Inter-Community Church of God
February 19, 2023 Service
      • Psalm 99HCSB

  • Who Is In Charge?

    This is the reality of our social nature. Whenever more than 2 of us are in the room, we are curious who is in charge. If it’s just you and me, we know one of us will take hold of the moment. But if there is a gathering, we will make our greetings, but will not take charge of the moment unless we know it is our duty to do so.
    But sometimes, when we gather, we spend some time wondering who will get things started. Is anyone going to give a welcome? Is there a program? Is someone going to pray? How long will this last? Am I supposed to stand up or sit down? What time will we eat? Do I need to go through a buffet, or will they serve us? Do I get to choose my pie?
    Is anyone going to keep the show going? Who’s going to talk? Does the teacher have a plan? Should I have brought a book? And why is Joey over in the corner trying to get people to listen to him?
    We already shared about the challenges of cliques in the church, as mentioned in the first chapter. We like to connect to certain personalities when it comes to our preferences. And if in the church, that person is spiritual and has a servant attitude, it might not be a bad thing to be loyal to that woman or man, and how they lead.
    But if my preference shows up in one-upping your preference, I am building a sense of competition that can be more harmful than helpful.

    Our Preferences Need an Upgrade

    So that we don’t focus on people, but instead focus on the very person of God.
    That’s where Paul is in his letter right now, in the second half of the 3rd chapter.
    Paul opened with the reality of knowing Grace and God’s Strength. He spoke to the divisions in the church, and cautioned us to make sure that loyalty does not lead to division. To illustrate the weakness of human priorities, Paul used himself as an example, to illustrate that the Gospel only works if it is about Jesus, not about Paul. So what do our preferences amount to in the grand scheme of things? Mostly nothing; for if it isn’t about Jesus, the Cross, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, then it wasn’t about the right thing. Paul would agree with the current name for the website of Church of God Ministries, which is Jesus is the Subject. Anything else and the Gospel doesn’t work.
    Then we talked about the secret ingredient for Wisdom which is the Holy Spirit. If we think that our widom is enough, we aren’t very wise. But if the Holy Spirit is our guide, we will get the vision of God’s heart for us.
    So then last week we talked about working for God’s honor rather than for ours. We have to get our egos out of the way so that God’s ethos, his character, veracity, and authority, can take center stage.
    This will only happen when we finally get it straight that we are not just about us.
    And we rely on the Holy Spirit to teach and lead us.
    And we have the goal of honoring God in all that we do.
    When we finally realize that we are now owned by the redeemer of our souls. We are no longer on the top of the chain of command. When we are wise about our true standing with God we will also know that we are under God’s authority as His servants. True authority comes from God, through Christ, in whom we live.
    So, we need to sort out what John recorded about Jesus’ prayer concerning our relationship with God the Father and Jesus His Son:
    John 17:21–23 ESV
    21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
    Now, don’t try to get it all at once. Just be aware that what we are working on in our lives is very thing that Jesus prayed for us to realize in his prayer for us before he went to the cross.
    When we finally get this straight, we will know who holds the title on our souls. It isn’t us anymore.
    We need to know that . . . .

    We Are the Temple of God

    Well, not quite “WE” only, but instead, Christians, all of them, are the Temple of God: in a sense, where God’s Holy Spirit is. Remember that Paul is talking about the church here. And the church is not each of us alone, but all of us together. The English Standard Version I have been using takes the simple way of translating this into common English, which can let us stay confused about our individualism.
    1 Corinthians 3:16–17 ESV
    16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
    Paul was just talking about the foundation laid, which is Jesus Christ, so now he is talking about the building going up on the foundation. Built on the rock of Christ, his redeemed people are the spiritual building, the spiritual temple. In another place, Paul tells us that each of us, individually, are a temple of God. But here, it is important to know that Paul is not saying “each of you.” In both this verse and the next verse, Paul is saying “You all” are the Temple of God.
    We would know that if we were reading this in the Greek language that Paul used to write his letters. In Greek, it is clear if the word means a plural you or a single you. Paul says “the plural you are God’s temple”. That’s why our paraphrased versions actually make this clearer than our translated versions.
    Looking back in the older literal English Translations, by Darby and by Young, and even the earlier King James Versions, they make a distinction by saying “ye are God’s temple”. “Ye” means y’all and you means each of you in older, formal English.‌
    We can get a better sense in the paraphrased versions such as the Contemporary English Bible, the Living Bible, and the Voice. A paraphrase has no problem explaining the word differences by using a phrase that tells us what the translated words should mean to us.
    The Living Bible says 16 Don’t you realize that all of you together are the house of God, and that the Spirit of God lives among you in his house?
    ‌The Contemporary English Version spells it out this way: 16 All of you surely know you are God's temple and his Spirit lives in you.
    The Voice: 16 Don’t you understand that together you form a temple to the living God and His Spirit lives among you?
    Since this temple of God is us together, we need to think together about what that means. This is a perfect place to think about the fact that WE NEED EACH OTHER TO BE GOD’S CHURCH. The Church as God’s Temple means the whole church is God’s Temple of the Holy Spirit.
    That is why Paul keeps returning to the idea that we cannot keep on thinking of the church with human names attached to it. This is not Paul’s Church, not the church of Apollos or the church of Peter or the church of Daniel Sidney Warner. This is God’s Church. Not God’s Baptist Church or God’s Presbyterian Church or God’s Evangelical Church. This is the Church of God by God’s choice, and it crosses all the fences we try to build to say any one of us is more important than all of us.

