The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 12)

Today we will focus on the role of the church as a moral compass. The stability of the church is that its teachings are not based on what Gallup, Barna, or Pew Research, are saying, but are based on scripture. Jesus is the Rock on which the church stands, and like a lighthouse, the church is a point of reference, or a beacon of light, in a dark, storm-tossed, and ever-shifting world. The world lacks an anchor point for their moral standards, and as a result, we have seen major shifts in what is morally acceptable in a relatively short period of time.

Matters like salvation, modesty, sexuality, and gender identity, are matters on which the Bible has a voice, and the church has a role, although it is coming under increasing pressure to abandon that role, of clearly, yet compassionately, declaring what the Bible teaches. By doing so, the church is a moral compass, or point of reference, that is unchanging in a changing world.

The problem is that in the public arena, public opinion has replaced the Bible and the church as the moral voice. And since morality is foundational to a society’s stability, that is why our culture is all over the map and is suffering the consequences of that instability.

Regardless of the moral decline, this is a just the type of situation where the church can have its greatest influence. For where is it that revival can have its greatest impact? If the past is any predictor of the future, it has been in places were sin has abounded. And that is exactly what the scripture declares:

Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

So let the church rise up and be the church. It is not time to change our message to match the world. Now is not the time to abandon truth. The church will remain standing while the consequences of sin are wreaking havoc in the world. And the church will stand with open arms as agents of God’s grace, to receive those torn apart and needing a Redeemer. And this compass—the church—always points true north—upward to Jesus.

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 11)

We are looking at reasons why the church is the best place to be and are considering this one: the church is built on a strong foundation and isn’t in trouble of fading into irrelevance.

Last week we looked at a conversation Jesus had with His disciples where He asked who they thought He was. That is an extremely important question, because the way we answer it reveals much about us—more than it does about Jesus. Peter gave an answer that Jesus confirmed was right—in summary, Peter said, “You are God in the flesh!” Jesus affirmed that truth as a revelation straight from God.

Then pushing that point even further, Jesus went so far as to proclaim that that revelation was foundational for His soon-to-be-born church.

Matthew 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.

The church was built on the foundation that Jesus is God. Jesus had begun the conversation with an opinion poll; He then gave them divine revelation of who He was; and then anchored the authority of the church to that revelation. The revelation that Jesus is God became the foundational truth, the rock on which the church was to stand.

But that is more than a revealed truth—it is a truth that makes a difference. It is a truth that empowers us to do something. It is a truth that empowers us to be something. The church that stands on this Rock of truth will forever stand and hell itself will not be able to prevail or overpower it. That is a promise!

The best place to be is securely established in a body that satan cannot destroy. He may ferociously attack, but he will never prevail against a church that stands on that Rock. That is another reason the best place to be is in the church!

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 10)

Last time we considered a reason that the church is the best place to be, is because of the many opportunities provided there to get ready for the coming of the Lord. Another good reason is that the church is built on a strong foundation and isn’t in trouble of fading into irrelevance.

On one occasion, Jesus asked His disciples what others were saying about Him, but that was not His true intent. He knew what was in people’s hearts. His real point of that conversation was His next question:

Matt 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

Knowing who Jesus is, is foundational. Knowing who Jesus is will determine your world view so it is an important question. Peter answered with a short and simple, yet profound answer:

Matt 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

From an American cultural background, we can easily miss the importance of Peter’s response. Christ, or Messiah, referred to God on the earth, not just another man. When He called Jesus the “Son of the living God,” that did not simply convey that He was someone’s child. To the Jewish mind, the Son of God meant God in flesh.

We see that by the question the high priest asked Jesus at His trial:

Matt 26:63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.

When Jesus affirmed that, the priest ripped his garment in disgust, and said Jesus had spoken blasphemy. To them, accepting the title, the Son of God, meant Jesus believed He was God in flesh. We see that in another passage:

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Notice that last phrase, “thou being a man makest thyself God.” They actually got the truth in reverse. What had happened was: “Thou, being God, makest thyself man.” More on this next time.

