Unity in the Temple – 5-19-22

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of First Corinthians chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Sectarianism Is Carnal

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and [a]behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

Watering, Working, Warning

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone [b]defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

Avoid Worldly Wisdom

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”; 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Footnotes

  1. 1 Corinthians 3:3 Lit. walking according to man
  2. 1 Corinthians 3:17 destroys

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

John 20:31 “but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Paul stays on point for a while in this letter, giving us multiple examples and ways to think about the answer to their problems, i.e. sectarianism. You would think that there would be NO WAY Christianity would ever divide into different denominations, especial after today where Paul calls it carnal and childish. But here we are in 2022 looking around at more denominations than I can count.  Where did they go wrong? Did they skip the book of First Corinthians? Did they think since they did not personally know Paul or Apollos or follow either, they were right?

What a divided mess we now have to clean up. A job that seems impossible.

And what does carnal mean? I used a search engine and got this combinations: needs and activities pertaining to the flesh, pertaining to the physical, especially sexual.

Now this whole section of First Corinthians, about division can also apply to clicks and groups of people that separate and divide the body of believers. You know the ones who follow one person in the church or another. The last church I attended, the leader of the music ministry was a pastor and a man, but the woman who sang lead was amazingly talented. The body became divided as she released a worship album – some followed her like groupies and some stayed loyal to him. While the two of them refused to divide and are still in conflict with the members. What a mess we people make – NONE of them are focused on God. The music ministry tries it’s hardest to focus on God, but are constantly distracted by this nonsense.
Anyway, this section can apply and you will see lots of applications and ways it applies – but be care how you apply it, because it is really for when people follow other people instead of God and not for other types of divisions like offenses. (Although, sometimes offenses can manifest themselves as this.)

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?”

The church I currently attend split almost 20 years ago – families I grew up with are spread among many churches in the area. Some stayed, some followed the preacher (he left and started a new church) and the rest scattered to other churches. Lots of pain and hurt feelings and petty behavior came out in that – everyone was hurt. I do not believe anyone was untouched emotionally.
They were all babies. A community of fat babies who do not what to surrender to God the area of division. And other areas.  
I grew up, led and taught by these carnal believers. I thought they were old and wise. When I wandered off and returned, God tore down my foundation as it was corrupted by their flesh. The God rebuilt me. There isn’t division in my current church – but my community and the believers in this community are still divided.  That tells me, as Paul says here – we are all still carnal babies. Truth hurts – my community is in rough shape. As I speak with people from all the different churches, they all say they are all grown up and the others are still babies…. Maybe not in those words, but each with words similar. Oh Lord how will you unity my community. Am I carnal – I hope not! Are they all – I am sure there are a few who may have grown up. They wonder why there are few signs and wonders, few new converts, little transformation instead of huge transformation even though one of the pastors preached on transformation for moths. Transformation is grace – Grace changes everything it touches… yet they hardly let it touch them.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”

Yeah, it doesn’t matter what is preached – God is the one who grows the seeds inside people. This is an important principle for you and me to know. When we step out and share Jesus with someone we are either planting or watering (same job and we do not know which) but we cannot save these people, we can tell them, led them, but we can’t make them change, or accept Jesus. Only God can increase – only God brings growth.

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”

In case you missed it – God does the work. Our jobs are just to sow and water.

Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.”

Just to sow and water – well, it is an honorable task in which we will be rewarded. I can show you a bunch of passages that says we will be rewarded on earth as well as in heaven if we just sow and water.

For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

Verse 9 is fun we are to be God’s sowers and builders – but we also are the field in which others sowed and watered and we are the building where others built.
Now when I came back to God it was through a Pastor in New Jersey, on the internet – shared on Facebook. (This is why I do encourage sharing preachings, teachings and other things that include the salvation message – it might save someone. Also our Facebook as the salvation message first thing on the page when you are on your mobile devise. Sharing the gospel / salvation message doesn’t mean you have to speak, you can share it literally by sharing someone else’s voice. And that is considered a good work in God’s eyes. I would have never accepted Christ from that friend, who shared Pastor Tom. But I did accept it from Pastor Tom.) And I had a long history of sowers and waterers and builders before him. He just happened to be there the moment I was ready. I give him the credit and followed his church until I started going to church with my friends. But I do not say I am of Pastor Tom. I thanked him for his obedience to God, as well as thanking my friend who shared him. But many build, watered, sowed and prayed for me to get to that point.  I still keep in touch and join his prayer group daily. But I am of God – not of Pastor Tom.

