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A Place for His Name

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
September 10, 2021 9:00 am

A Place for His Name

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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September 10, 2021 9:00 am

The Jewish temple was much more than a place to worship God. It was the symbol of his presence! So, why don’t we have a temple today?

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. The glory of God, Ezekiel predicted, would no longer be found in a beautiful place, the temple. The glory of God, he said, will be found in a beautiful person, Jesus. And anyone who comes to him from any nation by faith for forgiveness and healing for their sin will receive it the moment they ask for it. And those who come to God through his name in prayer, God says, I'll hear the things that they're asking. Welcome to Friday here on Summit Life, the Bible teaching ministry of pastor, author and theologian J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Bittovitch. You know, when we're teaching little kids about the Bible, as I often do with my kids, we often explain the Jewish temple as the Old Testament version of the church. And in a sense, that's kind of true. But the temple was so much more than a place to worship God. It was actually the symbol of his presence with his people. So why don't we still have a temple today? What changed? That's the question we're tackling today. Pastor J.D.

is continuing our series called The Whole Story, and he titled today's message A Place for His Name. After a national championship, you've probably seen this in just about every sport, you'll see the winning team immediately put on T-shirts and hats with their team's name and national champs and whatever year that they won it in. And literally the moment the buzzer goes off, they're wearing those hats and T-shirts.

And when I first saw that as a kid, I always thought, like, how do they make those things that quickly? And then, of course, I had the genius realization that they had a stash of shirts with either team's celebration victory on hand, just ready for whichever team won the championship. Then I had the second thought, I'm like, ah, but what happens to the losing team shirts?

I wondered. Nobody wants to wear that if your team didn't win. Well, for a long time, the NFL and the NBA and all the other leagues sent all those wasted shirts announcing the wrong winner straight to the incinerator.

But about 15 years ago, humanitarian aid groups lobbied those organizations to have them sent to kids in poorer countries who wouldn't know that they were inaccurate or really even care. I think at one point when I lived over in Southeast Asia, I remember 1998 seeing a Utah Jazz 1998 championship hat back, of course, when Michael Jordan was dominating everything in basketball with the Bulls. And I saw that shirt and I thought, was there ever even a chance that the Utah Jazz was going to win that?

Why would they even print that shirt? These items were created to remember, to celebrate a great victory with joy. But nobody wants to see him anymore because the sight of them only reminds losers now of the shame they feel about what they lost. In many ways, that's what the temple became for Israel. The temple was supposed to be the greatest expression of Israel's victory. It was supposed to be their glory.

Instead, it's going to become the great symbol of their failure. 1 Kings 8, we're going to look at basically the whole chapter. And as we journey through our story here and the whole story, we're going to come now to this story of King Solomon, David's son, dedicating the temple that he's just built for God. 1 Kings 8, it is hard for us to appreciate what a magnificent structure this temple was. God had made Solomon really, really, really wealthy. And the temple that Solomon builds reflects his wealth.

It was huge. The book of 1 Chronicles tells us that it took more than 150,000 laborers more than eight years to construct it. Everything was layered in gold. According to 1 Chronicles, Solomon used more than 4,000 tons of gold and more than 40,000 tons of silver. The price of what he used in today's value would be more than $160 trillion. That is trillion with a T. One scholar said that the amount of gold that Solomon used in the temple was about four to five percent of all the gold that had been mined on earth up to that point. As in, of all the gold that we'd ever mined on earth, one twentieth of it was in one building. And then there were the precious stones, marble and onyx and rubies and emeralds that were all over the walls and the pillars.

This thing had some serious bling power. As you were coming up to Jerusalem, you could see it for a long ways off. The most awesome thing about this temple, however, was when the glory of God and this thick luminescent cloud descended upon it. And that's the story you see in 1 Kings 8. It tells us that the cloud was so thick and the glory was so bright that the priest had to leave the temple.

They couldn't stand to be there. Verse 10, you'll see this, when the priest withdrew from the holy place, the cloud filled the temple of the Lord and the priest could not perform their service because of the cloud for the glory of the Lord filled his temple. Verse 22, then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and he prayed.

