Why Go To Church?

 

‘Christ loved the church.’ Ephesians 5:25 NIV

It’s not very hard to think of reasons why you’d like to lie in of a Sunday morning and relax when you could be in church. Or enjoy some quality time of a weekday night that doesn’t involve heading out to small group Bible study.

Ok, why should you go to church? Because ‘Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish.’ (Ephesians 5:25–27 NIV)

Dr Jay Kesler gives us five reasons for going to church:

(1) It’s the only organisation that still deals with issues like salvation, death, judgment, grace, purpose, Heaven and hell.

(2) It adds value and dignity to human life. We live in a secular culture that contributes to our sense of inner worthlessness. The church counteracts this negative message by preaching God’s love and acceptance.

(3) It provides a moral and spiritual compass. Society has revised, resisted and rejected absolutes, embracing relativism; but the church stands on the timeless bedrock of God’s Word.

(4) It’s where you find compassion, healing, and community. There—we’re all on par. There—God’s Spirit is working to knit us together as believers, guaranteeing us all ‘access… to the Father.’ (Ephesians 2:18 ESV)

(5) Unlike other institutions, it has motivated the most lasting, unselfish, essential, courageous endeavours on earth. Things like missions, schools, hospitals, food pantries, rehab centres and orphanages.

Why go to church? Because Jesus loves the church—and so should you.

SoulFood: Deut 32:29–34:12, Mk 9:1–13, Ps 62, Prov 12:18–19

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2018

Today’s Readings

Deuteronomy 32:29–34:12 (Listen)

29   If they were wise, they would understand this;
    they would discern their latter end!
30   How could one have chased a thousand,
    and two have put ten thousand to flight,
  unless their Rock had sold them,
    and the LORD had given them up?
31   For their rock is not as our Rock;
    our enemies are by themselves.
32   For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom
    and from the fields of Gomorrah;
  their grapes are grapes of poison;
    their clusters are bitter;
33   their wine is the poison of serpents
    and the cruel venom of asps.
34   “‘Is not this laid up in store with me,
    sealed up in my treasuries?
35   Vengeance is mine, and recompense,
    for the time when their foot shall slip;
  for the day of their calamity is at hand,
    and their doom comes swiftly.’
36   For the LORD will vindicate his people
    and have compassion on his servants,
  when he sees that their power is gone
    and there is none remaining, bond or free.
37   Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods,
    the rock in which they took refuge,
38   who ate the fat of their sacrifices
    and drank the wine of their drink offering?
  Let them rise up and help you;
    let them be your protection!
39   “‘See now that I, even I, am he,
    and there is no god beside me;
  I kill and I make alive;
    I wound and I heal;
    and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
40   For I lift up my hand to heaven
    and swear, As I live forever,
41   if I sharpen my flashing sword
    and my hand takes hold on judgment,
  I will take vengeance on my adversaries
    and will repay those who hate me.
42   I will make my arrows drunk with blood,
    and my sword shall devour flesh—
  with the blood of the slain and the captives,
    from the long-haired heads of the enemy.’
43   “Rejoice with him, O heavens;
    bow down to him, all gods,
  for he avenges the blood of his children
    and takes vengeance on his adversaries.
  He repays those who hate him
    and cleanses his people's land.”

44 Moses came and recited all the words of this song in the hearing of the people, he and Joshua the son of Nun. 45 And when Moses had finished speaking all these words to all Israel, 46 he said to them, “Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. 47 For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess.”

48 That very day the LORD spoke to Moses, 49 “Go up this mountain of the Abarim, Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, opposite Jericho, and view the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel for a possession. 50 And die on the mountain which you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died in Mount Hor and was gathered to his people, 51 because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. 52 For you shall see the land before you, but you shall not go there, into the land that I am giving to the people of Israel.”

33:1 This is the blessing with which Moses the man of God blessed the people of Israel before his death. He said,

  “The LORD came from Sinai
    and dawned from Seir upon us;
    he shone forth from Mount Paran;
  he came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
    with flaming fire at his right hand.
  Yes, he loved his people,
    all his holy ones were in his hand;
  so they followed in your steps,
    receiving direction from you,
  when Moses commanded us a law,
    as a possession for the assembly of Jacob.
  Thus the LORD became king in Jeshurun,
    when the heads of the people were gathered,
    all the tribes of Israel together.
  “Let Reuben live, and not die,
    but let his men be few.”

