Our bodies, the Spirit’s home

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Body Spirit Home

Sunday 11/05/23

Title: Our bodies, the Spirit’s home

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Our bodies, the Spirit’s home

2Timothy 2:1-7, “(1) So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2)  And what you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.  (3)  Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  (4)  No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.  (5)  Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules.  (6)  The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops.  (7)  Think about what I am saying and the Lord will give you understanding of all this.”

In our recent studies of the Holy Spirit in our lives and our co-partnership with Him in Kingdom work we’ve covered a number of things.

  • In order to hear from the Spirit of God we must 1st be worshippers of God (like Cornelius and Lydia).

The word worship means to adore and in this context it at least implies reverence as well.

We cannot claim to love and revere God if we do not love and revere what He does. As such there needs to be a desire within the heart to come to know God more THROUGH knowing His Son Jesus our Lord.

The Lord Jesus IS THE person of interest for the Holy Spirit of God. At least in relation to our lives and the role the Spirit plays in our earthly walk with Him – JESUS is the all-in-all!

Through knowing Jesus we come to know the Father and THAT is the eternal life Jesus came to preach as Good News. Mankind can enter again into that presence behind the veil through Christ BECAUSE in Christ the veil has been removed!

But we also have found that our flesh, though purchased by the blood of Christ, has not yet been glorified and so there still remains sin and death in the flesh. So to the degree that we still cling to the things of the flesh, a veil still remains unlifted in our view of Jesus and therefore of the Father.

Last week we saw Paul addressing the Corinthian believers regarding their child-like status in Christ. How due to simple petty bickering, and jealousy and strife they demonstrated conclusively that they were mere babes in Christ and NOT capable of coming to know Jesus to any real depth whatsoever. Their knowledge of Him was no deeper than their devotion to Him – in fact, that is the very thing that sets the limit for our capability to come to know Him.

The Spirit will only reveal Jesus to the degree that He is eclipsed by other loves and interests, devotions and cares.

This is what we learned in the parable of the heart soils with the thorny heart. The cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for things other than God out grow and choke out that which we know of Jesus so that we can know no more. THAT is where our progress stops.

Now before moving consider the verse I read as we started this morning, for it pinpoints these issues and places a spotlight on them for us.

2Timothy 2:1-7,

“(1) So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2)  And what you heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will be competent to teach others as well.  

(3)  Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  

(4)  No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him.  

(5)  Also, if anyone competes as an athlete, he will not be crowned as the winner unless he competes according to the rules.  

(6)  The farmer who works hard ought to have the first share of the crops.  

(7)  THINK ABOUT WHAT I AM SAYING and the Lord will give you understanding of all this.”

Paul told the Corinthians, and we read it last week, that it is in THIS area you and I as children of God will have our accountability before Him at the Judgment seat of Christ.

Not the foundation of our lives. That is not in question or we would not be at the judgment seat of Christ. We’d be before the Ominous Great White Throne judgment. As it is, we are in a family courtroom where our brother and friend has already been judged for us and has become the foundation for our whole lives. So all that remains is an accounting of how we lived in Him… or put more crudely, an accounting of how we built our lives upon the foundation of Jesus.

Only that which honored Him and Glorified Him will remain. If any word or work we did in this life was of the sort we identified as carnal and which remained un-repudiated in this life, those will be consumed. They will represent an empty vacuum of time in our lives after having met Christ where we have nothing to show for our union with Him.

Can you see why it says that we will still be saved, but only by the skin of our teeth.

THIS is holy ground here! Listen to me! One attribute (if you can call it that) of all three members of the Godhead is Their deep adoration and admiration for each Other. They honor and defer to each Other in all They do. So to admit into their everlasting presence those who, even after having met the living Word in His earthly incarnation and entered into covenant relationship with Him, lived lives that failed to pour all of their efforts into honor, devotion, loyalty and unwavering passion toward Him is more than sickening – it is offensive! But thank God not more offensive that Jesus’ blood is powerful and sufficient to destroy. 

At that moment, like those in the Great White Throne judgment, we will see for the FIRST TIME with eyes wide open Who we have been living before and are accountable to our whole lives. There will be no flesh to veil His penetrating presence from our souls and we will know with deafening clarity what we failed to honor when we had the chance.

There will be deep grief on that day in both courtrooms, but for entirely different reasons.

In our courtroom it will be a devastating blow to our deepest soul that we failed to see and honor Him for the exquisite majesty that He is. The treasure and unspeakable worth of Jesus will be seen in its entirety and it will be near to crushing. But He will lift us up as He always does, and tell us to not be afraid, as He gently wipes away our tears and grief, never to know sorrow again.

