Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Unification of Logos & Houtkruis . A church after God's own heart

. A church after God's own heart

A CHURCH AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART

 

Introduction.

In my journeys to America, I have often encountered pastors who claim that what makes their ministry unique is the fact that they have a high view of God, a high view of the church, a high view of the Bible and a high view of missions. Now, this is noble and not wrong indeed. But, thinking about it, I think it is too academic and to clinical. At Logos, we are more concerned about the heart, and the need to have a heart for God, for the Word of God, for the church and for missions. This will make us a church after God’s own heart. For this reason, all our ministries have names that centre around the heart. The heart of the problem is always the heart.

So, instead of ‘a high view of God’ my desire is that we will.

Point 1. Love God.

Nowhere does Jesus say that we must have a high view of God, even though it is not wrong. But Christ is clear that we must “love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength”. That means that we will love Father, Son and Holy Spirit in that way. The word for ‘heart’ by the way is not referring to that blood pump sitting in your chest, but it is referring to the centre of your life, your whole innermost being. So, it is one thing to be able articulate all the attributes of God and to acknowledge that God is alive, that He is creator of all things and that all glory belongs to Him. But Logos family, we must love God. If we in any way water down our love for God, we will fail as a congregation. Our obedience, our worship, our willingness to testify about God all emanates from our love for God. So, this morning I am not really interested if you have a ‘high view of God’ and some intellectual understanding thereof. The question this morning is simply this. Do you still love God? Remember the only way you can really attach a price to God, is based on the extent to which you see God as a prize in your life.

I love what Spurgeon says on the love of God: “Perhaps, they who love the Master best are the very people who will be the most likely to have such a high opinion of the love that He deserves, that they will often chide themselves that they do not love Him at all, when they see how little their love is compared with that perfection of affection which he deserves.”

May we be known as those who meditate on His glory, trust in His divine power, seek fellowship with Him, love His laws, are sensitive to how God feels about things, love what God loves, loving those whom God loves, hating what God hates, grieving with God over sin, obeying Him wholeheartedly and longing to be with Him forever, because we love Him so much.

Instead of ‘a high view of Scripture’ my desire is that we will.

Point 2. Love our Bibles or the Word of God.

You can have a high view of the Bible, name all 66 books, you can be as clever as the intoxicated man who says: “I am a Christian, I have read the Bible from Generations to Revolutions’. Your favourite book might even be ‘Imaginations’.  Sure, you might know Psalm 23, and ‘the Lord’s Prayer’, but do you love the Word of God?

My wife will remember a few years ago how a friend of ours walked out of a service alongside 90% of the congregation at a holiday resort. The reason was because the speaker who represented Christian Business Men dared use an Overhead Projector to display his Bible verses and songs. When I asked this friend of ours what was wrong with the fact that the speaker used an OHP, his answer was plain and simple: “there is nothing as beautiful for me to see people walk to church with their Bible in one hand and their hymn book in the other. and I will fight for that till the day I die”.

Christian, you can own many Bibles, but remember Bibles must be read. I remember attending the funeral of a young man, who wrote in the front of his bible; “God I pray for my parents who have so many Bibles, but never read it.”

I remember as a kid we had a lady in our church who often beat me over the head with her cane (not the one that killed Abel). On one occasion, I sat down put my Bible and Hallelujah Hymnal on the seat next to me. Now, I am this 10-year-old kid, eager to discover what faith is all about. She walked into the pew behind me and suddenly her cane came down on my head, not too hard fortunately, but hard enough to make a point. My sin was that I put the bigger book the Bible at the bottom and my smaller book the hymnal on top. This was according to her desecrating the Bible and by the essence of her words a sign that I did not have a high view of the Bible. The Bible should always be on top according to her. I thought that only worked for Cremora (For those who remember the advertisement).

The point I am simply making is that many people have a seemingly external respect for the Word of God, sometimes they even have a Holy respect for the Word of God, at other times they will defend the Bible on some level, but they have never read it from cover to cover, never studied it, and they yawn at the privilege of sitting under the study and preaching of God’s Word – Sunday after Sunday, because they simply do not love the Bible. Can you say with Solomon today that God’s Word to you is ‘sweeter than honey, than the honey comb’, that it is more precious than gold or diamonds?  Can you say with Paul in Romans 7:22 (ESV) 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being…”?

