The Dwelling Place of God by Pastor Lafayette Scales
Pastor Lafayette Scales spoke more about the church at Good Ground Church in Cohoes, New York last night. He reviewed much of what was said in the previous post. Then he continued to explore more about the Church.
Ephesians 2:19-22 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
We are a holy temple unto the Lord, the dwelling place of God. Not only is the Church as a whole the dwelling place of God, but individually we are the dwelling place of God, His holy Temple.
God always desired a dwelling place which is why He created Eden, God’s Garden so he could commune, dine and walk with us daily. In Genesis 3, because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience they were removed from the Garden of Eden, and God placed a door on the Eastern side guarded by an angel so that no one could re-enter the Garden. It seems that Eden disappeared, but 1400 BC God gave Moses a plan for building a house for God to dwell – a Tabernacle. The door of the Tabernacle was on the Eastern side. There were three chambers to the tabernacle.
First man had to go into the outer court where the brazen altar was. Man had to give God something, a sacrifice. He could do nothing without giving a sacrifice. Leviticus 1 speaks of the sacrifices – and there were no exceptions. If a person was poor they could give a turtle dove or pigeon, if they were richer they could give a sheep, goat, or cow. They could only come unto God through the blood of the sacrifice.
After the sacrifice, in the outer court was the laver – where the priests washed their hands and feet and utensils. We cannot enter closer to God without being washed. This is similar to the water baptism that we receive when we come to Christ.
The Altar of Sacrifice and the Laver were out in natural light, but then the priest would enter the inner court – the Holy. There were three items in the Holy. The first thing on the left side was a lampstand. The priests had to fill the lamps with oil and trim the wicks. The light filled the place – the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. We have the light of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us, lighting our paths. On the right side was the table of shewbread, the Bread of His face. The priests replaced the bread every week, and consumed the old bread. Man cannot live by bread alone, and must continually refill himself with the Word of God which is what the bread represents.
Near the curtain that divides the Holy from the Holy of Holies (the inner chamber) is the Golden Altar of Incense. The coals on the altar were for burning the incense, not flesh. The closer we get to God the less of the flesh there is.
On this altar sweet spices were burned. Stacte, Onycha, Galbanum and Frankincense. These spices, when crushed together produced a sweet aroma.
These spices were bitter to taste, but when the fire of God’s altar touched them they became a sweet fragrance.
Frankincense symbolizes Jesus Christ. In its original state it is like a white rock that is crushed and beaten. On Jesus’ birthday the wise men brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. The truth is that our worship despite it’s spontaneity, depth, and drive is nothing without Jesus. It takes Jesus to make a sweet incense for God.
Once a year the High Priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies to offer sacrifice for the sins of the nation. In this chamber of the Tabernacle resided the Ark of the Covenant, and Glory of God was present. The Glory was found between the wings of the cherubim. It was at this altar that we receive the grace of God and forgiveness for our sins. Only mankind receives the grace of God. Angels, when they fall, do not receive the Grace of God, they are permanently fallen. There is no redemption for the fallen angels, lucifer will not be forgiven for his sin of pride and disobedience. Those angels that sided with the devil will not be saved. Angels wonder how God puts up with man in spite of his sin. God restores mankind. This is the mystery of God in Christ Jesus. Inside the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies resides the tablets of the Law, Aaron’s budded rod, and a golden pot of manna. The law is the truth and the life. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to God except through Jesus. God wanted a dwelling place among man, and Jesus was that.
Around 900 AD David dies and his son Solomon builds a temple. Solomon’s temple was bigger than Moses’ Tabernacle. Solomon’s temple had a court of the gentiles and a court of the women. The altar was enlarged. The more you seek God, the more the altar enlarges.
722 BC the Assyrians took Israel Captive. in 586 BC the temple was destroyed.
520 AD Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Zechariah organize the people to build a Temple. When the work was almost, but not completely finished, the people stopped working for 16 years, and spent the time building their own houses. The prophets came to the people and said that it was sad that God did not have His house built. The people spent a few month’s work and the Temple was finally finished. When the Temple was being dedicated, the ones that had remembered what Solomon’s Temple looked like mourned, and Haggai told them that the glory of the latter temple would be greater than the former. Haggai 2:9 ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.”
This is not only a statement for the current temple that the people were dedicating, but for the end times temple in the latter days.
Herod will expand the temple, and that is the temple that John the Baptist and Jesus worshipped at. The Word Made Flesh worshipped at Herod’s Temple. The Word Made Flesh was the Tabernacle of God, Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.
Before Jesus ascended into Heaven he told 500 who saw him to tarry in Jerusalem. Of those 500 only 120 made it to the Upper Room, the rest did not obey Jesus. Pastor Scales told the pastors in attendance not to despair when they tell their people something and the people do not obey – Jesus only had 27% of the 500 do what He told them to do.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Our bodies are the Temple of God. God dwells in us and we are in the dwelling place of God. When we have God we have vision.
People would have put Paul down, but God saw something in Paul, and with the Holy Spirit dwelling in Paul, Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians 1 & 2 Timothy, and the other epistles were written.
When we come together we are the Temple of God.
1 Peter 2:4-5 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
We are chosen by God and precious. We are LIVING STONES. As the House of God we want to be living stones.
Pastor Scales told us something so incredible about living stones. He was visiting Israel and went into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. He saw workmen on ladders knocking on stones. Curious, he asked what they were doing. The workmen told Pastor Scales that they were looking for lively stones and dead stones. He asked, “What’s the difference.” The workmen told him that some stones, while they look solid on the outside, haven’t gone through the formative process, and they will break or crumble under weather conditions. If they decay enough the building could collapse, those are the dead stones. Dead stones clunk. When a lively stone is hit it sings!!!!!!
When you are going through stuff, sing, don’t be a clunker. If we aren’t joyful and praising no matter the outward circumstances, God will keep permitting the same circumstances to repeat (so that we go through the necessary formative process). If a tough situation comes up and we say, “I’m mad at you God.” Back to the formative fields. If tough stuff happens and we whine, “Why did this happen to me?” Back to the formative fields. When we mature and see the big picture, focusing on God and rejoicing no matter the external circumstances then we are living stones.
Sing when it hurts. Keep worshipping in the battle. Worship all the time. When the public sees us worshipping in tough times, we touch lives. Remember, we are the Temple of God.
Pastor Scales then spoke about worshipping and it’s purpose. I will continue my notes tomorrow.
Praying your evening is blessed. Remember to be a LIVING STONE!!!
Heather’s Blog Recent Posts
- John 14:1-14 – Many mansions, the Way, the Truth, and the Life taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying disciples/Discipleship identification – notes from discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Multiplying Disciples – notes from Discipleship class taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Syria – letter from trapist nuns
- John 14:1-11 taught by Pastor Don Moore with comments from Rabbi Michael Zeitler
- Notes from homily taught by Father Raphael Iannone taught August 25, 2013 – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last
- Homily – Luke 13:22-30 – The last shall be first, the first last taught by Father Raphael Iannone
- Notes from a Homily on Luke 12:49-53 by Father Raphael Iannone
- Facing Your Jerusalem – transcript Say Amen show 161 taught by Pastor Don Moore
- Mammon – homily by Father Raphael Iannone