The House of GodBro. David Chancellor
5/2/2004 11:00 AM
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran. And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep. And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place: and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone t hat he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my fathers house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be Gods house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.
This is the story of Jacobs ladder. We want to talk about it in reference to Gods church.
Jacob was running because he was in trouble at home. Hed taken advantage of his brother to get his fathers blessing. Still, he needed something more than his fathers blessing. He was running to his mothers kinfolks. Along the way, he met with God. Everyone comes to this place at some point in life.
Jacob saw God and the angels on the ladder. God spoke to him. As people encounter God, their first reaction is, How dreadful is this place! Conviction makes people feel bad, because bad is within. It makes people fell their unworthiness. When God brings conviction, a good thing happens, God speaks his promise to us. Conviction must work for man to be reconciled to God. The promises are ours when God opens them to us and faith takes hold. Faith isnt built by ritual and form. Theres no basis for faith in joining a church. When God speaks to us, faith is inspired in us and we can take and build our lives on what he has said. The word of God needs to be mixed with faith and become real and personal to us. We need to put our faith in his promises.
The house of God is a spiritual building. The church is spiritual. Its people who follow God and live for him down here. Jacob made his covenant with God here. The covenant was the important thing.
1 Timothy 3:14-16
These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth. And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
Paul wrote these things so that Timothy would know how to behave in the house of God. We need to know how to behave in the presence of God, as one who is part of the house of God. God is watching wherever we go.
The church hast the truth because of God. Each one has to maintain a relationship with God. The church is people who are walking with God. This takes people in wherever theyre at. When a person meets God, theyre part of his church, whether they meet at the church of God or not. God didnt intend that his people be divided. When people find God, they will want to come together with people of like Spirit and like mind. Gods church takes in everyone who has been reconciled to and is walking with him.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in the tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Abraham went out obeying God by faith. Jacob went with some fears and concerns about what was ahead. God gave them a promise and they built their lives around it. God has promised us spiritual life if we want it. Hes promised to forgive our sins if we will confess and forsake them. These were looking for a spiritual city. The church doesnt grow by people being gathered to a place. The church is built when souls get saved. Being part of the church requires that you know God. Unity wont happen if people dont have a personal relationship with God. Unity requires a personal walk with God. God wants us to be in unity, but the church of God wont grow until people take hold of Gods promises for themselves.
2 Corinthians 6:11-18
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God: as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them: and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The unequal yoke and the come out are what are typically emphasized in this passage of scripture. Right and wrong dont mix or harmonize. There is a coming out required a separation between man and the world before a man can be part of Gods church. If you would follow God, you cant follow the world. It doesnt work to try to follow both at once. For the church to experience unity, we have to learn to follow God alone before we learn to follow God together. Religion alone doesnt make you part of the church of God. It requires you to be Gods servant, and his only. When people decide they want to know what God says, theyll be a teachable people. When people are seeking to know what God says, a real unity happens. People have to be separated to God first. We must follow God in every aspect of our lives.
2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
If you would be Gods, some things will be changed and cleaned up in you.
For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, the Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
You need to know what youre coming to. The Israelites had experienced a literal thing. These were coming to a spiritual thing. Were not alone even if we fell like we are. There are plenty of angels from God there to take care of us. Its hard to build a solid experience if youre holding on to others to get you through. God keeps track of who is his.
Jacob could have turned aside from God, but he didnt. When people turn to God, thats when they become part of the church of God. Listen to God. Do what he says. This is how you get to be a part of Gods church. Jacob believed Gods promise and took God as his God. He took Gods promise and built his life on it. We need to do the same.