Summary: The importance of the Church. This part of a long study in Nehemiah. Chapter 10 deals with relationships and financial commitment to God’s House. This sermon focuses on the role of the Church and how critical our commitment to God’s House is.
“You are the Church”
What do you think about the church?
A preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike, and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform, jerking the mike cord as he went. Then he moved to one side, getting wound up in the cord and nearly tripping before jerking it again. After several circles and jerks, a little girl in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered, "If he gets loose, will he hurt us?" (www.sermoncentral.com and Christianstories.com) I will try not to hurt you too much tonight!
What is the role of the Church today? What is your role in the Church?
“I Need a Hug (You are the Church)”
1. Have you seen those shirts that say “Free Hugs?” Everyone needs a hug. Maybe you could make some money selling hugs. People will do anything for a “hug”, to be accepted for who they are, even when it harms them.
2. Have you ever got a hug that made everything better? Some studies show that hugs make us healthy and even live longer. The more hugs we get, the happier and healthier we are. “A hug delights and warms and charms, It must be why God gave us arms...” www.hugs4health.org (Policeman carry teddy bears for kids to hug at a crime scene)
3. Cappie was a high school freshman. As she talked about her fears of going to high school, she told how her father left when she was a baby. With tears in her eyes, she said it hurt when friends at school talked about their dads. Later Cappie learned to party with the boys. Her mom said it was because she needed male approval. When she graduates, her mom said she learned to be independent and not need a man. But she will be chasing that hug from her dad the rest of her life. (Source: High School Confidential, The WE Channel.)
4. What are you hugging? God wants to hug us. He hugged us through Jesus, but more specifically through His body, his bride, the Church. We are the hug from God that they world needs. We are the arms of God arms that wraps around a lost world.
1. Nehemiah re-built the walls.
2. The people made a commitment together to right relationships
3. The rest of chapter 10 is all about finances that are given to God’s House (Temple)
4. They gave the first of everything to God’s House (not just money). (God is not physically on earth, so His house represents Him).
5. The Temple represented God’s presence (Hug) to the people.
6. Where is God’s house today? The Church – Us! We are the HUG!
Text: Nehemiah 10:39
We must not neglect the House of God for the following reasons:
I. When we neglect the Church we neglect ourselves.
1. Because we are the Bride of Christ (believers)
1) We are beloved by God
Isaiah 62:4 (NLT) Never again will you be called the Godforsaken City or the Desolate Land. Your new name will be the City of God’s Delight and the Bride of God, for the Lord delights in you and will claim you as his own.
2) We are his masterpiece. Eph. 2:10
2. Because God loves his Bride.
1) “If you love God we would..." but even more, if we realized how much he loves us, we would not crave anything else!
2) Jesus is not a formula – He is a real Person with real feelings.
3) Does God cry? Hosea 11:8-9 How could I give you up?
Illus: Illus: Runaway Bride. Are we running away from our own wedding?
II. When we neglect God’s House, we neglect the lost.
1. Because we are the Body of Christ.
1 Cor. 6:19 (NLT) Or don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself,
2. We are the building of God: The door, Access to God.
Genesis 28:17 (NLT) (Jacob) was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God—the gateway to heaven!"
1) We hold the Good News of the Gospel in our hands.
2) Not just a building, but also a building. Most people connect The Church with church buildings and services.
3) A refuge, hospital. A place of safety and salvation.
Illus. “A little boy looked at a picture of his absent father and said to his mom, ‘I wish father would step out of the picture’.” Wess Pinkham (The Abba Outcome: Getting the People Done) © 2000 Journey to the Heart by Wesley M. Pinkham and Christopher D. Waters.
4) We are the hug the world needs from God. We need to step out of the picture and let the world see Father God.