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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#488 (24/11/21) YOU ARE GOD’S TEMPLE (1 COR. 3:16-17)

This week’s devotionals are based on 1 Corinthians 3:10-23.

'Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)


In verses 10-15, we’ve seen that we are to build our lives and the church on the only true foundation, which is Jesus. Now, in verses 16-17, He tells us something about what we are being built into; when we build on Jesus, we become God’s temple in which He dwells by the Spirit!

Through the blood of Jesus being offered for us, the holy presence of God can now dwell among us. Only on Jesus can such a privilege be attained. Only on Jesus can we be justified and fit for the Holy Spirit.


If you were to read through chapter 3 - the context of this passage - you would see that it’s false teachers who build on the wrong foundations with the wrong materials who are destroying God’s temple. The best Christian teaching is not what makes us laugh, cry, or that which gives us the motivation to be a ‘go-getter’. Those who are successful in God’s sight are teachers who lay the foundation of Christ and the gospel; they build people’s lives on the grace of God.

For example, we are all prone to equate God’s presence with how we feel: we may conclude that If the music moved me then God was present; if the building inspired me to feelings of peace then God was there is a special way; if the teacher captivated me, then the Spirit was really using them… Of course, I would love everyone to be inspired, to feel peace and be captivated, but we must ask is ‘is this music, this experience, this teaching etc. building or destroying the temple that Jesus is building? Does it teach me that I'm God's temple by faith alone? That's not to say that we should not seek experiences of God's presence, we should. However, our expectation of the manifest presence of God is built on the promises of God's word such as we read in today's text.

The kind of temple that Jesus is building is made up of all kinds of people in whom He dwells by the Spirit. When we are built on the foundation of Jesus, this is what we get. Buildings are shelters and it’s nice if they are attractive but they do not bring us closer to God! Music is good, and I’d prefer that it was good, but God’s presence comes to us through the blood of Christ and faith! That teacher may inspire you in the most sublime way, but unless you go away with a greater understanding of The New Covenant, they are destroying God’s temple!

Let’s finish by seeing how Jesus speaks to the woman at the well about the New Covenant age of the Spirit, the age in which He dwells in His people by the Spirit.

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (Matthew 4:21-24)


I’ve made a few comments. However, it’s more important that you engage with the text yourself. Take a moment to pray and listen to God’s voice out of today’s text.

'Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.’ (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

I find it helpful to use the following questions which are based upon The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13).

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?



1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be talking, planning and praying about who we could invite to our carol service.

Please feel free to use these as a digital invite for your friends.


2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?


2. Focus on the carol service

If you didn't watch this video last week, please do so now. (The image below is the link)

Here is the link for you to book ticket for yourself and your friends:

3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday, we looked at 1 Corinthians 3:10-17

'By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. 16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.' (1 Corinthians 3:10-17)

We are to do two things;


When we first become a Christian, when we put our faith in Jesus, we are unshakably saved. We are justified, adopted and have the hope of glory by grace alone! However, having become a Christian, we must be careful to keep our lives built on the only true foundation.


We are urged to build our lives and that of others with precious materials rather than rubbish. These precious materials are love and truth. We see in 1 Corinthians 13, that all of our works are worthless unless they are motivated by love - for the good of the other.

We are told that those who build themselves and help to build others on the love and truth of Jesus will be rewarded.

Discussion questions

1. What is the only true foundation? (2:1-2; 3:10-11)

2. What is the 'gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw' that we are to build ourselves and others upon? (2:13; 13:2; 2 Tim. 3:16; Jude 1:20)

3. How will our identity as 'God's sacred temple' affect how we build our lives and the church?

4. SIV - Let's share, plan and pray about those that we are inviting to the carol service on 5th December.

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