Guard Your Tongue, Guard The Temple

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

1 Corinthians 3:16-18 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. 18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.

Let’s Define The “Temple”

There are five Temples mentioned in the Bible. The Temple is properly where God meets man. There is the Temple of Heaven. There is the portable Temple, the Tabernacle. There is the Temple that was not portable, like Solomon’s Temple. There is the Temple of the Church. And there is the Temple that is the Christian.

  • Let’s talk about the Temple that is the Christian. The Bible teaches that the Christian – saved by faith in Christ – is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus said:

John 11:26 … (ESV) everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. …

John 6:35 (ESV) .. I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

John 5:24 (ESV) .. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

God meets us at the point of salvation. Then God promises to never leave us, making us a Temple. Jesus said:

John 14:11, 23 (ESV) I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. .. 23 .. 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.

John 16:7 (ESV) … I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

How does both the Father and the Son come to the believer to “make their home with us?” It is through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus said in John 14:26 (ESV) … 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.

Jesus did not stop here. He said:

John 14:16 (ESV) … I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,

John 15:26 (ESV) … when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

Preach!: The Holy Spirit is called the “Comforter” (KJV), literally the “Helper” or “The One Who Comes Alongside To Lift Up”. Every Christian, saved by faith in Christ, is indwelt by the “Helper”. The Holy Spirit represents both the Father and the Son, and never leaves us. Also called “The Spirit of Christ”, the Apostle said in Romans 8:9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

The New Testament Temple Is Superior
Because God Stays With It

In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit dwelt in first the Tabernacle (the Tent of Worship for nomadic Israel), and later in the Temple. After King Solomon finished building the Temple, the Ark of the Covenant was brought up to be placed in the Temple.

1 Kings 8:4, 10-11 (ESV) .. And {the Priests} brought up the ark of the Lord, the tent of meeting, and all the holy vessels that were in the tent; the priests and the Levites brought them up. .. 10 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.

God indwelt the Temple of His Old Covenant people. The Holy Spirit did not come to indwell the people themselves but temporarily, for Christ had not yet went to the Cross. But the Spirit of God came on the Temple and on people, and would later depart. You see this coming and going of the Spirit of God all throughout the Old Testament.

In the New Testament under the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit comes and stays as He is God’s promise of salvation to the believer.

The Apostle said in Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV) … when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in {Jesus}, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

As God Cannot Leave Either The Christian Nor The Church, We Are Warned Not To Defile The Temple

Again, the Temple is both the individual Christian, and the Church where Christians come together to minister and grow. The Temple is where we meet God. We must not defile the Temple!

1 Corinthians 3:16-18 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy…

In Corinthians, Paul refers to both the Temple of the Church and the Temple of the Christian. Note that contextually

  • 1 Corinthians 3:16 refers to the Temple of the CHURCH or the gathering of believers
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 refers to the Temple of the INDIVIDUAL believer

In Chapter 3 we last week examined the Judgment Seat of Christ where every believer will be judged by the works that they did with other believers. What were the Corinthians doing together? They were not blessing one another, but were spreading

CONTENTIONS in the Church (1:11)
DIVISIONS in the Church (1:12-13)
ENVYING in the Church (3:3)

Corinth was defiling the Temple of the Church. But believers were also defiling the Temple of their bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Holy Spirit comes to stay with the Christian. If the Christian gets into heterosexual sin or homosexual sin, the Spirit cannot leave. Christ paid for us – ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. You belong to God.

Sexual sin defiles the believer’s Temple. It joins God the Holy Spirit with satanic sensuality – and God can take your life!

Our Lord Jesus talked about bodily defilement. He said:

Matthew 15:11 (ESV) … it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.

Matthew 15:17-20 (ESV) Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.

As Christians, we need to be careful not to defile our personal Temple (our bodies), nor our shared Temple (the Church).

Protect The Temple Of The Church By
Guarding Your Tongues

The Corinthians used their TONGUES to cut the Church up. The Apostle note:

1 Corinthians 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Oh, how our mouths get us into trouble!

Illustrate: I have heard of young people who died, and went to Heaven, and came back to tell us what they saw. One boy named Alex Malarkey (sic – no joke) claimed to have died, went to Heaven, and returned to this earth. He wrote the book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven”. Later Alex confessed that he lied about the whole experience. He said:

I said I went to Heaven because I thought it would give me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible. People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth {about Heaven}. … It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though He committed none of His own) so that you can be forgiven … ”

Alex’s lie hurt his witness, and many churches throughout our land. He confessed his sin, and I’m sure is forgiven for it. But the misuse of his tongue hurt the Body of Christ, and perhaps drove some from the Gospel of salvation. Alex will have to give an account for this to Jesus one day at the Judgment Seat.

Though Alex did not really look into Heaven,
the Prophet Isaiah did.

When Isaiah looked into Heaven, he wasn’t overjoyed at all. Looking at the Preincarnate Jesus on His Throne (The Apostle John quotes Isaiah in John 12:38-41, applying his writings to Jesus) the Prophet cried out:

Isaiah 6:5 … (ESV) “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”

Said Pastor Greg Morris, {Isaiah’s} eyes see the Holy King of Israel, the God of armies, and he does not run to sit on his lap, but falls to his face, confessing the evil, not only of his tongue, but of the tongues he lived among on earth. Here he did not lament that he dwelled among a people of sexual immorality, murder, or idolatry. What he said, and what the people said — their conversation — horrified him before the Righteous One.

It is the ungoverned tongue that our God finds most shocking. When the Bible addresses the unrighteousness of the lost, note what is said:

Romans 3:10-14 (ESV) … “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.

The misused tongue hurts people, and defiles the Church.

It is with the tongue that we are saved. The tongue shares the Gospel, that grand and glorious salvation we can all have through Christ. Jesus warned us:

Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV) I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.

God gave us mouths to praise Him in His Temple. He gave us mouths to sing to our Savior. He gave us mouths to testify of Christ’s greatness. Wise King Solomon said:

Proverbs 18:21 (ESV) … Death and life are in the power of the tongue

When a person is saved, God saves us to eternal life and the light of Christ. Our mouths should be dedicated to sowing eternal life, and speaking light to those around us. The Apostle tells us:

1 Corinthians 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

Our tongues need to be holy and loving. We are to speak truth, to speak that which honors the Lord Who saved us. We are to “speak the truth IN LOVE” (Ephesians 4:15). Not harshly, but with love for God our Savior, and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Let us be like the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision.When Isaiah looked into Heaven and realized his speech was corrupt, what happened? One of the seraphim (angels) flew to Isaiah, and touched his lips with a burning coal taken from the altar of Jesus. This is a beautiful illustration for us to ponder. When we hear that which does not honor Christ, something which defiles the Temple of the Church, let us take a coal from Christ’s altar. Let us take the Word of Jesus to the offender and touch their lips in love.

Do Not Let The Mouth Of The World Be Your Mouth

1 Corinthians 3:18-21 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. 20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. 21 Therefore let no man glory in men….

Do not follow the pattern of the world. The pattern of the child of Adam is, if one strike you, strike them back harder. If they stab you with a knife, shoot them with a gun! No, this is not the pattern of Christ’s family. We are to “love one another as Jesus Christ loved us” (John 13:34; John 15:12). This is the genius of Heaven. If you are offended, be like the seraphim. Take of the light of Christ and share it with your fellow believers. If you are the offender, be prepared to freely receive the coal of light from a seraphim, a fellow believer in Christ.

Let us always remember:

1 Corinthians 3:21-23 For all things are your’s; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

May Jesus Christ and the blessed Holy Spirit draw you close to God and to one another. For His sake and glory. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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