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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Sunday, January 22, 2006

GO to church vs. BE the church

This week as I was preparing the message I was to preach today - a text that I had determined to preach at least 6 weeks ago as I prayed about the challenge and vision our church needed for the New Year - I was struck by how people in so many churches, ours included, will come for worship (GO to church) but then not do anything toward other believers throughout the week (BE the church) - no service, no encouragement, no ministry. Fellowship and service seems to only take place within the BUILDING where the church meets. They only see each other one or two days a week and that only for the span of the worship services. They GO to church but refuse to BE the church.

And so many who live like this then complain when their church does not grow!

I have been convicted in this series I am preaching from Haggai, about how the people built their own houses and left the Temple in ruins. The rebuke was strong (A Word of Rebuke - Haggai 1:1-15), the response quick and thorough (A Word of Encouragement - Haggai 2:1-9), but now this third message is amazing to me!

In preparing and working through the text, in the third and fourth messages found in Haggai 2:10-23, we find A Word of Promise. But with the promise comes this indictment - the people thought it was enough to come worship God and offer sacrifices all the while they were failing to build the Temple. God rejected their worship and cursed them because they tried to continue on in worship without meeting His requirements for holiness - rebuilding the Temple.

In the application of this text I have established that we, the church, are the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and that we cannot work to build up self to the neglect of the Body. It has been a powerful follow up to the messages on fellowship I preached for 4 months in 2005. But look at this: when people show up for worship, when they GO to church (as consumers, and spectators, centered on what they can get from the experience) and think they have satisified God but then FAIL TO BUILD THE CHURCH UP, God declares they are unholy and their worship is completely unacceptable.

The promise of course is that if the people will obey, then He will bless them. But what a point. The church is being disciplined because while people GO to church they fail to BE the church - they are in it for what they can get instead of what they are commanded to give - and as such it is unholiness - akin to offering sacrifices without the completion of the Temple! Their worship is an UNCLEAN thing. It is the worship of self, not to be mistaken for the worship of God!!

So we find this week, in concluding this series of messages, that it is not enough to GO to church - we must BE the church. Otherwise we will not grow or mature in the faith and God will not be pleased!!

You can listen to this message or download it here: A Word of Promise. I recommend that you listen to all 3 in order to see the message as it unfolds throughout the prophecy of Haggai delivered to the people of God to encourage them in holiness, right worship, and humble service to God and each other.



Blogger blake white said...


9:24 PM  

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