Let’s Destroy the Temple…

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Let’s Destroy the Temple and have Faith in God
February 4th 2007 Sunday Sermon – Rick Thomas
Mark 11:12-26 (English Standard Version)

12On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.

15And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19And when evening came they[a] went out of the city.

20As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received[b] it, and it will be yours. 25And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”[c]

Let’s destroy the temple and have faith in God.

Application questions
1. Who/ What do you have a tendency to put faith in rather than God?

2. Can you trust God’s method of doing things rather than your own? Why/ why not?

Thoughts:
Conviction is not enough. For change to happen, there must be repentance (honesty, change, etc)

What is my temple?
Faith = trust.
Fake faith appears enthusiastic but doesn’t want to serve when times are tough (not necessarily suffering, but possibly also tough because it requires self-denial.

True faith is a gift – not a tool for manipulating the Almighty God.

The disciples heard it – they got it (v. 14, 21). The chief priest and scribes heard it and they got it too (v. 18).

Religion is being destroyed and relationship is being established.

Can you walk away from what appears to make sense (the temple) and follow God in faith?

Can you trust God?
There is a choice to follow Jesus even though it is contrary to everything you’ve ever known and to expect from Him what cannot be expected from anything else in the world. This temple is all the disciples knew – it was their only methodology, system, etc and now they’re being asked to follow this frail weak Jew?

Do I follow the familiar, the comfortable, and the crowds (etc) or do I follow Jesus?
There is a way, there is a truth, there is a life – and it’s found in a person – in Jesus Christ.

What incongruity is in my life? (Like the church in Charleston that is now made into a restaurant?)
1. The unfruitful tree
2. The unfruitful temple
3. The conclusion

v. 12-14 The Unfruitful Tree
Jesus was expecting to be satisfied – the tree appeared to provide something that it could not – fruit. Jesus was not wrong to expect fruit from the tree. How often do we pursue things that once we get it we realize that it can’t provide what we expect?

v. 15-16 The Unfruitful Temple
This is not a temple cleansing – He attacked the root.

Isaiah 56:6-8 (English Standard Version)
6″And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, to minister to him, to love the name of the LORD, and to be his servants,everyone who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant– 7these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer;their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar;for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.” 8The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, declares,”I will gather yet others to him besides those already gathered.”

If Jesus came into this room and started to tear up the stage wouldn’t someone try to stop him? Can you imagine walking away from this temple? (35 acres – this was all they’ve ever known)

v. 20-25 The Conclusion
This is not a cleansing – it’s a demolishing. It’s a signal to the abolition of religion – not more/ new/ different religion – instead faith in God (v. 22)

Mark 11:22 (English Standard Version)
22And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
He is calling us to make a decision – walk away from my temple not to create a new one but to follow Christ. Have faith despite everything to the contrary. Pray – God can do more than this temple ever could!

Faith is a quiet confidence in God who can do anything. Faith in God (rooted in the stability of God) is much more stable than our temple.

God can deal with any situation and every difficulty and with Him nothing is impossible.

Can you look to Him and be satisfied?

Who / what do you have a tendency to put faith in rather than God?

Can you walk away from your temple and follow this Galilean?

Personal application for Rick – He had a desire to be a pastor, talked to Jim Britt about SGM, not promise of ever being in ministry. For him the application was could he walk away from his strongest desire and find contentment in Him? God took away what Rick loved the most (the pastorate) so that he could have something far superior to anything he could have ever thought or dreamed.

Can I walk away from my strongest desires and find contentment in Christ?

Ephesians 3: 14-21 (English Standard Version)
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family[c] in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Who’s your Savior?
Let’s destroy the temple
Have faith in God

Mark 11:22 (English Standard Version)
22And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.

The fig tree and temple were never meant to satisfy. No friends, money, power, comfort – instead to have faith in the Galilean who is the Savior of the world.

Application questions
1. Who/ What do you have a tendency to put faith in rather than God?
My tendency is to trust in my self. To trust in my ability to control things – if I keep the “offense” in control, then I control the outcome of the game. Don’t let people know me well enough to alter my position as offense. To play the “pity” card and the “attention” card so that it benefits me. Consider relationships/ things that I say/ do so that it benefits me – even if I have to “bend the truth” a little. Basically I’m full of crap.

My temple is making myself look good or at least appear good (in control) no matter what the situation. If I can’t be in control, then I will be the victim – i.e. e-mail from this last week. I’m a victim of my pneumonia instead of realizing that ultimately my decisions have landed me where I am. I had a good car a few years ago, then I had to sell it because of speeding tickets – couldn’t afford the insurance because I hadn’t driven carefully and been prepared financially. If I had planned properly in the past, then I would have money set aside for sicknesses, car trouble, etc.

My faith is not in God to change my heart with this, but instead my faith is in what I can do to fix it.

