Home Media Sermons by Pastor Nicki Coertze Series 14 Logos since 31 July 2017 . From the Pastor's Heart

. From the Pastor's Heart

FROM THE PASTOR'S HEART

 

Introduction.

As we celebrate the impact of our website today, and the fact that in the last 6 years we have had more than a million article hits, I believe of greater importance is to ask what the fundamental priorities of the church are. This we desire to accomplish here locally, and through our website.

We all know that our goal must be to develop a church in such a way, that the church would be the church that Jesus Christ intends it to be. Now, obviously we must turn to the Word of God and discern from there what God’s plan, God’s purposes and God’s expectations are for His church. Then we need to figure out ways to implement it to the best of our knowledge and understanding. Our problem always is that we want to bring about the perfect will of God through imperfect people like ourselves. Sadly, in our day the church has embraced the world’s agenda, the world’s methods and the world’s theology.

The danger in any ministry is that at the beginning we can feel exited and exhilarated with certain principles. But as the church grows and we become used to one another and the way we do things, we can so easily enter a maintenance styled ministry. We can take certain things for granted; we can make statements that simply become clichés. What we meant with what we have said from the beginning can be lost and filtered down over time as it is polluted by our own walk with the Lord and our own complacencies and mediocrity.

My desire is that Logos will be a church where we do discover the truth in God’s Word, that we will know the truth, that we will establish it in our lives and ministry and that we will then refine it as time goes by and will extend the truth beyond the walls of the place where we gather. But as I said earlier, all truth statements can become cliché, and this is the concern I want to address this morning, using an illustration from what I have learn from another ministry. I hate using another ministry as an illustration, but you will understand why I am doing that.

Michael Griffiths a British writer summed up something of what the church has become in a beautiful manner. It is maybe more profound than when I often say the church has become a building instead of a bride, a business instead of a body, an organisation instead of an organism and a club instead of the church. He says: “Christians collectively seem to be suffering from a strange amnesia. A high proportion of people that go to church have forgotten what it is all about. Week by week they attend the church in a special building. They go through their time-honoured routine. They give little thought to the purpose of what they are doing. The Bible talks about the bride of Christ, but the church today seems like a ragged Cinderella, hideous among the ashes.”

The ragged Cinderella has lost her beauty because she failed to understand the priorities in the spiritual life of the church. If we are going to recover that passion, and if we are going to recover the zeal for what the church should be, then we need to re-embrace those priorities this morning, but we need to embrace it in the right manner.

Let me remind you of those priorities as they form critical pillars on which the church is built. For many years I have journeyed to the USA and have sat at the feet of great men, including Dr John Mac Arthur. Now, they have a large church and a successful ministry. His view is that it is not difficult to grow a large church in Los Angeles. I remember him saying in response to a question what made Grace Community Church grow is that “in LA you simply need to grow a long white beard, wear a long dress and call yourself ‘Moses resurrect’ and you will have a following of 10 000 people. Mac Arthur continued and said that he believes that what makes Grace Community Church great is that they have a ‘high view of God’, a high view of Scripture, a high view of the church’ and a ‘high view of missions’. All over America, the graduates of their Seminary echo these views.

Now, I visited so many of the graduates of their seminary in their own churches, who have a high view of God, Scripture the church and missions, but yet my experience of some of the churches is that they so many of them can actually name their churches the ‘Refrigerator Community Church’, because all these terms have become is nothing but cliché.  Now, I do not believe that Johan Mac Arthur or Grace Community Church or Master’s Seminary is necessary to blame for that. The problem is with the heart of the pastor and their members. The statements about a ‘high view’ has for many become nothing but a formula, a saying that lacks much substance. Some raise the banner of the statements very high, and with pride, but something is tremendously lacking in their congregations. So, many have become experts in the ‘letter’, but there is no ‘spirit’. I must at the same time acknowledge that I have seen a few, but sadly very few where there is something about that congregation that glorifies God well, as you can see the hand of God upon that ministry.

