5 Questions

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The message "Five Questions to Ask Before Coming to Church"

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5 Questions

  1. 1. 5 Questions to ask before coming to church Key Vs Psalm 100 1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. 3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. 5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. Introduction All to often we come into the House of God with motives other than what we should have. Our focus is on other things and not on the real purpose for church. Just like the holidays (Christmas and Easter) we have lost the “reason for the season.” People come to church to: 1. Fellowship 2. Keep up the reputation 3. To see friends 4. Because we like the preacher 5. To fulfill a religious obligation 6. Because we like the music 7. Because it makes us feel good It is said that a good press release answers the 4 “w” questions: Who, What, Why, and Where. But we should consciously make an effort when we come into this place to ask ourselves the five motive questions of Who, What, Why, Where, and How. Question 1: Who are you here to see? There is a story about Henry Ward Beecher, that when he was absent from Plymouth church one Sunday; that he had is brother fill in for him. • People began leaving when they saw Henry Ward Beecher was not there • “All who came to worship Henry Ward Beecher may leave now. The rest will remain to worship god.”
  2. 2. Jesus asked his disciples in Matt 16, “Who do they say that I am?” • John the Baptist • Elijah • Jeremiah • “just another preacher” “But who do you say that I am?” Peter the impetuous answered, “You are the anointed one, the flesh of the one true God!” Who did you come to see today? 1. Your friends 2. Your family 3. The guy that owes you money 4. The Pastor Maybe, just maybe, you are here to see Jesus??? Question 2: What manner of God is this? The story of Jonah... • God's command • Jonah refuses to obey • The storm • Judgment • Repentance Perhaps you are like the disciples stuck in the storm of your life. “What manner of man is this?” When you come to the house of God you need to be able to answer that question without hesitation or doubt. God is looking for obedience! According to Samuel, God is more interested in our obedience than he is in our confession and sacrifice after a failure. Don't be a Jonah! Question 3: Why are you here? In Matthew 20, Jesus likened the Kingdom of heaven to householder. • Went out at dawn to hire workers • Went back three hours later and found others standing around • Hired them • Same thing at six hours and nine hours At the eleventh hour he asked, “Why stand ye here all the day idle?” Why do you come to the house of God? Is it to stand idly by watching others
  3. 3. worship and work? Or do you want to be involved in the labor? Why do I teach/preach? Why do I worship? Why does it matter if I come to church? Question 4: Where will I find God? I know who I should seek, I know what my motives need to be, and why I should go to church, but does it really matter Where I seek him? Not physically, but Where your focus is, and Where you are coming from, and Where you are going to; does matter. The question of where deals more with the spiritual mode of where and the characteristics of God, than our physical location. Following the crucifixion and resurrection, they went to the grave yard to anoint his body. But the angels asked, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” If you are looking for God, he won't be found in the grave yard! He won't be in a church that is dead! Jesus is the “... the way, the truth, and the life.” Peter called him the “Prince of life” Paul said we are “buried with him by baptism into death... so we also should walk in newness of life.” Peter said that we are born again to a “lively hope.” (which could also be translated a quick expectation) 5 1 Peter 2.5 says, “ Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” Question 5: How should I approach Him? How do we become lively stones? PRAISE HIM! God is not nervous. He likes it when we praise him... When Israel approached God in Exodus, the Bible says there was; thunderings, lightening, and the noise of a trumpet. There was some noise. In fact that verse uses the word noise to describe the event and it literally means: call aloud, cry, bleating. Ps 33.3 “... play skillfully with a loud noise.” - clamor or battle cry Ps 81.1 “... sing aloud... make a joyful noise...” Ps 100 1. Make a joyful noise
  4. 4. 2. Come into his presence with singing 3. Know who he is and acknowledge him 4. Enter in with thanksgiving and praise 5. Why? Because he deserves it and so much more! Singing = shout of joy Thanksgiving = extension of the hands in adoration Praise = (tehillah) laudation (a hymn of praise) Laudation synonyms: • acclamation • applause • exaltation • ovation The root of tehillah is hawlal = to boast, to be clamorously foolish, to rave, or to celebrate Closing So... Who are you here to see? • Friends or Family • Preacher • Jesus What manner of God? • Is it a sacrifice - Hurry up preacher I have things to do • Obedience Why are you here? • To stand by idly • To keep up your reputation • To hear teaching or music • To seek Him and work for Him Where are you looking? • In your tradition - Religious obligation • In worship and expectation How should you approach Him? • Arms folded – feed me preacher • Half-hearted – when is this going to be over • With expectation – celebrating God! Remember we are His press agents, and we have to make a good report (a positive press release) about him. No one will want your God if you are a sour grape or a puckered up persimmon. But when our press release tells them WHO, WHAT, WHY, WHERE, and HOW; then they too will want to be “lively stones.”
  5. 5. Like the song says, “Come all ye people let us sing, a brand new song unto the King...” You're just trying to get us to shout! - Right, there's victory in the shout (just like Jericho). “The weapons we use are not bombs and guns. Worship is the way the battle is won. This is the way that we fight. Praise Him for the victory.”

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