You Are God’s House!
You Are God’s House!
Sermon Notes – Ps. Jim White
Sunday 24th June, 2018
I want to take a bit of an unusual path this morning, but it’s following on from Peter Geizer’s message last Sunday.
Just to remind you, Peter spoke about the seven pillars of wisdom.
Solomon writes in Proverbs 9:1 (NKJV), “Wisdom has built her house, She has hewn out her seven pillars;”
And so he paints this picture of a house, with it’s unique pillars of wisdom making it strong and secure and solid.
Peter then took us over to James 3:17, which gives a list of seven aspects of godly character that come from having heavenly wisdom in our life. Things like purity, peace-ability, gentleness, not having hypocrisy… there were seven in all.
So these character traits are like the pillars of wisdom that operate in a life that is built with strength. It was a great message, and you can hear it on podcast or on our website.
The reality is that our lives now, more than ever before, need to be undergirded and strengthened with wisdom… not just human wisdom, but with the divine, sovereign wisdom of God. He says, ask Me for it, and I will freely give it to you.
But all of that got me thinking more about our lives generally being built with strong structures, set on firm foundations – foundations that are established on the Word of God … held together with faith and confidence, joy and hope…
Hebrews 3:6 (NKJV), “but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”
The more I thought about my life being God’s house, and then realising how many scriptures there are that actually use that same metaphor of our bodies being His dwelling place, the more I began to feel convicted and challenged.
And of course, I wouldn’t like to keep all that conviction to myself. I’d like you guys to share in it as well.
We focus a lot on our spiritual life, especially as Pentecostal Christians who just love talking about the Holy Spirit and the Anointing, the gifts of the Spirit and all of that incredible wisdom… It’s who we are – Spirit filled sons and daughters of God who see the world through the revelation and wonder of the Spirit.
We have such a freedom in our spirit that can only come from knowing the truth.
We realise also that we have a soul; that part of us that contains our mind, will and emotions… And it’s important for us to walk that journey called sanctification, where our soul is being realigned, healed and restored to the same newness of life as our Spirit. That’s an ongoing journey – that renewing of our mind, the healing of our emotions, and the surrender to the will of God and not our own worldly desires.
And before I get into the main part of my message, I want to share a scripture from The Passion Translation that declares that we have a seal of God’s love encapsulates us in all that we are. And according to the writer of The Passion, the Word speaks of a sevenfold seal that is around our lives.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (Passion Translation), “Now, it is God himself who has anointed us. And he is constantly strengthening both you and us in union with Christ. He knows we are his since he has also stamped his seal of love over our hearts and has given us the Holy Spirit like an engagement ring is given to a bride—a down payment of the blessings to come!”
You’ll see as we go on how this relates to this message, talking about being anointed, strengthened, one with Christ, and sealed with the Holy Spirit.
But Dr Brian Simmons, the author of the Passion says, God has sealed us with a seven fold seal. This is a great study to do… and without going through all the scripture references right now, these seals are:
- a seal of security in God’s love
- a seal of authentication, marking us as God’s own
- a seal to certify genuineness – we’re the real deal!
- a seal of ownership – we belong to Him!
- a seal of approval
- a seal of righteousness
- and a seal denoting a promise yet to be fulfilled. Seven seals. What a great follow on from Peter’s sermon about the seven pillars.
Christ our bridegroom has stamped us with a seal upon our hearts and lives with His Spirit – we are born of the Spirit, sealed with the Spirit, indwelt by the Spirit, baptised by the Spirit, filled with the Spirit, made one in unity in the Spirit, given gifts of the Spirit and given ministries by the Spirit. Wow!
And having said all that – all of this is contained in a nice little package called our body. Our body is the house where all the fullness of God dwells. That statement right there is one of the most incredible revelations and mysteries of all time.
Your body has been given to you by God to carry the fullness of His presence. I think that’s not only important to recognise – it’s vital that we comprehend what it means for us.
And you might think – well it’s just a body. One day it will die and decay and we’ll get a new one in heaven. But think about it… your body is part of God’s gift of life to you… and the other thing is – if you have responded to God’s gift of salvation, you don’t get to have a mere earthly opinion about your body any more, because it’s no longer yours…
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
So God doesn’t just see you as a house – He sees your body as a temple. And if you go all throughout the Old and New Testament, when there’s ever any reference to God’s temple – it’s a big deal.
