to begin with. It is not to sway political elections. It is not to put on grand shows of pseudo-piety. It is to be an emergency room for the lost and dying people of this world. They are on the outside looking in at the salvation we enjoy. They need to be the top priority and they need to see Jesus. If they are seeing anything else in our walk or in our church then we need to cleanse it out now.

The key verses conclude with what happened after Jesus cleansed the temple. The blind and the lame came to Him and He healed them. That is why the church exists. That is why God saved us. We were once blind in this world and ignorant to the things of God but God reached down and saved us. We were once lame, crawling through this world but God planted us upon the solid rock that is Jesus Christ. Now it is our turn to give all that God has given unto us. What Needs to Be Cleansed From Our Temple Today?

Reverend Anthony Wade -- September 12, 2012

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