Key Text: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

We used to have Cardiff City Temple, Swansea City Temple but both are now called ‘City Churches’. Because the word ‘Temple’ in this day and age has some negative connotations. The word may be negative to some but the idea of a temple is still very relevant to God.

The building that was erected by King Solomon in Jerusalem. That was by far the most important building ever built in human history. And not primarily by design and decoration but by purpose. To understand the significance of the temple we need to know that the people had a relationship with God that was very different from ours today. Of course they believed in the same God ‘Yahweh’ but they did not have or live in the new covenant. Thank God that we live post Calvary.

Praise God that we live in a day and a time where Jesus has shed His blood and we know every morning when we wake up, we can just go straight into the throne room of God because it is a new day. Even though we might go through some hard times, we live with hope knowing that every single day of our life will bring us one day closer to the day when see Him face to face.

Nelson Mandela spoke about a prison guard who said to him, ‘Do you know that I have the power to have you killed?’ Mandela responded, ‘Do you not know that I have the power to go to my death freely?’

Do you want to live a life of true hope and freedom? Jesus is the great liberator. If Jesus ‘liberates you then you are really and unquestionably free. Those who lived under the old covenant did not have that hope. Sin was an unsolved problem. Sin was a dark cloud hanging over the people of God, separating them from their God. It was impossible to penetrate.

Of course there were times in the O.T. when God broke through. There was a burning bush over here. there was like a pillar of cloud over there and sometimes there was fire that came down from heaven. The problem was however, you never knew when God was going to show up and you never knew where God was going to show up, you couldn’t even be sure if He would turn up.

You were fortunate  if you happen to be in the right place at the right time. But for the majority of the people of God they had to come to terms with the fact that they would never, ever encounter the presence of the God they believed in.But one day all that changed when God spoke to King David through the prophet Nathan 2 Samuel 7:5 “Go and tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: Would you build me a house to dwell in?

And David raised the funds, handed the project over to his son Solomon who built the temple but without really knowing in detail why this building was erected in the first place. As this temple was built and dedicated, God spoke to Solomon and told him the true purpose of this building. 2 Chronicles 7:15-16 “Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive “to the prayers offered in this place. “For I have chosen and consecrated this temple “so that my name may be there forever. “My eyes and my heart will always be there.” For the very first time God now attached His presence, to a physical place. For the first time, the people of God could come to a place and not only hope but know that they would encounter the Lord. Not only hope but know that His presence will be there. Not only hope but know that He will hear their prayers. The temple church was more than a beautiful physical, building. It was the first ever thin place point of connection between heaven and earth. For the first time in Jewish history, now everyone had a place they could go to and know that God would be there, Amen.

You have no doubt in modern times, heard of the ‘Wailing wall’ in Jerusalem, Israel. Now you might say well this is interesting, this is nice but you know the temple is gone. You know, it was torn down, it was rebuilt and then torn down again. And we live like 2000 years after. So why are you telling us this? Well you see the temple building is gone but the temple principle remains.

• There is a N.T temple, there is a new covenant temple that carries the same vision. There’s a new place to which God is attaching His presence permanently. There’s another place, that is the point of connection between heaven and earth. Read: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. It says, ‘For we are the temple of the living God.’…We are the temple of the living God.

These are not poetic words but divine revelation that will change your life so that you can go out and change your world. That’s what the word of God is all about and if God says we are the temple of the living God it means more than we’re quite beautiful. It means that we are the new covenant point of connection between heaven and earth. It means we are the place, the people to which God attaches His presence permanently and we are called to reflect and reveal God to this world.

We are called to be ministered to by His Spirit and to be ministers of His Spirit to the world. Of course ministers of His Spirit 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. That’s what this is all about and Hebrews 8 tells us that we live in a better covenant, based on better promises that makes the old covenant of law redundant. So God has not just recreated the temple principle but improved the temple principle.

 Three major improvements:

• Then it was just one temple serving the needs of the entire world. Today there are millions of temples all over the world.

• The temple was fixed to a certain place in a certain city, if you wanted to deal with God, you needed to move to that place but today the temple is now movable and rather than saying come to the temple if you want to encounter God, the temples can go out in all over the world and preach the Gospel to every living creature, praise God.

• The temple only came in one design. Today the temple of God comes in all shapes, age, colours, sizes and designs.

Some temples are even undercover temples, like guerrilla temples that the world may look upon and say there is nothing good in there, but the temple is not about the exterior, the temple is about the one who lives inside the temple. It’s not about our presentation but about His presence in us. Praise God, if we are the present day, the modern day temples, the 21st Century temples of the living God, then whatever was true about the temple back then should be true about us here and now, Amen.

The Temple was Visible. The temple could be seen from anywhere in the city because it was elevated.

When God spoke to David and Solomon and asked for a building to house His glory, He did not ask for a bunker. He did not ask for an underground building with a secret entrance that only the holy chosen few would know about.

Matthew 5:14-16. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. The problem is we have a lack of visible temples my church. We need to get some Christian submarines up to the surface amen. Vessels that exist, you know they are there but they’re not seen. Every Sunday the periscope comes up temporarily. Checking things out and then Monday. We need to be in the business of calling some Christian submarines up to the surface – Amen.

The Temple Was a House of Prayer. Jesus reminds us in Luke 19:46, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer.’

If the original temple was a house of prayer, then so too does the new covenant temple need to be. Why? because God’s presence did not come upon the temple because of its exterior or its beauty. The temple was finished but still there was no glory. The glory came as they started to pray and worship.

Same with us, God is not so impressed with us that He looks at our exterior and say oh man, I need to get down and hang out with that person. God does not respond to our performance, He responds to your prayers, can we say Amen? That’s why we need praying temples that carry the presence, holiness and the glory of God Amen?

Become a temple, a house of prayer. Somewhere that God can respond to with His glory people who will be a light in our world, communicators of the Gospel peace and a people of prayer. Just like the first temple, the presence comes through consecration.

Christians have prayer meetings but Muslims have a prayer culture.