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Four Chief Requirements of the True Worshiper
We’ve studied the tabernacle as a triune building or a triune edifice or construction. The outer court, the holy place, the holy of holies. We’ve compared this to the nature of man: spirit, soul, body. Our destination is there. We start here at the outer gate, the east with its four pillars which we have likened to the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The four aspects of Christ’s person and nature: the lion, the servant, the man, the eagle the Son of God.
The first thing we come to is the great altar of brass with the blood sacrifice, four sides typifying the cross in four aspects. The first side, the forgiveness of past sins. The second side dealing with sin as a spiritual power, putting away sin. The third side, the execution of the old man, the death of the rebel. The fourth side, the presentation of ourselves as a burnt offering to the Lord, total surrender.
We go on from the brazen altar to the brazen laver which was made of brass taken from the looking glasses of the Israelite women typifying the place of the word of God. First of all, as a mirror showing us our true inner nature. In brass, the means of our judgment of ourselves. “If we would judge ourselves we would not be judged of God.” And the water, the cleansing, sanctifying operation of God’s word. Both are essential. We sum these up in 1 John 5:6, Jesus came by water and by blood. Not by water only but by water and by blood. And it is the Spirit that bears witness. When we come to this area we have the witness of the Spirit to the blood shed on the cross, to the water of the word. Jesus is the redeemer who died in our place on the cross, shed his blood. He’s the teacher who cleanses and sanctifies those whom he has redeemed. Ephesians 5, “That he might cleanse and sanctify the church with the washing of water by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church.” It is very clear that if we are to be in that company which is to be presented to Jesus as the glorious church we must be cleansed and sanctified with the washing of water by the word. To be redeemed by the blood is essential but not sufficient.
We go on from here into the holy place, the first of the two inner areas, through the five pillars which I’ve likened to the five ministries of Jesus: apostle, prophet, evangelist, shepherd, teacher; which are the ministries which operate within this area.
We have the three patterns of the shewbread representing the will set out before God: ground, molded, baked, displayed, sanctified, protected and ordered. That’s your will. You can do well to ponder over that, we’ll not go into it now.
The candlestick, the source of light: your intellect. You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind. The old worldly ways and thoughts must be purged away. The pure oil of the Holy Spirit must come in in his sevenfold manifestation. Being kindled with the fire of dedication, it illuminates your inner being.
And when your will and your intellect have been brought into line, you move on to the golden altar of incense which typifies your emotions. They must be purified, controlled, directed, offered up to God in dedication and worship as a sweet savor.
And at this point we come to the dividing line between the holy place of the soul, the holy of holies of the Spirit. The transition is made by the blood from the sacrifice and the incense from the altar. We go in through the blood of the cross with the incense of adoration, praise and worship. There is no other way in through the veil. Those that do not know how to worship have no access beyond the holy place.
We come here where there are two items of furniture. The ark that typifies Christ, the mercy seat that typifies the atonement of Christ but also the throne of God. In the ark there were the two tables of stone, the Ten Commandments; the golden pot with manna; and Aaron’s rod that budded. The tables of stone typifying God’s eternal, unchanging law to which we bow in worship and submission as we enter. The golden pot of manna signifying our fellowship, feeding upon Christ in the heart. “He that eateth me shall live by me” Jesus said.
Let me point out—which I didn’t say—that the three entrances typify the three aspects of Jesus: the way, the truth and the life. Here he is the life. Christ is our life, what a wonderful statement that is in Colossians 3. “Ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.” When Christ who is our life shall appear, then the pot of manna will be taken out of the ark. It won’t be the hidden secret communion but the open revelation of Christ. “When Christ who is our life shall appear [be seen], then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
The third thing in the ark is Aaron’s rod, a type of authority that comes by divine revelation and attestation setting apart Aaron as the appointed priest.
So the three activities of the Spirit in relationship to God in the holy of holies are worship, fellowship and revelation. And revelation comes by the route of worship and fellowship. Beware of revelation that does not come through worship and fellowship.