And then it records the prayer for us. There's a lot of great things that we could focus on in this prayer. I'm only going to have time to choose just a few of them, but go to verse 29. He says, may your eyes, God, be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, my name shall be there so that you will hear the prayer that your servant prays toward this place. Verse 33, when your people Israel have been defeated by an enemy because they, they sinned against you. And when they turn back to you and give praise to your name, making requests to you in this temple, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people.

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, when famine or plague comes to the land, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come. And when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people, Israel, being aware if they are the afflictions of their own hearts, real quick, that word afflictions means, means their sin, sinful tendencies. The word he used for no is the, the, the, the Hebrew word yada, which is a word that means not just a casual knowledge, it's a word that meant very intimate knowledge.

As in a man knew his wife, sexual intimacy is the word yada. It means when you're really intimately familiar with the sinful tendencies of your heart, you don't hide those. You expose those to God and admit your weaknesses and you confess it. When they do that and spread out their hands toward this temple, then God hear from heaven, your dwelling place, forgive and act. Verse 41, ask for the foreigner who doesn't belong to your people, Israel, the one who's not a Jew, the one who is, is from a Gentile nation, maybe one of our enemy nations. When they've come from a distant land because of your name, they heard about you for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm. They're going to hear about all these answers to prayer that we receive in this temple. And so they're going to be moved to come and pray toward this temple. And I pray God that you'll hear from heaven, your dwelling place, do whatever that foreigner asks of you when they're still a foreigner. So that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you as do your own people Israel.

And they know that this house that I've built bears your name indeed. Verse 54, when Solomon had finished praying all these prayers and supplications of the Lord, he got up from before the altar of the Lord, where he'd been kneeling with his hands spread out toward heaven. All the people to his back, he stood and he turned and he blessed the whole assembly with a loud voice saying, praise be to the Lord. Not one word has failed of all the good promises, but he gave through his servant Moses and then repeated through David and many of the other leaders that we've looked at through the whole story. Verse 58, may he turn our hearts toward him to walk in obedience to him and keep the commands, decrees and laws that he gave to our ancestors. Verse 62, then the king and all Israel with him offered sacrifices before the Lord.

Solomon offered 22,000 cattle and 120,000 sheep and goats, which is 142,000 animals. This prayer of Solomon expresses what the temple was supposed to be. The temple was supposed to be a place of refuge for Israel and a place where the foreigner could come and find salvation. This temple was the height of Israel's glory. It was the purpose God had said that he had chosen them for and what he wanted to use them for in the earth. I'm going to bless you if you remember the promise given to Abraham, and I'm going to also make you a blessing to the nations.

This is the blessing. Sadly, Israel did not heed Solomon's final admonition. In fact, Solomon himself did not even stay faithful to the commands, the decrees and the laws of God like he admonishes the people to. Solomon had a weakness.

You probably know this if you spend any time in Sunday school at all. Solomon had a weakness, and the weakness was women. Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, which are, I guess, like half-wives.

We know of him as the wisest man ever to live, but that is insane. And he liked exotic women, it seems, because he married all these princesses from around the world, and so they brought their foreign gods into his house with them. And he even began to build little temples and shrines to their gods so that they would be happy, and eventually he began to worship those gods himself.

This was a harbinger of the entire future of Israel. Israel is going to have a succession of kings after Solomon that, on the whole, not only tolerate the worship of these other gods but give themselves entirely to them. Realize that the worship of false gods in those days was about a whole lot more than just religion. For them, these gods promised survival.

These gods, they thought, were the means to something that they needed. False gods in the ancient world are called bales, and each one, each bale, was tied to a specific thing that people wanted. For example, there was the bale of fertility, or there was the bale of good health.

Each career field had its own bale. There was the bale of rain or the the bale of the harvest, who was called the bale of hay. The nearby Greeks had gods and goddesses for every—you caught that.

Some of you are just now like, oh, I get it. The nearby Greeks had gods and goddesses for every sphere of life. They had Artemis or Diana was her nickname. She was the goddess of prosperity or money.

You had the goddess Athena, who was the goddess of intelligence and political prowess. All these gods and all these different spheres that promised something specific, and here was the deal. When you needed something, you could, if you were an Israelite, you could ask God to provide it, like Solomon tells him to do, and you could wait on him. Or you could turn to one of those false gods, and a lot of times people got impatient with God.

They'd ask God. They gave him a chance, and God didn't do it on their timetable, didn't do it like they thought he should do it, and so they lost confidence in God, and they weren't quite sure that he was going to take care of them like he promised, so they turned to idols. God put them through a time of testing.

You've been in one of those, and then they turned to one of these idols and said, God, this substitute provider, I'm going to look to more than I look to you. Well, sadly, that's the course that Israel chose, and because of that, God eventually sent them into exile out of the promised land he'd given to them, just like he promised that he would. The Assyrians are going to invade the northern 10 tribes of Israel in 722 BC and carry off the northern 10 tribes into captivity, and then another kingdom, the Babylonian kingdom, is going to come in 586 BC, and they're going to take captive the final two, the southern tribes where Jerusalem was. Now, I want to leave 1 Kings 8, and I want to go to the book of Ezekiel, because right before the southern two tribes where the temple was, right before they were carried off into captivity, the prophet Ezekiel has this vision of the temple right before it's destroyed, and this vision is kind of the last thing we see of Solomon's temple in the Bible, and I want you to see how he gives you a picture of it because it's really important for understanding where the whole story is going to go from here. 1 Kings 10, verse 4, the glory of the Lord, remember the glory that came in on the cloud and rested there and drove the priest out because it was so bright, that glory rose from above the cherubim and moved cherubim, or the angels, and moved to the threshold of the temple, so it leaves the holy place and goes out to the edge of the temple. The cloud followed the temple, the presence of God filled the temple, and the court was full there of the radiance of the glory of the Lord, but it's no longer on the holy place. Verse 18, then the glory of the Lord departed from over the threshold of the temple and stopped above the cherubim.

While I watched the cherubim, the angels, spread their wings and they rose from the ground. They stopped at the entrance of the east gate of the Lord's house, so they're going out the east gate of the temple, and the glory of the Lord was above them. Then the glory of the Lord went up from within the city, so it keeps moving out toward the east and stops above the mountain east to it. So you get this image of the glory of God lifting up off the Holy of Holies and traveling out to the outer parts of the temple, because the Holy of Holies was there in the center, going out the east gate, going out the east gate of Jerusalem, then going up the mountain there on the eastern side, which is the Mount of Olives, and then disappearing up into heaven, and that's the last they see it.

It departed from earth. And so you read that right before this temple is destroyed and you think, is that it? Is that the last chapter? Has the glory and the presence of God departed forever? Is this really the end? Is the glory of God gone? Has He departed from the earth forever?

No. No, thankfully your Bible doesn't end in Ezekiel. God had determined to bring salvation to the human race.

He'd made unconditional promises to Abraham and to Moses and to David, and even Israel's failures are not going to stop him from keeping that promise. Interestingly, when you go to the life of Jesus, the Gospel of Luke tells us that on Jesus's final ride into Jerusalem, He actually takes a very interesting route because as He's coming into Jerusalem, it says that He went up the Mount of Olives, He got on a donkey and He came back down, which is sort of interesting because He didn't need to go up the Mount of Olives. He just sort of, He only went up to come back down. So He goes up the Mount of Olives, comes back down. It says that He goes to the east gate of Jerusalem, and then He goes all the way into the temple where He takes out a whip and He cleanses it, driving out the money changers who are buying and selling in the temple. And He says, you tear, you know, tear this temple down.

I'll rebuild it in three days. Talking about Himself. Interestingly, the place that Jesus drove them out from was the court of the Gentiles. And as Jesus is driving out these money changers, He says, Luke 19 46, is it not written? My house shall be called a house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. Isn't that what Solomon said it was supposed to be? But you, you've turned it into a den of thieves.

This was supposed to be, He said, a place where foreigners from other nations found open me. This was the court of the Gentiles. They're supposed to come in here and watch you in worship. And they were supposed to seek help in God.

But instead, you turn this into a place where you could just make money for yourselves. So Jesus took out a whip and He cleansed the temple, restoring it to its original purpose. And then He offered Himself up as a sacrifice. Because animal blood could never take away sin and animal blood could never cleanse the heart, no matter how many animals you use. Only His blood could do those things. His blood could do what no temple, no matter how beautiful, no matter how much gold, how much solar, how many diamonds.

He did what it could never do. It could not only cleanse our sins, it could take it away. And it would change our hearts so that we would love and seek God and not give ourselves to idols. And then Jesus turns and He says, whosoever will, in other words, foreigners from any nation on earth, people at any stage of life with whatever they bring to this temple, they can come to Me and pray because I'm the real temple. And they can find the forgiveness and healing that Solomon promised, they can find it in My name.

The glory of God, Ezekiel predicted, would no longer be found in a beautiful place, the temple. The glory of God, He said, will be found in a beautiful person, Jesus. And anyone who comes to Him from any nation by faith for forgiveness and healing for their sin will receive it the moment they ask for it. And those who come to God through His name in prayer, God says, I'll hear the things that they're asking. So we are supposed to, you see, take all the promises that Solomon gave to them about the temple, we're supposed to take those and apply them to ourselves. And when we pray in Jesus' name, they prayed toward the temple, wherever they were, they'd turn toward the temple and they'd pray. What we're doing is we're saying just like they turn their face toward the temple and pray, we are praying in Jesus' name because all these promises become ours in Jesus because He's the real temple. And like Paul says in First Corinthians, all the promises of God are yes in Christ Jesus. So everything that's in the Old Testament applies to me through Jesus' work. So what does that look like? What does that mean? How do you apply these promises to you?

Well, I'll give you a handful of things here. This is what it looks like to take those promises and make them yours. Number one, God answers prayer. God answers prayer.

And I know, I know that just seems so obvious. I know it's like a Sunday school answer. You're like, I came to church to hear that.

Of course, you're going to say that. You know, Sunday school answers where the answer is always God, Jesus, prayer or the Bible. You know, the story of the kid in Sunday school that the Sunday school teacher says, what has four paws is gray and a bushy tail. You know, the kid raises his hand and is like, sounds a lot like a squirrel, but I know the answer has got to be Jesus because we're in Sunday school. I know this is like a Sunday school answer. Like, oh, God answers prayer. Of course he does.

But here's my question for you. Do you honestly believe that he does answer prayer? Listen to these promises again.

Verse 29, 1 Kings 8, my eyes and my ears are going to be open to the temple, but day and night, I'm going to hear whatever my servants pray, whatever they pray. When you've been defeated by an enemy because you sinned against me. When the heavens are shut up because there's no rain, even when it's your fault. In other words, when famine or plague comes to the land or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers. When an enemy besieges you in any of your cities, whatever disaster or disease may come.

What disaster or disease has come into your life, into the life of one of your kids? When any prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people, Israel or for us in the church. When you spread out your hands toward this temple and pray, I will forgive. And then I will act. I won't just forgive.

I'll also begin to act on your behalf. We're talking mostly about forgiveness. Yes, that's the big thing. But he says, I'm also going to begin to act in your life. Is it not clear from these promises that he actually answers prayer? And is it not clear that our prayer changes situations?

Isn't it clear from how Jesus repeated many of these same promises in his own words and in the New Testament? Matthew 7-11, ask. Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find.

Knock and it will be open to you. Matthew 21-22, in all things that you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive. John 14-13, whatever you ask in my name, that will I do so that the father may be glorified in the son. Paul Miller, who wrote a great book called A Praying Life, said all of Jesus's teaching on prayer can be summarized in one word. Ask. Ask. 1 John 5-14, this is the confidence which we have before him that if we ask anything according to his will, anything, he hears us. Y'all, don't we see God's willingness to answer prayer even demonstrated in the life of Jesus himself? The Gospel of Matthew records the story of a woman who has this, what the Bible calls an issue of blood.

It's a chronic disease. She's had it for 12 years. She comes up behind Jesus to touch the hem of his garment. She doesn't even make eye contact with him. She just wants to touch the hem of his garment as he goes by because she needs him to heal her. Well, Jesus turns around as all these people are there in the crowd. He turns around and says, who touched me?

