Why Go to Church?

It turns out that my sermon didn’t record this past Sunday.  I use Sound Cloud to capture the audio and it froze on me as I was beginning my introduction.  So, here’s an outline of the sermon:

“Why Go to Church”   1 Kings 8:1-43
Delivered to Church for the Highlands
Sunday, August 26, 2012

Intro:  Worship House Media film:  Reasons People Don’t Go to Church

Text:  1 Kings 8:1-11,22-30,41-43

Big Idea:  Some reasons to go to church are . . .

1.  To Be Seen

v.29–Solomon prayed that God’s eyes would be open night and day toward those who gathered in the house of God.

      Eye of God Hubble photo
       Why should you come to church?  To be seen by God.
               –Recognizing that God is watching for you to come into His house
               –Recognizing the significance of sacred space
               –Recognizing the significance of gathering with others in worship (Israel)
       v.v.22-27–Solomon gave recognition and praise to God, wanting God in heaven to hear him.
                 v.30–Solomon asked God to hear the prayers of the people there, heeding their cries and forgiving their sins.
            Tree of Life; we long to be heard; having a place where you can go and be heard  Source
       We should come to church to be heard.
               –wanting God to hear your recognition and praise
               –wanting God to hear your cries, prayers
               –wanting God to forgive you
      v.v.41-Solomon prayed that the house of God would be inclusive of the “foreigner,” a place for them to pray and
                         be welcomed by God.
                cf.  Jesus turning over tables in the temple; house of prayer for all nations
       Celtic Way of Evangelism by George Hunter–Patrick welcoming everyone, not building walls to keep people out
       We should come to church to be welcomed.
               –how church ought to be a place of inclusion for the “foreigner”; for everyone
               –how you were once a “foreigner”
Eugene Peterson quote on church membership–how it really sums it all up; a place where heaven and earth meet

“In his book The Pastor, Eugene Peterson describes his wife Jan’s understanding of what it means to be a pastor’s wife. As I read Peterson’s words, I was struck with how apt the description was not only for pastor’s wives but for all Christians as they enter fully into the life of the body of Christ.

And so, I would like to modify Peterson’s words slightly and substitute church member for pastor’s wife. See if you don’t think this is a good description of what life in the church should be:

Being a church member is a vocation, a way of life. It means participation in an intricate web of hospitality, living at the intersection of human need and God’s grace, inhabiting a community where men and women who don’t fit are welcomed, where neglected children are noticed, where the stories of Jesus are told, and people who have no stories find that they do have stories, stories that are part of the Jesus story. Being a church member places us strategically yet unobtrusively at a heavily trafficked intersection between heaven and earth.”

Peterson reference found at Preaching Today, Craig Brian Larson, editor of PreachingToday.com; adapted from Eugene Peterson, The Pastor (HarperOne, 2011), p. 95

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