Today during a sharing, there was a interesting topic shared. Usually I would help to interprete it to English, but since I do not have the chance today, I would write it on my blog for my English speaking friends.

Introduction

In the book of revelations, Elder John saw a vision

“Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
  coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as
  a bride adorned for her husband. 
   And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold,
  the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell
  with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself
  will be with them and be their God.”- John (Rev 21:2-3

This vision tells us that in the last days, the tabernacle of the Lord will appear, John saw this new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. This tabernacle is none other than church of God.

Prophet Isaiah also saw this tabernacle in his vision

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
  That the mountain of the Lord’s house
  Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
  And shall be exalted above the hills;
  And all nations shall flow to it.
  Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
   To the house of the God of Jacob;
   He will teach us His ways,
   And we shall walk in His paths.”
  For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
  And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”- Isaiah (Is 2:2-3)

Over here Prophet Isaiah saw the church in the last days.  He called it the mountain of the Lords house, Jerusalem. This is why the fact that Christians could go to church is a blessing from God . It is the way to heaven, and God has created this path for everyone who desire to be saved by the Lord.

Sadly, many modern Christians regard the church as unimportant, they claim that as long as one believes in God, he would be saved. Back in my own church, we place emphasis on the importance of  coming to  church, as it is the starting point for one to begin walking on the heavenly path.

King David once wrote this in his Psalms

“ I was glad when they said to me,
  “Let us go into the house of the
   Lord.””- David (Ps 122:1)

This is the song of Ascents. It is one of the  hymn sang by Israelites when they come up to Jerusalem for the feast.  God required the Israelites to come up 3 times to Jerusalem to appear before God. As the Pilgrims are on their way up the mountain of Jerusalem, they will sing these song of Ascents. Each of these hymns carries a teaching, and something for us to learn. Ps 122 tells us that David is joyful whenever he come up to Jerusalem

Let us first consider “Why must Christians be joyful when they come to church?”

The Church Is The Dwelling Place Of God

There are many Christians who regards coming to church as a waste of time. But they forgot the fact that we are his people  and we go to church because it is a command from God.  So let us consider why is Israel joyful whenever they go to worship God in Jerusalem?

The answer is found in another hymn in the Songs of Ascent

“ For the Lord has chosen Zion;
  He has desired it for His dwelling place:
   “This is My resting place forever;
  Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”- Psalmist (Ps 132:13-14)

From this verse, it tells us why the Pilgrims came willingly, for they knew that techy are coming to the dwelling place of God. The mount Zion referred in verse 13 refers to the modern day church. For God has chosen his dwelling in the church. The Church is made up of people who worship him . He will abide with them forever till the end of time.

God has a reason to choose us to form his temple , his church let us be willing to go to church. Let us not just go there for the sake of fellowship but most importantly to worship him.

In order for us to come before God ,we need to pay attention in how we prepare to meet God in this temple.  Ps 23:3-6 gives us a few pointers in how one should prepare before going to the temple. Let us pay attention to Verse 4 –5

“He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
  Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
  Nor sworn deceitfully.
  He shall receive blessing from the Lord,” – Psalmist (Ps 24:4-5)

These verses remind us that in order to receive blessing, we need to have clean hands and pure hearts. These are things we need to take note whenever we come before God.

The Church is established with the hand of God

Let us consider another reason why the Israelites are glad when they come to Jerusalem. they came because it is a place to seek the words of God. The church is established by God. Just as what we read earlier in Rev 2:2. The New jerusalem came from God and is from heaven.

The church is not just an institution of man, it is build by God and it belongs to Jesus. Jesus established the church to give salvation to mankind, therefore we must be willing to go to it.

“Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together,” –David (Ps 122:3)

Over here it tell us that it is God who established Jerusalem, it is a city compact together. This means that it cannot be attacked easily. Jerusalem is a city that is surrounded by a wall, compact together. It prevents enemies from comming into the city.

Similarly, the church today is built by JEsus, and it is compacted together as well. Jesus himself is the wall that protects his church so that no enemies could penetrate it. Whenever we gather together within the church there is a sense of peace and security. IT allow our souls to be protected from external pressures which saps the life out of us.

