Temple of the Living God

Preached at a youth fellowship on November 9th 2008

Let us go to the Lord in prayer.

Father, in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, I come before you seeking your grace. Lord, I have not come here to infuse biblical thoughts to the brains of your people, but rather share the burden you have put in my heart hoping that you will burden and reveal to and illuminate their hearts as you have done in me. I pray that you will give them ears to hear and hearts to obey. Help them to sit worthily knowing that they are hearing the message of the only Holy Majestic God and not of a man whose breath is in his nostrils. We need your grace. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.

Turn with me to 2 Timothy chapter 3, reading from verse 1 to 4:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

I made you read this passage as it brings out of the relevance of what I am preaching today. This is the prophetic passage about the church in the last days. Now notice Paul is speaking here about believers and not unbelievers for unbelievers have been all this from the first days. But believers in the last days will be like what we read above.

Now notice here the four kinds of lovers in the last days – lovers of themselves, lovers of money, lovers of pleasure and lovers of God. Let me read you some verses to prove that it is impossible to be a radical disciple of Jesus Christ and be a lover of yourself or a lover of money or a lover of pleasure.

Read 2 Corinthians 5 : 15
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”

It says here so plainly that Jesus died for all, so that those who are redeemed by Him shall live for Him and no longer for themselves. This one verse proves beyond a shadow of doubt that it is impossible to be a disciple and be a lover of one's self.

Read Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”

Jesus teaches here that it is impossible to be His disciple and serve wealth of any sort – whether money or honour or any sort of personal profit.

Come back to 2 Timothy 3: 4
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”
This verse teaches me that the Holy Spirit expects saints to be lovers of God rather than lovers of pleasure.

So the Bible is clear that you cannot be a disciple and love your self or personal profit or pleasure. But Paul is saying that in the last days there will be men and women in the church trying to prove God's word wrong – by calling themselves saints and being a lover of all these except God.

Read 2 Timothy 3: 5
having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

Paul after describing about their love for themselves and money and pleasure says that they still have an external form of godliness. Now I believe this is the prophetic word about the church today. If there is one word which describes the vast majority of Christians , it is this – mere religiosity. Externally they look perfect as they observe all the code of conduct to be accepted in the religious world, but deep down they are just lovers of themselves, money and pleasure.

Hear this my brethren, it is possible to be a lover of yourself, personal profit and pleasure and yet have a form of external religious ritualistic life and allow this religiosity to delude you to think that you are spiritual. A life where you major in attending meetings and using the right religious language and dressing yourself like a saint – BUT deep down not be a lover of God and God alone.

Now I am not preaching on this - but showing you the relevance of what I am going to share today.

Turn to John 4:23
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.”

I want to preach on worship. As I told you, in the last days the missing group are the lovers of God. Now listen to what Jesus is saying here. The Samaritan women asked Him about the best location for worship – is it this mountain on which we worship or that mountain where you Jews worship? Haven't you heard people say like this? I went to that church – where they miss all the chords and the worship was not that good, but I went to this other church, boy! What a great I feeling I got from their worship which was like a concert. You know what Jesus told her. It is not here or there. He says under the New Covenant worship is all internal. “The true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth”. In spirit means always in their spirit worship for the Father is going on. It is not in meetings that they worship, but always – all the time. Also they worship in truth, meaning they worship God keeping in mind all the truth of God revealed in His word. That means they worship the true God – not some imaginative idol they have built on their understanding of the concept of God. But rather they worship the true God who has revealed Himself to them. If I know my God is the Holy God I know I should please Him with holiness. Otherwise I am not worshipping Him in truth.

Now compare true worshippers with what we read in 2Timothy3. Religious believers focus on external observations and do their best to be perfect on the outside and end up as hypocrites. On the other hand true worshippers are working on their inner life – offering worship in spirit and truth.

