Flip The Tables!

Flip the Tables Matthew 21:12-13

  • 12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
  • John tells the interaction this way- John 2:13-17 READ
  • In this story, its quite simple- Jesus goes to the Temple and finds a bunch of guys there doing commerce and trading. He flips over the tables and demands that they remember what God’s house is intended for- Prayer. Communication with God. A holy set apart place to worship God
  • Few things to grab from this portion of Scripture
  • First century pilgrims to Jerusalem were met with merchants and money changers. They should animals for temple sacrifices so people wouldn’t have to bring animals, they could buy them there. Its only natural that they would bring money for room and board etc. But they were also required to pay half a shekel to the temple (Temple tax). They would be from somewhere else, so they would have to change their money to the local currency. 
  • READ EX 30:11-16 Why would they have to change it? It had to be silver and some currency wasn’t. Some currency had a king on it and the prohibition against graven images forbid using it for the temple tax. 
  • The money changers wouldn’t charge interest (it was forbidden) Deut 23:20 To a foreigner you may charge interest, but to your brother you shall not charge interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all to which you set your hand in the land which you are entering to possess.
  • One can easily come to the conclusion that this process of money changing, selling animals, and possibly even souvenirs could become problematic (There has been archaeological excavations showing rows of possible market places outside the temple)
  • Commerce is commerce- People probably offered lower prices, worked at getting business, arguments and fisticuffs may have happened. Its human nature! 
  • What had begun as a way to support the pilgrims who had to come “up to Jerusalem” for three festivals: Passover, Shavout, and Sukkot turned into something that Jesus did not care to allow happen anymore. So he came into their marketplace and set them straight on the house of God
  1. They lost sight of worship
  • One of the problems with modern day Christianity is that many people do not take the time to educate themselves on the Bible and the worship history of the people of God. Church is me
  • They might listen to a sermon a week (depending on the teacher- not much scripture) but they don’t take the time to study God’s word to truly understand the history and function of God
  • Why? We’re busy! We got stuff to do- shows and sports to watch, projects- Youtube post 10
  • But there’s a richness in understanding more than a SM post from a random internet preacher
  • Many, when faced with this story- assume what they know- sacrificial system, animals etc are done away with- but they erroneously conclude that was the whole focus of church back then!
  • The OT provided holiness and ritual purity, but not the inner purity of the HS.
  • OT worship was not just sacrifice- Passover– exodus from Egypt, Sukkot-Provision in the wilderness, Purim God’s deliverance from Hamans plot, Hannukah the cleansing of the temple, Shavout (Pentecost) celebrates fruit of wheat harvest, giving of torah. 
  • The OT Israelites celebrated! They gave tithes, they ate food and drink. They WORSHIPPED
  • They started in a temporary place (tabernacle) to a permanent place (temple) it was a gold covered ornamental place of beauty for worship of God! There was liturgy and music. 
  • These dudes had a praise band! 1 Ch 23:5 four thousand were gatekeepers, and four thousand praised the Lord with musical instruments, “which I made,” said David, “for giving praise.”
  • They had prophetic moves of God 1 Chronicles 25:1 Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals. 
  • After the Destruction of the Temple and Judah went into exile- The synagogue system included public reading of Scripture, Prayer and Singing to God! Fellowship. Learning. Worship services
  • They had Preaching and Healing- Matthew 9:35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
  • So for a very long time there’s liturgy, audible worship, prayers, healings, prophecy, preaching etc and these dudes just set up shop and apparently had forgot what the house of God was for and what they were supposed to be doing there. They lost sight of the worship of God
  • Jesus Matthew 21:12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
  • The House of God was never intended to be a place where the people of God were using it for their own selfish gain, and not for the things of God. It was intended as a place to commune
  • Notably- Jesus says here “House of Prayer” Which isn’t to say that Prayer isn’t the only thing that should be going on there, but the idea that prayer is communication with God. 
  • Prayer is not just talking (although you should pray and go to prayer night) but All ‘worship’ that we do here is ‘prayer’ ‘communication with God’. When we talk to God, we communicate, we sing songs to him, communicate, and the preaching of the word is God communicating with us. 
  • The whole process of gathering and doing the things of God is prayer- and the things that God would have us to do in the church are those things that are of God- and that’s what his house is about- It’s not about selfish gain, commerce, taking advantage of other people etc. Its for HIM. 
  • These Guys had missed the point- It no longer was a place of prayer for them towards God. 
  • What does it mean to you?
  • Are you here for the gain or for the God? What are your motives? Tables that need to be flip?
  • I think this is a hard part for people to grasp because the ‘Church’ has become a place that meeting with God is the last thing on many people’s minds
  • Reaching the community- Doing acts of service, helping, with no Gospel at all
  • Reaching the youth- making sure that the kids stay off drugs no sex graduate from school
  • Helping marriages- keeping people married. Helping marriages. Parenting. Volunteering. 
  • Helping finances, getting jobs, housing, drug addiction, prostitution, porn, individual counseling etc. All well and good- just not the POINT of it all- The POINT of it all- Communicate with God. 
  • Back in sales we had one job- Make money for the company- that’s the point- But you get health care, team events, made friends professional development etc, but its not the POINT
  • Sell or your fired. We’re not here to make friends. We are here to worship GOD- That’s it. 
  • This house- God’s house- is a place where we commune with God. We hear from him, talk to him, and commune with him and each other. 2nd place is everything else (too much energy)
