Title: Temples of Praise
Theme: Four Truths for Living for the Lord
Introduction: Our opening text today is something that every born-again Christian should take to heart. (Thru the Bible) Everything Christians have come from God, therefore they should be bound in their hearts to use it for the glory of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Bishop Patrick said it well; “we ought to acknowledge God in all... things, referring every good thought, good purpose, and good work to His grace, from whom we receive it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary)
Listen as I read 1 Chronicles 29:16, “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name comes from your Hand, and all of it belongs to you.” Before praying we need to realize that the provision of the building of the temple, the material, the finances, the workers, the planning, the order of service, came all from God moving upon people who had the ability, provision and insight to get the task completed. (1 Chronicles 29: 1-20)
Proposition: I would propose to you that Christians are the temple that God cares about today. 1 Corinthians 3:16 and 17 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” The Lord has given Christians their Spiritual gifts, talents and all the resources they need to be a temple of worship. One that expresses to all who see their lives that they are children of God sold out to the cause of Christ and enjoying the abundant life promised by Him.
Interrogative Sentence: Just how can Christians be a temple of praise?
Transitional Sentence: Christians can be a temple of praise by living a life that honor's God's grace. Ephesians 2:8-10 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Bible teaches that everything Christians have comes by grace. “Grace” (charis) here affects man’s sinfulness, God's perfect will for them and their changed character. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary)
This grace has been seen and experienced by many Christians. God's “Grace” (charis) is enjoyed by that marriage that has Biblical grounds for divorce, but is fully restored to its first love experience and empowerment to serve one another till death do they part. This grace (Charis) opens spiritual hearts to the realization that everything you enjoy, opportunities you have, possessions and wealth come from the Lord. This truth illuminated into the life of Christians effects the way they oversee everything they do. This grace (Charis) restores relationships, influences the way you handle people, it is expressed in words spoken and deeds done before all of mankind.
I love watching The Voice, observing Blake Shelton and Adam Levine; they know raw talent, they are patient with immaturity and they open up doors of opportunity. When they have completed their coaching, we enjoy the voice of new young music talent. God knows all of our talents, abilities, and Spiritual gifts. He is patient with our immaturities and opens up doors for us to mature, making us a voice for Him in a sin cursed world. This is what His grace does.
Do you express God's grace to others? Can you recognize Spiritual gifts? Are you patient? Do you provide opportunities for others to mature in their gifts through Biblical truths?
Transitional Sentence: Christians are a temple of praise when they live out God's grace and when they live as citizens of heaven. The Bible says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious Body.” (Philippians 3:20)
C.S. Lewis said, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.” They have the heart of the Apostle Paul, "I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. (Philippians 1:23)
Christians can praise God, in heaven there is going to be a perfect city where there is no crime, no homeless, no unemployment, no pollution, no corruption in city councils or government. Heaven is victorious with no civil unrest, no terrorism and no more wars. There will be fairness, truth and goodness, and God’s holiness will reign. Everyone will be upright and honest. However, Christians are still here because the Lord has a work for them while they live their lives here and now. Dr. David Jeremiah in Until Christ Returns writes, "It’s only as we fix our anchor in eternity that we find stability for life in these stress-filled days before our Lord’s return. Oh, we’ll still have problems. We’re still in for a bumpy ride along the way. But there is a difference; our problems will finally begin to make sense." (Jeremiah, D. (1999). Until Christ Returns: Living faithfully today while we wait for our glorious tomorrow (p. 182). Nashville, TN: Word Pub.)
The Apostle Peter tells us that Christians are "shielded (τηρέω tēréō) by God's power." (1 Peter 1:5) Meaning 1.) We have Holy Spirit revelation that secures us and keeps us steadfast. 2.) We have a day by day guarantee that He will keep us through all trials and be with us daily to enable us to achieve His call on our lives. He keeps His eye on us. (Jeremiah, D. (1999). Until Christ Returns: Living faithfully today while we wait for our glorious tomorrow (p. 182). Nashville, TN: Word Pub; The Complete Word Study of the New Testament)
One couple that I appreciate is Bill and Gloria Gaither.
"In the early sixties Bill had mono (mononucleosis), Gloria suffered from mild depression; they were about to have a child. Gloria looked around at a world that seemed in utter turmoil and her heart was filled with despair.
