The first century money changers were in the temple, but they didn’t have the spirit of the temple… They were out of sync with the whole purpose of the Lord’s house. “The atmosphere of my Father’s house,” Jesus seemed to say, “is to be prayer. The aroma around my Father must be that of people opening their hearts in worship and supplication. This is not a place to make a buck. This is a house for calling on the Lord.
The mark of a great church is not its seating capacity, but its sending capacity.
Relieve and comfort all the persecuted and afflicted; speak peace to troubled consciences; strengthen the weak; confirm the strong; instruct the ignorant; deliver the oppressed from him that spoileth him; and relieve the needy that hath no helper; and bring us all, by the waters of comfort, and in the ways of righteousness, to the kingdom of rest and glory, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Only turning God’s house into a house of fervent prayer will reverse the power of evil so evident in the world today.
When a church is full of humble hearts who desire to outdo each other in love, honour and sacrifice, that church experiences unity.
Christians should work harder toward establishing colonies of the kingdom that point to our true home. All too often the church holds up a mirror reflecting back the society around it, rather than a window revealing a different way. If the world despises a notorious sinner, the church will love her. If the world cuts off aid to the poor and the suffering, the church will offer food and healing. If the world oppresses, the church will raise up the oppressed. If the world shames a social outcast, the church will proclaim God’s reconciling love. If the world seeks profit and self-fulfillment, the church seeks sacrifice and service. If the world demands retribution, the church dispenses grace. If the world splinters into factions, the church joins together in unity. If the world destroys its enemies, the church loves them.
That, at least, is the vision of the church in the New Testament: a colony of heaven in a hostile world.
This issue of the church’s utter dependency upon Christ is absolutely, irrevocably central to God’s plan. The power that is to flow from the church is not inherently within the church; it is to issue through us from the relationship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit. Our spirituality is measured not in human attainments, but in the measure of our dependancy upon Who Jesus becomes to us. Virtue, true righteousness, is not discovered in our accomplishments, but our abandonment to Christ. Thus, our failures can actually become more valuable than our successes, for in reaching, yet falling, we break, and in brokenness we are cast more desperately upon the mercies of God.
A good sermon helps people to two ways: Some rise from it greatly strengthened; others wake from it greatly refreshed.
After many years of experience, I can bear emphatic testimony to value of magnifying the Holy Spirit as the conductor of the service, and of so withholding the pressure of human hands in the assembly that the Spirit shall have the utmost freedom to move this one to pray and that one to witness, this one to sing and that one to say “amen at the giving of thanks,” according to His own sovereign will…. The fervor, spirituality and sweetness of this method have been demonstrated beyond doubt…with inexpressible ease and comfort and spiritual refreshment.
Let us not satisfy ourselves with a knowledge of God in the church service; a glance upon a picture never directs you to the discerning the worth and art of it.