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CHRIST OUR SANCTUARY - A SANCTUARY is a sacred place, a place set apart for a holy purpose, a place to commune with God in intimate fellowship, a place to worship Him "in spirit and in truth" (Jn 4:24), a place to "find rest for our souls" (Mt 11:28-29-note), a "place of refuge from the raging wind and tempest" (Ps 55:6-note), and "a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat." (Isa 25:4) In the New Covenant, our Lord Jesus is our Sanctuary and place of refuge. To use a modern expression, Christ is our "Safe House" now and forever. "How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to DWELL IN THY COURTS. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy house, Thy holy temple." (Ps 65:4-note) "Thou wilt make known to me the path of life; In Thy presence is fullness of joy; In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever." (Ps 16:11-note) "How blessed are those who DWELL IN THY HOUSE! They are ever praising Thee. Selah (Pause and Ponder)" (Ps 84:4-note) Indeed, "one day in Thy courts is better than a thousand elsewhere" (Ps 84:10-note) for "the nearness of God is our good. We have made the Lord God our Refuge, that we may tell of all His works." (Ps 73:28-note) David prayed "ONE THING I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple." (Ps 27:4-note) May God grant us such a single minded passion for His presence! (cp Mary, Lk 10:39, 42-note).
And so Jesus depicted Himself as the true SANCTUARY where men could meet with God when He declared "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up… He was speaking of the temple of His body." (Jn 2:19, 21) And Paul declared that in Christ "all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form." (Col 2:9-note) And even as the Shekinah glory of old inhabited the Tabernacle and later the Temple, Jesus the divine Word (Jn 1:1-2) "became flesh, and dwelt (pitched His tabernacle) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (Jn 1:14) And when "Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split," (Mt 27:50-51) giving all His beloved children "confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh." (Heb 10:19-20-note) And so now we can "draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith" (Heb 10:22-note), a promise which is an answer to our Great High Priest's earthly prayer that we "may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that THEY ALSO MAY BE IN US; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me." (Jn 17:21) And because Christ is our Sanctuary we can be assured that "The LORD IS NEAR TO the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed (bruised, broken, oppressed) in spirit." (Ps 34:18-note) "For thus says the One Who is high and lifted up, Who inhabits eternity, Whose name is Holy: "I DWELL (tabernacle) in the high and holy place, and ALSO WITH HIM who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite (crushed, discouraged, broken - do any of these descriptions apply to your life beloved?)." (Isa 57:15) And when all has been said and done, John describes a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1-note) which has "no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple." (Rev 21:22-note) O happy day, for in that glorious future day "In His temple everything says 'Glory!'" (Ps 29:9-note)
Among the Israelites, the Sanctuary was the most retired part of the Temple, the Holy of holies (Latin = Sanctum sanctorum), the place where under the Old Covenant God had promised He would dwell in their midst (Ex 25:8) declaring "and there I will meet with you; and from above the Mercy Seat (Gk translation of Heb = hilasterion [study]), from between the two cherubim which are upon the Ark of the Testimony (covenant), I will speak to you." (Ex 25:22). Under the New Covenant, Jesus became the fulfillment of the OT animal's blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat, by becoming "a propitiation (Hilasterion = satisfactory payment) in His blood" (Lev 16:14-note fulfilled in Ro 3:25-note, 1Jn 2:2). And because of Christ's finished work on the Cross (Jn 19:30-note), God through His Son's fully atoning work now invites us to make Him our SANCTUARY, our SANCTUM SANCTORUM, our Place, or better our Person, of refuge to which we can flee in times of discouragement, danger or distress. Indeed, we as believers can say of Christ our Sanctuary "You have been our DWELLING PLACE (Heb = "Temple") in all generations." (Ps 90:1-note) for we were "in Him before the foundation of the world." (Eph 1:4-note) By faith we "have made Jehovah (= Jesus - compare Jn 12:41NLT with Isa 6:1-5-note), our Refuge, even the Most High, our DWELLING PLACE." (Ps 91:9-note) As Spurgeon said "My unmoving mansion of rest is my blessed Lord Jesus. Let prospects be blighted; let hopes be blasted; let joy be withered; let mildews destroy everything; I have lost nothing of what I have in Christ. He is “my strong Habitation whereunto I can continually resort.” I am a pilgrim in the world, but at home in my God. In the earth I wander, but in Christ (my Sanctuary) I dwell in a quiet Habitation." Amen!
