South Sydney Anglican Church

Speaker: James Boardman

Bible Passage: John 2: 13-22

Introduction:

  • “She was not amused.”
  • This is the Queen’s reported reaction to Megxit
  • Harry and Meghan’s decision to go their own way
  • To quit royal life
  • Clearly, the two parties don’t see eye to eye
  • But there’s something else that makes this conflict so raw
  • It’s the relational element
  • This isn’t boss vs employee
  • It’s Grandmother against Grandson
  • From the Queen’s perspective, the betrayal by family really stings.
  • Today’s passage we see a similar dynamic
  • We see God the Creator and King of the World
  • Stung by the betrayal of his people
  • Yet God is a God of love
  • A God who is willing to suffer death
  • Even death on a cross
  • To win back his people
  • So the big idea for today is
  • Know the God who restores eternal relationship

 Point 1 Understand broken community

  • Our relationship with God is broken
  • This is the point of the first half of the passage
  • Know our relationship with God is broken
  • Have a look at verse 13
  • Our narrative starts in the context of the Jewish Passover
  • The Passover festival celebrates God wanting a relationship with his people
  • Pharoah, king of Egypt had enslaved the Israelites
  • His heart is against God
  • We call this hard-hearted
  • So God pours out his judgement on Pharoah in ten plagues
  • The tenth plague is the worst
  • The firstborn son of every household in Egypt was to die
  • But God offered an escape for the Israelites
  • They could sacrifice a sheep or goat and paint the blood of this animal on their doorposts
  • The animals acted as substitutes
  • The angel of death would see the blood and pass over the house
  • The death of the animal had satisfied God’s judgement
  • God takes the Israelites as his own people and he becomes their God
  • God rescues his people to have a relationship with them
  • God wanted to celebrate this festival each year with his people.
  • So God commands his people to only celebrate the Passover in the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name.
  • This is later revealed to be the Temple in Jerusalem.
  • Into this context strides Jesus
  • Here is Jesus
  • Fully God and fully man
  • He’s going to the festival to celebrate with his people
  • It was going to be a joyous occasion.
  • So you’d expect people to be excitedly planning for the festival
  • But what does Jesus find when he arrives?
  • These merchants probably thought they were being helpful.
  • God’s law commanded each household to sacrifice an animal from their flock to celebrate the Passover.
  • As a reminder of how God rescued the Israelites
  • But Jerusalem is a long walk for most Israelites
  • It was a dangerous walk
  • Full of natural hazards and robbers
  • It was quicker and safer to buy an animal at the Temple for sacrifice
  • This practice was permitted per God’s law
  • So Jesus’ next action is surprising
  • Have a look at verse 15
  • Meek, mild Jesus
  • You can imagine the scene
  • Coins scattered all over the floor
  • Animals spilling out into the streets
  • The authorities shocked!
  • But this wasn’t an explosion of anger
  • It would take a while to make a whip out of cords
  • This was a deliberate act
  • But why did Jesus’ do this?
  • Have a look at verse 16
  • The Temple should be a place to meet with God
  • The place people could come to ask God for forgiveness for all the wrong they had done
  • It was God’s dwelling place among his people
  • Where eternity met with our world
  • It was a sign
  • A sign of God’s desire to live with his people and rule the Earth through them
  • Instead, it had become a place to make money
  • But how is this the case?
  • Weren’t the moneychangers just complying with God’s law?
  • Weren’t they providing a good service to their fellow Israelites?
  • Well Jesus can see their hearts
  • Their motivation isn’t to enable the worship of God
  • It’s to make money
  • Their actions were right by the law
  • But Jesus also cares about the motivation

Illustration

  • Imagine watching an archer on TV
  • You watch them carefully ready the arrow
  • They carefully aim
  • Whack a perfect bullseye
  • You think what a good shot!
  • But then the camera pans back
  • They’ve got a bullseye
  • But it’s on the wrong target.
  • The shot looked amazing.
  • Yet because it hit the wrong target, it doesn’t count.
  • This is true of the moneychangers
  • Their actions look good on the outside.
  • But they are aiming at the wrong target.
  • Their actions do not honour The True Creator God
  • They are not worshipping him
  • Their hearts reveal what they truly worship, money
  • Instead of celebrating the relationship with their God
  • They try to make money out of it
  • The Temple had ceased to be the symbol of God’s rule
  • It now symbolized the rule of money over Israel
  • Like Pharaoh the moneychangers hearts are hardened against God
  • This is humanity’s first problem
  • But there’s a second problem
  • God’s wrath
  • God was angry at Pharaoh’s hard heart
  • Jesus was angry at the money changers hard hearts
  • God is angry at our hard hearts 