For so many pastors and churches that which might not have been cliché to John Mac Arthur and Grace Community Church, was cliché for them. It was nothing but a formula, a success recipe, a method or maybe a spiritual prescription to fix the spiritual problems in their churches. The term ‘high view’ for others seemed to be nothing but an intellectual academic statement. It sounds nice to say that our church has a high view of God, Scripture, the church and missions. It can even make one feel superior to those who do not make this statement. But then also as I thought about it, I believe there is an inherent problem with the statement, as it misses the heart of the issue.

Now, if you have been part of Logos from the beginning, you will know that our desire is to be people who have a heart for God and the desires of God for us. Our logo indicates it as we have the heart and the cross. Our purpose statement namely ‘to know God and to make Him known’, is an issue of the heart. All our ministries have the heart at its centre. Now due to a lack of leadership some of these ministries are dormant at the moment. But the point I am making is that our desire is for heart-based ministries on all levels. I believe the heart of the problem for so many churches is the heart. I hope this is not true for us. How can we make sure that we do not fail in these areas?

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

Point 1. Love God.

There are many sermons on our website in this regard. Nowhere does Jesus say that we must have a high view of God, even though it is not wrong to say that. 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 to say that God is alive, that He is creator and that all glory belongs to Him. It is also great to be able to articulate all the attributes of God. We can parrot the attributes to hearts content, but Logos family, we must love God. Now, I have preached a whole sermon on this topic. You can visit our website for this. But, 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. We did a series on ‘The Father Heart of God’ and we know God loves us, but do we love Him? 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.”

I trust that we will 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.

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

Point 2. Love our Bibles.

On our website we have 28 articles on embracing the Bible and many sermons in this regard.

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 books might even be ‘1st and 2nd Imaginations’.  Sure, you might know Psalm 23, and ‘the Lord’s Prayer’, and John 3:16 but do you love the Word of God?

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 an old lady who hit me on my head with a cane because I dared put my hymnbook on top of the Bible. According to her that showed disrespect for the Word of God.

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, 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 honeycomb’, that it is ‘more precious than gold’?  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.

I did a whole sermon on Unity last week. Go and read it. And remember, God’s word on the matter does not only stand for as long as a service is, the truth remains the same outside these doors.

It is one thing to have a high view of the church and yet another thing to love all God’s people. On our website, there are 13 sermons for you to read 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 sin 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’. The question is. Do you love God’s people? Remember that Jesus said that by our love for one another the world will know that we are His disciples. Now, you know the truth, but 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?

You will even see this on denominational and church 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. While 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. My disagreement with some on the issue of theology and practice, does not make them less my brother. I think it is a good thing that there are denominations otherwise we might all still run after the error of Rome and other errors born over the years as well. We might not sit around the same fire theologically, but let’s sit around the same campfire 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. Go read on our website the Father Heart of God series and understand God’s heart for the lost. There are sermons on the Great Commission. 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, and through the eyes of the cross, and that we will reach out because we love sinners in the same way that God loves sinners, realising that while we were sinners, God loved us and gave His Son for us. As we are going, we are called to make disciples. That means, that we must share our faith, tell people of the hope that is in us, that we will unite them with a local church, so that they can participate in worship and grow in their faith, under responsible leaders who can teach them the Scriptures in a way that fits their giftedness for that purpose. I praise God for our website going around the world. When I go to bed at 11 and wake up at 6 and see that articles on our website have been opened app. 1000 times during the night on our website, I thank God, because most of this must be foreign readers. This is how God established links for us in Abu Dhabi, Pakistan, Senegal, Australia, Canada, America, Malawi, Zambia and then places we do not even know of.

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.

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 ‘festival of lights’ 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 I want to end this morning by singing it together.  I pray this morning that each one of us here today will commit ourselves to love God, love the Bible, love God’s children and love the lost.

Amen!

Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church – 26 May 2019