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Do You Know You are God´s House?
“Do You Not Know?” Series
Do You Know You are God’s House?
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
 
There are many great things that God wants His people to know. In this series of studies we are looking at several of the “Do you not know” statements of the Bible. We’ve discovered so far that we need to know Jesus lives with in our heart.  We can also know that when He was buried and resurrected, we were also. 
 
Last week we saw that everyone is a slave, either to something or Someone.  Today, I invite your attention to 1 Corinthians 3:16 where we find another of these questions from the pen of the Apostle Paul. 
 
I hope you are noticing something of a progression in these studies.  It all begins with Jesus taking up residence in our heart.  That can only happen because we die to our old way of life and are resurrected to a newness of life.  That life is a life of relationship and obedience to God.
 
He is the Lord and Master now.  We now longer have to serve sin but we do have to serve God.  We will always have a master because we are slaves.  We only get to choose which one. 
 
Now today, we move a step further in that relationship, and in this text we find that as a believer, as a child of God, as a Servant of the Most High God, we are God's Temple.
 
1 Corinthians 3:16
 
The image of the temple to describe believers was used by Paul on three other occasions.
 
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Paul uses the image as well as the phrase "do you not know." There he says, "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
 
Also, in 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, “And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[b] are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’”
 
Finally in Ephesians 2:20-22, "having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Paul was asking, "Do you know that you are God's house?" As a believer this "Do you not know" informs us of, first of all, to be God’s temple is  
 
1. The Honor Experienced by a Christian
 
Paul says of the believer "you are the temple of God." Of all descriptions of the believer, the "temple" is especially fascinating. Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of a temple, I think of a building
And that takes me back to the Old Testament.  You may remember, it was David's desire to build a house for God that would be a reflection of God's glory. David, in making preparations for the building of the Temple said that "the house to be built for the LORD must be exceedingly magnificent, famous and glorious throughout all countries” (1 Chron. 22:5).
 
And although the dream of that temple was born in the heart of David, it wasn’t David who built it.  It would eventually be built by Solomon, David’s son. And it was indeed a magnificent building, unique to all buildings that have ever been built.
 
It is said that the most expensive building ever built was the Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. It was built in 1989 and cost $1 billion in USD. However, in comparison to Solomon's Temple, the Bank of China Tower would be a shack. It is estimated that over 20 tons of gold were used in the building of the temple and at today's prices it would cost over $174 billion dollars.
 
I would say that is "exceeding magnificent" and a building "famous and glorious throughout all countries."
 
However, it was not the price of building that made it unique among all buildings. It was the Person for whom the building was built that separated it from all others buildings.
 
That Temple would be known as the "house of God" (Cp. 2 Chron. 3:3).
 
 
 
On the day of its dedication, the Bible tells us "the glory of the LORD filled the house of God" (2 Chron. 5:14).
 
Now that temple had dual purposes.  On the one hand, it was the place of worship for the Jews. 
 
But the building also served as God's House on earth. Every time you passed by that building, you were reminded of the presence and power of God on earth and among His people.
 
Once a year the High Priest would make His way, through certain ceremony and ritual, to the innermost room.  Only by the blood of a sacrifice would he enter into the Holy of Holy’s. There was only one piece of furniture in that room: the Ark of the Covenant. 
 
It was actually a chest; a container, if you will.  Inside it had the ten commandments, aaron’s rod and a pot of manna.  All of those served as reminders of God’s provision and protection and guidance.
 
So here sat this building, the centerpiece of Jewish life, serving as their place of worship and a constant reminder of God’s presence and power in their life.
 
Now with that in mind, think about Paul’s statement.  Now he says, God’s house is no longer a building, but it is a body.
 
Look at what he says to these Corinthians believers, as well as every believer, "you are the temple of God" (1 Cor. 3:16).
 
The building that was to be "famous and glorious through all countries" has been replaced by you and me!
 
God is living and dwelling in our body.  Our body is the temple of God.
 
The U.S. Bureau of Chemistry and Soils calculated the chemical and mineral composition of the human body, which breaks down as follows:
-       65% Oxygen
-       18% Carbon
-       10% Hydrogen
-       3% Nitrogen
-       1.5% Calcium
-       1% Phosphorous
-       0.35% Potassium
-       0.25% Sulfur
-       0.15% Sodium
-       0.15% Chlorine
-       0.5% Magnesium
-       0.0004% Iron
-       0.00004% Iodine.
 
Additionally, it was discovered that our bodies contain trace quantities of fluorine, silicon, manganese, zinc, copper, aluminum, and arsenic. Together, all of the above amounts to less than one dollar.
 
Here what I’m saying?  You talk about downsizing!  God went from a 174 billion dollar mansion to body worth less than a buck!
 