Then the mercy seat again brings forth the same two truths. On either end of the mercy seat were the two cherubs or the two cherubim turned inward toward each other, their wings extended over the mercy seat meeting tip to tip in the middle. Their bowed bodies, their extended wings signifying worship. Their faces toward one another and toward the mercy seat signifying fellowship, a face to face encounter. There is the place of revelation. God said to Moses, “When everything has been ordered exactly right from here to here, and when the blood is sprinkled, then I will appear to you over the mercy seat under the wings of the cherubim. The shekinahglory will come in and there I will speak to you and commune with you.” Worship, fellowship, revelation.
Now let’s look at the four chief requirements, what does God expect of us in availing ourselves of what he’s made available. Number one, we better turn back to Hebrews, but you see, it’s all in one verse. It’s in Hebrews 10:22.
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
What is a true heart mean? I’m offering you my opinion. And the words I’ve taken are words that aren’t often used by religious people. Sincerity, honesty, loyalty, total commitment, no reservations. That’s a true heart. If I love my wife with a true heart I love her totally. I will not in any circumstance contemplate anything that would be disloyal to her. I think a word we need to restore to religious people’s vocabulary is the word loyalty. Loyalty has become square and old fashioned among some people today. Loyalty to your family, loyalty to your country, loyalty to your government. I believe in loyalty. I don’t have much time for a person who is disloyal.
Charles Simpson and I were discussing this the other day. He said, “What was it that made the apostle John stand in front of the cross, when all the other disciples had left, by Mary’s side? Was it theology?” Not for a moment, friends. It was loyalty. What was it that got Mary Magdalene to the tomb in the early hours of the morning? Was that theology, doctrine? No. Loyalty. She was going to be loyal to that man even if he was nothing but a brutally mutilated corpse. There isn’t much loyalty among some believers. We have to be loyal to Jesus and loyal to one another. That’s a true heart, sincerity. No honey. Remember what I said about honey? You can’t put honey on the offering to the Lord made by fire because it turns into a black, sticky mess.
Let’s look at some scriptures for a moment. Psalm 51.
People who have come to my wife and me for counseling get to know one thing: if you don’t want to know what we really think, don’t come. I believe we ought to be honest with one another. It says speaking the truth in love, not cutting people down. Psalm 51:6–10:
David made a discovery. The word behold is dramatic. He’d been religious a long while, now he made a discovery.
“...thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shall make me to know wisdom.”
I believe they go together. You don’t know the hidden wisdom till you have truth in the inner part. The revelation of the hidden wisdom is through the sincere, true, honest heart—not to the mind.
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
To me, that’s a revelation. When sin has had its way in your heart, it can’t be patched up, repaired or modified. It takes a creative act of God to give you a clean heart. That’s what every one of us needs, a clean heart. Truth in the inward part. Sincerity, honesty. Say with your mouth what you have in your heart.
Psalm 139. That means you’ve got to have the right thing in your heart. Otherwise it’s going to be embarrassing. The last two verses of Psalm 139, verses 23–24. David is talking about God’s enemies. I have to go into the previous two verses to get the content.
“Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.”
I ask people is it right for a Christian to say that? Some people say yes and some people say no. I say look in the next verse and see where David was looking for God’s enemies.
“Search me, O God...”
Do I have a fifth column inside me? Is there something inside me that is an enemy of God? I tell people in deliverance God will not deliver you from your friends but if you make your friends your enemies, God will get them out. A young man said to me once, “Brother Prince, I think I have a demon of lust. But I rather enjoy it. Do you think God will deliver me?” I said definitely not. Why should he take your friends out of you? But when you make them your enemies, then God will move. So David wasn’t talking about other people. He said:
“Search me, O God...”
See if there’s something inside me that’s on the wrong side that’s opposed to you. I hate anything that’s against God. Can you say that? Can you really say it? You have to take sides. There’s no neutrality. We’ll read these verses now:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts...”
Do you invite God to do that? Are you afraid to do that? Don’t be afraid. I tell people when it comes to confession, remember you’re not going to confess anything God doesn’t know already. You’ll not tell him anything that will surprise him. It’s for your sake, not his.
