Dedicating the Temple – Then and Now
I. APPROACHING the text ANALYTICALLY. (8:1-66)
A. A STRUCTURE that highlights a PRAYER. (v.1-66)
B. The EXEGETICAL difficulty of PREACHING a prayer.
There’s a strategy that goes into reading the Bible in a way that seeks to interpret and apply it with integrity. While God may speak through phrases and single verses at times, drawing long term application out of passages takes some time to listen carefully to what is happening in a text in light of the whole of Scripture.
1. If you had to describe prayer with a word picture what would you say and why? (Is it like a shopping list? A letter to someone? A phone call?, etc.)
2. What is your greatest question/concern about prayer?
II. OVER-HEARING a prayer DIRECTED to God. (v.22-53)
A. This prayer POSITIONS the “pray-er” CORRECTLY. (v.22-30
B. It FOCUSES on FORGIVENESS. (v.31-40)
C. It reorients ETHNICITY/NATION around GOD. (v.41-45)
D. It longs for RESTORATION and CONNECTION. (v.46-53)
The challenge comes in applying a prayer that was directed to God, from a man who at times was a great example and at others times a poor example. But the prayer has much to commend itself to our own practice.
3. How can we know if we are positioned (postured) appropriately in our prayers?
4. Kid’s question: Who have you had to forgive? Who have you had to ask for forgiveness? What was that like for you?
5. What does Canadian patriotism look like for a citizen of the Kingdom of God?
III. DEDICATION of our TEMPLE through prayer. (Eph. 2:19-22)
A. Live in a POSTURE of SURRENDER. (v.22-30; Mt. 6:9-10; I Cor. 6:19-20)
B. Be HONEST and welcome GRACE. (v.31-40; Mt. 6:11-12)
C. The only KINGDOM is GOD’S. (v.41-45; Mt. 12:46-50)
D. The GOSPEL meets our deepest LONGINGS. (v.46-53; 1 Jn 4:13-19)
The Scriptures are clear that the OT temple has been fulfilled in Jesus and that now, we as the “body of Christ” function together as a living temple. We are the place where God lives in flesh and blood on the earth. This is the answer to Solomon’s question, “Will God really dwell on earth?” (v.27). He will and He does. The question is how will we surrender to His will as we live out our temple-ness this coming week?
6. In what ways can you be the presence of Jesus (the temple) in your circles of interaction in the coming week?
7. How does honesty, authenticity, and willingness to humbly receive grace relate to being the temple of God in the world today? Do you find that easy or challenging and why?
8. Where do you see longing for restoration and connection around you at present? How can the presence of Jesus in you seek to address that this week?