Saturday, July 23, 2011

Did you know you were a house?

I am constantly amazed how I can think that I understand the passage of Scripture for 30 or 40 years and then suddenly come to the realization that I never really understood it at all. Case in point:  Matthew 21:13 -- And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

Obviously, the historical context of that passage is when Jesus drove out the money changers from the Temple. The "house of prayer" would have preferred to the Temple built by Solomon and later rebuilt by King Herod. Prior to the Temple, the house of God could have been a phrase to refer to the Tabernacle.

But in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17, the Bible says that each of us – as Christians – is a Temple of the Holy Spirit.  "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."

So let us do a bit of logic here. The house of God was a phrase to refer to the Temple. Our bodies are the temple of God. The Temple is to be a house of prayer. Therefore my individual "Temple" – that is my body – is to be a place of prayer. Since my body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit, there are some important ramifications to this.  There are some things I need to do to be an effective individual house of prayer.

How to Be a “House of Prayer”
  1. Dedicate your “house of prayer” with a living sacrifice (Leviticus 9:23-24; Romans 12:1).
  2. Cleanse your house of prayer --Get rid of sins and spiritual “weights” that hinder our effectiveness for Christ. This is part of being transformed (Romans 12:2).  This would include separation from unequal yoking with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14-18, 7:1).  (Of course, if you are married to an unbeliever, 1 Corinthians 7 commands you to remain married to them and work for their salvation.)
  3. Maintain daily cleansing by the Word.  When King Hezekiah supervise the cleaning of the Temple, he began with the inner most parts of the Temple. If the priests had started from the outside of the Temple, then the outside would continually be made unclean every time they came out from the more inner parts of the Temple. By beginning with the and most portions of the Temple, they were able to maintain the ceremonial cleanliness of each portion thereof. Similarly, it really doesn't work for us to try to clean up our outward actions until we first deal with our inner attitudes. We desperately need to cleanse ourselves with the word of God. In John 15:3, Jesus makes it clear how we are cleansed: “now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you”; (see also John 17:17).
  4. Be in harmony with other "houses of prayer." Other believers are also mobile "houses of prayer." Jesus prayed for unity among His followers (John 17:21).  One of the purposes for having communionis so that we can have a period of examination to determine whether we have wronged another believer.
I don't know whether you have ever had the thought that when Christ said "My house shall be a house of prayer," that he was referring to you. Wherever I am, there is to be communion with the Lord, prayer to the Lord, and worship of the Lord. I have a responsibility not to defile my Temple by where I take my body, what I do with it, or what I put into it.



May God help us all to be mobile houses of prayer!

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