February 11, 2024, It’s All About The Temple Of His Body, Epiphany 6

If you prefer to worship at home at this time or simply wish to listen to the service or sermon again, you’re welcome to use the links below to have a time of worship at home. (Just click on the link to play each hymn or the sermon in a separate tab, and close that tab when finished.)

When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost, to heal the broken,
to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people,
to make music in the heart.

HYMN 558 We Are The Church
We Are The Church – drolas94
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ughMVTMhCuc

A TIME OF PRAYER (Testimonies, Joys & Concerns)

Congregational Prayer −
Lord, I believe: Help my unbelief. Help me to see my world as You see it.
Lord, I obey; Help my disobedience. Focus me; guide me. Prune me.
Lord, I follow; Help me to stay on the path. Thank you for the path, for guidance, for Providence and protection.
I humbly ask for wisdom and for knowledge in every human situation.
Lord, help me to flourish as a part of the vine, as a means of grace, as a person through whom your Holy Spirit flows. Amen.

Please pray for yourself and your neighbors, lifting up your needs to God while giving thanks for answered prayer.

The Lord’s Prayer: Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

HYMN 328 Surely The Presence Of The Lord
“Surely The Presence of the Lord is in This Place” | The Arch Street Band
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbt5jMpPUws

MOMENTS WITH THE CHILDREN – If you are blessed to have children with you, ask them what they are thankful for, and then thank God together!

GIVING OF OUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS – these can be mailed to the church office.

MESSAGE: It’s All About The Temple Of His Body
Text: John 2:13-22, 1 Cor 12:7-15
Series: The True Work Of Christmas for 2024

Right-click, open in new tab to play … Sermon audioSermon slides as a PDF file.
Wesley Sermon Audio

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SERMON NOTES

John 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”

21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

1 Corinthians 12:7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. …
11 All these are inspired by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills. 12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body …

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545 The Church’s One Foundation, v. 1-3, 5
The Church’s One Foundation is Jesus Christ Her Lord – soloist: Rouchelle Liedemann
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, South Africa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA-JXeHDRDw

BENEDICTION The Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood, as to understand
To be loved, as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
And it’s in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

If you worship at home, please let us know so we can pray for you!

TRANSCRIPT

Amen. We have gathered here to worship. We have gathered here in this beautiful building to be with each other and be with God. We are doing in our worship what’s been done for centuries in churches and what was done in the temple in the New Testament in Jerusalem.

On the other hand, there is a verse in John chapter two that indicates that Jesus wanted to do something new and something new with the temple.

And I’d like to give you a way to think about that. It’s an understanding of systems. Down at the bottom left-hand corner of the picture there, you see two circles that are involved with each other. And this is a systems archetype, the name of which, interestingly, is limits to growth. But honestly, you could also call it limits to change. It comes from the work of MIT professor Peter Senge and his book, The Learning Organization.

But there are two parts. And the first part, just like the medicine you take every day, the first part is the active ingredient. That’s the snowball rolling downhill. That’s the ingredient that brings change. And in every pill, that ingredient is surrounded by filler. You know what the purpose of filler is? To make the medicine easy to swallow. Sometimes the filler is a delayed release to where the medicine slowly enters the bloodstream.

But the whole point of the filler is to be of assistance to the active ingredient and to keep everything calm and comfortable and happy. The reinforcing loop brings change. And if the change comes too quick, too hard, too much of a push, the balancing loop, the part that’s supposed to help you feel comfortable, can rise up and try to stop the change. And in fact, ironically, it’s frequently very, very successful at that. The change is the active ingredient. It’s what we need. The change is something that’s new. But the way we have always done it before is extremely powerful. In fact, there are sociological studies that say that the way we’ve always done it before has 84% of the power. Little wonder if people put it to a vote, new things are turned down. Especially when, like Jesus, Jesus pushed the way the Jewish religion had always done it before. And friends, they pushed back and nailed Jesus to a cross. That’s what happens.

