Filthy Temples Worshipping

January 6, 2013

The people enter the sanctuary of the Lord, that building set apart as sacred, the place where God is corporately worshipped, sought, adored, communed with, and listened to. The people, supposedly putting aside their concerns for the moment, sing and clap to the music.

But what do we have here? Women, dressed provocatively and lifting their hands to the Lord, attract the attention of several men. These men have no brakes on their eyes, no shame concerning their perversion, and so they lust to their hearts content. Yes, even while pretending to be worshipping God.

Oh, and what do we have over there? A row of teens, sitting in the pew, long hair draped over their iPhones, watching a horror flick and texting each other their comments.

And back in the lobby? We have a husband whispering threats to his rattled wife, curse words being exchanged between them. In the sanctuary, though, similar threats are common, being rehearsed in the minds of many as their hearts seethe with hostility toward a spouse, family member, or co-worker.

What am I describing? I’m describing similar to what God’s Word describes in 2 Kings 17:32-34,40,41, Malachi chapters 1 and 2, and Mark 7:1-23. In that latter passage, Jesus illustrates for us the condition of hypocrites –those who harbor filthiness in their hearts, twist the commands of God so as to adhere to the traditions of men, and whose worship of God is thus done in vain. In Malachi, God laments that someone would shut His temple doors so that the defilements being presented before Him as worship would cease.

In the 2 Kings passage, we read that while the people were worshipping the LORD, they were also serving their own gods and appointing whoever they wished to officiate for them in their idolatries. Verse 34 lets us know that by such behavior, the people’s worship of the LORD was nullified (done in vain), for neither were they following God’s decrees.

Does God accept praise, prayer, and service done unto Him if it’s coming from a heart that refuses to be kept clean in all departments? Will God commend a temple that brings defilements into it? Or will He reject such a tabernacle? Indeed, a dwelling in which God lives will incur His wrath if it turns to idols, sin, filth. For turning to bring these in is a rejection of the Holy Spirit’s rule (Rom. 8:9 // 1 Thes. 4:7), for God commands and expects holiness and purity in His temples at all times. (same verses) For God’s temple is sacred (1 Cor. 3:17), meaning set apart to be holy, and if a worshipper, just like a sanctuary of a church (a house of God), brings into himself anything which is abhorrent to God, God will not accept worship from him, but instead raise His hand to destroy that defiled temple. (v. 16,17 // Jer. 15:6,7) Unless there is repentance. (Luke 13:3) But, if not, God declares (paraphrased) to those temples who bear His Name (Jer. 7:14), “Stop trusting in the temple which bears My Name, thinking you are safe to commit detestable things. [v.10] For I am about to thrust you from My presence. [v. 15] I am about to reject this temple which I have consecrated for My Name. [2 Chron. 7:20] I will make it an object of ridicule. [same verse] For since you have forsaken Me by disobeying My commands, I will forsake you [24:20], disown you, [2 Tim. 2:12], and assign you an eternity with the hypocrites.” (Matt. 24:47-51)

God’s Word is full of warnings. To the unregenerate, but, to those who have been sanctified and then turn again to insult the Spirit (Heb. 10:29), a severe and dreadful judgement awaits such wicked people. (v. 26-31) In fact, for those who were once sanctified, but who sow again to please the sinful nature, they will not only reap destruction (Gal. 6:8, Rom. 8:13) and eternal punishment (Matt. 25:26-30,46), but theirs will be extra dreadful. (Luke 12:44-48 // 2 Peter 2:20-22)

Jesus makes it clear that only those who walk in the will of the Lord (meaning in obedience –1 John 2:3-6,17,29) will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 7:21), no matter what works they pretended to do in His name. (v. 22,23) Heb. 12:14 gives a clear warning as well: “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.” That does mean “no one”, including those who claim to be, or even really have been, a temple of the Lord. For God will not dwell in a temple that refuses to be kept decontaminated. (John 13:8-10 // Eph. 5:3-6 // Lam. 2:7)

May all “Christians” have an ear to hear. And quit thinking that they, as God’s temples, have been once-for-all-saved that they may safely bring into God’s sanctuary whatever filth they so choose. It just isn’t the case at all. (John 5:29 // 1 Cor. 3:16,17)

with love,

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