I received an unexpected phone call Thursday morning ~ a friend of mine needed a ride to Holy Family for his chemo treatment
His normal “ride” had an unexpected medical emergency ~ and out of desperation ~ they called me
I was there in 30 minutes ~ and gave him a ride
He talked ~ about family ~ community ~ careers ~ and eventually “church”
He found “church” to be full of “fights” and “distractions ~ His words
I listened ~ and realized ~ I could hear his heart
He was expressing his hearts desire to experience God
Finally he asked me “when” I was opening my church
He is searching for an experience with God ~ without politics ~ without drama
Like Elijah & Moses ~ they just wanted to PERSONALLY experience God
Something simple ~ clear ~ something intimate
From Genesis to Revelation, we can see God progressively moving closer and closer to the heart of man.
God promised in Jeremiah 29:13
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”
So when you decide on a Sunday morning to come to church ~ WHAT are you looking for?
Maybe a better question is ~ what do you EXPECT when you come to church?
So WHY do you come to church?
I can like 100 BAD reasons to come to church
So as we get close to opening our church
I challenge you to SIMPLIFY the REASON you come to church
MEMORIZE Jeremiah 29:13
SEEK GOD with all your heart (period)
I have found this period of social distancing ~ quarantine ~ with churches closed ~ Very insightful
Do you realize there has not been one church split in the last few months ~ no struggles for control ~ no church politics
That revelation made me stop and ask ~ is God using this time to “reset” his church
Is God reaching out to His people ~ doing a “reset” in their hearts and minds?
Have you ever considered the possibility that ~ the church of Jesus has become so focused on being A CHURCH ~ that it was clouding our ability to see HIM who loves our soul and died for us?
Hear me out
As we go through this sermon today ~ NOTICE ~ how persistently God works to reveal Himself to man ~ AND ~ to draw man close
REMEMBER: Of course, the Temple was not necessary because of God’s nature (Acts 7:46-50). God is Spirit. The Temple was an accommodation to the limitations and needs of His people (1 Kings 8:27).
The idea of God meeting with man began the moment God created man and it has never stalled or stopped.
However, let’s go back into the Old Testament to find the place where God and man met.
God met man in the Garden
Genesis 3:8 NLT
“When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the LORD God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the LORD God among the trees.”
The first place where God met Man was in the garden of Eden.
This was an extremely beautiful place where God would walk with Adam in the cool of the day.
This gives us several “hints” as to God’s original intention for man.
He wanted to meet with man in a very beautiful place.
This place is not only very beautiful, but is also full of life.
God filled the garden with all kinds of plant and animal life.
In fact, God told Adam to eat plant life.
This is a place of plentiful life, and this life was to be the food for Adam. This is also a place of rest.
In fact, it was while he was sleeping that God took the rib from his side and formed Eve.
We also see that this garden was the perfect environment for man. Everything he needed was present in this place.
The garden is the place of fullness and fulfillment.
The place where man would meet with God and be completely fulfilled.
God met with man in the Tabernacle
Exodus 33: NLT
7 It was Moses’ practice to take the Tent of Meetingand set it up some distance from the camp. Everyone who wanted to make a request of the Lord would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.
8 Whenever Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would get up and stand in the entrances of their own tents. They would all watch Moses until he disappeared inside.
9 As he went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and hover at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses.
10 When the people saw the cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, they would stand and bow down in front of their own tents.
11 Inside the Tent of Meeting, the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Afterward Moses would return to the camp, but the young man who assisted him, Joshua son of Nun, would remain behind in the Tent of Meeting.
The Tabernacle is the next major place that we see God meeting with man.
The tabernacle or “tent of meeting” was a portable place where the nation of Israel could meet with God.
Moses had it built according to God’s specific instructions.
When it was completed, the glory of the Lord filled the most holy place.
The Holy of Holies was a small room that contained the Ark of the Covenant and all the walls were covered with curtains.
The only light in that room would be the glory of the Lord.
Many of the curtains had palm trees and pomegranetes embroidered on them to symbolize the garden of Eden.
This was now the meeting Place of God and Man.
Everything in this tent spoke of God’s desire to fellowship with man and to be one with him.
However, this tent was only temporary and would give way to the more permanent temple of Solomon.
