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Los Lunas Cornerstone

Church of the Nazarene

Let us Approach (1 Kings 6)

    The Old Testament is full of God’s promises to His people, Israel. Many of them come with conditions, where God promised Israel He would act in a certain way or do a certain thing, but He wanted them to also uphold a certain way of living. He wanted them to live for Him, to love Him and serve Him only. He promised, that if they would do that, He would go above and beyond for them and pour out His blessings on them. So what happens then, when they don’t serve Him, don’t love Him, don’t live for Him? Do His promises still stand?
    Let’s look at 1 Kings 6 this morning, and I want to start with verses 11-13, “Now the word of the Lord came to Solomon, saying, “As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes and execute My ordinances and keep all My commandments by walking in them, then I will fulfill My word with you which I spoke to David your father. And I will dwell among the sons of Israel, and will not abandon My people Israel.”
    The promise is that God will DWELL among the Israelites and will not abandon His people. Dwell, is your first blank in your bulletin if you’re following along. It’s the greatest promise in the Old Testament, repeated many times in different ways. God will live amongst His people and will stay with them. Here, when He gives this word to Solomon, it comes with a condition: that Solomon walk in God’s ways, keep God’s commandments…THEN God would fulfill the word spoken to David. We know from the history told in the Bible that Solomon did not do this, he did not walk in God’s ways, did not keep God’s commandments. As a result, the throne was removed from his line and David’s line would eventually stop being kings over Israel. But what about this promise? Did God remove the promise to live among the Israelites and not abandon His people because Solomon didn’t meet the conditions?
    This chapter in 1 Kings actually helps us answer that question and understand what God was preparing His people for with the temple Solomon built. 1 Kings 6 goes into the building of the temple in exact and excruciating detail. In fact, throughout the beginning chapters of 1 Kings, if you took all the details given for the temple, you could likely rebuild the temple on your own, given you had the materials.
    Verses 1-10 cover all the dimensions and the build of the temple; verses 14-18 talk about the inside dimensions of the temple and the building materials used; verses 19-28 give great detail about the way Solomon had the Holy of Holies built; verses 29-30 talks about the details of how the walls and floors were built; and verses 31-36 give details about the entrances in the temple and the doors and the courtyard. It’s very detailed, very meticulous.
    Why? Why record such detail, enough detail that the temple could be rebuilt in any future generation? Surely that wasn’t the reason behind recording such great detail. After all, by the time this was penned down, the temple would have already been complete. Now, we keep meticulous blueprints of buildings, but that’s just in case construction ever needs to be done on a building, people doing the work can find utilities and dimensions to change the building. But we’re talking about ancient culture here, no utilities. And we’re talking about God’s temple, so it’s not likely that renovations would involve needing to rebuild in any way.
    Why record such detail?
    Imagine you were amongst the original readers of this passage. There’s this huge, grand temple to the Most High that stands in Jerusalem, and it’s the center of life in Jerusalem because God is the center of life in Jerusalem. But, unless you happen to be a priest, you’ll never get to go inside the temple, not in any way. What is written in the word of God is as close as you’ll get to knowing what the inside of the temple of the Lord looked like.
    That’s part of the reason why such great detail about the temple was recorded, because most people would never see the inside. Knowing what the inside of the temple looked like would help them know where it was that God’s spirit lived among the people. They could never see the ark, but they could still know where God’s presence would “sit” in the temple. The detail given of the temple, helped people draw close to God, the detail given helped people know how they approached God through the priests and the blood of the sacrifices.
    It was important to give such attention to the detail of the temple so people understood all that went into preparing the place for God’s spirit to live. There’s a sermon there as well, about how we should put just as much care and attention to detail in preparing the place God’s spirit lives now, but that is for another time perhaps. But, the point here is that the reason so much attention to the details of the inside of the temple was given was so ordinary people, people like you and me, who would never get to see the inside of the temple, would never get to see the place where God’s spirit lived amongst men, would have some idea of what the place was like.
