Summary: When its time to go to church we often leave some of the most important things we need to bring to church at home.
“Things to bring to church”
Intro: *** Every Sunday morning there is a check list I go through b/4 I walk out the door to go to church. The check list is of the things that I have to take to church that day.
* Money for offering
I got to church one Sunday am & realised I left my sermon at home! I’ve only done it once in 24years. But I’ve gotten used to the idea that there are certain things I just can’t afford to forget to take to church w/ me.
No less true is the need to u/s that there are certain things ‘spiritually speaking’ that we can’t afford to forget to bring to church.
To overlook / ignore / forget to bring these things to church is to waste what God wants to do in our lives through the church service.
Our text t/n is an example of people who came into the presence of God to hear the word of God & remembered to bring to church everything they needed to hear from God.
T/n I want to preach on ‘Things to bring to church’.
Text: Ezra 10:1-12 (NKJV) Now while Ezra was praying, and while he was confessing, weeping, and bowing down before the house of God, a very large assembly of men, women, and children gathered to him from Israel; for the people wept very bitterly. And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, spoke up and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God, and have taken pagan wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel in spite of this. Now therefore, let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and those who have been born to them, according to the advice of my master and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. Arise, for this matter is your responsibility. We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.” Then Ezra arose, and made the leaders of the priests, the Levites, and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word. So they swore an oath. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water, for he mourned because of the guilt of those from the captivity. And they issued a proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the descendants of the captivity, that they must gather at Jerusalem, and that whoever would not come within three days, according to the instructions of the leaders and elders, all his property would be confiscated, and he himself would be separated from the assembly of those from the captivity. So all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month; and all the people sat in the open square of the house of God, trembling because of this matter and because of heavy rain. Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “You have transgressed and have taken pagan wives, adding to the guilt of Israel. Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do His will; separate yourselves from the peoples of the land, and from the pagan wives.” Then all the assembly answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! As you have said, so we must do.
# 1. An open heart.
A. An open heart is a heart that is ready to hear from & be confronted by God.
a. The church service is essentially a place of change – if you don’t want to change, church isn’t the place to be.
i. An open heart often hears what God has to say b/4 it is even said ..... that’s b/c this kind of heart has already been hearing God speak.
ii. Every time we set foot in the church service we run the risk of God confronting us w/ our/s.
iii. This was what was happening to the people assembled b/4 Ezra ..... listen to how they responded to what God was saying.
Vs 3. “We have trespassed against our God, .....
iv. They are being confronted about very personal issues – family ..... but b/c of open heartedness they are totally into the message.
v. Listen to how they responded .....
Vs 4. ...... We also are with you. Be of good courage, and do it.”
b. We’ll never be able to get the real value out of the church service if the H/G has to be working on our closed hearts w/ a spiritual crow bar.