Culture of Worship - The Temple of God
In the M 28:20 sermon this last week, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 was referenced in a conversation on sexual morality and immorality. The passage says:
“Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
As a worship leader I have been doing some extensive study in the area of worship lately, specifically for myself, but also for the sake of sharing and building up our fellowship with a renewed passion and dedication to Biblical worship. I’ve been wondering how to frame some of the things I’ve been learning, or if I had to give a statement on what worship is, what I would say about it. This passage opened up everything for me, it’s an incredible perspective shift and framework that we can look at the specific parts of worship through.
This passage in context deals with sexual immorality and is an exhortation to the Corinthian believers to put aside sexual immorality and instead glorify God in their bodies. To finalize his point and drive it home, Paul reminds them of a truth that is based in the Old Testament and peppered throughout the new. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you”.
In the Old Testament, the place where God came down and communed with man once a year was called the Holy of Holies, and it wasn’t just any man, but one man who had gone through an intense number of rituals and purification internally and externally before he walked into the Holy of Holies backwards. According to Jewish literature they even tied a rope around him just in case he hadn’t done it all right and was struck down, thus making is necessary to heave him out by the ankle. This was how serious it was to enter the dwelling place of God.
I think as believers we are often unaware or unconscious of the stakes of our faith. Salvation means to be bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, and as if that were not enough our bodies become the temple of God Himself. This is framed both as a comfort and an exhortation throughout the New Testament. Without even getting into the way that the Spirit works in the lives of each believer, I just want us to dwell on the fact that He dwells in us in the first place.
The idea of someone walking into the sanctuary of a church and committing an act of sexual sin right then and there would probably make even some unbelievers a bit uncomfortable, but when we commit our acts of adultery, physical or mental, when we hate our brothers and sisters whether in word or deed or in our minds, when we commit any act of sin, we do so in the Holy of Holies. We do so in the presence of God. We commit these acts in the temple of God that He has bought and purified. That mental image is strong, that is why Paul uses it in this passage. I would like to show the other side of the coin as well though.
We are not limited to an annual purification, we literally have the always open opportunity to repent, to thank, to lift up, to request, and yes, to worship. Worship goes beyond the five songs we sing on Sunday morning, but we should be mindful of the posture of our hearts when singing those songs, because we sing them in the temple of almighty God. If we were to make ourselves aware of our position as a temple of God in a literal and real way, how would it change the way we sing those songs? How would it change the way we pray? How would it change the way we fellowship with one another? Would we do it more often?
We are bought with a price, we are not our own, the Spirit dwells within us. This is what this and many other passages remind us of, and if that isn’t the first step in each of us taking time to evaluate ourselves again in a new light I don’t know what is. This realization is what makes the believer praise LOUDLY, pray FERVENTLY, seek after God DILIGENTLY, and love because Jesus first loved us, and loved us even to the point of a death on a cross. Will you still worship the same way knowing that you stand in the presence of almighty God?
JBC Worship Leader