Let me get to the core of my burden, Jesus went on to say “ they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” Look what He says here about the Father, that He is seeking. He is seeking for His worshippers. Think about it, among the multitude of religious Christians, the Father is searching – where are they who are My worshippers? Not those who on the inside are lovers of themselves, money or pleasure or any idol – but lovers of Me and Me alone.

Now before I go any further, I need to explain what God means by worship. We live in a day and age where most people think worship means singing songs.

Please turn to Genesis 22:5

“He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”

This is the first place where the word 'worship' comes in the Bible. It is interesting where it comes. It comes from the mouth of Abraham. God asked him to offer Isaac and he travelled for three days and reached the mountain. When he saw the place in a distance, he told his servants to stay back and then he said 'We will worship and then we will come back to you'. Now if some believer of our day was there, he would have thought, may be there is some meeting hall up there in the mountain top and may be Abraham and Isaac is going to have a wonderful karaoke session. But Abraham had a superior understanding of worship. He used the word to describe offering his most cherished possession to God.

Now God took me to this passage and gave me a definition of worship as follows:

To Worship God is to count God ALONE as precious, to call Him ALONE your reward and treasure Him ALONE in your life, with wholehearted adoration and godly reverence.

Notice that word 'alone' coming again and again. It is not God plus Isaac, but God alone. It is not God plus self and money and pleasure but God and God alone. Now he who is like that is a worshipper, one who is a lover of God – the true worshipper, whom the Father is seeking. The Father is not seeking chair warmers who regularly warm their favourite chair in the church, nor some honour seeking ministry worshipping 'active' Christian worker – No ! No! He is seeking worshippers, my dear friends.

Now I have observed something in today's church – who is after the Father these days?

Rarely do we hear anyone praying to the Father. We are all so taken up with a concept of Christ and a feeling of the Spirit. Jesus taught us to pray to the Father. Also we are such an idolatrous generation. I have read many tracts where they say ' Jesus said there is only one way to heaven' and then they quote John 14:6. Do you know what Jesus actually said in John 14:6? He said “No one comes to the Father (not heaven) except through Me.”

All this shows we don't know the Father. We love heaven much more than the Father. Escape from hell is more important than knowing the Father, which is what the true gospel offers – eternal life, which is to know God.(John 17:3) But since we love this man centred gospel, we don't want to know the Father.

Do you know what happens when Christians don't know the Father?

In Matthew 6, Jesus taught His disciples about the depth and care of the Father even for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air and then told them not to be worried about the things which the pagans run after. He encouraged them to know the Father and find rest and peace in Him. So let me ask you what happens when Christians don't know the Father? Simple, they run after things which the pagans are also seeking - money, material things, health, self esteem etc. etc. Instead of being worshippers of God, they end up as merely religious people who use God for personal needs. This my brethren is what is happening everywhere in the world today. Christians are merely religious. Look at all the shabby prayer requests – all surrounded around things which the pagans seek after.

Jesus said seek rather the kingdom of heaven. Kingdom of heaven is where I am seeking to be more and more of what I am going to be in heaven. It stands for a heavenly life lived on earth. Now my question is what do you see in heaven? Take any passage in the Bible, where heaven is revealed – what do you see there? I will tell you what I see – men and women and angels – all convinced of the absolute worthiness of God in worship – offering Him wholehearted worship saying “ God O God, you alone are worthy to be worshipped, not our lusts, not our pleasure or comfort, but You and You alone.”

When I am in heaven, I am taken up with God, I am not worried about my leaky roof of my earthly home or poor bathroom fittings or my finances, but God and God alone. Now in the kingdom of heaven, we have a foretaste of this heavenly life even now, while we are on earth. So even now I should be taken up with God and not earthly things. That is the gospel, the good news – that I can be a true worshipper even now.

Let me show you the true gospel. Most of you are familiar with the cheap, shabby, man centred gospel of our day. Let me show you the true gospel. Turn to Colossians chapter 1. Now to understand redemption, you need to understand creation, for God redeemed man to make him fulfil his original purpose with which God created him. So what is the purpose behind creation.

