Jesus Christ gave Himself unto suffering and death for the Church, that being said, the Church is for Christ and not the other way around. What I mean to say is that the Church exists for Christ’s pleasure and honor, Jesus does not exist for the honor and pleasure of the Church. God is eternal, He was not created, and He was certainly not created for those whom He created. God must always be God in the minds and hearts of His people, otherwise idolatry will fill their hearts.
David, the king of Israel, whose heart was for God said this, “…the temple is not for man, but for the LORD God.” (1 Chronicles 29:1) It would be nice if many church leaders today understood this great reality. They seem more intent to please those who attend the Sunday morning service, than the God they say they come to worship. The music is to please men, the time spent is to ensure people don’t get restless, and the words used in church are not to offend. The lighting, volume of the songs, and even the decor are to entertain men rather than to please God.
If you are familiar with the term “seeker sensitive” you know that events are orchestrated in some churches as to not offend the delicate sensitivities of those who attend the service. It is inevitable that such a church philosophy turns the church inside out and upside down. Hence, the church is not for God but the service is for the people; or put more bluntly, God is seen as existing for the pleasure of those who attend.
There was a time when my head was stuck in the ground, and I stumbled into such a church; it was there that a very hard lesson was waiting for me. The end result was that God blessed me far beyond my ignorance deserved, with yet another eye opening experience. God makes wise the foolish, and gives discernment to those who call upon Him in their distress and trouble. Sometimes we bring upon ourselves the distress that God then uses to teach us some very vital and important life lessons.
Let me quickly give you some very important lessons that I learned from that period of my life, as seen in the life of David and his son Solomon. Please take note of how David spoke of God’s greatness in all things, and then consider how Solomon thought of the part he played in the kingdom.
“So David blessed the LORD in the sight of all the assembly; and David said, “Blessed are You, O LORD God of Israel our father, forever and ever. “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O LORD, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. “Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule over all, and in Your hand is power and might; and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. “Now therefore, our God, we thank You, and praise Your glorious name.” (1 Chronicles 29:10-13)
“Solomon said to God, “You have dealt with my father David with great loving kindness, and have made me king in his place. “Now, O LORD God, Your promise to my father David is fulfilled, for You have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. “Give me now wisdom and knowledge, that I may go out and come in before this people, for who can rule this great people of Yours?” (2 Chronicles 1:8-10)
David fought for a good part of his life, for fourteen years while running from Saul, the first king of Israel. Later as king of Judah, and then all Israel he fought many battles, slew many enemies, amassed great wealth, and subdued the peoples around Israel, so that there might be peace in the land. Solomon enjoyed the peace won by his father, never having fought a battle of his own.
David organized everything for the building of the temple, he supplied all the materials, manpower, and designs for the great structure. The God of David won the battles, and supplied everything that was needed for His own house. David acknowledged God as the giver of all things, which would even include David’s faith. Upon David’s faith God conquered the land, slew the giants, and though things were very difficult for David, as he lived in danger the majority of his life, through it all he became an obedient servant.
On the other hand, Solomon asked for wisdom and that is what he received. God was pleased with his desire for wisdom and not wealth, and He blessed him. David supplied the faith upon which God built a great nation. All Solomon needed do was put a willing people to work, which he did. He then occupied himself with gaining knowledge and finding every kind of pleasure known to man (see Ecclesiastes). Unfortunately, Solomon was not terribly careful about denying himself anything so that he would not love the world, (1 John 2:15). Neither was he careful about being disobedient, by multiplying horses, chariots, and wives. Solomon’s excesses rivals the riches of any kings in all history.
It has been said, “show me ten men who undergo great hardships, and I will show you nine that are the better for it; show me ten men given great success, and I will show you one the better for it.”
In the end David died full of years with a heart that acknowledged that all things come from God. Because of his many wives, Solomon died with a heart seeking after many false gods. Concerning Solomon the scriptures tell us, “So the LORD said to Solomon, “Because you have done this, and you have not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you, and will give it to your servant.” (1 Kings 11:11)
Hardship is not simply a burden we bear, but a means by which God transforms us into a humbler and holier person.
1. Never disciple others by bringing attention to yourself; be sure God gets all the glory.
2. Do not despise the chastening of the Lord because afterward it brings forth the peaceable fruit of righteousness to all those exercised thereby.
3. Love the Lord and do not seek to please men, but rather love men by telling them the truth.
4. Do not tell men what they want to hear, but rather the truth as God sees it. Leave the results up to God, and if you be hated for it, you be hated.
5. Keep short accounts of sin, and repent regularly. In time we are blessed by God as we walk humbly and acknowledge the error of our ways.
6. There is nothing worse in life than disobedience to God.
7. Ministry in God’s house is never about us, it is only and always about God.
What could be more important than to understand God’s revelation of Himself?
The Apostle Paul valued the knowledge of Christ in this way, “I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things…” (Philippians 3:8)
The focus of the book, THE JESUS YOU NEED TO KNOW, are the character traits of God as revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. It is an in depth study of His motives, actions, words, and intent. Do yourself a favor and consider Jesus Christ.