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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

The Third Sunday After Pentecost
Series B

Option One: The Apostle's Description of God's Temple
I Cor. 3:16-23
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

I. God’s Spirit lives in you.

A. He entered at Baptism–Matt. 28:18-20

B. Thus, your body belongs to Him–1 Cor. 6:19-20

II. The source of Wisdom

A. Not man’s wisdom which is foolish (moronic), v. 18-19–Cf. Job 11:12 passim., Ps. 94:11; Matt. 18:4; Rom. 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 1:19-20; Col. 2:8.

B. But God’s wisdom, v. 20; Prov. 2:6, 9:10-12; 1 Cor. 2:6ff.

III. By God’s grace "All things are yours".

We are "joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:17). We are to inherit the "new heavens and the new earth where righteousness dwells" (2 Pet. 3:13-14). We are by God’s grace the "meek" who will inherit the earth (Matt. 5:5). 

John F. MacArthur, Jr.:

Even death is ours. The great enemy of mankind has been overcome. Christ has conquered death, and through Him we have conquered death (cf. 1 Cor. 15:54-57). We will pass through it as its master not its slave. All death can do to

the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior. That is why Paul could say with such joy, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21). Whether he remained on earth for a while longer or went to be with the Lord, he could not lose. For Christians, death can only make things better. To stay here and finish the work Christ has given us to do may be "more necessary," but "to depart and be with Christ … is very much better" (Phil. 1:23-24). For God’s people, this present life is good, but death—which ushers us into eternal life—is better. 

LAMB’S MESSAGE For Pentecost 3

All things are yours, whether ...the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours. 1 Cor. 3:21-22

Every so often when I read the Bible, I find something that I haven’t noticed before. This is one of those and it sounds a little strange too. Paul is writing a letter to people in the City of Corinth. This is the Letter that makes us so joyful at Easter time, because Paul tells us that we will rise from the dead and go to heaven with Jesus. Jesus paid the price of his blood on the cross so that we could belong to him now and forever in heaven.

Since Jesus paid the price for us, Paul wrote to them: "All things are yours"–it’s a gift–the world or death or the present or the future–all are yours." Now you wouldn’t mind owning the whole wide world and all the time you could wish to enjoy it, now and in the future, but who would want to own DEATH?

I told you it sounded strange, didn’t I? But it’s not so hard to understand after all. When Jesus died on the cross, he went into death. He changed death when he passed through it. Now death isn’t a dead-end like the road you see near this (DEAD END) sign. No, death is an open road and it leads to eternal life.

Some roads are toll roads; that means you have to pay to drive on them, such as those on the way to Chicago. This road called death is free of charge because Jesus paid the way for us to pass through into eternal life. That’s what Paul means when he says: "All things are yours."

I like this drawing. It’s a picture of a grave stone, with the letters R-I-P on it. That means "rest in peace." But look on the right side of the grave stone. It’s not a "dot" but a door knob. Death is the doorway to eternal life.

One of my favorite writers explains it this way: All death can do to

the believer is deliver him to Jesus. It brings us into the eternal presence of our Savior. That is why Paul could say with such joy, "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain"

Make sure you’re walking the road with Jesus so that we can see each other again in eternal life after death has delivered us to our Father’s House.

+ + +

Option Two: Reasons to Boast: You are God’s Temple
1 Cor 3:16-23
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div. M.S.A.


Background: One of the most precarious pitfalls that can affect Christians is pride. The Corinthian church was noted for this pitfall. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, written in an almost scalding tone, directs these proud, arrogant, self-righteously snobby Christians away from their self-absorbed grandiosity toward a humble attitude of Servanthood, rooted in the all-sufficient grace of Jesus Christ.


Be sure to read the immediate context of this text to see this all-embracing attack on spiritual arrogance. In my own use, this is part two of a series entitled, “Rasons to Boast.”


Reasons to Boast: You are God’s Temple

1 Cor 3:16-23


I Who—And How Big—Is Your God?


A. Problem of our time: People believe in a God who is too small.

When Henry Norris Russell, the Princeton astronomer, had concluded a lecture on the Milky Way, a woman came to him and asked, "If our world is so little, and the universe is so great, can we believe God really pays any attention to us?" Dr. Russell replied, "That depends, madam, entirely on how big a God you believe in." Today in the World, Feb 89, p. 12.