    We Are Held Responsible

    for how we treat God’s Church, God’s Temple.
    We are responsible to build up the Temple of God. We are responsible to honor the Temple of God. We are responsible to live out the reality that the Temple of God is holy, because God is holy.
    1 Corinthians 3:17 ESV
    17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
    Using the paraphrases again, we are helped along in understanding what Paul is getting at.
    CEV: 17 Together you are God's holy temple, and God will destroy anyone who destroys his temple.
    VOICE: 17 If someone comes along to corrupt, vandalize, and destroy the temple of God, you can be sure that God will see to it that he meets destruction because the temple of God is sacred. You, together, are His temple.
    Wrong thinking about the temple of God leads us to think it is ours to do with as we please. That just doesn’t work in God’s sight. Make it about a man or a woman, and it is no longer about God. Make it about Paul and it is no longer about God. Make it about Peter and it is no longer about God. Make it about a favorite preacher or teacher and it is no longer about God.
    That kind of thinking tears down the meaning of God’s universal and inclusive Church or Temple, it is destructive is God doesn’t take to kindly to us messing with his home. Don’t let personality corrupt our understanding of the church God builds with us on the foundation of Jesus Christ.

    Our Reset: Right Thinking

    Right thinking happens when we see things as they really are.
    And that right thinking starts with the conversations we have with ourselves about what is true in God’s eyes.
    Paul says,
    1 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
    18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.
    If you are too proud to humble yourself before God because of ego, you better clean that mirror you look into so you can see yourself clearly. Sometimes we get a shock, like the person who finally got the glasses they needed and wondered why that person in the mirror looked so old and wrinkled.
    We deceive ourselves when what we think about ourselves is different than what God thinks about us.
    You think you so smart? What does God think?
    The reset comes from surrendering our will to the will of God. Surrendering our ego to God’s ethos, God’s character. Forget what you thought you knew about how wise you are and start over, letting God be your teacher.
    Get God’s Spirit to help you see God’s opinion of you.
    If your personal house is built on the wrong foundation, it won’t withstand the tests of time. Don’t be deceived by pride. Be renewed by submission. Admit what you don’t know so God can teach you what you need to know.

    The Wise Know God’s Authority

    1 Corinthians 3:19–20 ESV
    19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”
    You see, in the presence of the Holy God, we are undone. Our schemes are laid bare, our intentions are made clear, our results become about God’s opinion of us and not our own puffed up pride.
    If we are trying to think through God’s plans for the church without God’s voice of wisdom leading us, we won’t get far. We need God’s vision, God’s wisdom, God’s opinion. He makes some of us better thinkers than others, some of us better planners than others, some of us better administrators than others, some of us better helpers than others, and some of us better believers than others. We don’t think the same, we don’t work the same, we don’t see the same, we just don’t get it all by ourselves.
    We desperately need the Spirit of God that is present in the lives of every member of God’s church. It is when we submit to the mind of God, the plans of God, the purposes of God, we will come out as the people of God.

    Be the People of God

    not the followers of personalities.
    Paul has been continuing to remind us that we get on the wrong track if we follow human wisdom. I don’t care how good it seems to you. I don’t care how nice it seems to you. I care how amazing it seems to you. What count is what God thinks. What counts is what God thinks about you. What counts is what God thinks about His church.
    The People of God are led by the kind of wisdom the world doesn’t teach us.
    We need to know we are God’s people, God’s Temple, God’s Church, and that God is our guide, our hope, our stay, our future and our commander.
    1 Corinthians 3:21–23 ESV
    21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

    Celebrate Whose You Are, Not Just Who You Are.

      • John 17:21–23GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 Corinthians 3:16–17GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 Corinthians 3:17GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 Corinthians 3:18GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 Corinthians 3:19–20GS-NETBIBLE

      • 1 Corinthians 3:21–23GS-NETBIBLE

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