13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple,[c] and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Father, teach us what the Church is, why we gather as believers on every Sunday. Tell us what Your House is supposed to be used for. Remind us, Jesus, why your body is the temple of God. Teach us, Lord, these two things. We ask this in the Precious Name of your Son, Amen
Before I cover John 2, I just want to remind all of us why we are studying the teachings of Christ.
1 John 2
27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
We’ve received this Anointing and this is not referring to a spiritual gift. It is not a preaching gift. It’s not a healing gift. It’s not these types of manifestations of the Spirit when he says, you’ve received this anointing. He’s talking about the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the chrisma, and with this anointing, this teacher inside of you will teach you about the (capital T) Teacher, the Anointed One. The chrismas reveals and teaches you about the Christos, Jesus Christ, who is the Anointed One.
And it’s just a bad translation. It says “it” will teach you. You know the Holy Spirit is not an “it.” The Holy Spirit is a Person. The Holy Spirit, He, will teach you about everything. And the focus of the Holy Spirit’s teaching is to remind us that we should abide in Christ. Abide in Him.
2 John 1
8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. 9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
Here the context is watch out for false teachers. And who is a right or true teacher? Somebody who brings the true teaching. And what is the true teaching? It is the teaching of Christ. In other words, Christ’s teaching. All the red letters in the Bible.
And if you abide in this teaching of Christ, you have the Father and the Son. And we found out last week in John 7 that the reason why we have both, it’s a two-for-one deal because if you have Christ’s teaching, the teaching of Christ, who is the source of this teaching? It’s the Father. Jesus only taught what the Father taught. He only worked when he saw the Father working. He was a fully obedient son. And so the Father’s teaching equals Christ’s teaching.
And if you abide in this teaching of Christ, you will never be deceived by a false teacher. So check every teacher that you listen to, every church that you step into. Do they teach Christ’s teaching, the Father’s teaching? Are they abiding in this? Are they going past it? Have they moved past it as if what Jesus taught is elementary and now there are greater things to teach, as if there’s something more important than what Christ taught?
If Christ, the Teacher, came and He wanted to make sure that as followers of Jesus for every generation to come after the first generation of disciples who actually saw him and lived with Him, do you think that Christ would leave out anything that was essential for godliness? Or, would He leave out something critical to being faithful disciples who would reach final salvation? Do you think Jesus would would omit anything important?
Or, do you think that He emphasized everything that needed to be emphasized? And with the help of the Holy Spirit, we get to unpack the depths of Christ’s teaching, how profound it is and how every Scripture points to Him and it is revealed to us in greater and greater measure that the source of every teaching in Scripture is what Christ Himself taught.
If you don’t believe me, let me point to Jesus’ own words captured by just one of the gospels, the gospel of John. What does Jesus Himself say regarding the centrality of His teaching.
31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Whose word? Jesus’ word. If you abide in MY word, you are truly my disciples. So as disciples of Christ whose word do we abide in? Jesus’ words. This comes straight from the mouth of the Son of God, the Anointed One. And as ones who have received the Anointing, we agree with the Holy Spirit.
There are secondary teachers all throughout Scripture. And if you abide in their teaching, you might be free for a short while. But what is the only guarantee that you’ll be free and that you will stay free as disciples of Christ? We must abide in Jesus’ words. And if you abide in Jesus’ words, the guarantee is you will free you and you will stay free.
23 Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
Whose word do we keep? Apostle John’s words? Apostle Paul’s words? Many people in the Church glorify Paul. Whose word do we abide in? MY word – Jesus’ word.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
And so the Holy Spirit’s ministry is to teaches you about everything. And what does He bring to remembrance? Peter’s words? John’s words? Moses’ words? No, Jesus’ words.
7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
We know that we are to abide in Jesus, but more specifically, what does it mean to abide in Jesus? It means to abide in His words. Nobody else’s words. Not your favorite pastors words. Not a preacher on YouTube with millions of hits – not their words. Jesus’ words. If you abide in Jesus’ words, you are abiding in Jesus Himself.
