Cleanse the temple!
In our Christian congregations we talk a lot about REVIVAL. And we also pray a lot about revival. We pray for revival in our lives, in our families, in the church, among our friends and out in the nation. This is something that Christians have been taken up with during the whole church history.
Here in this biblesection we see a real description of revival in the biblical way, - the way that we pray and long for. We can see that the apostles and believers in Jerusalem were living in a very strong atmosphere of revival. In the book of acts we can read a lot about that more and more people came to faith, and joined the church. We also read about mighty healing miracles and deliverance from demons. All this reaches such a high level that it all ends up with the words: ”…and they were all healed…”.
This is the level of spiritual life and power that we want to reach for .We want to see this, both in our own lives and in the church. And, in fact, the Bible actually gives us several promises that the end-time church will see and experience things that is even stronger than
things we read about in the book of acts!!
Yet there is very important to understand that we have a ”price to pay” and a ”road to walk” to come to this level of revival that we are so much longing for. These things will not happen by it self! REVIVAL WILL NOT TAKE PLACE IF WE SIT DOWN AND DON`T DO ANYTHING!! In other words: there IS a price to pay – the price of revival!
We will take a look at a biblesection in Matthew 21, that describes to us the ”road” we have to walk and the ”price” we have to pay…
CLEANSE YOUR TEMPLE!
Here we read the story about Jesus when he enters Jerusalem. In the verses before we read that the multitude worship Him as King, wave with palm-branches and cries out: ”Hosanna!”. And we read that Jesus enters the temple, where he makes himself a whip, and casts out all those who buy and sell in the temple, overturns the tables of the money changers and talk to them with rebuking words. This is the ”outside scene” of this story that we all know so well.
But I want to look much closer at the verses 12-14, because I want to show you a spiritual secret and truth that lies hidden in these verses. Let us take verse 14 first. Here we read: ”Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.” This sentence follows what we were talking about in the beginning of this preaching. We all have a common dream inside our hearts. Our hearts longs for revival, and we want to see many people saved,
Delivered and healed from their sickness and deceases. We might say that this verse 14 represents the atmosphere of revival that we are longing for. It represents the prayer-answer, the fulfilling of Gods promises to us and it represents REVIVAL!
But what I want to show you, is that we first have to walk through verse 12 and 13, before we end up with the glory of verse 14! In verse 12 we read that Jesus walks into GodsTemple, and cleanses it. What message do we get from this today? The answer to this lies in another question: What is the Temple of God in the new covenant?
Since WE are the temple of God, it means that the temple that has to be cleansed in the new covenant – is us! If we are going to follow the road to revival and break-through in our lifes that these verses show us, then it all starts with the cleansing of the temple! In other words: WE MUST LET JESUS CLEANSE OUR LIFES!!
What do we actually mean with this? We must let The Holy Spirit cleanse away everything in our lives that does not please God! Let us take some few examples:
Our motives and attitudes must be cleansed.
- Do we meet people with the love of God, or with
Our way of thinking must be cleansed.
Do we think in the same way as the world, or do we have the mind of Christ?
Our words must be clean and pure. They must promote the Kingdom of God, and not the opposite!
4) Our relationship with other people must be good, clean and pure.
Only if we surrender all to God and His Word, our life (temple) can be pure enough for revival to come! And after surrender comes OBEDIENCE! We must obey God in everything. If we obey the Word of God and do what the Holy Spirit tells us to do – then we are in a big step towards revival and break-through. But this is absolutely necessary if we want to move further and not stagnate. Obedience is the price for revival, and this is what Good seeks before anything else in our lives!
MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER
After cleansing the temple, Jesus says: ”My house shall be called a house of prayer…”
These words from Jesus tell us that we need to get our prayer-lives in right order. In the temple, which is our own lives, there must be raised an altar of prayer.
We know from the history of the church that every revival has started with PRAYER. The reformation in the year 1538 (with Martin Luther) started with prayer. The Wesley brothers and the revival of the methodists came out from prayer. The revival around William Boot and the Salvation Army came out from prayer. The Azuza-street revival, which was the very beginning of the pentecostal movement, started with years of prayer!!
Even the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost came after the disciples had been persevering in prayer…
The biblesection that we started this preaching with, in Acts 5, also came as an answer and result of prayer. In this section we read about the healing in mass and multitudes that came to the church. But only two chapters before, in chapter 3, we read about a big commotion and revolt because of one single healing miracle. After the healing of the paralyzed man, the apostles were arrested and brought before the priests – for their examination. But in chapter 5 we read about the healing in mass that becomes so powerful that even Peters shadow heals the sick!!
But what was the thing that liftet the the church in Jerusalem from the level of miracles in chapter 3 – to the level of miracles in chapter 5? Well, the answer is very clear. In chapter 4 we read about a great PRAYERMEETING… And this prayer-meeting became so strong that
After the church had finished the prayer, the whole place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…
PAY THE PRICE OF REVIVAL IN PRAYER AND OBIDIENCE
Let us make a summary. In these verses in Matthew 21 we read about Jesus entering Jerusalem.
Let us follow Jesus in these steps to revival:
Coming to Jerusalem is a picture of seeking God and coming before the throne of grace.
This will always be the first step.
Then we let Jesus cleanse the temple. This includes the dying from the ego, taking up the cross and follow Jesus.
Then we seek God in prayer, and let the Holy Spirit build an altar of prayer in our lives.
And if we are persevering in prayer, this will finally release the prayer-answer and the revival we have been praying for…
So when we walk the whole road through verse 12 and 13, we finally will experience the power, the glory, the blessing and the break- through in verse 14…