    But, again, I want to go back to the question I asked at the beginning. When Solomon didn’t meet the condition of God’s promise, does that mean the promise was removed. When Solomon didn’t walk in God’s ways, does that mean God’s promise to live amongst the people was removed?
    No. Because, God, even as Solomon disobeyed God, God was showing the people through the details of the temple that He was already working on another way for people to enter the Holy of Holies. And I want us to remember, that the Holy of Holies was the place where the Spirit of God would actually live amongst the people, where the ark of the covenant was, separated by a veil, entered only once a year by the High Priest to offer a sacrifice to cover the sins of the people. The physical place where God’s spirit dwelled amongst the people? It could only be seen by 1 person, 1 time a year. The place where God’s Spirit actually dwelled was inaccessible to every one else.
    But that wasn’t how God wanted it to be. And like I said, through the details of the temple, He was showing His people that He was working on another way for people to come into the place where His presence lived.
    I want you to turn to Hebrews 9:3-9, “Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant. Above the ark were the cherubim of the Glory, overshadowing the atonement cover. But we cannot discuss these things in detail now. When everything had been arranged like this, the priests entered regularly into the outer room to carry on their ministry. But only the high priest entered the inner room, and that only once a year, and never without blood, which he offered for himself and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance. The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper.”
    See, the temple that Solomon built, and the tabernacle in the wilderness, all versions of the temple contained furniture in them, the things in the Holy of Holies, which POINTED to another way to enter the Holy of Holies. That’s your next bulletin blank. God’s Spirit was showing through all the things in the Holy of Holies, that He was making another way to be in His presence, another way for His Spirit to live amongst His people. He wasn’t going to remove His promise, but He was going to find another way to fulfill His promise.
    Look a little further in Hebrews 9:11-15, “But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”
    This verse tells us that even though we couldn’t go before the Spirit of God because of our sin, the new way that God made wasn’t through the blood of goats and calves, but through the BLOOD of CHRIST.  His blood forgave our sins forever, in a way that couldn’t be done by goats and calves. He offered Himself as a sacrifice, not in the temple on earth like the priests did, but in the temple that is spiritual. His sacrificed blood is the new way to be able to go into the place where God’s Spirit lives.
    Hebrews calls this the new covenant. New implies that it has replaced the old. With the new covenant established by the sacrifice of Jesus’ blood, the old covenant of sacrificing animals in the temple is over. There was no need for the temple anymore, because God was showing the people that He was not going to live in the temple anymore. He was going to live somewhere else, and the only way to be where God’s Spirit is, is to go through Jesus’ blood.
    Let’s look at two passages in the Corinthian letters. 2 Corinthians 6:16, “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” Here, the promise is repeated and we understand that though in 1 Kings 6 the promise is given to Solomon, it’s actually a promise that applies to everyone.
    What else does this verse say about the temple? Through Christ’s blood, through the new covenant, we become the place God LIVES. That’s your next bulletin blank. We become God’s temple. If we go through Jesus’ blood, if we go through the New Covenant, then God’s Spirit lives in us.
    Look at 1 Corinthians 3:16, Paul asks, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?”
    The attention to detail given in 1 Kings 6 of the temple Solomon built, written down after it had been finished, was to give readers a mental image of what the place was like where God’s Spirit dwelled, because they would never get to see it. But God wasn’t content with this. He wanted to provide His people, all people, with a way to be in the presence of His Spirit. Jesus is that way. Apart from having your sins forgiven by Jesus, there is no way to God. None.
    No amount of good deeds, no amount of praying, no amount of ritual, no amount of positive thinking or meditation, no amount of mindfulness. Nothing will find you a way to God, except by Jesus’ blood forgiving your sins.
    He does that because He wants to build us up into a SPIRITUAL house for Him, which is your last blank. Ephesians 2:22, which is the verse we are praying for over our church, is that through Christ’s blood, God is building us up into a place where His Spirit dwells. He no longer lives in temples made by human hands, but in temples of human hearts.
    Given all this, what does Hebrews 10:19-22 say about how we should approach God?

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