John 2 – the chapter opens with Jesus performing his first miracle at the wedding at Cana. Now we just have to take a step back and ask why. Of all the miracles, why does He perform a miracle of changing water to wine? And the setting is a wedding. Why? It’s because Genesis 1 – the Bible begins with a wedding. And did you know that, Revelation 19, the Bible and all of human history will end in a wedding? And there is no marriage in heaven, which tells us that everything here is just a pointer and a shadow of things to come.
This first miracle tells us that for Jesus, the one-line summary of why He came into human history is He came for His bride. There are many ways to understand the love of God. God the Father loves you like a father to a son. He loves you like a parent. He will sacrifice and give everything for the children. But that is only one aspect of the love of God.
He will love you as your Shepherd, He will love you as your Teacher. He will love you as a Servant – He will wash your feet. And these are all aspects of the love of God. But the primary definition of God’s love for you in its fullness is marriage. Because marriage, the love between a husband and a wife, far surpasses the love between a parent to child, friend to friend, it far surpasses boss to employee.
The love of a spouse is passionate. The love of a spouse has a longing to be with your beloved. There’s an intensity. And nothing in Scripture makes sense unless you realize that the Bible is a love story. You will not understand anything in Scripture if you do not realize the point, that all of human history will culminate in a marriage, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Nothing in the Bible makes sense unless you know that you are loved this much. The love God is a passionate love.
As soon as you start dating, you get a glimpse into what kind of love this is. Like if you’re really a good son, you call home maybe once a week, once every few days, maybe a really good son or daughter would call home once a day. When you’re in love, it’s like every minute you’re thinking about that person.
It’s like you text your beloved, the person you’re engaged to, and I’m sure Jimmy can share his testimony that when he texted Jeralyn in the beginning before they were engaged, when he texted and he wasn’t sure, does Jeralyn really love me? And he texted and an hour went by, he’s starting to sweat. Five hours goes by, a day goes by, and he’s really worried that she’d done with me. Has she moved on to somebody else?
That is the intensity of Jesus, our Bridegroom, and His love, His passionate longing for His Bride. And the to the believers, to the followers of Christ, to the disciples of Christ, Jesus says, I love you this much. And we say, eh, I’m not that interested. That is the chief sin of the Church. The chief sin is that we have so many other loves. Jesus, He loves me this much, but I’m not that into Him. That is the chief sin of His Bride.
That is why we get deceived so easily and antichrists slip in something other than our love for Jesus and we stop abiding in His word, we stop seeking Him as a Person and we settle for being active in small group or joining early morning prayer. We think that’s what our journey is about.
Nothing in Scripture will make sense unless you know the ultimate goal. It is to be wedded to Christ. That’s why man and woman they leave father and mother and they become one flesh. D-Elaine (Dongyoon + Elaine), or Jim-alyn (Jimmy + Jeralyn), or Jera-my is a spiritual, theological truth. You become one. Jesus in the end is not content with you just following Him from a distance. He wants to be one with you, united with you, in you. We are in Christ – He wants that level of intimacy.
Nothing in Scripture will make sense unless you know the goal. It is to fall in love with Jesus. And if you have fallen out of love with Him, stop everything and seek Jesus afresh.
Jesus cleanses the temple. You know this is so important because He not cleanses the temple here in John 2, at the beginning of His ministry, but also in the other 3 gospels. The other 3 gospels show that Jesus cleanses the temple at the end of His ministry, which shows us, I mean, if something shows up in all 4 gospels at different times chronologically, you know this is a big deal. This is a big deal.
13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Here, Jesus doesn’t give the full rebuke. But if you turn to Matthew 21, or Mark 11, or Luke 19, Jesus is angry because the religious leaders have turned the Father’s house, which should be a house of prayer, they’ve made it into a den of robbers. And if you take all 4 accounts as a whole you see the problem.
