Confessions of a Church: Rejoice

The Psalm writer wrote: Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law. As we come before a Holy God and hear
his word, may we have eyes open to the wonderful and fearful things from
his law. May it move us to repent and seek forgiveness, fear disobedience,
and live in light of the grace we have received. This is the word of God. It
is eternally true and applicable for all of life.

Deuteronomy 12:15-27 “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within
any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessing of the
Lord your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat
of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. Only you shall not eat the blood; you
are to pour it out on the ground like water. You are not allowed to eat within
your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your
herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill
offerings, or the contribution of your hand. But you shall eat them before the
Lord your God in the place which the Lord your God will choose, you and
your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite
who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in
all your undertakings. Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long
as you live in your land.

“When the Lord your God extends your border as He has promised you,
and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you desire to eat meat, then you
may eat meat, whatever you desire. If the place which the Lord your God
chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of
your herd and flock which the Lord has given you, as I have commanded
you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire. Just as a
gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you will eat it; the unclean and the clean alike
may eat of it. Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and
you shall not eat the life with the flesh. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it
out on the ground like water. You shall not eat it, so that it may be well with
you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight
of the Lord. Only your holy things which you may have and your votive
offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the Lord chooses. And
you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of
the Lord your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on
the altar of the Lord your God, and you shall eat the flesh.

This is the Word of the Lord.
If you’re familiar with prison ministry at all you have most likely heard of Chuck Colson. He told a story about one his experiences in prison. One day he sat down with an inmate in the cafeteria. He began to pray and thank God for his food when the inmate said, why do you do that? I don’t give thanks, I just dig in and start eating. Chuck replied, you know, I have a dog who does that. He never gives thanks, he just starts eating.

Are you thankful for your every meal? Do you just sit down and start eating? Do you give thanks for 2nd breakfast 11sies snacks? What about, for the time on the job that provided the money that it costs to purchase your 5$ per gallon of gas to go get the 5$ a pound hamburger? -For the government that took the money you worked hard for and gave it to all of the people that aren’t working -all of the people that haven’t heard the good news of God's word how it’s applicable for every area of life?

Do you rejoice at the opportunity to give a portion of your money to the Lord or is it just a routine? Are you on autopilot when the plate comes around? We’ve been reminded not to treat our salvation with anything less than fear and trembling but what about your giving and your service? You are a giving church -I’m not talking about just your currency. This and other passages speak directly to every area of life. And it’s the heart you need to be concerned about. Jesus quoting Isaiah 29:13 says to the Pharisees, these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.

Look around
There are people outside the camp that are not allowed to be here. Even if they tried they would not be able to participate in a way that would benefit them. People have all sorts of excuses why they don’t come to corporate worship. - the church just wants my money. Or I don’t have time. I can worship God at home. organized religion is not my style. -which translates into I don’t want to sacrifice.

The reality is, you’re going to sacrifice -the question is who will be the object of your sacrifices and will you rejoice? Will you be more like Chuck Colson’s dog or will you give thanks in all

For comparison, Chuck Colson’s dog never complained how cold the food was or how long it had been since he had quail.

Vs 18 and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God in all your undertakings (lit. The putting forth of your hand) everything you put your hand to.

1st Thess 5:16 Rejoice always, 17pray without ceasing, 18in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. We bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord. Give of your leftovers in an ungrateful way and you’ll likely be the result of what God does to those who are neither hot nor cold.

If you are able please kneel as we confess our sins to a just and Holy God
who is worthy of all praise.

Our Father who art in heaven, you are the great provider. You are our ever present help in times of need and you give abundantly to undeserving people. We have sinned against you by receiving what you have graciously given us in a flippant and cavalier manner. We have been disrespectful in the attitude of our giving. We have callus hearts that don’t rejoice. Please
forgive us. Give us clean hearts that give cheerfully and rejoice always. In Jesus name
we pray. Amen

Listen now to the comforting assurance of the grace of God, promised in the gospel to his church:
Acts 4: 24-28 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples devise futile things? ‘The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand
and Your purpose predestined to occur.

To all those who thus repent and seek Jesus Christ for their salvation, your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Lift up your hearts