And this he said of Judah:

  “Hear, O LORD, the voice of Judah,
    and bring him in to his people.
  With your hands contend for him,
    and be a help against his adversaries.”

And of Levi he said,

  “Give to Levi your Thummim,
    and your Urim to your godly one,
  whom you tested at Massah,
    with whom you quarreled at the waters of Meribah;
  who said of his father and mother,
    ‘I regard them not’;
  he disowned his brothers
    and ignored his children.
  For they observed your word
    and kept your covenant.
10   They shall teach Jacob your rules
    and Israel your law;
  they shall put incense before you
    and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
11   Bless, O LORD, his substance,
    and accept the work of his hands;
  crush the loins of his adversaries,
    of those who hate him, that they rise not again.”

12 Of Benjamin he said,

  “The beloved of the LORD dwells in safety.
  The High God surrounds him all day long,
    and dwells between his shoulders.”

13 And of Joseph he said,

  “Blessed by the LORD be his land,
    with the choicest gifts of heaven above,
    and of the deep that crouches beneath,
14   with the choicest fruits of the sun
    and the rich yield of the months,
15   with the finest produce of the ancient mountains
    and the abundance of the everlasting hills,
16   with the best gifts of the earth and its fullness
    and the favor of him who dwells in the bush.
  May these rest on the head of Joseph,
    on the pate of him who is prince among his brothers.
17   A firstborn bull—he has majesty,
    and his horns are the horns of a wild ox;
  with them he shall gore the peoples,
    all of them, to the ends of the earth;
  they are the ten thousands of Ephraim,
    and they are the thousands of Manasseh.”

18 And of Zebulun he said,

  “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going out,
    and Issachar, in your tents.
19   They shall call peoples to their mountain;
    there they offer right sacrifices;
  for they draw from the abundance of the seas
    and the hidden treasures of the sand.”

20 And of Gad he said,

  “Blessed be he who enlarges Gad!
    Gad crouches like a lion;
    he tears off arm and scalp.
21   He chose the best of the land for himself,
    for there a commander's portion was reserved;
  and he came with the heads of the people,
    with Israel he executed the justice of the LORD,
    and his judgments for Israel.”

22 And of Dan he said,

  “Dan is a lion's cub
    that leaps from Bashan.”

23 And of Naphtali he said,

  “O Naphtali, sated with favor,
    and full of the blessing of the LORD,
    possess the lake and the south.”

24 And of Asher he said,

  “Most blessed of sons be Asher;
    let him be the favorite of his brothers,
    and let him dip his foot in oil.
25   Your bars shall be iron and bronze,
    and as your days, so shall your strength be.
26   “There is none like God, O Jeshurun,
    who rides through the heavens to your help,
    through the skies in his majesty.
27   The eternal God is your dwelling place,
    and underneath are the everlasting arms.
  And he thrust out the enemy before you
    and said, ‘Destroy.’
28   So Israel lived in safety,
    Jacob lived alone,
  in a land of grain and wine,
    whose heavens drop down dew.
29   Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you,
    a people saved by the LORD,
  the shield of your help,
    and the sword of your triumph!
  Your enemies shall come fawning to you,
    and you shall tread upon their backs.”

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan, all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. And the LORD said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD, and he buried him in the valley in the land of Moab opposite Beth-peor; but no one knows the place of his burial to this day. Moses was 120 years old when he died. His eye was undimmed, and his vigor unabated. And the people of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days. Then the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands on him. So the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the LORD had commanded Moses. 10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.

Mark 9:1–13 (Listen)

9:1 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead might mean. 11 And they asked him, “Why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?” 12 And he said to them, “Elijah does come first to restore all things. And how is it written of the Son of Man that he should suffer many things and be treated with contempt? 13 But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they did to him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him.”

Psalm 62 (Listen)

To the choirmaster: according to Jeduthun. A Psalm of David.

62:1   For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
  He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
  How long will all of you attack a man
    to batter him,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
  They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
  They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse. Selah
  For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
  He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
  On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
  Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah
  Those of low estate are but a breath;
    those of high estate are a delusion;
  in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.
10   Put no trust in extortion;
    set no vain hopes on robbery;
    if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11   Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
  that power belongs to God,
12     and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
  For you will render to a man
    according to his work.

Proverbs 12:18–19 (Listen)

18   There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19   Truthful lips endure forever,
    but a lying tongue is but for a moment.

Wed 16 May, 2018


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