In the other courtroom the grief will be of another sort and entirely spent on themselves. They will be crushed under the weight of the monstrous substitutions they made for Him. They will see all that they forfeited for the pathetic little crumbs of bread this life taught us to place soo much value upon. These will go out into everlasting darkness. Not a physical darkness, but a spiritual one, like they never knew was possible. Though they failed to acknowledge Him, pursue or value Him in their physical life – they were nevertheless exposed to Him under the light of grace. Now, after seeing Him with unveiled faces they will be cut off from His knowable presence forever and that is a darkness no soul can abide. It will devour them from the inside out for an eternity.

Now I don’t speak in such sober terms for no reason. This is no drama or overreaching in order to force a point. Quite literally all I have said are no more than words which are taking a stab at conveying what words can never capture. So if anything I am underselling my point.

I did not say all of this for no reason. One of the Ones we will stand ashamed for not acknowledging is the Holy Spirit Who was given to us.

So when I speak this morning about playing host to the Spirit of the Living God Who had come and made His permanent home within you I am not being melodramatic. Nor am I trying to shame or scare you into compliance. I am simply attempting to own a truth along WITH you. A truth we MUST embrace if we are going to make the most of our time here.

And did not Peter make the same appeal?

2Peter 3:1-18,

“(1) Dear friends, this is already the second letter I have written you, in which I am trying to stir up your pure mind by way of reminder:  (2)  I want you to recall both the predictions foretold by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.  (3)  Above all, understand this: In the last days blatant scoffers will come, being propelled by their own evil urges  (4)  and saying, “Where is his promised return? For ever since our ancestors died, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.”  (5)  For they deliberately suppress this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water.  (6)  Through these things the world existing at that time was destroyed when it was deluged with water.  (7)  But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, by being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.  (8)  Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day.  (9)  The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.  (10)  But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare.  (11)  Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness,  (12)  while waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze!  (13)  But, according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness truly resides.  (14)  Therefore, dear friends, since you are waiting for these things, strive to be found at peace, without spot or blemish, when you come into his presence.  (15)  And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom given to him,  (16)  speaking of these things in all his letters. Some things in these letters are hard to understand, things the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.  (17)  Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard that you do not get led astray by the error of these unprincipled men and fall from your firm grasp on the truth.  (18)  But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the honor both now and on that eternal day.”

So let’s move on with our learning about our Helper Who has come to live within us!

We ended last week in 1Corinthians 3:16-23, so let’s read that again as we move forward in our learning.

“(16)  Do you not know that you are God’s Sanctuary, and that the Spirit of God has His home within you?  

(17)  If any one is marring the Sanctuary of God, him will God mar; for the Sanctuary of God is holy, which you all are.  

(18)  Let no one deceive himself. If any man imagines that he is wise, compared with the rest of you, with the wisdom of the present age, let him become “foolish” so that he may be wise.  

(19)  This world’s wisdom is “foolishness” in God’s sight; for it is written, “HE SNARES THE WISE WITH THEIR OWN CUNNING.”  (20)  And again, “THE LORD TAKES KNOWLEDGE OF THE REASONINGS OF THE WISE–HOW USELESS THEY ARE.”  

(21)  Therefore let no one boast about his human teachers.  (22)  For everything belongs to you–be it Paul or Apollos or Peter, the world or life or death, things present or future–everything belongs to you;  (23)  and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”

Paul asks the question – Do you not know?

The body is the temple of God. Fruit born from union and co-participation with the Holy Spirit takes place in and through this physical human body in cooperation with the inward work and power of the Holy Spirit

Do you not know this, Paul asks?

The word Temple (naós) means dwelling

In the Old Testament the temple was the place that God chose to place His name. 

1Kings 8:12-21,

“(12) Then Solomon said: The LORD said that He would dwell in thick darkness,  (13)  but I have indeed built an exalted temple for You, a place for Your dwelling forever.  

(14)  The king turned around and blessed the entire congregation of Israel while they were standing.  

(15)  He said: May the LORD God of Israel be praised! He spoke directly to my father David, and He has fulfilled the promise by His power

He said,  (16)  “Since the day I brought My people Israel out of Egypt, I have not chosen a city to build a temple in among any of the tribes of Israel, so that My name would be there. But I have chosen David to rule My people Israel.”  

