Jesus Overturned the Tables

Mark 11:15-17 NIV

“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you have made it “a den of robbers.”’”

What is God’s Temple Today?

If Jesus was to enter into most buildings called “church” these days in America, what would he see? And what would his response be? Would he be pleased with the activities, the sermons, the “praise and worship” in song, and the small group “Bible studies,” etc.? Or would he have a similar reaction as he did to the money changers in the temple of God?

First of all, what is the temple of God today? It is the hearts and lives of those who are believing in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. They were crucified with Christ in death to sin and they are dying with Christ daily to sin and to self, and they are living to God and to his righteousness, by God’s grace and in his power and strength (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).

So, they are in a covenant relationship with God, with Jesus Christ, which God initiated but which they accepted by God-given faith in Jesus. And God is the one who makes the rules, the guidelines for this covenant relationship, not man. Since even the faith to believe in Jesus comes from God and it is divinely persuaded, it forsakes sin and walks in obedience to the Lord.

For Jesus said that if anyone wants to come after him he must deny self, take up his cross daily (daily die with Christ to sin and to self) and follow (obey) the Lord. For, he said, if we save our lives (hold on to living for sin and for self) we will lose them for eternity. But if we lose our lives for his sake (die with him to sin and to self) we will have eternal life in him.

So, God set the standard for his temple today. He laid down the rules, which are his moral laws, which can be summarized in two: love God with your whole being and love your neighbor as you do yourself. And he set the criteria for what constitutes genuine salvation from sin which is dying with Christ to sin and living to God and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23).

For the truth that is in Christ Jesus is that we are “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph 4:17-24).

For, if we profess faith in Jesus Christ or we say that we know him or that we love him or that we are in fellowship with him, but we have not died with him to sin and we have not surrendered our lives to him to live for him and for his righteousness, but we are still walking (in conduct, in practice) in deliberate and habitual (repetitive) sin, we will not inherit eternal life.

Man’s Altering of The Temple

Collectively, we who are followers of Jesus Christ are the church, the body of Christ. The church is not a building, and it is not a business or a corporation under the state or a church denomination or a civic center or a social club. The church is the people of God who are in Christ Jesus by genuine God-given faith in him which produces repentance and obedience to Christ.

But much of today’s church has altered what the church is and they have exchanged God’s covenant – his gospel and his salvation – for a different kind of covenant that is not of God but of man. They have partnered with the world and they have turned the church into a marketplace which they are marketing to the world. And they have altered the gospel to make it more palatable and acceptable to the people of the world and to the flesh.

So, Christ is not the head of what is largely being called “church” here in America, for man is now the head via the government and big business and marketing schemes and church denominations. And the Lord’s gospel is not what is predominantly being taught, either, but a gospel of the flesh of man is what is permeating the “church” of today here in America.

The gospel of salvation provided for by God’s grace and by Jesus’ death on a cross and by his resurrection has been expanded and added on to and subtracted from by humans. In place of the Scriptures many are teaching books written by mere mortals uninspired by the Holy Spirit which are teaching humanistic philosophy and against holy living.

And they are teaching that we can make a confession of faith in Jesus and be guaranteed heaven when we die no matter how we live from that moment forward and without having to die with Christ to sin or to follow him in obedience to his commands. And this is because “the church” has largely turned into a business which is being marketed to the world.

So, Jesus Shows Up

So, here (above) is the present situation, and now Jesus enters into these buildings called “church” and this is what he finds – his gospel stripped apart, adulterated, and altered to make it more acceptable to human flesh with no requirements for repentance or obedience. And he finds the worship of him to be more about the entertainment of the masses.

And he finds that his authority has been superseded by the authority and teachings of man, and that the shepherds of the people have turned into clowns and entertainers who are making jokes about the Bible and who are soft pedaling the gospel so as not to offend the people of the world, and that sin is running rampant for the “new gospel” is giving permission to keep on living in sin, only now without guilt.

And so what does he say to all of this? What does he do? He will speak strongly to the shepherds about the sin that is running rampant in the church and that is destroying human lives and of how they need to teach the truth and demand repentance and obedience and how they need to rein in this sin and this false gospel and teach repentance and obedience.

And he will tell these pastors that they need to bring his gospel of salvation back and put his covenant back in its rightful place, and he will be demanding and insistent that this must happen. And he will accept no compromises. And he will chide them for turning his church (his body) into a marketplace, for our gatherings are to be for the praise and glory of God.

And actually this is what he is doing, only he is doing it through his messengers who are taking the truth of the gospel to the world around them and who are exposing the lies and the false worship of him that is going on in these gatherings called “church.” For Jesus didn’t come to the earth so that people could profess him as Lord while they refuse him as Lord of their lives and while they remain in their sinful practices.

So, please understand that Jesus is to be King of your life, and you are to submit to and surrender your all to him. You are to leave your lives of sin behind you and you are to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands wherever he leads you. You are to have no other gods before him, and the Scriptures are to be your rulebook for life, and not the teachings of human beings who are not teaching the truth.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

The Birthday of a King

Author: William Harold Neidlinger

In the little village of Bethlehem,
There lay a Child one day,
And the sky was bright with a holy light
O’er the place where Jesus lay.

‘Twas a humble birth-place, but O how much
God gave to us that day,
From the manger bed what a path has led,
What a perfect, holy way.

Alleluia! O how the angels sang.
Alleluia! How it rang!
And the sky was bright with a holy light,
‘Twas the birthday of a King.

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