“And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
I do believe before God can lead us in this way which is the everlasting way, we have to let him search and try our heart. Root out any fifth colony, any of God’s enemies lurking there. Lay bare our hearts.
Jeremiah 17. You say Brother Prince, there’s nothing wrong with my heart. I’m all right. I say how do you know? There’s only one person that can see into your heart and it’s not you. Jeremiah 17:9:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
It’s not Brother Prince’s heart but the heart. The human heart, your heart, my heart. Deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
In l946 I sat in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and listened to the greatest expert on the Hebrew language lecture and he chose that passage because one word, the word that’s translated deceitful, ?accol? which is the same word that gives us the name Jacob, ?Yaccol?. Jacob was a supplanter, he was a tricky fellow. Oh how that word opened up to me. It’s found in Isaiah 40, “Make the crooked place.” It’s found in Hosea 6 I believe where it says, “Gilead is a city polluted with blood.” That’s the same word. What this professor said, he said one thing: Because of the way the feminine of the adjective is formed, we know it’s not passive, it’s active. Your heart is actively deceitful. So don’t ask it for the truth.
He said it’s like a seal in front of your heart. If you take away one seal and you find another seal. You take away that seal and there’s another. And you never know when you’ve taken the last seal away. It’s rather remarkable because although he was a professing Jew, he wasn’t religious, he didn’t make any profession of faith whatever. But simply by the exposition of that word he laid bare to me something that I’ve never forgotten. The heart is deceitful above all things. The most deceitful thing in the world is the human heart.
And furthermore, it’s incurably sick. Desperately wicked is better translated incurably sick. And elsewhere Jeremiah says “thou has no healing medicine....” You don’t have any medicine to heal your heart. Who can know it? Verse 10:
“I the Lord search the heart...”
Let God show you what’s in your heart and then let him deal with it. Lay it bare to him. Search me, O God. I’m not afraid to say that. I don’t believe I could be more embarrassed than I have been.
I was talking to Brother Mumford after a deliverance service and I said, “Some people are surprised when they see a young man who’s been used of God to bring thousands of people to the Lord writhing on the floor, twisting.” It doesn’t surprise me the least. Almost everything I’ve cast out of other people I got rid of myself first. I was a Pentecostal preacher at that time. If it doesn’t fit in with your theology, you’ll just have to change your theology!
People say a Christian can’t have demons. Have you ever heard anybody say that? Well, let me tell you a little parable. I won’t even bother to interpret it. I lived for five years in East Africa and traveled several times between Kenya and Tanzania which was at that time Tanganyika. And just in the northern end of Tanzania is the most beautiful mountain, Kilimanjaro which is snow capped. I wonder how many of you have ever seen Kilimanjaro? It’s the most beautiful sight to see the rays of the tropical sun glittering off that snow capped mountain.
Well, the first missionary to East Africa was a German named Krauss who wandered around, incidentally, in a rather disarming way with no weapon but an umbrella which he carried to shelter himself from the rain and the heat and slept under at night. He discovered Kilimanjaro and reported in his journals that there was a snow covered mountain just a few miles south of the equator. When the journals reached Britain, some expert wrote a book to prove that there couldn’t be a snow covered mountain that close to the equator. Now you see the application.
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men...”
That’s religion. Honors God with the lips but its heart is far from him. And it’s all what people say I should do. Fear taught by the precept of men. If you’re a Mennonite you act one way. And if you’re Assemblies of God you act another way. And if you’re Catholic you act a third way. But for many people, whether they’re Catholic, Assemblies of God or Mennonite, it’s a religious act. That’s all it is. It shouldn’t be necessary for you to change your whole way of behavior when you walk through the doors of the church. You find most religious people use even a different tone of voice inside the church. When they pray it’s in an artificial, false voice. The great sin of religious people was the one that Jesus dealt with most severely in the Pharisees. Hypocrisy. Do you know what hypocrisy is? It’s a Greek word for an actor, ?hypocrites?. And religion is essentially putting on an act.
