08 August 2009

What Would He Find?

What Would He Find?
John 2:13-25

Why does the church exist? Is it to bring Him glory? Is it to bring Him praise? Is it to grow in our sanctification? The answer to these questions is YES! We need to understand and be mindful that God intended the local church to be a corporate display of His glory and mercy, and the soul purpose of the church whether its locally (believer's in your community) or universally (all believer's around the world) is to demonstrate to the entire world; His grace and love to fallen mankind. Does our church glorify God or self? Paul wrote “to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, Eph 3:10-11. The church’s purpose is to display the glory and wisdom of the saving work through the Son, Jesus Christ. The church’s function is to glorify God by making Him known to the community and people around us. What does the word church mean? It's a Greek word ekklesia” which means: a gathering or congregating of people. The church is God’s vehicle for displaying His glory to His creation. The uniqueness of the church is the Message of the Gospel. The church is the only institution entrusted by God with a message of forgiveness and hope to those who come to Him in repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
What should be the structure of the church? God centered, designed to display the glories of God’s character and the Truth of the Gospel in the written word. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus' sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” 2Cor 4:5-6. I love Mark Devers take on the local church when he says “ the Word builds the Church. Our power is not in having small groups, or meeting the felt needs of our target audience, or using the right evangelism programs, or having funny skits, or providing plenteous parking, or targeting our ministries to postmodern. Our power is in our unique message ‘the Gospel’ not in our innovations” John MacArthur adds that “When a sinner wanders into the church and sits through skits, mimes, interpretive dances, and the like, and yet never hears a clear, convicting message about his dangerous and tenuous spiritual situation– that he is a depraved sinner headed for an eternal fire because he is a daily offense to a holy God– how can that be called successful? You could achieve the same level of success by sending a cancer patient to receive treatment from a group of children playing doctor. A sinner must understand the imminent danger he is in if he is ever to look to the Savior. What’s worse is when seeker-focused churches baptize the masses with their watered-down gospel, assuring them that positive decisions, feelings, or affirmations about Christ equal genuine conversion. There are now multitudes who are not authentic Christians identifying with the church. As you set your strategy for church ministry, you dare not overlook the primary means of church growth: the straightforward, Christ-centered proclamation of the unadulterated Word of God. John is right! This is essential for any church to survive, it all begins here. Solomon said in Prov 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

A healthy structure for the church begins with a high view of His power and glory.
A healthy structure for the church begins with a high view of His sovereignty.
A healthy structure for the church begins with a high view of His heavenly wisdom.
A healthy structure for the church begins with reverence for a God who created us in the likeness of the Himself.

See in order for us to have a high view of His presence in our churches, we must understand 4 basic fundamental truths about His character:

1. He is all Glorious (Exo 15:11) "Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
2. He is Eternal (Rev 4:8-10) The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!" Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:The heavens declare your Eternal holiness, the heavens sing to the King of Kings. Every church should be on their knees praising Him for His wonderful goodness to a undeserving generation.
3 He is all Consuming Fire (Heb 12:29) “for our God is a consuming fire..”This is taken from Deut 4:24, a consuming fire, a jealous God. The object here seems to show that there was the same reason for fearing the displeasure of God under the new dispensation, as it was to the people of the Old Testament. There had been no change in His attributes, or in the principles of His government. He was no more the friend of sin now than he was then and the same perfection's of His nature which would then lead Him to punish transgression of the Old
4. He fills Heaven and Earth (Jer 23:23-24) "Am I a God near at hand," says the LORD, "And not a God afar off? Can anyone hide himself in secret places, So I shall not see him?" says the LORD; "Do I not fill heaven and earth?" says the LORD. These people forgot about these truths, they cared only about themselves, they had no regard for sanctuary of the Lord, they used His sovereign house as a place to do business. Again we come back to the title of this message what would He find? My prayer is that He will see:

1. A people devoted to Him as Lord of our Life
2. A people who delight in His word as food for life
3. A people who meditate and memorize His precious Word
4. A people who want nothing more than to serve a Holy God
5. A people who are available to serve one another
6. A people who have a desire to pray not just for themselves but for one another
7. A people who want to share the good news of the Gospel
8. A people who want nothing more than to embrace the Kingdom of God with a heart of holiness
“And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again." Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, "The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!" 1Kings 18:36-39. This is who the church should be serving with their whole hearts, not traditions and rituals. Think about it, are we serving programs, methods, statistics and get out of jail free cards? Or are we loving people to the Saviour by displaying the glory God in and out of our lives at church, at work and most of all in our homes where our children see! See we serve an amazing God who came to this earth to save bad people [sinners] like me and you, and His only command to us is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, mind and soul and to love our neighbors as ourselves. What would He find? A church that desires to honor the LORD by displaying His glory right back to Him. This is who the church should be showing reverence towards. This is who the people forgot in the temple area as they were selling their goods, the LORD God! May we be a church in this generation that stands true to call of ministry[whether it be universally or locally] that never forgets that His church is a means and a vehicle to bring Him glory and honor for His saving and sovereign power through the unadulterated gospel message, and not to be used for our own personal status or gain in this life which leads to pride and self-righteousness. Remember what God commanded Moses to remind the people and the generations to come, that the Lord God does not share His glory with no one! Not even with you or me. It is His church and we are His servants who are to be used for Him and by Him. To Him be the glory, forever and ever AMEN!

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