A Sermon by Dr. James McCullen
A Portrait of the Lord Who Cleanses the Temple
JOHN 2:13-21

(13) And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {14} And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. {15} And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables; {16} and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise." {17} His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME." {18} The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?" {19} Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." {20} The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" {21} But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Introduction

For the major thrust of this message I must recognize my debt to Dr. Roy Fish. He is one of my favorite preachers. He is professor of evangelism at Southwestern Seminary where I was on one occasion elected a trustee. I have heard him preach a message on the cleansing of the temple on two different occasions. I have the message on tape and it always inspires me. I believe the Lord wants me to preach from this text tonight.

The closer one gets to the Lord the cleaner they want to be. The more one knows about revival the more they desire a cleansing of their spiritual life. Please follow as we look at the Lord of the Temple cleansing His house.

Jesus on two occasions did what we call cleansing the temple. I think we should ask "Is the Temple Clean" about this temple we call a church. We should ask is the temple:

1. Clean enough for the Lord's Presence? v 13-14

2. Clean enough for the Lord's Purpose? v 15-17

3. Clean enough for the Lord's Presentation? v 18-21
 
 

1. Is the temple clean enough for the Lord's . . Presence?
v 13-14 

(13) And the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. {14} And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers seated. {15} And He made a scourge of cords, and drove <them> all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and overturned their tables;

A. The . . EXPECTATION of His Presence. v 13

1. It is the Passover.

a. Remember the . . Origin of the passover.

b. Remember the . . Objective of the passover.

B. The . . EXCHANGE of His Presence. v 14

1. Exchanged for . . Business.

2. Exchanged for . . Brotherhood.

a. Don't say anything you might make someone mad.

(1) This is not a suburban matter

(2) This is downtown.

C. The . . EXCITEMENT of His . . Presence. v 15

1. Excitement that . .Embarrassed their person.

a. Oh Jesus don't do that you might offend someone.

b. He stopped their offense of God.

2. Excitement that . .Edited their program.

a. No longer a focus on money and men.

ILLUSTRATION:
One Christmas Eve the telephone rang in the office of the Pastor of the church in Washington, D.C. that President Franklin Roosevelt attended. "Tell me Reverend," the voice inquired, "are you holding a Christmas Eve service tonight?" When advised that there would certainly be a service that evening, the caller asked, "And do you expect President Roosevelt to attend your church tonight?"

"That," explained the Pastor patiently, "I can't promise. I'm not sure about the President's plans for this evening. But I can say that we fully expect God to be in our church tonight, and we feel secure in the knowledge that His attendance will attract a reasonably large congregation."

APPLICATION:
Is the temple clean enough for God's presence?
 
 

2. Is the temple clean enough for the Lord's . . Purpose?
v 16-17 

{16} and to those who were selling the doves He said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise." {17} His disciples remembered that it was written, "ZEAL FOR THY HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME."

A. His purpose is not the . . FORMALITY of our worship. v 16

1. Worship is not formalities.

2. Worship is not finances.

B. His purpose is not the . . FERVOR of our worship. v 17

1. We need to remember.

2. We need to repent.

a. We live in an "I feel good craze"
b. How long since your worship made you feel miserable?

C. His purpose is not the . . FRIVOLITY of our worship.

1. Frivolity is more concern for Self than the Savior.

a. A good sabbath day was how much money they made.

ILLUSTRATION:
Sam was my best dog, ever. A field trial dog who found birds and pointed them with contagious enthusiasm, Sam taught me the joy of becoming part of nature. If his point said a bird was hiding in a clump of bushes, it was there.

He was so much more than a bird dog, though. Often we'd share together lazy lunches in an abandoned apple orchard, and the snooze that followed. Late one afternoon, Sam and I became separated. Neither of us was familiar with the area. I called and whistled. No sign of Sam. I had to get back to town for an important appointment. But how could I leave Sam? If he finally came back and I wasn't there, would I lose him for good?

Then I remembered a trick an old dog trainer had passed on. I unbuttoned my jacket, removed my shirt and laid it on the ground under the branches of a small bush. I worried all night. But when I returned the next morning there was Sam curled up with his nose under the sleeve of my shirt. He looked up and wagged his tail. "Where have you been friend?" his eyes seemed to say. "I've been waiting for you all night. But I knew you'd come back."

Later I wondered. When I get lost, do I have the trust to look for some part of God's word and curl up in it? To wait patiently, knowing that my Friend will find me if I just have faith in him? Daily Guideposts 1988 By Scott Harrison

APPLICATION:
Is the temple clean enough for the Lord's . . Purpose?
 

3. Is the temple clean enough for the Lord's . . Presentation? v 18-21


{18} The Jews therefore answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, seeing that You do these things?" {19} Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." {20} The Jews therefore said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" {21} But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

A. The presentation of His . . Sign.

1. The resurrection sign.

B. The presentation of His . . Self.

1. He is the promised Messiah.
a. His body as the temple

ILLUSTRATION:
A Sunday School teacher ask her class to take a plastic egg and put something inside it that would teach about the resurrection. The children then went outside and hid their eggs. One of the children had a serious handicap. The children hurried around to find the eggs. One by one they found eggs and then they gathered together to see how the eggs taught about the resurrection.

They found pretty flowers in most of them. One boy put a stone in his and said it reminded him of the stone the angels moved. Finally the last egg was opened and it was empty. The children said someone did not play fair everybody should have placed something in their egg. They asked who did that? Finally the boy with the handicap pulled the teacher's dress and said that is my egg.

The teacher ask why didn't you put something in your egg? The boy replied I wanted my egg to be empty because the tomb was empty. The children then understood and appreciated this egg more than any. After this they paid more attention to the boy with the handicap.

In a few months the boy's handicap the boys handicap became much worse and he died. All of the children bought an empty plastic egg and placed it in his casket. They believed someday his tomb would also become empty.

APPLICATION:

I believe that boy had a clean temple. His actions caused others to focus on a clean temple.

Is this temple clean?

1. Clean enough for the Lord's Presence? v 13-14
2. Clean enough for the Lord's Purpose? v 15-17
3. Clean enough for the Lord's Presentation? v 18-21
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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