It depends on what kind of religion you belong to what kind of act you put on. Under ancient cultures for drama there were certain masks. I think there were about five or six. And every playwright had to write a play with that number of characters for that number of masks. And an actor, when he played his part, he didn’t show his real face, he put on the mask. That’s exactly like religion. It’s just a selection of masks. Which mask do you have? The Catholic mask, the Assemblies of God mask, the Methodist mask? That’s how you’ll act while you’re in church. While you’re saying all those nice things to God with your lips, your heart is far from him. And God says when people are like that, I’ll judge them, I’ll take away from them the ability to see truth. I’m amazed that some people that can’t see truth today. I could name groups but I won’t. I understand the root cause is hypocrisy. God removed from the hypocrite the ability to see the truth.
Let me show you that. I’ll read Isaiah 29:13–14 again.
“Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men...”
Don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t smoke, don’t go to movies. That’s the group I belonged to for years. But when the TV came out it wasn’t covered by all those precepts! So, it was wrong to go outside the home to see the murder thriller or the cowboys but it was all right to get it inside your home on the TV screen. To me that’s nothing but plain hypocrisy. If it’s bad outside it’s twice as bad inside. Is that right? I was guilty of that myself. I lived under those rules for much longer than I care to think. But believe me, friends, I never intend to get back under a set of rules like that. Not even Charismatic rules either. Do you know what some people have done? They’ve thrown out the Baptist rules and replaced them with Charismatic rules. And Charismatic rules are just as soul destroying as Baptist rules or Catholic rules or any other rules. All right, we’ve come to the point. Verse 14:
“Therefore, behold, [because of this hypocrisy] I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people [the people of God], even a marvelous work and a wonder...”
The language is as strong as God can make it. Something astonishing.
“...the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid.”
Have you known religious groups like that? I have. And I’m not thinking of Roman Catholics, let me hasten to say. You know what I’m thinking about, to tell you the truth? Pentecostals. Every religious group that’s really had a message has added a story to God’s building the church. But almost invariably the next thing they’ve done is put the roof on. They say that’s it, no more. The next time the winds of the Holy Spirit blows, you know the first thing it does? Blows the roof off! And you know the people who oppose most bitterly the building of the next story on top of there? The ones who built the previous story. Isn’t that remarkable! I can understand it now but for a long while I couldn’t understand it. The people that spearheaded the last revival are the opponents of this one. Astonishing.
Let’s go on. Coming back to a true heart, no hypocrisy, no religious acts. Sincerity, loyalty. Brother Baxter said translate faith by obedience. And that’s a tremendous thought. Let me offer you another aspect of it. Translate faith by loyalty. Loyalty to Jesus Christ at any cost. You find they work exactly to the same end.
Fullness of faith, this is the next condition. Where it says full assurance of faith, I think the better translation is fullness of faith. How do you have fullness of faith? It is an effort, is it a struggle, do you have to pinch yourself and say am I full of faith? No. It’s a decision. Faith is a decision. That’s why unbelief is the primary sin. What is it to have fullness of faith? Let me suggest to you Psalm 119:128. There are many different ways to present this.
“Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right [that’s addressed to the Lord]; and I hate every false way.”
Oh, how much that says. God, whatever you say is right. And anything that disagrees with you is a false way. That’s not a feeling, that’s a decision. You can make that decision when you will. The outworking of it may take many, many years but the decision can be made in a moment. I intend to agree with what God says. Whatever he says is right. That’s what I came to. When I was saved and baptized in the Holy Spirit in an Army barrack room not knowing anything about New Testament doctrine, I clutched hold of one fact: the Bible book with the answer. It’s the one that tells me what happened to me. I made up my mind then at that time that whatever the Bible says is right and anything or anyone that disagrees with the Bible is wrong. That’s it. Psalm 119:128. It’s simple. Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right. Are you afraid to say that? Shall we say it together? Don’t say it if you don’t want to be taken up on it, because you will. And so may I. If you’ve got Psalm 119:128 in front of you, we’ll read it together. If you’ve got another version it’ll come out just as well. “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee. It’s the same decision again.
