Part 2 of We Are the Church
Text: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
You can listen to this sermon here.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
God Is With Us
First Corinthians was a letter written by the apostle Paul to a church located in the city of Corinth. Paul tells these believers, “You are God’s temple” (1 Cor. 3:16). In the original Greek, “you” is plural. Paul is saying that the church is “God’s temple.”
Why is the church called a temple?
Before the tabernacle (the predecessor of the temple) was built, God said, “Let [the Israelites] make me a sanctuary [i.e., the Most Holy Place], that I may dwell in their midst” (Exod. 25:8). Why was the tabernacle built? It was built so that God could “dwell in [the Israelites’] midst.” In 2 Corinthians 6:16, Paul writes, “We are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.’”
God dwells in the midst of the church.
Paul writes, “God’s Spirit dwells in you” (1 Cor. 3:16). The church “is [God’s] temple; his Spirit dwells in the church, in each local church.”
Have you ever walked alone in a forest at night? Everything is scarier when you’re alone in the dark. But as a church and as individual Christians, we are never alone. God is with us. Many times in the Bible God gives the promise of his presence to people who are afraid: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isa. 41:10).
God’s presence gives us courage in the face of danger.
Paul says that there are people in this world (sometimes even in the church!) who want to destroy us (“If anyone destroys God’s temple,” v. 17). How will God deal with a person who destroys a church? “God will destroy [i.e., eternally condemn] him” (v. 17).
The Walk of Faith
There’s coming a day when God’s people will be with God forever in heaven and there will be no reason to ever be afraid: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Rev. 21:3). The heavenly city will not have a temple “for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb” (Rev. 21:22). Until then, we—the church—are God’s temple. God is with us. We can’t see him, but he dwells in our midst.
At our church youth group, we had a challenge called “The Walk of Fear.” It was scary because they had to do the walk alone in the dark, not knowing what would happen. We are not to do the walk of fear; we are to do the walk of faith. In every situation, God is with us to give us the courage and strength to face any danger.