Listen, that tells us the value of the human body, or to be more precise, the body of the believer is not in its monetary value.
Its value is in the cost paid by the Lord Jesus when He gave His life that men might be redeemed.
 
There is no greater honor that has been bestowed upon the believer than to be described as and designated as the house of God. And yet, to be God's earthly house is the honor given to every believer. 
 
Then think about something else:  To be God’s house is:
 
2. The Housing Extended through a Christian
 
Paul adds in 1 Corinthians 3:16 "the Spirit of God dwells in you".  That is a follow-up reinforcement of the the truth. In other words, just as the Temple was considered a dwelling place for God on earth, the body of the believer is God's house on earth. God dwells in every believer in the person of the Holy Spirit.
 
And notice how it is described. Paul says to the Corinthian believers that "the Spirit of God dwells in you."
 
That’s personal! The Holy Spirit lives in the body of every believer. The word "dwells" literally speaks of one who resides and occupies a house. The body of the believer is the earthly residence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit.
 
In Leviticus 26:12, God said, "And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and you shall be my people." With that promise in mind, Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:16, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
The difference is that in the Temple building God was "among" them. Now, in the Temple body God is "in" the believer.
 
God is personally abiding in the believer. The body of every believer is a dwelling place of God. Vance Havner said, "Paul speaks of being absent from the body and present with the Lord. But being present in the body does not mean being absent from the Lord; for he lives in all who believe, and these bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit."
 
Also, get this:  God is not only personally abiding in the believer, he is personally active in the believer. He walks in the believer. I like it when God walks around in my heart! He has left many a footprint in my heart. God's dwelling in the believer is more than academic. It is active!
 
And catch this:  He doesn’t just live in us personally, he’s there permanently. 
 
In John 14 Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure. However, He assured them that He would continue to be with them in the person of the Holy Spirit. His promise was that He would "abide with you forever" (John 14:16).
 
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit came upon man. In the New Testament He lives within man. In the Old Testament He would leave men as in the case of Samson (cp. Judges 16:20). However, in the New Testament the Holy Spirit abides within the believer "forever."
 
 
 
In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit abided on the believer according to their righteousness. The Holy Spirit now abides in the believer on the basis of Christ's righteousness.
 
As a permanent dweller in the body of the believer His presence is constant. He is always present, even when we don't sense His presence. There is never a moment when He is not with us.
 
His power is constantly available to the believer. A.J. Gordon said, "Before Pentecost the disciples found it hard to do easy things; after Pentecost they found it easy to do hard things." The Holy Spirit enables and equips the believer to be all that God intended them to be.
 
The most recognized house in the U.S. is the White House. It consists of 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 levels. There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators. It requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface. It has been called by many names.
 
Dolly Madison, wife of President James Madison called it the "President's Castle." It has been called the "President's Palace," the "President's House" and the "Executive Mansion." The name "White House" became its official name in 1901, when President Theodore Roosevelt officially adopted the name.
 
Its residents are never permanent because they change every four or eight years (thankfully in some cases). However, the Holy Spirit is a permanent resident in the body of the believer. He cannot be voted out or forced out. When He moved in, He moved in to stay. Hallelujah!
Let me give you one more thing:  As God's house there is:
 
3. The Holiness Expected of the Christian
 
Earlier I mentioned Solomon's Temple.  It was not only a magnificent building because of all the materials and cost, it was considered sacred because it was the dwelling place of God. Strict procedures were followed by the priests and High Priest because everything about it was considered holy. Death would be consequence of a violation of the procedures. In all their activities there were steps of cleansing to keep them symbolically clean before God.
 
Now come all the way awake and perk your ears up:  As the "temple of God" the believer is expected to provide a holy dwelling place for God.
 
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 3:17, "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
 
That’s pretty serious stuff!  Paul reminds God's people that "the temple of God is holy." Paul thinks of the historic Temple as a sacred and separated building. Its very names signified that it was not just any other building, but was special.
 
At times it was called the "Sanctuary," a name that designated it as a sacred building. As we have already seen, it was at times referred to as the "House of God," which also signified its sacredness.
 
 
 
And just as the historic Temple was holy, the believer as "the temple of God" is to be holy. As serious as the ancient Jews were in preserving the sacredness of the Temple, the believer is to take the holiness of their life as serious.
 
In verse 17 Paul speaks of those who "defile the temple of God." The word "defile" most of the time in the New Testament is translated "corrupt." The word speaks of being marred or polluted. As the earthly house of God the believer is to guard their life from anything that would be spiritual defiling and polluting.
 
In the context of Paul's statement (1 Cor. 3) we find that the believer can be defiled through carnality. In verses 1-4 Paul speaks of "carnal" believers. The word "carnal" speaks of that which is "fleshly." A carnal life is one that governed by the flesh rather than the Spirit of God who indwells the believer. The "temple of God" is defiled by carnal living.
 
