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Temple Building

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Whether you know it or not, each believer here this morning is in the midst of a building project. That project it the Temple of God. The question of the hour is, "What you erecting on the foundation of your Christian life?" Is it a glorious building which brings honor to God? Or is it a shack made of inferior material and workmanship?

I. TEMPLE BUILDING MUST BE A PRIORITY

    • "But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side; there is neither adversary nor misfortune. "Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, 'Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.'" 1 Kings 5:4-5
          1. under Solomon the Kingdom of Israel reached a pinnacle of power and prestige
              1. under his reign the nation was at its greatest geographical extension
              2. there was also great economic prosperity in the land
                • "Judah and Israel were as numerous as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance; they were eating and drinking and rejoicing." 1 Kings 4:20
          2. Solomon himself had gained a reputation among the nations surrounding his as in intelligent and wise man
              1. he was an expert in botany, horticulture, and zoology
              2. he was an accomplished author and is credited with over 3,000 proverbs and 1,000 songs
              3. God came to Solomon when he ascended the throne and offered the young king the desires of his heart
                  1. Solomon asked God for wisdom and a discerning heart "So give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?" (1 Kings 3:9, NASB95)
              4. because Solomon asked for a truly worthwhile gift, God honored him with wealth and honor in his lifetime
          3. in spite of all his earthly accomplishments, the most pressing goal in Solomon's life was a spiritual goal

A. THE TEMPLE OF GOD BECAME A PRIORITY FOR SOLOMON

          1. chapter five of 1 Kings begins the account of the building of what we have come to call Solomon's Temple
              1. I'm sure that Solomon would have bristled at that title
              2. this was not Solomon's Temple, but The Lord's Temple
                • "Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spoke to David my father, saying, 'Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.'" (1 Kings 5:5, NASB95)
          2. for seven years the Temple was Solomon's priority
              1. he oversaw every detail of its construction
                  1. when it was finished it was a magnificent structure
              2. it was not large as temple of that day went, ut it was unsurpassed in its lavish beauty
                  1. it was built of the finest limestone and gleamed brilliantly white in the sun
                  2. the door into the temple was flanked by two solid bronze pillars
                  3. the inside was paneled from top to bottom with cedar from Lebanon, and was intricately carved, then it was all overlaid with gold sheath
                  4. all the furnishing were of gold and precious material
                    • "Solomon made all the furniture which was in the house of the Lord: the golden altar and the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence; and the lampstands, five on the right side and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary, of pure gold; and the flowers and the lamps and the tongs, of gold; and the cups and the snuffers and the bowls and the spoons and the firepans, of pure gold; and the hinges both for the doors of the inner house, the most holy place, and for the doors of the house, that is, of the nave, of gold." (1 Kings 7:48-50, NASB95)
          3. no expense was spared - no corners were cut - this was God's house and building it right was priority #1

B. BUILDING THE TEMPLE OF GOD MUST STILL BE PRIORITY #1

          1. the temple that Solomon built became God's dwelling place among His people
              1. the Scriptures tell us that at the dedication of the Temple, God's presence filled it, and that the priests had to leave or be overwhelmed by God's glory
                • "It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord." (1 Kings 8:10-11, NASB95)
              2. the Temple was a place where one could ...
                  1. meet a holy God
                  2. offer sacrifice
                  3. find redemption and forgibeness
                  • "But as for me, by Your abundant lovingkindness I will enter Your house, At Your holy temple I will bow in reverence for You." (Psalm 5:7, NASB95)
          2. the Temple represented God's presence among His peole
              1. but the Jewish Temple no longer stands
              2. where can a person go to meet with God if He doesn't have a Temple?
          3. God's new Temple is the heart of all those who confess Christ as Savior and Lord
              1. believers are the temple of the Living God
                • "Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?"(1 Corinthians 3:16, NASB95)
              2. in the days of Solomon, God inhabited His Temple through what is called the Shekinah Glory
                  1. Shekinah literally means the dwelling of God and is a reference to the physical manifestation of God in the pillar of fire and smoke that guided the Hebrews through their desert wanderings
              3. today, God inhabits the believer through the Holy Sirit
                  1. it's probably no coincidence that John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He will baptize you with fire!"
          4. if we truly are the Temple of the Living God, then building that Temple must be priority #1 for us