12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
The day will declare it. Paul often refers to the judgment day of God for each of us – when we come before the Bema Seat. We cannot get into heaven by our works. But once we get into heaven our works will be judged. If your works are like straw weak, dry and hollow – they will burn up as God’s judgment is like a fire. If your works are solid and pure – like gold and silver, then when you were tried on earth you passed the test and your works will pass through the judgment unharmed.
If your works are burnt up – you will feel it and count it as a loss. I don’t know what that means other than you will know you missed it. But it doesn’t affect your entry to heaven. That is a gift.
What this is NOT saying is that once you are saved, you are always saved and it doesn’t matter if you obey and follow and renounce sin. As we just saw in Romans, sin will separate you and bring down judgement. You see we are judge to get into heaven, once in heaven your works are judged.
We saw in Romans, that continuing in sin and disobedience slides you away from God without you even knowing it and you may stand before God and say, but I tried and he will say depart from me you evil doer; I do not know you! (Matt 7:23)

16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.

This gets real. Or at least it should. Do you understand you are the temple? Do you understand that symbolism and the reverence and holiness and purity and what a huge mind blowing idea this is?? We are talking to the Corinthians, in Corinth, surrounded by temples. They understood temples and what they represented. In our modern churches, we no longer get dressed up for church. We no longer enter the sanctuary and bow and remain in humbled silence. I am not saying we should return to it, especially in a world so divided. The fellowship and love is so vital. With so much social distancing and economic struggles some people only see other people on Sunday and at church. This is a new time.  But let us not fail to tell our children and grandchildren of the reverence and humility that belongs in the holies of holies within the temple. And let us not fail to teach them to adorn and care for it and anoint it with oils and make it a worship unto God.
When we go meet new people we dress all up for them, to make a good impression. When we go on a date we dress all up for them and want to look our best. When we realize the most powerful being in all the world is able to live inside us – how much better should we care for his habitation?
So say it out loud – declare it ten times loudly, loud enough to get through the dirt in your ears, and loud enough to stir your heart. Loud enough to make the enemy take notice – I AM THE TEMPLE OF GOD! I AM THE TEMPLE OF GOD! I AM THE TEMPLE OF GOD! I AM THE TEMPLE OF GOD!

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

I love how wisdom is one of our goals for this year and God is just shaking it down. Get the wisdom in the breaking down of man’s wisdom!!

21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. 23 And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Are you believing for something big today? “All are yours”! Say “All”! All – everything. Even the thing you are believing for. Even the things you are hoping for. ALL! All is yours and you are Christ’s!
Get more excited about this, that you belong to Christ, the savior! Praise the Lord Oh my soul! This is much better than all being mine! Hallelujah!  
And even better than that – Christ is God’s. Who or what can be against us. Who or what can withhold from us, and woe to him to tries to touch the Lord’s temple without HIS permission!
Just praise the Lord and thank Him for this divine set up – for him having us through Christ – for the authority from Him. And that in this we are all equal – all who believe and obey his voice.  

What is actionable so we can get this word inside of us and act on it? Have you ever felt or are you divided from the whole Body of Christ because of a loyalty to a denomination? I was literally taught by my mother that we were Assembly of God and we could not go outside of that. I spent a year going to a Baptist high school. I looked at my peers like they had something wrong – and that was the best my childish brain could understand. I have repented for that – even thought I did not know I was wrong, I was still wrong and had to repent. Today I am friends with many Baptists, as well as nondenominational and others. We can disagree about some of the trickier passages – but do we have the same spirit? Are we part of the same body? Are we part of the Kingdom? If you find yourself in here, repent and ask for forgiveness. Get kingdom minded.
Second is – if you have not been treating your body as the temple it is, then you must repent! You must ask for forgiveness and grace and help to treat the body the way God intended you to. May some goals, with Gods guidance and rely on his help along the way while you build new habits of true self care, because it is temple care.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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