The believer can also be defiled by futility. In verses 5-15 Paul speaks of how a believers builds and the future review of our building at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He speaks of those whose "work shall be burned" (Vs. 15) referring to a life that was ineffective and futile.
 
The believer that lives for self will be unproductive, unfruitful, and in the end, unrewarded. As the "temple of God" the believer is to bear fruit to the glory of God. A life that is useless and ineffective is a defiling of God's house.
 
 
 
The believer can also be defiled by vanity. In verses 18-23 Paul speaks of those who are wise in their own eyes and view themselves and their abilities in an arrogant way. As the "temple of God" the focus is not on the "temple" but the "God" in the temple.
 
Far too many have their eyes on the temple rather than God. It is all about what they are and what they do. The temple is defiled by such pride and conceit.
 
Matthew Henry wrote: "The temple was devoted and consecrated to God, and set apart from every common to a holy use, to the immediate service of God. So all Christians are separated from common uses, and set apart for God and his service. They are sacred to him-a very good argument this against all fleshly lusts, and all doctrines that give countenance to them. If we are the temples of God, we must do nothing that shall alienate ourselves from him, or corrupt and pollute ourselves, and thereby unfit ourselves for his use; and we must hearken to no doctrine nor doctor that would seduce us to any such practices. Note, Christians are holy by profession, and should be pure and clean both in heart and conversation. We should heartily abhor, and carefully avoid, what will defile God's temple, and prostitute what ought to be sacred to him."
 
Because He is holy, the believer should be holy. After all, they are God's house on earth. Instead of a corrupted house, God should have consecrated house. As Henry said, the believer should carefully guard their life from anything that would defile them.
 
 
 
 
John Phillips wrote, "It is all too easy for us to defile our bodies, thus grieving the Holy Spirit who dwells within. We can defile ourselves by the books we read, or by the movies we watch, or by the habits we indulge, or by the lusts we express, or by the thoughts we entertain. The Spirit of God, who is known supremely in the New Testament as the Holy Spirit, grieves over these things."
 
Furthermore, the kind of house the believer keeps for God is extremely important. Paul talks, not only talks about the defilement of the body, but also about the destruction of the body.
 
I’ll tell you something:  that 17th verse is pretty tough! Did you realize that was exactly in line with Jewish law?  Under the law, death was the consequence of defiling the Temple.
 
For example, if a person other than the High Priest on the Day of Atonement entered the Holy of Holies, he would die on the spot. As God's House, there are consequences to the believer defiling the body.
 
I don't think Paul is saying that the believer will be struck with a lightning bolt from heaven if they defile their body, but the indication is that God does not take lightly the defiled lives of those who bear His name.
 
The word "destroy" and the word "defile" are the same words. Paul was saying that those who defile the temple of God will be defiled by the God of the temple.
 
 
 
When Jesus found that the Temple had been polluted by the moneychangers, He made a scourge of small cords and drove them out of the Temple (John 2:13-17). God will take a whip to those who defile His House.
 
We don't hear much about discipline or chastening in our day and time, but the truth is that God disciplines and chastens those who are His (Maybe the absence of chastening says much more than we want to admit). God will clean His house when it gets dirty. He is holy and where He dwells He expects it to be holy.
 
Several years ago (before hoarders) I read of a family of six who lived in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.  Outwardly, they were ordinary residents in a middle class neighborhood.  After the neighbors began to complain about a terrible stench, the health department came to investigate. 
 
The officials made an amazing discovery.  Inside the home they found 33,000 pounds of garbage stacked throughout the house.  Over the past months this family had allowed their garbage to accumulate.  They hadn't hauled in other people's garbage; it was all theirs.  They just simply did not dispose of it.
 
The husband was quoted as saying, "We tried to clean up a couple of times, but it just seemed to get out of control."  Every room of their home was filled with garbage from the floor to the ceiling.  Each night the family had to retreat to one of the bedrooms where they slept on two bunk beds.
 
 
 
As a result of this bizarre behavior, the children were temporarily housed in foster homes, the wife divorced her husband and changed her name, and the husband voluntarily admitted himself into a psychiatric hospital.
 
What happened here?  What had happened was that this family had chosen to turn a blind eye to what was obvious to everyone else around them. They had too much garbage, and it had gotten out of hand. 
 
Now before you get too critical of that family, let me ask you a question:
 
What kind of housekeeper are you?
 
I know a lot of people who wouldn’t dare let their home get in that shape, but give no thought whatsoever to the stench and trash of their spiritual existence. 
 
But you need to know, if you are saved, it's not your house, but God's.
 
Did you know that?  Did you know that you are God’s house?   
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