Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Value Of The Local Church

Temple Baptist Church - 8-9-2009

Matthew 16:13-23


A. As we read these wonderful, never to grow old verses o f Scripture—I think of the goodness of God to me as a pastor. The Lord knew that I would need a local church! I understand the interpretation of these verses this morning but I also understand that the local church is God’s gift to both you and I.

B. The local church is a gift beyond our comprehension. In a day when so little is made of the local church, I want to make much of it.

1. People forsake the local church because it means nothing to them. Their life revolves around self-interest. There has been a great forsaking of the Assembly of God’s people by both the world and believers. Church is a drudgery because they bring nothing to it and expect nothing out of it. It is boring, uneventful, and dreaded.

2. People forsake the local church because they do not fully understand its value. Religious charlatans have milked people over the past 50+ years through the means of radio and television. They have begged, become rich, been exposed and shamed, and—yet—have retained their standing with many people while turning off multitudes.

3. So-called Christians have gotten miffed, disgruntled, murmured and complained, defamed, and defected from our ranks to spread their poison against the church. We had some people leave this church, join another church, and say that this pastor said that all Southern Baptist people were lost. What a shame. The SBC is full of good, God loving people who have been saved just as I was. I would hate to be in these liars shoes at either the Judgment Seat of Christ of the Great White Throne. They will probably be at the latter!

C. Though problems abound, my love for the local church has never diminished or departed. My family’s life has been centered there! Since my conversion, I have been faithful to, supported, cherished, defended, stood by, and loved both the local church and my pastors. It has value to this pastor that only eternity will reveal.

D. True believers know who Jesus Christ is – vs. 16; who it is that owns the church – vs. 18; and who is building it – vs. 18. If it belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ and He is building it, then one needs to be careful how they treat and attend it. I want to look at a few things of value this morning that we find in the church. Build your life around it, be faithful to it, support it, and love it.

1. It Is Valuable Because Of Its Builder

a. The Lord builds it - Psalms 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

b. The Lord cherishes it - Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

2. It Is Valuable Because Of Its Beauty

a. The Beauty of the place of the Lord - Psalms 84:1 How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! (Amiable – lovely)

b. The Beauty of the person of the Lord - Psalms 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; 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 enquire in his temple.

Psalms 63:1-2 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; 2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.

3. It Is Valuable Because Of Its Blessings

a. The Blessing of worship - Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (We worship with singing, praising, thanksgiving, and giving.)

b. The Blessing of fellowship - Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Psalms 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday. (Exhorting, encouraging, and eating!)

c. The Blessing of spiritual growth - Psalms 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

1) Building strong Christians - 1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (It is a place of prayer and preaching)

2) Building our children - Psalms 84:3 Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.

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