Class 20: The Encouragement Place (Part 2)
Today, we are going to continue our study from Letters to Young Black Men titled, “The Encouragement Place” (Part 2).
As we begin this lesson, consider these words from D.L. Moody: “Church attendance is as vital to a disciple as a transfusion of rich, healthy blood to a sick man.”
In our last class, we looked at the biblical basis for the first two reasons why we ought to attend church — (1) Because we are commanded to by God, and (2) Because doing so will build up and strengthen our faith.
Let’s begin by reading the portion from Letters to Young Black Men that deals with the two points that we will look at today:
If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, you ought to be involved in a good church for the following two reasons as well:
3. Because it gives you the opportunity and privilege to worship and serve God through hearing His word, public prayers, singing, teaching, ushering, and helping others, etc.
4. It also gives you the joy and privilege to exhort others and to be exhorted yourself. The word “exhort” means to urge and encourage to keep going on strong for God. You will find, in this life, that you will need that encouragement often.
Now, please pull out your printed study guide or your digital study guide as we begin this lesson.
III. Read the following verses and note what they say about the relationship between worshipping God and the church.
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
With the promise of the Lord’s presence comes a guarantee that anything said or done in the House of God will be seen and heard by the Lord Himself. Thus, our songs, sermons, Bible studies, and fellowships do not simply enrich our lives, but even greater — they bless the very heart of the owner of the House!
The Lord promises that when two or more come together for the purpose of worshipping Him, He will be present. How often do we enter church, go through the typical Sunday morning routine, mark it off the week’s to-do list, and get on with our weekend? What a travesty to think that this one morning a week which is specifically set aside as a time to corporately meet with the Lord is often diminished of its divine value! The fact that the Lord is willing to be present in the midst of His sinful, unworthy children is a miracle in itself. When you go to church this week, focus on picturing Jesus Christ standing on the platform. Then, as you sing, pray, listen to the sermon, and interact with your fellow brothers and sisters, do it all for the purpose of bringing a smile to the Son of God. In reality, that is exactly what church is supposed to be about. Note what the verse says below:
Ephesians 3:21 says, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
This verse makes a proclamation that Christ receive glory in the church forever. Ultimately, that is the purpose of the church — to bring glory to the Father. So, we glorify God by giving Him all the praise and worship that is due His name. Church is not about us. It is not about singing the type of songs that WE prefer, or listening to the preacher only when his sermon directly relates to OUR life. At some point, the church seems to have chosen to cater much more to the desires of man and much less to the desires of God. Now, this is no excuse for removing yourself from the church, for it is the very bride of Christ. However, it is imperative that we constantly remind ourselves that the church should exist for God’s purposes and not our own. It is a privilege to be involved in the body of Christ, so let us accept this blessing with much humility and selflessness.
IV. Read the following verses and note what they say regarding exhorting others and being exhorted at the house of God.
What is the definition of exhort? It means to urge and encourage to keep on going strong for God.
Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.”
As believers we are to possess compassion and concern for the needs of others. As you rejoice with your brothers and sisters in their victories and weep with them in their sorrows, you will not only please the Father, but you will also discover that these same people will be present when you experience life’s ups and downs. Let us pull ourselves out of this world that claims “It’s all about me”, and let us live in such a way that demonstrates, “It’s all about Christ”.
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
Attending church is not the trendiest thing to do in many social spheres. However, this verse demands that regardless of what the culture tells us, gathering together with other believers is not an option. It should not be burdensome to attend church whenever possible, for it is in God’s house that we experience unity with our brothers and sisters in Christ while sharing our lives with each other.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, we will continue looking at the reasons why you ought to be involved in the local church in our next lesson.
In closing, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what the church people I grew up around said “being saved” was back then especially, in my community, is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you very briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.