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Tag Archives: house of God

Is a Clean Heart Enough?

We’re continuing our look at Mark’s Gospel.  Specifically, the last week before the cross.  Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Passover feast.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
Mark 11:15-16

Obviously, Jesus was upset by what He saw going on in the Temple.  The courts were like a city marketplace.

The Law of Moses said that if you lived far away from Jerusalem, you could sell your offering animals at home.  Then, when you journey to Jerusalem for the feast, you could use that money to buy the animals on site.  God was making it easier for the Israelites to serve Him.

Then man gets involved.  The priests determined that you can’t use regular money to buy animals for sacrifice.  You have to use special Temple coins – hence the money changers.  But they sold these coins at a premium.

So if you wanted to give your full offering of animals for the sacrifice, it would cost you double what they were worth.  That’s the thievery that Jesus was talking about.  The Temple had become a place where greed and self-interest was the driving force.

Jesus showed the passion He had for the true worship of God.  There was no place for these attitudes in the courts of the Lord.  He tried to teach them the lessons that they should have already known.

And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?  But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'”
Mark 11:17

It’s sad that many religious Christians only apply this by saying that they’ll never have a flea market or fair on church property.  That’s not the point.

In spite of our religious language, local churches are no longer God’s house.  We, as God’s people, are now the temple of the living God.  The question isn’t, “What are we allowing on church property?”  It’s about what I’m allowing into my life.

Please understand that my heart – the sanctuary – may be clean.  But what about the outer courts?  That’s what my body is involved in.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalms 100:4

The courts are where you prepare to worship.  It’s the outer part of our lives that we let the thieves do their work.

Sometimes we get so distracted by too many things in our schedule.  Then we have no time for worship.  We miss out on the blessings of fellowship with the Father.

Thanksgiving and praise are things that I have to make my flesh do.  I have to actually make the time for these pursuits.  Once I’ve entered into the place of praise, the courts, then I’m ready to pour my heart out to God.

Christ is passionate about you becoming a “house of prayer.”  Don’t let it get to the point where your “distracting tables” need to be overturned.   Spend the time needed in thanksgiving and praise so that you’re truly prepared to enter His presence with no distractions.

You’ll be glad that you did.

Question: How do outward distractions affect your inner peace with God?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2018 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk, Worship

 

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Temple or Marketplace?

Fake MoneyThere were a number of things that Jesus was passionate about in His ministry. Do we have a passion for those same things? Or do we spend our energy on things that aren’t important?

At the start of Jesus’ ministry He went to Jerusalem for the Passover. He had an interesting encounter with some men in the Temple area.

In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
John 2:14-16

I’ve heard some pretty animated discussions about this passage. People use it to teach about the evils of having a church fair or flea market. I’ve heard others say it’s a sin to have a church bookstore.

Through all of this I think that they’re missing the whole point of what Jesus is saying. We need to understand what was really going on. It was all about greed on the part of the priests.

There were some provisions in the law to make it easier for the people to tithe. If I lived far away from Jerusalem, I could sell the sheep I was bringing for a tithe. Then I travel to Jerusalem with the money, and buy more sheep when I get there. In that way it was less of a burden on the people.

Unfortunately, religion changed all that. The priests made a rule that you could only buy specially inspected animals at the Temple for an inflated price.

On top of that, you could only use specially minted Temple coins to buy these animals. These coins were purchased from the money-changers at a high rate of exchange.

The result was – if I started at home with 100 sheep as a tithe; by the time I was through with this process I might only be able to afford 50 to offer at the Temple. So the priests and salespeople were getting rich while the people and God were being robbed. Jesus was reacting to the thievery that He was witnessing.

But the real question is; how does this apply to us? In the above Scripture Jesus said to take this stuff out of the Temple area. More importantly, My Father’s house is not an emporium.

So, religious people get hung up about church flea markets or fairs. First of all – a church building is not my Father’s house. Right now – I am my Father’s house and you are too. We are the dwelling place of God’s Spirit.

The bottom line for them – and us – is greed. It’s about what your house is based upon. Are you an emporium – a marketplace? Is your life revolving around stuff?

Are you truly the house of God – a place of worship? Can people see by your life that your whole being is devoted to the worship of the Lord? Do all the parts of your life revolve around Him?

Everything starts with an attitude – what’s ours?

His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
John 2:17

Do you hear what the Holy Spirit spoke to the Apostles about this matter? Zeal for YOUR HOUSE will CONSUME ME. Our zeal to be a place of worship should consume all that we are. Think about that in relation to our lives.

John the Baptist said, “I must decrease – He must increase.” This should be the attitude of all believers. I am not all about the temporary, material things of this world. I must maintain the integrity of the living temple where God reigns supreme.

Question: What are some things you do to keep your Temple a place of worship?

© Nick Zaccardi 2016

 
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Posted by on April 11, 2016 in Legalism, Ministry, Revival, Worship

 

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