As the Lord instructs Moses to build Him the Tabernacle, we learn some important truths about giving, why we sometimes find ourselves in the wilderness, and why personal holiness matters.
As we begin Exodus 25, the Israelites are camped at the base of Mount Sinai and God is going about the work of building a people for himself. And this week we're going to begin shifting our focus toward the construction of the tabernacle. What is it exactly what we'll get into that in a general sense today and a more detailed sense in the weeks to come. So let's just jump right in at Exodus 25, verse one, I'm going to read from verses one through verse nine to give us an overview.
And then we'll go back and talk about three specific things that I believe the Lord would have us take note of in this passage. It says in verse one, then the Lord spoke to Moses saying, speak to the children of Israel that they bring me and offering from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart. You shall take my offering. And this is the offering which you shall take from them. Gold, silver and bronze, blue, purple and scarlet thread, fine linen and goats, hair, rams, skins, dyed red badger skins and acacia wood oil for the light and spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet incense, onyx, stones and stones to be set in the effort and in the breastplate and let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.
According to all that I show you, that is the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.
That's the overview God tells Israel to build a sanctuary or a sacred place because he wants to come and dwell among them, this sanctuary will be the structure known as the Tabernacle, and God wants it built to his exact specifications. The first thing I'd like us to look at more closely is the back half of Verse 8 to maybe take your pen in your hand and underline this.
The Lord says from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart, you shall take my offering from everyone who gives it willingly with his heart. God tells Moses to let Israel know that he was collecting building materials that would be used for the construction of a sanctuary dedicated for and to the Lord, the Tabernacle.
And I want you to notice in verse two that God didn't want anything from anyone who didn't want to give it. He didn't issue a tax. God didn't need anything because he's God, he's God. And I want us to realize and recognize that this is still the case. Do you know that God doesn't need anything from you? He doesn't need anything for me. He doesn't need your money. He doesn't need your offerings. And if you can't give it willingly, if you can't give it joyfully, he doesn't want it at all.
You know, when it comes to giving. God loves the heart and the understanding that David showed after he and the people of Israel collected the resources that would be used to build the first temple, the first permanent tabernacle, so to speak.
This is really the heart that God desires us to give with when we give to him in First Chronicles twenty nine fourteen, we read that David prayed this wonderful prayer, saying, who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly?
Is this for all things come from you and of your own we have given you? I just love that that recognition from David that that all things come from God. And when we're giving back to God, we're just giving him back some of what already belongs to him and some of what he gave us. That's what's really going on. Now, I know that this might be a controversial and this is going to spark some conversations, but I need to be honest with you.
I don't know exactly where I fall on the issue of tithing today. I don't actually know. And I'll tell you why, because as I read through the the New Testament, it seems to me that the tithe does not exist in the New Testament as a firm. No, in a legalistic sense. Instead, believers are told by the New Testament writers to view everything they have as belonging to the Lord and to give us they believe the spirit is leading them to give.
Now, let me be real clear about this, OK? Because our fleshly tendency can be to say, oh, great, well, if I'm not supposed to give unless I can give joyfully, then I just won't give as if that's the point the Bible is making. That's not the point the Bible is making. The point the Bible is making is that you need to change your heart so that you can give joyfully. And when I talk here about the New Testament writers saying that believers should give as the spirit leads them, believers should view everything they have as belonging to the Lord.
I don't think the New Testament writers are for a second even considering the possibility that somebody would read that and conclude that the spirit is leading them to give less. That's not what's what's going to happen.
The point that's being made is that instead of just looking at our money and saying, OK, I'm going to write a check 10 percent, I'm going to move the dot the decimal point, and I'm going to do that every paycheck cycle boom. Done. Don't think about it again till the next pay cycle comes around. Instead of that, the New Testament writers seem to be saying, no, no, no, no, no more than that. You need to not view 10 percent of what you have as belonging to the Lord.
You need to view everything you have as belonging to the Lord. And you need to be open to being led by the spirit to be generous at any moment, not just when it's time to move the decimal point and write the check at the next pay cycle. You need to be open and available for the spirit to speak to you about being generous in any way at any time to anyone that the Lord might lead you to. That's the mindset shift that the New Testament writers are talking about.
