The Dwelling Place
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Den Of Thieves: Matthew 21:12-16
Pastor Rod Block - March 22, 2018

We are entering the week of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus comes to face His greatest challenge and achieve His great salvation work.

He is not going to enter as a warrior King to conquer and to reign. He's going to enter as a sacrifice for sin, to die and rise again. He's not coming as a conqueror on a white horse, He's coming as a humble King on a donkey's colt.

When He entered that eastern gate on that first Palm Sunday, He immediately went to the temple.

Matthew 21:12-13 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a robbers den.”

He does something that's shocking. The people who hoped that He would be the Messiah expected Him to attack the house of Pilate, the Roman ruler of Israel. But He doesn't attack the pagan idolatrous occupying Romans, He attacks the temple!

To Jesus the issue in Israel was not Roman occupation, the issue was religious corruption. He's not concerned with their politics. His whole ministry is always focused on the spiritual.

In John 4 Jesus said that God seeks true worshipers who worship Him in Spirit and Truth It is always about worship. Everything else is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Peter said, “Judgment must begin with the house of God.” 1 Peter 4:17-19

If the Lord were to come into this world today, He would not go to Washington and assault political powers, He would go to the churches and He would attack the heretics and the hypocrites and the exploiters and the phonies and the fakes, and He would call for true worship. Worship is always the issue.

The Temple had been turned into basically a business center. Moneychangers were making money off the name of God.

We have our false prophets today, as there were then, in it for filthy lucre. And they exploit people. In the American Church today have we not made church big business? We can't do anything, preach anything, sing anything, or reach anyone without buying or selling something! We copyright nearly everything. Someone needs to flip over the tables!

Jesus was on His turf and He said this is “My house,” It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, you have corrupted My house and the purity of My worship. He physically threw people out.

Afterwards, the blind and the lame came to Him (and he sold them the latest Christian health and diet book) just kidding, He healed them! You say, "Well, is there a temple of God today?" Yes. You're the temple of God. Paul says, Don't you know you're the temple of the Holy Spirit? Your body has been bought with a price, therefore glorify God with your body, the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Cleanse your Temple, and return it to a house of prayer! Prayer is both our responsibility and our privilege. Prayer, like air, water and food, is necessary for our survival and growth.

God longs to see our heart, our temple, transformed into a house of prayer. Why? Because there is so much He longs to do for you and through you. As you begin to pray, a divine progression will take place within you.

First, Jesus cleansed the temple causing it to become a house of Purity. Then He taught in the Temple: causing it to become a house of Preaching and teaching. Then He declared in the Temple: it would be called a house of Prayer. Then the temple was transformed into a house of Power the blind and the lame came. Finally, the temple became a house of Perfected Praise.

We long to see God's power, but before the power of God can be revealed, we must develop the discipline of prayer.

We should pray: “God, I want You to take everything out of my life that's not like Jesus. I don't want anything except what glorifies and magnifies Jesus Christ the Lord.”

Let Jesus drive out and overturn the things in your life that are preventing your temple from becoming a house of prayer, a house of power, and a house of perfected praise.

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THE DWELLING PLACE - April 26, 2018