You see that Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 56 where we have a prophecy about all of us, all gentile believers, foreigners who will come to the house of God and we will offer our prayers and our offerings and our sacrifices and there will be joy. It’s a foreshadowing of us gathering at the house of God, the Father’s house, to pray and to offer sacrifices and there will be joy and gladness.
But the problem is described in Jeremiah 7. The leaders have turned what should be a house of prayer into a den of robbers. And the leaders are saying, this is the temple of the Lord, this is the temple of the Lord, this is the temple of the Lord. Jeremiah says it three times. God says, these leaders are hypocrites. They are oppressing the sojourners. They are robbing from the fatherless and the widows. They are shedding innocent blood. They are deceptive in their words. They worship other gods. They’ve turned the house of God, which should be a house of prayer, a temple of the Lord, into a place where people are robbed and God Himself is robbed. And God says I’ve seen it. I have seen it. You leaders, you’re deceiving the people, but I see.
Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7 and in John 2, is overturning tables. And He says, you’ve turned this house of prayer into a den of robbers, a house of trade, a place of business.
If you did not know, church is a big money-making business in this world. The false system of religion in this world is robbing the people of God. It’s a huge business. Huge business. You look at some of the megachurches and you look at their weekly offering, it’s shocking. And the tax-exempt salaries of pastors – there is no transparency.
I mean, do people go into the ministry to get rich? I mean, that’s such a base motive. That is so shameful, but sadly many people do. Maybe they didn’t start out that way. Maybe they started out with good intentions, but along the way, they realized, I can become rich in church. I can rob the people of God quite easily.
Some of the most well-known pastors, if you knew their net worth, your jaws would drop. If you knew how much money they were making a year, you would never step foot into their churches.
It is shameful. I know that as a church we tithe and we do it to protect our hearts from the love of money. But we should ask, what is this money being used for? What did God intend for the money to be used for? Is it to build bigger buildings? Is it to go to stadiums and sell them out and charge people an entrance fee? Is it to sell books and become a New York Times best-selling author and collect royalties for the rest of your life?
The fact that in places like Jeremiah 7, the fact that he mentions the fatherless and the widows and the innocent, it tells you right there what God’s money is supposed to be used for. But in places like America, where is the money being used? Where is the money going? Right into the pockets of its leaders.
Personally, I think it is a sin to charge somebody even one cent to listen to you preach. Yet, there are pastors who charge to listen to their podcast. I used to think that was okay in the past. I thought, they would use the money for good. But when I look at Jesus’ reaction to what was happening in the temple of God, I am changing my perspective.
Because sojourners are coming. They’re going to celebrate the Passover. They want to offer a sacrifice to the Lord. They’re from out of town. This is a once-a-year pilgrimage to Jerusalem. They’re going to the temple of the Lord. And what did the Pharisees do? They saw a financial opportunity. These false teachers saw a financial opportunity.
All of these out-of-towners, they don’t know where to buy animals. Are they going to carry a sheep for a hundred miles, or are they going to buy it when they get to Jerusalem? And then they get there, they don’t know where to buy it. Or, maybe they bring the animal to the temple because they bought it from a local shepherd. They buy a sheep, but the leaders running the temple, they said, no, that animal is not approved. You need to buy it from us. And they could charge 2 or 3 times, a huge markup in the price of the livestock. And who was getting rich every Passover? It was the leaders.
The more I sit on this, I just think it’s a sin to charge even a cent for preaching the word. I think it’s a sin. I mean, of course, we in a church setting, you support the local pastor/minister because ministers bring the word to the congregation. I can see that in Scripture. I can argue a case for that in Scripture, but for the church or for a speaker to charge for any material when Jesus never charged people, it seems sinful.
