Today’s message summary of May 28, 2017 from Pastor Gus Brown:
Why do people go to church? Is it a possession that one holds onto? Ultimately, every person needs to understand what the real purpose of church is. We can lose our love for the Lord while being involved with church for a number of other reasons. Somewhere, the church of Ephesus lost its first love…the love of Jesus Christ.
When one comes to church, one should be coming to see, hear and receive.
When you see what God is doing in the lives of His people, you can rejoice!
When you come to hear God’s Word, you come with the understanding that He teaches and also corrects you. (Some will not come because they do not want to be corrected.) God wants you to know that you are on a journey with Him, and His teaching will help you along as you go.
God wants you to receive Him. He desires to catch your attention and hold it with the desire to hear Him speak to you and guide you.
You should want to see what God is doing…not only in your life, but in the bigger picture. While there is often a focus on numbers in the church, God has done many great things with just a small number of people.
Church is not a place for gossip. That is the wrong reason to attend a church. The words reflected upon should be His words.
You should want to hear from God about the matters concerning you and your life, but also what He expects of you.
You should want to receive from God. He wants you to receive His power, strength and faith (confidence) to do what He is asking of you.
There is a reason to come to church. God desires to see you continue to grow within the church in these areas. He wants you to have faith and the ability to step out when things are unknown or unclear. That is where we see God’s greatest work and accomplishments.
People may argue that John the Baptist did not have a church, but John did indeed have a ministry, even if it was out in the wilderness.
As these men went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothes? Look, those who wear soft clothes are in kings’ palaces. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and far more than a prophet. This is the one it is written about: Look, I am sending My messenger ahead of You; he will prepare Your way before You.
The wilderness, where John’s “church” was located, was far from town, or what many would consider to be the comfort of home. Your going to church should be like going to a place where God’s word teaches and convicts you to a place where you learn, grow and develop a desire to fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Church should be a place of solitary for you. The primary focus should be on Jesus Christ. It should be free from restraints. It fulfills a desire of quietness in your spirit. Church can be your desert place (the wilderness), where you are alone with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Church is to be a place of education–teaching needs to be taking place, and effective teaching does take some time.
Your mind, within the church, is to be separated from everything in life and focused on what God is saying, understanding what you are hearing, and what you are receiving from God. What you receive is what you are going to leave with.
If you’re always in a rush, you won’t be able to hear God speak to you the way He desires to. Church is the place where you can slow yourself down and put aside those things that can distract you from Him.
A reed could grow twelve feet tall and be paper thin, and when the wind blows, it just lays down. It goes with the wind.
The wind, represented here by religion and government, could have caused John to be indecisive or to be shaken. To waver or to show doubt can cause one to be unsteady.
The religion was the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
The government was King Herod and his sinful life.
John stands against these two powerful forces.
Note that the gospel of Jesus Christ must be upheld within the church setting. It’s not enough just to call yourself a Christian. It is about living as God calls you to live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Complaints about the church:
- It’s not relevant.
John was relevant according to his message.
- It lasts too long.
How long do you sit through a movie?
- Church is boring.
Is it boring because it is not what you want it to be?
- I don’t like the way church is being run.
It’s your place to determine how church is being run.
- It’s the same routine each Sunday.
It is all in your approach to being educated in the Word. It is more important to see Christ in your life, and understand that He never changes.
I rejoiced with those who said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
When I tried to understand all this,
it seemed hopeless
until I entered God’s sanctuary.
Then I understood their destiny.
Indeed, You put them in slippery places;
You make them fall into ruin.
How suddenly they become a desolation!
They come to an end, swept away by terrors.
Like one waking from a dream,
Lord, when arising, You will despise their image.
When I became embittered
and my innermost being was wounded,
I was stupid and didn’t understand;
I was an unthinking animal toward You.
Yet I am always with You;
You hold my right hand.
You guide me with Your counsel,
and afterward You will take me up in glory.
Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
The church should be providing information to you about how to live life in these perilous times.
We go to church to hear the message that God has to give to us.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” For he is the one spoken of through the prophet Isaiah, who said:
A voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
Prepare the way for the Lord;
make His paths straight!
John himself had a camel-hair garment with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then people from Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the vicinity of the Jordan were flocking to him, and they were baptized by him in the Jordan River as they confessed their sins.
But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.