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 9)

One of the reasons that the church is the best place to be is because of the many opportunities provided there to get ready for the coming of the Lord. Last time we looked at a parable Jesus told regarding His coming. In it, He called a group “wise” because they had prepared for His return, and He called a group foolish because they did not. He ended the parable with this warning:

Matt 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

The parable calls us to examine our self and ask, “Am I ready?” Jesus will be returning for His bride who has made herself ready to leave in the twinkling of an eye. Yes there will be some who foolishly do not get ready, but Jesus will return and will find a church that did. And there will be great rejoicing in heaven when she arrives:

Rev 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

If anyone is going to be ready for heaven, our determined cry should be, “Let it be me!”

He does have a glorious church awaiting Him whom He will present to Himself as holy:

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

You see, to be His glorious church, the church had to come to church to “make herself ready.” That is why the best place to be is in the church! By coming to church, we hear the preaching accompanied by warnings about the Lord’s coming and also about the greater glory He intends for us:

Col 1:27-28
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

If we miss the preaching, we miss the warnings. Get to church and get ready and don’t let anything stand in the way.

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 8)

Last week we said that church is the best place to be because there are many opportunities there to prepare for the Lord’s coming. Jesus told us to watch and be ready because He didn’t reveal exactly when He would return:

Matt 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

In fact, He said He will come at a time we are not expecting it:

Matt 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

To illustrate that point, Jesus told a parable of what it will be like for those who were not ready for His return. The parable was about ten virgins whose job it was to prepare for the coming of the bridegroom, and then wait for his arrival. Then upon his arrival, they would go out and welcome him by lighting the path with their brightly burning oil lamps.

But because the bridegroom was later than anticipated, five of the girls ran out of oil. Then the midnight cry announced: “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The five girls who had thought to bring extra oil, went out and met the bridegroom. The other five headed out to purchase more oil, and while they were gone, the door was shut and they were left behind.

Matt 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Why were they shut out? Because they ran out of oil. Oil is associated with the Spirit (1 Sam 16:13 and Isaiah 61:3) so a good explanation of this parable is that we must be filled with the Spirit to be ready when Jesus returns. Plus, Romans 8:11 says that we must have Holy Ghost in us to be raised with Jesus. Since people are filled with the Holy Ghost regularly at church, why risk being out of church when the Lord comes? Come regularly and get refilled every opportunity you can.

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 7)

Another reason that the church is the best place to be, is because there are opportunities to prepare for the Lord’s coming. There are plenty of excuses for not going to church, but there is no excuse that will work when

“the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thes 4:16-17)

Theologians call this catching up the “rapture,” which comes from the word, “rapturo,” the Latin version of “caught up together” in that verse. It means to seize, snatch, or carry off.

The church is a strong influence on living rapture-ready. When a person chooses to stay away from church, over time, the heart cools toward God. Think about it. Is that a safe place to be? Away from God, out of church, and in the world? God didn’t promise to stop by the door of all the backsliders just prior to His coming to warn them of the day and hour. However, this is what the scripture does say about that day:

Matt 24:38-42
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Get to church and get ready!

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 6)

Last week we looked at the fact that New Testament church met together regularly, and when they did, they reaped many benefits of gathering as a group.

Today we see another benefit of being in church. It has a healthy effect on people suffering from depression. The writer of Psalm 43 wrote out of despair after having suffered oppression at the hands of a deceitful and evil person. Because of that, he felt the heaviness of depression weighing down on him, he felt cast off by God, and wandered about, sad and upset with grief. But through praising God in the tabernacle, and spending time around the altar, he found some light for his darkness, exceeding joy, and restoration of his health:

Ps 43:3-5
3 O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.
4 Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.
5 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The NET version translates verse 5: “Why are you depressed, O my soul?

When you feel cast down, God’s house is the place to run for that is where you can experience His joy. How? In the house of God, the Spirit flows like a river and makes us glad:

Ps 46:4-5
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

When suffering from depression, church is the best place to be because God is in the midst and He brings help. Why not come?

The Best Place to Be is In The Church (part 5)

We have been looking at reasons it is a good idea to be in the church. The last time we considered the spiritual nature of our soul and how it craves for experiences in God’s presence. I can personally testify that recent services at church have included an overwhelming overshadowing of the presence of the Spirit of God. And oh boy, did my soul get happy! Recently, I joined in with some of the worshipers and danced a dance of joy!

Another reason that church is the best place to be, is there you will have an opportunity to get together with others and receive edification, comfort, and fellowship. The Greek word, allaylon, is translated most often as, “one another,” and appears 100 times in the New Testament. The multiple times it is used reveals that the early church had many experiences where they gathered together with one another. For instance, Jesus spoke about the need to love one another:

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

And here is Paul, saying we belong together with one another:

Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Elsewhere in the New Testament, we are told to do these things with one another: be kindly affectioned; prefer; receive; be likeminded toward; admonish; salute; defraud not; tarry for; care for; greet; serve; edify; bear burdens of; forbear; be kind to; esteem; comfort; consider; grudge not; use hospitality to; and subject yourselves to.

The unspoken certainty, is that in order for them to do all these things with one another, they had to get together with the group regularly? I don’t know about you, but I need to be a recipient of those things. Plus, I am blessed to do those things for others. So why don’t you get to church and get some of that for yourself?


The Best Place to be is In Church (Part 4)

We have seen that church is a great place to be because being in God’s presence is a lovely encounter, because we can worship with others, and because it is a place where we you are most likely to get saved. So if being saved is a priority to you, make church attendance a priority for your family.

Today we explore another reason church is the best place to be:

Ps 84:2 My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

Our soul, that mysterious, invisible creation of God that everyone has dwelling within their bodies, craves encounters with God. And when the longing of our soul for God is left unsatisfied, we feel a void that can lead to depression. I have heard some say, “I love God, but I just don’t go to church. I worship God in my own way.” I want to ask, how is that working for you? Why are you still crying out in desperation? It is because our living soul is crying out for an encounter with the living God.

The psalmist goes on with an illustration from nature:

Ps 84:3 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.

As the psalmist approached the altar, he heard a sound from above that caught his attention. As his eyes pursued the source of the sound, he looked upward. There on the perch of the tabernacle, he spotted a sweet mother bird busying about in her nest. There she found a safe place near the altar to raise her young.

For us, we learn that our soul longs for the peace found in the house of God, and also that it is a safe place to raise our young. Get to church—it is the best place to be!

Topics in Proverbs–The Three Most Important Words in Proverbs – Lesson 1

Prov 2:6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

I.                   Introduction

1.                 We are beginning a study of the Book of Proverbs. This will not be a study that starts at verse one and goes through the book verse by verse, but rather a study based on themes in Proverbs.

2.                 I’ve been a student of Proverbs since I first got in church at age 14. My pastor, Bro. Lawrence King, suggested that I read one chapter from Proverbs every day.

3.                 It didn’t take me long to realize that I needed more wisdom, so around that time I began to pray regularly that God would give me wisdom. Back in those early years I discovered a verse that I considered my life’s verse:

Prov 3:5-6
5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Continue to complete notes.

  • Proverb-a-day

    Because of a problem with our mail server, we are taking a break from Proverb-a-day. However, we will be posting the notes from the weekly Bible study that Pastor Warner is teaching on the Book of Proverbs.
  • The best place to be…

    Pastor Warner's blog is going to be on the topic of, "The Best Place to Be is In The Church." Read some good reasons why you and your family should get in church.
  • Prayer Guide

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  • Piano/Instrumental CD

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    The project contains thirteen peaceful melodies to soothe the spirit and relax the mind. Great for the drive home or prayer time.

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