The teaching of "The Church" as revealed in the New Testament is of utmost importance.
To be a member of God’s Church is the highest position a man can attain ever; surpassing that of Emperor, King or President, and the reason for that is, the moment we trusted in the sacrifice of our Saviour, God Himself forgave us our sin, and to make sure that no one else will get hold of us or take us from Him, He took up residence in us. John 14:16,17. Moreover it is clear from the word of God, that when God takes up residence in the believer, it is forever. 1Cor.3:16,17. "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?
The Church is God’s dwelling Place, even the local church is God’s dwelling place, every believer is God’s residence. God’s Home. God’s resting place.
There is an Old Test. picture; When Noah let out the dove it could find no foothold because of the troubled waters of sin, it returned to rest in the ark. When God the Father send the Dove, ( the Holy Spirit ) at the baptism of Christ, it could only rest on one person, the sinless Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. Of course everyone else needs the sacrifice of Christ first before the Holy Spirit can rest on him.
God’s Dwelling Place is said to be a building which is used for worship, and a building that is used for worship is called a temple. The first mention of this building is in Matthew 16:18 where the Lord Jesus said; "I will build my church". The second time it is mentioned in 1Cor.3:9 and referred to as God’s Building. The third time 1Cor.3:11 tells of the foundation of that building, and the fourth mention in Eph.2:20-22 marks out the purpose of the Building, a Temple, a Habitation, a Home.
I have been in the Building Trades for more than 40 years and in general when you think of building there are three things that come to mind, bricks, mortar and mortgage. The more important thing escapes our attention, the footing or the foundation. You see if the foundation is no good the bricks, mortar and mortgage are wasted. Make sure of the foundation, and let not your thoughts be settled on bricks, because bricks are man made. our thoughts are to be settled on things that God created, this morning it is Stones.
That’s why Peter said, 1Pet.2:5 Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house. Ye also = who else ? Verse 3+4 it is our association with our gracious Lord. Notice what it says: "To whom, coming as unto a living stone, chosen of God and precious. Christ is the living stone in v.4, the corner stone in v.6, the head stone in v.7, and the stumbling stone in v.8. Because of our association with Him it is written "Ye also".
The Old Test. speaks of two dwelling places of God. First in the tabernacle that Moses built, "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them". Ex.25:8.
Second, the temple that Solomon built, 1Kings chapters 5,6,7. The tabernacle or tent of the wilderness speaks of that which is temporary, whereas Solomon’s temple speaks of that which is permanent. Both foreshadow aspects of the Church, the House that the Lord is building, the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Heb.8:2.
This morning I have my eyes focused on those stones in Solomon’s temple.
1 Kings 5:17 speaks of great stones, 7:9 - costly stones, 7:9 - hewn stones,
7:10 - large stones, all stones to built the temple. No doubt the temple stones are a figure of the living stones taken out of natures quarry by the work of Christ. In the song of David, 2Sam.22:36 David said the Lord’s gentleness had made him great. So if there are great stones they are made that because of the Saviour. Blood, sweat and tears was needed to dig these stones out of the quarry. There was a cost involved to produce costly stones. Then there were hewn stones, rough ones, cut out and shaped, trimmed to fit. Silver, Gold and costly stones, precious stones went into that temple.
Computer estimates made in the seventieth put Solomon’s temple in the order of $87 Billion and at today’s prices you can easily double that. So today's price tag for Solomon’s temple would be 174 Billion Dollars. Cool, hey. Boggles the mind, but this is exactly what was in Peters mind when he penned these words, for he was writing to Jewish Christians who had an understanding of the temple and its cost, and this is his comparison, 1Pet. 1:18 "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver and gold.......19 but with the precious blood of Christ," in other words, the riches even as in Solomon’s temple pale into insignificance compared to the precious blood of Christ. 2 Cor.8:9, says, though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that ye through his poverty ye might be rich.
There is another extraordinary truth I would like to bring out and it is found in
1Kings 6:20,21,22. And the inner sanctuary in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height of it; and he overlaid it with pure gold and so covered the altar which was of cedar. 21, So Solomon overlaid the house inside with pure Gold; and he made a partition by the chains of gold before the inner sanctuary, and he overlaid it with gold. 22, And the whole house he overlaid with gold, until he had finished all the house; also the whole altar that was by the inner sanctuary he overlaid with gold. 18, and the cedar of the house within was carved with knobs and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.. Before I finish this I like to read you an eyewitness description of the temple as it was seen before A.D. 70 when Titus destroyed it.
Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing likely to surprise either men’s minds or their eyes; for it was all covered with plates of Gold of great weight, and, at the first rising of the sun, reflected back a very fiery splendour, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it to turn their eyes away, just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers when they were at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow; for as those parts of it that were not of gold, they were exceeding white.
Remember what we read in 1Kings 6:20-22 ? After the whole temple, all the stones were assembled, they were all covered with gold, no stone to be seen, v.18.
That kind of stuff reminds me of Rom 8:29 every believer is to be conformed to the image of His Son. Gal. 2:20 Not I but Christ to be seen. That is what the Gold speaks of and that is why Peter tells us that we are partakers of His divine nature 2Pet.1:4, clothed in gold the garments of salvation Isa.60:10, clothed in white, the robe of righteousness, 1Cor.1:30 the righteousness of Christ is placed on the believer. Brothers and sisters that kind of wardrobe alone no Rothchild, Rockefeller or Onasis with all their Millions will ever be able to provide for you. That kind of wardrobe should constantly remind you whom you belong to. The precious blood of Christ has no parallel. Its the only currency to make you a child of God. Rom.5:19 tells us that in Adam we were made sinners but to refresh our minds, consider what God has made us in Christ.
Romans 6:18 God has made us free from sin,
Romans 8:2 God has made us free from the Law.
1Cor. 1:30 God has made Christ unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.
1Cor. 12:13 all made to drink into one Spirit.
1Cor. 15:22 God has made us alive in Christ. God has made us what we could never do for ourselves.
Eph. 1:6 God has made us accepted in the beloved.
Eph. 2:6 God has made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ.
Eph. 2:13 God has made us nigh by the blood of Christ.
Coll. 1:12 God has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
Coll. 1:13 God has made us citizens in the kingdom of His Son.
Titus 3:7 God has made us heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Heb. 3:14 Made partakers of Christ.
Rev. 1:6 Made us Kings and Priests unto God.