I Love Thy Church, O God
Tony Chute, Interim Pastor
Introduction: Psalm 84 describes a longing to be in the “courts of the Lord,” the place where God’s people gather for worship. The psalmist’s sincere desire to attend worship is illustrated by his envy of the birds who nest there and his appreciation for those who serve there. The journey to gather with God’s people includes times of trial and showers of blessing, but neither deter the psalmist from continuing his pilgrimage. His arrival is marked by prayer and praise, and once again he is reminded that this world is not his home. He concludes the psalm by pointing others to the Lord Himself, who is the ultimate aim of the place where God’s people gather to worship.
01. We who love the Lord long to be in the place where His people gather for worship (v. 1-4).
02. Our challenges and provisions between gatherings do not deter us from worship but rather encourage us to assemble together (v. 5-7).
03. The weekly gathering of God’s people together – for praise, prayer and preaching – is a welcome reminder that this world is not our home (v. 8-12).
1. The Bible employs numerous images of the church. It is described as the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, the temple of God, and the people of God. What does each image imply about the church, its relationship to God, and our role in it?
2. Read John 4:1-26 and note how the conversation includes a question about where God is to be worshipped that is answered by how God is to be worshipped. What does it mean to worship God in “spirit and in truth”? Can you think of any examples where worship is not done in spirit and truth?
3. Discuss how you are edified during the week through reading Christian literature, or listening to Christian podcasts/radio, or meeting with a small group. In what ways do these actions supplement your faith? Why is it unhelpful to use these actions as a substitute for weekly corporate worship?
4. How is your week affected by the prayers you offer, the songs you sing, and the teaching you receive in church each Sunday? Do your co-workers and colleagues know that you are a Christian and that belonging to a church is very important to you? How would your life be different without the church?
5. Discuss the things that you love about this church in particular. What areas can you pray about that will help you love Northpoint even more?
For Further Reading: What Christ Thinks of the Church: An Exposition of Revelation 1-3, by John Stott (Eerdmans, 1958; Baker, 2003).