I’d like to begin by simply quoting a few verses of scripture to bring my point today, to light.
( Hebrews 1:1 ) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
( Matthew 16:18 ) And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
( Matthew 18:17 ) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it to the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
As we look at the first verse I quoted; we see that God at different times and in different ways spake to his people or ( the fathers ) . The next verse there says that ( in the last he hath to them by his Son ). His Son being Jesus Christ. As a man that studies and, seeks to understand God’s word, I know that Jesus Christ spoke and lived with his people at the very end of the ( dispensation of law ) The law was one way that God spoke and dealt with his people.
The next two verses I quoted; we see are in the first gospel ( Matthew ). Over the years of my time of study, I often wondered about these verses and the mention of ( the Church ) within them. Why do I say that? Because, at that time the Apostles had no concept of the Church. As I say that, I realize that all four gospels are speaking of the very same period of time and, they represent four different aspects of the same man, Jesus Christ. I also realize; according to ( John 21:25 ) And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
The reason I point this out is because it’s very possible that Jesus taught his Apostles a lot more about the Church than we actually read in the gospels. However, to say that ( the apostles had a complete understanding of what the Church was all about would be inconceivable. It was all a learning process to them.
The Church actually came into being on the ( Day of Pentecost ) in ( Acts 2 ). The Church or ( the age of Grace ) is simply another way that God has chosen to deal with the people of this world. In the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John these two verses or scriptures are the only time the church is mentioned. In ( Matthew 16 ) he tells Peter how the Church will be founded you might say. In ( Matthew 18 ) he now tells then about the way its members shoud be disciplined.
The foundation of the Church is built on this concept ( THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD ). Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church.
Over my years of studying, I often wondered about ( the Church ) being mentioned in Matthew and, what was said there because, I could not figure out a way to tie it together or, see how anyone at that time could see the concept. However, where we are today, as a nation, to me brings it to clarity in my mind.
The two things that any relationship is established on is the foundation and the discipline of the principles that it is founded on. These things are paramount to the success of anything. Without understanding the foundation and, having discipline to maintain the picture of that foundation, the true power of what is being built is worthless.
As we look at this we must understand that everything about this is a learning process to the Apostles, even as the Church age begins, they continue to be taught by the Holy Spirit. We see this all through the book of Acts and, also as we read through the entire New Testament. The very first two things that can be seen in Acts is this. ( 1 ) The unwillingness for the people; standing on the foundation of the Church that Jesus Christ died and rose again for, is the refusal of those that believe to simply follow the established people They refused to just hear what they said. In the early chapters of ( Acts ) the religious leaders tried to stop the people from following Jesus Christ as led by his Spirit. Look at what they replied:( Acts 4:20 ) For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. That is the statement that Peter and John told the leaders of that day. When they said that to the people that believed, they all agreed.
The next thing is that God would not put up with anyone being false. ( Acts 5:1-10 ) God actually killed Ananias and his wife Sapphira for not telling the truth. You see; the foundation is being laid and, a seperation is coming toward the true righteousness that was taught and lived by Jesus Christ. That is the foundation of the Church.
What did this teach the young believers? They are taught the lesson we see in ( Matthew 18 ). if you are not willing to be all you can be for Christ we’ll set you outside the Church. What it boils down to is people and, the leaders we are willing to choose. It has to do with our sensitivity to where we stand and, what it represents. That in both the Church and the nation we live in. The United States of America was founded on these same precepts.
I wanted to show you this verse of scripture: ( Songs of Solomon 2:15 ) Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vine: for our vines have tender grapes.
It’s never big things or steps we take that bring about our foundations to become corrupt. That goes for our leaders as well. That is; in our Churches or , in our government. We simply began to allow little things to change, to become common place and the first thing you know, we are not even standing on the original foundation that either, Jesus Christ or, our nation was established on.
In ( Matthew 18 ) when one person seen another person doing or, living in a way that did not represent the foundation of Jesus Chist, being very sensitive to what was right, would go to that person and try to get them to correct their lifestyle. In the end, if they would not change then they were dismissed from the Church.
I’ll tell this story. I use to pastor a Church. A lady came to me once and told me she would like to join our Church but it was a few things she didn’t like about our Church. In essence, I told her, well you need to move on. We are not seeking to join you but, you are seeking to join us.
That is what I see as very important for each person to understand. When we; as members of a Church or, we as citizens of the United States of America began to change to please people then we change the very foundation we are suppose to stand on. We need to be very sensitive to our constitutions of both our nation and the true Church. We need to go back to the original text and, stand there without apology.
I mentioned ( the little foxes ). Almost as soon as anything of real value begins, there will be ( little things that will seek to try and destroy it. Those things, whatever they might be will be very little in the beginning. As a matter of fact, so small that they will seem not to matter. However, as those little things start to pile up; they will become a very destructive force.
I stated that the Church is the foundation of ( ONE NATION UNDER GOD ). Therefore, if you seek to destroy that nation, where do you begin? You destroy the foundation, you weaken that foundation. And, what is the strongest foundation of any Church? ( The family ). Please understand! I know that Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church. However, it takes the voices of men, of families to make his will known today. That voice comes from strong families in strong Churches.
My desire is to show those that read this something that will bring about spiritual awareness and cause us to be very spiritually and, as patriots; sensitive to what we need to do as members of our Churches and, as citizens of this great country.