Read verse 16 the last part
all things were created by him and for him.”
So why did God create man? God created man for Him.

Now what is the purpose of redemption?
Read verse 20
through him to reconcile to himself all things,.. by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

So why did God redeem man? God redeemed man so that man can once again be for God and God alone.

Brothers and sisters, do you know the purpose of the gospel? It is not to take you to heaven to have an eternal vacation there. No that's the selfish gospel you hear around. But the truth is God saved you to be His worshipper. So what's evangelism? Evangelism is the solemn proclamation to a God hating, radically depraved, self-worshipping man to repent of all his “other love's” and seek God in faith for the Holy Spirit to regenerate his evil idolatrous heart to start loving God and God alone.

Now do you hear this gospel preached anywhere?

Today's popular message is seek this blessing and that earthly thing – Oh the covetousness of man that he is willing even to use God for his means!! No one is commanding Christians to worship God. Look at the widespread deception that is sweeping Christendom. I have spoken against deception and false teachers and you people are sick of hearing this. But don't think I will stop. I will keep on imploring you till you are saved from it. Let me give you a test which will help you from deception that is rampant in almost all Christian circles.

Every time you hear a preacher, ask yourself a single question:What is the appeal of the preacher? You know what I mean by appeal. See every preacher when he preaches a sermon has a goal, he is seeking his hearers to attain something. For e.g.: If a preacher preaches on holiness, we can say that his goal is to see people being holy. Now if the appeal of any preacher is not to make me a better worshipper of God, then I would not listen to him. I would recommend you also not to listen to him.

Today the popular men on pulpit are teaching men and women to be worshippers of themselves, money and pleasure. Instead of preaching on repentance from worshipping everything except God, what is that we are hearing from preachers in churches and conventions – 'Know who you are in Christ, claim all your rights to be blessed in earthly realms – have a good self esteem – healthy living habits – wise financial decisions – deliverance from debts and generational curses(!!) and of course all preached with a good number of substandard jokes. I would call today's preaching - just garbage, that's the perfect word.

For the word of the Lord to man is 'Repent and turn from all your idols to worship and serve the Living God.' Oh but where are the prophets who proclaim this to the church. The sad thing is we don't have any prophets these days – only puppets. Jokers and stand up comedians who preach one foolish thing after the other to gain the applause of their hearers, are the popular men of today's Christendom. Their aim is not to be the mouth piece of God but be the entertainers of the religious crowd. How grieving the sad state of the church is!!

Who is addressing the 'need' of the Father? Finding worshippers. Everyone is taken up with man and his silly needs. The gospel is not a quick fix for man's problems. Jesus Christ is not God's flu shot to cure man's problems. How corrupt is today's understanding of the full counsel of God? God has exalted His Son Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory and now commands men and women to worship Him – that's the gospel. Making men and women worshippers of God – lovers of God, who count God alone precious, calls Him alone their reward and treasure Him alone in their life with wholehearted adoration and godly reverence – that my brother, sister is the great commission.

Great commission is not about 'oh poor sinners in the other end of the world dying and going to hell', but rather 'men and women made in the image of God to be His worshipper living in self-idolatry and frustrating the purpose of God for their life'. I tell you honestly I have zero burden for any sinner in the whole world. I am not moved by suffering humanity. I don't have any burden for the lost in that manner. I tell you what burdens my heart – every man born in this world was created by God to be His worshipper and when he or she is lost, this purpose of God is being frustrated. That burdens my heart. I have a burden for men only through God. I am a worshipper of God and not a humanist.

