“Well I used to go to church, but then one of the deacons offended me 4 years ago and I haven’t been back since. I mean, I read my Bible a couple times a week and watch my favorite preacher online every Sunday so I’m doing fine. As a matter of fact, I really don’t miss church too much at all.” How many times have you heard someone say something along those lines? Someone who used to go to church but now feels that church attendance is not that big of a deal. After all, we can read our Bible ourselves and now pull up thousands of good preachers online so is being a part of a local church that big of a deal?
In our reading today, we get a good glimpse of how important the church really is. 1 Timothy 3:15 says, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” Did you catch that? Paul calls the church the “pillar and ground of the church”. You could rephrase that to say that the church is the pillar and foundation of the truth. God has chosen the New Testament church as the entity to hold up and carry on the truth expressed in His Word. As important as our personal walk with the Lord is, God did not design us to be “Lone Rangers” out and about of our own volition doing the Lord’s work. But instead He has chosen for us to be a part of and operate through a solid, Bible-believing church. All through the NT we see God operating through various churches as His Word was spread by the apostles and early church leaders. Evangelism, mission work and even the meeting of physical needs were all done through the church. So may we not yield to the temptation of thinking that attending church is not that big of a deal and that our involvement in one is optional. But may we instead take our rightful role in the “pillar and ground of the truth.”
It’s easy for believer’s to get out of focus in this nutty world. We wonder who can fix the world’s problems. Watching television one would think Hollywood and professional athletes will save us. God forbid! Then we remember, we serve a mighty God and He will take care of all this. That needs to become a forethought and not an afterthought. We should get about the Father’s business of winning souls and let God take care of His world. I imagine God in Heaven, as we run around fretting over every little thing, He may smile, chuckle or shake His head as He watches us worrying for nothing. He’s got the whole world in His hands! Remember the familiar jingle, “You’re in good hands with Allstate?” Actually it needs changing.
I have met many influential people including: military leaders, Presidents, the Queen, senators and world “religious” leaders and there is an heir of importance about them (or at least we feel that way). In Nevada, I had the occasion to preach the funeral of a woman in our church. It was to be a small ceremony, but then the doors opened, secret service agents filed in and then Senator Harry Reid (at that time one of the most powerful men in the world). The mood changed completely as everyone was more interested in him than the upcoming service. People were tripping over themselves to shake his hand. He was embarrassed and did not want his presence to detract from the service. I must admit I felt somewhat dazzled, but I quickly had an Isaiah 6:1 moment, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple”. Like Isaiah, I had my eyes on someone other than God!
We need to look to God for our help and not mankind. It took the death of Uzziah to help Isaiah see God as the problem solver and not Uzziah. We too need to see God as He is and not envision Him as an image, statue or semi-real person. Psalm 93 more than adequately describes the Omnipotent One; “The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty;…with strength,…Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting…The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.” Let us make it a point to get alone this week, read Psalm 93 in its entirety and askourselves who, or what, is our Uzziah and be rid of it!
Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, That delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: The generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: And his righteousness endureth for ever. (Psalm 112:1-3)