I think we need to be convicted and challenged about the way we care for our body – but also the way we think about our body. Your body has been set apart as a sacred dwelling place for God. I’ve got to be honest – that’s not always what I’m thinking about my body.
It matters what we do with our body. It matters to God how we use our body.
Did you realise that the scriptures leading up to that one about the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit, say that our bodies are members of Christ. And in 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV), “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.” I don’t believe the word of God is put together randomly. And there is a good reason why God talks about that right at this point. I’ll come back to that.
I’ve never preached before on the body. I’ve preached heaps about the Spirit and the soul – but never about our physical body. But I believe that the Holy Spirit is bringing this up for us today for good reason – and that the real point of this message is that we need to align ourselves – our thinking – with God’s own perspective and truth on who we are – living as physical beings.
Your body is God’s temple. And it’s no longer yours. You gave your body to Christ when you were born again – when you received Him as the Lord of your life.
How you treat your body, how you feel about your body, what you say about your body… if it doesn’t line up with what God says about your body, then you are leaving open a huge door for the devil to come into agreement with you, and to give him access to your physical life.
It’s so important what words we use. When we are negative, critical or fearful in our speaking, all the devil needs to do is agree with us. And that’s when things go to a whole new level.
The bible says clearly that we are to guard our heart, to renew our mind, to keep and hold our tongue, to guard our mouth… and as part of all that, we need to protect our physical body.
How many times have we said – I hate my body… but not only that – how often have we abused our body – with drugs, with excessive alcohol, with unhealthy food, using it for immoral, ungodly pleasures…
And there’s a message here for all of us who ignore the warning signals that our bodies try to give us. When we don’t eat properly; when we don’t get enough sleep; when we allow ourselves to be overwhelmed with stress, with work, with worry and anxiety.
And it’s not just secular work… Any kind of ministry has the potential to make demands on you that can take you out of balance and affect you physically. Venese and I deliberately pace ourselves in ministry because we plan on being here for the long haul. And we encourage you also to make sure you are not going beyond what God is calling you to do.
There are so many good things we can be doing – but what we are accountable for in the end is not the many good works we have done, but the God appointed works we have been called to do.
So coming back to that revelation that your body belongs to God and in fact your body is one with Christ… if that doesn’t bring about some kind of conviction in your heart than I don’t know what will.
We had a beautiful wedding here yesterday with Melanie Brooks and Clayton being made one together as husband and wife. And I want to read again what it says in Ephesians about the intimacy and oneness of the marriage relationship.
Ephesians 5:28-31 (NKJV), “So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
This is a beautiful and intimate picture of what it means to nurture and nourish our own bodies, and then have something special to give to another in marriage – where we become one.
Husbands are to love their wives as they love their own bodies. The problem has become, that many men, and women, don’t love their bodies and care for their bodies, as Christ’s place of habitation.
They don’t nurture or cherish their bodies – and so that then becomes reflected in their relationships, their marriages, with their children…
If we don’t care about our bodies – or see them as God’s incredible design and gift, then we are vulnerable to sabotage those relationships. If we don’t have a correct view of who we are, we are vulnerable to give ourselves away in encounters that go outside God’s plans and purposes for our lives.
When we talk of immorality, we are talking about any sexual relationship that is outside the bounds of the marriage between a man and a woman. That’s God’s view of it. That’s what the bible says.
And as I said before – once you start making your own rules or believing that your body is anything less than God’s temple – you are creating a massive open door for all manner of evil to infiltrate your life.
And some might say, that’s a bit tough God. Sex outside marriage is normal these days.
Well here’s my answer to that.
You have been created and designed by God. We are made in His image; He is not made in our image. The beauty and sacredness of sex is designed by God as the physical act of becoming one with another person. Just as in marriage – two become one.
And we wonder why there’s so much heartbreak and so many messed up relationships, that leave permanent woundedness and brokenness in our lives. It’s because we were never meant to become one with anyone except the one we give our lives to in marriage.
