Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Who Needs the Church?

Leslie Basham: If God's called you to do something, it's important. Here's Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: What are you doing? Observing the Lord's Supper, witnessing a baptismal service, discussing a pastor's sermon after church with your children, vacuuming the carpet in the sanctuary and the halls, setting up church for Sunday? You're helping God build a beautiful temple. It's called the Church.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, August 12th.

The problems of this world are so big, and our contributions are so small. Do you ever feel discouraged? Nancy's going to give us hope today in a series called Who Needs the Church? God can take our small contributions and add them up into something great.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There's a college named Concordia College that's located in Moorhead, Minnesota, way up in the cold regions there. This college has a fabulous choir that puts on a Christmas concert every year that attracts something like 20,000 people each year in different performances of that concert.

One of the unique features of those Christmas concerts is the production each year of a different twenty foot high by sixty foot wide painted mural that reflects the theme of that year's Christmas concert. The artist is a man named David Hetland. He designs the scene to go with that concert, and then he supervises more than a hundred volunteers who begin painting the mural in mid-October.

Now, you don't have to have any art experience or ability to be a part of this effort because it's a paint-by-number mural. The artist, the designer, David Hetland, goes over the entire work putting the final touches on it. Then they place it behind the choir, and it looks like this beautiful stained-glass window behind the choir.

So every year during the fall in Moorhead, Minnesota, dozens and dozens of unknown, ordinary, average people paint tiny, insignificant sections of this canvas. Weeks or months later the result is a spectacular, beautiful masterpiece.

Isn't that a great picture of the Church, the body of Christ? We have all these little, unknown, average people, that's us, painting these little pieces that seem so insignificant, not really knowing what part theirs will have in the whole when it's done.

But they are part of a much bigger exercise, an undertaking, an endeavor that is bigger than themselves. When it's all said and done nobody knows or really cares about the names of those volunteers. They know who the artist is. They know who the designer is. They see this beautiful masterpiece, and it's really secondary and unimportant who all the individual contributors were.

I think of the Church of Jesus Christ as a great, big mural, a masterpiece that God has designed, that God has allowed us to have a part of painting through all the ages, all the scenes. The Apostle Paul painted a part of it. Peter painted a part of it. James painted a part of it. Lydia in the New Testament painted a part of it.

Then George Whitfield and Jonathan and Sarah Edwards and other saints throughout history painted part of it. My dad got to paint a part of it, and now he's in heaven where he is witnessing the rest of us painting down here on earth, painting our little part. And those who will follow after us, should the Lord tarry, they're painting their little part. And God is making this great, big mural to display His glory in the universe.

The Church exists for the ultimate praise of the glory of God. We started this series in the book of Ephesians, a book that talks about the splendor and the wonder of the Church, capital "C," as God designed it to be. Ephesians 1 tells us that in eternity past God chose us as His people. He adopted us. He sealed us with the Holy Spirit.

He put us into the Church. Why? So that we should be to the praise of His glory. Three times in Ephesians chapter one you see a similar phrase, "to the praise of His glory." I can just imagine the "oohs and ahs" in that great auditorium there on the campus of Concordia College as the mural is unveiled, and it's spectacular.

Can you just imagine the "oohs and ahs" resounding throughout the whole universe when God's mural of the Church is complete. The saints and the angels, the citizens of heaven and those creatures in heaven and they look and they see, "Wow, the glory of God, the splendor of God displayed in His Church."

In fact, the book of Revelation describes the end result to us, what it will be like. And let me just read to you from the last few chapters of Revelation something of that description because I want it to give you a taste of what's ahead and why we labor today painting our little, insignificant spot on the mural, filling our little, insignificant role.

Why does it matter? Because here's what's coming: Revelation 19:6, "Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure'-- for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints" (verses 6-8).

Then Revelation 21, verse 1: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.' And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new'" (verses 1-5).

"Then came one of the seven angels," verse 9 " . . . spoke to me, saying, 'Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal" (verses 9-11).

"And I saw," verse 22, "no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb . . . and its gates will never be shut by day--and there will be no night there" (verses 22, 23, 25).

And then chapter 22, verse 3: "No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever" (verses 3-5).

That's what we have to look forward to--that great picture. We can hardly imagine it now. We just see our itty, bitty piece of it. But we're in a process. God is building something, designing something, making something for His glory, to show off the splendor of His glory.

Sir Christopher Wren was a famous, British architect in the 1600s who designed and built Saint Paul's Cathedral in London. Perhaps you've been there and seen it. That cathedral took a decade to design and almost forty years to build.

The story's told that one day Sir Christopher Wren was taking a tour around the construction site. He asked one of the masons, "What are you doing?" The man replied, "I'm cutting stone for ten shillings a day." Then Sir Christopher asked a second workman, "What are you doing?" He responded, "I'm carrying stones to build a wall."

Finally, Wren asked a third man, "And what are you doing?" The man stopped what he was doing, he looked up, and he said, "I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful cathedral." There's a man who had a vision for the finished product, a vision for the whole. He saw how his little part fit into the whole.

So let me ask you, "What are you doing?" Working in the nursery, teaching a children's Sunday school class, working in AWANA, cooking at a church breakfast, filling communion cups, giving to support missionaries that are sent out by your church, visiting a shut-in who can't get out for church, praying for your pastor, mentoring a young mom?

What are you doing? Observing the Lord's Supper, witnessing a baptismal service, discussing a pastor's sermon after church with your children, vacuuming the carpet in the sanctuary and the halls, setting up church for Sunday, praying with a single mom who's struggling to raise teenagers? What are you doing? You're helping God build a beautiful temple. It's called the Church, the Church of Jesus Christ for the praise of His glory.

You know, when Christopher Wren died he was actually buried under the cathedral he had built. But we serve a living Lord. The architect and designer of this temple will never die. We're building a temple for God to live in, and according to the Scripture, one day we will live with Him there forever. That's why we need the Church. It's all about Him. It's all about the praise of His glory.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been calling each of us to be faithful, even if our roles seem so small. She'll be right back to pray. Today's program wraps up a series called, Who Needs the Church?

If you've missed any of the programs, you can order a CD of the entire series. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959. You'll learn why being involved in a church is important, and you'll get some tips on how to invest more in the body of Christ. You can also order by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also donate online. We come to you everyday because listeners give what they can.

We see the principles Nancy just talked about everyday. Listeners give what they are able to give, and God puts it together for His glory. If you've gotten a lot out of Revive Our Hearts and want to share it with other people, give us a call at 1-800-569-5959 or donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Would your husband rather receive a romantic gift or an authentic compliment? Now before you answer, listen to our program next week. We'll hear from Shaunti Feldhahn and Barbara Rainey. Here's Nancy to lead us in prayer.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Thank You, Lord, for the wonder of Your Church. And I say again, "Oh, Lord, I love Your kingdom. I love Your Church. I love Your people." I am amazed sometimes that they could love me. And I am even more amazed that You could love Your Church, Lord Jesus, the way that You have and lay down Your life for it.

So Lord, give us the heart that You have for Your Church and help us in the ins and outs and daily life of service in the church to have a long-term vision of what we're doing, what it's about, and to be reminded that it's all about Jesus.

Thank You for the day when that great, big mural will be unveiled. All the angels, citizens, and saints of heaven will bow together and say, "Hallelujah, the Lord God Almighty reigns." In His Church His glory has been revealed. And so, Lord, we pray that Your glory will be seen in Your people, in the Church, now and forever more, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.