2. Can you trust God’s method of doing things rather than your own? Why/ why not?
Ultimately I don’t trust God because of 2 reasons.
I don’t really think that I need it. I think that I’m okay and can pretty much figure it all out on my own. I miss the fact that I’m a sinner that deserves hell. And I don’t like to be reminded of that. I don’t need to depend on God to fix the relationship with my parents, I don’t need to trust God to provide for my needs, I just need to do it. I know that it’s also wrong to be fatalistic (just let go and let God…) which I have a tendency to do too, but I tend to jump from one extreme to the other. I tend to just sit back and expect God to do it all for me or I forget about God’s part and try to do it all on my own. I don’t realize on a daily basis that the only thing that I bring to Christ is my sin and that the only reason that I’m accepted by Him is because of the cross.

The second reason that I don’t trust God is because when it comes down to it I don’t really think that it’s for my best. I’m so concerned about me that I miss the fact that it’s not about me. I forget that I’m not God – I’m a created being – created by an Almighty God for His purpose – and that He is good. Basically I don’t live like what the Bible says is actually true for me (or anyone for that matter).

Its not really about a relationship for me – instead it’s about a religion. It’s easier to just put trust in my temple (because I can change it/ partially affect what happens/ I’m playing the offense not defense). I feel like if I trust God that I’ll be playing defense my whole life and fighting against everything. A relationship is scary because to have that – I have to completely trust God in every area. I have to stop trying to manipulate things to work for my best and believe that what he says is true – that He is working in my life what is best for me. With a relationship I have to relinquish control (believing Him to be truthful and honest). I think that God is like me – I think that He won’t stick to his word, just like I don’t tend to stick to mine. I compare God to what I would do if I were God (because practically in my life I am).

What is my temple?
My temple is my security – how I’m viewed by others, the fact that I need to be accepted. In order to be accepted, I need to be in control. In order to be in control, God can’t be. So then, it can’t be about a relationship for me because the only room in the relationship is for me. To allow someone else in would be to relinquish control of the only thing that I even can control (though I know deep down that I don’t even have control of what happens to me – I cannot make myself get healthy, or just “will myself” out of debt.)

Fake faith appears enthusiastic but doesn’t want to serve when times are tough (not necessarily suffering, but possibly also tough because it requires self-denial.
“When times are tough” for me means at times when I don’t want to do something. I can be enthusiastic when I feel like it or when it’s something that I want to do. But when I’m asked to serve in areas that I don’t want to – i.e. Promise Land; then the enthusiasm isn’t there.

True faith is a gift – not a tool for manipulating the Almighty God.
I think of faith as a bargaining chip with God. If I have faith, if I do such and such, then I should expect … in return. I look at faith as another way that I can get ahead. If it “benefits me” to have faith in God, then I’ll do it – but not because it’s right, rather because it benefits me.

Can you walk away from what appears to make sense (the temple) and follow God in faith?
My whole life has been about me figuring it out and doing what I need to so that I’m recognized, looked up to, etc. That is my only security. Now I’m supposed to walk away from it and just trust? I feel like the disciples must have felt – are you kidding me? You want me to walk away from everything and follow you? But you’re not what I expected. You don’t work in the ways I think you will. I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed.

Do I follow the familiar, the comfortable, and the crowds (etc) or do I follow Jesus?
It seems easier to just follow whats familiar; to follow whats comfortable and what others would expect from me. Following Jesus is unsure. I don’t know where it will lead me. I’m afraid it will lead me the same way it led Him – I know it will lead me to self-denial; to the cross.

There is a way, there is a truth, there is a life – and it’s found in a person – in Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, I don’t live like this is true. I think the way is the way that I figure out. The truth is relative and dependent on my situation – I can manufacture “truth” or the appearance of truth to benefit me. Life is just whatever you get out of it. You just do the best you can.

What incongruity is in my life? (Like the church in Charleston that is now made into a restaurant?)
Worshipping God, leading the church when my life is like the Mesa Grill – outside it’s a picture of a beautiful church, but internally, it’s a very different temple. My heart doesn’t want to hear the truth that I say externally. My will doesn’t want to change to the truth that the Bible says is the way, the truth and the life.

How often do we pursue things that once we get it we realize that it can’t provide what we expect?
My fear is that nothing ever truly satisfies. I’m afraid ultimately that God won’t satisfy either. So you just get by – and keep looking for something that will either temporarily satisfy or something that won’t remind you that you are unsatisfied.

My tendency is to switch my religions – from fundamentalism, to partying, to GCC – but ultimately, I’m still in “control” and its about what I say, do, think and how I’m perceived.

Mark 11:22 (English Standard Version)
22And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.
This sounds so easy. Its not a 98 step program. Just have faith. Believe what God says is true. Quit trusting in my own abilities.

Can you look to Him and be satisfied?
I don’t currently do this. God doesn’t satisfy me. The “god” I’ve created – that’s weak, and manipulative doesn’t satisfy. I don’t have a real relationship with any other God than that.

Can I walk away from my strongest desires and find contentment in Christ?
What’s my strongest desire? To be accepted. Why is that such a strong desire for me? Maybe because I (victim mentality) felt in many ways that I never was. The world was/ is cool to me. Their opinions matter – I want to be known as someone who’s got it all together – someone who’s stylish and popular – someone who’s strong – someone who’s confident. I guess then (going along with that) that my biggest fear would be to be “found out.” It’s a fear of mine for people to know that I’m not who I try really hard to portray myself to be.

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