Paige Brown, Plenary Session Two

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Paige Brown

Plenary Session 2

Through Moses, God introduced HImself to his people as I AM. The truth of who He actually is.

I AM is saying I’M IN. I am in with my people.

The I AM God who lovingly becomes I’m IN.

1 Kings 8. The Temple dedication

The preceeding chapters talk about the limitless power and worth. This is THE palace of THE king. The Temple shows us the worth and splendor of the Lord for whom it was built.

The God who comes IN. How in?

1. The INhabitant God, who inhabits a building. 

The physical presence in the Temple. Solomon prepared for this celebration for 11 months. God had brought the people to their permanent dwelling place, now the people have prepared God’s dwelling place for Him. They ask Him to come in, and He does.

    1. This is not speaking of His omnipresence, this building does not limit God, but God chooses to come down. But still in His cloud. The cloud both reveals and conceals. It shows He is clearly there, but it is also the covering of His glory. There is still a mystery to the glory of God.
    2. The cloud of glory is so great, it drives them out of the Temple for a time.
    3. “Miss Jean Louise. Stand up. Your father’s passing.” To Kill a Mockingbird. She was already his daughter, she already loved him. But she needed to be reminded of who he was. The same happens with Israel. The cloud reminds them of who He is.
    4. God’s glory is not a dazzling noun, but a verb, that shows off and is meant to bring response.
    5. The Ark (mentioned eight times in this chapter) must be where God dwells. We know what’s in the cloud, but what’s in the box? God’s Law. The hand-written tablet.
    6. God comes in the with Ark, not with Solomon’s prayer. God comes in by His word, not by the word of man.
    7. The Israelites cannot come before the Ark, for they hold the Law they cannot meet. The Law is covered by the Mercy Seat.
    8. Man cannot meet God at the Ark. We must meet Him at the Alter.
    9. Incalculable splendor and gore. Overlaid with gold, the place of sacrifice. Beauty and sacrifice meet in this place.
    10. Verse 23: “There is no God like you, who keeps what You declare.” They know what He has done, they know who He is, and they press into Him more, relying on Him to continue keeping those promises.
    11. verse 28, transition from proclammation to petition: “Yet.” Biblical grace.
      1. Every other religious system is based on a language of “therefore,” I ______, THEREFORE god ___________. It is always logical and causative.
      2. The God of Israel speaks of “But” and “Yet.” Speaks of grace and mercy of Christ. It is always contradictory, the grammar of grace. Always in spite of, not because of. He begs for that which is not required. “YET, hear and forgive.”
      3. The primary need, forgiveness, had to be met before the primary purpose, which is relationship, could be fulfilled.

Solomon’s prayer is audacious: He asked 7 things, those things which brings curses in Deuteronomy. He asks for corporate forgiveness, for individual forgiveness, and for complete forgiveness.

We know there will be consequences, but we beg that there will not be condemnation.

We know you will hear us in heaven, but we beg that You come here! Come near with all of your senses, Lord!

The Temple is not so much a place for them to see, but for them to be seen. They can see God’s glory wherever they are, but with forgiveness, they will be looked upon and seen by God.

Intensiveness: It is deep and complete.

Inclusiveness: Israel is a special people, but not so they can have a permanently unique status. They are special so that they can model that special status before the watching world that God was calling to himself.

Exclusiveness: We are your favorite! Israel is the nation you have chosen, let the world see You through us!

The King has brought forth the ability to be in relationship through the lens of atonement.

The size of the sacrifice is audacious. It is so large, it could not be counted. But God could count it, and it wasn’t enough.

The Temple sacrifice wasn’t supposed to meet the need for forgiveness, it was to point to it. The sacrifice was supposed to expose their dependency on the Lord, not increase their independence.

The Temple is the THE test of the hearts of the people. The summary verdict on every king was whether or not they allowed worship to take place in any other place besides the Temple.

The dedication of the Temple is the beginning of the desecration of the Temple. Throughout the remainder of the books of the Kings, the Temple eclipses God. It’s a site to show off their status. No other king went to the Temple to seek God for forgiveness, but they plundered the Temple for treasure to pay off invaders and went to the high places to worship other gods.

They try to hold God hostage: “Hey God, we’ve got your Temple.” They thought the Temple was their ace in the hole. They thought they were guaranteed God’s favor, regardless of their relationship with Him. “Do you know who we are?”

God has to love me, I have the thing that guarantees it! Whether that thing is church membership or status or doctrine or family or possession or accomplishments… those things to not guarantee the favor of God.

Jeremiah tells them that God says, “You hear, but you will not listen.”

Ezekiel saw the abomination of the worship of false idols in the Temple. In their rebellion, God leaves.

The God who is IN, is now OUT. But even as God is leaving, He’s making promises over His shoulder. BIGGER promises:

Jeremiah 31

Ezekiel: New hearts.