B. Problem of Paul’s time: Corinthians believed in a too-small-God: themselves.

“A life that is wrapped up in itself makes a very small package.” In the same way, a “faith wrapped up in itself makes for a very small faith.”


II What Happens When You…

            A. Are Your own god?

                        1. boasting, glorification of self, arrogance, etc.

                        2. You becomes a stupid fool (“moron” in vs. 18)

                        3. You denounce and desecrate what you really are: God’s temple


            B. Recognize that you are  God’s Temple?          

                        1. Humbled recognition that we are in Christ and in God (v. 23)

                        2. Realize that we are not our own

                        3. God lives, dwells, and remains in us.


III Application

A. Perhaps our problem is that don’t believe that we really are God’s temple.

1. At Santiago an officer was advised to lie, down, as the regiment was waiting for the order to advance. He replied that he, did not believe that the bullet was yet cast that would kill him. Just then, he was struck by a Mauser in the head and killed.


2. It can be dangerous to deny the reality of any situation, especially a spiritual situation. Since God lives in us, if we are His temple, we must be ready to respond to this situation with full-scale readiness and passion.


B. Example of Spiritually-Prepared living: J. Hudson Taylor


1. "God said to me, "I am going to evangelize China, and if you will walk with me, I will do it through you." ---from the testimony of J. Hudson Taylor


2. Taylor recognized that we are God’s temple and that He lives in us. Thus, since Christ was in him, there was NOTHING he couldn’t do in Christ who strengthened him.




A. What things prevents us from recognizing that we are God’s temple and that He lives in us?

1. We are ignorant or complacent of our sin: A little boy asked his father, "What is a necessary evil?" "One that we like so much we don't want to abolish it." the father replied. (Do we have any sins we don’t want to abolish? Do they belong in God’s temple, i.e. you???)

2. We foolishly forget God’s grace. He saved us, by grace, so that HE could live in us and be His temple. If He entered us when we were still sinners, He’ll remain in us, regardless of how often we’ve sinned.


B. We are God’s temple. Since we have a reason to boast about that, let’s boast about Him in our lives every day!



Textual Musings:


v. 16) “Don’t you know” is a rhetorical question. It appears to have a belittling tone to these self-righteous “know-it-all” Corinthian Christians. “If you think you know everything why don’t you know the most important things?” is Paul’s apparent implication. The emphatic position of the Greek original only serves to intensify this apparent put-down.


“You are the temple” the word for “temple” is the “naos,” the innermost part of the temple. Paul reminds the Corinthians that God has not simply called them to the fringes of faith and discipleship. God’s grace has called them and put them in the “Ground Zero” of grace—in the very heart of the sanctuary. 


Old Testament believers recognized the Jerusalem temple was where God made His dwelling on earth. It was in the inner sanctuary (naos?) that God actually interacted with the special priest at the ark of the covenant. “YOU” are the “temple” is Paul’s reminder that we are reconciled and made one with God through Jesus Christ. Thus, God really, really does live in us. The use of the present tense in the Greek original conveys the durative, continual dwelling of God in us.


“The Spirit lives in you”:  Paul does not say these all-too-proud Christians aren’t Christians. This phrase has at least two purposes:

First, with these words Paul recognize that Christians need the correcting, mirroring and guiding of the Law on a constant—and sometimes cutting—basis. It is because he knows the Spirit lives in them that he has confidence that the Spirit will work in them a spirit of repentance and renewal.

Second, these words are words of Gospel. Sometimes all one needs is a reminder of who they are to bring them back to living according to their higher calling. A parent telling an errant child, “You’re smarter than to let that happen to you again” is both warning the child not to commit the errant action again and reminding them of their identity. Both are essential elements of successful parenting…and pastoring.


vv. 17-23  As a “catch all” notice that Paul’s comments continue to direct these living “temples” of God to recognize that they live and serve God, not themselves. It is only when we desert the foolishness of worldly wisdom that we find true wisdom in Christ…and flee the foolishness of the world

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:33 PM