BIG IDEA: (DON’T TAMPER WITH THE TEMPLE — Deffinbaugh)
BECAUSE THE LOCAL CHURCH IS GOD’S HOLY SANCTUARY, ANYONE WHO DAMAGES (DESTROYS/CORRUPTS) IT WILL BE PUNISHED ACCORDINGLY
Divine Blueprint for Spiritual Construction of the Church – exhortation to build with best possible materials so your work would stand the test of fire and reap eternal rewards; there are two classes of saved spiritual leaders described:
– those who build with the best materials
– those who build with worthless materials
The issue here is one of rewards rather than eternal destiny. Throughout the entire section Paul is dealing with the problem of divisions within the church at Corinth.
But there is a far more dangerous threat to the integrity and health of a local church. The Apostle Paul takes up the thread from vs. 9 where he had referred to the church as “God’s building.” Now he shows that it is a very special building = the temple of God. There are those ravenous wolves (whether from outside or from within) who would seek to destroy the flock of God. These would seem to be unsaved individuals who preach false doctrine and introduce the wisdom of the world in place of the wisdom of God. Because the church is a temple of God and indwelt by His Spirit, anyone who damages it will be punished accordingly. Here in verses 16-17 he deals with the most extreme consequence of the worst type of divisions = sin that would end up destroying the local church.
I. (:16) THE CHURCH MUST BE REGARDED AS GOD’S HOLY SANCTUARY
A. Tone of Foundational Truth
“Do you not know”
Lowery: the first of 10 occurrences of the clause in this letter (cf. 5:6; 6:2-3, 9, 15-16, 19; 9:13, 24; each time it introduces an indisputable statement).
Every Christian expected to understand these basic truths and live accordingly
B. Two Descriptions of the Church as God’s Holy Sanctuary
1. Temple of God
“that you are a temple of God”
The building is not the church; but the believers are
Second person plural used throughout this section – not just talking about an individual believer
2. Dwelling Place for God
“and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”
Not just dwells in you individually (which is true for all believers; no second act of grace involved; but here regarded as true of the local church corporately)
IMPLICATIONS of the church being God’s Holy Sanctuary:
– We are not your own; we belong to God (1 Cor. 6:19)
– We must remain separate from idols (2 Cor. 6:16)
– Glory of God should shine forth from His temple
– We should experience the presence of the majestic and holy God
– We should walk worthy of your calling in the fear of God
– We have direct access to God and privilege of worship and service
– We should live lives of complete dedication and surrender (Rom. 12:1-2)
– Attitude of Thanksgiving and Humility for tremendous privilege
II. (:17) ATTACKS AGAINST THE CHURCH WILL BE PUNISHED ACCORDINGLY BY GOD WHO JEALOUSLY GUARDS HIS HOLINESS
A. Destructive Attacks Will Come
“If any man destroys the temple of God”
Why would someone even want to do this? Instrument of Satan.
B. Appropriate Punishment Will Be Dispensed
“God will destroy him”
Serious threat; sounds like much more than just the loss of reward for believers.
Tony Monaghan: Talk about a threat! That’s how seriously God considers the sin of division within the church. He will avenge his church himself. And so we read,
Prov. 6:16 “There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”
It was a capital offense in the Old Testament to defile the temple, and surely Paul is picking up upon that idea here.
Lev. 15:31 “Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, lest they die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.”
God simply won’t allow it. It shall not go unpunished.
C. Standard of Holiness Must Be Applied
1. Applied to the temple as the Sanctuary of God
“for the temple of God is holy”
2. Applied to the Corinthian Believers as the Temple of God
“and that is what you are.”
Implications of living in accordance with our Holiness . . .