So do I believe in tithing? Yes, in the sense that I think it's a baseline for giving to the church. I've done it my whole life. I was blessed to be raised in a family that that taught me how to tie. Then we're going to talk about all the blessings that leads to. I think that's a baseline because I want to make sure that the church is funded. And I understand that God's plan for funding the church is through the church is through the people of the church.
I understand that.
I love the church. I want the church to have the money it needs to do the things that it's called to do in scripture.
But I don't want to stop with just the time. I don't want to stop there.
I want to view my whole life as belonging to the Lord. I want to be available to the Lord. And I want everything that I have to be available to the Lord all the time.
That's the mindset that the New Testament writers are talking about. So when I say that, I'm not sure that tithing in the legalistic percentage sense exists under the New Covenant. What I'm saying is I think it's an elevation. I think it's an elevation, not a de-escalation. The goal is to move away from legalism and move toward being led by the spirit.
The goal is not to walk unless faith. The goal is to walk in more faith. The goal is not to give less. The goal is to be available to give whatever the Lord wants to give through you.
The goal is to be available to give everything, if that's what the Lord asks.
It's an elevation. It's making even more available to the Lord than you would have under the law. So make a note of this, because here's the principle. Living a spirit lead life means that everything you have is available to the Lord at all times. Let me say it again.
Living a spirit led life means that everything you have is available to the Lord at all times.
And here's what I can tell you. When you live that way, God will go to work stretching your faith.
He will grow your faith. He's going to call you to be more generous than you ever would of your own volition in all kinds of areas of life.
And in return, he's going to grow your faith and he's going to allow you to see first hand his power and provision in your life. When you live a spirit lead life, you're going to see God move in miraculous ways in and through your life. Now, please understand if you're not picking up on this, I'm not just talking about money.
I'm talking about offering your life to the Lord and saying, I want to give it all to you, Lord, whatever you want to do through my life, it's yours.
All of it. That's what I'm talking about. You can't out give God. Let me say it louder for the people in the back. You can't out give God you can't do it in this life or in eternity. Now, how do I know that? How do I know that? Well, as Paul is talking about the subject of giving and generosity in Second Corinthians nine, he shares a law that God put in place for his children.
He shares a law.
In Second Corinthians nine six, it's on your outlines, the lord says he who so sparingly will also reap sparingly. And he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully it's the law of sowing and reaping, it is a law that God has put in place for his children. It's a law and it's one of the laws that I'm so glad older Christians and churches taught me when I was young, because it will change your life if you understand the laws that God has put in place when it comes to generosity.
If you're a believer who's living a spirit led life, then I know that you've experienced the benefits of this law. I know that you have experienced all kinds of blessings in all shapes and forms that God has sent into your life because you've lived your life understanding this law. If you've been faithfully trusting the Lord with your finances for years, then I know you've got stories.
I know you've got testimonies of God's faithfulness and provision.
I don't even need to ask because I know the law works. Why?
Because God put this in place when we trust God and give as he leads us to in faith. We always find that we can't out give them we always find that we cannot give them, he always finds a way to bless us back wonderfully.
Now, on the flip side, there are perhaps some of you who refuse to trust the Lord. And say, what do you want me to do with that which you've given me? And you find yourself stressed because you're under constant financial pressure. Well, what's going on? It's the law that Paul spoke of, it's the law that was at work in Hagai, Chapter one, Verse is three to 11.
Let me just read it to you.
It says, Then the word of the Lord came by Hagai the Prophet saying, Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses and this temple to lie in ruins?
You see, at this point in Israel's history, the Temple of God was in ruins. It was neglected.
It was a shambles because the people were focused on building and expanding and beautifying their homes.
That's where all their focus and attention was. And they didn't care at all about the House of God. Now, therefore, thus, says the Lord of hosts, consider your ways. Consider your ways.
The Lord says, OK, so stop for a second and look at your lives and ask yourself if ignoring me and keeping everything for yourselves is really paying off. God says stop and actually take stock of how it's going. And then he says this. Here's what you'll notice. You have so much and bring in little you eat but do not have enough. You drink, but you're not filled with drink. You clothe yourselves, but no one's warm. And he who earns wages earns wages to put into a bag with holes.
