Posted in Bible Studies, Inspirational Collections, The Church - His Plan Our Purpose

The Church- His Plan Our Purpose Part 5

Ruth 2:16

16 And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

We’ve been talking about David and Solomon, but for today’s post, I’d like to talk about another one of their family members. David’s Great Grandparents, Ruth and Boaz. If we know our purpose, then we must do as Boaz did, and share it with others.

Boaz was part of God’s chosen people Israel. Ruth was a Moabite, and not one of the children of Israel. Boaz told his servants, let her experience some of what we have. We will share our purpose with her.

What made him so ready to embrace someone who was not part of God’s chosen people? I believe it was because of another woman, who’s name also started with an R. His mother was Rahab, who had been rescued out of Jericho, and became part of The Kingdom Of God.

Because Boaz’ Father welcomed Rahab into the family of Israel, Boaz was open to sharing God’s blessings with Ruth. As our Heavenly Father opened the door to us, we should share handfuls of purpose with those who do not know Him.

What are handfuls of purpose? In respect to The Kingdom, it’s sharing the number one attribute that is most attractive to a hurting world. The Love Of God, through the relationships that His Church has with unbelievers, is our greatest witnessing tool.

Before you tell them what you believe, show them Who you know through His love. Care about people with the heart of Jesus. Take the time with them that He would take. People you receive love from, are people you want to spend more time with.

Eventually, they will open up to you, and will receive what God has placed in your heart to share with them. If you love them first, they’ll listen second. Maybe not all of them, but even those that don’t, have experienced more of The Love Of God, than they might otherwise in their lifetime.

People spend time with those they love. If you notice, I mentioned the second thing first, reaching others. The way we ended that topic leads us back to the first one, spending more time with God.  

We treat it as if it were almost as difficult as we view witnessing. It’s actually so much easier than we make it. Spending time with a loved one isn’t hard, as long as we make the time. Spending time with God, is easier, for He is always near, if we look for Him.

Prayer is a conversation with God, and a prayer life is a series of regular communication with Him. It’s a combination of planned and spontaneous prayer. Pick a spot, whether by your bed, your favorite chair, or a special room, and talk to Jesus.

Make your regular planned prayer so consistent that it becomes not a habit, but an event. He will meet us where we seek Him. Prayer and reading God’s Word are the most life altering and impactful things that a Christian can do.  

Those are the planned prayers, and study times that we must commit to more and more. The spontaneous prayers are the regular conversations throughout the day we have with a God we want to talk too. As Christians, we too often look at prayer as something more complex than we should.

The Lord Jesus wants to hear from us, not only our needs, but our fears, our questions, and our hopes. If our purpose is to expand our relationship with Him, and I believe it is, then we must do the things that make any relationship successful. We must commit time and attention to The One we love, just as He does for us.

The more quality time you spend with someone, the closer you become. You take on aspects of each other’s personality, and pass things about them on to others. The more time we spend with Jesus, the easier it will be to share Him with others.  

Matthew 22:37-40

37 — Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 

38 This is the first and great commandment. 

39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

It all goes back to something He said during His ministry. The two greatest commandments of all. First to Love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. An second, to love our neighbors as ourselves.

When we commit to Him with all that we are, others take notice. In committing to Him, we reflect His love to others. We treat them the way He would treat them, because we are the Church.

This is our purpose, to Love Him, and to share HIs love with others. His plan is to reach every soul with the message of salvation, and to do it, not alone, but through the body of Christ. That is His plan, and our purpose.

Posted in Bible Studies, Inspirational Collections, The Church - His Plan Our Purpose

The Church – His Plan Our Purpose Part 4

1 Kings 5:5

5 And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name.

Solomon had a purpose, one handed him by David, and ordained by God. If the wording of God’s no to David was prophetic and intentional, then so must Solomon’s words here. He purposed to build a house unto the name of The Lord.  

Every Christian knows how important Solomon’s temple was to the story of God and His Church. The temple was a type and shadow, both of God in flesh, and eventually, His Spirit in the hearts of believers. What I find interesting, is the meaning of the word house in Hebrew.  

It’s a word with many definitions, one of which is family. House and family are my two favorites. Probably because, the merging of these two concepts is what defines a home to me.

A house can be grand. It can be large, and expensive, but a place to live, is much different than a home. What makes our house a home to me, is the person that I share it with.

Don’t get me wrong, I was single for thirty one years, and I loved my first house. It was great. I loved the freedom of the house. However, no matter how much I loved it, at the end of the day, it was a lonely place.

