Sermon #1110 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GATHER IN HIS NAME?
Text: Matthew 18:20
Subject: The Purpose of Public Worship
Date: Tuesday Evening – October 12, 1993
In the past twenty-six years I have been in a lot of what we call “worship services.” I have heard a lot of sermons, some good and some not so good. I have preached a lot of sermons. But, as I began to think about coming here again and preaching another message, this question kept arising in my heart – Why? What have we come together for? What is our purpose, our desire our motive? Why are you here? Why am I here? As I thought about these things, one verse of Scripture kept ringing in my ears. Listen to these words of our Lord Jesus Christ – “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matt. 18:20).
What a promise! What a prospect! The Son of God promises that wherever two or three sinners come together in his name, ‘There am I in the midst of them!” Reading those words, my heart cries out to God, “that is what I want!” I hope we have gathered here this hour in the name of Christ. If we have, we shall have the glorious privilege and blessing of his presence! I am so tired of religious meetings of no profit and no value to our souls I loathe the thought of maintaining a form of godliness without the presence and power of God. I want, with all my heart, to worship in his presence. Don’t you?
Illustration: After Jacob’s vision in which the Lord revealed his purpose of grace to him, Jacob awoke and called the name of the place “Bethel” – (Gen. 28:15-17). He said…
· Surely, the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not.”
· “He was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place.”
· “This is none other but The house of God, and this is The gate of heaven!”
In that place where God meets with man, wherever it is, is the house of God and the gate of heaven. And our Lord said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them!” Like Jacob, I tremble at the thought of God’s presence. Yet, there is nothing I more greatly desire for us. This is the burden of my heart. I pray, that as we have gathered, he may be here in our midst (Ex. 33:15). His Presence…
· Awakens Dead Sinners (Lazarus!).
· Brings Forgiveness (The Harlot The Woman taken in Adultery)
· Comforts Troubled Hearts (John 14:1-3).
· Brings Peace (Where the Prince of Peace comes there is peace!).
· Gives Assurance – (Heb. 13:5).
There are church buildings and chapels on the corners of every street of every city in this country. But I wander, “Is there some place where God is meeting with men?” I want to be in that place. Maybe he will meet with us! Is that possible? Could the living God meet with us here? This much I know…
· The Place is Insignificant! – “Where.”
· The Number is Insignificant! – “Two or Three!” On one occasion more than 5,000 walked away and missed the blessing of his presence, but the twelve who stayed found it (John 6).
· Wealth and Religious Activity will not secure the Lord’s presence – (The Tower of Babel).
· Words and Prayers will not secure it (Matt. 6:7).
· An Orthodox Creed will not secure it (Rev. 2:1-4). Ephesus
· Religious Heritage will not – “We be Abraham’s seed!”
· Proper Church order and Ordinances will not – How then can we lay hold of the promise of Christ’s presence in our midst? The Simple promise of the text is that…
Proposition: Wherever two or three people come together in the name of Christ, he will be present with them.
Divisions: I want to try to answer this question – What Does It Mean To Gather In His Name? I have been seeking the answer to that question for a long, long time. I am sure much more could and should be said; but the Lord has shown me four clear answers to the question. What does it mean to gather in his name? It is to…
1. Seek His Glory.
2. Seek His Mercy.
3. Seek His Righteousness.
4. Seek His Sheep.
I. To Gather in Christ’s Name is to Come Together To Seek His Glory.
I am confident that this is where all true worship and all spiritual exercise begins. It must be done for the glory of our God and Savior – (Jer. 9:23-24; I Cor. 1:31; 10:31; I Pet. 4:11). His glory must be our goal, ambition, and chief concern in all things.
· Teaching and Preaching!
· Prayer and Praise!
· Giving and Living!
A. The Purpose of God in Predestination is His Glory (Rom. 9:20-24).
B. The Purpose of God in the Covenant of Grace is His Glory (Eph. 1:3-14).
C. The Purpose of God in Creation is His Glory (Rev. 4:11).
D. The Purpose of God in Providence is His Glory (Rom. 11:36).
E. The Song of The Redeemed in Heaven is His Glory (Rev. 5:9-13).
I realize that we are all creatures of flesh. We all bear too much of the earthly. But if we covet our Lord’s presence, we must seek his glory always, in all things – Not our Will! Not our Glory!
II. To Come Together In The Name of Christ is to Gather Seeking His Mercy (Heb. 4:14-16).
Moses said, “Show me now thy glory.” And God said “I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful!” (Ex. 33:18-19). “He delighteth in mercy!” (Mic. 7:18).
A. All who come into his presence while he was open this earth came Seeking Mercy.
· Not Justice!
· Not Recognition!
· Not Wages!
· Not Reward!
Just Mercy! The pure, rich, free, saving mercy of God Almighty in Jesus Christ! In the New Testament all who recognized who Christ is sought mercy from him.
· The Two Blind Men (Matt. 9:27).
· The Canaanite Woman (Matt. 15:22).
· The Publican (Luke 18:13).
· Blind Bartamaus (Mark 10:49). “Jesus stood still!”
· The Leper (Matt. 8:1).
· The Dying Thief – “Remember Me!”
B. Mercy is the one thing we must have from our Lord.
There is no communion with Christ on the ground of merit. God meets with sinners only on the ground of mercy! We want mercy! Have you come here seeking mercy?
· Psalm 25:5-7
· Psalm 33:18-22
· Psalm 51:1
Oh, may God be pleased to give us his mercy! “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed.
· Eternal, Covenant Mercy!
· Redeeming, Saving Mercy!
· Daily, Providential Mercy!
· Immutable, Preserving Mercy (Mal. 3:6).
III. To Gather in the Name of Christ is to Come Together as Helpless, Guilty, Justly Condemned Sinners Seeking His Righteousness (Jer. 23:5-6). “Thy righteousness, Lord, will I seek!”
A. There is A Course of Righteousness to be Followed (I Tim. 6:10-12; II Tim. 2:22).
B. But none of us are righteous and none can do righteousness before God – (Isa. 64:6).
C. We must have Christ’s Righteousness – (Matt. 5:20).
· Imputed To Us!
· Imparted To Us! (Heb. 12:14)
NOTE: Righteousness is not something man does for God. It is something God does for man!
D. We come to the House of God, to worship God, Seeking the Righteousness of God in Christ – (Rom. 5:19-26; Phil. 3:18-26).
· Blood Atonement!
· Complete Justification!
· Perfect Conformity to Christ!
IV. To gather in his name is to come together to seek His Glory – His Mercy – His Righteousness – And it is to come Seeking His Sheep.
In our Lord’s encounter with Peter (John 21:15-18), every time he asked, “Lovest thou me?” he exhorted him to feed his sheep. That fact tells me two things.
1. Christ’s sheep are near to his heart!
2. Love to Christ involves love to his sheep!
A. The Father gave the Son a people called “His Sheep” before the world began (John 10:16).
B. Christ died for his Sheep (John 10:11, 15).
C. All the Lord’s Sheep will Hear His Voice (John 10:24-28).
D. They will hear his voice through the voice of a Faithful Gospel Preacher – (Rom. 10:13-17).
We are on the trail of Christ’s sheep. We are seeking his sheep. That is our only business.
Application: May this place be Bethel! The house of God, the gate of heaven! (Matt. 18:20).
“When Christ saith, ‘I will be with you,’ you may add what you will – To Protect You – To Direct You – To Comfort You – To Carry on the Work of Grace in You – and in the end To Crown You with Immortality and Glory! All this and more is included in the precious promise – ‘I will be with you!” John Trapp