"... the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh. 8:10)
A. We are living in a day and age when many people feel that they Can Serve God As Well At Home as they can at Church --- It Just Is Not So.
B. The Attitude that one has Toward The Church is indicative of his Love For Christ.
1 John 4:20, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.”
Heb. 10:24-25, “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.”
Just as you would put forth every effort to attend your child’s Ballgames, Concert, etc. to exhort and encourage them --- You Should Do The Same For Your Brothers And Sisters In Christ In Church.
C. The Church is the Only institution Founded and Fashioned by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Matt. 16:15-18, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this rock (Petra), I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
1. Petros (Peter) is a Detached Stone or boulder, a stone that might be Thrown or easily Moved.
2. Petra is a Massive rock
a. When a type is sought to illustrate a Sure Foundation, the word Petra, an Immovable Rock, is used (Matt. 7:24, 25; 27:51, 60; Mark 15:46; Luke 6:48).
b. In our text it is used metaphorically of Christ and the Testimony given by Peter concerning Him --- which is an Unchangeable, Immovable Testimony.
Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
D. The Church is the Only institution that Christ has Promised To Protect.
Matt. 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
Matt. 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
Matt. 28:20, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
E. Christ loved the church enough to pay a Great Price for it --- and to leave Special Instructions For The Pastor to lead it right.
Heb. 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”
How Do We Despise The Church of God?
I. By Failing To Make Preparations For The Worship Services of The Church.
A. As a Pastor must prepare for his Message --- even so, the Congregation Must Prepare for worship in God’s House.
B. Every Member ought to go to church with a Prayer that:
1. That the Pastor will receive God's message ..... in Spiritual as well as Mental comprehension (1 Cor. 2:9-16)
2. That God's message will first grip the pastor’s own heart in Strong Conviction (1 Thess. 1:5)
3. That the pastor will Clearly and Correctly convey God's message in the Power of The Spirit in effective communications (1 Thess. 1:5)
4. That the Spirit will use the message to produce Proper Response and Change ... spiritual transformation (2 Cor. 3:18)
5. That the whole process and finished product of the service will accomplish God's purpose in the Glorification of God Through Christ (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11)
C. We should approach our worship services with Awe and Anticipation that God will make a Difference in the lives of those who hear His Word proclaimed.
1. All truth has an Application To Life, and the application of Divine Truth Always ministers Personally.
2. The thrust of Scripture must be presented in such a way that it is Relevance To Character and Conduct.
3. Charles H. Spurgeon wrote, "Never play at preaching, nor beat about the bush; get at it, and always mean business."
D. You only Get Out of a service what you Put Into it --- What Have You Given Unto God Today?
Thanksgiving --- Praise --- Reverence --- Awe .....
In What Ways Have You Worshiped God?
1. Not to put any preparation into the service is to Do Despite To The Spirit of Grace.
2. Church Attendance should be a Steadfast, Unswerving, Unshaken, and Faithful conviction of yours --- Not Just An Option. --- (More About This Later)
E. 1 Tim. 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.”
1. How Do You Act during the preaching of God’s Word?
2. With “Reverence” and “Respect” for God’s Word? --- It is Not The Preacher you are showing Respect or Lack of Respect for --- It Is God’s Word.
3. Do you “Despise” the church of God by the Way You Act in the House of God?
(Now, Let’s Get Specific.)
F. Jesus said, “Take heed How You Hear.”
1. Luke 8:16-18, “No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light. 17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad. 18 Take heed therefore how ye hear:”
1 Tim. 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,”
2. Others are watching you --- How you act in church tells others A Lot About Your Christianity.
a. Can’t Wait for the services to be Over .....
b. Making funny, silly, or disagreeable statements during services --- Disrupting The Services for those around you.
c. Many of these people, whose Attention You Have Obtained, would like to be Reverent and Worship God --- through His Word.
d. You say, “But I Was Only Joking”
God’s House --- worship of the Lord --- the preaching of God’s Word --- is Not A Joke.
e. To rationalize, make excuses, and try to explain away your behavior in God’s House, is to show to others How Little God And His Cause Really Means To You.
3. People who are “Unsympathetic” --- “Prayerless” --- “Indifferent” --- “Cynical” --- “Critical” --- not only are Hiding Their Light but also creating a Frigid Atmosphere for others.
a. What kind of Atmosphere do you create for the Person Sitting Next To You?
