First, get rid of the moneychangers. Thatâ€™s what Jesus did:
â€œThen Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.â€ (Matthew 21:12)
â€œThen Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.â€ (Mark 11:15)
â€œThen He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it…â€ (Luke 19:45)
â€œWhen He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changersâ€™ money and overturned the tables.â€ (John 2:15)
Those are the four gospel accounts of Jesus cleansing the temple. It must have been pretty important if all four gospel writers decided to give an account. So what does that mean to us today?
Have we defiled our churches with false sacrifices? Are we trying to buy our way to holiness? If our church is selling a cheap grace, then it is time to turn over the tables.
Well what about all the bookstores and coffee shops in these churches Bro Dave, should those go? I have a better question for you; if you have them in your church now and the pastor decided to get rid of them, would you go? That is, would you leave the church because they no longer sell coffee or books?
Second way we need to cleanse the temple is get rid of the false teachers. Peter writes of their dangerous deception:
â€œFor when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: â€˜A dog returns to his own vomit,â€™ and, â€˜a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.â€™â€ (2 Peter 2:18-22)
If your pastor does not preach from the Word of God, about the sinfulness of man, the redemption found in Christ through His spilled blood, and eternity in either heaven or hell, you need either a new pastor or a new church.
Beloved, if you are in a church that teaches a false doctrine, or no doctrine for that matter, you need to find a new church. Solomon warned against following false doctrine:
â€œCease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.â€ (Proverbs 19:27)
When you stray from Biblical knowledge you become ungodly, which leads to foolishness. Isaiah warns:
â€œFor the foolish person will speak foolishness, and his heart will work iniquity: to practice ungodliness, to utter error against the LORD, to keep the hungry unsatisfied, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.â€ (Isaiah 32:6)
The most dangerous false doctrine are those that seem so commonsensical; it makes perfect sense to me Bro Dave. It doesnâ€™t make sense to me that a loving God would send anyone to hell. If God did not send anyone to hell He wouldnâ€™t be loving and He wouldnâ€™t be just! Paul warned against such worldly wisdom:
â€œBeware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.â€ (Colossians 2:8)
Third way to cleanse the temple is if you are a member of a church that is cleansed, then do your part to keep it that way. If your pastoral staff and ministry workers are biblically solid and top notch, let them know! Thank them. Pay them a good salary. Make sure you take care of them so they can minister to the flock:
â€œLet him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.â€ (Galatians 6:6)
A good thing is a word of encouragement; thank those who have sacrificially answered the call of God. October is Pastor Appreciation Month; kind of sad we have to have a special month to appreciate our pastors when we are biblically commanded to do it all year. Nevertheless, go out of your way to thank your pastoral team with a card, gift, whatever you can give. Anything and everything will be greatly appreciated.
These are just some very basic steps we can take. There are too many to list here but search the scriptures and work with your church to return it to the Biblical standard of holiness. That is how we begin to return to the Lord.
More on that tomorrow…
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Copyright Â© 2011 David Jeffers