United Church of God

Guard The Temple

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Guard The Temple

In just a few hours we will once again be observing Pentecost…the Feast of Firstfruits. This holyday pictures the next step in the plan of God, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon those whom God has called. As such, we are the firstfruits of the Kingdom of God. We are set apart from the rest of the world, being called to be the first to receive eternal life and be in that kingdom.

Our part in this process is that we answered that calling. We responded by making a covenant with God at baptism. We had hands laid on us and received God’s Holy Spirit. We literally became the temple of the Holy Spirit. De you realize what an honor and privilege that is?

In Mark 11:15-17, we see Jesus walking into the temple. It had become a place of merchandising. He threw the money changers out of the temple, overturning their tables. Can you imagine the sight? Coins flying everywhere, people scurrying to collect as much loose coinage off of the floor as they could scoop up? But this was God’s temple! It was not a place to be buying and selling. The temple was sacred, and Christ was doing what needed to be done to cleanse the corruption that had crept in.

God’s temple must be free of that which corrupts. As the called out ones who are a part of the firstfruits, we are that temple (Eph. 2:19-21). We are collectively the temple of God, and individually a temple of God’s Spirit. If Christ lives in you, you have that Spirit, and you are a holy temple! Your body and mind no longer belong to you (1 Cor. 6:19-20). As such, we need to keep the temple clean! We can’t let corrupt things in! We see a lot of corruption around us. We can’t afford to let any of it creep into our lives. We’ve been given God’s Holy Spirit, and with it, the responsibility of protecting the temple in which it resides.

As firstfruits, we are also to be producing fruit. Christ once cursed a fig tree because it had no fruit on it. Back in Mark 11 again, this time in verses 12-14, we read the story. But it was not yet time for figs. Why did the tree need to be cursed if it wasn’t even the time for figs? Because the tree already had leaves. Some early fruit will begin to appear on the tree before the leaves come out. This tree which had leaves already, did not have even one piece of fruit on it. While it wasn’t time for the main crop, there should have been a few early figs available to be eaten. But this tree had none. That was a sign that it would not bear any fruit all summer long.

Any tree that will not bear fruit is worthless. It is cut down and burned. It has no usefulness. God called us, and gave us the Holy Spirit, so we could bear fruit. He expects us to be fruitful. That’s why we’re called the first FRUITS.

As we enter the Feast of Pentecost, keep in mind how blessed we are to have been selected to have a part in this stage of God’s plan. He gave us the Holy Spirit, and our body became a temple for it. We must guard that temple, and not let it become defiled. Secondly, God expects us to produce fruit. The fruit we are to produce is detailed in Galatians 5. Trees that produce much fruit are profitable. The rest are useless, and fit to be destroyed.

So keep the temple clean and pure. Don’t allow any corruption in. Remember, Christ is in you. His Spirit resides in you. His temple must be kept clean. We need to be fruitful servants, producing that which we were called to produce. By doing these things we show God how much we appreciate having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit!

Don McCoy
June 2, 2017