Let’s read some verses: ( Hebrews 11:32-38 ) AND WHAT SHALL I MORE SAY? FOR THE TIME WOULD FAIL ME TO TELL OF GEDEON, AND OF BARAK, AND OF SAMSON,AND OF JEPHTHAE; OF DAVID ALSO, AND SAMUEL, AND OF THE PROPHETS: ( 33 ) WHO THROUGH FAITH SUBDUED KINGDOMS, WROUGHT RIGHTEOUSNESS, OBTAINED PROMISES, STOPPED THE MOUTHS OF LIONS, ( 34 ) QUENCHED THE VIOLENCE OF FIRE, ESCAPED THE EDGE OF THE SWORD, OUT OF WEAKNESS WERE MADE STRONG, WAXED VALIANT IN FIGHT, TURNED TO FLIGHT THE ARMIES OF ALIENS. ( 35 ) WOMEN RECEIVED THEIR DEAD RAISED TO LIFE AGAIN: AND OTHERS WERE TORTURED, NOT ACCEPTING DELIVERANCE; THAT THEY MIGHT OBTAIN A BETTER RESURRECTION: ( 36 ) AND OTHER HAD TRIAL OF CRUEL MOCKINGS AND SCOURGINGS, YEA, MOREOVER THE BONDS OF IMPRISONMENT: ( 37 ) THEY WERE STONED, THEY WERE SAWN ASUNDER, WERE TEMPTED, WERE SLAIN WITH THE SWORD: THEY WANDERED ABOUT IN SHEEPSKINS AND GOATSKINS; BEING DESTITUTE, AFFLICTED, TORMENTED; ( 38 ) ( OF WHOM THE WORLD WAS NOT WORTHY: ) THEY WANDERED IN DESERTS, AND IN MOUNTAINS, AND IN DENS AND CAVES OF THE EARTH.
In all of those verses we need to see just this one thing: ( of whom the world was not worthy ). We pick up the word of God and we read in the comfort of our warmed or cooled homes. We sit in Churches with padded pews and air conditioning, drive automobiles that almost drive themselves and, are more comfortable than the chairs in our homes. All that and then complain about the length of the message the pastor preached. We never even consider what price was paid for all we have, even the fact that we have the word of God that we can read. There was a price paid ( BY REAL PEOPLE ) to give us the Churches we have today.
Moreover, this great nation we live in. There are those that paid a tremendous price to bring about the liberty that we have here. Long before the destruction of this great country began, the destruction of the power within our Churches started and, that started by the destruction of our families.
Now, in closing, The very sensitivity, the very value, the worth of anything is always found in the price that has to be paid for that object. In these two cases, the true Church and the United States of America. When people pay a tremendous price for things, they value it and, protect it with all that they have. When we receive things too freely, then the value is gone.
Look at this verse: ( Nehemiah 4:17 ) They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon.
Nehemiah had a great burden to rebuild the wall of the city. He or, they had many enemies. However they were so sensitive and passionate about what they were doing that they were willing to work to buid and be prepared to fight the enemy at the same time.
The problem we have in our Churches and, in our nation is that ( we don’t see or recognize the enemy ) and, ( we have no passion ) for either the truth in ( our Churches or ( the freedoms in our Country ).
( THE CHURCH ) The truth in God’s word is the foundation of the Church and, the very foundation of this country was founded on the passion of that truth and, those people being very sensitive to the price that was paid for both.Can we, as a nation, as a Church get back to that passion and sensitivity? ( In my opinion ) the answer to that question is ( NO ) we can’t! Not without our willingness to pay the same price others were willing to pay.
Why would I say that? Because, even as I sit here and write, I realize where we are as ( THE CHURCH ) or , what we call Church and, the our unwillingness to to be submissive to a Holy and Righteous God. We, as Church members today; are not and will not be sensitive to the Spirit of God, even as we read the word of God.
Let’s consider; the family was founded before the Church. The Church was founded before our nation. In the average family today; the father is not sensitive to the spirit of God, the wife is not sensitive to the will of the husband and the children are not obedient to either parent. The children have no respect for their mother because they see no respect for her; from her husband. The husband is neither respected by his wife or children because he gives them no reason to respect him.
That same mindset bleeds over into the local Church. We might say we ( love ) our pastor but, it’s not because he is sensitive to the will of God. Not because he preaches with the power of God in his messages, not because he has a passion for God’s word and preaches with great conviction. It’s because he is sensitive to our own will.
In closing, when this country was founded, the Church was the salt of its very foundation. The truth, the passion, the will of those that prayed, sought God’s will was so powerful that it effected even those that didn’t attend Church. Why? It was because of the price that was paid and recognized by those people that had paid the price for both. Also, it was so valuable that if any person sought to destroy either; would also pay a tremendous price for their disobedience.
( WE HAVE WANDERED SO FAR FROM THOSE FOUNDATIONS ) that we are now living on sinking sand.
Lord, as a man with a great love for our country and for the Church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I pray that my passion will bleed over onto other people. Lord, our children are blind to the dangers all around them, our people are blind to your gospel. Open our eyes and cause us to see our true needs and help us to be willing to pay any price necessary for your will to be done, in our own lives and, in our country. As I work with the tools I have to build this nation, let the weapon in my other hand to be the Word of God. Help me to see myself as it speaks to my heart and, to be willing to submit myself to your own will with passion and humbleness. Let revival of Godliness begin in my heart and spread to other people, all for your glory. AMEN!’
2 Timothy 1:7