*** This article is part of a blog series by a Guest Author: Nic Thackwray. It is a journey into understanding better God’s Zeal for His House. You can check out the Introduction to the series here. ***
“And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:17-22
In John 2:19, while Jesus is clearing the temple, the Jews angrily question where His authority comes from to do such a thing and He effectively replies, “because I AM God’s temple!” The exact words are “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up… he was speaking about the temple of his body.” Jesus likens His own body to the physical temple. In fact, by His words, He revealed that in His mind He saw it as one and the same thing: the house of God. God dwelt in the temple and God dwelt in Him; they were collectively and individually the house of God. That is how we must think as believers – we are collectively (together) and individually (seperately) the house of God.
Being born again by the Spirit we are joined to Christ, we become “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5) and are placed by God Himself onto the cornerstone of Christ, and together with our brothers and sisters, “the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord” (Ephesians 2:21). God, the Great Architect, is building a house for Himself. He has chosen to use broken and rebellious people, you and I, whom he paid for with the broken body of His Son to wash us and make us a worthy fabric.
God is zealous for us, His house! Jesus is clearing out our lives! He is wielding a whip, driving out idolatry and half-heartedness, turning over the tables of legalism, unashamedly pouring out on the floor our love of money, driving out the fear of man and the love of self. He is shouting over us, “My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer!” God is zealous for you! He is zealous for true, God-glorifying, face-to-face prayer in your life.
How would you feel if you came home one day to find someone living in your home and they had dumped all your belongings in the street. Thinking about it that way doesn’t make Jesus’ reaction seem so excessive any more. That’s the way God feels about you. You are His. He bought you. He dwells in you. He is not going to tolerate anything else in His home. You are His dwelling place for all eternity. And you are holy to Him, wholly His.
John Piper says: “Missions exist because worship doesn’t”. The reason we preach the gospel, is to create God glorifying prayer, to restore true worship of God, to bring man back into God’s presence, friendship with Him. There will be no mission in heaven…only prayer. The mission is not to get people to heaven or to get people saved, the mission is to get people worshipping. Because it is about God, not people. But we as His people get to be inhabited by God, and there is nothing more joyous, more satisfying, there is nothing else worth comparing. And He wants to inhabit us today!
Thank you for reading this series. My prayer for you is that you would fully discover your purpose as the temple of God, as a worshipper, as an intimate friend of God, inviting others into this awesome relationship with God by demonstrating His love in your world.
Jesus, thank You for your zeal for me. Your zeal to restore prayer in me consumed Your life on the cross. Come into my life. Drive out all in me that is taking your place. Make this house a house of prayer where You may dwell and receive glory and love for all eternity. And make me zealous for Your house.