Some people say 'we have fulfilled the great commission in such and such a place', all because they could gather a group of people in a nice building called 'church'. Brother, are all those who sit there worshippers of God alone or are they merely religious, who have an external form of religiosity, when in essence they are lovers of themselves and lovers of money and pleasure. What's the point in glorying about the number of people coming to a church when they are not the kind of worshippers the Father is seeking? All such Christian work is merely wood, hay and straw kept for burning on the last day.

Well I will tell you something, I do not want to serve God like that. I want to be a worshipper and make worshippers, fulfil the real great commission which is to replenish the whole earth with worshippers. And I am going to preach the true gospel which is the power of God to save self–loving idolatrous mankind to become the true worshippers whom my Father is seeking. That's the only need – the Father's need, that I will address in my ministry.

Let me close, by reading you 1 Corinthians 6:19&20
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.”

As you all know, under the New Covenant, we are the temple of the Living God. Now what goes on in a temple? Worship. There is no place for any idol – not even my self. I am not my own, I have been bought by Him to be His temple, where divine worship of Him takes place 24x7, 365 days of the year.

Are you a worshipper?
If not, repent.

That's what John the Baptist preached – repent oh religious people, you who live for earthly blessings, for physical healing, material prosperity, and victory over earthly enemies. The phrase kingdom of heaven is never found in the Old Testament – no not even once, because there's was a kingdom of this earth. All they had was a religion where they sought everything earthly from the true God of heaven. It was a religion of externalities, full of promises for earthly blessings, physical healing, material prosperity, and victory over earthly enemies. That's why all your favourite preachers preach from the Old Testament!

Repent and enter the kingdom of heaven where you seek things that are above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). And I submit to you, 'the thing that is above' that a Christian seeks is God and God alone. A Christian is not even taken up with other things in heaven like pearly gates, golden streets and mansions – No he is taken up with God alone.

Repent and turn to a heavenly life where you bless God's heart with your singular love and worship of Him, where your heart cry is :
Thou art worthy,O Lord,to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” [Revelation 4:11(KJV)]

Let's pray
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 11:31, that if we judge ourselves, we shall not be judged. Instead of justifying your lust and idolatry, instead of finding excuses for your religiosity, would you rather be honest before God? Tell him that you are a lover of yourself and personal profit and pleasure and not a lover of God alone. You may have been ignorant of many of these truths, now the Bible says in Acts 17:30 that God overlooks the times of ignorance but commands men to repent. Notice repentance is not a request, but a commandment of God.

Shall we repent?

Oh God, I am not perfect, but Lord I seek your grace to be made perfect in my worship of you. I pray that Lord you will grant us repentance. May your sorrow, godly sorrow work out repentance in our hearts. Please God help us to repent and be made worshippers of you, where we count you alone precious, call you alone our reward and treasure you alone in our life with wholehearted adoration and godly reverence. And save your church, Oh Lord, please please save her from her idolatry. Help her to be your worshipper and the devout bride of your Son Lord Jesus Christ. I pray for the preachers, O Lord give them light and make them your prophets. We want prophets to save the church from delusion –when religiosity is considered as spirituality and numerical strength is considered as fulfilment of great commission – we need prophets, men who are your spokesperson to the church about her true spiritual condition. Lord if anyone is hurt by this message, I pray O God that, may they realise that the prophetic gift is employed to expose self delusion, so that they can humble down and receive grace and be made Christlike in that area. May they be wise and know that it is for their good you have exposed their folly to them. O God, grant these young people repentance and make us true worshippers whom you are seeking. Make us men and women who bless your hurt heart. When majority of Christendom is taken up with worshipping themselves and their money and pleasure, help us to be taken up with you. May our hearts be set on worshipping and pleasing you. Save us from commercial Christianity which is all about using you for our gains. Lord make us lovers of you and you alone – the purpose with which you created us and also redeemed us with the high cost of your blood. We are not our own, we belong to you, your temples – where worship goes on and on. Help us O Lord.. Please help us from mere external religiosity. This we ask in the name of the perfect Son of God, Jesus' name, Amen.


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