Gas is, you're ignoring me and you're keeping it all for yourself because you think you're going to get ahead that way by keeping that all for yourself. But, guys, that's not what's happening. Look at your lives, everything that you bring in goes straight out the door almost immediately. It's never enough. You never reach the point of satisfaction. You never reach the point of financial peace.
Thus, says the Lord of hosts, considering your ways now, God says, here's what you should do. Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified, says the Lord.
He says, Stop what you're doing and make me your priority. You looked for much, but indeed it came to little. And when you brought it home, I blew it away. Why? Says the Lord of Hosts. Because of my house that is in ruins while every one of you runs to his own house.
Therefore, the heavens above you withhold the dew and the Earth withholds its fruit for.
I called for a drought on the land, in the mountains, on the grain and the new wine in the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth on men and livestock and on all the labor of your hands.
You see, if you're a child of God, if you're a follower of Jesus and you refuse to trust God with your money, Hagai one makes it absolutely clear you are not getting ahead by keeping it all for yourself instead of trusting the Lord with the part of it that he calls you, too. You're not getting ahead by trusting money more than God. It's not even working. On the contrary, you are limiting God's blessings in your life and were instead asking for his discipline in your life.
You're his child. He's a good heavenly father. He loves you. And so he has to teach you how to trust him.
He has to teach you how to trust him because there are things that God wants to do in your life that cannot happen unless you trust him.
So he can't drop this. He can't give you a pass if you're his child.
He can't let you get away with missing out on the blessings that he wants to pour into your life and growing you so that he can do the work through your life that he wants to.
So he's not going to let you get away with it if you're his child. Now, lest we be confused and think this is an Old Testament principal only. Jesus got to the heart of the same principle in Matthew six, when he famously told his disciples, therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body. What you will put on is not life more than food in the body, more than clothing.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither so nor reap nor gather in the barns.
Yet your Heavenly Father feeds them, are you not, of more value than they? Which of you, by worrying, can add one cubitt to his stature. So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. They neither toil nor spend. And yet I say to you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
Now, if God so close the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothes you owe you of little faith. Therefore, do not worry saying, what shall we eat or what shall we drink or what shall we wear? Now, why does Jesus say we shouldn't worry because positive thinking works? No, no, he says here's why you shouldn't worry, for after all these things the Gentiles seek for your heavenly father knows that you need all these things.
We should be confident and not worry because we have a heavenly father who loves us, who sees us and promises to take care of us. But wait, wait. It's not unconditional, it's not unconditional. We need to get in agreement with God and position ourselves to receive his peace, to receive his provision. Now, how do we do that? What do we need to do? Well, Jesus is going to tell us the same thing that God told the Israelites they needed to do back in Hagai.
One, how can you get this peace?
How can you get this provision? What's the condition? Here's the condition, Jesus says. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness. And all these things shall be added to you. It's the same issue as in Hagai one, the issue in Hagai was that God's people were more concerned with building their own individual kingdoms than they were with building God's kingdom. The issue is not even money. In the end, the issue is priority.
They were prioritizing their own glory above God's glory. That was the issue and a Hagai and that's the condition in Matthew six. Jesus is saying the same thing in Matthew six. Jesus is saying, Make my kingdom your priority and then my father will take care of all your needs. He'll give you peace. He'll provide for you. He'll bless you because he's good and you can't out give him. But we have to settle this issue of priority. God and his kingdom in his glory have to be the priority in your life.
That's the condition. That's the condition. And these same ideas come up again, famously in Malakai three, where God is to talk about this issue involving priority and money with the Israelites again. And he says bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in where my house and try me now in this God actually says, test me in this, says the Lord of Hosts, and see if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
And I will rebuke the Devourer, for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground. Nor shall the vine failed to bear fruit for you in the field, says the Lord of Hosts.
It's the same principle. It's not about money, it's about priority. And it comes up over and over again in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. Write this down. God graciously offers us peace and provision. In exchange for priority, God graciously offers us peace and provision in exchange for priority, we make God our priority, his kingdom, his glory, his will, his work, our priority, he says, I'll give you peace and I'll provide for you.
Now, let me be real here. You're like this has been pretty real so far, Jeff. Well, let me just keep being real. Some of us are missing out on God's peace. We're missing out on God's blessings. We're missing out on God's provision, and we're continually seeing our efforts to get ahead frustrated. And it's because we refuse to settle the issue of priority.