II. TEMPLE BUILDING REQUIRES ASSISTANCE

    • "Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians." When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, "Blessed be the Lord today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people." So Hiram sent word to Solomon, saying, "I have heard the message which you have sent me; I will do what you desire concerning the cedar and cypress timber." (1 Kings 5:6-8, NASB95)
    • "Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbered 30,000 men. He sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters, and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, besides Solomon's 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. Then the king commanded, and they quarried great stones, costly stones, to lay the foundation of the house with cut stones. So Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house." (1 Kings 5:13-18, NASB95)

A. SOLOMON COULD NOT ACCOMPLISH THIS GREAT PROJECT ALONE

          1. he had help from all sides
              1. temple-building, you see, is always a joint project
          2. to build a temple worthy of God, Solomon needed the very best materials
            • "Now therefore, command that they cut for me cedars from Lebanon, and my servants will be with your servants; and I will give you wages for your servants according to all that you say, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians." (1 Kings 5:6, NASB95)
              1. in that day, Lebanon was world-renowned for it Cedar trees
              2. they were tall, straight-grained and highly aromatic
          3. to build a temple with exactitude, Solomon needed detailed plans
              1. the blueprints for the Temple were precise
              2. the plans were so precise that most of the Temple was actually prefabricated and assembled at the site
                  1. every board was pre-measured
                  2. every stone was precut
                    • "The house, while it was being built, was built of stone prepared at the quarry, and there was neither hammer nor axe nor any iron tool heard in the house while it was being built." (1 Kings 6:7, NASB95)
          4. to build a temple with sure foundations, Solomon needed the best craftsmen available
              1. 80,000 men labored in the stone quarries
              2. 70,000 laborers hauled materials to the building site
              3. the best craftsmen of the kingdom were employed
                • "So Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders and the Gebalites cut them, and prepared the timbers and the stones to build the house." (1 Kings 5:18, NASB95)
          5. to build a temple that measured up, Solomon needed foreman who would supervise the project and get it right
              1. 300 foremen made sure everthing went according to plan
                • "besides Solomon's 3,300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work." (1 Kings 5:16, NASB95)A. THE CHRISTIAN CANNOT BUILD THEIR TEMPLE ALONE
          6. the building of the Christian life is a cooperative effort
              1. it takes the work and sacrifice of many other believers to erect strong, stable, and glorious temples
          7. like Solomon, you need to choose the finest materials in building your temple
              1. you must begin with establishing a firm and strong foundation
                • "At the king's command they quarried out great, costly stones in order to lay the foundation of the house with dressed stones." (1 Kings 5:17, ESV)
              2. the foundation of your temple project must be the person of Jesus Christ "For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ."(1 Corinthians 3:11, ESV)
                  1. every thought you think, every attitude you develop, every action you take, every course of stone you lay in the building project of your life must be based upon a sure foundation
                  2. if Christ is not in you life, your spiritual building project will be as though it were built on sand
                    • "He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:11-12, NASB95)
                    • ILLUS. In this passage, Luke refers to an old Jewish legend. The story goes that when the Temple was in the course of construction, all the stones sent up from the quarry were practically of the same shape and size. But one day a stone was found that was different from all the rest. One of Solomon's foremen looked at the stone and concluded, "There is no place for this stone. There must be a mistake." So they rolled it to the edge of the Kedron Valley and tumbled it down into the valley below the Temple area. As the years went by the builders finally ready for the ceremonial corner stone, so they sent down an order for the stone. The word came back, "You must have it there somewhere. We sent it to you long ago." The search was fruitless. The stone simply was not to be found. Then one of the Temple foremen remembered: There was a stone different from the rest and it was thought that there was no place for it. He remembered that they had simple shoved the stone in question into the valley below. So down they went into the Kedron Valley looking for the stone. They found it, but it was covered with lichen and debris. The stone that the builders had rejected was the most important stone in the building. When they hoisted the stone back up the slope, they found that it fit perfectly in the place prepared for it. The stone the builders had rejected was actually the capstone.
              3. Jesus was God's Anointed and your sins crucified Him
                  1. but God raised Him from the dead, and in resurrection has made Him the chief cornerstone
              4. if Jesus is not the cornerstone of your life, nothing else in your life will ever be right
          8. like Solomon, you need detailed plans in building your temple
              1. the Scriptures are our guide and blueprints for building the Christian life
              2. the Bible really is the very best guide for faith and practice
          9. like Solomon, you also need the very best craftsmen to help you build your temple
              1. the craftsmen who are an invaluable source in helping you build your Christian life are other believers
                  1. faithful Sunday School teachers
                  2. pastors who preach the Word and minister to the sheep
              2. these are the men and women who help you discern the blueprints and understand the design of the Master Planner
              3. there are also your life experiences - those day-to-day events which God uses to shape us into the glorious temple God wants us to be
          10. like Solomon, you will need an expert foreman who can take the materials, the craftsmen and the blueprints and bring it all together into a recognizable structure
              1. that foreman is God's Holy Spirit
              2. the Spirit illuminates our mind, energizes our spirit, and activates our will so that we may continually grow in spiritual maturity and Christlikeness
                • ILLUS. As followers of Christ, we build our worship centers so that they may be recognized by all who would pass by them. We erect steeples which reach high into the sky. We top them with the central image of the Christian faith - a cross. If we build our places of worship so that the world will recognize the, don't you think God is as equally concerned with building the believer's life so that others may look at you and recognize you as a follower of Christ, and a Temple of the Living God?

