The Church and the Home

Bible Book: Psalms  84
Subject: Home; Church; Family; Worship
Series: Hope For The Home
[Editor's Note: This is sermon was not preached in exactly this manner. The ideas in each point were simply to aid in thoughts for further development.]

The Church and the Home

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

A family that would know God's greatest blessings must never take for granted the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus gave Himself on the cross for the Church. To love Christ, is to love His Church.

Listen to what the Scripture says about Christ and His Church.

Ephesians 1:21-22 states ...

"..far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church."

Christ is the glorious Head of the Church, and all of those who are saved are part of the Body of Christ. It is vitally important that parents teach their children to love the local church and to teach them to understand its meaning.

Sadly, today we are living in a user-friendly generation. That is, the church is expected to be everything to everyone. Books are written, surveys conducted, experts called just to find out what must be done in the local church to get people to come and to hopefully get them to stay. Certainly there is nothing wrong with being concerned about the well-being of church members, but there is something radically wrong with designing a church as if it were a secular company. You know what the modern slogan for the modern business is, don't you? "The customer is always right!" But people attending church are not customers. They are either believers who are in love with the Lord of the Church and, thus, willing to adapt themselves to some discomforts and some denial of personal preference in order to serve and worship their Lord, or they are people seeking to know the Lord.

Let me share sincerely that there is a need today for families to be faithful to God's House because they are committed to the God of the House. There is a need for parents to teach their children to love the church, respect the church and to act properly in church.

Parents should teach a love and respect for God's House by refraining from being critical of activities in church in front of their children. You are teaching your children to disrespect leaders, to disrespect worship and sequentially to disrespect the God of the church. I personally believe that children will have the same respect for God's House that the parents have.

In our text for today we discover a man who becomes a great example of how we ought to feel about God's House. He even suggests that there should be a nesting of the family unit in the House of God. Let me share with you three attitudes you ought to have in your heart and that you ought to impart to your children and grandchildren regarding God's House.

I. A Believer Desiring the House of God

Psalm 84:1-2 ...

How lovely is Your tabernacle (House),
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, even faints
For the courts of the Lord;
My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. [NKJV]

Here is a believer longing to go to God's House. What a joy to be in God's House with God's people. Note the "yearning" for the courts of the Lord.

Look at three lovely aspects of a desire for God's House.

A. We see Love in God's House

In God's House we come face to face with greatest love the world has ever known - the love of God. Here you discover that God loves you, personally and not just as a group or sect.

The altar at the Temple bore witness to a sacrificial death for sin. In the New Testament we see this vividly displayed at the cross of our Lord. Never has the world seen such love as is found in Jesus Christ.

B. We see Loveliness in God's House

This loveliness is not just aesthetically experienced. After all, some churches worship under trees, in brush arbors and small store-front buildings. The loveliness in God's House is seen it the fact that the House of God represents all that is pure and beautiful in God's creation.

The census taker was asking all those questions they must ask - the ones that make sense and the ones that don't. "And now," he questioned a lady, "what's your church preference?" Without batting an eye, the lady replied, "Red brick." Funny? Not really, for it shows a complete lack of understanding regarding the divine nature of the church.

Actually, the House of God is beautiful because of the God of the House. It matters not what color the brick is, or what material was used to construct the local church, it is lovely because it is His House.

C. We see Life in God's House

Most importantly, there is life in God's House. The world is a place of death, but in God's presence is Life - with a capital "L."

God meets with us in His House. Here people meet God and come alive. Here people come from death unto life through personal faith in a risen Savior. Here in this place, those of us who are saved, come to enjoy to the fullest the life God has given us, and those without a relationship with God can experience the New Birth.

No wonder the Psalmist longed for God's House. It is sad that many people, even some who claim to know Christ, take so little interest in His church - the Church He purchased with His own blood. Some people only show up on important occasions in life. The only time the pastor ever sees some people is when they're hatched, matched, or dispatched (born, married or dead)!

We simply must transmit to our children a proper appreciation for the love in God's House, the loveliness of God's House and the Life in God's House.

Note secondly ...

II. A Believer Dwelling In the House of God

Psalm 84:3-4 ...

Even the sparrow has found a home,
And the swallow a nest for herself,
Where she may lay her young—
Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,
My King and my God.
4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;
They will still be praising You. Selah

We should rear our families living their lives in and around the House of God. There is nothing like being brought up in the atmosphere of a local church.

When I was a boy, we were always involved in activities in our local Baptist Church. Bible Study, Training Classes, Worship, girl's and boy's activities, Vacation Bible School, mission trips and mission studies - and other activities. Some of my most precious memories are wrapped up in my life and the life of my family at the house of God. I pray and wish for that in every family today. Why?

A. An Illustration of Permanence

The Church is built on Christ, the Rock, and will never disappear. A building may change, and a church may close due to changes in the population, but THE CHURCH never changes or dies.

