What Have They Seen In Your House
Good evening. The sermon this evening is going to begin in Isaiah 39:4 as the foundation text from which we're going to launch into the rest of the lesson. “And he said, "What have they seen in your house?'' So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.''”[NKJV] I will take this phrase, what have they seen in your house and talk about that. This evening we're going to think about that in the physical sense of your own personal home. We're also going to be talking about it in the sense of the house of God.
In First Timothy 3:15 Paul says in part; “... I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”
I. We have learned that everything we say, everything we do in the presence of other people will affect them somehow, in some way. Let us consider some questions. How do you carry yourself? That is, when people are around you, what do they see? When they come into your home what do they see? What impression do they carry away about you simply by being in your physical home? Not only that, what is it that people think about the Chardon church of Christ when they visit us, people that we don't know. People that come here from out of town, maybe they are moving to the area, maybe they are visiting someone, maybe they are just passing through. What do they think about the Chardon church of Christ when they come into this congregation of the house of God? What we’re going to be talking about are things that we hope that people would see in our house whenever they come among us.
II. In Colossians 3:18-20 – “18. Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19. Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20. Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” One thing we hope that we would see if we went into someone’s home is respect... respect for authority and respect for each other.
A. In the text we were told about the authority within the family unit. The way God has set up the family unit is where the father, the husband, is to be the head of the family, the husband loves the wife and the children obey the parents. That's the way the Lord intends and wants families to be.
1. Have you ever been visiting someone's house and after you've been there maybe 15 minutes you're ready to leave because you're tired of hearing the husband and the wife screaming at each other
2. Or you're tired of hearing the children screaming at the parents?
3. I’m not talking about anybody here, but I have experienced this even within some parts of my own family. I suspect some of you may to a lesser or greater degree, have experienced it as well. I can't believe they're talking that way to each other.
4. We need to realize that people when they come into our home their ears open up. If the husband's speaking rudely to the wife and the wife is speaking rudely to the husband and there's no respect for the parents from the children people pick up on that very quickly. They also pick up on that in the House of God.
B. In Ephesians 5:23-24 – “23. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.”
1. Here we’re dealing with the house of God and how in the house of God we are supposed to have respect for authority. The authority in the church is the head of the church, Jesus Christ.
2. Hopefully when people come to the Chardon church of Christ they will get a sense of that respect, the acknowledging of Jesus as the head. It is why we do what we do in this congregation. The congregation is built around and structured around our desire to be pleasing to the head, Jesus Christ.
3. The reason we are organized the way we are is because that's the way that God taught in His word. The reason we sing acappella is because that's the way the Bible tells us to worship Him, in spirit and in truth and all the scriptures that deal with just singing. That's how they did it in the first century.
4. We're just trying to make sure that what we're doing in our worship, by taking the Lord's Supper on the first day of every week, praying to God, singing praises to God and even our lessons, is to pay respect to the authority of Jesus Christ.
5. Hopefully that is the sense that visitors will carry with them when they leave here.
6. They may not agree with everything we practice. They may not agree with everything we do and teach, but hopefully they will carry away a sense that these people are serious about simply wanting to live a life that's pleasing to God. If they don't get that from being with us, something's wrong.
7. Hopefully they never see were we have added to or removed from God’s word because we decided to practice something of our own devising.
III. Another thing that we hope that people would see in our home when they come to visit, is love.
A. Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,”
B. Also we find in Titus 2:4 – “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,”.
1. I enjoy visiting homes where you can see in the eyes of the husband and the wife that they love each other. I’m not talking about newlyweds either.
2. It's understood that when you're around newlyweds they're all lovey-dovey. I'm talking about folks that have been married for decades. You can sense the strong, deep love they have for each other. Have you ever had it happen where you've visited someone and when you're leaving you think – Wow!?
3. I enjoyed being around them. You could tell they really care about each other. They really love each other even though they've been married many, many years; their love is just so deep. You can see the same thing hopefully, in congregations.
C. In First Peter 1:22 – “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,”
1. In the Gospel of John 13:35 – “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Love for one another is the ultimate manifestation that we are really Christians.
2. Have you ever been to a congregation as a visitor and sensed these people really don't like each other? It's amazing they're even worshipping together. I have been and it reminds me of the saying “the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife”. You want to get out of there as quickly as you can.
3. Let people never think that way about the Chardon church of Christ. When people come here as visitors they should get a sense that we really care about each other.
