The Holy City

Thursday, March 9, 2017, 6:53 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 11:1 (NASB).

Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.

The Temple of God

What is the temple of God today? In the Old Testament, and in the Four Gospels, the Temple of God was a physical building built by human hands according to God’s instructions. It housed the Holy of Holies in which the Ark of the Covenant was placed. Within the Ark of the Covenant was the presence of Almighty God. It was there that the high priest entered once a year to make atonement for the sins of himself, and for the sins of the people of God. Only the high priest could enter into God’s holy presence.

Then, Jesus Christ, the Son of God (God the Son), came to earth, took on human flesh, and suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. He was crucified on a cross for our sins, although he had done no wrong. When he died, the veil that hung in front of the Holy of Holies was torn in two. Through Jesus’ death, and by his shed blood for our sins, he opened the way for anyone who repents of his or her sin, and who believes (believing) in Jesus to be his or her Savior to enter into God’s holy presence. When he hung on that cross, and he became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God, he served as both our high priest, making sacrifice for our sins, once for all, and as our sacrificial Lamb given in exchange for our lives, for the forgiveness of sins.

Yet, Jesus didn’t remain dead. He rose from the grave victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Then, after about 40 days, he ascended back to heaven where he sits at the right hand of God the Father. From heaven, he then sent his Holy Spirit to the earth to indwell the hearts of all who have been born anew of the Spirit of God. God now dwells in our hearts, and we are his temple. Not only are we his temple, and the Holy of Holies now dwells within us, but we are the heavenly Jerusalem, i.e. we are his Holy City. This city is no longer a physical place, but it is spiritual, and it is made up of all those who follow Jesus Christ with their hearts and lives.

The Altar

So, if the temple is now believers in Jesus Christ, i.e. the body of Christ, the church (not a physical building), what would the altar be? This is not speaking of an altar inside a physical building called a church, inside a physical sanctuary. God does not dwell in buildings built by human hands. He dwells in human hearts. So, then, what would be the altar today? It is the place spiritually where we meet with God in prayer, in the study of his Word, in confession of sin, in praise, in thanksgiving, and in making our requests known to him. It is where he meets with us and he shares with us his Word, his Heart and his Will. And, it doesn’t matter where it is that we meet with him. The same is true for our gatherings of the church. We can meet anywhere at any time of day on any day of the week. There is nothing sacred about a building called “church,” for WE ARE GOD’S HOUSE.

Our Worship

Also, let me add to this what it means to worship God. God is not interested in formalities or rituals. We may go through all kinds of forms of what we term “worship” and not really be worshiping God at all. We can sing praise and worship songs with full enthusiasm and, with lifted hands, sway our hands back and forth to the music, or clap our hands, and still not worship God. We may attend weekly “worship” services at a local “church” building, and think we are worshiping God, and maybe we are, but maybe we are not. The best description I know of true worship of God is found in Ro. 12:1-2:

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. NLT

The Measurement

So, understanding what the temple is now, including the altar, and its worshipers, and our worship, how would this be measured? This is not speaking of measuring a physical building, so what does it mean? To measure, in this context, is to evaluate, examine and assess the situation. This is speaking about doing a spiritual examination of God’s church, the body of Christ. And, what is the measuring rod used to do this evaluation? It is the divine character of God and it is his Holy Word. God and his Word is the standard by which our lives are to be measured (examined).

So, how does your life measure up to the Word of God? How does mine? We need to be honest, and we need do our own heart evaluation before God and by the measurement (standard) of his Word. I’ve been doing that a lot the past several days. So, what about our local church fellowships? How about the church in America or in your nation? Individually, we can only answer for ourselves. And, I can’t speak for other nations or for other people’s individual church fellowships. But, I can address what I have observed about the church in America, for the large part, though certainly not representing every congregation or every individual Christian in this nation.

The vast majority of the church here in America, at least within the institutional church (man-made organizations), of which much of the body of Christ is a part, might fit within the description of the church in Laodicea, but it might fit, as well, with some of the other churches described in Rev. 2-3. The church, for the most part, is worldly, idolatrous and spiritually adulterous. “Worship” services have been turned into large stage productions to attract the people of the world, and sensuality is used frequently in these stage productions in order to connect with and win the world over to their secularized version of Christianity. The Bible is being replaced by books written by mere men, some of which include humanistic philosophy, Middle Eastern religion, mysticism, and ecumenicalism.

Since the church is trying to attract the world to its gatherings, they have also diluted the gospel message to make it more attractive and appealing to the world. The words “sin” and “repentance” and “obedience” have become pretty much obsolete in these worldly gatherings, because their goal is to not offend anyone, because they want people to come back. Well, the cross of Christ is an offense to those who are perishing in their sins. But, if we don’t tell them the truth, and we let them believe a lie, then they will not have the hope of heaven, for they will die without Christ still enslaved to their sins.

So, we need to tell them the truth that Jesus died, not just that we might escape hell and go to heaven when we die, but that he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live our lives to please our own sinful flesh, but that we might be delivered from enslavement to sin so that we can now become bond-slaves of Christ’s righteousness. If we live to please our flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting sin to death, we will have eternal life with God. If we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Pet. 2:24; Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6). None of us knows if we have tomorrow. So, repent and obey Christ today!

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.

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