God met with man in the Temple
2 Samuel 7:13
12 For when you die and are buried with your ancestors, I will raise up one of your descendants, your own offspring, and I will make his kingdom strong. 13 He is the one who will build a house—a temple—for my name. And I will secure his royal throne forever.
It was also called the first temple and was first built by Solomon.
It stood next to the king’s palace, God’s royal palace and Israel’s center of worship.
The Bible says that the Lord said to Solomon, “I have consecrated (made special or clean) this temple…by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there” (1 King 9:3).
The TEMPLE was a symbol of holiness and royalty, it reminded the Israelites that God was the special head of Israel.
It was patterned after the tabernacle and was divided into three important areas: the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place and the outer courtyard.
Solomon’s temple was the most lavish building ever constructed.
The walls and floors were covered with gold and the curtains were luxuriant velvet. This was a most beautiful place!
God had so blessed Solomon so that he could construct this temple in the most extravagant manner possible.
Even in this temple, the reminders of the Eden existed.
Reminders of when God walked and talked with man.
And the glory of the Lord filled this temple as God was in the midst of His people.
New Testament Reality
First take a look at the Gospels.
The story of Peter’s confession that Jesus was the Son of the living God is filled with meaning.
Notice how the Lord asked the question of the disciples, “who do people say that the Son of Man is?” Matthew 16:13-20
Then notice how Peter replied, “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus uses the term, the Son of Man, and Peter uses the term, the Son of God ~ both phrases are accurate.
Jesus is BOTH ~ the Son of Man and the Son of God.
In Jesus Christ ~ God and Man are in a intimate relationship.
In Jesus Christ ~ we have the meeting place of God and Man.
God and Man meet together in Jesus Christ!
Jesus Christ is the garden.
Jesus Christ is the tabernacle.
Jesus Christ is the temple.
What a beautiful place in which to meet!
This is a place of ABUNDANT LIFE because it is only possible inside the living Person of Jesus Christ.
There is an abundance of food in Jesus Christ ~ living food.
This is also the place of perfect rest.
God and man are completely satisfied and fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ.
There is no need of light in this place because the glory of God radiates out from the Person of Jesus Christ.
All of the Father’s hopes and dreams for His fellowship with man are fulfilled in His Son.
Jesus said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I shall raise it up again.” John 2:19
He was speaking of the temple of His body.
He was transferring all thought of the physical temple as being the meeting Place of God and man to Himself.
He is the real temple.
God meets man in the Church of Jesus Christ
The Spirit brought this revelation home to the Apostle Paul in Acts 9.
When “Saul” was knocked off his horse ~ the first thing the Lord said to him was, “Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
“Me?” How was that possible?
Saul had never even seen Jesus Christ in the flesh ~ let alone persecute Him.
God was referring to His Church.
Because Paul was persecuting the Church ~ he was persecuting Jesus Christ.
This is a SIGN pointing to Who the Church is.
That’s why later on he could emphatically declare to the Corinthians; “for even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12
The Church is Jesus Christ!
GET THIS: The CHURCH is Jesus Christ in people!
Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27
IF “followers of Jesus Christ” would see and understand the definition of the CHURCH is Jesus Christ IN us
They would realize that CONTROL and DIRECTION of the CHURCH belongs to Jesus
Fighting among followers of Jesus Christ IN the Church ~ reveals a severe lack of FAITH
Because the CHURCH is Jesus Christ in people ~ we can relax in the fact that Jesus Christ is GREAT enough to accomplish HIS perfect will in every situation
This is a FAITH BUILDING experience
Because we are in Christ (Colossians 1:27 & 1 Corinthians 12:12) this means that Followers of Jesus Christ ARE the TEMPLE of Jesus Christ.
Temple ~ where God meets man
Because Christ is in us, this means the temple is now corporately expressed.
Now the meeting Place of God and man is practically expressed here on earth.
Men can come into the temple and meet with God.
They can come to a local gathering of believers and “see” the Lord.
Of course, this presumes that the local gathering is under the direct headship of Jesus Christ and that He is the Center and Life of that group of believers.
All the beauty, provision, plentiful food, security, and rest of the garden can be found in this place.
All the divinity (represented by the gold in the temple), and the glory of God can be found in this place.
This is a place where man can come and say that he has found his home. This is the meeting Place of God and Man.