THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-21-07
LESSON TITLE: "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH: THE CHURCH IS THE HOUSE OF GOD"
"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many," Matthew 20:28!Welcome to our program this wondrous Lord's day morning. As always, it is a privilege to have you with us for the Living Word. Thank you for choosing to be with us for this time of offering to God.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. Together we will glorify our creator through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word! What better activity could we together engage in this morning for the sake of our God. I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start with a song which reminds us of the common bond we share through Jesus Christ our Lord. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Bless Be The Tie That Binds!"
(SONG # 1)
When we talk about faith or having faith in God, we all know this means we must follow His Will! When I think of following God's Will, I think of the many things He asks me to do as a faithful servant in His Kingdom. For we all know that Jesus Christ was also a servant of God!
One attribute that really stands out in my mind this morning is found in Ephesians 4:32, where Paul said, "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." What a beautiful verse this is as we learn that we are to be forgivers of others. But you might wonder, "What should motivate me to forgive others?" Well, the same verse answers that question as the writer said, "just as God in Christ forgave you!" You see, we forgive because we have been forgiven.
I am sure that Paul got this information directly from God, because we see that same idea presented by Jesus Himself in the Lord's prayer, which is found in Matthew chapter 6, and verse 12. There as Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He said, "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors." Again the idea, "God forgive us, because we have learned from you how to forgive others.
A final verse which really drives the point home is found in the same opening, just a few verses down - verses 14 and 15. There we read, again in the word's of Christ, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." Again listen to our Savior's Word's - Forgive and be forgiven! But verse 15 is the real key, when He said, "If we don't forgive, we will not be forgiven!"
As followers of God we must all realize the importance of forgiving, because the only way God will forgive us of our many sins is when we learn to forgive others. And why shouldn't we be required to do so, because we are to be like our Lord, as those who are striving to be Christ-like! Are you forgiving others in your life so that Christ can forgive you?
Our topic today will again focus on our series concerning Jesus statement, "I Will Build My Church!" Our specific study of the day will focus on, "The Church Is The House Of God." So please stay with us this morning and in a few minutes I will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "When Upon Life's Billows."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us this morning as we now go to God's Word and look at the discussion in relationship to the House of God for we as the church or God's House.
In fact, God has always had a house. You might remember turn with me to the Old Testament all the way back in the book of Genesis 28. You might recall there that the man Jacob has just fled and gone to another place that he might find a wife in Haron because he has now is leaving his brother Esau as Esau wants to kill him. As we look at the situation, he now is traveling north and he comes to a place in verse 10 of chapter 28 and it says there as he has left Beersheba and he comes to this place that he later will call Bethel that he has an experience, something that happens. And we notice there that God speaks to him. Notice what he states though in verse 16 about this place where God first communicates to Jacob the promise that he had first given to Abraham, that he had then given to Isaac and now that he gives to this young man, Jacob. What is it that takes place? Verse 16, "And Jacob awoke from this sleep and he said, 'Surely the Lord is in this place and I do not know it,' and he was afraid and said, 'How awesome is this place? This is none other than the House of God.'" He states here (that) wherever God is is the House of God. This is none other than the House of God for God has spoken directly with me. But notice what he also states in verse 17. "This is the gate of Heaven." He says, "The very door of Heaven is at this place, Bethel, this place where God is." And then even later in verse 22 after he himself is committed to what God has said, God says, "Here is the promise and do it," and he says, "and you will be my God if you do these things." Then in verse 22 he says, "For this stone which I have set up is a pillar and shall be God's house." You see, Jacob knew that wherever God was was His house.
Another example that we might find is over in the book of Exodus when we find that God gave Moses and His children the command that they should build the tabernacle. As we look there in the text, that is Exodus, we find interestingly enough that the Bible is clear telling us of how God wanted it built. In fact, very specifically in chapter 25, He told them what they should do and "gave them a pattern," as verse 9 tells us. Tat pattern gave them exactly concerning the furnishings and the structure of the tabernacle as it should be built.
After that, He even goes into greater detail, but continue on with me throughout the Bible and look with me around chapter 40. We now begin to see in chapter 40 after all the work has been done, and we know how it was done, that these things are said beginning in verse 16. The Bible says, "Thus Moses did according to all that the Lord had commanded him so he did, and it came to pass in the first month of the second year on the first day of the month that the tabernacle was raised up." What did they make? The House of God, a dwelling place for God. Verse 33 says, "Moses and the Israelites had finished the work." Now I want you to notice very carefully after they finished it and they dedicated it to God, what happens? Continuing on in verse 34. Remember the cloud that was always there by day and a pillar of fire by night? It says now in verse 34 of chapter 40 that, "The cloud covered the tabernacle of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle and Moses was not even able to enter the tabernacle of meeting because the cloud rested above it and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." You see, God's house. Wherever God is is the House of God.
Jacob knew that. Moses and Israel knew that. But not only that, but also later in David's day. Remember when David wanted to build the temple? Not just a tabernacle that was a structure that could be moved, but a temple, a thick structure in Jerusalem. But God says, "Wait David. You can't build it but your son can." So David made all the preparations and they built the tabernacle and after they had made this magnificent structure, probably and one of the most possibly grandest of its day, then notice what happens in 2 Chronicles chapter 7. It says, "When Solomon was finished praying, fire came down from Heaven, consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle." Now what's also interesting is verse 2 says, "The glory of the Lord being in it kept the priest once again from going in it." It was so magnificent, so powerful, the presence of God in His house that no one could enter it.
Then what was the results? The results verse 3 says, "The people saw the fire come down and they saw the glory of the Lord enter the temple." It says that, "Their faces were humbled." And what did they do? They bowed to the ground on the pavement and they worshipped and praised God. Why? God had entered His house. God's presence confirmed His house.
Well, what I bring these things up for today is because we are looking at the church and what we've learned is the church is you and I, those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ and have been added by God to His church (Acts 2:47). And the fact that we are added to the church, there is also a reference in the New Testament several times of the church being the House of God. What does that mean to us? It means that we are that dwelling place of God. As we saw Jacob knew the house was where God was, we saw that Moses and Israel knew that where God was was His house which He filled, and even Solomon knew that where God filled, that was His house. We find the same thing over in the New Testament that what God dwells in is His house as we know today the church.
To understand that better, let's go over to the New Testament and look at several verses that confirm this fact for us. First of all in John 14, if you'll look around verse 23, notice what Jesus actually says concerning this topic. He says, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My Word and My Father will love him and (what will we do?) we will come to him and make our home in him, our house with him." God says, "Wherever I find faithfulness and someone believes and obeys Me and does the commands and shows he loves Me, that's where I make My house, the house of God." What does that tell us as Christians? It tells us that we as the temple or the tabernacle are illuminating with God or at least we should be. People should see God in us and they should see our faithfulness in relationship to the things that we do showing that we love God for we are faithful, for we are obedient, for we are doing that which He commands.
Turn over to the book of 1 Corinthians. Here, Paul to the Corinthian church, again confirming this very fact that we are the temple of God. We are now that House of God. We are that thing on earth, that house that is the very essence of God, and then must demonstrate obedience as well as exemplify through our mouths and teaching who God is. There again, 1 Corinthian chapter 6 and verse 19. Here is what Paul says to that church. "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God and you are not your own." He says, "Don't you know the Holy Spirit is in you. God is in you." He says, "You're not your own." Why? Verse 20 goes on to explain. "You have been bought at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body which is His temple, which is His house, and in your spirit which are God's." You see how that so beautifully ties together. God no longer is a God of structure and physical and things made by hands. God is a God of the spiritual. He no longer dwells in the tabernacles and temples and locations on this earth only. He dwells in the soul, the heart of man, in the house that we have made up, the tabernacle, the temple that we are through the blood of Jesus that was shed, that we might be purchased and be made unto that house, made unto that child of obedience that he might dwell in us.
Back up several chapters in 1 Corinthians chapter 3. Again, we find the same concept as he confirms there in verse 16. "Do you not know that you are the temple of God," and here notice what he says again, "you as the temple of God, the tabernacle." It says, "Of the house of the Spirit." The Spirit of God does what? Dwells in you. Therefore, think about that. Think about the awesome responsibility. Think about what that means. He goes on in verse 17 to say, "Therefore if anyone defiles the temple of God, that is our bodies that God is in, God will destroy him for the temple of God is holy which temple you are." You are the temple of God. If you are a child of God, you are that house of God and therefore you bear an awesome responsibility not only to live righteously but not to defile the temple.
Can you imagine under the old law? What would happen when someone would defile the temple through false worship, through false sacrifice, through some type of false gift to God? They would be killed instantly. What about Nadab and Abihu? You see that's a great lesson. Here we see we are that temple and that we must make sure that we keep ourselves pure and righteous and holy and thus we cannot defile that temple that God has blessed us with. Yes, we are the House of God.
Now what I would like to do is to look at two passages that teach us that we are that house. In fact, it uses the exact terminology beginning in 1 Timothy chapter 3 that we are God's house. In 1 Timothy 3 read with me then in verse 15 as the Bible says, "But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the House of God which is the church of the Living God, the pillar of the Truth." You see, the church of God, the House of God, how we conduct ourselves in and as those houses.
Turn over with me to the book of Peter. Again, we find in 1 Peter a similar concept of this house, this house that God has blessed us as being in relationship to being children. Look at 1 Peter chapter 4 there in verse 17. There the Bible says, "For the time has come for judgment to begin (where?) in the House of God." Judgment to begin at the House of God, and if it begins with us first, what would be the end of those who do not obey the gospel? You see, the House of God again is that representation of the faithful, the obedient, those who have been called out and those who are obeying and doing what God commands. Yes, we are God's house. Yes, we are the ones who are of the saved, among the saved, and who make up the saved as the house of God, the place that God dwells.
So therefore, how much grander it makes the thought that is presented to us in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. As the House of God, as the saved, what does that ultimately mean to us? Read with me if you will 1 Corinthians 15. We'll read together verse 24. Paul talks about the end of things. He says in verse 24, "Then comes the end when He delivers the kingdom of God to the Father and He puts an end to all rule and authority and power. All things will be put under His feet. (The feet of Jesus.) All things will be subject to Him." Who? Jesus. But here it states, that kingdom, that church, that house of God, that temple, that tabernacle that we make up where God dwells, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit will someday be given back to the Father for eternal life. Oh what a wonderful encouragement. What a blessing. What a promise. What a hope that we have that encourages us to want to be in God's house, to make sure as we have read in Corinthians that we do not defile that which houses God, but that everything we do and say, every action that we make is really representative of lights in this world, as cities on the hill so that we might know that we are saved and have that confidence, but that others might know it as well, and by seeing God in us, that they might want to know Him and to be saved as well.
Have you obeyed Christ Jesus? Have you become that temple, that house of God? Are you doing those things that He commands as a faithful child? If you have not become a child of God, confess His name this day. Repent and turn from sin and be buried with Him in baptism that He might add you to the church and you might become that house of God. If you are not faithful, do what you need to today to repent, correct your life and to be living as the temple of God, undefiled and righteous that you might know that you will not only be blessed now but blessed for an eternity with God.
(SONG # 3 - "To Christ Be True!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Praise be to God for the church of our Lord. For we are the House of God, those who are called out this world to be servants of our King!