Derek begins this study of why God is waiting by looking at His crowning achievement of creation, which is man. Scripture says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit; a unique building of God He values more than anything and is continually working on.
Now in this message I’m going to seek to answer a question which has been in my mind over a good many years. I’ll give you the answer which I feel has come to me, I’m not sure that it’s a complete answer. I believe the question is one that in some form or another has come to many of you. The question is this, Why has God tolerated for so many, many centuries all the evil, the wickedness, the suffering, the blasphemy, the immorality, all the inexpressibly evil things that have taken place in human history, and which are increasing and multiplying today? Why has God not intervened? He could speak a word and the whole thing would fall apart. Why has He not done so? What is He waiting for?
And the answer which has come to me is taken from Titus chapter 2 verses 11 through 14 and I quote Him, “He’s waiting for a special people for Himself.” And everything that He does in history is directed toward producing His own special people, zealous for good works. A people that will belong to Him unreservedly, holy, separated, sanctified to Him, serving Him and glorifying Him.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 6 we hear a little bit more about that people. Not only is God looking for a people but He’s looking for a dwelling place, a temple. The word for temple in the Greek New Testament means a dwelling place, a place where God can dwell. And in 2 Corinthians 6:16 Paul says to the believers:
“For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be my people.’”
Not only are we to be God’s people but we are to be God’s temple.
God has in the scripture revealed three main successive dwelling places for Himself. The first was the tabernacle of Moses which was outwardly not a very impressive building. It was covered with goat’s hair, it was a small tent. Inside it had wonderfully precious workmanship, jewels and so on, but looking at it from the outside it didn’t make much impression. And that continued until Israel entered the land of Canaan and for quite a long while afterwards.
Then under King Solomon God ordained a temple, the temple of Solomon, which is probably the most expensive and glorious building that man has ever constructed. I don’t believe there exists in the world today the resources or the craftsmanship that could reproduce that building. It must have cost the equivalent of billions of dollars. It was lined inside from the ceiling to the roof with gold, and the workmanship demanded incredible skill. I don’t believe there are workmen in the world today that could produce that. It was a glorious building, a magnificent building. And yet, it only stood for a few hundred years and eventually it was totally destroyed and left in ruins by Nebuchadnezzar.
And then there was another temple built through Ezra after the return of the Jews from exile, but it never attained to the glory of the temple of Solomon. And in the time preceding Jesus a very wicked king, Herod, did a lot to ornament it and extend it. But it was the work of a wicked man and within less than a generation from the time the extensions were completed, that whole building was totally destroyed by the Roman armies. Not one stone was left upon another, as Jesus had predicted.
So, what is there left to be a building for God? What is the most precious thing out of which God can make a building? My answer is people. I believe that human beings are the most precious thing on earth. Jesus said in Mark 8:36:
“What would it profit a man if he gained the whole world and lost his own soul?”
I understand that to mean that one human soul is worth more than the whole world. And the building that Paul speaks about and Peter speaks about also, it was quoted in the prophecy given, to be a building of living stones, human beings. That I believe is the most expensive building that history will ever record.
First of all, expensive because of the price that was paid. The price was the precious blood of Jesus. He redeemed us with His own precious blood.
Secondly, the material. It’s built of human beings. I find that humanity in general, most of us, have failed to appreciate the real value of a human being. We act towards ourselves and towards one another as if we really weren’t of much value. I believe this is partly due to erroneous teaching which has come in through science forces so called and through other sources. In fact, I believe it’s the devil’s object to belittle the value of a human life, to make it seem cheap and worthless. And unfortunately, many of us and many of you have to some extent been deceived by the devil. You have not come to realize your own incredible value.
As I understand it, the most valuable thing on earth today is a human being. I want to take a little while to turn back to the creation of man. I believe man is a unique creation. He was created in a way that no other creature was created. The others were created by the Word of God. God spoke the Word and they came into being. We’re told that about the heavenly hosts, the heavenly bodies and much else. But when it comes to the creation of man, and his name was Adam—and you need to bear in mind that when the Bible speaks about the sons of man it’s saying the sons of Adam. His name had a double meaning. The Hebrew word for earth is adama so he’s out of earth, and then the word dam means blood. So he was made out of earth but blood flowed in his veins. One of the things that impresses me about the Bible is it says so much in such a short space. The whole creation of man is described in one verse, Genesis 2:7. It says:
“And the Lord God [Jehovah God] formed man [Adam] of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
I don’t know whether you’ve ever pictured this but it’s become very vivid to me. The great Creator—and we are told that God the Father created everything through Jesus Christ, the Son. So, the Son of God, the eternal Son, the second person of the Godhead, must have kneeled down and taken the clay and molded it and formed it into a human body, the body of a man. I suppose that was the most perfect piece of art work that earth has ever seen—more beautiful than anything that Michelangelo or the other great sculptors or painters have ever produced. It was a perfect work formed by the hands of God. But all it was was clay. And then--you see, every time God deals with man He stoops. So the Creator stooped and put His lips against the lips of clay, His nostrils against the nostrils of clay, and it says “He breathed into him the breath of life.”