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Faithlife

Where Beauty Dwells

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  45:48
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With much talk about end times, we need to ask, "What does the Bible say." In the passage, we see the disciples had these concerns. However, Jesus has bigger things to think about.

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PO - We are part of the body of Christ. In their desert wonderings, the Hebrew people camped around the Tabernacle in tribes. And, in our time, we need to “be with our tribe” accomplishing the ministry given.
The only Tabernacle today is the Tolerance Tabernacle and that’s not gonna be us.
Tolerating minimal Christianity, doing little as possible, that what I call being lazy.
The sign of a sold out Christian is not a Bible in hand, but Spirt in the person.
The human spirit fails unless the Holy Spirt fills.
HUM - There is a story of a young preacher conducting his fist baptism. Nervous he got a little confused and mixed some Scripture about baptism with that on the Lord’s Supper. As he lowered a child into the water he said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and now drink of it all of you.”
Now, we really don’t want to drown people when we baptize them, but we do need the filling of the Spirit each day.
This is how you know you are saved, that God dwells in you.
That you are filled.
When the Holy Spirit fills, there is want for more — I want more holiness, grace, more of Jesus.
Bring to mind the forgiving, invading, energizing, vitalizing, renewing, enlightening, conviction, and strengthening aspects, and you will come somewhere near the Spirit.
Our mission is to Share the Gospel and to share joy.
We do this because we are a Spirit-filled believer.
Now, with that said, each of us has part in this tribes work and must be involved, pulling our load, doing some work.
For us today, this means gaining a very true understanding of how God is present with people today.
Unlike the tabernacle, God is not in a building.
And that, we must always communicate clearly.
INTRO - In last’s weeks message we discussed the often misunderstood biblical meaning of pride. We noted the tendency to misapply contemporary meaning to the word as we study how it applies to our lives and the way we live and interact with others.
This week we are turning to the topic of “Tabernacle.”
In the OT, the Tabernacle is identified as the meeting place where God and the Jewish people interacted. Eventually the meeting place came to be the “House of God” or the temple.
As we will noted today, neither of these meanings are true anymore. Both the Catholic church and Protestant churches lie to people claiming that the Tabernacle is a box, altar, or building. It is not. God is Spirit and Jesus asked the Father to send God’s Spirit to occupy the church. That’s what the Bible does teach and that is what we will see today.
At the end of this message we will face a series of challenges to change. God’s Word has power and He says to us “preach my Word.” Today we expect the preaching of God’s Word to change us as God continues to work in the life of the born-again Christian.
TRANS - Before we look at what the text does say, let’s take a moment to pray and ask God to help us become ready for the changes He is going to make in us today. God says that His Word does not return void.
Let’s PRAY

What does it say?

Mark 13:1–4 ESV
And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”

What does it mean?

Beautiful Places

Describe Herod’s temple, which seemed to impress Jesus’ disciples.
Jesus probably left the temple through the Golden Gate on the Eastern Wall.
From there, he went across the Kidron Valley toward the Mt. of Olives.
The city and temple were magnificent.
Even the 7 wonders of the world didn’t compare to the temple of God.
The stones that made the temple mount were massive.
In the 20th century researchers discovered one of the western wall stones 42 feet long x 14 feet wide x 11 feet tall.
It is estimated to weight about 600 tons.
Now imagine these large stones, all colored white, the gold trim and gold covered roof that made the Temple look like a snow-capped mountain and was a blinding sight.
Can you see how the onlookers were impressed.
This was thousands of years ago.
ILL - This past Wednesday I caught a ride out of Newark, NY. The ride took me within viewing distance of NYC.
I had the opportunity to see the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center. Oh what an amazing site to see these great buildings along with all the others on the Manhattan skyline.
Great as they were, they didn’t impress near as much as the Temple did to the people of the Temple at a time way before our many great cities.
The temple was truly a place fit for God and I dare not imaging saying anything outside the Church, today, is fit for our God.
What was Jesus predicting when He claimed that the “great buildings” would be “thrown down” in Mark 13:2?
This is Jesus’ first prophecy about the destruction of the temple in Mark.
Reference to the event was alluded to on other occasions prior to this, but this is by far the clearest statement about the destruction.
The language brings to mind such passages as 2 Samuel:
2 Samuel 17:13 ESV
If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there.”
Such OT prophecies referenced the destruction of the Temple in 587BC.
We have prophecies about the destruction forthcoming in the time of Jesus such as in the works of Josephus and in the Pseudepigrapha.
For example, consider the contemporary one from the testament of Levi:

Therefore the temple, which the Lord shall choose, shall be laid waste through your uncleanness, and ye shall be captives throughout all nations