2Corinthians 10:5. Intellectual difficulties are basically an unwillingness to make a decision. It’s procrastination and indecision in the spiritual realm because believing is a decision. Some time or other you’ve got to make the decision. If you wait till you understand the whole Bible before you believe it, you’ll wait a long while. Isn’t that right? If you wait to understand everything about Jesus Christ before you accept him, you’ll wait a long while. Faith is a decision in relation to Christ and the scripture. I’ve made that decision, thank God. My mind is at rest. I have perfect inward peace. 2Corinthians 10:5:
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
You can do that. Inside you is a mind trained to argue with God. Shut it up. By nature it’s opposed to God. Keep your finger there and turn to Romans 8:7:
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God...”
Suppress that enemy, refuse to give him liberty to speak. When you say do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? That’s your carnal mind. It’s at enmity with God. Don’t listen. Don’t let it argue. Don’t let it come out with its but’s. You’ve decided everything God says is right. Stick to that decision. That’s the fullness of faith.
“But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering [what’s wavering in modern English? Indecision]. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. Let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.”
That’s a very sweeping statement. The double minded, unstable, undecided person gets nowhere with God. Make your mind up from now on what God says is right. That’s the fullness of faith.
And I must give you what the Lord gave me before the meeting. 2Thessalonians 2:11–12. You should look at the background of this, it’s very important.
“For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie...”
That should take your breath away if you’re not familiar with that scripture.
“...God will send people strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth...”
It’s that simple. If you don’t believe the truth you will believe a lie. Which are you going to believe? That was Eve’s choice. God told her the truth, Satan told her a lie. She had two things. She chose the lie, that’s unbelief. What is unbelief? It’s believing the lie. It’s not believing nothing, everybody believes something. The decision is will I believe God or will I believe the serpent? God says if you don’t believe the truth he’ll see to it, God will see to it that you believe the lie. So, you better believe the truth.
You Charismatics, don’t fool around with the truth. Don’t believe just as much as suits you and leave the rest. Don’t be like King Saul who said “Blessed be the Lord God, I’ve obeyed the commandment of the Lord.” He did as much as suited him and lost his crown for it.
I taught that story in Africa to my students and I was going to teach them the spiritual truth which was a pattern we gave them. I can see this scene so vividly. In a classroom right there in East Africa, walking to the blackboard to write up the spiritual truth of the story about King Saul. You know the story I’m talking about, he was sent to slay the Amalekites and came back sparing Agag and the rest of the sheep and the oxen. He said to Samuel, “I’ve obeyed the commandment of the Lord.” Samuel says, “I don’t understand that, I can hear sheep bleating and oxen lowing. If they were dead, how could they be doing that?” So I was teaching my students this and I said I’ll tell you the spiritual truth of this story. And as I walked to the blackboard it was as though God said to me, “I’ll tell you the spiritual truth of this story.” And by the time I got to the blackboard I had it. I wrote it up. Incomplete obedience is disobedience. Just believing as much as you want to believe is believing nothing. It’s unbelief. You can receive the truth or you can come under delusion. That’s the only two options available to God’s people as this age closes.
We’re going on to a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience. Romans 5:9:
“Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
It says we’re justified by the blood of Jesus. You know my definition of justified: Just as if I’d never sinned. That’s how righteous the blood of Jesus makes me. There’s no more conscience for sin.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“If our heart condemn us not, then have we boldness toward God.”
But if I’m condemned in my heart, I have no access to God.
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
And that’s a faith stand you have to make. All my sins are forgiven, I’ve confessed them all, God has forgiven them all, the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all unrighteousness, I am justified—just as if I’d never sinned. Do you believe that? I do. I really believe it. I don’t let my mind insinuate religious doubt. I believe it exactly the way it says. I confess all my sins. I can think of no sins I haven’t confessed. I believe God is faithful and just. I believe he’s forgiven me all my sins. I believe he’s cleansed me from all unrighteousness. I believe I’m accepted in the beloved. I believe I’m justified—just as if I’d never sinned. I don’t have to cringe in the presence of God. I don’t have to whimper. I have to walk in upright.