For Jesus, when a crowd gathered around Him, did he charge them, or was He ministering to the crowd free of charge? The disciples, was He collecting an offering from the disciples because they were following him? I just think it’s a sin the more I sit on it to charge even one cent – a book royalty, or an admission fee to listen to you when you speak at a conference. I mean, you could give a love offering. You can suggest a love offering, but to charge people an admission fee to hear the word of God, I thought it was supposed to be free.
I think anybody who charges you for a book, for a sermon, for a worship session, they are the kind of people that Jesus was rebuking. Because the last person to be rich in this world is a pastor, a minister, a preacher. Because we’re not doing it for the money. If I wanted to be rich, I would have never gone into the ministry. I was perfectly fine in my career. I just think it’s a sin. So look at the people that you that you gravitate toward on YouTube. The people you listen to on Spotify. The big name bands, preachers, churches. They are collecting money, not just from their local church, they’re collecting money from the Universal Church.
Some who are gifted like John Piper, he put some boundaries in his life as it pertained to finances. He wrote 50+ books. He spoke at countless conferences over many decades. But he made a commitment to the Lord early on that he would never collect even one cent other than what the local church provided for me. All of the extra from book royalties and speaking fees is going to be in the hands of the non-profit ministry called Desiring God. He doesn’t have access to the money. That is that is a wise steward. That is someone who is protecting his heart from the love of money.
The Father’s house is not a place where people should be robbed. The Father’s house is a house of prayer. Why do we gather? It’s to pray primarily. It’s to pray. That is the main reason why we gather on Sundays and Wednesdays, every time we gather, the main reason is so that you and I can pray. The Father’s house is a place of prayer.
And the word “house” in “house of prayer” can be translated “oikos.” Another way to translate it is household. Which means, it’s not a church building. You don’t go to the house of God. In your household, when you pray before every meal, that is a house of prayer. The Father’s house is a house of prayer. May we never forget. That’s why we gather. We don’t gather so that we can raise big funds and build bigger buildings. I mean that is so ridiculous. So ridiculous. That we would do a building fund while people are hungry on the streets. Where should God’s money be used for? The widows, the fatherless, and people in the body of Christ who are hungry.
But instead, the people of God are being robbed. And these big name pastors are flying in jets. Anybody who charges you even cent for their music, for their books, watch out, brothers and sisters. Don’t be deceived. If Jesus were here, He’d be overturning many tables still. It happened in Jeremiah’s day and all throughout the Old Testament when the spiritual leadership was dull and dark and hypocritical. It happened in Jesus’ day with the Pharisees while they ran the synagogue like a business. Do you think the problem has stopped, or has it only exponentially exploded?
Look at the big names that you look to, you listen to their music, you read their books. The fact that they charge money is so shameful. It should be given free, shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t it be given free if they were really interested in blessing the body of Christ? Shouldn’t it be free? Like if God inspired me to write a book, should I collect royalties for the rest of my life, or should I just upload a pdf and distribute it for free because I want to bless the universal Church? Shouldn’t that be the heart of a minister. Was Apostle John charging a fee when he wrote to the brothers and sisters? I mean, that letter became God’s word. Was he charging for that letter?
It is so shameful what the church has become. And the antichrist, the brothers and sisters who used to be with us, but they did not continue with us, and they went out from us. Where did they go? They went to the world, and the world listens to them. Any preacher, praise leader, author, who is famous and and the world knows their names, I would say, watch out.
Jesus was not loved by this world. Jesus was not known by this world. Jesus was not rich in this world. Neither were any of His disciples. None were rich, nor famous. Instead, they were hunted down. They were ostracized. They were thrown aside. They were discarded. That is what it means to be preacher and a follower of Christ. And yet these modern day preachers who want to be known, who want to sell their books, who charge and rob the people of God, this is so ridiculous.
The Father’s house is a house of prayer. That is why we gather. And Jesus is the temple of God. We don’t go to temple. We don’t go to church. Wherever Jesus is, there is the temple. Wherever the brothers and sisters are gathered, the temple of God is there. As long as Jesus is there, you are in the temple of God.