He genuinely doesn't seem to know. And his disciples are like, what do you mean somebody touched you? You're in a crowd.

All these people are pressing in on you from every side trying to get you to sign autographs. And he says, no, no, no. Somebody touched me touched me. He touched me because I felt the power go out for me. I explained to y'all that what amazes me about this passage is that Jesus talks about his healing power as if it's a reflex that he can't control. Like it's an involuntary passive response that was generated by this woman's faith and it happened before he even consciously knew about it.

And I'll tell you, here's what bothers me as a theologian. Aren't we talking about Jesus, the son of God who knows the end from the beginning? Does he really mean to imply that sometimes our prayers or that she surprised him?

Well, no, of course he's not trying to say that he doesn't really know what's going to happen. There's too many other places in the Bible that says that he does. The only reason I can come up with that the story is told in this way is because Jesus is wanting to show us that his response to faith is so reliable that it might as well be an involuntary reflex. Again, this is first and foremost, like I explained, it's about salvation. God forgives and heals immediately when we reach out and we lay hold of him as our savior in faith. But it's also about how God continues to act and continues to work in our lives.

Here's something we say around here on our Summit Church pastoral team. We say where trust exists, God moves. Faith, in other words, enacts a power from God that is not available until you believe. When you believe, God begins to work.

And if you don't believe, then the power is not going to be there. Peter, Peter walked on the water because he believed. And when Peter ceased to believe, he began to sink. I understand that the Bible teaches that God is not a genie in a bottle, but it also shows us that Peter's faith activated Jesus's power to hold him above the waves. And when Peter stopped believing, the power disappeared and he sank. Well, does that mean it was God's sovereign will for Peter to sink? I don't know. It doesn't even sound like an intelligent question to me. Maybe. But I also know that Peter, had he continued to believe, he would have stayed on top of the wave.

Let me say this in a deliberately provocative way. It's over-speak. In the Gospels, Jesus does not respond to prayer. In fact, you could almost say that Jesus criticizes people for thinking that their prayers are going to make God do something. In Matthew 6-7, he says, you think you'll be heard because you're much speaking? You think because you pray all the time that God's going to suddenly, you know, God just likes to hear words and he's like, that's inundated.

And he's like, okay, no. What he responds to in the New Testament is not words in prayer. What he responds to is faith. When somebody believes and they express that in prayer, then he acts. How many times do we pray to God?

Much speaking, but we do it without faith. I tell you one of the things I've begun the practice of, in my prayer time is saying to God, after I pray, I'll pray about something and then I'll say, God, I trust you with this. And the reason I do that is because I often find myself telling God about my problems, without the faith that he's going to move.

I get up from my prayers, worried about them as I was when I got down on my knees. But see, I know that when I place my trust in him, if you'll hear me what I mean by this, he has to move. It's not that I'm manipulating him, it's that he's promised he won't ever abandon or let down those who lean on him in faith. That of course doesn't mean that he's going to do things exactly like I think they should be done, just that I know he's moving with goodness and grace as I continue to believe. He promises that he is.

Where trust exists, he moves. You're listening to Pastor J.D. Greer on Summit Life. Today's message is a part of our teaching series called The Whole Story. It's a cover-to-cover overview of the Bible that's helping us see how all of Scripture is really the story of Jesus. To go along with this series, we have a new resource simply called The Books of the Bible Cards. This set of cards will help you as you read to make connections with the context of the original audience. Each card, one for each of the 66 books, includes details about the book, when the book was written, by whom and to whom, three key truths gleaned from the book, where the book points to Jesus, and a reflection question to help you apply the book's message to your life. Ask for The Books of the Bible Cards when you give today.

Call 866-335-5220, or you can give and request the cards online at By the way, if you haven't checked out Pastor J.D. 's newest podcast, you'll want to do that today. It's called Ask Me Anything, and Pastor J.D. gives candid, concise answers to tricky questions from listeners like you about faith, life, and leadership. Listen at or through your favorite podcasting app. I'm Molly Vidovich inviting you to join us next week when Pastor J.D. continues today's message called A Place for His Name. We'll see you Monday, right here on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-18 01:27:26 / 2023-08-18 01:38:41 / 11

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