“Beyond the best, there is a better.”

The Israelites thought this was the best there was, but God says “I’m coming in even further.” The Temple was a lesser holding place. There is something bigger and greater coming. And it’s not Herod’s Temple.

A greater presence. After hundreds of years of silence. He comes in. No longer the inhabitant God in a building, but the INcarnate God in a body. Not in a chariot, but in amniotic fluid.

The Glory of the Lord left the Temple. When do we see it again?

“The glory of the Lord shown round about them, and they were sore afraid.”

This time, do not be chased out, do not hide! God is here, and He is IN!

IN Bethlehem

IN a body

IN baby’s clothes

IN a feeding trough

God is IN a person, revealed IN the flesh, revealed to shepherds and tax collectors and prostitutes. The same Temple God is Saviour, both the Messiah King and Suffering Servant.

In the OT, “Why is He willing to be someWHERE?”

In the NT, “Why is He willing to be someONE?”

He is IN.

IN the manger.

IN a carpenter’s shop

IN Mary and Martha’s house

IN Capernaum

Solomon asked God to come IN. And He came.

“The Temple has, for too long, been the forgotten picture in the New Testament.”

There is tension, though, for those who are still in love with the building and the status of the building.

Jesus is tied to the Temple throughout His entire life. It is His Father’s house. But He is clear to state that the Temple is His stage, and it points to him.

Jesus supersedes the Temple in every way. The crowds love Him more and those attached to the Temple hate Him more.

Matthew 21: When Jesus has the chance to stand up to the establishment, what does He do? He cleans out the Temple. The incarnate Temple cleans out the architectural Temple.

The weekend of Palm Sunday= the mall the day after Thanksgiving. And Jesus cleans house.

The push people out instead of bringing people in. Jesus comes IN, and He purges the court of the Gentiles of the false confidence of those Jews who placed their hope in the Temple.

And when Jesus cleared the way, what happened? The lame and the blind come in with their need and Jesus heals them.

They had been barred from the Temple by leadership. They had nothing to offer for sacrifice, but they needed nothing, for He was the sacrifice.

But the leadership was not astounded at the wondrous works of Jesus, they were indignant. And His heart broke.

Jesus was not taken to the cross, Jesus GOES to the cross.

God does not forgive sin. He can’t. He forgives sinners. But the sin must still be paid for. Jesus knew it. And on the cross, He echoed Solomon’s prayer, “Father, forgive them.”

Glory and forgiveness can only be combined because on the cross, they were exchanged. We get glory that is not ours, and He took sin that is not His.

Because we took a place that was only God’s, He took a place that was only ours.

Everything is His. What do we bring to it? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is all through Him and all for us. It is all complete in Him.

And yet, after the resurrection, He leaves. On a cloud.

But it is not a desertion. It is a heightened presence. Over His shoulder He promises a better beyond the best.

The disciples think, “Come back!”

But Jesus promises, “I’m coming in.”

John 16: “It is better for you that you that I go.”

Acts 2: God comes visibly, just as He has to all of His former dwelling places. Not as a single cloud, but as an individual flame on EACH of them.

He does not dwell IN the room, but IN them, as individuals. This is not lesser. This is bigger! This is bigger than anything they have seen before. This transforms them.

Not INstruction, but INdwelling.

The strangest Temple combination of all:

Not glory and blood.

Not fully God and fully man.

But indwelling God IN man.

The Temple is no longer a picture, it is what we are.

What are we now?

  1. Glory
  2. Word, written on our hearts
  3. Forgiveness, lives in us, we are the righteousness of God
  4. Sacrifices, living sacrifices
  5. Prayer, constant, groaned for
  6. Assembly

It is fully who we are persons, but we are not all the Temple is.

Not, “I will be your God and you will be my person.”

Unification shows fullness. Filled, “No room for anything else.”

I no longer live, Christ lives in me.

We have the fullness of Him, but He is to have the fullness of us. 

You have been filled, so BE filled.

2 Cor 6: Bring holiness to completion.

He is not “The Father up above who’s looking down in love.”

He is IN us.

Is what I’m doing squaring with my Temple-ness? Does our living deny our Temple-ness? Titus 1: They claim to know God but deny Him with their lives…

There is no room for the attitude that what I do with my life is up to me as long as my heart is fully committed to Jesus. It’s ALL His.

He tells me who I really am. If He can overcome my DEATH, He can overcome my habits. There is warfare, but He is greater! We are transformed from one degree of glory to another.

Prayer of St. Patrick: “Father, bind unto me these realities…”

BUT, even our Temple-ness is not our final state. There is still a longing, because beyond the best there is a better.

He doesn’t call us, beckon for us, send for us. He comes to us.

We aren’t just glorifying Him, we are actually glorified. We will see Him like He is, and we will be like Him. We will be with Him.

He is still really coming again.

“I am coming again, that where I am, there you will be also.”