"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS" Destroying The Temple Of God (3:16-17) INTRODUCTION 1. In the NT, the Lord's church is often depicted as the temple of God... a. In our text, in connection with being God's building
- 1Co 3:16;cf. 3:9 b. Elsewhere in the writings of Paul - 2Co 6:16; Ep 2:19-22 c. Also by Peter - 1Pe 2:4-5 2. In our text (1Co 3:17), we read of two terrible possibilities... a. One can be guilty of "defiling" (or "destroying") the temple of God! b. God will "destroy" those who do! 3. The words "defile" and "destroy" both come from the same Greek word... a. phtheiro - "to waste, pine. To corrupt, destroy"
- The Complete WordStudy Dictionary b. "The Greek word is the same in both parts of the sentence. If any man 'destroy' the temple of God, God shall 'destroy' him." - Barnes [The words in our text naturally raise two questions, the first one is...] I. HOW MIGHT ONE DESTROY THE TEMPLE OF GOD? A. THROUGH RELIGIOUS STRIFE... 1. This was the problem that existed at Corinth - 1Co 1:10-13 2. It prevented many members from receiving spiritual meat
- 1Co 3:1-2 3. It left such members in a state of carnality - 1Co 3:3-4 4. Paul warned the churches of Galatia of the dangers of strife - Ga 5:15 -- Where religious strife exists, the temple of God is being destroyed! B. THROUGH DESTRUCTIVE DOCTRINES... 1. Peter warned of the destructive influence of false teachers - 2Pe 2:1 2. Causing many to follow their destructive ways - 2Pe 2:2-3 3. Paul also warned of those who lead many astray - Ac 20:29-30 4. The Spirit also expressly warned of such an apostasy
- 1Ti 4:1-3 -- Where false teaching occurs, the temple of God is being destroyed! C. THROUGH SLOTHFUL SERVICE... 1. The slothful person is a brother to one who is a great destroyer
- Pr 18:9 2. The devastating effect of sloth can be vividly illustrated a. By Solomon, in the book of Proverbs - Pr 24:30-34 b. By the illustrating the church as a wagon, where some help by pulling or pushing, while others simply go along for the ride, making travel difficult through their dead weight 3. Thus the need for diligent, fervent service to the Lord
- Ro 12:11 4. Instead of sluggishness, we ought to serve with faith and patience - He 6:12 -- Where slothful service is found, the temple of God is being destroyed! [There may be other ways to destroy the temple of God, but these suffice to make the point. We now turn to our second question...] II. HOW WILL GOD DESTROY THOSE WHO DO? A. BY CUTTING THEM OFF... 1. Jesus warned His disciples they would be cut off if they did not bear fruit - Jn 15:1-2,6 2. Paul warned Christians they would be cut off if they did not remain faithful - Ro 11:19-23 3. Jesus warned Christians that He would vomit those who were lukewarm - Re 3:15-19 -- Destroyers of the temple of God will be cut off before they do too much damage! B. BY TAKING AWAY THEIR REWARD... 1. As Jesus illustrated in telling the parable of the talents
- Mt 25:24-29 2. As the writer to the Hebrews warned his brethren
- He 4:1,11; cf. 3:17-19 -- Destroyers of the temple of God will not receive the blessings intended for them! C. BY CONSIGNING THEM TO ETERNAL DESTRUCTION... 1. So Peter wrote of those teaching destructive doctrines
- 2 Pe 2:1-3,9 2. So Jesus spoke of those who offend and practice lawlessness - Mt 13:40-42 3. So He spoke of the lazy servant in the parable of the talents - Mt 25:30 4. The same eternal destruction for those who obey not the gospel - 2Th 1:7-9 -- Destroyers of the temple of God will themselves be destroyed by God! CONCLUSION 1. Being in the temple of God is a wonderful blessing... a. For the Spirit of God dwells in you - 1Co 3:16 b. We have fellowship with God that foreshadows what is to come - 2Co 6:16; Re 21:1-7 2. In one sense the temple of God cannot be destroyed... a. For the kingdom of God is an everlasting kingdom - Lk 1:33 b. It is a kingdom which cannot be shaken - He 12:28 3. Yet in another sense, there is a very real danger of destroying the temple of God... a. In the impact we have on others through our teaching and conduct b. In the consequence of becoming unfaithful and slothful in our service Thus the need for Paul's warning in 1Co 3:17. Are we giving serious consideration to our conduct in the holy temple of God...?