As she sat in her study, [prayerfully seeking the Lord] the Spirit of God laid upon her heart a message of hope in Christ, which birth forth these lyrics of a song which is precious to us all: 'Because He Lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.'" (Jeremiah, D. (2003). The things that matter: living a life of purpose until Christ comes (p. 84). Nashville, TN: W Pub. Group) Bill and Gloria Gaither knows the truths of heaven. However, while on this sin cursed earth, they are living a life serving the Lord with their gift of music. They are Temples of Praise! Knowing that we have a heavenly home should inspire us to use our talents, gifts and opportunities for the Lord.
Transitional Sentence: Knowledge of heaven inspires Christians to be Temples of Praise, they know God's has a plan for them. God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.'” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
All Christians will at times face conflicts, long periods between victories or long waits before seeing the Lord’s promises fulfilled. Yet there is a sure hope that God has plans to prosper them in His work. He knows their Spiritual gifts. He knows their talents, resources, and ordained purposes. He will get done through them all that He desires. All He requires from them is ears longing to hear, hearts eager to obey and faith to wait upon Him and His timing. Yes, there are going to be risk. Yes, there will be moments when you question your own sanity for taking on such a vision. Let the truths of this Scripture fuel your passion, keep you persistent and make you diligent in all God has called you to do.
The Bible says, "In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) The writer of Hebrews reminds us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
True faith is based on God's Word. Christians are to be like Joshua, take God at His Word. God does not tell us to believe and do nothing. God's Word gives us promises which birth's forth a plan and it is up to us to pray the plan into action.
Temples of Praise prayerfully study God's Word to find instruction, His promises, and His plan.
In 1994 I prayerfully studied God's Word to determine His heart on all it meant to "Preach (Greek, kerusso) the Word." One key truth to preaching means to publish the Word. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages; The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament; Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament) Since that time I have read message after message, been counseled and encouraged by those who have the same convictions I do. I found God's plan and have prayed those plans into action. I saw many doors close, conflicts and trials. I have seen doors open and opportunities arise. To this day, just as God's Word warns, I see doors close again and conflicts of which I am now praying for new direction. But God's promise has and is still being fulfilled, just as He promises to all Christians. CrossRoads publishing's have nearly 400,000 readings.
Let the Holy Spirit examine your heart! Do you believe God has a plan for you? Can you find or know of a spiritual leader who can help you find God's promise for you. Are you willing to pray that plan into action?
Transitional Sentence: Temples of Praise trust in God's plan for them and they know He is still working in them. Philippians 1:6 says, “…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Christians can praise, trust and obey the Lord, knowing that He is their enabler. To enable someone is to give means, authority or power to do what you have directed them to accomplish. He not only supplies us with all that we need according to His sufficient grace, but He effects the changes in and through us for His greatest pleasure.
The greatest news of redemption for Christians, they do not need stay the same. The Lord just receives them as they are. He takes the repentant and changes their heart. All they need to do is invite Him in and say, “Lord make my heart and life into moldable clay. Make something useful out of me for your glory, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ.” He supernaturally takes that hard heart of stone that is unable to give attention to the Lord and He gives back a heart of flesh that longs to hear from God. (Ezekiel 36:26,27; The Expositors Commentary)
The apostle Paul describes the Christian’s enablement for carrying out the Lord’s exhortation in Philippians 2:13, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13) All Christians need to do is being willing to enjoy His instructions.
James Dunn shared the true story of Roger Staubach, who was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys in 1971 when they became Super Bowl Champions. Roger shared how difficult it was for him to let coach Landry call every play. Coach Landry told Roger when to run, hand off the ball or pass it. Roger knew coach Landry had a brilliant mind when it came to football strategy, yet pride said that he should be able to call the plays. Roger later wrote, “I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned the joy of obedience there was harmony, fulfillment and victory.”
There are many Christians who have learned the value of listening to the Head Coach, Jesus Christ. They are getting victory over selfish living and find His purpose for them. They know of God’s transforming power. There are Christians who have simply surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and they are getting victory over worry, fear, bitterness, depression and low self-esteem. They are enjoying the Holy Spirit's enabling and guidance while finding opportunities, thus blossoming in the power of God.
In Closing: Be a Temple of Praise! Express God's grace to all you meet or work with! Live as citizens of heaven! Study God's Word to find His plan for you! Invite Him to continue His work in you to completion! Let us pray!