The Lord is in His Holy Temple

   This series of lessons is designed to teach students how important it is that God dwell among His people in a special way.  We want to convey that God is at hand -- accessible to receive our worship and to aid us.  In the Bible, heaven itself is described as a place where God is with His people and dwells among them (Rev. 21:3). But God dwells among His people individually and collectively even in this life.  That's the exciting message of this VBS.

  The first two lessons of this series cover the building and sanctification of the Jewish temple(s).  Lessons three and four cover some of the events that occurred when God's Son came to the Jewish temple; through Jesus words and actions, we learn the kinds of activities God wants where He dwells.  Each of the first four lessons draw parallels between the temple and the church, but the final lesson focuses specifically on what God desires today in the church and in the bodies of His people.

 

 

Lesson 1: Solomon Builds the First Temple

Text: 1 Chronicles 22; 28-29; 2 Chronicles 2-7; 1 Kings 5-8

Lesson Objective: This lesson is designed to convey what a wonderful thing it is for God to dwell among His people and how important it is for us to prepare, work and sacrifice so that He will. 

Practical Points of the Lesson:

Introduction:  From the time of Israel's wilderness wandering, on through the conquest of Canaan and the days of the Judges, the Tabernacle had served as a transportable center of worship for the Israelites. Soon after David became King, he took Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made it his capital city (2 Samuel 5:1-10).  About that time, it entered David's heart to build a permanent house of worship for the Lord in Jerusalem to replace the Tabernacle (2 Samuel 7:1-17).  But the Lord explained to David that because he had been a man of war and had spilled much blood he could not build God's house; the Lord wanted His house to be built by David's son Solomon, a man of peace. [Note: The very name Solomon means peaceful (1 Chronicles 22:6-10)].

I. Preparations for Building the Temple

II. Construction of the Temple

III. Dedication of the Temple

Conclusion: Having special access to the God of heaven is a goal worthy of our best effort.

 

 

Lesson 2: The Jews Rebuild the Temple

Text:  (Ezra 3-6; Haggai 1-2))

Lesson Objective: This lesson is designed to encourage students to do what is necessary to enable God to dwell in their lives. The Jews lost the first temple because of their disobedience.  By examining the rebuilding of the temple after the Babylonian Captivity, students can see how the Jews had to overcome hardship, adversity and selfishness to prepare another dwelling place for God among them.

Practical Points of the Lesson:

Introduction: Because the nation of Israel continually disobeyed God and would not listen to His warnings, the Lord eventually allowed the Babylonians to conquer them, take many of them captive, and destroy the beautiful temple that Solomon had built (2 Chronicles 36:15-21). 

I. Construction Begins: After 70 years in captivity, King Cyrus of Persia allowed some of the Jews to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (Ezra 1:1-4).

II. Opposition is Encountered to re-building the temple.

III. Construction Becomes a Priority

IV. The Temple is Completed 

Conclusion: It is easy to become selfish and lose sight of our need for God.  The Jews learned the hard way that this is a terrible mistake; the house of God was taken from them, and it was only with great effort

 

Lesson 3: Jesus in the Temple

Texts: Luke 2:22-51; Matthew 17:24-27; Mark 12:35-44

Lesson Objective: The goal of this lesson is to teach respect for God's house, its services, and its function as a place for teaching the will of God.  This lesson covers some of the events of Jesus' life that occurred in the temple, beginning with Jesus' early experiences in the temple as a boy and going on to include some of His dealings there as an adult (i.e. widow's mites, temple tax).

Practical Points of the Lesson.

Introduction: Over 400 years had passed since the Jews had rebuilt the temple in the days of Zerubbabel.  In Jesus' lifetime, the temple underwent major remodeling and reconstruction under Herod the Great.  But it's place in the hearts of faithful Jews remained as it had for centuries.

I. Jesus' family brings Him to the temple. 

II. Jesus teaches in the temple

III. Jesus gives to support the temple, and encourages others to do so.

Conclusion:   The examples we've looked at in this lesson from the life of Jesus show that Jesus participated in the required worship in God's house, viewed God's house as a place of teaching, and commended giving to God's house.  Our attitude toward the church, which is God's house today, should be similar to the attitude that Jesus had toward the temple.

 

Lesson 4: Jesus Cleanses the Temple

Texts: 2 Chronicles 26:15-21; John 2:14-22; Mark 11:11-33.

Lesson Objective: Students need to understand that God's house should be kept holy and dedicated to God's purposes, not man's.  We must do His things in His ways. The main points of this lesson will come from the cleansing(s) of the temple by Jesus.

Practical Points of the Lesson:

Introduction:  In the previous lessons we have seen the reverent attitude that those who were faithful to God had toward the temple [Review the attitudes shown by David, Solomon, Zerubbabel and Jesus].  In this lesson, we will see the Lord's condemnation of those who do not have this reverent attitude. 

  In the Old Testament, King Uzziah was stricken with leprosy for offering service in the temple in a way that was unauthorized (2 Chronicles 26:15-21).  He went into the temple to burn incense, even though this was the duty of the priests.  He was doing something God wanted done, but not in the way God wanted it done.  In showing this prideful disrespect for the order of the services of the temple, Uzziah showed disrespect for God.

  Jesus encountered people in the temple whose attitudes may have been worse than Uzziah's.  They were not really even interested in doing what God wanted done in His house, but in doing what they wanted.

I. The first cleansing of the temple (John 2:14-22)

II. The second cleansing of the temple (Mark 11:11-33; see also Matthew 21:12-13; Luke 19:45-47).

Conclusion: The fact that God's Son cleansed the temple both at the beginning and the end of His earthly ministry indicates how much the Lord disliked abuses and misuses of His house.  Hopefully, this will leave an impression that will remain as we study the next lesson concerning the temple of God today.

 

Lesson 5: God's Temple Today -- His Church and His People

Texts: 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20; Ephesians 2:19-22

Lesson Objective: This lesson begins by establishing that the church is now the temple of God.  As such, it should be built according to God's pattern and carry on His work and purpose.  The lesson will also include the concept that the individual Christian's body is a temple for the Holy Spirit.  As such, it should be maintained and used to the glory of God.

Suggested visual: Building blocks with students' names on them could be used to build a model temple.  The blocks could be placed on a foundation with the names of the apostles on it, and the name of Jesus on the corner.

Introduction:  Many of the Bible lessons we've learned from stories about the Jews and their temple also apply to the temple of God today.  But unlike Bible times, today there is no physical building that serves as the temple of God.  His temple is spiritual and is made up of His people.  God dwells in His people individually and collectively.

I. God's Temple, The Church

II. God's temple, the Christian's body 

Conclusion: Even though the temple of God today is very different from the Jewish temple, many of the truths that we've learned concerning the Jewish temple still apply.  Like the Jews, we will benefit greatly if we work and sacrifice to have a dwelling place of God among us.  And like them, we must learn to reverence God and serve Him acceptably in His temple.

 

(VBS Theme Songs)
Awesome God

Our God is an awesome God; 
He reigns from heaven above 
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God! 

Our God is an awesome God; 
He reigns from heaven above 
With wisdom, power and love
Our God is an awesome God!
Our God is an awesome God!
Our God is an awesome God!

 

The Lord is In His Holy Temple
The Lord is in His Holy Temple
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
Keep silence, keep silence.
Keep silence before Him.

 

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