Herbert Lockyer adds "How good of God it is to promise Himself as a SANCTUARY! In the OT He provided a temple for His people; in the NT He has a redeemed people as His temple (1Cor 3:16, Eph 2:20-22-note)! But the wonder of wonders is that He also is our Temple. How consoling it is to know that amid all the turmoil of the street, busy cares of the home, hurry and confusion of our modern life, we have a "little sanctuary" (Ezek 11:16KJV-note) "closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet." No sanctuary ever surpassed the Temple Solomon built. For its marvel and magnificence it was incomparable, yet where is it today? But, blessed be Christ our Sanctuary, He abides forever (Ps 102:12-note, Heb 7:25-note). While it is fitting to gather in a house of worship, whether it be a simple or cathedral-like structure, the sphere makes little difference. Many dear shut-in ones cannot journey to a sanctuary of stone, yet hidden from earth's eyes they can take advantage of Christ Who offers Himself as their Sanctuary. Blessed, is it not, to have a Person as well as a place we can draw nigh to?" "Let us therefore draw near (thru Christ our Sanctuary) with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:16-note)
Praise Christ our Sanctuary as you listen to Kari Jobe's spiritual song
For in you I find my Dwelling Place
In You I find amazing grace
In You I find security
Jesus, You are all I need.
I am standing and not falling
Cause You're ending what You're starting
You won't leave me or deceive me
Always hide, Lord, You guide me.
A SANCTUARY is a consecrated place, a place of God's "holy habitation" (Ps 68:5-note) set apart for His holy praise, a sacred place where His "strength and beauty" dwells (Ps 96:6-note), a "Rock of habitation to which we may continually come," (Ps 71:3-note), a place to be revered (Lev 19:30-note, Lev 26:2), a place for His Name (to be honored)(2Chr 20:8), a quiet place to commune with Him in intimate fellowship, a place where "the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth" (Jn 4:23-24-note), a place to "find rest for our (weary and heavy laden) souls" (Mt 11:28-29-note), a "place (a Person) of Refuge from the raging wind and tempest" (Ps 55:8-note), a "Refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat." (Isa 25:4, 32:2)
In the New Covenant, the Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY and Place of REFUGE, for our "life is hidden with Christ in God." (Col 3:3-note) To use a modern expression, Christ is our "Safe House" in Whom "we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:28) now and forever. "How blessed is the one whom Thou dost choose, and bring near to Thee, to dwell in Thy courts. We will be satisfied with the goodness of Thy HOUSE, Thy Holy TEMPLE." (Ps 65:4-note) Spurgeon writes "Behold what manner of love and blessedness the Father has bestowed upon us (1Jn 3:1KJV-note) that we may dwell in His SANCTUARY (in Christ), and go no more out forever and ever. Amen. Blessed are those who dwell at home in Christ. May both writer and reader be such men and women." David affirms “Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our life, and we will dwell in the HOUSE of the LORD (His SANCTUARY) forever.” (Ps 23:6-note) As Spurgeon says those "twin guardian angels, goodness and mercy follow us always, the black days as well as the bright days, the days of fasting as well as the days of feasting, the dreary days of winter as well as the bright days of summer. Goodness supplies our needs, and mercy blots out our sins." And so let us "Lift up our hearts!" May our praise come "to His Holy Dwelling" (2Chr 30:27), and may we never weary of crying "O God, You are awesome in Your SANCTUARY," (Ps 68:35-note). "O LORD, I love the HABITATION of Your HOUSE (because I love You Lord) and the place where Your (Shekinah) glory dwells." (Ps 26:8-note) Spurgeon exhorts us: "Oh, my soul, imitate the psalmist, and let all thy desires ascend towards the highest good; longing here to see God, and having no higher joy even in eternity." "Whether He comes in the second watch, or even in the third," may Christ find us like His disciples, "continually in (His) TEMPLE, praising God." (Lk 24:53)
Isaiah 8:14-note says of the LORD "He shall become a SANCTUARY (Hebrew = midqash = a holy place)," a description the Rabbis interpret as Messianic, a premise substantiated by Peter's Spirit inspired quotation of the second part of Isa 8:14 which he uses to describe Messiah as "a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense." (1Pe 2:8-note) Indeed, Christ is to all men either a SANCTUARY or a STONE of stumbling! Spurgeon affirms that "Our Lord Jesus Christ is our SANCTUARY, the Place of SECURE REFUGE for every soul that flies to Him. The moment a sinner believes in Jesus, he is safe in Christ, and he remains safe in life, safe in death, safe in judgment, safe in eternity (Ro 5:9-10-note, 1Th 1:10-note, Jn 10:29-note)." Christ is our SANCTUARY into Whom we can flee for refuge in times of danger or distress (cf Pr 18:10-note). Indeed, "God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Heb = a tight place ~ intense inner turmoil as in Ps 25:17-note)." (Ps 46:1-note) As Spurgeon says "Christ alone is our all in all. All other refuges are