And that has led some people to say that, well, when we need change, what we need to do is do away with that balancing system. We need to do away with the structure. We need to do away with the idea that the way we’ve always done it before should have any influence at all. And of course, you know those people who want to change everything, you probably know somebody like that. I’m worried to say I’m probably like that. Kim makes a delicious supper and I say, “I wonder what this would taste like if you put green peppers in it.” Because I’m that “let’s try something new” guy. But everything new doesn’t always have to change everything that we like. In fact, I want to say that structure can be very helpful to change because successful change requires structure.

And the reason this is important is people who study this say that if you try to change the world, if you try to change the place you work, if you try to change the school system, if you try to change a community, and if you try to change a local church, 84% of the people will rise up and try to stop you. I once had a good friend in college. His father was a pastor. And he said that his father almost got fired because he moved the piano from one side of the pulpit to the other side. And friends, not this church, you people are so nice, but some are like that. Successful change requires structure, for some things to stay the same.

Now, do you like hot coffee in the morning? I know I do. What if you have it poured into your hands? This does not work! Like the little poem says on the screen, hot coffee is a change.

Hot coffee needs a cup …
And the cup needs the coffee.
Coffee without a cup is a mess.
A cup without coffee is just empty.

Another way to look at the same thing is a flower can grow very well in a flower pot. And you can have it in your house. You can have it in the window. But the flower pot needs the flower.
And the flower pot, the way we’ve always done it before, without something living and growing inside of it, is just empty. Consequently, what Peter Senge says, “It’s wise for us not to push growth, but to remove factors that limit it.” And then growth and the way we’ve always done it before cooperate with each other, and they get along with each other.”

So Pastor Dave, where is this in Scripture? Let me show you. Now, keep in mind, this is John chapter 2. This is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Now, this would happen again just before He was crucified. But this is the beginning of Jesus’ ministry.

The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And in the temple, he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons and the money changers at their business. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all with the sheep and oxen out of the temple. If you look at the picture of the temple on the screen there, across the back, you know how big that is? That’s five football fields. From the back to the front, that’s three football fields. And in that entire area were people selling oxen and sheep and pigeons for the temple. Because you see, here’s the truth as they saw it. The way they always have done it before is this. You had to buy the sacrificial animal to get forgiven. And they made money off of people having to pay for forgiveness. They not only made money, they got incredibly rich. In fact, the tribe of Levi that ran the temple received an offering of 10% of every crop, every profit throughout the entire land of Israel. Plus everything that was sold in the temple is a giant business. And some people today say the church today is too much like that.

And he poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. You see, you couldn’t give a gift to God with the money you had because there was a picture of the Roman Emperor on it, and some people worshipped the Roman Emperor. So you had to exchange your money for Jewish money, and son of a gun, when you changed it, a little bit of it stuck to their fingers. And everything about religion was how to make money. Verse 16. Jesus told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away. You shall not make my Father’s house, a house of trade, a place to make money.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for thy house will consume me.” And just like that snowball rolling downhill, Jesus wants to do a new thing. God wants to do a new thing. God wants to create a new kind of church. And this is where Jesus announces that.

But first, so that everybody’s paying attention, there is what we could call a come to Jesus talk. It’s time for you to understand who’s in charge here. It’s time for you to understand that there’s a new sheriff in town. And you know the interesting thing, see this painting on the screen? This, by the way, is repeatedly done. There’s Jesus dressed like someone in the Bible, but all those other people are dressed in clothes like the people of the time when the painting was painted. Because you see, friends, we still need to understand that Jesus is in charge.

So after Jesus did this, the Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” In other words, if you’re a prophet, prove that what you say comes from God. Verse 19. Here’s Jesus’s reply. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple.” And he’s standing in the middle of that giant building, five football fields by three football fields. He says, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” Verse 20. The Jews then said, “It’s taken 46 years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” Now, here comes the point:

But he spoke of the temple of his body.

Now, what is the temple of his body? God wants to do a new thing, and the temple is now not a building made of stone, but it’s the temple of the body of Jesus Christ. Verse 22. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.

God was going to do a new thing and all the sacrifices in the temple were going to be replaced by a loaf of bread, the body which is given for you. All the sacrifices in the temple to take lamb’s blood in and pour it on the Ark of the Covenant was going to be replaced by a cup that would be passed among people like you without having to buy anything or pay anything, a free gift. Jesus was going to the cross so that he could say, “It is finished.” And when he was raised from the dead, there was a new kind of church, the temple of his body.