Doctrine of God’s Wrath

  • How do you feel about God’s wrath
  • My experience is most people today are not comfortable with God’s wrath
  • We like merciful, loving Jesus
  • But we shy away from the Wrath of God
  • Yet the Wrath of God is mentioned 375 times in the OT
  • The first half of the Bible
  • And prominent characters like Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul all talk about God’s wrath in the NT,
  • The second half of the Bible
  • God’s wrath is described as terrible
  • Inspiring dread
  • Bringing punishment
  • And destruction
  • I don’t think we like the Wrath of God because it seems unloving
  • But hear this quote from Joseph Scheumann
“God’s wrath is his love in action against sin.”

 

  • God is just
  • He must punish evil and bring justice
  • Bringing justice is loving
  • We get this instinctively don’t we
  • We get really upset by injustice
  • We protest when someone is shot
  • Or when lewd acts are performed in Canberra
  • We want to see evil stopped
  • We want to see a restoration of what is lost
  • We want to see justice
  • Well if we’re honest, we want to see justice done to others
  • But we don’t like it when people shine a light on us
  • When our bad deeds or sins are exposed

 Application

  • This passage has shown us two reasons why our relationship with God is broken
  • 1) Our hearts are hardened against God (problem of sin)
  • 2) Because we have sinned, God is rightfully angry (problem of God’s wrath)
  • This passage cuts against our world’s beliefs doesn’t it?
  • The belief that everyone apart from bigots, murderers, Hitler and Stalin are good people
  • Here is Jesus angry at a deed that looks good
  • God cares about our hearts as well as our actions
  • It doesn’t matter how many good deeds we do
  • It doesn’t matter our political opinion
  • It doesn’t matter whether the world thinks we are a good person
  • What matters is whether we treat God as King all the time
  • By this standard, we have all betrayed our King!
  • Our relationship is broken
  • God’s angry with us
  • To God we are all Harry and Meghan <pause>
  • As Christians this motivates us to warn others about God’s wrath

Illustration

  • The Bible teacher Richard Coekin asks us to imagine if our neighbours house was on fire
  • You see that they are still inside asleep
  • Wouldn’t you do everything to wake them up
  • Bang on the door
  • Scream loudly
  • Yell get up get up
  • Wouldn’t you keep going until they were safe?
  • Wouldn’t that be the loving thing to do?
  • Isn’t it equally loving to warn others of God’s wrath?

Application

  • So if you’ve been invited by a Christian today
  • It’s not out of hate
  • It’s out of love for you
  • It’s a warning about a very present danger
  • The wrath of God
  • To the Christians here
  • Keep going
  • Keep telling others what Jesus has done for you
  • Keep sharing your testimonies with others
  • They’re very powerful
  • We have all been so encouraged by you this week
  • And we praise Jesus for the work he is doing here among you