This is not about judging anyone – it’s about lifting up a beautiful, godly standard of righteousness that is part of who we were always meant to be.
Romans 6:13-14 (NKJV), “And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.”
I love the scripture in Rom 5:20 (NKJV), that says, “…But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more”
So there is healing p their is forgiveness for those who truly repent and turn to God with the revelation that He knows what’s best for us because He created us. Grace carries the power to forgive, and it also carries the power to live for righteousness.
Grace isn’t your excuse the live as you like. Grace is the power of God at work in you to strengthen you and keep you on a path of purity of heart – and purity of body.
Why am I making a big deal about that today? Because my job is to declare to those who are willing to listen, that there is a beautiful, uncomplicated way to live that opens up the way to God’s blessing and favour. Purity is one of the pillars of wisdom. And wisdom says, my body was designed by my Heavenly Father – I choose to live in the seal and blessing and sacredness of that design.
Pray… Holy Spirit – minister truth – convict our hearts – Jesus forgive us and cleanse us from the past…
As if it isn’t enough to take on that responsibility and privilege to be one with your spouse as it says in ephesians 5… then God says, what about the responsibility and privilege of being one together as Christ’s body, the Church.
I believe we are moving closer and closer to that place of truly being one together, unified as the body of Christ. I’m mainly referring to us here at Seacoast Church, because that’s my sphere of responsibility and influence . But ultimately – it’s going to be that way with every Christian church across our city, and our nation… and we will be presented to Christ our Saviour and King as the most beautiful, glorious, spotless bride, without wrinkle… Holy, sacred, and without blemish as the word says.
Paul speaks of the different roles and ministries in the body of Christ: Ephesians 4:12-16 (NKJV), “for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”
You see, in God’s kingdom, it’s difficult to separate out the body of an individual from the whole body of Christ – the Church. We think in many ways as individuals. But as much as God cares for the one, kingdom life is not about a whole lot of single people. If one strays out on their own, the Shepherd comes looking and brings that one back into the whole flock.
Our modern Western thinking is sometimes contrary to the way it all began. We are meant to belong to a tribe. It started with the twelve tribes of Israel. But in this generation, Seacoast is our tribe.
We have a way to go yet. I know people still fall through the gaps. As a pastor and shepherd that’s always hard to deal with – but my consolation is that we are on the journey of becoming a place where everyone can know that they belong.
We’ve strayed a bit from talking about our own personal body, to now talking about being a body together – but that’s how it is… it all works together.
My goal is not that you would feel condemned. But if you are feeling convicted, praise God… it’s one of God’s greatest gifts, to experience conviction – and it means the Holy Spirit is at work in your life. Repent and be forgiven and set free. Don’t leave this place today without being cleansed and healed from your past – and released into an amazing future.
These things I am talking about are the strong structures and the powerful pillars of life that strengthen our own personal bodies – but also who we are as the body of Christ together – and position us on a foundation that is unshakeable.
I know that what I’m saying this morning might seem a bit all over the place… but let me try and summarise what I believe the Holy Spirit is saying to us:
- our body is God’s house; in fact it’s actually His temple – the place where He dwells on earth, and we have a responsibility to not only guard and take care of our spiritual life, our mental and emotional life, but also the body that holds it all together.
- Secondly, we are called to glorify God in our body… a body that really no longer belongs to us – it belongs to Him – because He purchased it when He died on the cross for our sins.
- I mentioned sexual immorality, not because we should be fixated on that above any other sin – but because the bible does say that sexual immorality is something we do against our own body – it’s a sin against God’s own living temple.
- God designed us to be the way we are. And it’s really really good. But once we take ourselves out of the purposes and plans of that design, that’s when we become vulnerable to being broken and wounded.
- If we want to glorify God with our body, and not fall short of living long enough to fulfil our destiny, then we need to take care of our ourselves physically. Eat properly, sleep properly, find balance in what we do, stop speaking negatively and critically about our body… don’t give the devil a foothold into your health and physical well-being by being careless with our words…
- and finally, remember that you don’t just have that responsibility as an individual. You are part of the body of Christ. You are one with Christ and one with your brothers and sister in Christ. We are His body together in this world, and our future is one of being a glorious, unspotted, unified bride.