The Church as God's Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16) - Radical

The Church as God’s Temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)

“Do you not know that you are God’s temple, and that God’s spirit dwells in you?”
(1 Corinthians 3:16)

What a great question to put to the church, to remind the church. We’ve already seen a couple of different images for the church in First Corinthians chapter three, the church is God’s field, the church is God’s building, well, now the church is God’s temple.

Lord we pray that You will give us a high view of Your church as Your temple.

It’s interesting, just kind of a preview, First Corinthians chapter six which some may know, talks about how our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, so each one of us is the temple of the Holy Spirit, so each one of us is God’s temple. But here the picture is plural. When Paul says in First Corinthians chapter three verse 16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple, that God’s spirit dwells in you?” That’s not you singular, that’s you plural. The picture is yes, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, God’s spirit dwells in each of us, but there’s also a corporate community picture here where God’s spirit dwells in us together, and together we are the dwelling place of God’s spirit, and this is an awesome realization.

You think about gathering with your church on a Sunday, all these spirit filled brothers and sisters coming together, that there is a unique dynamic when the church comes together, the dwelling place of God’s spirit, he is with you, he is among you. When you gather with the church, just a powerful reminder, you are not alone, God is with you, God is among you, his glory resides in that gathering. Oh, that changes everything about how we approach that gathering. We come to this gathering of God’s church, as God’s temple with a sense of awe, with a sense of anticipation. We make sure his word is clear and everything we do, as we pray we’re not just saying words, we’re actually encountering God as we sing. We’re not just going through motions, we’re actually worshiping God. When we open God’s word, somebody teaches it. We’re hearing from God, this is communion with God in the temple. The temple is not the building, it’s the people, it’s this gathering of God’s people.

God, we pray that you give us a high view of your church as your temple. We pray that that would be the prevailing image we have in our minds when we gather together with your people on a Sunday for worship. God, we pray that we would be cognizant of your presence in our midst, aware that you are with us, and in awe that you are with us. God, we pray that these temples, these churches that we’re a part of these places where your glory, your spirit to dwells among us would indeed resound to your glory.

God, we pray in First Corinthians 14 way, that when people come in to this gathering, they would say God is among you and they would fall on their faces and worship. God we pray that there would be a clear aroma of your presence in our gathering as your temple God. Yet again, we praise you for the privilege of being your temple. Who are we? Who are we to be your dwelling place? This group of sinners who gathers together every single week. God, we praise you for making us your temple, for dwelling among us. We pray that you would make us holy, make us a reflection of your glory in every way more, and more, and more every week. We pray in Jesus name, amen.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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