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Author:Rev. Ted Gray
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Congregation:First United Reformed Church
 Oak Lawn, Illinois
Title:A Temple for God's Holy Name
Text:1 Chronicles 28:1-29:20 (View)
Occasion:Regular Sunday

Order Of Worship (Liturgy)

If your order of worship allows it, the two chapters can be read separately as follows:

How Great Thou Art
Scripture - 1 Chronicles 28:1-21
I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord
We Give Thee But Thine Own
Scripture: 1 Chronicles 29:1-20
Whole-Hearted Thanksgiving to Thee I Will Bring

* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.

“A Temple for God’s Holy Name”
1 Chronicles 28:1-29:20
Have you given much thought to how people view the last years of their life? If not, consider how King David and King Hezekiah represent two distinctly different ways to view the last years of our earthly life. You may recall how King Hezekiah, after showing envoys from Babylon all the treasures of Jerusalem, was rebuked by God through the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah told him that because he had shown all the treasures of Israel to the Babylonians, his descendants would be among those who would go into the Babylonian captivity when the Babylonians plundered all the treasures Hezekiah had shown them. Isaiah had said: “And some of your descendants, your own flesh and blood, that will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” (Isa. 39:7)
How did Hezekiah reply? Was he filled with grief and repentance for the prideful display he had shown the envoys from Babylon? Not at all. Instead, he callously replied: “‘The word of the LORD you have spoken is good…’  For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security my lifetime.’” (Isa 39:8)
By contrast, as David looked at the last years of his life, he worked wholeheartedly to further the Lord’s Kingdom, knowing his time was short. As the Scripture puts it in 1 Chronicles 22:5, David made extensive preparations before his death.”
The preparations he made were for the building of the temple. He gave an enormous amount of time, energy, and money to the building of God’s house here on earth. It had been the desire of his heart, we read, to build the house of the Lord, but God had decreed that his son, Solomon, would have that privilege and not David. Rather than being bitter or disappointed, David made extensive preparations for the building of the temple.
From his preparations, we see, first, God’s grace in revealing to the people how to worship. Worship in the temple was not an idea that came from David. Nor was it from Moses who first received instructions on the building of the tabernacle and the worship there. Rather, it was all divinely decreed, from the hand of the Lord,” in David’s words in 1 Chronicles 28:19. God is the One who is to be worshipped, and God decrees how that is done, not Moses, David, or you or me. 
That is why the Heidelberg Catechism teaches in Lord’s Day 35 that we are not to worship God “in any other way than he has commanded in his Word”.  If we try to worship Him using images, or other devices that we think are good for worship, the catechism teaches that we are trying “to be wiser than God”.  The key principle for us today is that we do not add anything to what God has commanded in the worship of His name, nor are we to subtract anything from what He has commanded.
Our worship, in spirit and in truth, is much simpler than the elaborate rituals of the tabernacle and temple, for which I am thankful. I would much rather be a pastor today than a priest in Old Testament times! Yet the tabernacle, and the temple that replaced it, were a crucial part of worship in Old Testament times. They were crucial because they were a type, or shadow, of heavenly worship. They also directly point us to Christ who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). The word for “dwelt” in that verse is from the word for tabernacle.
Every piece of furniture, everything in the tabernacle from the basin for washing, to the table for show bread to the lampstands, and especially the mercy seat of the ark, all pointed to Christ. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant in His blood. He is the perfect and only sacrifice for sin, and all the bloody sacrifices of the Old Testament were pointing to the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The author of Hebrews points that out beautifully in several passages, with Hebrews 9 being one of the most notable. Take some time to read that chapter and you will see the connection between the Old and the New Testaments, between the earthly tabernacle and temple and our heavenly home, and the great difference between the earthly high priests and our divine, great High Priest who took on human flesh and offered Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.
As we look at the tabernacle and temple and all that they represented, whether from the lens of the Old Testament or the lens of the New Testament, we see God’s grace in that He reveals to His people how He is to be worshipped. And our earthly worship is a foretaste of the grandeur of the heavenly worship yet to be revealed.
Wholehearted Commitment
Another notable point that we see in this passage is the wholehearted commitment of the people. In 2 Chronicles 22:14 we read how David gave a vast amount of gold, silver, and other valuables to the building of the temple. He gave 3,750 tons of gold and 37,500 tons of silver, in addition to bronze, iron, marble, and other exquisite stones along with the finest wood.
And here in 1 Chronicles 29:3 he says, Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple…”
David’s giving is an example of Proverbs 11:24, One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.” You can never out-give God, and David is a striking example of that.
But it wasn’t just David who gave generously and wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 29:6 describes how Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king's work gave willingly.” And verse 9 adds: The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the LORD. David the king also rejoiced greatly.”
It is reminiscent of when the tabernacle was built. In Exodus 35 and 36 we read how freewill offerings were received for the building of the tabernacle. So many freewill offerings came in that the workers told Moses, in Exodus 36:5-7, “‘The people are bringing more than enough for doing the work the LORD commanded to be done.’ Then Moses gave an order and they sent this word throughout the camp: ‘No man or woman is to make anything else as an offering for the sanctuary.’ And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work.”
Wholehearted commitment is shown through giving because giving is often the best test of where a person’s commitment is. The giving isn’t by the amount that a person gives, but in proportion to what they have. We know that from the surprise of the disciples as they watched people putting their offerings into the temple treasury back in the days when Jesus walked on earth. A widow put in two mites, something like two pennies today. And the Lord said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:3-4)
The Glory of God and the Weakness of Man
As David made preparations for building the temple, we come face to face with both the glory of God and the weakness of man.