  • It’s why corporate worship is so powerful! We’re here together! And I get it- we’re a transient community with open doors etc. But sometimes, the people who don’t want to be here ruin the experience- Here for the wrong reasons while we’re waiting for them to leave or catch up
  • They don’t understand what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. We sing songs and listen to some dude talk- NO this is where God MOVES- all that other goes into place with WORSHIP
  1. They turned it into a common thing
  • Where would a temple of God have to be where Jesus told those in its courts that it had become a den of thieves, he’s flipping tables and cracking a whip?
  • When John tells the story he says John 2:15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables\
  • And some, as Pastor Jay alluded to on Wednesday and in previous Sermons “I’m a table flipping Christian” 
  • Ok. What do you mean by that? You feel justified in your anger? Or you, as Jesus was, are consumed with zeal for the house of the Lord and want worship of God only in the church?
  • Jesus didn’t ‘flip tables’ on adulterers, tax cheaters, traitors and those who sought to kill him
  • He flipped tables on the people who had turned the house of God into a common thing. 
  • What does the word ‘Holy’ Mean? Sacred. Consecrated. Veneration. Not secular. Not common. Set apart for a specific purpose. The house of God was set apart for worship of God only. 
  • What happens there and what happened there was a set apart location for the worship of God
  • Isaiah 56:7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” 
  • This was God’s intention for the temple! A place to commune and sacrifice to God!
  • And when the priests had prepared themselves and the sacrifices- God did big things there!
  • 1 Kings 8:10-11 And it came to pass, when the priests came out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the Lord, 11 so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.
  • So obviously- when these money changers had begun to do their thing- they had forgot all that
  • This place was no longer set apart- It was no longer sacred or holy. It was common. 
  • Did you know that you can make a bunch of different foods in your coffee maker? Ramen noodles, steamed vegetables, poached salmon, scrambled eggs, bacon, hot dogs, oatmeal, hard boiled eggs. Missed opportunity here! Spaghetti, couscous and grilled cheese and corn on the cob! YOU’RE FAILING at cooking if you’re using anything other than a coffee maker
  • You believe in holiness! Holy is to be ‘set apart’ separate. For one intended purpose- 
  • Most of us do one thing with our coffee maker- coffee. Hopefully you only do (toothbrush)
  • But these guys had turned the holy into the profane. It had become iniquitous. A den of thieves
  • What does it mean to you?
  • We don’t do worship in the Temple and this building isn’t the only dwelling place of God on this earth- But we do worship the King of kings and the Lord of Lords here. It’s set apart. Holy. 
  • So the application would be- what tables in your heart need to be flipped over in regards to how you treat the place you worship God with the assembly?
  • Sunday is sacred- It’s the holy day- set apart. This building is set apart- that’s why eating, drinking etc (I don’t eat in my bed). There are places for things. You come here to worship
  • How do you prepare yourself for it? Spiritually and mentally? How do you get ready?
  • Oh that doesn’t matter pastor! That’s legalism! Gym, home, friends, dinner, formal, wedding, when you come to my house- All different- Go to gym- mentally prepare for what I’m doing
  • Why? That’s what it is intended for- When I come to church- I get in the zone- I know what I’m about to do- I do not take it lightly- I am not special because I am the pastor- I pray any church
  • 1 Peter 2:5 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.
  • What you do on the outside is not what makes your sacrifices acceptable- but you have to challenge yourself of why- Comfort? Rebellion? or has it just become a common thing?
  • Ecc 5:1 Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to hear rather than to give the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they do evil.
  • Prudently- in a way that shows care and thought for the future. 
  • Probably not just thinking about yourself. Not being late because you needed a foo foo drink to enjoy the service and treating worship as common. Late to drop off kids. Get up to go to bathroom in church. (lady eating apple in front row)
  • Example- your family member is dying. I show up in flip flops and tank top eating a jimmy johns at their bedside sucking down a soda. You’d think it was disrespectful! “This was the only time I had to eat- I was coming from work- let me just finish” really? Couldn’t have waited? Not care?
  • Jesus did flip tables- and it was because ZEAL had consumed him for the house of God!
  • Its like cell phones- if you are so important you can’t miss a call- go to another service, but its not just disrespectful to others, its damaging to what God is doing- and it makes it COMMON
  • How would the Apostle Paul think about our Church, specifically you? Where’s your heart?
  • 1 Tim 3:15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.- I’m not laying out a specific standard- I’m asking the question- do you think about it?
  • People wear pjs to Walmart- take phone calls in line- call parents by first name- there’s no decorum left in the world. I LOVED the decorum of the Military- being set apart. 
  • We aren’t doing money changing, but what would he do with your cell phone and coffee?
  • ANYTHING that’s a distraction or for selfish gain should be flipped over. 
  • Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
  • We have grace- Some people in church don’t understand church because they are not saved
  • But those of us that do- lets serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear
  • Prepare our hearts and minds before we Go into the house of the lord- 
  • Remind ourselves of what we are here for and what we’re doing and who its FOR
  • Worship like God’s in the room- flip over your own tables of your heart for him. 
  • Focused like God is speaking- give him your full attention and worship as a HOUSE of PRAYER
  • Removing distractions that keep us from 90 minutes with our God in corporate worship
  • Jesus flipped the tables because of zeal- Lets have zeal for the house of prayer. 

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