Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mad, Sad, or Mad?

Temple Baptist Church - 9-1-2013
Psalms 122


A.  Psalm 122 is an interesting and very important Psalm because it deals with the corporate worship of the children of Israel. 


1.  Three of the seven feast days required that every male, regardless of where they lived, come to Jerusalem to offer and worship.  (The Feast of Unleavened Bread, The Feast of Harvest or Firstfruits, and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of harvest after all the harvest was brought in.)


2.  The “house of the Lord” was not Solomon’s Temple because it had not yet been built.  During the life of David (who wrote this Psalm), the Tabernacle remained the focal point of sacrifice and worship.  This is why the “house of the Lord” speaks of Jerusalem as it was where the Tabernacle stood and God’s people came together in corporate worship.  The people did not go into the Tabernacle but it was the place of offering and sacrifice.


3.  Thus, in this Psalm, Jerusalem is a beautiful type of the local church of our day.  It is not the Tabernacle nor Solomon’s Temple.  It is a place where we come together this morning to worship and bring our offerings to the Lord.  I thank the Lord for the local church!  Much is to be made of the local church!


B. While the Bible emphasizes the importance of the House of the Lord in the last days, the world minimizes it.  Less and less people in America, the Bible Belt included, find less time to go to church.  Churches that were once filled Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night have suffered a serious decline in numbers.


1.  There is the Mad Crowd: these are the people that have no desire to attend church do not want to be invited nor witnessed to.  They are nearly impossible to reach with the gospel because they do not want to hear it nor do they want anything to do with God (unless they are in deep trouble).


2.  There is the Sad Crowd: these are the people who know that going to church is right but had rather be somewhere else.  This is the “Watch Watching Crowd.”  They are glad when the benediction is pronounced and it is time to go home.


3.  There is the Glad Crowd: these are the faithful few that you can always count on to be in the house of the Lord because they love the brethren and the local church.  The former two crowds (Mad and Sad) are increasing in numbers while the Glad crowd is diminishing.


C. I understand that many of these unfaithful church members are lost but an increasing number of saved have become unfaithful.  For a long while, Sunday morning congregations held their own though the evening and mid-week services suffered decline.  Now Sunday morning services have empty pews that once were normally filled.


D. There are numerous reasons for the “falling away” of the once faithful. 


1.  There is the sinfulness of our times. 


2.  There is the apathy of the Laodicean believer. 


3.  There is the enemy of covetousness


4.  The love of worldly pleasures. 


5.  A lack of understanding of the importance of God’s house!


E. The list could go on but I want to key in on the last one tonight. 


1.  Church is so much more than just sitting on a pew, singing a few songs, giving of the tithes, listening to a boring sermon, suffering through an altar call, and then going home just exactly the way you came in. 


2.  Most people want nothing, give nothing, and receive nothing in church.


F. What you get out of church is what you put into it. 


1.  Worship is not entertainment.  So many go to church looking for entertainment instead of worshipping the One who died for them.  We are not in the entertainment business though most churches now are.  Our worship is not to be geared to the world.  Our music is to be sacred, our approach is to be holy, and our attitudes are to be reverent.


2.  Worship is not a spectator’s sport but an act of involvement!  Worship, though most often thought of as corporate endeavor, is actually an individual matter.  It is the personal realization of God’s worth in your life that brings about worship.


G. If God so emphasized the “assembling of ourselves together” in Hebrews 10:25, then it must be of the utmost importance in our personal lives.  Here are just a few thoughts on the importance of going to Church.  You see, the House of the Lord is a:


1.  House of Contemplation.  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.    (“To behold the beauty of the Lord … to enquire”  We come to church to think on Him!  We come to church to see Him!)


2.  House of Satisfaction.   Psalms 36:8  They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.  (“Satisfied with the fatness of thy house … drink of the river of thy pleasures”  I have spent the last 34 years of my life consistently in church and I have to say that I am satisfied!  It is a joy to come to church and, though I often come empty, I leave full.  I seek nothing to replace church with.)


3.  House of Worship.   Psalms 135:1-2  Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD.  2  Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God,  (“Praise ye the LORD”  It is a place or worship.  A place where the Lord is the pre-eminent one and his name is glorified.)


4.  House of Fellowship.   Psalms 55:14  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. (“Sweet counsel together … in company”  Hebrews 10:25 says, “Exhorting one another.”  It is a blessing, when I am discouraged, to be able to come to the church and see all of you!)


5.  House of Offerings.  Psalms 66:13  I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,  (“I will go with … offerings”  What a blessing to be able to tithe and give to missions!  I enjoy making out our check each week as well as putting money in the offering plate during each other service.  Giving is no chore to my wife and me.  I feel that it is a privilege that God has given to me.)


6.  House of Growth.  Psalms 92:13  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.  (The Lord has spiritually matured me in church.  I have grown from a babe to full maturity through a wonderful diet of God’s Word.  The sincere milk of God’s Word leads to strong meat!)


7.  House of Holiness.  Psalms 93:5  Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.  (“Holiness becometh thy house”  No foul language, no vile jokes, and no nudity!  I don’t need to turn my head or cover my ears.  I can invite people to Temple and not have to worry about what they will see.)


8.  House of Testimony.  Psalms 22:22  I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.  (“I will declare thy name unto my brethren”  I love to hear people get up and brag on the Lord.  The Lord has been better to all of us than we deserve.  We have an opportunity to brag on Him every service.)


9.  House of Blessing - Psalms 92:13-14  Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God.  (14)  They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;  (“Shall flourish … bring forth fruit … fat and flourishing”  I have watched families for years and come to this conclusion: faithful families have their problems just like everyone else but God blesses them in the end for their faithfulness.  Fruitful, fat and flourishing!)


10.  House of Constraint - Psalms 122:1, 9  I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD…Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good.  (“Because … I will seek thy good”  People who get out of church almost invariably end up ship wrecked spiritually.  They blame everything and everyone for leaving church but take their problems with them and end up a mess family wise.  Remaining faithful to God’s house has kept me from giving in to the desires of the flesh.)


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