Once we were married, my Wife made our much smaller duplex a home. I wasn’t alone any more, it was no longer just a place to live. Solomon was building a house for God, but it was a reflection of something much more.

The Lord, who inhabited eternity, who invented it, and time, space, and any other item you can name, was building something. It was not that He needed us not to be alone. If that were the case, the angels could have filled the chasm.  

Like myself, He was free. There was no limits to Him. He could do anything, but that in itself was not enough. God wanted more than someone to fill the house.  

He wanted one of the most valuable things imaginable. He wanted a relationship with someone that desired a relationship with Him. I believe that The Lord sees His own purpose as creating and caring for mankind.  

He never intended for us to fall. The Lord knew the danger of giving us free will, but for it to be a relationship, it must be birthed out of free will. There could be no substitute for a mutual commitment that makes up every meaningful relationship.

The Lord knew that when He shaped Adam and Eve. He knew that when He placed them in the garden, and warned them about the tree. It was His hope, that Eve would choose what was good, and not what would lead to death.  

Christ knew, if she chose wrong, it would mean that He would give His life to save us. It wasn’t that He was forced to do so, only that He loved us too much not too.   

She didn’t have to make the wrong choice, but she did. Once that happened, there was no debate, no doubt. We know that God, who cannot lie, created the world, prepared to die for us if necessary. Once it happened, He verbalized that commitment to Calvary as early as Genesis 3:15.  

The Lord Jesus knew that saying Let there be light, could lead to the very voices which cried out for His crucifixion. He knew the danger, but The Lord thought us worth the cost. Oh what a love Divine!

God, who can do all things, chose to make us His purpose. What then is the purpose of the Church? I believe it is simply, to choose to commit to a loving relationship with a loving God.  

Pursuit of this relationship caused God to create everything, including the body He would suffer and die in, to meet us. When we repent of our sins, we are choosing to forsake everything else to become part of the family of God. We are choosing a relationship with Him over all else, and make no mistake, it is so worth it!  

Romans 8:18

18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Whatever we as Christians face, no matter how massive, will not compare to the glory that will one day be revealed. On that subject, and I’ve stated it before, we do God an injustice when we make a particular, very true statement, minus an explanation.

We correctly say, all is for The Glory of God, but we don’t clarify what that truly means. God is not an egotist, He doesn’t have to be worshipped out of some need for adoration. We adore Him, we glorify Him, we worship Him, but it’s not to fill a void in the heart of God.

There was a void in the heart of God, and that was the fact that we were lost in sin. The only way to fill that void, was to rescue us. Hebrews states the joy of seeing us redeemed was what caused Him to endure the shame of the cross.

We glorify Him, but His glory does the one thing that no other glory does. It transforms, not The One being worshipped, but those who are worshipping. It’s not the act of receiving worship He takes the primary pleasure in, but the transformation that takes place in the act of worship.

2 Corinthians 3:18

18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The Bible says we are transformed into His image from glory to glory. God doesn’t seek glory to magnify Him. When we glorify HIm, He transforms us.  

Once the temple of Solomon was completed, God’s Presence filled the temple. So much so, that the Priests were unable to minister in the temple. God has a work for us to do, but He will always work harder than He ever asks us to work.  

His goal was to love us, and our goal should be to love Him back. The Church is the Spiritual Manifestation of Solomon’s Temple. Just as the Tabernacle Of David was a type and shadow of Christ in the flesh. One produced the other, because there was a David, there was a Solomon. 

David’s Tabernacle led to Solomon’s Temple. David means beloved, and Solomon means Peace. Had there have not a God who loved us, we would have never been created. Had He not loved us enough to walk in flesh, and die for us, we would have never experienced peace.

We, the Church was His plan, and a relationship with Him is our purpose. The Lord Jesus loves us enough to focus on us. How much more should we love Him, and focus on Him?

The family of God. Everything hinges on the relationship between Him and us. If you agree with me, that this is the purpose of the Church, then we have a work to do.  

First, spending more time with God. Second, spend more time introducing others to His love. On Friday, we’ll talk about fulfilling our purpose, and how to accomplish those two things.

Posted in Bible Studies, Inspirational Collections, The Church - His Plan Our Purpose

The Church – His Plan Our Purpose Part 3

Ephesians 4:7-117 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. 