A small child attended church with his parents. When he knelt to say his prayers before going to bed that evening, he prayed: "Dear Lord, we had such a good time at church today. I wish You could have been there, too!" How wonderful to know that He is here everytime we come together. And His Church will never disappear. The House of God is built on the God of the House!

Every human being should have three homes:

  • A domestic home
  • A church home
  • An eternal home

Do you have all three? You can!

B. An Illustration of Parenting

In verse 3 of our text we see a picture of a bird building its nest in a church building. Birds have little brains, yet God says they are smart enough to build their homes in the house of God.

This is what you and I ought to do. We are to put our home-life in the house of God. We are to bring up your little ones in the church.

Gospel musician Hilding Halverson told of overhearing a conversation between his son and two other little boys. The youngsters were bragging about their dads. One boy said proudly, "My dad knows the mayor of our town!” Another said, "So, my dad knows the governor of our state!" Halverson's son then came up with this touching comment, "That's nothing, my dad knows God!"

Upon hearing this, Halverson quickly slipped away to his room and with tears in his eyes said, "O God, I pray that my boy will always be able to say, 'My dad knows God.'" He knew he had been paid the supreme tribute by his son.

One way to insure that your children will see that you know God is that you come to His House regularly and you sit with them. You are to be the example to them regarding a true love for God and for His Church.

C. An Illustration of Praise

In verse 4 of our text we see how the little birds rejoice to be in their nest, solidly fixed in the crevices of God's House. So we ought to rejoice at being in God (salvation) and in God's House (service). We should nest our family and our lives in the worship and work that goes on at the House of God!

There are different types of members in a church:

  • A lot of members are like wheelbarrows - not good unless pushed.
  • Some are like canoes - need to be paddled.
  • Some are like kites - if a string isn't kept on them, they fly away.
  • Some are like kittens - more contented when petted.
  • Some are like balloons - full of wind and ready to blow up.
  • Some are like footballs - you can't tell which way they'll bounce next.
  • Some are like trailers - they have to be pulled.
  • Some are like neon lights - they keep going on and off.
  • Many, thank goodness, are like the North Star - there when you need them, dependable and ever loyal."

Those of us who love the Lord of the House must love the House of the Lord and be like that North Star.

III. A Believer Delighting In The House of God

Psalm 84:5-10 ...

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,
Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
They make it a spring;
The rain also covers it with [b]pools.
7 They go from strength to strength;
Each one appears before God in Zion.

8 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;
Give ear, O God of Jacob! Selah
9 O God, behold our shield,
And look upon the face of Your [d]anointed.

10 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

"Baca," mentioned in verse 6 referes to a place of weeping. "Israel" is a place of beautiful hills and dark valleys. Life is like that, isn't it? Laughter and tears mark the lives of God's people. We do sometimes walk through "baca" - the place of tears. Yet, in God's house one finds a loving, caring family to share the passage through the valleys of life. There is comfort, love and support among God's family and in God's House.

A. Vitality in the Valley with the Lord

Life does not get easier, but rather it gets more complex as each year passes. We keep thinking we will get to that point where things calm down and life is simple. I am now an old man and I can tell you that it NEVER calms down. We must learn how to get the strength and power to live life day unto day from the Lord of the valleys and the mountain tops. With God's people we discover praying companions whether in victory or in sorrow.

B. Satisfaction in our Service for the Lord

Look at verse 10 - it is better to be a mere doorkeeper in God's House than live in the best of conditions in the world. There is a sweet life in God's House, even if all we are allowed to do is open the door for others.

C. Blessing from the Bounty of the Lord

Acceptance - favor

Abundance - honor

No good (thing) will He withhold from you.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say we must have our names on a church membership roll to be saved. That doesn't mean, however, that joining with other believers in a local church is not vital to our spiritual growth. Gathering regularly for worship and instruction encourages love for others, good works, and mutual accountability (Hebrews 10:24,25).

I read an article some time ago, I have forgotten where, that likened the Christian without a church to:

  • A student who won't go to school
  • A soldier without an army
  • A citizen who won't vote
  • A seaman without a ship
  • A child without a family
  • A drummer without a band
  • A ballplayer without a team
  • A honeybee without a hive
  • A scientist who does not share his finding with his colleagues

Did you bring your furniture with you when you moved to town? Yes, sure you did. Then you ought to bring your membership to a local church with you as well.

Jesus established the Church - the Universal Church of all believers. He meant for us to have a "home church" where we participate with other believers in edification, evangelization, and glorification. One day we will go home to be with Him. If you don't love being with God's people here, how can you think of being happy with them in heaven? If you don't serve Him in the Church He built on this earth, you certainly are not ready to be part of the wonderful home He has for the redeemed in heaven.

Let us, this very morning, rededicate our families, and our homes, to the faithful to our Lord in the local church!