The Consuming Zeal of the Christ: Its Shadow, Cost, and Consummation
September 10, 2000 | Andrew Davis
Glory of God, Persecution, Trials, Boldness & Courage, Christ and the Old Testament
What is Zeal?
And no, we're not going to do all 150 Psalms. We're picking and choosing, and you may wonder which ones, and we're not necessarily picking and choosing your favorites. Alright, I think all of you have a number of favorite Psalms, it could be that Psalm 69 is one of your favorites. Although I doubt it, maybe one you might have passed right over. But we are looking specifically at those Psalms which testify to us about the nature of Scripture, the written Word. In that case, we're looking at Psalms like Psalm 1, Psalm 19, and Psalm 119, which we'll begin looking at next week. And also, those scriptures, those Psalms, which testify to us about the nature of the Living Word, Jesus Christ. These are messianic Psalms: those Psalms which are quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus Christ, and so we come to Psalm 69.
And in so doing, it's a little surprising, because Psalm 69, other than the 22nd Psalm, which begins, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" is the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament. But yet as you read through it, you say, "I don't see Jesus here." And as a matter of fact, if it hadn't been for the New Testament writers, I might have missed this one entirely. The Jews around the time of Christ and before the time of Christ, did not identify Psalm 69 as a messianic Psalm. And so why is it a messianic Psalm? And how does that work? I hope that we can explain some of that today. But more than anything, I want to take one phrase out of this and lift it up for your meditation today, because it was ascribed to our Lord, Jesus Christ, and it's in verse nine, in which it says: "Zeal for your house has consumed me." Zeal for your house has consumed me. But what is zeal? Zeal is like a forest fire. Is that true? Out in the West, we've seen the devastating effects, almost seven million square miles devastated by forest fire. President Clinton released $1.6 billion in aid for the West as a result of that devastating forest fire. It's been burning all summer. I'm sure you've read about it, perhaps you've forgotten about it. But if you lived out in certain parts of Montana or other western states, it would be impossible to forget. It's going to be years before those areas recover.
Is that what zeal is like, a raging forest fire seemingly raging out of control? Well, that I would say is zeal without knowledge. There's a burning that burns everywhere and it burns anything in its path. The zeal so we think of a prophet speaking anything that could be said to anybody and nobody can stand in my way. But what is zeal like? Perhaps in order to understand it, you have to go back to the time of Jesus when He was perhaps sitting on a stool and weaving together a whip, John Chapter 2 tells the story. And He made a whip and it took Him... I don't know how long it takes to weave and make a whip, and then He got up and used that whip to clean the temple out, and it was ascribed to Him at that time, a line from Psalm 69, "Zeal for your house has consumed me." That is a picture of zeal, and if you want to understand the burning raging fire of zeal properly, you look to Jesus Christ. It is our desire today to understand Psalm 69 and its context and how it relates to Jesus Christ. How did it reveal itself in David's life? And how did it come over so frequently into the New Testament? And what is the unifying theme, the point of connection between the two? And that is our focus today.
Now, as we look at the Psalm, it's a long Psalm, a lengthy Psalm, and David speaks in it and partially foreshadows the zeal in the life of Jesus Christ. Look with me if you would, as we read it together, beginning at verse 1: "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who would seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You know my folly, O God; my guilt is not hidden from you. May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, the Lord Almighty; may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me, O God of Israel. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, the people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But I pray to you, O Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depth swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; redeem me because of my foes. You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those who hurt. Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out from the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God, protect me. I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the Lord more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad- You who see God, may your hearts live! The Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise Him, and the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there."
David’s Partial Foreshadowing
Now, as we look at David's partial foreshadowing, what I mean is that David's life, the experiences he had as king of Israel, foreshadowed the suffering and the ultimate triumph of Jesus, the Messiah. When you looked at David's life, you could see aspects of what would happen eventually to Jesus Christ. Now, the Jews before the time of Christ we're not expecting a Christ who would suffer at the hands of his enemies, and so they did not look to Psalm 69 as a messianic Psalm. It was, I believe, Jesus Christ in that 40-day seminar that he had with his apostles after he rose from the dead, that pointed them to this Psalm and said, "This is fulfilled in me." It's difficult for us though as we read because David confesses sin here, doesn't he? And as he looks through this, you say now, "What part is ascribed to David and what part comes over to Jesus?" It's complicated, but hopefully we can understand it. Now, if you look at the Psalm, it breaks up into three portions, verses 1 through 12 is David's despair in persecution, verses 13 through 28 is his desire for punishment, the punishment of his foes, and then verses 29 through 36 is a declaration of praise.