refuges of lies, all other strength is weakness, for power belongs to God. And as God is all sufficient, His defense and might are equal to all our emergencies. He has been tried and proved by His people and never withdraws Himself from His afflicted. He is our Help, truly, effectually, constantly; He is present or near us, close at our side and ready for our comfort. He is more present than friend or relative can be, yea, more nearly present than even the trouble itself. To all this comforting truth is added the consideration that His assistance comes at the needed time. He is not as the swallows that leave us in the winter. He is a friend in need and a friend indeed. When it is very dark with us, let brave spirits say, "Come, let us sing the forty-sixth Psalm." Remember God never promised us an easy time, but He does promise a safe arrival! "Should all the hosts of death, And powers of hell unknown, Put their most dreadful forms Of rage and malice on, I shall be safe, for Christ displays Superior power and guardian grace." (Isaac Watts)
Perhaps you find yourself in a condition much like that of the godly remnant of Judah, exiled in an idol filled land, feeling hopeless and helpless. Indeed, the faithful remnant were in great need of a good word of encouragement from the "God of hope." (Ro 15:13-note) While they may have felt forsaken (like all of us from time to time), they were neither forsaken nor forgotten by God, "for He Himself said, ''I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you." (Heb 13:5-note) And so in a time of spiritual darkness, the Lord God gave His people a "precious and magnificent" promise (2Pe 1:4-note) declaring “Although I have cast them far off among the heathen, and although I have scattered them among the countries, yet will I be to them as a LITTLE SANCTUARY in the countries where they have come." (Ezekiel 11:16KJV-note) Observe how Jehovah Who is the grand Object of worship, promises to also be the best Place of worship, Himself the Sanctuary, even in face of the destruction of the physical sanctuary in Jerusalem. Beloved, is this promise not applicable to all believers, for we too are living in an increasingly godless, Christ rejecting land, filled with idols, living as "aliens and strangers" (1Pe 1:1-note, 1Pe 2:11-note), longingly "looking for the city which has foundations" (Heb 11:10-note, Heb 11:16-note), our eternal habitation with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, "the place where His glory dwells" (Ps 26:8-note)? The Lord has "been our DWELLING PLACE in all generations, for we have made the LORD, our Refuge, the Most High, our Dwelling Place." (Ps 90:1-note, Ps 91:9-note) Indeed our Jesus is for us a "Little Sanctuary" wherever we go, providing "times of refreshing which come from the presence of the Lord." (Acts 3:19).
Spurgeon adds that God's promise to be a LITTLE SANCTUARY applies to all weary and heavy laden sojourners in Christ: "Banished from the public means of grace, we are not removed from the grace of the means. The Lord Who places His people where they feel as exiles, will Himself be with them, and be to them all that they could have had at home, in the place of their solemn assemblies. Take this to yourselves, O ye who are called to wander! God is to His people a Place of Refuge, David declaring "my Refuge is in God." (Ps 62:7-note, Ps 73:28-note). We find SANCTUARY in Christ from every adversary. He is our Place of Worship too. He is with us as with Jacob when he slept in the open field, and rising, said, “Surely God was in this place.” (Ge 28:16) To us also He will be a SANCTUARY of Quiet, like the Holy of Holies, which was the noiseless abode of the Eternal. We shall be at rest from fear of evil (Ps 23:4-note, Ps 112:7-note). God Himself, in Christ Jesus, is the SANCTUARY of Mercy. The Ark of the Covenant is the Lord Jesus, and Aaron’s rod, the pot of manna, the tables of the law, all are in Christ our Sanctuary. In God we find the shrine of holiness and of communion. What more do we need? O Lord, fulfill this promise and be ever to us as a LITTLE SANCTUARY!" Amen
"Jesus, before Thy face we fall—
Our Lord, our Life, our Hope, our all!
For we have nowhere else to flee—
No SANCTUARY, Lord, but Thee!"
Spurgeon - "The Lord has ways of weaning us from the visible and the tangible, and bringing us to live upon the invisible and the real, in order to prepare us for that next stage, that better life, that higher place, where we shall really deal with eternal things only. God blows out our candles, and makes us find our light in Him, to prepare us for that place in which they need no candle, for the glory of God is their light; and where, strange to tell, they have no temple, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the SANCTUARY thereof (Rev 21:22-note, Rev 22:5-note). The holy leads to the holiest: living upon God here leads to living with God hereafter. Oh, that God would gradually lift us up above all the outward, above all the visible, and bring us more and more into the inward and unseen!" ("A Little Sanctuary" - read the complete sermon at… http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols34-36/chs2001.pdf)
You are my Refuge
You are my Sanctuary
When I feel afraid
You're my Hiding Place