Leviticus 26:13 says:
“I have made you to go upright.”
In Egypt they bowed under heavy burdens, they cringed under the taskmaster’s whip. But when God redeemed them by the blood of the lamb he said the burdens have been taken away, you don’t need to cringe beneath the whip, walk upright. I say every child of God has got the right to walk down the straight and narrow pathway of the will of God with his eyes straight ahead saying, “Satan, stand aside. There’s a child of God coming down the road and you get out of my way.”
Hebrews 10:17. It goes even better than that.
“And their sins and iniquities [God says] I will remember no more.”
I say God hasn’t got a bad memory, he’s got a good forgetter! There’s a lot of difference. God remembers everything that he doesn’t decide to forget. If he decides to forget it, he doesn’t remember it anymore.
All right. The last one is a body washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22, are you with me there?
“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”
Do you mean to say the condition of my body affects my access to God? Yes, it does. Does it mean my body? It means your body. I believe it does.
What does it mean to have your body washed with pure water? What’s the pure water? The word of God. How does God’s word purify us? 1Peter 1:22:
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit...”
How does God’s word purify you? When you do what? Obey it, that’s right. Through the Spirit. The word ministered by the Spirit and obeyed purifies you.
1John 3:3. What does that say?
“Every man that has this hope in him [Jesus Christ] purifies himself, even as he is pure.”
Do you know how to purify yourself? Obey the word ministered to you through the Spirit and you purify yourself. How pure have you got to be? Even as he is pure. That’s only one standard that God has, it’s Jesus.
1Thessalonians 4, this very much relates to water baptism, let me tell you that. 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4:
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication [be holy]...”
Fornication is unholy. The abuse of your body for immoral sex purpose is unholiness. Verse 4:
“That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification [holiness] and honor.”
What’s your vessel? Your body is the vessel and the Bible says it’s the will of God that you should know how to keep that vessel unsoiled: pure and holy.
And then it goes on in 1Thessalonians 5:23:
“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I’d like to give you an assignment for homework. Come back the next conference and tell me what it means to have your body preserved blameless. Please put in some study on that one. Come back and share it with us. The Bible says that your body could and should be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord. And that’s complete holiness. If your body is not preserved blameless, whatever that may mean, it’s not total holiness. The will of God is that you should know how to possess this vessel in sanctification and honor.
1Corinthians 6:12–20. The main theme here is the importance of the body. Most Christians grow up with the attitude the body isn’t really important. The Bible never says that. Please note. It’s not scriptural to belittle your body.
“All things are lawful unto me...”
It’s all right for me to eat three ice cream sundaes. But have you noticed the next verse?
“...but all things are not expedient...”
It doesn’t do me any good.
“...all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
No ice cream or cigarettes or cup of coffee is going to dictate to me. I heard Brother Lester Sumrall say, “The morning I wake up and feel I can’t do without a cup of coffee is the morning I won’t drink it.” And that’s a pretty good decision to make. When you become dependent on anything, you’re enslaved by it.
“All things are lawful, but I will not be brought under the power of any of them.”
Verse 13, Food for the stomach and the stomach for food. That’s the Prince version. But God is going to put away both of them. They’re not permanent. Enjoy them while you have them but it’s not going to be for long.
“Now the body is not for fornication...”
That’s easy for any Christian to say amen to. But what about the next part of the verse?
“...but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.”
Who’s your body for? The Lord. And when your body is for the Lord the Lord is for your body.
“And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?”
Christ’s members on earth are our physical members. That’s all he has to work through.
“Shall I take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a prostitute? God forbid. Know ye not that he which is joined to a prostitute is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that clings and cleaves to the Lord is one spirit.”
And you’ll see that there’s an exact parallel with the physical relation of the prostitute and the spiritual relation to the Lord. It’s a union with the Lord. He that is united in the love relationship with the Lord is one spirit.
