Summary: Even though our culture says otherwise, it is imperative that we be in church whenever we can.
June 22, 2003
Text: Psalms 84:1-12
Subject: God’s House
Title: Better is One Day in Your House
I want to start out today by talking to you about this church. Why do you come here? We have all heard the excuses people make for not coming to church, but have you ever really stopped to think about why you do come? I know many of you would say, “Well this is where we have always gone. I can’t imagine going any place else.” Others might reply, “I go here because my family does” or, “The people are friendly” or, (this is my favorite) “I really like the pastor.” Or it may be that you just come and have never really thought about why. I’m glad you do, for whatever reason.
Now I want to ask another question. Now that you are coming, are you getting anything out of it? Are you taking in the word and digesting it? Are you being led into God’s presence through the ministry of music? Are you being encouraged by the words of others through the time of fellowship?
One last question! Is there enough here at this church that you would feel comfortable inviting others to come and here and worship with you? If so, are you? And if not, what are you doing to make it better?
Francois Fenelon was the court preacher for King Louis XIV of France in the 17th century. One Sunday when the king and his attendants arrived at the chapel for the regular service, no one else was there but the preacher. King Louis demanded, "What does this mean?" Fenelon replied, "I had published that you would not come to church today, in order that your Majesty might see who serves God in truth and who flatters the king."
I have preached before about the importance of church attendance. One of the things I like to throw out to you is, “If what you have isn’t enough to get you into church, then what makes you think it will get you into heaven?” We are going to look today at Psalm 84 to help us see the many reasons why we should be delighted to be able to attend this church. I want you to pay close attention because what you hear today will give you a new perspective on church attendance.
I. THERE IS SHELTER IN GOD’S HOUSE (1-4)
A. It is God’s Dwelling Place. The Hebrew word translated “dwelling place” can mean “a residence, habitation, tabernacle (NKJV), tent, or it can be a shepherd’s hut.” It is the place where the Great Shepherd lives. It can be the wilderness tabernacle or the great temple in Jerusalem or now we know it is His church. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Now Paul was talking about the church here and not the indwelling of the Spirit in individuals. The church is the place where God dwells.
B. It Is the Place Where God’s People Long To Be. “My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord.” Psalm 122:1 says, “I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord’.” Our response to God’s mercy towards us should be rejoicing. “Come into His presence with thanksgiving in your hearts and give Him praise.” Verse 2 indicates that every part of man, body, soul, and spirit will “cry out for the Living God.” Jesus wanted to be in church. Luke 4:16, “He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom.” Why is it natural for humans to long to be in God’s presence? Because we are His creation.
C. It Is the Closest Thing To Our Home. The birds of the air long to build their nests there. It is only normal for the creation to long to be with the creator. Romans 8:19-21, “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom to the children of God.” Every aspect of God’s creation longs to be brought back to intimate fellowship with Him. That process of restoration began with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and continues through the operation of the church as God’s tent of meeting, where His people can come and be in the presence of God.
D. It Is Where We find Blessings. Verse 4 says, “Blessed are those who dwell in Your house!” There are four different Hebrew words that are translated “blessed”. The first two refer to blessing God in praise and being blessed by Him as a benefit. The word today refers to one who is happy, right, honest, or is being prospered. “How happy (right, honest, prosperous) are those who dwell in Your house.” So it is easy for us to be able to find shelter from the cares of this world when we come into God’s house. But there is much more for us to receive by attending church.