Pastor Jerry Locke
Another Sermon Series by Pastor Jerry Locke

4445 Hodgkins Rd. Fort Worth, TX 76135

Webmaster's Note: A Selection of 24 Single, Stand Alone Scripture
Sermons by one of our outstanding Independent Baptist Preachers,
Brother Jerry Locke, of Fort Worth, Texas. Enjoy!
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13 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
Psalm 27:4 - "A Single Scripture For Staying In Church"

Introduction - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
The Bible contains powerful:
Books...Genesis, John, Romans, Revelation
Passages...Genesis 1; Psalm 23; Isaiah 53.
Verses...Too Many to List

Most all Scripture needs a context for correct interpretation. Isolated verses are often the source of misinterpretation and ultimately heresy. The fact is, most Bible verses are not intended to stand alone.

But there are some single scriptures that are so powerful, so clear, so complete that they are able to stand alone. There are three things we are intending to do with each of these “single, stand alone” scriptures.

Memorize...Psalm 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart that I might not sin against thee.” We will assign the scripture a week in advance to memorize.

Message...Organize and discuss these single scriptures.

Meditate… Psalm 1:2 ”But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”

13 - Single, Stand Alone Scripture Series
Psalm 27:4 - "A Single Scripture For Staying In Church"

Before I begin my message today I want to give you a very important “public safety” announcement.

If you regularly ride in automobiles, drive carefully because auto crashed are responsible for 20% of all fatal accidents.

Staying at home doesn’t help because 17% of all fatal accidents occur in the home. Avoid walking on streets or sidewalks because pedestrians account for 14% of fatal accidents. If you travel by public transportation such as air, rail, or water you should be aware that 16% of all fatal accidents involve some form of public transportation.

You will be pleased to learn that only .001% (one-one hundredth of a percent) of all deaths occur in worship services in church, and these are usually related to previous physical disorders. Therefore, logic tells us that the safest place for you and your family to be at any given point in time is at church! Attend church --- it could save your life!

The Lord has pointed me another single, stand-alone Scripture for our study today. Psalm 27:4: “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.”

The key to understanding this Scripture is in the middle phrase, “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord…” King David is the writer of this Scripture. What “house” does David have in mind?

Hold your place here in Psalm 27 and turn back to Psalm 23 and look at the last verse, verse 6. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” That’s heaven. This is the God’s house in glory, the eternal dwelling place of God. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions.” Only people who have been saved by Jesus Christ go to heaven when they die and then dwell in the Lord’s house in heaven forever.

Psalm 27:4 is not about heaven later; its about life here and now. “That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.” This is talking about God’s house of worship on the earth. God’s house during David’s day was the Tabernacle. David’s son, Solomon, later built the Temple which was God’s house on the earth in Jerusalem. God’s house in our day, since the ministry of Christ on this earth, is the Lord’s churches, the local assemblies. 1 Timothy 3:15 “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 the truth.”

David said he wanted to “dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life.” The Bible says that David was “a man after God’s own heart.” He was God’s model man. And God’s model man had something powerful and pertinent things to say about staying in church, the house of God.

1. Some people are saying the house of the Lord is obsolete. You know, like the Model T Ford or the manual typewriter or the rotary phone. Some are saying the church is irrelevant, outdated, and just not up to the task at hand.

Others say the church is optional. They say the church is for some, but not for everyone. There are millions of professed followers of Jesus Christ who are churchless Christians. They go to no church, they assemble with no fellowship, they worship at no location, they have no pastor, they give no tithes, they lead no souls to Christ. They occasionally tune into their favorite Christian television celebrity but are content to be CEO followers --— Christmas and Easter only.

My I help you understand something today. It is not up to us to decide the legitimacy of the house of the Lord. Jesus founded the first church during His ministry on earth, He called it “my church,” purchased it with His own blood, and when He returns at the rapture there will be churches He will claim as His own. Fads come and go ... organizations ... programs ... personalities ... movements ... surveys ... opinion polls, but there will be congregations of blood-bought, God’s fearing, Christ-honoring, Bible-practicing people that gather as God’s people in God’s House on God’s day to hear God’s Word and to do God’s work in God’s way.

The Priority of Staying in Church --- “One thing have I desired of the Lord…”

A graphic artist was hired to create a logo for a company. After several weeks of waiting a very simple logo was present with a bill of $5,000. The person in charge was shocked and asked how he could be billed so much for so little. The artist said, “The price is for knowing what to leave out!”

That a major problem for many people --- we don’t know what to leave out! Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “One thing thou lackest,’ Mark 10:21. To a frustrated Martha Jesus said, “One thing is needful,” Luke 10:42. The blind man who had been healed said, “One thing I know,” John 9:25. Paul said, “This one thing I do,” Philippians 3:13.

If something were said about most of us it would be, “These 100 things we dabble in.”

We need to make “staying in church” one of our highest priorities.

There are so many things that try to intrude into our church time—our work schedule, relatives, pee-wee football, cheer leadings, school, band. And when we drop one of those activities, something else takes its place. But beyond a priority, “staying in church” must be developed into a...

2. The Passion for Staying in Church --- ”That will I seek after…”

Good intentions are one thing, a holy passion is something all together different. Fewer and fewer people seem to have a priority and a passion for being in church.

