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I LOVE THY HOUSE, O LORD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, November 23, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).


Now, I want us to turn our attention to the words of King David, as I bring a sermon titled, “I Love Thy House, O Lord!” The text for the sermon is Psalm 26:8.

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

When David wrote those words, long before the time of Christ, there were no church buildings, like we have today. The Temple had not yet been built in Jerusalem. That place of worship was erected by King Solomon, David’s son. The house of worship spoken of by David in our text was the Tabernacle at Shiloh. My wife Ileana and I have been to that spot. We have seen the excavations and the outline of the foundation of the Tabernacle, where David went to worship God. It is concerning the Tabernacle at Shiloh that David spoke when he said,

“I have loved the habitation of thy house,”

I love the house where you live, O Lord,

“the place where thine honour dwelleth,”

the place where your glory dwells.

Today, in this dispensation, we no longer go to worship God in the Tabernacle at Shiloh. Nothing is left of that building but the excavation of its foundation. Today, in this dispensation, we no longer to go worship God in the Temple at Jerusalem. Nothing is left of that building, except a portion of a wall that once surrounded it, which is called the “wailing wall.” Today, in this dispensation, the house of God is the local New Testament church, which the Apostle Paul described as,

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (I Timothy 3:15).

And so, it is perfectly acceptable and hermeneutically correct to apply the words of David to a Gospel preaching church like ours, and to say with all of our hearts,

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

And we can say with Timothy Dwight, president of Yale University, and grandson of that great American preacher Jonathan Edwards,

[I love Thy church, O God],
   The house of Thine abode,
The church our blest Redeemer saved
   With His own precious blood.
(“I Love Thy Kingdom, Lord” by Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817).

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

I’ll be very honest and up front with you. I love our church! And I know you love it too!

I. First, why we love our church.

We love it because it is the habitation of God, the place where God lives in the hearts of His people. This building is not sacred, and we never say, nor do we believe, that God lives in the external edifice of this building. But God lives in the hearts of His people, and when we gather together here in this place to worship Him, we can rightly say that this is God’s dwelling place, this is His habitation! When the people who know their God are here, then God Himself is present, living within them, manifested in their praises in

“The house of God, which is the church of the living God”
      (I Timothy 3:15).

I love our church because God is here. In our hearts, in our songs of worship, in our prayers, there is a holiness and joy that you cannot find anywhere else.

Go out on the lonely, dark streets of this city, and you will see the truth of that. You will not find the holy joy and presence of God in those alleys or on those streets. Go into the big, multi-storied office buildings a few blocks away. You will not sense the presence of God. Go into the Staples Center for a basketball game, and you will hear a lot of noise, a lot of shouting – but you will not sense that God is present there. Go into a bar or a dance hall and you will see flashing lights and hear a lot of music – but you will come away empty, because the Holy God of Moses and Jesus and Paul does not manifest Himself, or show Himself, or reveal Himself in such revelry. It is to the church that you must come to feel after and find the reality of God and the meaning and purpose of life.

I love thy house, O God, because Thou art here! Thou art here in our songs and in our praises! Thou art here in our hearts – as we gather together for fellowship and communion! That’s why I love our church!

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

II. Second, what we love in our church.

We love the people in our church. We don’t love them because they look different from people outside the church. They look the same. But there is something altogether lovely about the people in our church. A person who is visiting us, who has never been here before, senses it. They often say to me, “Those people in your church are very special. They’ve just got something. There’s something wonderful about them.” They don’t know what it is, but I know what it is! God is in your hearts! That’s what makes the fellowship so sweet! That’s what I love in our church!

We also love the message of our church, the theme of our preaching, the subject we proclaim,

“That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”
      (II Corinthians 5:19).

We say,

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”
      (I Timothy 1:15).

We say,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

We preach Christ crucified, dying on the Cross vicariously – in our place – to pay for our sins. We preach the everlasting Gospel of Christ, the salvation of sinners through His atoning Blood! We preach the good news – that Christ has risen from the dead, that a man or a woman can come to Him by faith and be saved from the penalty of sin, and receive eternal life in Him. I love the message of our church!

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

III. Third, how we show our love for our church.

If you are a visitor here tonight, you may not fully understand the next thing I am going to say. But listen and perhaps a little of it will sink into your heart and mind.

We don’t show our love in words only. We could say a thousand times that we love our church and yet not really mean it. The Apostle James put it bluntly when he said,

“Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

We do not show our love for our church by words alone, but also by our actions, by what we do out of obedience to the Holy Scriptures.

We show our love for God’s house by praying for it. We show our love for God’s house by going to evangelism, and bringing lost and lonely people in to hear the preaching of the glorious Gospel of Christ. And, yes, we show our love for God’s house by giving sacrificially of our money, so that this church will be here to proclaim the love of God in Christ to lost and lonely people in the civic center of Los Angeles for years to come. And so we can say, with the sweet Psalmist, King David,

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Give of Your Best to the Master” (by Howard B. Grose, 1851-1939).


THE OUTLINE OF

I LOVE THY HOUSE, O LORD!

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the
place where thine honour dwelleth” (Psalm 26:8).

(I Timothy 3:15)

I.   First, why we love our church, I Timothy 3:15.

II.  Second, what we love in our church, II Corinthians 5:19;
I Timothy 1:15; John 3:16.

III. Third, how we show our love for our church, James 1:22.