We refuse to put God's kingdom first.
But for those of us who have said, I want your kingdom to be the priority in my life, Jesus, I cannot tell you how much of a blessing it is just to have the promise from God that he will give me his peace, that he will provide for my needs, that he will feed me, he will clothe me, he will determine my days. He'll be my peace.
He'll be my provision man. Just that promise is such a blessing.
There's such a blessing in knowing that your needs are in the Lord's hands.
Such a blessing.
God gave the people of Israel a choice. He let those who had a heart and desire to give give. And those who did think about this, those who did. Could not have possibly understood that they were about to be part of the building of one of the greatest and most significant and important structures the world has ever seen.
The first earthly dwelling place of God, they could not have possibly understood the significance of what they were about to be a part of. Now, hear me on this. God wasn't missing out on anything from those who did not want to give, God wasn't missing out on anything.
But, man, those who chose not to give were sure missing out. They missed out on being a part of something of eternal significance that we're still studying today, three and a half millennia later. And this is still the case today, God takes our humble offerings in our and our giving in our tithes, and and he does more with them than we could possibly imagine.
If you've been at New Hope for a while, then you've heard the stories, you've heard the emails that come in about people who've listened to and watched the messages from all over the world and and gotten saved and grown in their faith and fell in love with studying the Bible and started studying the word and and eternity been changed. And if you've been a part of God rock for a while, you've heard the testimonies there, too. You've seen the baptisms, you've seen the lives changed forever.
God provides for his church through the giving of his people, but understand this, God is not missing out on anything from anyone who chooses not to give. But those who choose not to give are sure missing out. They're missing out today on being a part of something of eternal significance. Who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from you and of your own, we have given you.
I'm so glad that I just have the opportunity in any way to be a part of what God is doing on the Earth today, and I know you are, too. It is such a privilege.
To be able to offer anything to the Lord and have him receive it and use it, such a privilege. Now, I know that any time I talk about money. There's the risk that someone's going to think it's self-serving because there are still some people who actually believe that the pastors in your neighborhood are getting rich off the church, which is pretty funny.
BJ and I laugh about it on a regular basis.
It's pretty funny if you're at all in touch with reality, but I'm glad I'm glad to take the risk of being misperceived. I'm glad to take the risk of offending someone in this area.
And I'll tell you why. It's because I know that there are also people listening to this and watching this who sincerely want to follow Jesus, want to grow in their faith and want to be blessed by God.
And I know that as they see these things laid out in the word, as they grab a hold of them and trust God in a greater way, because they do, they're going to grow in their faith and God's going to do greater things through them and through their lives. And they're going to begin to experience greater blessings and they're going to see the miraculous take place in their life. That's why I don't mind talking about this stuff. I'm not talking about this for the person who doesn't want to hear it and gets offended.
I'm talking about this for the person who wants to become more like Jesus and move on to greater and bigger things in the Lord, who wants to see God move in their life in a greater way. That's the person I'm sharing this for.
I'm sure in this because I love you and I want you to be blessed.
Now, listen, this I mean this. If you don't want to trust the Lord with your finances at this church, that's OK.
Then go to another church and trust the Lord with your finances there, because God doesn't need your money unless the pastors of your churches we work ultimately for the Lord.
God doesn't need your money. We don't need your money, OK? But, man, you are missing out on so much if you draw a line in the sand and you say, I refuse to trust God in this area of my life, you're capping your growth. And I don't want to see that happen to anyone.
So if you don't feel like you can give here, go to another church where you feel like you can, because this is this is such an important issue. It's such an important issue. I want you to be blessed. This is something Christians are called to do. It's something that's to be part of our lifestyle.
And I want to make sure that we're all growing in faith in this area and offering our lives to the Lord.
Now, look, again, if you would.
At Verse 8, you can breathe out if you want. We're done talking about money, look again, if you would, at Verse 8, the Lord says, and let them make me a sanctuary.
Now, underline this back part that I may dwell among them, that I may dwell among them. This is something about the heart and character of God that you have to understand and know. God desires to dwell among his people. He wants to be among his people. He loves being with his people. It's what he wants. He doesn't tolerate his people. He loves his people, and he loves being with them.