4. We need to realize that this love for one another is a major way that God is showing His love to mankind. I’ll explain.
i. In the ancient Gentile world if you were a widow, your husband has died, you were in trouble. You were big trouble because in general nobody cared.
ii. You did not have a husband to bring home income to help you survive. You are on your own.
iii. If you were an orphan in the ancient Gentile world, your mother and your father died, you were in big trouble, again because in general nobody cared.
iv. It was a cold, heartless world and you were own your own with no one to help you.
v. Not so with God’s people. In Christianity you have an assembly where there are people that are slaves and masters, Jews and Gentiles, wealthy and poor, if someone happens to have their mother and father die what would happen is the spiritual family would come together and take them in and take care of even people that were not their physical flesh and blood.
vi. If a husband died and a widow was left you know what they would do. They would take her in as if she was family and see to her needs.
5. One of the things that caused Christianity to grow in leaps and bounds in the first century was real, honest-to-goodness love.
i. People would come into the assembly and they would see people from all kinds of backgrounds. They would see these people really cared about each other.
ii. It's a family, it's a unit, where if one member suffers all the members suffer. This is a way in which God's love is being shown to mankind.
6. The second of God’s greatest commandments is that we love our neighbor as we love our self. We are to love the brethren sincerely with a fervent heart.
i. When you come into a congregation where people actually care, that has a very strong draw even today. The world is still a very cold place.
ii. The world's still very evil and empty. Generally speaking we are going to find most people don't care. They don't care what your problems are. They don't care what your struggles are. They don't care what your needs are. Hopefully that's not the way we are.
iii. When people come among us, even as visitors, I hope they can sense that we are a family, that we really do care when a brother or sister is hurting. We care.
iv. Yes, we live fast paced lives just like everybody else in this American culture, but we need to do the best we can to slow down and bear one another's burdens.
v. To weep with those that weep, to rejoice with those that rejoice, to be there for one another. As I said it is a very strong draw today. People want to be among those that care.
IV. Romans 12:13 as we recall, says; “distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality”
A. In our physical home, if people come and visit do they feel welcome? That's a big part of what hospitality is.
1. The idea is I have an open house, open home. I want you to come over. I want you to come over and eat with us. Come over and just enjoy company and visiting and talking together.
2. Let me ask you are you that way with your physical home? Do you have people in to visit you, to interact with you?
3. It seems that now we're in such a fast paced culture, sometimes even husbands and wives don't visit with one another. They don't really interact much with each other. Its hello, I’ve got to go. We need to slow down and enjoy our family, enjoy being with each other.
4. God's people are the best people on earth. Perfect? No, not by any means, we have personal problems. Everybody here has got their own situation, their own set of problems.
5. The people who are really serious about Christianity are the best people you're will meet. You will want to be around them. You will want to get to know them. We should all be encouraged to open your homes to each other, to get to know each other.
B. Even if you don't know somebody here, make an effort to get to know them. Invite them over or invite them out.
1. Just do things together and make people feel welcome. Have you ever been around someone to where it's kind of like, hello it's nice to see you. But they keep you at arm's length, always at arm's length and just pass on by.
2. We should be encouraged to let down barriers, let people in sometimes. It is kind of a scary thing because we're not perfect and we do have problems. But we will find that God's people are the best people. They make really, really good friends.
C. First Peter 4:9 – “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” When people come as visitors make them feel welcome. Hopefully when they leave they will be thinking, you know, those are really friendly people.
1. Let me ask you this. Have you ever been to a congregation when you felt like a ghost? We've gone and visited places before and usually we will try to sit down toward the front unless we are sitting with someone we know.
2. We've gone to congregations when we left our seat and the end of the service we walked all the way out the building and no one said a word, not a peep. It’s like, I guess they could care less that we came.
3. Please don't be that way. I don’t think we are. When people visit, we try to make them feel welcome to where it's understood we want them to come back. We want them to get to know us.
4. Leave them with the feeling that maybe if they live in this area they will consider worshipping with us on a regular basis.
5. We should look for an opportunity to invite them out to eat or even over to our home. It makes a strong impression on people when they recognize you don't know them and yet you want to be with them. The whole idea of hospitality is to make people feel welcome.
V. Now consider First Peter 3:1-2 – “1. Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, 2. when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.” [NIV] Peter is speaking of godliness here. The respect of God as ultimately seen and manifested in the way in which a person lives. Here again we're talking about influence, about people seeing the way you live.
A. When people come into your home hopefully they will see a respect for authority. Hopefully they will see love. They should experience hospitality... but also one thing we hope that they will see and that is Godliness.
1. By the way you carry yourself in your home, by the things you do in your home together, they will come to the sense these people are serious about God and their relationship with God.
2. In this text Peter talking about a woman who's married to an unbeliever and what she is doing is living the Christian life. Her husband watches the way she lives day after day after day and that is drawing him to God.
3. We know that if we wear the name of Christ people are watching us. They're listening to us. If we tell someone we are a member of the church of Christ they will be watching us like a hawk.