I have a passion for fly-fishing. Its not a holy passion, but it is a passion. I don’t get to fly-fish but about two weeks in the whole year, but when I’m not fly-fishing, I’m thinking about fly-fishing. I have gotten up early in the morning to fly-fish in Colorado. I have driven hundreds of miles to fly-fish. I have walked many miles for many hours to fly-fish. I have camped overnight in a tent to fly-fish. I have spend considerable money to fly-fish. I have some of the best equipment money can buy to fly-fish. I have been cold and wet and hot and bone tired for fly-fishing. My office is decorated .. you got it, in fly-fishing gear. I absolutely love it. And I am pretty good at it. I couldn’t settle for less.

How is it that some people can be so passionate about fishing or golfing or sports or crafts or collecting or traveling or camping or visiting family or whatever -- at the expense of what should be their primary passion for the house of the Lord? Its all about the heart. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” Matthew 6:21. The reason the house of the Lord is no longer our priority and passion is because the Lord of the house is no longer our priority and passion. Like those of the church at Ephesus, many have “left their first love,” Revelation 2:4. The Bible says, “Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to thee…” James 4:8.

3. The Pattern for Staying in Church --- “That I may dwell...all the days of my life…”

And David’s wanted to “dwell” in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, not just on the Sabbath. When he wasn’t at the Lord’s house on the Sabbath, he was thinking about going to the Lord’s house. David wasn’t an occasional attendee. He was a regular.

There was no sense of duty driving David. He wanted to be in the house of the Lord because his heart was there.

Going to church does not save you, but if you are saved you ought to be in church. And that should be your consistent pattern. What kind of salvation did people get that is supposed to take them to heaven when they die but doesn’t take them to church while they are alive? I would check out that kind of salvation before it is too late!

One Sunday a month is not a pattern! Did you know that if you miss one service a month, every month during the year, that its like missing three months of work every year!

“Dwell” is like the word “live.” Its like asking, “Where do you live? Where’s your home?”

Without any apology I want to say that every true believer in Jesus Christ ought to have a church home. It is not God’s intention for Christians to go it alone. Many people are convicted by God that they need to get into church and they start attending, but never make the commitment to join the church. And after a while they slip back in their promise to get back in church and they only attend occasionally, but never join the church. They become occasional spectators, but not faithful participators.

Some need to join the church by baptism. When I got married 38 years ago Susan gave me a ring and I have been wearing her ring since then to signify our relationship. Simply wearing a ring does not make you married. Baptism does not save. It is a testimony that we have been saved. And to join a Baptist church you need to have Baptist baptism.

Others may need to transfer their membership from another Baptist church. Some people have membership in a church hundreds of miles from where they now live. “But grandma is buried at the church cemetery.” Hay, dig up grandma and join the church.

The Purpose for Staying in Church --- “To behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple…”

The house of the Lord is all about the Lord of the house. The Lord’s presence is far beyond this house, but in this house there is a special presence of the Lord. Jesus promised, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:20.

On the Day of Pentecost God filled His house with the presence of the Holy Spirit. When John saw the Revelation of Jesus Christ He was “in the midst of the seven candlesticks,” the seven churches, Revelation 1:13.

Ephesians 2:22 says the church is “a habitation of God through the Spirit.”

Ladies and gentlemen, when we are in church we are in the presence of God Himself!

Its not about a Place. The Tabernacle and the Temple were beautiful places. And this church has a beautiful place. And there is nothing wrong with having a nice, clean, comfortable place to come, but its not about the place.

Its not about the people. I believe with all my heart that some of God’s best people are right here, right now in this place. The fellowship of God’s people in this place is sweet. But if you fix your eyes on people you will eventually be disappointment. There are no perfect churches because there are no perfect people. Its not about the place. Its not about the people.

Its about a Person. Set your vision on the Lord and you will always be delighted! With regard to the Person that church is all about there are two words which define our assignment when we are at church.

Beauty. We come to church “to behold the beauty of the Lord.” This world is “beauty” crazy, yet they reject and ignore the One whose beauty is ageless and eternal. God is attractive. His beauty is compelling. And He puts that on display in His house through His mercy and grace and love toward His people. Church is about getting to know God better. It is spending time learning about how great, how good, how gracious, how generous He is.

How many know this? Going to church and sitting in a building cannot change us. So why do it? Because going to church can draw us closer to the One who can change us! Moses prayed, “And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us...” Psalm 90:17a.

Business. “To enquire in his temple.” This word “enquire” comes from a root word that means “to plow, to break forth.” The idea is that open our lives to the inspection of God. Going to church is not some light-hearted entertainment. It is where we do business with God about our souls.

The lost should inquire as to their soul’s lost condition and solution. God will only and always point you to Jesus Christ, the One and only Savior.

The saved should inquire of the Lord. Are their sins unconfessed? Are their areas of our lives unsurrendered?

This is why “staying in church” should be important for every person and every family—church is all about the Lord...worshiping the Lord, witnessing about the Lord, working for the Lord.

Body, mind, soul, heart, pocketbook, checkbook, calendar.

4. Two different people attending the same church service.

Building was too cold, too hot. Singer was off key. Preacher too loud. Service too long.

Great place. First special. Preacher is on fire. Time went by so fast.

What’s the difference? Its the heart of the person. Its about the focus.

“Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built. Then came the word of the Lord by Haggai the prophet saying, Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your ceiled houses, and this house lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have shown much, and bring in little; yet eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways. Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord,” Haggai 1:2-8.