What do you do in the temple? You offer sacrifices to atone for your sins. You kill an animal and its blood is shed. And Jesus says, I am the Lamb of God. So we go to the house of God to pray and we go to Jesus, the temple of God, to be cleansed of our sins. Because His blood has been shed. He is the one and perfect, eternal sacrifice. You don’t have to kill an animal anymore. His blood was shed for you once and for all. And you go to Him every time you sin, you go to Him.
And His blood covers you. And cleanses you. And if there’s one thing that I want to encourage you to pray today as a confession, it’s confessing, Jesus, I don’t love you the way You love me.
Like if two people were getting married and one of them really loved the other, but the other was not so into his/her spouse, we would say, what kind of marriage is that? When the guy is really into the girl or the girl is into the guy, but it’s not reciprocal, we would say, that marriage shouldn’t happen.
If it’s one-sided, this love affair is one-sided, we would think, you’re going to cheat on him/her. You’re going out on him. You don’t love this person enough. The first time you get into a fight and their quirks that you initially thought was cute but are now driving you crazy years later. And they keep nagging you, and then, they’re sick, and something happens. And a cute girl comes along, you’re going to dump her because you’re not that into her.
And regarding Jesus, if we’re not so into Him, why would He marry us? It’s the one thing we should repent of it. He’s so madly in love with you. But are you madly in love with Him?
We come to the Father’s house to pray, and we come to Jesus, the temple of God, to ask for Him to forgive our sins. Repent and recommit to Him. Renew your wedding vow to Jesus. Tell Him – Jesus, I want to marry You. You are the love of my life. All other loves, I repent of, I let go of all idols.
In the end, you will let go of everything in your life. You will let go of all your money. You will not take even one penny into heaven. You will even let go, if you’re married, your marriage partner. You will not be have a claim over him or her the way you do now as a married couple. You will let go of everything. Even your relationships will change.
And at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the only question that will matter, God will ask you, do you want to marry my Son? And we will say, I do. And I pray that it will be a hearty “I do.” Like you’ve been so looking forward to that moment to say, Yes, I do. I’m so in love with you, Jesus. And finally, I get to spend eternity with You. All of human history culminates in that one moment.
Church is the Father’s house, a house of prayer. And Jesus is the temple of God where we confess our sins. The main sin of a believer is that we don’t love Jesus enough. If you love Jesus, all the other lesser sins just kind of take care of themselves. I think you will not struggle with certain sins once this one sin has been overcome and you really love Jesus. All the other issues of life, the lesser sins you keep stumbling over, they will go away. Once you fall in love with Jesus.
Father, we come to your house. And your house is a house of prayer. That is the main reason why we gather – to pray to you every Sunday, every Wednesday. Every time we gather, the main reason is to pray, to offer up prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of supplication, prayers of worship,
prayers of confession.
Jesus, you are the temple of God. And you are the once for all Lamb of God sacrificed for all the sins of humanity for all generations. We thank you that every time we sin, we don’t have to buy an animal and sacrifice it at the temple. But we can come and ask for the blood of Jesus to cover us today.
We want to focus on the primary sin, and many believers are not even aware of this sin, that You are so madly in love with us, not even a second goes by when You don’t think of us, and You so long for Your Bride, You can’t wait for Your wedding day, and Your Bride is so lukewarm towards You. We have all these wrinkles and blemishes, we’re not getting ready, we’re not really looking forward to our wedding day at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Father, forgive us. Christian life at the center is a love relationship, falling in love with the Person of Jesus. So as we abide in Your teaching, Lord Jesus, we want to get back to the core of what it means to follow You. And first, it is to love You the way that a husband loves his wife and a wife loves her husband. Help us, Lord. Forgive us, Lord. Cover over our sins. Help us to put aside all idols, that we may follow and fall in love with You. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen