I believe we know that to create something you need a pattern to follow. When this building was being built, they followed a pattern, it is called a blue print. Can you just imagine the results of this building if there were no plans? The building might go up in a fashion but it is also true that it would fail to stand. We would be asking each other what went wrong. We told them to just build with no idea where the light switches were to be put, or where the water heater would go. I think we can all see it would just be a mess and unusable and a complete waste of time and money.
God does understand that we needed a pattern to follow. He did not fail to let us know that there is a pattern to follow. Surely, we remember that God gave Noah a pattern to build the ark. Noah knew he had to follow the plan as God laid it out or he and his family would be lost with all the other people of the earth.
God gave the people of Israel a plan to follow, that is found in Exodus chapter 20. “Then God spoke these words.” They were to follow that pattern. The building of the tabernacle had a precise pattern. What was in each part and who could go where. The pattern is found in Exodus in chapter 25 and the chapter that follows.
In the New Covenant, God has also given us a pattern to follow and it is precise. It tells us how to treat others, it tells us how to love, it tells us who to put first in our lives and it tells us how we might get to heaven. There is a pattern to follow, there is only one pattern and that pattern comes from God and not the thoughts of man.
To understand what the pattern is, we need to read the blue print. There are no change orders in God’s pattern. It is to be followed as written by the inspiration coming from God. This pattern was given to the first century Christians and it the same one we have today. That pattern was given to the Jews who had come to Jerusalem to worship. That pattern is given to us starting in the Book of Acts in chapter two. When the apostle John comes to the end of the Book of Revelation in 22:18-19. He warns the people not to add to or take away. Remember John was there in Jerusalem with Peter and the rest of the apostles in Act chapter two. Follow the whole pattern God has given to us.
As I ponder over things in this life and the things I should have done, it does make me aware of the fact that I still can do the things I should have done long ago. The thing that comes to my mind first is that I should have been much more thankful for what I was blessed with. When the inspired writer of Malachi writes in 1:2 is say this, “I have loved you,” says the Lord, But you say, “How have you loved us?” The Jews of the Book of Malachi were not very thankful for what God had done for them. Even through this is written to the Jews, it still can apply to us today. Are we thankful for all that God has done for us? Or do we say I am not very blessed, just look at my situation in this life. We all just need a calculator to start numbering all that our God has blessed us with and be so thankful. I understand it today but as I was growing up I should have been more thankful for my family. I was very blessed to have parents who really loved me and gave their all to make me the person that I am. Not only my parents but my whole family, grandparents, uncles and aunt and cousins. As I look back in time when all these members were here, I should have been even more thankful. You really don't understand these great blessings until you don't have them any longer. Most of us could relate to this and understand how we have been blessed, be thankful.
In my youth I was blessed by a great church family. Elders and preachers who were great examples but I should have been more aware of how much they loved me and taught me about God. And the little old lady who told me the story from the Bible that I still remember, Alice was her name. I wish I could tell them all thank you for helping to form this person called Jack.
The things that should never come from me at this point in life is that I am ungrateful for all the blessings that come from our God. Our God has given His Son to me. God has given us the hope that carries us thru every day, He will bless us with the hope of heaven if we are true and obedient to Him.
I am thankful.
This very old song still inspires us today just as it did when it was written. The song itself comes from a time when our nation was divided by Civil War. It was a time when people really needed to be guided by our God, just as we do today. If you look at all four verses you will find that the words “He Leadeth Me” are used eight times. The point being that Our God should be leading our every step. I do wonder if this was the case, what this world would be like. Much of the time these days, God’s leading hand is forgotten. He has blessed us with these words to live by but they are rejected because it’s not what we want to do, no one tells me what to do. This is what had happened in the Book of Malachi. God tells the people, He loves them, and they say “how?”
In the Book of Psalm chapter 139 starting in verse 1 - it reads,
“ O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will LEAD me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.”
The Lord is there to LEAD us, but we have to take hold of His hand so that He can. God Has blessed us with His Word, the Bible, to Lead us and it will not fail. He leaded me: O blessed tho’t! O words with heav’n-ly comfort fraught! What e’er I do, where’re I be. Still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
I heard of a story about a rich man who would go to his banker the first of the year and ask this question. “I died last night, now tell me how my estate stands,” When I think about this illustration, I wonder if each Christian should take an account of his life each morning and ask the same question, “I died last night, now where do I stand?” Don't we all want to be like Stephen who, when he was being stoned to death, could be sure enough of his life to say; “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” Acts 7:60. Stephen knew where he would be the next morning. Let’s look at a few questions we might ask about our own lives.
Did I obey the Gospel?
This question is first because we have heard so many stories of people who were going to obey the Gospel. If we could only ask those people who put it off what they would do if they had another chance, I am sure their answer would be different, don’t you? We heard of happenings like this, but it seems we always think it will happen to the other person. Remember... You died last night.
Was I faithful to the Lord?
Two men met on the street one day and, as was customary to do, one greeted the other man with a question, “How is the Lord treating you?” The reply was, “The Lord is treating me great!” The next question really made the man think, “How are you treating the Lord?” Sometimes we think in our own mind, I have been baptized and now I’m on my way to heaven. I am not trying to take away God’s grace or one’s assurance of salvation, but James tells us that our faith apart from works is dead, James spends half of a chapter on this subject. James 2: 14-26.
Have you ever thought you were dying? Most of us have been in situations where we thought this is it. And if we had time to think, would we be saying I will change my life, just get me out of this mess and I will be a faithful Christian. Just remember you died last night and cannot change a thing. You are still living if you are reading this. Now is the time to serve the Lord while you still can… Amen
As we draw closer and closer to the time when we will have a new facility where we can assemble for worship or other spiritual activity, as well as gather for “family” time or fun, I am reminded of a similar endeavor undertaken many years ago, which the Holy Spirit had recorded for us to consider—in 2018! (Romans 15:4)
“And Bezalel and Oholiab, and every gifted artisan in whom the LORD has put wisdom and understanding, to know how to do all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, shall do according to all that the LORD has commanded. Then Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work. And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning. Then all the craftsman who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded us to do.’ So Moses gave a commandment… and the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” (from Ex. 36:1-7: Provisions for the Tabernacle) (NKJV)
“Then King David said to the entire assembly: “…the work is great; for the temple is not for man, but for the LORD God. Now with all my ability I have provided for the house of my God…Moreover, in my delight in the house of my God, the treasure I have…I give…over and above all that I have already prepared for the holy temple…Then the rulers of the fathers’ households, and the princes of the tribes of Israel, and the commanders of thousands and of hundreds, with the overseers over the king’s work, offered willingly. And for the service for the house of God they gave…Then the people rejoiced, because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the LORD with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly.” (from 1st Chron. 29:1-9: Provisions for the Temple) (NASB95)
Let’s prayerfully consider these scriptures as we look to a time when we may be called upon to offering our “gift” of love, be it monetary or otherwise, to ensure the completion of a tremendous investment into the future of this congregation. We recognize that the facility is not the temple of old. It is, nevertheless, a place that helps to facilitate the work of this church. The Ripon church of Christ, a Family of God, rooted in Christ, is a congregation of the LORD’s church that is dedicated and committed to doing our absolute best for Him! We are on the brink of realizing an enormous blessing and can be confident that God will continue to bless us for our generous hearts!
13397 West Ripon Road, Ripon CA 95366