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Today, in the training room, which is only partially lit, due to a presentation. I looked at my hands, each had three shadows, every layer a slightly different shade. The last two days we’ve examined some of the shadows cast by David and Solomon which pointed ahead to the Church.

Yesterday, was about the resources which David prepared for Solomon. Today, I would like to look at the materials which, The Son Of David, prepared for the Church. The Lord Jesus gave gifts to complete the body of Christ, and to bring it to maturity.
Ephesians 4:12

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Of all the things Jesus accomplished in His earthly ministry, one of the most vital, was the training of His Disciples. Along with the Prophets, this group would lay the foundation of God’s Church, on the Cornerstone that is The Lord Jesus.  

The Old and New Testament were written by these amazing men. God’s Word impacts a Christian like nothing else. His Word is the reality which was symbolized in the Temple by the golden candlestick.

Psalms 119:105

1 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

It’s no accident that He uses two different words to illustrate a light here. One is lamp, and the other is light, but they do not mean the same thing. Lamp unto my feet refers to an object which lights individual steps. Light my path uses a word that covers everything from daylight to Jehovah.

Path not only means pathway, but traveler. Jesus not only shows us the way, He shows us ourselves in His light. One reveals where to step, and the other, the manner in which to do so. One says here is where you go, the other says, this is how you get there.

That’s why Jesus said He loves a cheerful giver. It isn’t only about the giving, but the spirit of the giver. Don’t only seek to do the right thing, seek to do it with the right attitude.  

When applied to your life, The Word will do both a work in you, and through you. God anointed these men to write His book, and another set of men to teach it.  

That brings us to the next group, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers. Evangelists are sent to edify several Churches, while Pastors and Teachers are assigned to particular congregations for the perfecting, or maturing of God’s flock.  

Four relationships in this world, most closely reflect the heart of God. They are the love for a spouse, the love of a friend, the love of a parent, and the love of a Pastor. Each one reflects a facet of God, but for this study, we will focus on a Pastor’s love.

A shepherd will stay up late, wake early, walk days ahead to prepare water and shelter for the sheep, and return to guide them there. Pastor means shepherd, and it’s the spiritual version of what David was when he was called to slay the lion and the bear. The sheep may not have seen the threat, but David did.

You and I may not always see the danger in a choice or decision, but when our Pastor warns us, it’s our duty to listen. We must trust in the realization, this isn’t just any person. God called this person for our welfare. 

A Pastor has been given a vision, by God, to where The Lord wants to bring us too. This isn’t only as a corporate body, but He has a plan for each of us. He shares this with The Man Of God He has placed in our lives. 

You’ll notice I capitalized the term, and that’s the way we should view him in our lives. A Pastor views himself, not as a master, but a servant. Yet we need to always see them as Servants of The Master. They aren’t seeking their own, but His own.  

Caring for the flock as Under Shepherds, who have been entrusted with our care. People are quick to point out those who leaders who may have made a mistake, but aren’t you glad they don’t respond the same way to the Christians they oversee?  

Yes they are human, no they’re not perfect, but neither are we. All of us are striving for perfection, or maturity in Christ, and we will only get there together. Contrary to modern opinion, the teaching we receive on a regular basis, isn’t optional in the eyes of God.  

Hebrews 10:24 – 25

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers are all gifts that God gave, much like David gave the gold, silver, and other resources for the Temple. Like the goods King David provided, they span generations. These gifts are part of preparing us for our purpose.

The question is, what is that purpose. We’ve spent the last three days talking about the things that bring us to that purpose. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about the specifics of the purpose itself. See you tomorrow … 

Posted in Bible Studies, Inspirational Collections, The Church - His Plan Our Purpose

The Church His Plan Our Purpose Part 2

1 Chronicles 29:22 Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colours, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance.

Yesterday we talked about how God’s no, was actually pointing to a much greater yes two thousand years later. David and Solomon, in the preparation and building of the temple, reflected Christ and the Church.

David not only received the pattern, he prepared for the building. The items that he collected, reflected God’s work in us. Gold, silver, brass, iron, and wood to focus on just a few.
The gold was to reflect The Divinity in the house. God’s primary purpose has always been a relationship with His people. In the temple, the gold represented God’s Spirit residing in the hearts of believers.  

The order David set them in was no accident either. Christ alone washes away our sins, purifying our souls. His sacrifice, and presence in our hearts gives us purity, which is reflected in the silver in the house.  