Despair in Persecution (vs. 1-12)
First, David's despair in persecution, verses 1 through 12. In verse four, it says that David had numerous foes. Look at it, it says, "Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head." The sheer number of David's enemies bothered him. He had more enemies than he had hairs on his head, and not only that, but he was distressed. In verse four, in the NAS, it says, "Those who would destroy me are powerful." So, it wasn't just the number of his enemies, it was their power and their strength that bothered him. Now, David had many enemies, and most of his enemies came from his own people. There were those from his own people, his own nation of Israel, that sought to destroy him. King Saul was the first, of course. Saul was the king when David was anointed to be the king, and Saul was jealous of David and sought to pursue him and destroy him to take his life. And many Psalms that David wrote are responding to the terror and the fear he felt at being chased and hunted down like a dog, and there was a terror in that. You never knew if this would be your last day, if when you laid down to sleep, you would never wake up because of an enemy that's chasing you.
Now eventually God took Saul out of the way, he was killed in battle. And so, it came time for David to come into his rightful place of ruling, his rightful place of established king, as Messiah over Israel, but yet, Israel wouldn't give it to him. And so there came a two-year civil war, led by the Benjamites, the house of Benjamin. They wanted a descendant of Saul to rule after Saul, and they were jealous of David, and so for two years, there was a fight. But even after that was over and all of Israel was unified under one king, there were still enemies one after the other. Absalom, his own son, rebelled against him and almost succeeded in toppling him from his throne. Shimei, a Benjamite, stood by the road during that revolt and showered dirt and insults on David as he walked by. Sheba, a Benjamite, led a revolt against David after the revolt of Absalom. Cush, a Benjamite, is mentioned in Psalm 7. We don't know anything about him except that he hated David and wanted to fight against him. Then Doeg, an Edomite, mentioned in 1 Samuel 21. And then the Ziphites, one town, a whole town of people, wanted to hand David over to his enemies. He had one enemy after another.
And if you read through Psalms you see a listing, one after the other, of Psalms in which David is crying out to God for deliverance from his enemy. Psalm 17, Psalm 18, the whole Psalm is about David's prayer and God's deliverance from his enemies. Psalm 23 verse five, you know the 23rd Psalm, that was one of those favorites that you're hoping I'm going to preach on, which I'm not, maybe in the future. But what does it say? Psalm 23 verse five: “You prepare a table for me [where?] in the presence of my enemies. It never was far from David's mind; I think he felt that behind every bush or around every corner was an assassin waiting to take his life. And so, in verses one through four, David likens his opposition to his foes to sinking in the mire. "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me." One of the commentators spoke about a mission trip he went on to Egypt and he was in the Nile River, and one of his boat helpers fell off into the muck along the side of the Nile and started to sink down into the mud, and would have perished there, had they not quickly extended some poles and ropes to pull him out. So that's the picture that David has, he's sinking down into the mud, and he's about to be extinguished by these foes.
Now, it says that he is hated without a cause, and I put a question mark next to that in your outline. How was David hated without a cause? It says in verse four, "Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause." Now, I believe that this is referring to people within Israel. These are fellow Jews who should have acknowledged his right to rule. They should not have fought against him, but rather should have submitted to him because God had established and anointed him as king over Israel. This does not refer to the Philistines, they were his natural enemies, that wouldn't be “hated without a cause”, for he plundered and burned their villages. But it's talking about Israelites: Jewish people who opposed David as ruler and king. And so, he says in verse eight, "I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother's sons." So, his own family was fighting against him, his own relatives opposed him. And this was brutally unjust, because God had anointed David as king over Israel, and they should have accepted and acknowledged.
Now, this does not mean that David was sinless. Oh no, far from it. Look at verse five and six: "You know my folly, O God, my guilt is not hidden from you." And then he says in verse six, interestingly, he says: "May those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me, O Lord, God Almighty." That is a great prayer to pray by the way. Do you know that we're a corporate body? Do you know that when you sin, you affect the whole body, like a disease? And look at verse six: "May those who hope in you not be ashamed because of me." Perhaps David was thinking about that shameful occasion with Bathsheba, in which he committed adultery and then had Bathsheba's husband killed to cover his tracks. “May they not be ashamed, the godly in the land, because of my life." So, David is acknowledging his sinfulness here. And he does it another place, Psalm 40 verse 12, he says: "My sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me."
So, he's got enemies that outnumber the hairs of his head and sins that outnumber the hairs of his head. It wasn't just Bathsheba. Do you feel that way? Do you feel sometimes like your (I'm not speaking to bald people by the way) sins outnumber the hairs of your head? That's a grievous thing. But when you're enlightened, when the Lord can fix you, you can see your sin, and David saw his sinfulness. So you say, "Well, how can this be messianic? Jesus didn't sin." Well, this is the whole point of Old Testament interpretation, it’s difficult. Not every line in Psalm 69 refers equally to Christ, but David had the right to rule, and that's the point, as the anointed king over his people, and they had no right to fight against him, and so they were his enemies without cause.
And as a result, David faced public ridicule (vs. 10): "When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn." Do you know what scorn is? It's people making fun of you, people insulting you. Look what he says in verse 12, he says: "Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of drunkards." That would be akin to being the butt of three straight weeks of jokes by Jay Leno or David Letterman. One after the other. What shame, societal shame, as drunkards make up songs about your life! That's the way David felt. Now, what was the reason for this? It was David's Godly zeal. Verse nine: "Zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." David was a righteous man, and he lived a godly life. And everyone who desires to live a godly life will be persecuted by sinners. And that's the way it was. They were jealous of him, and they fought against him.
Now realize, David would never have been king in Israel were it not for his zeal for the house of God. When did we first meet David in the Bible? What's the first thing he did? Well, he heard Goliath making some boastful claims against the armies of Israel, and what was it that moved inside him and said, "How can we let this uncircumcised Philistine curse God?" There was a passion inside, and he was willing to die for that passion, and he took the field as a young man against a seasoned warrior who took a stand against God. Zeal. Burning passion for the glory of God. He was willing to die that day, but he did not die. God spared his life, and that zeal continued the rest of his life, and that's what led him into trouble.
Desire for Punishment (vs. 13-28)
Now, in the second section, we see David's desire for punishment. The first is the despair and persecution. The second, desire for punishment. Now, David prays in verse 13 and following for deliverance, he says: "I pray to you, O Lord, in time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters." So, he prays for deliverance, but then he recounts the bitterness of their hatred. Verse 19 through 21, he says in verse 20, he says: "Scorn has broken my heart and left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst."
Now, gall was a certain kind of poison that created a terrible effect on your intestines. One and a half teaspoons are sufficient to kill you, and its bitterness is its most noticeable trait. It causes bitterness in the mouth and nausea, intestinally. He said, "That's what they put in my food, they hated me." So, there's a bitterness to this hatred, and he recounts that. And then in verses 22 through 28 he prays for vengeance: "Pour out your wrath on them" he says, "Let your fierce anger overtake them” and “Do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous." Now, this is puzzling to us, because Jesus, when he was nailed to the cross, what did he say? He said, "Father, forgive them, they don't know what they're doing." (Luke 23:34).
And so, a number of the commentators who go through this say, "Now how unlike Jesus is David here? He's praying for judgment on the enemies." Well, I think people who say that don't understand the difference between types of enemies. What the Romans were doing, they did in ignorance, they had no idea what they were doing. But Jesus said, "He who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” (John 19:11) because they knew the Scriptures and turned their back willfully on the people of God. And so it is that Paul takes Psalm 69 and ascribes it to unbelieving Jews. And Peter takes Psalm 69 and ascribes it to unbelieving Judas. Judgment comes on those who reject The King, ultimately. And so, this is not unseemly, and it's no different than Psalm 110:1: "The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’" Jesus quoted this.
Now, deliverance for a king against his enemies usually means what for the enemies? Death. He's not going to leave his enemies within his kingdom. It's like a wrestling match between a man and a cobra. Ultimately, one or the other is going to be dead. And so it is that David is actually very lenient on his enemies, like Saul for example, he had numerous opportunities to kill Saul, but never did it, just entrusted that situation to God, but ultimately judgement comes on those who resist and fight the Lord's anointed.
Declaration of Praise (vs. 29-36)
Now, the final section of the Psalm, verse 29-36, is a declaration of praise. Verse 31, he says: "I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving.” And verse 34: “Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them.” Now, this is David's regular pattern in the Psalms, he lays out his complaint and his problems, and then in the end, he praises God for his power in conquering those problems. Our God is a mighty God, and every lamenting Psalm should end with a statement of praise, for our God can conquer all your problems, all of them. He's powerful. Praise God in the midst of your struggles. Praise God in the midst of your grief. Praise God when surrounded by enemies, even before the deliverance comes. Praise him, for he can do all things, and he is mighty and powerful.
David's vision is ultimately prosperity, not just for himself, but for his people. He is king for his people, and he wants his people to reign in righteousness and prosperity. So, what is the summary of Psalm 69 from David's point of view? David was a godly anointed king, and he was suffering at the hands of those who rejected his anointing without cause. Those who fought against him and who plotted his ruin. And in this he has a picture of the future sufferings of Jesus Christ.
Christ’s Perfect Fulfillment
Now, as we look at Christ's perfect fulfillment, we ask the question, "Why is Psalm 69 the most quoted Psalm in the New Testament?" There are nine separate quotations or illusions. John cites verse 9, "Zeal for your house has consumed me." in reference to Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. Jesus Himself cited verse 4 in John 15:25, when he's talking about the Jews who rejected him, despite all of his miracles, despite all of his teachings, "They hated me without cause."
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, all four of them refer to the clear fulfillment of Christ refusing the gall that they put in his food at the base of the cross, but drinking the vinegar at his crucifixion: "They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst." (vs. 21). Peter quotes verse 25 in regard to Judas's betrayal of Christ and his abandoning of his position as an apostle in Acts 1:20. He says: "May his place be deserted; may there be no one to dwell in it," speaking of Judas. Paul quotes verses 22 and 23 in Romans 11:9-10, to explain why some Jews reject Jesus as Messiah: "May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever." It’s speaking about Jews and their unbelief. And again, Paul quotes verse 9 to explain why Christians should live for others and not seek to please themselves: "For even Christ did not seek to please Himself, as it is written: ‘the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.’" (Romans 15:3)
Cause for His Persecution: “Zeal for you house has consumed me”
What a wide spread of illusions and quotations there is to Psalm 69. You want to know what the unifying theme is? “Zeal for your house has consumed me.” And this is how it works, if you look at that, turn with me to John chapter 2, and look at the account of this, and you'll understand. In John Chapter 2, Jesus clears the temple, he comes into Jerusalem, and this is the beginning of his ministry. Matthew, Mark, and Luke have also a cleansing at the end of his ministry, so it was a book end, a two-time cleansing, I believe. And so, he cleanses the temple at the beginning of his ministry. Beginning at verse 13, "When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover," [John 2:13] "Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords." This shows you that this was a premeditated attack on Jesus’ part, it was not an act of impetuous passion, but he sat down and wove together a whip.
"So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!’ His disciples remembered that it was written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ Then the Jews demanded of him, ‘What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.’ The Jews replied, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?’ But the temple had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken." This is the account of Jesus cleansing the temple. You know what happened when he did that? I'll tell you what happened.
First of all, what is it he cleansed out of there? There were at the temple animals that you could buy for sacrifice. They were fit and approved by the approvers of sacrifices, and all of them worked for Annas, the high priest. You would bring your little lamb or your little sacrifice all the way from some farm out in Galilee, and you'd get there, and lo and behold what would happen? The inspector would look and find a blemish or flaw, something wrong. And you were rejected, your sacrifice was confiscated and you were left without a sacrifice. But we have some pre-approved sacrifices over here, worth three times, or they're charging three times what they're worth. So, what choice do you have? You go over there, and you want to buy the sacrifice, you want to buy the animal, and you reach in and you bring out your Galilean coins, and they say, “Those coins are no good here, you need temple currency.” "Well, where do I get temple currency?" "Over there at the money changers." You go over to the money changers and they're charging exorbitant fees for changing your money, and who's making out with this whole system? Annas, the high priest and all those high priests.
They were hugely wealthy, immensely wealthy. Making money on religion is not a new thing. It's not with the televangelist, it's been going on a long time. And Jesus saw this fire burn inside of him, because that's not what the temple was for, and it burned inside him, and he sat down and made that whip. It takes time for God to show his wrath. Our God has a wrath against sin, but it takes time to make the whip. The whip-making has been going on a long time. Now is the day of salvation, now is the time for repentance while the whip is still being made. But Jesus sat down and made that whip and then He cleaned that temple out. Now, what do you think Annas thought about this stunt? Well, it's like taking on the Mafia, and immediately I think he began to plot his death, and how much more when Jesus did it right before his crucifixion. He went in there and he cleansed the temple again, and it brought death on him.
Now, let's look again at the verse: “Zeal for your house has [what?] consumed me.” The word is strong, "Zeal for your house has literally eaten me up. I'm destroyed by zeal for God's house." Christ's zeal killed him. Do you see that? Literally put him to death because they conspired to kill him right after the double cleansing. It killed him. But we're thinking only earthly, let's move up to the spiritual realm. Jesus wanted a clean and pure temple. Now, the physical temple is not the issue. Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and I'll rebuild it in three days." They thought he meant the physical temple. He would say later that the temple is going to be destroyed by the Romans, 70 AD. The stones are not the issue, the issue is the temple of God, the very thing that David was zealous for. He wanted to build a temple for God, but he was thinking physical, I'm sitting here in a cedar palace, I want to build a house for God.
God said, "I love your zeal for my house, and I'm going to build you a house David, in the name of your descendent, Jesus Christ." And Jesus was zealous for that house, and we are His house. Do you see that? It's not a physical building, we are the house of God, and Jesus has a zeal for us that we be what? Holy, and righteous, and blameless. And he was willing to die to bring it about. Do you see it? Zeal for the house of God killed Jesus. He was willing to die to shed his blood, that you be holy, and pure, and blameless. We are the house of God.
Christ’s Zeal for the Glory of God
And now, I guess I want to ask you about your zeal. I want to ask you about your life. Do you understand anything of the zeal of Christ? Do you feel it inside you? Jesus had an incredible zeal, he had a zeal for the glory of God, and he was willing to die for that glory. He said, "And now my heart is troubled, [Thinking about his death] and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!" (John 12:27-28). He had a zeal for the glory of God and was willing to die for it.
What about you? Do you have a zeal or passion for the glory and the reputation of God? Are you willing to live openly? Because if you are, you will need to suffer for him, you will need to be willing to suffer for the house of God. Because what's the second half of the verse? "Zeal for your house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me." If you want to have zeal for the house of God, you’ve got to be willing to put up with insults from the enemies of God. James and John came to Jesus and said, "Grant that we may sit at your right and your left in your kingdom. And Jesus said, are you able to drink the cup that I'm going to drink?" "Oh, we're able." Jesus said, "You will drink from my cup. You'll drink from the cup of suffering; you'll drink from the cup of persecution when the insults of those who insult you fall on you for the glory of God."
Christ’s Zeal for the Holiness of God’s People
Christ also had a zeal for the holiness of his people. Can you imagine? Just close your eyes and imagine Jesus moving through the temple of your heart. Has he got a whip in his hand? Are there some things that need cleaning out? Are you willing to have the work done? In his zeal for your holiness, He will clean you out. Are you willing to say to Him, from your heart, "Do it Jesus, cleanse me from all my sin, cleanse my thoughts, cleanse my heart, cleanse my life, my secret habits. Everything, clean it out. Make me pure and holy. And not just me, but all the people of God." Do you have a zeal, a burning zeal for the people of God, that they be holy too?
Christ’s Zeal for the Building of God’s House
And then finally, do you have a zeal for the building of God's house? Zeal for His house. Do you know that it's not the physical temple, but rather the spiritual one that's being built? Peter talks about it, he said: "As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him-- we also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God." (1 Peter 2:4).
We are a spiritual temple, and every one of you who believes in Jesus Christ, you are stones in the temple, but the temple is not finished yet. How do you know the temple is not finished yet? What's the greatest proof that the temple is not finished yet? The sun came up today! It's another day just like all the other days. That means the temple is not finished yet, because when the temple's finished, the world will end. Do you have a zeal for the completion of the building project? Are you willing to pour out your life for it? It's the only thing that matters, it's the only thing going on in history that matters eternally, is the glory of God and the building of his house. Do you have that kind of zeal? Or is your life a flat experience, not unlike those who don't know Jesus at all. There's a fire that comes in and it's not like that forest fire out in the west that crushes people and that burns and destroys, but rather it's in here for the glory of God. For the holiness of his church and for the building of His temple.
Won't you join me in prayer? Jesus, I don't know what to say to you other than thank you for being willing to suffer on the cross for my holiness. Zeal, your zeal, your burning fire that I be holy before you on Judgment Day, blameless and pure, drove you to the cross on my behalf, and you poured out your blood for me, and you took away God's punishment and took away his wrath and made me your child. Thank you, and now by your Holy Spirit, make me and make my brothers and sisters alive with zeal. Not a zeal without knowledge, but a zeal that drives us for your glory and for the holiness of your people and the building of your church.
Father, if there's any here who don't know you as Lord and savior, I pray that today they would give their lives to you, that they would come forward at the invitation, or that they would come and speak to me or someone and say, "I want to know Jesus." And that they would come to faith in Christ. And if there are any here who are living in sin, I pray that they would invite the Son of God with those blazing eyes and that whip to come in and purify them from within. And oh God, I pray, if there are any here who are living flat, zeal-less lives that they might be inflamed by the power of your spirit to live for the building of your kingdom. We pray in Jesus name. Amen.