Take time to read 1 Corinthians chapter 3.
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
These verses are two of the most misused verses I can think of in the Bible. Popular interpretation of this passage is as follows:
"Work out and stop eating McDonald's because you are God's temple, He lives in you and you should stop making His temple so dadgun flabby!"
This is not at all what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote this to the church at Corinth. Take time to read 1 Corinthians chapter 3. In the chapter Paul addresses the local church at Corinth as a whole. At no point is he writing to them as individuals; rather, he writes to the church as a whole. Therefore, verses 16 and 17 are written to the church as a whole as well. In fact, (surprise, surprise) the verses quoted above stay on topic with the verses before them.
To understand what Paul's original intent was you need to know a little something about Greek temples. The purpose of Greek temples wasn't entirely the same as the purpose of the Jewish temple. A Greek temple was primarily a monument to the god for which it was built. The Parthenon in Athens was built magnificently to show the greatness of the goddess Athena. The temple of Apollo in Corinth, with its 38 columns, was built magnificently to show the greatness of the god Apollo. Thus the Greek thinking was, "show me a great temple and I'll show you a great god." The greatness of a god was known by the majesty of its temple.
"Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple."
This passage is preceded by verses denouncing divisions in the local church at Corinth. So, Paul is saying that divisions and quarreling in the local church cause the temple of God to crumble. Divisions cause the columns to tumble and the roof to cave in.
Again, please don't misunderstand Paul. Paul does not mean that divisions in the local church cause the temple of God to crumble and therefore hurt our God who dwells there. Absolutely not! We are incapable of hurting the God of the universe. We are incapable of stopping, bruising or thwarting God even with the worst of infighting.
Rather, the metaphor of the destroyed temple is to warn us that church divisions can keep us from fully displaying God's glory to our community. If the greatness of a god is evidenced by the magnificence of the god's temple, then when we, the temple of God, have divisions we don't accurately reflect the glory of our great God. People in our community see our crumbling temple and think, "That must not be a very great god."
Friends, our God is great! He is the God above all gods! He is worthy of a great temple! So, stop destroying God's temple. Your local church is sacred... treat it as such. Don't have God destroy you. Strive for unity. Strive to build a great temple on the foundation which Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 is Christ Jesus. Build your local church on the great foundation and use only what's of eternal value to build upon that.
Our God deserves a magnificent temple. Work hard together to be that magnificent temple. Fight for unity in your local church today.