And here at Mount Sinai, God is making for himself for the first time a people who will be his people. He gives them his moral code, the Ten Commandments. He gives them guidelines for building the kind of society he desires for them. The Book of the Covenant. And he's going to come and dwell among them in the Tabernacle. We've talked before about how Israel's exodus story is a picture of the gospel, the saving work of Jesus in our lives.
Here's an overview, just a reminder of some of the big parts of that picture and process.
God rescued Israel from slavery and a death sentence in Egypt. That's a picture of God saving us from sin and death.
God called Israel out of Egypt and into the wilderness so that he could work on giving them a new identity as his people. God calls us out of the world's system, often into a time that feels like the wilderness so that he can give us a new identity as his child.
God gave Israel the Ten Commandments to share his heart and values with them. He gives us his spirit, riding his heart onto our heart. God gave Israel the book of the Covenant to teach them what he's like and to show them how to walk in his ways, and God has also given us his word to show us what he's like. And teach us how to walk in his ways. God will shortly come and dwell among Israel in the Tabernacle, God dwells in us, in the person of the Holy Spirit.
Now, that could be a whole message right there, easily just those five similarities between the two. But I'm going to ask you to to meditate for yourself on them a little bit this week and ask the Lord to show you if there's a step in that process that he's specifically working on in your life right now.
Because as I was preparing this, and I rarely say this, I felt that the Lord wanted me to share this for some of you specifically because some of you are frustrated, some of you feel stuck and some of you are just confused because you don't recognize you don't understand what God is doing in your life right now.
Some of you are wondering why you find yourself in the wilderness, because you thought that right after God saved you, everything would suddenly be easy and life would be filled with new, amazing friends all the time. A new, significant other a better job. But instead, you find yourself in the wilderness.
Listen, brother. Hear me, sister. The Lord has called you out of the world because he's giving you a new identity in the wilderness.
He's teaching you that you're his son. He's teaching you that you're his daughter. He's giving you his heart. He's teaching you his ways. And he's come to dwell within you. Listen to me. You're at Mount Sinai. And God is doing amazing things in your life right now, and if you're discouraged, it's because you're looking to the right, you're looking to the left, you're looking behind you.
And all you can see is the wilderness. All you can see is nothingness. You need to look in front of you, you need to lift up your eyes because you're at Mount Sinai and the glory of God is moving right in front of you. So keep your eyes on him. He's doing a great work in you, a great work in you, and you're not going to be in the wilderness forever. And when you come out, you will not be the same person you were when you went in, you will leave the wilderness understanding that you are a child of God, a son of God, a daughter of God, you're going to come out with a new identity.
And Christian, you need to know that when we forget who we are in Christ, when we lose track of our identity. The Lord will often call us back out into the wilderness again, he'll bring us back to Mount Sinai to get back to the basics. He will remind us who we are. He'll remind us who he is. He'll remind us of his word. He'll remind us of his ways. He'll remind us of his power, and he'll remove the distractions so that he has our full attention.
If you love Jesus and you find yourself in the wilderness right now, know this God is working, he's up to something good. He always is. Always. Would you write this down, God leads us out into the wilderness to teach us who he is and who we are in him. God leads us out into the wilderness to teach us who he is and who we are in him. Now, the third thing I want to talk about is this take a look at verse nine again and underline this phrase.
According to all that I show you, according to all that I show you, that is the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings and then underline this just so shall you make it.
God, says, Moses, I'm going to tell you exactly how I want the Tabernacle made God was not interested in Moses is opinion. Moses was not to look at the plans and say, you know, if we took out a few pillars here, it would really open up the space and let it breathe. God didn't tell Moses and obviously Moses keep the tabernacle updated and revised so that it stays culturally relevant. God was not concerned with any of that.
He wasn't concerned with what anybody thought about his design for the Tabernacle.
Why in the world did it matter to God so much what this portable tent like structure looked like? Why did not care what materials they used? Why did he care how they went about their ceremonies and rituals inside it? Why would God be so concerned with all these little details? The author of Hebrews, who I personally think is Paul, tells us in Hebrew the answer, speaking of Jesus, he writes. Now, this is the main point of the things we are saying.
We have such a high priest who is seated at the right hand of the throne, of the majesty in the heavens. A minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected, not man, let me say it again, a minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord erected and not man. Did you catch that? Scripture is telling us that in heaven there is a sanctuary and a true tabernacle which was constructed by the Lord, not by man.