The place in the Scripture that most plainly talks about this is 1 Corinthians 12, where it says to each – by the way, there are no exceptions – To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. In other words, God is going to work through each one of you people, and He’s going to work through the really smart people, and He’s going to work through the other people. He’s going to work through the people who are really musically talented, and he’s going to work through all the other people because He’s going to work through every single one of the people. Verse 14, For the body, the temple of his body, for the body does not consist of one member, but many. We are the church as we sang at the beginning of our worship today.”

Verse 15, “If the foot should say, “Because I’m not like that person, because I’m not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say … or the eye should say, or you name it, doesn’t matter. You are a part of the body! And the church of Jesus Christ is a church that’s not made out of bricks, although we like bricks. It’s a church that’s made out of people, people just like you.

And in fact, you are the church. You are the new temple of his body. As Paul says in verse 27, “Now, now, right now, now, you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” Every one of you is needed. Every one of you is important.” And friends, that’s a change.

Now, what actually brings the reinforcing influence for change, the snowball rolling downhill? What is the active ingredient? Friends, it’s the commands of Jesus, in which Jesus says: I want it this way. I want it this way. I want it this way. And the people listen and they let change happen when Jesus asks for it.

But if that change pushes the way we’ve always done it before too hard, what happens is the way we’ve always done it before comes up and crushes, smashes, strangles the new change in order to stop it from happening. Because the purpose of the balancing loop, the purpose of the institution, the purpose of the way we’ve always done things before, is to stop things from changing in any way that would make you or I uncomfortable.

And you can still see that today. Sometimes there are big fights in the church.

But here’s what I would like to suggest to you as an alternative. The commands of Jesus, just as they encourage us to change, will also provide the structure for us to keep everything in balance. So if our choice is to follow Jesus, to do what Jesus asks us to do, we will find that there will be new things and new people, but we will find that what we love and care about will still be true. When we follow Jesus, it all fits together.

So consequently, I want to say to you people of the United Methodist Church of Kinmundy, Illinois, if you will join me in praying that Jesus is Lord, if you will join me in trying to understand the commands of Jesus to live them and do them, we will find two things will happen: The first one is this prayer on the sign at the front of the church will come true because we pray, “Lord, thy kingdom come!” Not mine, not my ideas of what it should be like. “Thy will be done.” And Lord, right here, right now.

We still have this wonderful church building. It will be like a flower pot. But because we follow Jesus, we will be alive and growing and sheltered and protected by the structure like all filler that helps us to grow. And so the future and new things and a new church will evolve as we live out the commands of Jesus. Because as the hymn says, the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ our Lord.

Please pray with me. Lord Jesus, you are the structure that keeps us on the right path. Your words guide us in this life. But I thank you, Lord Jesus, that your words are also alive in the Scripture. You compared them to seeds. And so, Lord, as we sow your words, your instructions, your way of seeing our world, your way of living in our world, we will find growing within us your presence and your spirit, to cause us to be the church that you need and the church that you want us to be. Amen.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: Let’s have a conversation! Please reflect upon the questions below as you consider the material presented above. In a comment, share your thoughts and additional questions. What would you like to know?

What grabbed your attention?
What is the human need or problem?
What questions do you have about any quotes provided?
Does the Bible say anything about this?
What solutions do you see for the problem?
What specifically could we begin to do to make a change?

Additional Resources

Kinmundy United Methodist Church is located at 308 E. Third Street, Kinmundy, IL 62854. Worship begins at 9 am Sundays. The building is handicap accessible.
Wesley United Methodist Church is located at 3381 Kinoka Road, Patoka, IL 62875 in the country between Kinmundy and Patoka. Worship begins at 10.45 am Sundays.
VISION: We are a functional family of God, where Jesus is Lord and people grow.
MISSION: Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional. (¶126 of the 2016 Book of Discipline)
Paradigm: There are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples and disciples who need to become disciple makers.

(If you wish, you can listen to the Prayer of St. Francis being sung:
Sarah McLachlan – Prayer of St. Francis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agPnMxp5Occ )
 

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