(17)  It was in the desire of my father David to build a temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel.  (18)  But the LORD said to my father David, “Since it was your desire to build a temple for My name, you have done well to have this desire.  (19)  Yet you are not the one to build it; instead, your son, your own offspring, will build it for My name.”  

(20)  The LORD has fulfilled what He promised. I have taken the place of my father David, and I sit on the throne of Israel, as the LORD promised. 

I have built the temple for the name of the LORD God of Israel.  (21)  I have provided a place there for the ark, where the LORD’s covenant is that He made with our ancestors when He brought them out of the land of Egypt.”

Upon Jesus uttering one of His final statements on the cross the temple veil was torn from TOP to bottom (or as it were from God towards man) and God left the inner sanctum of the earth made temple to dwell in humans who would enter into the everlasting covenant with Him by Christ Jesus.

We now, as God’s Temple, are now the place He has chosen to place His awesome name. 

These two things being true… 

  1. That our bodies are His Temple and 
  2. Our person is the place He has chosen to place His name

…these put us in the position of respectful and reverent obligation to Him

It is to this degree and perhaps even greater that we can comprehend that we are involved and in some ways intertwined with God Himself. Certainly not as a member of the godhead, for we are HIS creations, but a relationship somewhat akin to being His offspring. So while having a beginning of days, we are still in the family of the eternal God and you have to know that such has some weight to it!

Another passage which speaks to our bodies being His temple also says we have been made one spirit with Him. Paul again begins with the question – DO YOU NOT KNOW?

1Corinthians 6:9-20,

“(9) Do you not know that unrighteous men will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Cherish no delusion here. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor any who are guilty of unnatural crime,  (10)  nor theives, nor avaricious people, nor any who are addicted to hard drinking, to abusive language or to greed of gain, will inherit God’s Kingdom.  

(11)  And all this describes what some of you were

BUT NOW you have had every stain washed off: NOW you have been set apart as holy: NOW you have been pronounced free from guilt; in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God.  

(12)  Everything is allowable to me, but not everything is profitable.

 Everything is allowable to me, but to nothing will I become a slave.  

(13)  Food of all kinds is meant for the stomach, and the stomach is meant for food, and God will cause both of them to perish. 

Yet the body does not exist for the purpose of fornication, but for the Master’s service, and the Master exists for the body;  (14)  and as God by His power raised the Master to life, so He will also raise us up. 

(15)  Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them the members of a prostitute? No, indeed.  

(16)  Or do you not know that a man who has to do with a prostitute is one with her in body? For God says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE.”  (17)  But he who is in union with the Master is one with Him in spirit.  

(18)  Flee from fornication. Any other sin that a human being commits lies outside the body; but he who commits fornication sins against his own body.  

(19)  Or do you not know that your bodies are a sanctuary of the Holy Spirit Who is within you–the Spirit Whom you have from God?  (20)  And you are not your own, for you have been redeemed at infinite cost. Therefore glorify God in your bodies!”

God Lives Within us! 

In very clear terms Paul removes all doubt that what we do, we involve the Holy Spirit with… even down to our sexual appetites and expressions. 

This requires a renovation of thought in regard to what is Holy and what is not. What is sacred and what is profane and carnal

God is not embarrassed of our bodies! He’s not ashamed of the work of His hands. He takes unashamed ownership of our bodies as well as that of our minds and wills, our emotions & spirits. 

We are fearfully and wonderfully made! That is a certain and non-boasting reality.  

We have to get that deeply ingrained within us so that we stop treating as non-sacred and Unholy the things regarding our persons, our body and our life. 

We belong to Him! 

As such… 

if we were to see as we ought to see – to consider as we ought to consider – 

be aware of our real and genuine situation in Christ – our hearts would then press upon us with holy urgency and honest sincere desire to show respect for God in all our thoughts, choices and actions. 

So I am deciding to go no further today. I want the weight of these things to press upon your hearts as we take communion and perhaps today you will take communion differently than you ever have before. Knowing as you do now that as you commune with the broken body and powerfully purifying blood of our Lord you do so WITH and BY the Holy Spirit Who is within you.

You are communing on two fronts. Enter into it and receive His strength which He has freely offered you. His strength to live a consecrated and holy life is just ONE of the countless benefits God has made and keeps ready for us – things the Spirit was given to us to reveal!

One of the things which came to me as I was going over the truths we covered in this message, I remembered a message I taught back in January of 2019 called, “Living for the Well Done!

At the beginning of it was a bullet point of 4 things and we will close with those…

  1. Examine yourself
  2. Be prepared for His return.
  3. Be a surrendered servant.
  4. Be a faithful servant.
 

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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