Let me continue reading in Hebrews eight for every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore, it is necessary that this one Jesus also have something to offer for if he were on Earth he would not be a priest.
Since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law and then get this who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle for he that's God said, see that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.
Now, are you tracking with what Hebrews is saying here?
It's saying that the tabernacle and the temple, the instruments within them, the ritual is conducted within their walls are all a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.
In other words, they mirror in some way things that take place in heaven in a much less glorious way, obviously. And this is why Moses was commanded to strictly obey God's instructions regarding the construction of the tabernacle. It wasn't just a building. He was pointing to heaven. It was in a small way bringing heaven to earth and revealing the shadow of something much greater of the glory of God. So, yes, the details mattered because the details were sacred.
Write this down, we're going to talk about it some more, the details of God's design mattered because they imaged a greater and more glorious heavenly reality. The details of God's design mattered because they image that means they embody, they reflected, they cast a shadow of a greater and more glorious heavenly reality.
Now, hang with me, because I want you to see something really important here, let me just connect some dots for a few minutes. We've learned that that God desires to dwell among his people. We've learned that the reason God cared about the specific details of the Tabernacle was because it mirrored it imaged it pointed to a greater, more glorious reality that exists in heaven.
Ultimately, it points to God himself. Get this, God desires to dwell among his people and he desires to do that through a means that point to a greater reality in heaven and reveal his glory. So the Tabernacle came first. Hebrews tell us that. Tell us that it mirrored the true tabernacle in heaven. The tabernacle was portable and it was later superseded by a permanent structure, the temple in Jerusalem, which also correlates to a heavenly sanctuary. That's where God dwelled among his people in the Tabernacle and then in the temple.
Until when? Until when. Until the incarnation, Jesus, the son of God, coming to the Earth as a man, God in the flesh, and scripture tells us these are on your outline.
Second Corinthians says God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
Colossians says in him, in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
And John the Apostle in the first chapter of his gospel, said the word became flesh and dwelt literally tabernacles among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the father, full of grace and truth. When Jesus was on the earth, he was the temple. He was the temple. And you can also check out John two twenty one for another reference on that.
So you have the Tabernacle, then you have the temple and then you have Jesus. But where did God dwell among His people after Jesus returned to heaven after the Ascension? Well, when Pentecost came in Acts Chapter two, the Holy Spirit fell upon the church and came into believers.
And in Colossians, John Paul wrote God Will to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you?
The hope of glory. And in First Corinthians, Paul told the church that you are the temple of God, the spirit of God dwells in you. The presence of God dwelt in the tabernacle, then in the temple, then in Jesus Christ and then in and nobody could have seen this coming. Then in the US, in us.
What an incredible reality this is. You and I are the Temple of God today. He still desires to dwell among his people. And because Jesus has paid for our sins and made us righteous, we now get to see just how close God actually wants to be to his people. You know, how close he wants to be to us.
He desires to be in us. And so his presence has come and dwelt in us. So write this down today, God's Tabernacle today, God's temple is the people of his church. It's the people of his church. Then it goes one step further, because Paul tells us that that while each of us are individual many temples for the Lord's presence.
He tells us that we also joined together as the church to become an even more glorious temple and even more glorious habitation for the Lord's presence in Ephesians two, Paul writes.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being fitted together grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the spirit. It just keeps getting more and more amazing and we're not done yet.
We know how much God desires to be with us spiritually because he's come to dwell within us. But we also know just how much God desires to be with us physically because in Revelation 21 three.
The end of the story, the final part of God's plan written by the apostle John is this. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people, God himself will be with them and be their God. That's how the progression of God's presence, dwelling among his people ends us in him, him and us and all of us together around him with him in his presence forever.
Here's the final thing I want to share today. This, again, could be a whole message in itself, and so I'm just going to ask you to think about this, I think, how it might apply to your life. You see, God wanted his dwelling places built to specific specifications because they mirrored an image of heavenly things which are sacred.
They imaged aspects of God's glory. That's why the details matter. That's why the details mattered in the Tabernacle. That's why the details mattered in the temple. That's why the details mattered in the life of Jesus Christ. But now understand this. That's why the details matter just as much in you and I, that's why they matter in the church. That's why it matters that we build our lives and build the church according to the specifications of God laid out in his word, because we're not to build them to our liking or to our opinions or to the cultural considerations of the day and age that we live in, where to build them to the specifications of God because they mirror an image, sacred things that reveal God's glory.