III. TEMPLE BUILDING IS A SIGN OF TRUE WISDOM

*"When Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, "Blessed be the Lord today, who has given to David a wise son over this great people." (1 Kings 5:7, NASB95)

          1. the third point of this morning's message is short and sweet...
          2. there are a lot of things in life that are worthwhile
              1. but if building your Christian life is your chief priority, you are a wise person, and God like Solomon, will bless and honor you in many ways

IV. TEMPLE BUILDINGS SOMETIMES NEED CLEANSING

    • "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer'; but you are making it a robbers' den." And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them." (Matthew 21:12-14, NASB95)

A. OUR TEMPLES NEED REGULAR CLEANSING

          1. if the world is going to see God in these - our earthly temples - we may need some purging from time to time
              1. purging of selfish attitudes
              2. purging of ungodly values
              3. purging of sinful behaviors
                • "Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2:20-22, NASB95)
          2. the word purge means to cleanse thoroughly and comes from a Hebrew word which can be translated as to prune
              1. the idea is that we must clip away or prune away everything in our life that is not bearing fruit for Christ
                • ILLUS. The practice of caring for vines is called viticulture. It is the art of pruning branches back each year in order to purge them, and make the vine more productive. Grape vines produce shoots called a "sucker shoots" that grow where a branch joins the stem. If allowed to continue to grow, they rob the life out of the vine by producing so many branches that they rob the vine of fruit-producing ability. Every vinedresser knows it is important to prune away these little sucker shoots to ensure plentiful fruit. Since the shoots grow right where the branch joins the stem, creating a tight cluster where dirt, leaves, and other debris collect, the pruning is basically a cleansing process. Similarly, our Heavenly Father's work in our lives is to find a branch that is beginning to bear fruit, beginning to produce the likeness of Christ, and then to cut it back. He trims off the troublesome shoots, so that we may bear more fruit. 3. the cleansing of our lives can be relatively painless, or at time brutal
              2. it's less painful if we have a regular devotional life and spend time with God daily
              3. it can be very painful if we store up those selfish attitudes, ungodly values, and sinful behaviors, and then have to suddenly deal with an overload of guilt and shame when God finally gets a good hold on us

Whether you know it or not, you are in the midst of a building project. That project is the Temple of God. What are you erecting on the foundation that is Jesus Christ? Is it a glorious building which brings glory to God? Or is it a shack of inferior material and workmanship? In spite of all your earthly accomplishments, the most pressing goal in your life is building up your Temple.

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