Sunday School Material 4-15-12: Temple is Cleaned

(John 2:13-22; 4/15/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Jesus cleansed the Temple. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to obey God’s will to keep His churches focused on her mission.

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Read John 2:13-17
I. Jesus’ Actions.
In the Sunday School material Jesus entered the outer court of the Temple. He ended up whipping out the animals that were being sold. He overturned the tables of the money changers. The holiness of God’s house was the issue.

Applications –
- Passover.
Notice in vs. 13 of the Sunday School material the mention of the Passover. The Passover is a time for the Jews to celebrate God’s delivering them from their slavery and oppression in Egypt.

Every believer and congregation should have some Passover celebrations – times when we remember and celebrate God delivering us from something(s). We should all be able to celebrate being delivered from the penalty of our sins.

Church anniversaries should be times to remember and celebrate. And then, as we remember and celebrate, we should be mindful that to whom much is given much is required.

We were delivered for duty, saved for service, and liberated for labor. Let’s work on remembering God’s delivering us and live accordingly.

- A market place in church. Notice in vss. 14-16 of the Sunday School material how the place of worship was being used as a market.

The Sunday School commentary gives a nice explanation of what was going on and modern behaviors being influenced by this text. We should remember that Jesus’ greatest concerns with the business transactions were they exploited especially the poor.

The transactions took away from the worship that was supposed to be going on. It is still wrong to exploit anyone, especially the most vulnerable - the poor. It is still wrong to make the place of worship something less than that.

However, we should be careful about being too legalistic. Surely selling CDs and DVDs of worship after worship for those who want them can be done without exploitation or taking away from worship.

Fundraisers for the sake of ministry can be done without exploitation or taking away from worship. However, if every believer would tithe and give as God has prospered him or her then no fundraising would be needed.

Let’s work on the proper application of God’s word. God’s word includes giving as God as prospered us, so that even acceptable fundraising would not be required.

- Analysis, action, and teaching. Notice in vss. 14-16 that Jesus analyzed the situation, before He acted upon what He saw. And then He taught why He did what He did. We would do well to learn to analyze, before we act.

Sometimes things are not what they seem. And sometimes analysis helps us see that things are even worse than what we originally saw. Analysis without actions rarely produces any change. We need to be doers of God’s word.

And then action or zeal without knowledge is vain. There needs to be informed action. In fact, often teaching comes between analysis and action. However, there are times like in the text that action is used for an attention getting object lesson.

Let’s work on analyzing, acting, and teaching, as we strive to obey God’s will. We should give ourselves to doing what needs to be done to keep God’s churches focused on evangelizing and edifying God’s way (see Mt. 28:19-20).

- Remembering and trusting. Notice in vs. 17 of the Sunday School material the ideas of remembering and suffering for obedience. First, the disciples’ remembering the Word, implies that they had it in their memory, and it was recalled at the given time.

It is so important for us to keep on reading, studying, and depositing the Word of God into our minds and hearts, so that the Holy Spirit can bring such memories back up at the appropriate time.

Second, the disciples remembered that obeying God can lead to suffering, just like being zealous for the purity of God’s house can lead to one being consumed. But thank God, whatever trouble we get into because our obeying God, God can get us out of.

Let’s work on filling our memories with God’s word and trusting Him to keep us, when things get rough because we are obeying His will.

Read John 2:18-22
II. Jesus’ Announcement.
The Jews asked for a sign to authenticate Jesus’ authority to do what He did. In the Sunday School material Jesus referenced that the Temple would be rebuilt in three days.

The Jews thought that Jesus was talking about the physical structure. Jesus was actually talking about His own body. The disciples’ faith was strengthened by their understanding the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies.

Applications –
- Signs and wonders.
Notice in vs. 18 that unbelievers are known for calling for signs and wonders. There are times when God provides signs and wonders for the sake of those who will benefit by such.

Be mindful that there are many who will not believe, no matter how many signs and wonders are performed. But there are other times when God does not provide signs and wonders. God simply calls for faith.

We should not withhold our obedience, especially as believers, because we want more signs. We are to walk by faith, not by sight. Let’s work on having the faith to obey God, even when we do not have signs and wonders. The Word of God should be enough for us.

- Understanding God’s will and trusting His timing. Notice in vss. 19-21 of the Sunday School material the communication issues.

First, in spite of the titles that the Jewish leaders had and even the disciples, they did not understand what God was saying through Jesus. We should make sure that we strive to understand God’s word and will.

Prayerful study with a mind to obey is a better predictor of our understanding than our title or seniority. Second, it seems that Jesus spoke in a coded way, because it was not time for his opponents to understand all that was going on.

God works on a time table. We should strive to be aligned with God’s time table. In so doing, we will learn that there are times for suffering and times for triumphs. Let’s work on understanding God’s will and trusting God’s timing.

- Faith based obedience. Notice in vs. 22 of the Sunday School material that when the disciples saw Jesus resurrected after three days, they understood and believed His prophecy.

In like manner, the more we see that God’s word is true, the more we should believe, and such belief should lead to more obedience.

At the core of faithful obedience are the issues of accepting Jesus as one’s savior by faith and striving to love God and others, as we love ourselves.

Let’s work on developing more faith based obedience. We can trust God’s promises to bless those who obey Him and punish those who do not.

Conclusion: Let’s work on keeping God’s churches focused on her mission. God has much for those who obey His will.

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