September 6, 2008 Matthew

True Identity

We must know our true identity.

Do you not know that you all are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you all? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you all are that temple. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17

I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2

The crucial point is whether God is pleased when we gather or not. When we gather for Jesus sake, we are collectively the Bride, or the Temple of God, in soul and spirit. How we act as such is the question then—are we being a whore or a beautiful bride? Are we trampling his courts or bowing our hearts in humility and fear? Are we grieving the Spirit or listening to what he has to say? Are we a business enterprise, or a church?

Put another way, are we exchanging pastors for marketer-managers, meeting sinners’ needs for meeting felt needs, free gifts of grace for self-interested exchanges, ministry for marketing, communicants for customers, and worshipping communities for service agencies? This is no less than an ostentatious betrayal of Jesus’ design and will for his Church.

I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. Revelation 3:15-22

But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27

You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. James 4:4