Summary: Changing our mindset from "going" to church to "being" the church.
Stop “going” to church!
Last week we answered the critical question, “Why must I be saved?” My prayer is that you have a greater understanding of what you must be saved from, the result if you aren’t saved and how you can be saved.
It is also critical that we understand the clear message from God – Christ Jesus is the only one who can offer salvation. There is NOT more than one Jesus with whom we can find our way. There is ONE Jesus.
Others may use the name Jesus. Some may even call Him the one of salvation.
The Bible clearly describes Jesus in this way: He is the Christ. Messiah. Immanuel. God in the flesh. Eternal. Holy. Without sin. He is NOT the brother of Satan. He is NOT a man who achieved a position close to God. HE IS GOD.
As we continue our basic training, what do we do after we are saved from our eternal death and misery? The common answer is, you go to church! Why do you go to church?
Well, that is where I meet God. That is where I go to hang out with good people. That is where I sing. That is where I serve. That is where I go for help.
Let’s jump back to the Old Testament to determine why God’s people went to the temple and understand what it means for us today.
1. The Old Meeting Place (Exodus 25:8-9)
So, the tabernacle was the place where God would dwell in the midst of His people.
For clarification, we can use the following terms interchangeably: Church, Tabernacle, Tent of Meeting.
As the tabernacle was completed, God set forth the rules by which people could approach Him. In Leviticus 1-5, God explained that His people would meet Him with offerings. There were burnt offerings, grain offerings, fellowship offerings, sin offerings and guilt offerings.
The burnt offering was an act of worship that temporarily covered unintentional sin. The grain offering was an act of worship that acknowledged God's provision. The fellowship offering was an act of worship and thanksgiving. The sin offering was a mandatory offering for the covering of specific unintentional sin.
The guilt offering was a mandatory offering plus a 20% fine for unintentional sin that required restitution.
The church, then, could be described as a place of sacrifice.
The animals from each family would not be the left over's, nor would they be the weakest or ugliest. They had to be the best, the first and without blemish. They would be slaughtered in the church and the blood would be splattered on the altar. Why? There were at least two reasons.
First, because of their sin. Last week we learned about our sin and the just punishment of eternal misery … unless you are covered. "There is no forgiveness of sin without the shedding of innocent blood." (Hebrews 9:22) It is true now and it was true then. The people who lived prior to the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus continued to sacrifice innocent animals in their place, for their sin again and again and again. Why?
Because God, in His holiness, commanded it as a temporary covering until the perfect sacrifice was made.
Second, God foreshadowed Jesus, the perfect sacrifice, who would take away the sins of the world. When John the Baptist saw Jesus, He declared, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
Yes, there was a tent of meeting. No, it was not to meet other people. No, it was not for fellowship events.
Yes, it was a place to deal with their sin to be right with God. Yes, it was a place to meet God.
That is quite a different picture than what we experience today! I don't suppose we would have many in attendance if we began slaughtering animals and throwing their blood throughout the sanctuary.
What does this mean to us? Why do we come here week after week?
In our basic training, I want us to be challenged in our thinking.
The buildings on 100 S. Higley Rd are not the church;
…it is a place of worship.
…it is a place of equipping.
…it is a place of service.
…it is God's storehouse of our offerings for His ministry.
So if this is not the church, where do we find it?
2. The New Meeting Place (2 Corinthians 6:16)
WE are the temple of the living God. How is this possible? Last week's basic training taught how we can be saved. We must remember the miracle that took place as described in Romans 10:9-10 and 2 Corinthians 5:21. If I surrender to His lordship and believe God raised Him from the dead, Jesus will become my sin and I will become the righteousness of God. Understanding the transaction that took place with that promise, who am I?