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2011-01-16 There is a Lion in the Temple

Time: 2011-01-29 Click:
 By Stephen
16 Jan 2011 Sunday

 

 

 
Bible Verses:   John 2:13-25 (NIV)
Jesus Clears the Temple Courts
 13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
 18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
 20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
 
 
 
 
Good morning brothers and sisters, I’m so happy to see you, and I’ve been longing to share the Gospel of John with you.
 
First of all, I would like to ask who has been the most influential person in your life?  There is a well-known magazine called Time, in 1999 they nominated & selected Albert Einstein as the most influential man in the 20th century, and they selected Bill Gates as the most influential man in the 20th century and 21st century. For the 20th century, because of Gates contribution to technology in computer revolution; for the 21st century, because of his contribution to philanthropy giving away a few billion dollars back to the society. 
 
Personally for me, there are some people in my life that have influenced me. My wife, she is the one that God used to bring me to the saving knowledge of Jesus. And God is using my son Timothy in my life, as a young boy, we asked him what was the most important to him, he said, “I want to be a man of God.” Those words have remained with me ever since, I wish those were my words when I was at his young age.
 
Today we look at man of influence, I believe there is one factor that characterises the most influential person: Passion. By definition, the Webster dictionary tells us passion is intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.  I believe that is the character of a person we consider - our Lord Jesus Christ.  We call Him the Lion of Judah.
 
 
Let’s look at the Bible John 2:13-15 in detail, we can divide it into three divisions :
1)     John 2: 13-17,
13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
 
We call this part as purification, Jesus purifies the temple.  In this first division, it set the scene as they are going to celebrate the Passover. Passover is the feast that Jewish people celebrate their deliverance from Egypt when they were slaves in the country. They have spent over 400 years in that foreign land with those foreign people who did not kneel and bow down to the living God. Slavery was a thing of the past now as you may think at this point, but Jesus tells us we are all slaves, whoever sins is a slave to sin, we are all sinners.
 
What does Jesus do when He sees people selling cattle and sheep, exchanging money at the temple instead of worshiping and learning the Word of God?   In those days, the temple required worshipers to pay temple tax. Pilgrims from far and wide came,  they would exchange the Greek or Roman money there first, and then they would offer their temple tax. Unfortunately this has developed the temple into a marketplace. Jesus sees people are not sharing the Word of God, not praying to God there, but doing trading with each other with those who have come to know God, who want to know about God. Jesus says, “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a marketplace? ” So He drives out everything in the temple. 
 
Jesus drives out the sheep and cattle, it also symbolizes the new sacrifice – the new sheep, He is the new blameless, spotless, perfect lamb of God. There is NO MORE NEED for animal sacrifices, Jesus now is the new Passover Lamb.
 
Jesus overturns the tables of money changers, it also implies that to come to God,  no money can buy over salvation. It’s free gift from God’s grace. God is doing something new, Jesus pays us all, a new way to salvation.
 
Again what characterizes people that influence us most in our lives?  It’s passion. Jesus has passion for God’s house. Do you have the same passion for God’s house? Do you have consuming zeal for Jesus Christ? As we say we love Jesus with all our hearts and souls, the purity of our hearts reflects the depth of our devotion to God.  When we come to God, our hearts have to be pure, not 99%, but should be 100% pure. Some may ask why I can’t be a little bit of not pure? After all, I didn’t kill anyone, I didn’t cause a revolution as serious as that, I didn’t do anything that landed me in jail, It’s ok, life is short, isn’t it?  But God says He is Holy, perfect, with absolute purity and the highest standard, whoever desires to have fellowship with God must obey Him, be Holy. 
 
How would you worship God more meaningfully then? Do you know how long it took Jewish people to prepare the Passover? – One month. The Jewish would clean homes, repair bridges and roads, wash clothes… they spent one month making sure that they are all ready for the Passover celebration.  What about us, how much time do we spend preparing us and our hearts for each Sunday worship? For some maybe one week; and for those who don’t spend days to prepare, I would encourage you start making some more effort on it.  
 
How can we prepare more meaningfully? By prayer, by reading the Bible... e.g, read three Psalms a day and one Proverb, do it each day, it will get you through these two books in a month.  A sister told me she has been reading and studying Psalms for over 20 years.  God has grabbed her heart, taken her from where she was and put her at where she is now closer to God, in deep communion with God. When you prepare well, you see and hear God more clearly. A practical application for preparation would be “ACTS”:
A - is Adoration for God, to praise God whenever possible.
C - Confession, say sorry for those things we have done to grieve God.
T - Thanksgiving, give thanks for every good and perfect gift comes from the Lord, including the things that we don’t like at the moment, but we know it’s good for us eternally.
S -Supplication, bring your prayer requests to God, pray to God whenever possible.
 
 
2) John 2:18-22,
 18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
 20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
 
This second division as prediction, Jesus predicts His resurrection.   Jesus is asked by Jewish leaders for miraculous signs, “why are you doing this?” Jesus replies, “Destroy this temple, I will raise it up in three days.” We know he was talking about His body, He is going to die a violent death in a few days, as they are going to destroy Jesus body. But death can’t hold Jesus, because Jesus is the resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in Jesus shall never perish but have eternal life. And that’s exactly what happened on that Easter Sunday morning,  Jesus rose from the dead! Jesus died and rose again so that we could have new lives.  He gives us a new way of worship in the first division we just talk about, and now He is going to provide us with new lives!    
 
