Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning and evening, July 9, 2000, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
WHY IS THE HOUSE OF GOD FORSAKEN?
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
SCRIPTURE READING: NEHEMIAH 13:1-11
TEXT: NEHEMIAH 13:11
Nehemiah 13:11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
I don’t expect unsaved people to flock to a Bible-believing church. That never has been God’s plan. God’s plan is for the church to assemble for worship and instruction, then to go out into the world and to preach the gospel to people one on one.
However, I do NOT understand why GOD’S people don’t flock to their local church! There are many church buildings in any city in America, but most of them only have a small percentage of their membership present at any one service.
Why is that?
I realize that there is a difference between God’s dwelling in the Old Testament and the New Testament. However, God has always had a meeting place for His people. In the New Testament, it is in a local church. When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, immediately the Holy Spirit leads him to unite with God’s people. A new convert knows, by the Holy Spirit who dwells within him, that he should be baptized and be a part of a local New Testament church. Why is it that many truly born again people are not a part of and faithful to a local church? Why is it that some people get involved and drop out?
I. SOME PEOPLE FORSAKE GOD’S HOUSE BECAUSE OF PROBLEMS OF LIFE
Job 5:7 Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
A. They are distressed by their problems
- We should never be distressed by our problems.
- Romans 8:28 still applies.
- God knows what we are going through, before it ever happens
B. They are distracted by their problems
- They focus on their difficulty instead of their duty.
C. They are deceived by their problems
- Most of your problems are not THAT big.
- Problems are not solved by neglecting the things of God!
- By forsaking the local church, you cut off what may be the solution to your problem!
II. SOME PEOPLE FORSAKE GOD’S HOUSE BECAUSE OF PROFIT AND LUST FOR MONEY
1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
A. Some are unbelieving believers
- They can’t imagine that God can give them a job that doesn’t keep them from coming to church Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night.
- They cannot believe that they can live on what they make, minus 10 percent tithes and offerings.
B. Some are unsatisfied believers
- They are greedy. They CHOOSE to work overtime.
- They CHOOSE to work Sundays because of better pay.
- They CHOOSE a particular employer because they like the pay or benefits, even though they won’t be able to attend church faithfully.
- They are not content with what they have.
C.Some are uncomfortable believers
- They are ashamed to come to church because they have missed so many services.
- They are ashamed to come to church when they know they are not giving tithes and offerings.
III. SOME PEOPLE FORSAKE GOD’S HOUSE BECAUSE OF PAIN AND LIVING IN MISERY
2 Chronicles 16:12 And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.
A.Some allow pain of health to keep them out of church
- One kid gets a cold and everyone stays home to wipe his nose.
- Someone called me this morning to tell me that two families wouldn’t be coming because one or two kids had sickness during the night.
- Most don’t realize that these health oppositions are nearly always Satanic oppositions, called in scripture “the messenger of Satan” (2 Cor. 12:7). God intends for us to overcome the devil and come on to church anyway!
B.Some allow pain of heart to keep them out of church
- Many people go through a divorce and quit attending church.
- Many people quit church when their child gets into trouble and brings them shame.
C.Some allow pain of head to keep them out of church
- Hurt feelings
Church is like a spiritual hospital. Many times I have been hurting when I cam to church and felt much better after I left! If your home is in trouble, come to church! You might get things fixed up in one church service!
IV. SOME PEOPLE FORSAKE GOD’S HOUSE BECAUSE OF PLEASURE AND THE LUST OF THE FLESH
2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.
2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
A. The pleasure of rest
- They run themselves to death during the week, and they want to be sleep until Sunday afternoon.
B. The pleasure of relaxation
- Unbelievably, some saints of God are in their recliners watching television while Sunday and Wednesday night church services are going on!
C. The pleasure of recreation
- They can go to the lake on Sunday morning, but they can’t go to church regularly.
- They can get up early for vacation, but they are always late for the church services.
V. SOME PEOPLE FORSAKE GOD’S HOUSE BECAUSE OF POLLUTION AND LOSING THEIR MINDS
Ephesians 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Ephesians 4:17 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
A. Their diet is wrong
- Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
- They have been feeding the flesh nature all week with bad reading materials, listening to worldly jokes, and watching bad television shows.
B. Their delight is wrong
- They have polluted their desires, so that they enjoy being with the devil’s crowd more than they enjoy being with God’s crowd.
- Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
C. Their devotion is wrong
- 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.
- Anything that comes between you and God-your job, your health, your pleasure, a family member, a friend, or an activity-is an idol.