Point 2 – Know it’s God who restores eternal relationship

  • So we have seen our relationship with God is broken
  • We have betrayed God as king
  • We have two big problems
  • 1) Our sinful hearts aren’t aligned with God’s
  • 2) God’s wrath is on us
  • So how do we escape God’s wrath?
  • How can our sin problem be dealt with?
  • How can our relationship with God be restored?
  • Have a look at verse 17
  • The disciples are remembering Psalm 69:9
  • Jesus’ is laser focused on restoring man’s relationship with God
  • God restores eternal relationship
  • This is our second point
  • Know its’ God who restores relationship
  • But did you notice what that focus would result in? <Pause>
  • It would consume him.
  • Jesus’ zeal for God’s house, God’s temple, would eat him up.
  • It would result in his death.
  • To have eternal relationship with God, Jesus would have to die.
  • The remaining verses attest to this.
  • Have a look at verse 18
  • The Jews respond to the disturbance
  • They ask for a sign that Jesus has the right to do this
  • The Temple bore God’s name
  • Any changes to the temple required divine authority
  • Jesus tells them the sign of his authority in verse 19
  • Now the Jews have heard the word Temple
  • They immediately think about the building.
  • Have a look at verse 20
  • But Jesus isn’t talking about the building
  • Have a look at verse 21
  • Jesus is effectively saying destroy this body, and I will raise it again in three days
  • This tells us two things
  • Firstly it shows Jesus is God
  • Only God can give life
  • So Jesus raising his body to life shows he is God.
  • Secondly, Jesus is the place where humanity could come to meet with God
  • Jesus claims to be the new temple
  • The place where people could come for forgiveness of sins
  • But how could people come to Jesus if their hearts were hardened against God?
  • These hard or sinful hearts would not accept Jesus as king
  • And there was a second problem
  • God’s wrath against sin had to be satisfied
  • These two problems still separated man and God.
  • The solution can be found in the Passover
  • Substitution
  • Jesus would become our Passover lamb, our substitute
  • He would take our sin and God’s wrath on himself
  • He died in our place
  • Because he paid the price for our sin we can find forgiveness in him
  • Instead he gives us his perfection
  • God looks on us and sees Jesus’ perfection
  • He does this so we can enjoy eternal relationship with God
  • Jesus restores eternal relationship with God
  • But how do we know it was effective?
  • Have a look at verse 22
  • This verse provides the evidence.
  • Jesus was raised from the dead
  • This showed he is God.
  • Secondly, look how the disciples reacted to the resurrection
  • They believed God’s word and the scripture
  • They trusted it.
  • That trust shows their hearts had aligned with God.
  • They were saved.
  • A second Passover had occurred
  • God’s anger had fallen on Jesus and not the disciples
  • This is God’s saving gospel
  • Jesus is God
  • Jesus saves
  • People respond by trusting him
  • God restores eternal relationship

Application

  • Jesus is the new Temple
  • He has restored eternal relationship between humanity and God
  • There may be some people here today who feel God is distant
  • Let this passage assure you
  • Jesus has provided access to your Heavenly Father
  • He is close
  • There may be some of you feeling weighed down by sin this morning
  • Let this passage assure you that Jesus loves you
  • He died for you
  • He paid the price for your sin
  • If you trust in Jesus your sin is gone
  • It’s forgiven
  • “As far as the East is from the West, so far has he removed our transgression from us.”
  • Let that comfort you this week.
  • There may be some people today who want to explore Christianity further
  • This passage shows us that being a Christian is principally about relationship.
  • A relationship with Jesus
  • You may be wondering how can I know more about Jesus?
  • Where can I go to hear Jesus speak to me?
  • Primarily through his Word, the Bible.
  • It is here where you will meet Jesus
  • It is here where you will hear Jesus say “I love you.”
  • If you want to explore Christianity, is there anyone you can read the Bible with?
  • If no one comes to mind speak to Matt afterwards and he will find someone for you
  • For the Christians here, who can you invite to read the Bible with you?
  • There may be some people who are ready to respond to Jesus today
  • To come to him and say I’m sorry
  • I’m sorry for not always treating you as King
  • To say I’m ready to call you my King
  • And I trust that you have saved me
  • If that is something you feel led to do we’d love to pray with you afterwards.
  • To celebrate this new life you are starting

Conclusion

Let me finish by telling you Shane’s story

–      Shane got into a gang when he was young

–      He got into a number of gang confrontations

–      Result he ended up stabbing two people

–      Arrested for attempted murder

–      Sent to prison

–      In prison he attempted to stab a guard

–      He was sent to a maximum-security prison

–      Shane was angry and hated the world

 

  • In prison he enrolled in a Christianity course
  • He heard about grace
  • That his sins could be forgiven
  • He head how Jesus loves him
  • He heard how Jesus had died
  • He heard how Jesus had taken the punishment he deserved
  • He heard he could have a new life.
  • Not just in this life
  • But in eternity
  • This grace, broke this man to tears
  • He was amazed by what Jesus had done for him
  • Shane responded
  • He gave his life to Jesus
  • Now Shane is a prison chaplain
  • He wants to show fellow prisoners the grace he found
  • He wants them to be as amazed by Jesus as he is
  • Today we have seen our relationship with God is broken
  • In God’s eyes we are all like Shane
  • Our hearts are hardened against him
  • God’s anger is on us
  • Yet God has shown his love for us in this
  • While we were still sinners, Christ died for us
  • He took the punishment we deserve
  • Those who trust in him, will not perish but will have eternal life
  • Will you be one of those people?
  • Will you trust in him?
  • Do you know the God who restores eternal relationship?

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