The details matter. There are things that we think are innocuous and in unimportant details that are profoundly important. In fact, they're sacred.
So think through the things the institutions that God has created for us in our lives and in the church, the things that God has ordained and put in place. They are sacred. They are profoundly important because the image aspects of God's heavenly glory.
God is not interested in our feedback. He is not interested in our ideas for improvements. These things are unchanging because they reflect an unchanging God and their sacred. Think about marriage, which is intended to mirror God's commitment and faithfulness to us. The details matter, our marriage matters because it's reflecting something sacred. Here's one even think about men and women, think about our gender identities. This is not some random, unimportant detail.
Men and women equally reveal different aspects of God's character and glory.
This is divine. This is this is sacred. And just by living in agreement with the gender that God created you, as you are imaging something sacred, even though you may never think about that, you think you're just living your life, you're mirroring something sacred because you're mirroring character attributes of God.
The family unit, which mirrors God's heart as a father and his family into which we are adopted, it's sacred. The details matter. Even sex, our approach to sexuality helps us understand divine concepts of oneness and unity. The details matter because the image, something sacred. All of these things and many more things that I'm not mentioning that are designed by God are like the building materials of the temples that we each are individually. And the reason it matters that we do all these things, God's way to his specifications is because we are his dwelling place on the Earth today.
We are his temple. That's why holiness matters.
You might think, well, this part of my life doesn't matter. Nobody else sees it, but it does matter because God sees it and God dwells in the temple. That is your life. And if we love God, if we have a desire to honor the Lord, we will say I want my life to be built according to your specifications.
Because I still cannot believe that you've chosen to dwell in me. I can't believe that you made me your temple. And I want my life to be a pleasing place for your spirit to dwell, an honoring place. Final fill in on your outlines here, personal holiness matters because we are image bearers of God, personal holiness matters because we are image bearers of God when people are watching and when they're not. There's so much more we could say, so much more we could talk about and let's maybe do that in our our home groups this week.
But but just to recap, three things to think through. If you're not trusting God with your giving, change, repent, get an agreement with God, make your whole life available to God. And God says you'll experience his peace and his provision. If you're in the wilderness right now. Look in front of you, keep your eyes on Mount Sinai, keep your eyes on the Lord, he's doing something good in you, he's reminding you, teaching you who you are in him.
And then finally, holiness matters, it matters, you are the temple of God. Would you buy your hat and close your eyes? Let's pray together. Father, thank you so much for your word.
Thank you for how instructive it is, how illuminating it is, how how it really does penetrate right to the heart of each of us, right to the point where we need to hear from you and grow in you.
And so, Father, I pray for every one of us, myself included, hearing this message that we would just once again commit to make our whole lives available to you as best we can. Lord, we want everything. We have to be available to you all of the time, however you want to use it. Use our lives for your glory, Lord. Use it to bring attention and fame to the name of Jesus.
Use our lives to grow the family of God and bring people into your kingdom.
Lord, use us. And in Lord, the things that we're not even aware that we're holding on to too tightly will come and do a work in us and graciously pry our fingers off of those things so that our whole lives really are available to you.
Lord. Father, I pray, encouragement and faith right now for those who find themselves in the wilderness.
I pray that you would lift their spirits, that you would open their eyes to see the good that you are doing. To not be discouraged by the wilderness they see around you, but to be encouraged by the glory of God, that is right in front of them. Thank you that you're faithful to do what is best for us, always thank you that you're a good heavenly father we can trust. And then, Lord, we also ask that you would shine a light on any area in our lives that is offensive to you.
Anything that is defiling the temple that you have created within us, Lord, shine a light on it, illuminate it, lead us to repentance, Lord, that we might live as temples that are pleasing and honoring to you, Lord, and thank you for the glorious future that you have prepared for us as individuals and collectively as your church.
That you're a God who loves us and loves to be among his people.
And even in this moment, Lord, we can sense that that you love to be among your people. So thank you that you're here and thank you. That you never leave. We love you, Jesus. We bless you. It's in your name. We pray. Amen.