Fun --- Critical --- Worship --- Awe --- Serious .....
b. What if there is a Baby in the pew in Front of you --- are you still interested in Worshiping God and learning from His Word?
c. What if the Baby is in a pew Behind you? --- If he makes a Cute Sound do you Turn Around and thereby Distract everyone around you from Worshiping God and learning from His Word?
d. It is not the Little Babies in the pews that distract me while I am preaching --- It is the Big Babies that show no interest in worshiping God or learning from His Word.
e. Just what kind of Atmosphere do you create for the Person Sitting Next To You?
4. Eccl. 5:1, “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.”
Not to show Reverence for God in God’s House is to do Evil.
5. To offer a Sacrifice to God while Not Listening to the Word of God is to offer the Sacrifice of A Fool and to Do Evil!
6. Today, are you Judging This Message or are you Listening and allowing this Message To Judge You?
G. How have you Prepared Spiritually for this Service Today? --- How Important is this Church service in your life?
II. We Despise The Church of The Living God By Our Tolerant Religious Beliefs And Convictions.
A. We ought to Know What we believe and Why we believe it.
1 Tim. 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.”
Titus 3:10, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;”
B. Not To Keep The Foundation Strong Is To Despise The Church --- And It’s Founder, The Lord Jesus Christ.
C. Why is What we believe As Important as the Sincerity with which we believe?
1. There are Many Different Christ. which one are you worshiping?
2. If we do Not have the Correct Doctrine of Christ, we do Not Have God.
2 John 9, "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son."
3. Some people are preaching a False Jesus --- not every "Jesus" that people believe in is the "Jesus" of The Bible.
2 Cor. 11:3-4, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
D. Believing That Jesus Christ Is God Is Essential For Salvation!
Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
John 20:31, "But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name."
John 3:18, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
1 Cor. 6:11, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
III. We Despise The Church of The Living God By Our Wrong And Inconsistent Lives.
A. 1 Tim. 6:12-14, “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. 13 I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; 14 That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
B. The Best Argument for Christianity is a Consistent Christian Life.
1. We are the Only Bible the world will read --- the Only Creed they will heed.
2. You despise the church of the living God when --- by your Inconsistent Christian life --- you Give The Enemies of God Great Occasion To Blaspheme.
3. David --- 2 Sam. 12:14, “Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, ...”
4. Christian Women --- Titus 2:4-5, “That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
a. You may joke about this Scripture but it is the Word of the Living God Himself.
b. You are only revealing to others your true view and opinion of God’s Word.
c. Remember, God’s Word and His worship services are Not A Joke.
5. Does your life and behavior bring Reproach upon the Church of the living God?
C. Are you Inconsistent? --- Do you Expect The Preacher to do your work for you --- while you sit back in ease and Criticize?
1. Buy a membership in President’s Health Club .....
2. Shepherds don’t produce sheep --- Sheep produce sheep .....
The pastor can go out and fill the church with people, but They Won’t Stay if .....
3. The Preacher should fill the Pulpit --- the People should fill the Pews.
4. One person said: “Some Churches Don’t Deserve A Pastor.”
5. What was the Purpose of Deacons?
Acts 6:4, “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” --- V. 7, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
God created Deacons so that Pastor would be Obedient to the Faith as per V. 4.
D. Some preachers are so Busy Filling Pews, they don’t have time to Fill The Pulpit --- their sheep are Starving.
IV. We Despise The Church of The Living God By Un-Worthy Giving To The Church.
A. If you think of Giving to the Church as Benevolence, you need to Repent in sackcloth and ashes.
1. God does Not Need your money --- He is Not Broke.
2. But, You Need The Privilege of being able to give to God.
3. You can Only become Christ-Like As you learn to Givewith Joy.
Heb. 12:2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
4. God is the First Creditor to all of us.
B. Many Organizations with many different purposes are constantly Scrambling for the Religious Dollar.
1. Some promise Health, Happiness, Holiness, and Prosperity --- if money is sent to them.
2. Some of these groups are Worthy of being helped --- others are nothing more than Religious Hustlers.
C. The Church --- the Pillar and Ground of The Truth --- is the Safety Valve for your giving.
D. Why should Christians Despise the church of God and Refuse To Give through their own local church --- when the Lord said:
1. Eph. 3:21, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.”
2. Your Giving through the Lord’s Church will Go Further than through any other channel in the world.
E. 1 Cor. 16:1-3, “Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you layby him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.”
