Have you ever been to a temple?
In Jesus and Paul’s day there were all kinds of temples. A temple is a place where a god or goddess was worshipped. In the Old Testament, God had a temple where he lived among his people and they worshiped him. But the other false gods also had temples too. In the city of Ephesus there was a huge temple to the goddess Artemis. It was incredible. Pretty much everyone in Ephesus went to the Temple of Artemis.
All ancient temples had two things in common. First, the further into the temple you went, the closer you would get to the god who lived there. But second, not everyone could go to the center of the temple, only priests. These two things were true of the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, and the Temple of God in Jerusalem.
But here’s the shocking thing that Paul wants to teach the Ephesian Christians (and you and me) – WE ARE the temple of God now. Listen to how Paul says it in Ephesians 2:
Ephesians 2:19-21. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
Christians don’t go to a temple – WE ARE the temple.
Christians don’t offer sacrifices to God on an altar – WE ARE living sacrifices to God.
Christians don’t make a journey to see God – WE ARE taking God with us everywhere we go.
Christians don’t need a priest to sacrifice for us – WE ARE all priests to God.
Christians don’t need to pay for our sins – WE ARE cleansed of all our sins by the blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross.
Everything that once happened in a giant temple now happens inside of us. Why? Because Jesus lives inside of us. The Holy Spirit lives inside of us. God the Father lives inside of us. WE ARE a holy temple in the Lord!
Because of Jesus we are the temple of God.
With Jesus we can be his living sacrifices that show him to others.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Here’s a clip from Drive Thru History about the temple of Artemis. As you watch it together point out to your kids that the temple is in ruins. But we, the church of Jesus, can never ever be destroyed – we are a spiritual temple.
You are my God and I am your temple. Help me to be a holy temple for you.
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