Words from the Heart for Sunday July 31st, 2016
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)
As you gather with the people of God to worship this Sunday, have you ever considered this verse? God inhabits the praises of His people. His Spirit lives in the midst of the redeemed. Let the knowledge of God delighting in His people change the way you worship Him today and every Sunday!
Since the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD70, the centre of Jewish life has been in the synagogue. The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of Montreal, also known as Shearith Israel, is a Montreal synagogue, located on St. Kevin Street in Snowdon, which is the oldest Jewish congregation in Canada. The Congregation, which is now in its fourth location, traces its history back to 1760 and was formally established in 1768. It is affiliated with the Orthodox Union. The first synagogue building, and the first non-Catholic house of worship built in the province of Quebec, was built in the Old City on Chenneville Street in 1838. The Judeo-Egyptian style temple-like building had a front of cut stone, adorned with a portico with two columns. This was the only formal place for Jewish worship in Montreal until 1846.
The Temple was the heart of Judaism until AD70. It was where the sacrifices were made to atone for the sins of the people. It was where people went to worship and the music filled the atmosphere, along with incense and the scent of sacrificial animals. But in AD70 all of that came to an end. The Romans stormed Jerusalem and ransacked the Temple. And the heart was torn out of Jewish religious life. But something else was happening in the heavenly realm. God was taking up His residence in the heart, the spiritual human heart. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” Until Jesus’ death on the Cross, God dwelt in the Most Holy Place in the Temple, separated from men and women because of their sin. But on the Cross, Jesus bore the sins of the world, and when He cried “It is finished” the great wall of cloth that covered the entrance of the Holy Place was torn in two. God would no longer be remote from His creation. Now He was unleashed into the world, and most importantly into the hearts of all who trust in Jesus Christ. Now each and every one of us who love Him and have experienced His grace are temples of the Holy Spirit. This is a profound mystery, and it speaks to the intimacy that God has with those who are His in Jesus Christ.
These have been words from the heart.