David’s prayer, in chapter 29:10-13, is a beautiful tribute to the glory and greatness of our God. He describes the eternity of God. The truth that God is infinite, with no beginning and no end, is addressed as David acknowledges the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting.” (10) The greatness, power, glory, majesty, and splendor of God are described in verse 11 as David prays: “Everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.” Verse 12 describes how all that we have comes from the Lord: Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” David concludes the prayer by giving thanks to God and praising His glorious name.
After reflecting on the greatness of God, David asks a question that should naturally spring from the heart and mind of everyone who glimpses the greatness of God and also sees their own human frailty, sinfulness, and weakness. In verse 14 he asks, “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.”
We have nothing that we have not received. In 1 Corinthians 4:7 the Apostle Paul asks, What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?”­ David recognized, as we must recognize, that all we have given to the Lord is from His hand. It all belongs to Him; He has simply allowed us to be stewards of His blessings. As the familiar hymn puts it:
 We give Thee but Thine own,
 Whate'er the gift may be;
 All that we have is Thine alone,
 A trust, O Lord, from Thee.
On a rural road in Vermont, one of the farms has this sign posted by extensive barns, milking parlors, and pastures. The sign is a quote from Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof.” The man who posted that sign recognized, as we all must, that all he had was not of his doing, but from the gracious hand of his heavenly Father.
God Tests the Heart
How else does this passage apply to you and to me? We see that God tests His people’s hearts for integrity. Did you notice what David says in chapter 29:17? “I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity.” He is speaking about giving with honest intent, unlike for example, Ananias and Sapphira who gave with impure motives and were struck dead. (Acts 5:1-11)
Unlike also, those who give only for a tax deduction. It is not wrong to take a deduction. Larry Burkett, the Christian financial counselor of a former generation, pointed out that by taking the tax deduction we have more income which means we have more to give. We are to use every legal option to give less to Caesar and more to the Kingdom of God. But there again, the motive of our heart must not be the reduction of our tax, but the glory of God and the building up of His kingdom. God doesn’t just accept the gift. He tests the motive behind the gift. He searches our hearts for integrity and for the proper motive in giving to His kingdom.
Another application is that we are to give generously to God’s kingdom. It is a great privilege to give. It is also a part of worship to have a collection of tithes and offerings. It has become popular in some churches to do away with the offering. Some churches have a drop box in the back of the sanctuary, but there is no offering. The idea is that visitors won’t think they are greedy. Other churches announce the collection, but tell visitors not to put anything in, because the church isn’t after their money.
While it is true that the church is not seeking money from her visitors, to tell them not to give, or to have the offering as an after-thought in a drop box, takes away a vital part of worship from those who attend. The Scripture teaches that it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35) and that God blesses and loves those who give generously (2 Cor. 9:6, 7). It is our privilege to give, and we should never be apologetic in having an opportunity in our worship service to give our tithes and offerings to the Lord. 1
Another application from this passage is that we are to pray for wholehearted devotion to God, and then live according to our prayer requests. That, too, is part of the testing of our heart. David’s prayer concern for Solomon’s spiritual welfare crops up time and again. Perhaps because David had wandered himself, he realized how easy it would be for Solomon to stray. He gave him an earnest command in 1 Chronicles 28:9, “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”
And then David offered this prayer for Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29:19, “O Lord…give my son Solomon the wholehearted devotion to keep your commands, requirements and decrees and to do everything to build the palatial structure for which I have provided.”
But Solomon didn’t live according to that prayer request. Neither had David always lived according to the prayers he had offered. It is one thing to pray for obedience, spiritual growth, and godliness, but it is quite another to live that prayer request out day after day. Few people are as honest as Augustine, the well-known theologian of the early church. When he was young and struggling with many temptations he prayed, “Lord, make me chaste, but not yet.”
If we are honest with ourselves, we will confess that there are many prayer requests for sanctification and doing God’s will that we want answered, but not yet. But if we don’t live out our life in whole-hearted devotion to our Lord, then the “not yet” may never come. That’s what happened to Solomon. The prayer was offered, but he didn’t live it out in his life. 1 Kings 11:4: For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.”
There was a great difference between the way King David and King Hezekiah looked at the last years of their life. Hezekiah didn’t even care that his descendants would be eunuchs in the king's palace in Babylon, for he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.”
By contrast, David sought to do all He could for the kingdom of God before he died. May we learn from his example, no matter what age we are, and always seek to be a blessing in the kingdom of the Lord our God. Amen.
1 During the Covid crises in 2020, many churches quit passing the collection plate in an effort to reduce the spread of Covid. Since then many faithful Bible believing churches have not resumed passing the offering. However, they stress the worship aspect of giving and point out where the collection boxes are. Prayers of thanksgiving for God’s material blessing and petitions for His blessing on the giving of tithes and offerings are also included in their worship. That, too, is an acceptable form of giving in worship.
Sermon outline:
“O LORD our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for
building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and
all of it belongs to you.” – 1 Chronicles 29:1
                          “A Temple for God ’s Holy Name”
                                     1 Chronicles 28:1-29:20
I.  One of David’s last accomplishments was getting everything in order
    for Solomon to build the temple. From his preparations we see:
    1) God’s grace in revealing to the people how to worship (28:19).
         The temple was a type, or shadow, of heavenly worship, as it
         pointed to Christ, the Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9)
     2) The wholehearted commitment of the people (29:6-9)
     3) The glory of God (29:10-13) and the weakness of man (29:14-16)
II. Applications:
     1) God tests His people’s hearts for integrity (29:17)
     2) We are to give generously to God’s kingdom (29:17-18)
     3) We are to pray for wholehearted devotion to God, and live
          according to our prayer requests (28:9; 29:18-19; 1 Kings 11:4)



* As a matter of courtesy please advise Rev. Ted Gray, if you plan to use this sermon in a worship service.   Thank-you.
(c) Copyright, Rev. Ted Gray

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