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”
Their sex sins defile your physical body. And that I believe to be absolutely true. Verse 19:
“What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
You don’t belong to yourself and that includes your body. It’s God’s property.
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
That makes a great deal of difference. What’s the supreme purpose of your body? To serve as a temple for what? The Holy Spirit. See, the Most High dwells not in temples made with hands. You can build him the nicest church or cathedral and he may come there when his people are there. But his dwelling place is the physical body of the redeemed believer.
Matthew 28:19, isn’t that something! Did you ever see that in this context?
“Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them [immersing them] in [into] the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The first thing that happens to your body after you commit your life to Jesus Christ is it is entirely submerged in water. It’s totally set apart. There’s a cleansing, sanctifying application of water. See, every sacrifice in the Old Covenant, its inwards were washed with water. Everything that was offered to God on the altar of blood must then be washed in the water. This is a sanctifying, separating ordinance. And it’s not unimportant that every single external area of your body comes under that washing. It’s not to make you physically clean but it is to make you holy in the true sense of set apart to God. And you have omitted a basic provision for holiness without that. Repent and do what? Be baptized. How many of you? Every one of you.
When you’ve done that then Romans 12:1:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice... unto God.”
And Matthew 23:19 says it’s the altar that sanctifies the gift. So, your body is sanctified when it’s placed on God’s altar. That’s how to preserve your body in sanctification and honor. Keep it on the altar. Jesus said to the Pharisees, “How foolish can you be? It isn’t the gift that sanctifies the altar, it’s the altar that sanctifies the gift.” If you place your body on God’s altar, as long as it is in contact with the altar it is sanctified. But if you break the contact you lost your sanctification. It doesn’t belong to you, it belongs to God.
“Let not sin therefore reign [where?] in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lust thereof. Neither yield your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin...”
It means your physical members. Don’t yield them to sin.
“...but yield yourselves unto God...and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.”
What do you do? You have your heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, you know your sins are forgiven, you know your heart is cleansed and then you have your body washed with pure water. The pure water of the word of God. You purify it by obeying the truth ministered to you by the Holy Spirit. The first purifying act after believing is being immersed, passing through the water, being set apart to God. After that you lay that sanctified body that’s sanctified by blood and by water on the altar of God’s service. And you present every individual member to God as an instrument. And your body thereafter is a vessel and it’s an instrument. It’s the only instrument that Jesus Christ has to do his will in this world at this time. Our members are the members of Christ.
Let’s bow in prayer. Time is passing but I want to give an opportunity to those here this afternoon who are not sanctified in this sense of obeying the truth of God’s word. I want those of you that do not know your sins are forgiven to be included. You want to accept the forgiveness and cleansing of your sins in the blood of Jesus. I want those of you that have accepted the cleansing of sin but never immersed your body in pure water to present it to God. If you will do that, remarkably enough, the next item on the agenda is baptism. God planned it that way for you.
And then I want those that have done those two things but never presented their bodies to God, you really aren’t clear about the ownership of your body. You never will be clear until you present it to God because God isn’t going to take it till you give it. I want those to present their bodies to God. Have I made it clear? You can do all three this afternoon. Those that don’t know their sins are forgiven, they don’t have their hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. Something is still troubling your conscience. Those that have been sprinkled in the blood but never washed in the pure water of baptism. I want you to come. And then I want those that have been both sprinkled and washed but never presented their body and their members. If you want to do that, then do it this afternoon.
Shall we bow in prayer with our eyes closed in reverence about 30 seconds while you weigh up what I’ve been telling you this afternoon? Then if you want to act and make this decision and commitment I want you to stand to your feet and walk out here to the front. That will be the last part of this service. Just stand to your feet and walk out here and say I want to be sure all my sins are forgiven, or I want to tell God that I’m going to be immersed, or I’m going to present to God my body as a temple for the Holy Spirit, my members as instruments. I’m going to know from this afternoon onwards my body is for the Lord and the Lord for my body.
Any of those needs that you recognize, would you stand to your feet right now and move out to the front and then it’s between you and God. I don’t want to interview you nor counsel with you. I want you to make the commitment.