B. You can tell a whole lot about somebody by going into their house, by the movies they watch, by the books they read. You can tell where they are in their relationship with God. If you see them reading and watching things that are vulgar, yelling at each other, showing disrespect and a lack of love, it certainly does not cry out that they honor God.
C. Hebrews 2:12 – “saying: "I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will sing praise to You.''” First Corinthians 11:26 – “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes.”
1. Hopefully when people come to the house of God here in the Chardon, Ohio they will recognize that we respect God, that we are serious about Christianity. We’re not just going through the motions. We're not just coming together for the fun of it.
2. Whenever we're singing praises it's not just going through the motions of singing. We sing with the understanding and we're not just going through in ritualistic fashion the taking the Lord's Supper, singing the song, and saying the prayer.
3. Have you ever gone to a place where it seemed that they were just trying to get out? I've been to congregations before where, it was like how quickly can we get out of here. They just go through the motions, and everything was just go go go go go go go.
4. I would hope that when people come here they sense that our worship is real. Real singing from our hearts to God, really proclaiming the death of the Son of God, focusing our hearts and focusing our minds on Christ crucified, singing praises to our God from our heart, praying to God from our heart. Real worship.
5. People can sense when we are really pouring our heart into it. They can also sense when it's just a drudgery that people want to get through as quick as they can and get out.
D. What I sense when I go to congregations that are ritualistically dead is that in reality there is very little respect for God. It's Him we've come to worship and whom we've come to honor.
VI. Now a note to myself and all who chose to speak here. In First Peter 4:11 – “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.”
A. We are dealing with God being glorified and when we speak the word of God it needs to be in a way that glorifies Him. Yes, we do tell stories in our sermons with the objective of easing the audience into a thought or making an example or an analogy that is useful to the lesson. But it is our responsibility to teach the body of Christ and those that come here the word of God, not cutesy stories, not the latest fads in the news. We must be careful, vigilant that we do not let aids become filler and filler become content.
B. What we need is the Word of God that will produce our faith and strengthen our faith and help us come to understand the will of God more and more. As we grow in our understanding, in faith we will obey and continue to obey the will of God.
C. If we're going to glorify God and truly respect God when we speak, we must speak the oracles of God, the Word of God.
D. I have heard, though I do not know from experience, that there are those out there who are trying to teach preachers to teach without the word of God. I read of one preacher who dropped out of Harding graduate school because they were trying to teach him to preach without the word of God and give a sermon just by telling stories. I don’t know if it is true or not. -- A story has its place.
Back to the original question, “What are they seeing in your house?” When people come into your physical home and hopefully this happens, when they come into your home and they observe the way you interact with your family members and they observe just your home itself what does that communicate to them?
When they come to your house they should get a real sense that these people love one another. These people respect and honor one another. These people make me feel welcome in their home. I’d like to go back and visit them again. These people are serious Christians.
What do they see when they come to the Chardon church of Christ? I would hope they see that we respect the authority Jesus Christ as the head of the church. That's why we're doing everything the way we're doing it. Additionally they should get a sense that we really care about each other.
It is a path of spiritual growth to reach the point where when one member suffers all the members suffer with them. We press on trying to have relationships with each other that extends beyond the assembly. We strive to be more than just friendly associates, but becoming real family, who weep when one weeps, rejoice when one rejoices and are found bearing one another's burdens.
We need to realize that it is by this love that we have for each other that we’re really declaring to all of the people out in the world we are the disciples of Christ.
When people come to the Chardon church of Christ as visitors we want them to feel welcome so when they're back in this area again they'll think Oh I'll go back and worship there. I remember how they made me feel and hopefully whenever they come, they will see in our worship to God that we really respect God. That respect shows in our worship and we respect Him by teaching His word... and trying to live it.
If this is not what they see then it's time to do some serious repenting and changing, so it is what they see. I think we're doing well. We love God and love each other.
We’re doing the best we can teaching the word and trying to live it. If I were a visitor I think I would feel welcome. But I also think we are not at the end of that path and we still can learn and improve.
I've been here 13 years and I think I can say this: I think we really do care about each other, but we can still get closer to each other and still get closer to God.
There may be somebody here this evening that is not a member of the body of Christ. If you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and you're willing to confess your faith and repent of your sins, we will be glad to assist you and baptize you into the body of Christ.
If you are a child of God and you've gone into the world and left the Father we would like to encourage you to come home come back.
We'll pray for you, pray with you.
As your brothers and sisters in the family of God we'll try to be there for you not just at the front of the building but hopefully throughout the week to encourage you and exhort you to be faithful.
If you are subject to the Gospel call in any way we invite you to come as we stand and sing the song selected.
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