Cleansing the Temple

Cleansing (1) copyHave you noticed how many complete home renovation shows there have been on TV lately? First we had The Block, House Rules and now Reno Rumble. The Treasury Secretary John Fraser says that it’s evidence of a house price bubble. A house price bubble is caused when there is easy access to finance caused by low interest rates. Then house owners borrow from the banks and use that money to improve their houses. Should house prices drop then a bubble effect is caused. The bubble is the difference between the actual market value of the house and the amount invested in it. No-one wants an overvalued property. The bubble will burst if the homeowner cannot pay back the debt incurred with the lenders. This could be as a result of an income drop or an interest rate increase. The bank will foreclose on the property and the owners will be thrown out and lose everything.

Throughout scripture God talks about His house being with His people:

“My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Ezekiel 37:27)

He called the tribe of Israel and the tribe of Judah – houses. Scripture says that believers are the temple of God by His Holy Spirit:

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19

Now it’s a spiritual house as the Holy Spirit is a spirit. However, we can learn a lot from looking at the mistakes made on earthly real estate and learn some lessons for our spiritual real estate.


A mistake that a “bubble house” occupant makes is to value their house as separate from the community in which they live – their suburb. We do not live in a bubble. We’ve all heard the saying, “location, location, location!” So, if an individual investment far surpasses its suburb market value then disaster is on the horizon. The bubble could be about to burst.

Likewise, spiritually, it is foolish to separate yourself from your community which is the body of Christ – the church. Paul says,

Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)

When Paul says, “your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you” the word “body” comes from the Greek word “soma” and is singular not plural. This “soma” is wide and covers all. Just like Perth CBD is singular but covers all its occupants so a Christian belongs to the body of Christ – the church – which includes us all individually. We, equally, do not belong in a Christian bubble and cannot separate ourselves from the whole body of believers.

Many Christians think that “your body is a temple” refers to their physical body and they start investing heavily into their personal well-being. They spend hours at the gym, a fortune at the chemist on supplements, vitamins and nutrients. And, all in all, considerable time and effort on their inner and outer appearance. They follow the trend of the world by idolising themselves. This brings with it major problems. Many who come in here have chaotic and burst bubble lives because of this over-investment into themselves. They have inadvertently invited idolatry demons into themselves and have to be delivered of these demons and taught to stop the self-idolatry. Unbeliever’s bodies are not a temple. Likewise, Christian physical bodies are not a temple. It’s spiritual, and applies to the whole church with each of us making up the whole.  If you are obedient to God’s word and allow Him to rule your house then you will not be lazy, greedy, lacking in zeal (which is energy), stressed or in need of a detox. So you won’t need to be self-renovating. God will meet all of your needs. James gives us good advice:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5)


There’s a lot of talk these days about self-worth. But not so in the housing market – it’s not the self-house-worth it’s the suburb worth. They say that it is better to have the worst house in the best suburb but, surely that is only true if you intend to improve the property. Badly maintained properties can put off prospective buyers and the demand for properties in your suburb will fall. When the Bogans move in the desire and demand for the suburb moves out. Then the house prices drop and the bubble begins.

Our location in the church is prime location. God can afford to pick the best and He chose us as His special possession:

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The stones of the temple in Jerusalem were common stones until they were consecrated for God’s house and service then the value of them rose to great heights. The church is comprised of common stones but they are living ones:

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)

Jesus became the sacrificial lamb when He died for the sins of the world on the cross. God who abode in the temple behind the curtain tore it from top to bottom and stepped out as Jesus completed His work of redemption. Believers like you and me – we’re the common stones that are built into God’s temple. We’ve been consecrated through Jesus Christ to be prime real estate for God. Notice that it says, “being built.” That means we are under God’s construction to be a dwelling-place – a house – fit for Him. God is renovating every part of His temple (the scriptural term for renovating is sanctification.) You being a part of that temple must allow the work to be done:

“For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:9)

You cannot undervalue your individual part of the body and be the Bogan property.


Scripture tells us that Christian bodies are God’s property:

You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20)

All tenants have a rental agreement that they must abide by. These agreements have conditions and prohibitions. Besides keeping the premises clean and paying the rent on time – smoking, pets and running a business on the premises may be disallowed.  Rent inspection days ensure compliance to these conditions and prohibitions. Any violations may result in eviction.

Look what happened when Jesus made a rent inspection on His father’s premises:

Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:15-17)

Jesus’ extreme anger indicates the importance that He attached to the presentation, behaviour and right usage of the temple. The temple existed primarily for sacrifice. It was there that the presence of the God came into the Holy of Holies. It was the one place in all the land where the sin offerings and the burnt offerings could be presented. As they presented their sin offering they would draw near to our merciful and gracious God in prayer to confess their sin. Yes, they needed the animals and doves for sacrifice. Yes, money would have changed hands but all of this should have been done outside of the temple. None of them were clean enough to be in the temple. There should be no business in the temple other than God’s business. Besides, as Jews they were living as bubble tenants with no regard for their fellow neighbourhood tenants. All of this business was going on in the court of the Gentiles and they had nowhere else to pray and pay their debt of gratitude to God.

As the temple of the Holy Spirit we come into an agreement to keep Jesus’ commandments just as Jesus kept the Father’s commandments to please Him:

If you keep my commandments, you’ll abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.”  (John 15:10)

So why do Christians think that as part of the temple of the Holy Spirit it’s all right to have sex outside marriage, get drunk, take drugs and lust? They are unclean things and have no business in the temple. God’s temple is intended to be an enclosed place where worldly things may not enter. Also, when we come together we must leave all other business outside. Money and prosperity talk and activity should be excluded for this is no place for thoughts of gain. It is a sacrilege to bring them in. They must be overturned and driven out of the temple.


Jesus spoke a parable on wicked tenants to warn the religious people of failure to comply with God’s conditions as their landowner. In this parable the tenants refused to come under the authority of the owner or His Son. The Jews were in God’s prime location as children of Israel but they had overvalued their property – their promised piece of land.  They refused to come under the authority of the owner or His Son just like the tenants in the parable God burst their bubble and destroyed their houses. Paul reminds us as Gentiles of our position and vulnerability and urges us to consider our position:

“Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either.” (Romans 11:21)

If you want a healthy assessment of your spiritual property – your part in the whole temple – then Jesus urges us to study His word and put his terms into practice:

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24)

You must not work for yourselves but for God as He owns your soul. The temple was a house of prayer, sacrifice to God, study of scripture and holiness and so Christians must be separately and collectively. Then the cleansing will be undertaken by the Holy Spirit.  Failure to do this will result in the final epic bubble bursting cleansing saga which is described in the book of Revelation. This will be the complete demolition of your property which will burn with you in the fires of hell. Come on church as living stones offer your bodies to God as a living sacrifice this is holy and pleasing to Him!

This post is a condensation of a sermon given at Victoria Park Christian Centre on 17th April 2016. Our church services are held on Sundays at six pm. If you would like to attend, just drop in! If you have questions about our ministry or services please get in touch using the form below.