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The Word For Today

LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (3)

'The glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.' 1 Kings 8:11 NKJV

Only when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the temple and set in its rightful position, which was the central place, did God's glory fill the temple. 'Then the priests brought in the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord to its place...[And] the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord' (1 Kings 8:6, 10-11 NKJV).
There's a lesson here for all of us, particularly those in church leadership. Christ alone must have centre stage! Programmes and promotions are fine but only when Jesus is honoured as Lord, His Word preached and His presence reverenced and relished, will His glory fill the church. Next time you're standing in God's house singing His praise, pause and remind yourself: it's about Him, not me! One day the telephone rang in the clergyman's office at the Washington church President Franklin Roosevelt attended. A voice enquired, 'Do you expect the President to be in church on Sunday?' The pastor answered, 'That, I cannot promise. But we expect the Lord to be there, and that should be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.'
Hymnist Fanny Crosby wrote these words: 'Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small. Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.' Next Sunday don't just fill the pew, fill God's house with your heartfelt praise.

SoulFood: 1 Chron 16-18; Luke 12:49-59; Ps 119:41-48; Pro 21:1-3

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (2)

'You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house.' 1 Peter 2:5 NIV

We don't go to church, we are the church! If we met for worship in the parking lot, we'd still be the church! Consider Solomon's temple. It was planned by David the father, built by Solomon the son, and at its dedication filled with the Holy Spirit.
Here are three ways your church is just like Solomon's temple: (1) It was built on redemption ground! Mount Moriah, the scene of Solomon's temple, is where Abraham took his son Isaac to offer him as a sacrifice. Guess what? Two thousand years later God led His only begotten Son up that same mountain to die for our sins. As G. D. Boardman said, 'The cross is the only ladder high enough to touch Heaven's threshold.' (2) It was the most unique building ever constructed. It was built from stones made ready before they were brought together. They were washed, then fashioned, then fitted together. And that's our story too, isn't it? 'You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house...offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.' (3) The building materials came from many nations. We aren't saved by race, but by grace. It's not the blood that flows in your veins that saves you; it's the blood that flowed from Christ's veins that makes you righteous and accepted before God.
Two unique phrases are used to describe Solomon's temple: 'exceeding magnificent' (1 Chronicles 22:5 NKJV); 'famous everywhere for its greatness and beauty' (1 Chronicles 22:5 NCV). That's how God feels about His church, and you should too!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 12:23 - 15:29; Luke 12:35-48; Ps 119:33-40; Pro 20:28-30

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LOVE YOUR CHURCH - JESUS DOES! (1)

'Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.' Ephesians 5:25 NKJV

The church isn't made up of people who are better than everybody else. It's made up of people who want to be better than they are, and who know that by the grace of God they can be. Have church leaders sometimes failed us? Yes, but Jesus Christ, the Head of the church, hasn't failed us - and He never will! Christ's church, of which your local church is a part, was planned by God before the world began (Ephesians 1:4). It was paid for in the crimson cash of Jesus' blood, has been sustained through history by the sacrifice of the martyrs, is prophesied to be more glorious in its ending than its beginning, and is being prepared right now as a bride for her Husband. John the Revelator describes it this way: 'Rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready' (Revelation 19:7 NKJV).
So before you attack the leadership, withdraw your membership, or withhold your stewardship, remember that nothing on earth is dearer to the heart of God than His church. The truth is, when you hurt any part of the body you also hurt the Head. And here's something else to keep in mind: the only thing on earth that has a future is the church; all the rest is going up in smoke. And the church's insurance policy is guaranteed by Jesus Himself, Who said, 'I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it' (Matthew 16:18 NKJV).
So love your church - Jesus does!

SoulFood: 1 Chron 10:1 - 12:22; Luke 12:22-34; Ps 119:25-32; Pro 20:25-27

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