1. The church at Corinth received the Same Command as the churches of Galatia --- Not An Isolated Case --- but for all churches.
2. Everyone was to give “Let Every One of You.”
3. A Portion of their money --- as God hath prospered them --- was to be Set Aside --- the portion God claims as His Own is always The Tenth.
4. The money thus set aside was to be Collected on the First Day of The Week --- “That there be No Gathering when I come.”
5. The Church was to Administer the money and Approve the person taking the money to Jerusalem --- “Whomsoever ye shall approve ...”
F. If God’s money is Not To Be Given Through God’s Church, then:
1. What Difference does the Day Make? --- Upon the first day of the week.”
2. How? Could there be “No Gathering when I come” --- if the money is Kept At Home?
If Absent --- a finance committee would have to be sent to “Gather” the offerings together.
3. How could the Church Administer the money and sent it to Jerusalem if it was Not In The Church Treasury?
4. “..... as I have given Order to the churches of Galatia, Even So Do Ye.”
G. Why Despise The Church of The Living God?
1. The First Day of the week is the Lord’s Day.
2. The Christian is the Lord’s Man.
3. The “First Fruit” is the Lord’s Money.
4. The Church is the Lord’s House.
5. Why Not Worship God’s Way?
H. God’s Tithe Belongs On God’s Alter Where It Loses Your Identity And Brings Glory To God.
1. If I take God’s tithe and Give It Personally --- rather than through God’s church --- Who Gets Credit or Glory for it --- Not God But Me.
2. Col. 1:18, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”
I. God didn’t say, “Sent It” He said, “Bring It” --- He wants you with it.
This Brings Us To The Last Point:
V. We Despise The Church of The Living God By Not Attending It’s Services.
A. Please do Not Judge the following question until I have finished this last point of the message!
Are You, As A Christian:
1. Trodding Under Your Feet The Son of God?
2. Counting The Blood of The Covenant Wherewith You Were Saved, An Unholy Thing?
3. Doing Despite Unto The Spirit of Grace?
4. Have You Denied Your Faith Before The World?
The Answer Is Found In Heb. 10:23-34
B. How Much Importance Does The Bible, God’s Word, Place On Church Attendance?
Heb. 10:23-25, “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.”
1. All of the above is One Sentence, One Subject.
2. How do you Hold Fast your faith --- without wavering?
a. By Not Forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.
b. By Exhorting (encouraging) one another.
c. You can’t exhort or encourage others if you are not even present yourself --- even Your Absence is a Discouragement .....
C. Why should we Not Forsake the assembling ourselves together?
Heb. 10:26-27, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
1. The Lord places a Great Deal of Importance on your church attendance.
2. His Judgment Is Severe For Not Attending Church?
D. Just How Great A Sin Does God Consider Your Not Attending Church To Be?
Heb. 10:28-29, “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”
1. Denied The Faith
If your faith won’t take you to church --- don’t expect it to take you to heaven.
2. Trodden Under Foot The Son of God ---
Not enough love for God to even attend His services.
3. Counted The Blood of The Covenant An Unholy Thing ---
Not enough incentive ..... give Prizes, get some more Entertainment --- then I will consider coming.
4. Hath Done Despite Unto The Spirit of Grace ---
I don’t have to attend, I am not under law but Grace.
E. You may ask: “Are You Sure This Is Speaking of Christians Not Attending Church?
Heb. 10:30-34, “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions; 33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used. 34 For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.”
Conclusion --- Are You Willing To Be Identifies With Christ?
A. Are you Included in that company called “His People”?
B. Can you call to Remembrance the former days when you were First Saved?
C. Are you Willing To Endure a great fight of Afflictions for the cause of Christ?
D. Are you Willing to be a made a Gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions?
E. Are you Willing to become Companions of them that are so used?
F. Are you Willing to take Joyfully the Spoiling of your Worldly Possessions?
G. Do You Know Within Yourself That You Have In Heaven A Better And An Enduring Substance?
There Is No Second Chance After Death!
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