What the Church Means to You (Part 4)

We’ve been studying about the place that the house of the Lord should have in our heart.  We studied the preparation we make to come to church.  What are we to do when we get here?  Often we come expecting something from God.  Well, he expects something from us.  When we leave church, we don’t close the door and put it out of our lives until we come back.

Psalms 66: 13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. 16 Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. 17 I cried unto him with my mouth, and he was extolled with my tongue. 18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: 19 But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me.

This pertains to the worship of God.  I Chronicles 16:29 states give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  While we’re here in the sanctuary, it should be all about God.  We should not say I can’t wait to go to church so that I can sing or so that everyone can see my outfit.  It’s not about the preacher or the singer or anyone else. I look forward to seeing you all, but the prime reason I should come is to glorify God because I love him.

We are to bring our offering and come before him.  Many times people want to know what the Lord is offering them.  If a person leaves a service without having received something, it is no one’s fault but his or her own.  I’ve seen the same service be said of by some “I didn’t get anything out of it” while others smiled, prayed, and worshipped.  God expects us to offer something to him.  He will give in return.  To receive, we must give.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.  The children of Israel went to the temple; one of the first things they had to do was wash in the laver.  They had to cleanse themselves.  The Bible says if we regard iniquity in our heart God won’t hear us.  That’s why many get nothing.  To worship one must prepare, and part of that preparation includes cleansing.  Get things straightened out before you come if you want to worship while you’re here.

Psalm 95:6 says O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.  Until we bow our hearts to God in humility we will not worship.  There is too much strutting around.  This is not a chicken coop to strut in.  We are to kneel before God and reverence him.  Then he’ll bless.  The woman of Samaria told Jesus that the Jews said you had to worship this way and the Samaritans said it’s another way.  Jesus said God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.  We can’t wait until we get to church to be spiritual.  When we come, we will come in one of a few ways.  One is in a natural frame as before we were saved.  Some come with a carnal frame of mind.  Paul told the people at Corinth they were carnal.  It meant they were spiritually immature and worldly minded.   This hinders the working of God.  Time is too short to play like children when we come to church.  We are to love each other and love God.  Concentrate on him.  It makes us one.  The devil wants to destroy the bond of unity.  In order to have a moving service someone has to move other than someone else.  What do I mean by that?  Don’t say “if people don’t move.”  Don’t say “I wish somebody would do something.”  Why can’t it be you?  Or me?  We can’t wait on someone else to get us “in the mood.”  If everyone else comes in a wrong frame of mind, it doesn’t mean you have to be hindered.  It is not the job of the preacher to spoon feed blessings.  We must be hungry enough to pick up the fork and eat.  You give.  The Lord gives back.

David said he was going to the house of God to pay his vows.  It’s a perfect time to praise God for what he did for you all week.  Instead we half-way sing and pray a few words and sit back and wait for someone to do something.  God has given us a lot.  Why can’t we give back to him?  I’m not talking about money.  Tithing is important, but it’s a small part.  Show the Lord something.  Move.  How can we receive a blessing?  Be a blessing.  Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me. Bless his holy name.  Verse 16 says declare what God has done.  Sing with an open heart of love.  Smile.  Pray.  Reach out.  Obey the Lord.  That declares him to others.  How in the world can we expect the lost to move when we won’t move ourselves?  If we give no indication of movement toward God, how will they see it?  Excitement of what the gospel has done for us gets to people.  Movement has to come among individuals.  When we pray and enjoy the Lord, people see it.  On the other hand, if people start putting coats on, moving around, and yawning during the invitation, the service will be hindered.  We’re not here to watch.  We’re here to obey God.  Let’s do what the Lord wants.

Psalm 65:4 says blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.  When it uses the word dwell it means it’s your house.  This is our home church.  We get to come back.  We have a place here.  When we worship the right way, we will be satisfied.

Are you satisfied with church?  If not, are you doing what you’re supposed to be doing?  Are you where you should be?  You can be warm in the midst of the cold if that is your desire.  David says we can be satisfied.  It’s easy to look back 30 years ago and say it was like this or that.  Things used to be this way or that.  Those days had their share of problems as well.  The devil was there just like he is now.  The best thing is that the same Lord is here now that was there then.  If we look for blessings, we will find them.  There are ups and downs all along the way, but Jesus is still the same.  He doesn’t need special effects to be effective.  He just needs humble hearts.  It’s still possible to worship and receive a blessing from God.

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