GLADNESS BEFORE YOU GET TO GOD’S HOUSE

Ps. 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.”

There is no doubt joy and gladness is in God’s house. It comes from His presence, His Word, His Spirit, prayer, praise, and worship. It comes from fellowshipping with other believers who walk in the joy of the Lord.

There is another aspect of joy and gladness the Psalmist in Psalm 122:1 mentioned when he said, “I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord.” He hasn’t gone to the house yet but he’s experiencing joy just talking about it. The river of joy was bubbling up in him simply by the mention and anticipation of going to the house of the Lord. I pray that is your experience as you head to God’s house today. Stay joyful Christian brothers and sisters.

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GATHERED BUT NOT ASSEMBLED

gathered but not assembled

 

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

 

When a physical building is being built it requires many different materials to be assembled together to construct the building. All of the materials can be gathered and on the site but it is not a building until all that is gathered is assembled. This can be true for the spiritual building of a local Body of Christ or a Local Church.

 

Many parts of the Body of Christ can be gathered together in one place, like belonging to a church, and going to its services, but never assemble together or become knit together as if they are one Body working together doing God’s work. All the parts are present yet not all are willing to die to their right of independent living to serve others. They gather but never assemble. Everyone basically puts their individual identity above who God says there are in His Body called the Church. Every decision is made in self-interest with no reflection on how it might affect or impact their relationship together as a Body of Believers.

 

 

A few years ago a small young boy became lost in a huge Kansas wheat field. Frantically, the parents began searching for him and soon the police with a few hundred people gathered to help. For hours into the day everyone was involved searching on their own in every direction. With time running closer into the darkness of night and the day being far spent, someone suggested that the searchers who had gathered should assemble together, join hands and move across the fields in a united effort together. Within minutes the boy was found but sad to say, he was dead. The medical examiner on the scene and later confirmed by the coroner’s report said that the boy had been dead only a few moments before they assembled together and found him. Hearing this, the father of the boy cried out, “If only we had assembled together and joined hands sooner.”

 

How many church’s visions die early and never fully mature because we don’t join hands sooner? How many churches themselves die before their time simply because people are content to gather but never assemble? How many purposes God has for a people He has gathered never reach maturity because the people hold to their independence and will not assemble to be knit together as one man or one body? Don’t wait until it is too late.

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WHEN OUR HEART GOES AWAY FROM GOD, IT GOES AWAY FROM HIS HOUSE

HOW IS YOUR HEART

2 Chronicles 29:1-7 Hezekiah began to reign when he was five and twenty years old, and he reigned nine and twenty years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Abijah, the daughter of Zechariah. 2 And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. 3 He in the first year of his reign, in the first month, opened the doors of the house of the Lord, and repaired them. 4 And he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them together into the east street, 5 And said unto them, Hear me, ye Levites, sanctify now yourselves, and sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry forth the filthiness out of the holy place. 6 For our fathers have trespassed, and done that which was evil in the eyes of the Lord our God, and have FORSAKEN HIM, AND HAVE TURNED AWAY THEIR FACES FROM THE HABITATION (HOUSE) OF THE LORD, AND TURNED THEIR BACKS. 7 Also they have shut up the doors of the porch, and put out the lamps, and have not burned incense nor offered burnt offerings in the holy place unto the God of Israel.

Hezekiah was the son of a Godless father (Ahaz) who endeavored to bring the kingdom back from the path of idolatry and ruin his father had taken the kingdom into. So often sins in a father are repeated in his son but Hezekiah reversed this backsliding. There is a great example and vivid lesson that is obvious in the generation that forsook the Lord from reading this passage as well as all of 2 Chronicles 29. The lesson is simple and clear: WHEN OUR HEART GOES AWAY FROM GOD, IT GOES AWAY FROM HIS HOUSE (Church) 2 Chronicles 29.

If you will continue to read you will see in the revival Hezekiah brought that BECAUSE HIS HEART WAS RIGHT BEFORE THE LORD he:
2 Chr. 31:
v. 1: destroyed the idols/high places dedicated to the worship of other gods;
v. 2: restored ministry of the priests;
v. 3: restored offerings;
v. 4: restored giving to the ministry priests;
v. 5: restored the tithe.

Assembling with the Body of Christ is a HEART issue even today. We are members of a Body called the Church and the Church is something bigger than the individual member. So often today’s believers try to justify their absence from assembling with the Body of Christ with cute little phrases like “It’s not about going to Church but being the Church,” but part of being the Church is going to Church. Some say, “But we’re the House of God,” but Paul told Timothy the House of God is also a place and it is also called the church ( 1 Tim. 3:15).

Jesus also said to seek first (not second, third, fourth…) the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. The Church is an expression of the Kingdom (which is to come) which now is the only visible part of it on Earth. Our assembling is a part of our visible witness of its priority, what is first in our lives, and what’s righteous. It is making a statement by our example that our God is worthy of our love and commitment. No true Christian is a special case that doesn’t need it or an exception to Hebrews 10:25 which says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner (habit; custom) of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” It is only pride for a believer to think that they are the exception but two thousand and nineteen years of Church history prove otherwise.
HOW IS YOUR HEART?

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I WILL GIVE YOU PASTORS

 

February 5, 1995

Jeremiah 3:15-16 says, “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.

 

The prophecy from the Lord through Jeremiah speaks of God’s promise to give us shepherds to feed us with knowledge and understanding that would cause increase in the lives of His people. This would cause them to cease following the Ark of the Covenant and from even talking about it. One aspect of the significance of the Ark in its time was that it was always to go before them in leading them into their destiny into the Promised Land (Joshua 3:3, 4). The Ark would always be in front of them leading them to victory in battle.

 

Some believers have the mistaken idea that all they need is Jesus and they can get knowledge from the abundance of teachers in the Body of Christ without having a pastor. We need more than knowledge.  We need training and voices of authority in our life.  There is a leadership anointing through a pastor in the house of God, believers need to learn to receive and draw from. When you pull yourself away from voices God has given for equipping, training, and to keep you from being scattered, you’re only left with yourself as your own authority.  You’ll submit only to yourself and do only what’s right in your own eyes.

 

The book of Judges is a documented history of people doing what was right in their own eyes and as a result were driven out of the Promised Land.  It’s not listening to a man of God above the Bible but serving the Lord Jesus is also not just about acquiring knowledge alone with no outside voices in our lives. We need a voice outside ourselves in order to stay objective. Sheep without a shepherd are scattered (Ezekiel 34:5) and faint (Matthew 9:36).

 

The Apostle Paul told Timothy as a Pastor, “If thou put the brethren in remem­brance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained (1 Timothy 4:6).” Words of faith and good doctrine from a Pastor are needed to develop strong foundations in people’s lives especially in the Last Days when the Holy Spirit explicitly warned that there would be a departure from the faith or true Christianity, and the rock solid truths of Scripture.

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IN THE WORD AND IN THE CHURCH

IN THE WORD AND IN THE CHURCH

 

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

Jesus said that a disciple (a follower of Jesus) is one who continues in the Word. The word “continue” comes from a word that means to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy); to abide, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, to tarry for something. It is the same word Jesus used in His teaching on the Vine and the Branches in John 15 where it is translated “abide.” You cannot be a good disciple and neglect to continue also in church. Continuing in the Word and continuing in church go together. The local church is what supports and undergirds the truth of God in our life.  In 1 Timothy 3:15, the local church is called the pillar or support; and the ground (the stay, bulwark, firm support) of the truth.

 

Jesus did not die just to give us a personal relationship to Him but have no relationship with one another. If you look at Matthew 16:16-19 after Peter had a revelation of Jesus as the Christ, Jesus started revealing the Church to him, and then the Kingdom. Those three are related to one another; Christ, The Church, and the Kingdom. Upon the revelation of Jesus as the Christ to Peter, the Church and the Kingdom came into his view or was unveiled to him by the Lord Jesus. Every convert needs to know they have been made a part of something greater than themselves they have a responsibility toward.

 

When we receive Jesus as individuals we receive placement as members into a Body called the Church (1 Corinthians 12:18). Jesus is Head of a Body called the Church and the Church exercises the authority of the Kingdom in the Earth with keys of the Kingdom. It is an authority that the gates of hell cannot prevail against. The Church is not one member but many (1 Corinthians 12:12, 14, 20, 27).

 

Many Christians want salvation in isolation to Christ’s Body which is not Biblical. I always ask people when Jesus was on earth could you separate His head from his body? That’s what many try to do today and if you did that literally you’d have a decapitation. Many claim they have Jesus but live with no connection to His Body, the Church. Sad to say, they are practicing an unbiblical brand of Christianity and it hurts the Church and the exercise of the authority of the Kingdom. The Body needs them and they need the Body. May God grant them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.

 

Going to Church is not the sum total of what Christianity is about; of course, we have a mission to take the Gospel into all the world and to make disciples. We also are to maintain our personal fellowship with the Lord, walking with Him, and communing with Him every day (1 John 1:3-7). I have observed, though, a new brand of Christian in these perilous times, who seem to think both the Word in their daily life and church attendance are optional. They have customized and constructed their own brand of Christian discipleship, Christian lifestyle, and church connection that conforms to their personal tastes, needs, desires, style, and preferences. Many are self-deceived and should awaken to the fact that:

 

If the devil can get you out of the Word, he can get you out of church.

If the devil can get you out of church, he can get you out of the Word.

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NOT A DAY TO BE WITHOUT A PASTOR

not-a-day-to-be-without-a-shepherd

 

Jeremiah 23:4 And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.

 

In the days of Judah and the prophet Jeremiah God said He would set up shepherds (feeders) over His people. It was a remedy to their being scattered, fearful, discouraged, and in lack. The NT Pastor is the counterpart to this and who also is to feed the flock of God (Acts 20:28). This is not the day to be without a Pastor and live scattered in your thinking, living, and purpose. God gives us Pastors as a part of His free gifts to help us grow and be equipped for life and ministry. We don’t have to try to make it on our own or grow on our own.

 

There’s grace from God that comes to us through the shepherds He puts in our lives that enables us to win in life’s battles and helps us to fulfill our destiny. A pastor is one of God’s delivery systems of more grace (James 4:6), more of Heaven’s help, strength, and enabling power. They are one of the fivefold ministry gifts, freely given to us when Jesus ascended into Heaven, to help us grow. We know the local church is important to be planted in (Ps. 92:12-14) but God’s promise was to give us shepherds not churches (Jeremiah 3:15). In 1 Samuel 22:1, 2 it was the voice of David as captain, that changed the men gathered with him in the cave of Adullam from being distressed, discontented, and in debt. Today people join churches but never connect to the Pastor or what God has put in his heart for them. David’s mighty men weren’t joined to the cave of Adullam but to David to become his mighty men, warriors, and who did great things for the Lord. Sheep need a shepherd.

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THE LOCAL CHURCH IS PART OF GOD’S PLAN

the-local-church-is-a-part-of-gods-plan

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house (building; home; dwelling; temple; sanctuary) of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

We are living in an age of lawlessness and a time period described in the Bible as perilous times. There are some professing Christians who have even gone so far as to say that there is no need to be involved in the local church, there is no need for pastor’s anymore, and all we need is a personal relationship with Jesus. They say things like, “We do not go to church; we are the church, so it does not matter if I attend church services.” Yes, the church is the assembling of the “called out ones” which can be in any place not just a building but 1 Timothy 3:15 calls the house of God (or meeting place) the Church. It also distinguishes the house of God (the meeting place) from individual believers and their behavior in it.

Jesus revealed He came to build more than a personal relationship with individuals when He said, “…I will build my church…,” Matthew 16:18. Jesus mission was not just to establish individuals in a personal relationship to Him (like Peter had a revelation of) but also build them together into a relationship with each other (the church, the called out ones). That Church exists on two levels and in two realms: The Universal Church and the Local Church; A Spiritual Body of Believers and a Physical Body of Believers. The Universal Church is revealed here in Matthew 16. The Universal Church is a spiritual body in heavenly places of all born again believers everywhere.

In Matthew 18:15-20 the Local Church is revealed where it is said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them Matthew 18:20. This is obviously a gathering place or place of assembling together. It is also a place of Church discipline a person can be confronted. We’re told it can escalate to a point that is described in Matthew 18:17, “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. How could you tell it to the church (leaders) or remove from your midst an offending person if the church was only the Universal Church?

The Local Church is a physical expression of that Universal Church and spiritual body that meets or assembles in a given locality. Neither one was to be viewed separately from the other because what God did spiritually was intended to have impact physically in the Earth. The local church was not a man’s idea that will fade away or be replaced by some so called “new thing” God is now doing. It is a part of the requirements found in Scripture for every person who calls Jesus their Lord and Savior.

Jesus did not die just to give us a personal relationship to Him but have no relationship with one another. We are a part of the Church, His Body, and the Kingdom Matthew 16:15-19. Some Christians practice salvation in isolation to Christ’s Body which is not Biblical.

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