Jesus spoke using familiar prophetic words & iterated a message familiar to the people in their day.
Jesus is saying that regardless of the size of the stones, their assumed permanence, impending disaster was approaching.
Jesus was not saying, repent so disaster will not come
He spoke of a impending coming movement of God.
Jesus spoke of a time to come which the people were unable to escape, change, or put off.
The prophecy of Jesus came to be in AD 71 when Rome burnt and destroyed the temple.
PONT - As crazy as it sounds, people, perhaps well-meaning, say ridicules things like, “Welcome to the House of the Lord” in church and in their prayers.
Now, I’m sure none of us are guilty (pointing to myself) of this practice.
It is hard to change a practice when we’v done it for years.
I don’t know where it started, but clearly here, in this passage, Jesus identified that the last psychical place the Bible mentions, the last psychical location of God’s House on earth was the temple toward which He directed his Word.
Where was the Mount of Olives in relation to the temple?
The setting was to the east of the Temple across the Kidron Valley.
It was from that geographical location that Jesus taught.
It provided an excellent illustrative opportunity for this lesson.
From that location they can view the Temple and its grounds.
POINT - Clearly God is using this to teach that the earthly dwelling is destroyed.
NOTE - Some tend to well on the minor and miss the major points making a big thing from the obscure while overlooking the obvious.
So, when someone says, “What about the big stones that are still there?” Remember this, Rome sacked Jerusalem and if not for a few large stones it is probable that lots of people would doubt the greatness of the Temple.
More importantly, Jesus is speaking somewhat figuratively. He is making an important point about the destruction, He is not making a scientific fact that every stone is going to become a pebble. Jesus is using a hyperbole or an expression to illustrate an idea.
When you and I say:
He’s skinny as a toothpick
Everyone knows that
He’s got tons of money
I’m so hungry I could eat a horse
When we speak that way, we are not making scientifically measurable facts, but illustrating with a hyperbole.
A hyperbole both gets attention and helps people to remember.
Sometime it even make us laugh a little bit.
And unless our brains are the “size of a peanut” or, “were older than the hills,” and “can’t remember anything” (all hyperboles) than this way of speaking should make sense to us.
TRANS - Okay, let’s move forward.

Beautiful People

What happened in AD 71, and how does this event relate to Jesus’ prediction in Mark 13:2?
Interestingly Christians through the ages have attempted to answer questions related to Jesus’ coming again.
Every generation pointed to signs and events that occured during their time saying, “these are certain sighs that Jesus is coming soon.
Don’t we do that?
How often has someone claimed some “special knowledge” about Jesus 2nd coming: dates, signs, events and so forth?
Well, note this: Jesus does eventually provide and answer to their questions, but He does not do it the way they expect.
You see, He is more concerned with preparing them for the trials of life to come than teaching them about dates and times.
Some of this points to the destruction of Jerusalem and some to a time of tribulation before He returns.
I believe there is a good lesson for all of us regarding how we view living for Jesus and emphasis on what is to come when He returns.
Both important, yet for Jesus, it was more important that people know “how” to live during the time leading up to His return.
POINT - Study of the end times seems to be a major occupation with some folks. Some to the point of never talking about anything else.
Those with Jesus were very interested.
Now, it is important to remember that the end is coming and Jesus is going to return.
However, this “time between” is what Jesus is stressing for us.
Jesus clearly expresses a great concern for us right now.
You must know it is hard living today:
sickness
worry
stress
troubles
mean people
killers
robbers
uncertainty
This seems a near-endless list.
And Jesus knows that we need instruction for living during this time.
It seems Jesus wants us to see that, while important, there is much more He wants us to understand.
TRANS - Therefore, lets as this next question:
What is the significance of the two questions asked by Jesus’ disciples in Mark 13:4?
The disciples wanted to know both, “when” it will happen and “what” will be the signs.
Undoubtedly the disciples considered this one event; that the destruction and the end of times were the same event.
What they wanted to know was how to know that the destruction was about to take place and the end of the age was approaching.
Note that Jesus refused to give them eschatological signs.
His emphasis continues to be on their preparation.
Experience is knowing a lot of things you shouldn’t do, so prepare and prevent rather than repair and repent.
Jesus wants them to “get it.”
Jesus does not teach them about the end times, but uses their concern about the end times to exhort and warn them about the trials that lie ahead of them.
Jesus is not providing dates and times, but warnings and lectures on living up to and perhaps through that time.
POINT - We can’t run from the fact that their is an end point and that point is unknown. The Bible does provide lots of prophecy about that time to come.
However important, Jesus stresses something entirely different when pointedly asked about the time of destruction.
POINT - Jesus stressed the “time between” and is particularly concerned for that time.
Today we live in that “time between” that matters more to Jesus than the end itself.
The church, the people who are the church, are what matters to Jesus.

One of the best summary descriptions of “Revival” is found at the beginning of an article titled “Seasons of the Spirit,” in Christian History Magazine:

“The Scriptures show us that God’s people go through periods of spiritual renewal, and periods of spiritual decline. We might think of these times like waves and troughs, or like mountains and valleys.

“During a renewal, or awakening, there will be not only a great reviving of Christians, but also a large impact on the problems of society. The period of God’s blessing may last for many years, as did the Second Great Awakening in America, or be rather brief, as was the Third Awakening of the late 1850s.

“When the winds of a renewal have passed, the Church may enter a period of lethargy, possibly for many years. Such cycles have already been repeated many times during the 2,000 years of Christian history. It is not that the Spirit of God cannot sustain the higher life for Christians; rather, the Spirit allows times of decline to cause His people to pray for growth and for power.”*

What does it mean?

Jesus noted that people would change the way they related to God.
God no longer dwells in a building as He once did with the people.
The change at Pentecost was the first time the church experienced God present with us as He continues to be to this day.
Acts 2:1–4 ESV
When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
And now, we can thank God daily for his Spirit who is with us wherever we are today.
The church is not a building but the indwelling of the Spirit of God in His people in a special way.
And, Jesus truly does “Love You!”
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