 
 
3)    John 2:23-25,
 23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.
 
The last division in the topic, we use the word as perception - Jesus perceives people’ hearts.  Jesus perceives these people with shallow faith, they are all chasing His miraculous signs and super natual gifts, not chasing Him with the same passion like His for God. People’ hearts are likely to be self centred if they don’t know about God.  By Christ dying in our place, believers died with Jesus together on the cross, being united with Jesus in His death, we no longer have to die for our own sins second time, He paid a full price for us all, we are to have eternal lives with Jesus.
 
Some may think I would become successful very fast if I have my own way of doing things, even lie to others from time to time, white lies are ok; some may think I want to have idols, to live like  movie stars with fame and fortune; I want to have all the money in the world first, then I will think about Jesus and may repent my sins and follow Jesus later; I want to have all my dreams come true ASAP…What do you think? Lord Jesus teaches us, “Not my will, but God’s will be done.” Christians should love Jesus more than anything else in the world.
 
 
People all have one birth, as Christians, we have two birthdays: one natural birthday, and one Spiritual birthday.  The Spiritual life is eternal, it  never ends,  because God is eternal, we are joined into Him as part of His body, we will live with Him forever. We can’t have eternal lives without knowing Jesus Christ the Father sent to us.  How would you live to make a difference for eternity then? What are we going to do with eternal lives?  Here are a few points the Bible tells us:
a) You must love God with all your mind, heart, and soul, love people around you as yourself.  And you should spend your whole life doing that.
b) Contribute your talent, take part to do the great mission at Haidian church. We are on a mission to serve God, to fullfill what Jesus tells us to do - to tell the world about the Gospel, to tell the people in Beijing, in China, in each part of the world about God’s Salvation. 
 
Faith is essential to live out God’s will, can Jesus see that great Faith in you?  God knows us well individually, intimately, personally.  He created us, we are on God’s mind even before the creation of the world.  The Bible says with Faith, it’s possible to please God; without Faith, it’s impossible to please God. Many of us may have that aspect of Faith, we love Jesus, not only by lips, we do it with our hands, commitments, obedience, actions…
 
 
Lastly I would like to share a true story with you.  A man named William born in a millionaire family, after graduation he went on a trip around the world. When he came back, his heart was broken because he saw so many people didn’t know about Jesus, so many people didn’t believe in Jesus, they were Spiriually blind and lost.  He wrote in his Bible with determination: “No Reserves.”
 
William went to Yale university. He started a prayer group, and it grew to 150 members by the end of the first year. At the end of his senior year at Yale, it grew to 1000 people. After graduation he turned down many high paying jobs, went to a seminary at Princeton. At that point he wrote down these two words in his Bible, “No Retreats.”  William determined he would never turn around, his life was for God and for Jesus' great commission.
 
After graduation from Princeton William went to Egypt. He was on his way to  here China, unfortunately he passed away while in Egypt from final meningitis, He died at the age of 25.   In his Bible, they found his writing: “No Reserves. No Retreats. No Regrets.”   He said yes everyday to Jesus, and No to himself.   That’s a man of passion, a man of God!
 
Jesus Christ is the most influential person in our lives.  Jesus is the most passionate person and divine God in the whole world throughout the human history.  He died for you, He died for me, He died for each one of us, He died for us all, in order to give us new eternal lives.
 
May the New Year each of you live a new life with our passionate dear Lord Jesus.  God bless you!
 
Amen!
 

 

Summary by Claire 

 

 

 

Sermon Video for Download video  
Worship song: Alleluia To Christ The Lord mp3 lyric
Worship song: For All You ve Done mp3 lyric
Worship song: Everything To God mp3 lyric
Worship song: To You mp3 lyric

 

 

 
 
Alleluia To Christ The Lord
 
I will lift my heart and sing
I will worship You, my King
Earth and Heaven now proclaim
Jesus Christ, the mighty name
 
Through the storm and raging sea
I will never be alone
When my hope seems out of sight
I know You will shine Your light
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia!
Alleluia to Christ the Lord
 
敞 开 我 的 心 歌 唱
chǎng kāi wǒ de xīn gē chàng
我 要 敬 拜 祢 我 王
wǒ yào jìng bài Ní wǒ wáng
天 地 齐 声 来 宣 告
tiān dì qí shēng lái xuān gào
耶 稣 基 督 名 至 高
Yē sū Jī dū míng zhì gāo
 
就 算 面 对 风 和 浪
jiù suàn miàn duì fēng hé làng
一 定 有 祢 在 身 旁
yī dìng yǒu Ní zài shēn páng
当 生 命 没 有 盼 望
dāng shēng mìng méi yǒu pàn wàng
祢 荣 光 必 会 照 亮
Ní róng guāng bì huì zhào liàng
 
哈    利  路 亚
Hā    lì  lù yà
哈    利  路 亚
Hā    lì  lù yà
哈    利  路 亚
Hā    lì  lù yà
哈 利 路 亚!  赞 美 我 主
hā  lì lù yà         zàn měi wǒ zhǔ

 

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