Instead of ‘a high view of the church’ my desire is that we will.

Point 3. Love all of God’s people.

It is one thing to have a high view of the church and yet another thing to love all God’s people. There are 13 sermons on our website on the topic ‘what’s love got to do with it?’ There are 8 sermons that warns against ‘a judgmental spirit’, and there are 4 sermons on the ‘issue of slander’. If you want to understand the church, then look at all the sermons on our website under the title ‘Jesus the Master Builder’. But the real issue is this.  Do you love God’s people, all of them? At tea time do you simply migrate to those you know well, or do you welcome visitors? Do you hurt when your church family hurts, and do you rejoice when they rejoice?

Remember that Jesus said that the world will know that we are really His by our love for one another.  Now, you know the truth, but just think back just over the last two weeks. Did you maybe slander a brother or sister? Did you maybe judge a brother or sister without facts, but simply based on your judgmental spirit towards that person? Have you reached out to a need when you should have but chose not to, because of the discomfort it causes you?

Oh, how I pray that Logos will be this loving caring community where we wash one another’s feet, where we care for each other, where we pick up and restore sinners instead of simply judging them and kicking them out at hearts content. When we do need to discipline, that we will do it in such a way that love will draw and not hurt. Do our children in the body know that we love them, or are they seen as the future church, but not the church now?

I was reading a church’s statements regarding leadership a while ago, and in all the statements I searched but I saw nothing of a desire to be a loving, shepherding, caring leadership that exemplifies Christ who served, washed feet and laid down His life for His sheep. There was nothing in their statement of leaders who love God’s people so much that they will restore the fallen sinner gently in love. Everything was about authority, knowledge, the ability to teach, the ability to refute wrong doctrine and a common agreement with the stated requirements for membership according to the constitution and the biblical mandate for church discipline.

You will even see this on denominational levels, where relationships are governed by the constitution instead of the Love of God that is spread abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. And on the topic of denominations, let me say this, that if we truly love God’s people we will love those in other churches as well, even when we disagree with them based on doctrine. We might not sit around the same fire theologically, but let’s sit around the same camp fire and sing ‘brother let me be your servant, let me be as Christ to you….’

Instead of ‘a high view of missions’ my desire is that we will.

Point 4. Love the lost.

I can say so much here, but just don’t have the time. Oh, I pray that we will be a church that not only sends and gives to missions because of the Great Commission, but that we will see the world through the eyes of God, through the eyes of the cross and that we will reach out because we love sinners in the same way that God loves sinners. May we realise that while we were sinners, God loved us and gave His Son for us. We must be driven by a passion for the lost, because we love them and want to see them amongst the redeemed. This will include inviting your friends to church.

In closing.

I can say so much more. I just want you to understand my heart, that at Logos it is going to require more than a high view of God, a high view of Scripture, a high view of the church and a high view of missions, but that we will love God, love the Bible, love His people and love the lost.

But I want to leave you with a closing thought.

While a high view of all those things is not wrong, but needs to be applauded, if we miss the heart, then we have missed all that matters. Then we are nothing more than the Pharisees.

Do you realise that the Pharisees had a high view of God? Their view of God was so high that they wanted to kill Christ because He dared make Himself equal to God.

Do you realise that they had a high view of Scripture? They defended the law, they searched the Scriptures, but Jesus accuses them of doing it with a wrong heart, because those very Scriptures testify about Him, but they refuse to come to Him and to have life.

The Pharisees had a high view of the Synagogue. They were meticulous in their observance of the Sabbath, but they did not love the Lord of the Sabbath. They embrace the ceremonies of light, but would not come to the light of the world, they enjoyed their purification rituals, but never came to the one who is the living water. It was all nothing but loveless intellectualism, law abiding and rituals.

The Pharisees had a high view of Missions. Jesus says in Matthew 23:15 (ESV) 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” They did not have a love for the gentiles but a high view of themselves and what they represented. They missed the heart of worship, and when the music faded, they had nothing left.

There is a song that captures all of this by Michael W Smith called, ‘when the music fades, and all is stripped away, and I simply come. Longing just to bring, something that’s of worth, that will bless your heart’. Oh, how I pray for our hearts to be in tune with God’s heart, that we will come back to a heart of worship

If you high view of the things of God has become a heartless view, turn it around and have a heart view of the things that God esteems highly.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

2 April 2017