1 Peter 5:1-10, The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (2) Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (3) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (5) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (7) Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
1 Timothy 3:15, But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
This verse says that God says the church is:

1. The house of God. 2. Need to learn how to behave in it. 3. It is the pillar and the ground of the truth.

In all the things I have seen in 35 years of ministry and I have seen a lot and counseled a lot. One of the most important things I try to get people to understand and to teach them is to set spiritual priorities in their lives. Then make sure everything else works around those spiritual priorities. It can be done if a person Biblically understands the importance of spiritual priorities and does not try to rationalize their poor choices and inconsistent non spiritual behavior. The people who set spiritual priorities in their lives and are consistent in them always do well. Their children see the parent’s consistency and understand the importance and the conviction the parents put on spiritual priorities. They learn the spiritual priority principal and the importance of it in their lives. The children who see the consistent spiritual lives of their parents generally do well. The children who see the spiritual inconsistency of the parents and the lack of spiritual priorities is how the children grow up to run their life. They are generally worse than their parents. Their lives are spiritual disasters and they create much havoc in their lives and the lives of others. Sadly, it happens about 80 percent of the time. Of course, the parents wonder what in the world happened here? Non spirit controlled parent’s rear non spirit controlled children.

Several years ago we put the following on our church sign. “The church is a gift from God-assembly required-Hebrews 10:25.”

The church is a gift from God. It would be my hope that every Christian would see the church that way. It has been my privilege to pastor for more than 35 years and I have seen many different people attend the house of God.

I have seen those attend who thought they were God’s gift to the church rather than the church be a gift from God to them. I have seen those who have attended church for ulterior motives rather than service and worship to God. I have seen those who have fallen by the wayside rather than have a teachable useable spirit and destruction rules and reigns in their life.

Proverbs 13:13-15, Whoso despiseth the word (does not give proper attention to) shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. (14) The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. (15) Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

I have seen those who wanted to learn and be a great encouragement to others. I have seen those who thought God’s work would end if they were not in control of it. They never learn to submit themselves to the authority over them.

Hebrews 13:7, 17, Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

People who never learn to submit themselves always cause harm to the church and not good to the church or the people in the church.
How Do I Support The Local Church?

1. Look at it as the gift of God to my life. It is the place I am called to serve. It is the place I worship the living and true God.

2. Look at it as a place where I learn what God wants me to learn. If we have a life that has a submissive right spirit with God we will desire to learn. The Pastor is to feed me so I can learn. He is the shepherd. The Pastor must have a spirit that wants to: “Help them learn!”

1 Peter 5:2-4, Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; (3) Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

3. Look at the church as a place where each of us learns humility. Are you desirous to serve, then it requires humility.

1 Peter 5:5-6, Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (6) Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

4. Look at the church as a place to learn how to have a real relationship with God. This is a maturity issue, your spiritual maturity. www.hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com, How to Have a Real Relationship With God.
1 Peter 5:7-10, Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (9) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (10) But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

5. Look at the church as a place where you learn how to be faithful. Hebrews 10:24-25, And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

The Jews who had gotten saved had been following Old Testament law practices prior to salvation. Paul is raising the question with them not to try to go back under the law and to not forsake the assembling together of the saints for instruction and edification. It is the easiest way to apostatize by forsaking the house of God. They need to be faithful to the assembly to encourage one another, learn what they need to learn, and if they choose to go back to the old way after they have come unto the knowledge of the truth, then they leave God no other alternative but to judge their life. It is the same way for you and me.

Hebrews 10:26-27, For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
Be faithful and be an encouragement to others!

The Negative and Positive of My Church Attendance (Someone sent this to me back in 2008). I do not know who the author is, but I think it is helpful.

What My Absence From Church Did
1. It caused some people to question the reality of my faith.
2. It made some think that I was a pretender.
3. It made many think that I consider my spiritual welfare and that of others a matter of small concern.
4. It weakened the effect of the church service.
5. It made it harder for the preacher to preach.
6. It discouraged other church members and robbed them of a blessing.
7. It made it harder for me to resist the temptation of the devil.
8. It gave the devil more power and influence over lost people.
9. It encouraged me to become more irregular in church attendance.

What My Presence At Church Did
1. It caused people to have confidence in me.
2. It made people realize that I regard my spiritual welfare and that of others, matters of great importance.
3. It had a good effect on the services.
4. It made my friends feel more welcome.
5. It encouraged other church members and helped the pastor in his work.
6. It caused others to come to Christ.
7. It made my life stronger for another week.
8. It removed stumbling blocks for the sinner’s path.
9. It pleased God.
10. It caused others to say, “He practiced what he preaches.”

6. Support Your Local Church By Inviting Others.

When was the last time you invited someone to church? When was the last time you led anyone to the Lord? Have you ever led anyone to the Lord? Many people blame the church for that. If you’re local church has taught you how to lead people to the Lord and they should have done that, then you should know how to do so. If not ask the Pastor to teach you. Most of the time folks it is not a lack of instruction, but seeing the need to do so. If you are critical of others on this issue, ask yourself, “What have I done to lead others to Christ?”

7. Support your local church by Giving Regularly. Keep your commitments. Give when you get paid. Don’t give after everything else is paid. You give first and you do not rob God. People who are not mature enough to give regularly and systematically can never move up in service for God and should not.

2 Corinthians 9:6-8, But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (7) Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (8) And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
8. Support Your Local Church By Praying For and Supporting The Other Church Members. Get to know each other, be concerned for each other. You can tell a lot about body language. Have you ever noticed when a church has a handshaking time and there are people who never go to anyone else? Walk over and say hello! If your church has a time in prayer meeting where you can pray with people, pray with different people. Care enough to get to know other people. The difference is a selfish person verses a serving Spirit controlled person.

9. Support Your Local Church By Not Fellowshipping In The Negative. Every church has immature non Spirit controlled people who gossip, are negative, and nothing is ever right. You cannot be a Spirit controlled person and be involved in always finding fault and fellowshipping with people who are negative all the time. They can wake up when the sun shines and it is too hot! Or, it is too cold! Life is hard, drudgery, never good! They bring that attitude over to the church. They always have a better idea. They are never focused on the betterment of the church, or others, just their pride, selfishness, and themselves.

Psalm 15:3, He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.

Galatians 5:15, But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

Support your local church by being positive about it at home, in the community, and to others.

10. Support Your Local Church By Being On Time And Behaving Yourself In The Service.

Be on time for the services. Get there a few minutes early, find you seat, and get situated. Have time to go to the bathroom. Unless ill or it is and emergency stay seated during the service. Don’t be walking around. Don’t go outside! Don’t write notes to one another during the service. Show respect for the preacher and others around you! Sit up properly! Open your Bible and follow along. Do not whisper and talk to each other while the preaching and teaching is going on. Participate when you are called upon to participate in the service. (Do not take it personally when you are not called upon). Do not sleep, go to bed early enough on Saturday evening that you are alert on Sunday morning.

11. Support Your Local Church By Praying For the Services and The Preacher.

Pastors are human beings and so are their families. Pray for the pastor and his family. Ask God to use them and fill them today with His Spirit! Pray that God will speak to your heart today and others around you. Pray that the service will be glorifying to God in all aspects. Pray that you will be an encouragement to others. Pray for souls to be saved.

Most of all deal with any sin in your life and be a Spirit controlled person.