Sunday, March 18, 2018

Loving Your Church

Temple Baptist Church - 3-18-2018
Psalm 27:1-5


A.  I want to preach for a few weeks on the importance of the local church in the lives of God’s children.  When our Lord ascended back to heaven, He left several things to the believers in His impending absence:

1.  The Holy Spirit.  John 16:7  Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

2.  The Word of God.  1 Corinthians 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

3.  The Local Church.  Acts 2:1  And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

B.  These three are equally essential to the well being of the believer.  I may do a series on all three before I am finished because of the apparent ignorance of most professing believers of their value.

C.  David was both a man of war and a man of worship.  In these verses, we find his heart’s desire to assemble with the people of God in worship.  David loved the house of the Lord.  Your local church is important in your life as a believer!

Psalms 55:14  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.

Psalms 122:1  A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.

Hebrews 10:22-25  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  (23)  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  (24)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  (25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

D.  Hebrews 10:25 is possibly the most quoted verse concerning church attendance and has been normally been preached as a negative. 

1.  Hebrews 10:25 says, “As the manner of some is.”  The word manner means a custom or habitual practice.  There are so many people who professed to be saved that have no desire to be faithful to the local church. 

2.  We have a good nucleus here at Temple.  I want to encourage the “as the manner of some is” this morning to get in.  I also want to encourage the faithful to stay in. Many of the unfaithful were once faithful. 
E.  There has been a great forsaking of the assembling in the past few decades with many in America unchurched. 

1.  Our nation if following the same path as England and Europe: the path of godlessness which always leads to ungodliness. 

2.  The faithful few that make up the nucleus of the local church have become fewer in number, especially Sunday and Wednesday night crowds.  Few want any time of “extra” services such as revival meetings or mission conferences.

F.  With many, it is a leaving your “first love” problem.  This morning, I want to encourage you to love your church! Make it a major part of your life.  What a privilege it is to come to church!  What a blessing to be able to come to church!  What a benefit to be able to come to church!

What makes the local church so special:

1.  It Is The Place That God Loves - Ephesians 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.  (Jesus Christ died for the Church!  He gave His life for that which He loves.  Truly, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  When you get saved, you should love what God loves!)

2.  It Is The Place Of Worship - Psalms 5:7   But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.  (You can and should worship anywhere but the church house is a special place.  It was a place built to worship in.  You can come here and sing as loud as you please; you can say “Amen” or shout “Glory to God;” you can give your tithe and offerings scripturally in God’s house.  What a blessing!)

3.  It Is The Place Of Preaching And Teach God’s Word - 1 Timothy 3:15  But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.  (You probably know it by now, but I love this blessed old King James Bible that I hold in my hand.  We can read it at home; We can study it at home; but here in the house of the Lord, men of God preach like they know what they are preaching about!  I rejoice with the Apostle Paul when the Bible is heralded and the preacher lifts up his voice like a trumpet!)

4.  It Is The Place Where God’s People Gather - Psalms 55:14  We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
(The greatest people on earth are there!  When I got saved I fell in love with a lot of things that please God but one of the greatest of all was the people of God.  No, they are not perfect, but they are my brothers and sisters in Christ!  We are all in the Body of Christ which is the Family of God and we love you!)

5.  It Is The Place Where Sinners Are Both Sought And Loved - Luke 14:23  And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Matthew 9:10  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.  (I love to see sinners come to the church house and be privileged to sit under the power of the Word of God and have an opportunity to hear the gospel and give their hearts and lives to Christ.  The to watch the Lord gloriously change their lives for His glory.)

6.  It Is The Place Where I Pay My Tithes And Give My Offerings - Malachi 3:10  Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.  (So many professing believers never get this!  The tithe belong to the Lord and giving begins only above the tithe.  What a blessing; what a thrill to be able to give to the work of the Lord.  I saw this sermon title on the sign in front of Mount Zion Baptist Church one Sunday morning:  “There’s going to be a hold up Sunday morning.”)

7.  It Is God’s Instrument For World Evangelism - 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8  And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:  So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God–ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.  (I love to give an offering to missions!  We can help support precious families as they cover the globe preaching the same gospel that we preach.  Missionaries are the greatest people in the world!  There is no greater calling than that.  Carrying the Word of God to a world that needs Jesus Christ and we can help go by giving!  We can go on organized visitation where we can personally witness to the Lost and occasionally see one get saved!)

8.  It Was There That I Heard The True Gospel Preached And Was Gloriously and Eternally Saved – Luke 18:10, 13-14  Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican …  And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.  (If it weren’t for the local church, this pastor would still be lost in my sin.  I got saved on a Sunday night in an independent Baptist Church.  Thank God for Bob Lamb!  God laid it upon his heart to come to Madisonville, Ky and start a church under an old gospel tent!  Barbara and I were saved because of it!  Ask me why I love the local church!!)

9.  It Is A Place Of Comfort And Spiritual Joy - Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.  (The church is a refuge; a stronghold; a place of peace and tranquility; a place where we come and enjoy the things of God.  It is a place of comfort to the troubled and a source of joy to those who are hurting.  It is in the church that you will find encouragement and help.  It is in the church that you will find that you never walk alone.)

10.  It Is An Encouragement Filling Station - 2 Timothy 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  (We can get filled up at church.  We can go to put something into the service and also to get something out of it.  If you do not get a blessing, then it was because you were not blessable!  I know blessable is not a word but I can make one up if I wanna!  If you want a blessing, you will get one.  If you do not want a blessing, don’t blame it on anyone or anything but yourself.  You get out of a church service what you put into it.)

Conclusion:  The Local Church Is Just A Little Bit Of Heaven On Earth - Psalms 84:1-12  How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts!  My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.  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.  Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.  Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them.  Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.  They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.  O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah.  Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed.  For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.  (If you don’t like church, don’t go to heaven!  A lot of people have imagined a heaven that is not the heaven of this Bible.  There will be praising and singing; there will be worship like we have never experienced; it is a prepared place for a prepared people!  You won’t like it there because church is a little bit of heaven on earth!)

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