Is 2:3 tells us what we ought to do when we are in his temple

“Many people shall come and say,
  “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    To the house of the God of Jacob;
    He will teach us His ways,
    And we shall walk in His paths.”
  For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
  And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” –Isaiah (Is 2:3)

Whenever we gather in church we ought to receive the words of God. For she will teach us his ways, and we shall walk in his path. We know that the word of GOd is a lamp to our feet, a light to our path.

In fact Paul also says that the word of God can bring spiritual wisdom to man. It can teach us the truth and the way to salvation. Therefore it is important for us to put in effort to listen and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the way of the Lord. Only than can the words of God edify us.

LEt us consider another reason why it is joyful to go up to Jerusalem

The Church Is Where Everyone Goes To Give Thanks To God”

“Where the tribes go up,
  The tribes of the Lord,
  To the Testimony of Israel,
  To give thanks to the name of the Lord.”- David (Ps 122:4)

Over here we know that there are many tribes who would come up to Jerusalem to worship God.  Even though they are different, but they all came to Jerusalem because of God. That is why they came to Jerusalem with joy, for they are gathered like a spiritual family.

Today in church it is just the same, today even though there are so many different races and people within the church, they are all one big family. They are purchased by the same blood and they are all the same in the eyes of God.

Through our fellowship within the church we care of each otehr, and give each other edification and encouragement, we are like one family, and that is why it brings us Joy to come together.

However, in Ps 122:2 it reminds us that our feet have to be within the gates of Jerusalem. The gate acts as a border and a separation between what is in the city and what is out of the city.

What should one do as he enter into this city of God?

There are 3 aspects that we ought to consider

Pursuing Holiness To Draw Near To God

Today in the church, there must be this separation between Holy and Unholy. It is important for us to stand within the gates of Jerusalem. For whenever we enter Jerusalem, we have come to a holy place.

That is why the Author of Hebrew reminds us

“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness,
  without which no one will see the Lord: “ –Author Of Hebrews (Heb 12:14)

Over here it reminds us to pursue  holiness, for it can enable us to enter into Jerusalem and come before the Lord. In order to come into the temple, one must be cleanse and be Holy. Most importantly, we must be holy int he heart

Something things in the world can easily defile us, it often defile us by allowing us to stumble in keeping the words of God. The things we read the things we see, sometimes affect our perception and resolve in following the owrds of God.

that is why we need to be vigilant as we conduct our lives on earth, let us not do things that will affect our relationship with God. If we manage to hold on to his words, God will always be ready to bless us.

To Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.

  Peace be within your walls,
  Prosperity within your palaces.””- David Ps 122:6

Over here it reminds us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. We need to pray for our church to flourish and prosper. We need to pray to the Lord to guide the church, to guide the leaders through the Holy Sprit so that God will to save mankind would be accomplish.

Then the church will always prosper, like sheep with a shepherd.

To Love Jerusalem

Psalmist also describes their joy of comming to Jerusalem.

“For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
  Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” –Sons of Korah (Ps 84:10)

Their words contains a teaching that all Christian ought to remember. A Day in the courts of God is better than 1000 days outside. This is true because withint he chruch one can build spiritual life and behold the glory of God. If we strive to enter it, God will give us his promise and he will abide with us, and he will take care of us forever, till the day we return back to heaven.

Conclusion

So far we have discussed 2 aspects of coming to church.

We discussed the question “Why is the Israelites Joyful when they come into Jerusalem?” This question is important as we need to know why we must be joyful as we come to church.

So far we know that

1. The church is where God chose to be his dwelling place

2. The church is built by the hands of God

3. The church is where we have fellowship and to build up and edify each other

Coming to church can help us to learn the ways of God and to walk wisely in the path of salvation. We can get the truth there and it can lead us all the way till we return to heaven.

At the same time, we talk about what we ought to do when we enter into the church.

We ought to

1. Pursue Holiness to be close to God

2. To pray for the peace and prosperity of Jeruslaem

3. To Love the church , for a day in it is better than a thousand outside

May we all be able to hold on to our faith till we reach the gates of heaven.

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