In continuation of our series of messages on “Pathways to Divine Blessing,” we consider a fourth pathway, namely, membership in God’s family. In Psalm 65:4, the Psalmist said, “Blessed is the man whom You choose, and cause to approach You, that he may dwell in Your courts. We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house, of Your holy temple” (NKJV). This statement of the Psalmist is another way of describing God’s people generally or believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, in particular. There are a number of reasons for this.
One, they are described in the Bible as chosen by God (Deut. 7:6; Psalm 4:3; John 15:16;1 Cor. 1:26; Eph. 1:4; Jas. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:9).
Two, they are caused to approach or draw near to Jesus Christ by God the Father (John 6:37, 44), and to draw close to God the Father by the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:11-13; Heb. 10:19-22). Since the terms “courts,” “house,” and “holy temple,” stand for the place where the presence of God is manifested and God himself is worshipped, we can draw one inference from the phrase “that he may dwell in your courts.” It means to have the privilege of fellowshipping with God through worship, praise, and learning (Psalm 100:4;23:6;27:4;84:4, 10; Isa. 37:1; Mic. 4:2; Luke 2:36-37; 4:16; 24:52-53). This is a privilege reserved for true worshippers of God in the Old Testament and those who are true believers in God through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. “We shall be satisfied with the goodness of Your house,” can refer to the sufficiency of the benefits of membership in God’s family, the Church. One of the terms used to refer to the Church in the Bible is “the Family of God.” God is the Father, and all believers in Jesus Christ are adopted into His family and are known as His children, and brothers to one another (Deut. 14:2; Isa. 63:16; John 1:12; Rom. 8:15-17; 2 Cor.6:18; Gal. 3:26; 4:4-6; Matt. 12:50; Eph. 2:19; 3:14-15; Heb. 2:11). The place where the presence of God is manifested today is no longer a physical place of worship like it was in the Old Testament, but the lives of those who collectively make up the body of Christ, the Church today (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19-20; Eph. 2:19-22). One great way designed by God for the benefit of humanity is participation in the local church through effective membership of the same. Unfortunately many people, including several believers, do not appreciate this, and are, thereby, forfeiting these blessings. There are many benefits of participation in the local church. Acts 2:42-47 records the first meeting of the first local church, and from this passage seven benefits of participation in the local church are immediately apparent: instruction- “continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine; fellowship - “and fellowship”; observance of the ordinances - “breaking of bread”; corporate prayer - “prayers”; effective outreach - “fear came upon every soul”; common cause - “they had all things in common”; and mutual assistance - “divided them among all, as anyone had need. In addition to these, four others are: worship (Acts 20:7); discipline (Matt. 18:15-17; 2 Cor. 13:1-10); pastoral oversight (1 Peter 5:1-3), and obedience to God’s command (Heb. 10:25) guidance, direction.