Summary: Obedience to God and the blessings which follow it. Obey in our church ATTENDANCE, our TITHE, and our MINISTRY. Link included to formatted text, audio, and PowerPoint Presentation.
A Spiritual ATM
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.
A growing, soul winning church that’s making a difference, and reaching many for Christ doesn’t just happen…there is a price to pay! And most churches are not willing to pay the price, and they flounder in the sea of mediocrity! [song: ‘I lobster and never flounder’]
Ill.—church sent annual report to their headquarters for previous year: # of souls saved-0/baptized-0/transfer of letter-0/by statement-0…then at the bottom it said, please pray that we will remain faithful. (faithful to what?!)
Fact is, to have an aggressive, soul-winning church w/ God’s power on it, there is a price to pay!…(it’s not complicated, but basic, and easy to understand, but hardly followed!)
Any church that makes the decision to become an empowered soul-saving station can, if they just decide to pay the price! But do we have enough? Yes, we have within ourselves all it takes…a virtual ATM machine ready to kick out what’s needed…
Here’s the main price to pay:
The price of obedience
Many times in Scripture God says, meet me at a certain place, and I will bless you:
Elijah (brook Cherith, fed him during famine by ravens)
I believe he could have gone anywhere else, even a place not in famine, and yet would have starved to death!
Naaman (leper, dip in Jordan) Why in muddy Jordan?
But it wasn’t a hard thing God was asking of him, he obeyed, and was made whole!
The price of obedience is as simple as being in the place of obedience…
It’s not hard what God requires of us…just simple obedience to Him! Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if the Lord would always find members of GBC “there”…where God has told them to be!? Where is there? In the place of obedience--In God’s will!
God doesn’t pour out His power on churches full of disobedient Christians. There is a price to be paid, and it is the price of obedience…from the pulpit to the pew, we’d all do well to realize our disobedience can affect the whole body, and keep His power out of here!
Three basic areas to start: (if we really want the power of God! If we really want to cash in on what God can do…we’ll remember this later because of the acrostic “ATM”)
1. Obedience in Attendance (Heb. 10:25)
No church will ever be great where the membership is erratic in their attendance.
Show me a church whose people come sporadically, only when they feel like it, if there’s nothing better to do, if it’s convenient…and I’ll show you a church that’s just playing games / not doing much for Christ! Why?
Because unfaithfulness in attendance says something about you…it reveals a lack of commitment, and a lack of love.
But let’s not deal w/ this from the standpoint of a lack of commitment (people don’t commit these days…unless they really want to! We can do what we want!!)
Think about the lack of love, instead…
Ill.—preacher visited in home / noticed they had little housedog / noticed they lavished love on the dog to an extreme / “I can’t get over how much you all love that dog! You’d make great parents…maybe you should have a child to show all that love to!” / woman started weeping and ran out / pastor knew he had said something wrong, apologized to husband / “there’s no way you could know, but we had a son, and God saw fit to take him to heaven at a very young age…but that dog was our son’s dog…it may seem silly, but the reason we love on that dog in such a way, is that’s our way of showing love for our son…preacher, we love that dog so much simply because our son loved it so much!”
If for no other reason, you ought to love the church because God’s Son loves the church! Don’t ever say, “I love Jesus, but I don’t like to go to church so often”…that’s a contradiction in terms…you cannot separate Jesus from the church any more than you can separate the head from the body, or a building from its foundation!
It’s not “Jesus-or-the church”, it’s “Jesus-and-the church!”
So, aside from the lack of commitment, unfaithful attendance reveals a lack of love!
With all our faults, and we have many / failures / flaws…God’s Son still loves the church and gave Himself for it…
Eph. 5:25-- Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
…therefore we should love the church and show it by being faithful in attendance!
So when you faithfully attend church, you’re saying: