The Spirit Filled Temple.
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 NASB
You can find all kinds of things at churches these days. You can find old people or young people, liturgical worship or free worship, hymns or contemporary music, expository or motivational preaching, stained glass, horrible carpet, “hipster” ushers, whatever. While none of these is necessarily bad nor good; what should define bad or good, at least when it come a church, is the presence of God.
According to 2 Chronicles 5, the people and the priests were united for the sake of worshipping God.
[They sang] to make themselves heard with one voice to praise and to glorify the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice accompanied by trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and when they praised the LORD saying, ‘He indeed is good for His lovingkindness is everlasting,’ then the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud (2 Chronicles 5:13).
God’s presence did not enter the temple because Solomon picked the right color carpet or because they played the right kind of music. God’s presence entered the temple because the people united to worship Him alone—they had made their worship holy to God.
God’s presence entered the temple in such a way, that the priests couldn’t even perform their regular duties. Can you imagine a church so filled with the presence of God, that worship is no longer about rituals, but simply about basking in His glory? That would be an amazing church! It, like the temple that Solomon consecrated to God, would become a symbol of the love of God. It would remind the troubled, burdened, and weary that their Creator desires to be close to them. That He desires to bring them comfort, peace, joy, and salvation. That would be an amazing church indeed.
Today there is no temple. There is only the Church. That is, the multitude of people who have been saved, by grace alone, through the atonement of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul asks the Church, “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you” (1 Corinthians 3:16)? If the presence of God is lacking in our current local churches, it is not because they have chosen the wrong worship style; it is because the presence of God has not filled the people that gather every Sunday morning. If we are empty, then so is the church; and a starving body cannot feed the hungry.
Solomon dedicated the temple to be consecrated to God—that is, to be used only for the sake of glorifying God. We must do the same with our own lives. We must give every aspect of our being to God. Our relationships, our finances, our dreams, even our very identities must all be consecrated to God. When our mind, soul, body, and strength are all united to glorify God, then He will pour out His presence upon us. Then, like the temple, we will reflect His love, hope, joy, and peace to others. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. This is the means to bring the presence of God into the churches, the schools, the government, and every other corner of the world.
This leaves us with two very difficult questions:
Does your life reflect God’s glory to others everywhere that you go?
What, in your life, have you not yet entirely dedicated to God?
I pray we may desire His presence more than anything. I pray that we would desire every aspect of our life to reflect God’s glory back into creation.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!