Gold and silver are both mined, and purified, the next item is a little different, its forged. Brass is made up of copper and zinc, two items dug out of the Earth, then combined together. Once you experience the life changing work of Christ in your life, you are not at the end, but the beginning.  

Copper and zinc are each conductors of electricity. Copper is a soft metal, but when hardness is needed, its combined with zinc to make brass, a much stronger metal. Zinc by itself is a reducing agent.  

Christ’s Power energizes us, but also reduces those things in us that would draw us away from His purpose for us. Brass represents judgment, not the condemnation of God, but the liberating effect of His love. Giving us the wisdom, power, and strength to reject those things that are fleshly, and to consistently choose those things that are holy and true.

Iron reflects consistency in the house. Gold is beautiful, silver shines, but iron holds the doors in place, and moves them on their hinges. True gold, like true holiness, reflects God.  

Some today do not seek the power of God, but the attention of man. Glittering things that aren’t based on Him, and are pale imitations of God’s awesomeness. Consistency, or faithfulness, are worth their weight in gold.  

Some of the greatest Christians I’ve ever known, may not speak a word in a crowd, but their smile, love, and commitment are ever present. I’ve seen many a man avoid drawing any attention to themselves on Sunday, but were the first to volunteer for a work day. Faithfulness isn’t loud, but it makes its presence known at the most important times.

Psalms 92:13-15

13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

15 To shew that the Lord is upright: He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Consistency leads to growth, which is represented by the timbers of the temple. David, who some commentators like John Gill say wrote this Psalm, knew something very important. Growth occurs in those who are actively pursuing a maturity in God. Every Christian should seek to be closer to God today, than they were yesterday.

Today we talked about David’s preparation, tomorrow will look at those gifts Christ placed in the Church …

Posted in Bible Studies, Inspirational Collections, The Church - His Plan Our Purpose

The Church – His Plan Our Purpose Part 1

1 Chronicles 28:11-12

11 Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, 

12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:

The word pattern is woven throughout the structure of time itself. God has always presented a pattern, then finished it. One to teach, and the other to complete. Every great leader, who are themselves a reflection of The Creator, have mirrored it.

This week we will examine the pattern of the Church itself, and His purpose in it, through the lens of David and Solomon. These two great leaders, father and son, we’re types and shadows of the future.  

It was in David’s heart to build a temple for God. He had brought The Ark Of The Covenant back to Jerusalem, had set up the Tabernacle of David to house it, and desired to establish a permanent place for God’s name. What he didn’t expect, was the response that he received.  

1 Chronicles 22:8

8 But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight.

I believe that everything God does, or does not do, is part of a greater plan. Let’s take a closer look at an unusual response. It was God that called David to fight for Israel, and gave him the skills to win. I believe that The Lord Of Hosts was saying something more.

1 Chronicles 22:9

9 Behold, a son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days.

In these two verses, we see a conquering king, the shedding of blood, and a man of rest. If this were The New Testament, it would be a description of Jesus. I believe it still is, and that was the very intent of God.

We know that in God’s response to David, He points ahead to Jesus’ birth. Why not in the initial answer as well? God’s no to David’s now, was simply a yes to tomorrow. 

God had used David’s wars to lay the foundation for Solomon’s day of rest. One helped to produce the other, and Christ would do the same through His death, burial, and resurrection.

One of the definitions of pattern is the word structure, which means, the arrangement of and relations between the parts or elements of something complex. Creation is a complex pattern designed to illustrate a simple truth. Atoms, stars, planets, all formed for one simple reason, God loved us.  

David was a man after God’s own heart, and his heart said, “I want to build a permanent place for God.” God created Earth to provide a place for man. The desire was the same as God’s, and yet He said no.

What do you do with the unexpected answer of God? David’s response was to rejoice, accept, and to be thankful. The Lord said no, but that no came with a promise.

2 Samuel 7:16

16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.

In this chapter God promised David a future beyond his lifetime. There was no mention of a pattern at this point, or blueprint of the temple. David didn’t argue, he didn’t plead, he accepted God’s answer, and rejoiced.

Somewhere between there and 1 Chronicles 28, God surprised him. He hadn’t changed His mind, He hadn’t wavered, but He did have a plan. I don’t know how it happened, or when, but God gave the pattern to David. He explained that Solomon would still build it, but David got the plan.

Like Moses, he didn’t fashion it, Bezaleel did, but Moses told him what to build. David handed his son the blueprint, and the resources to build it with, but we’ll talk more about them tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Part Two …