The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, A they will grow like cedars of Lebanon; planted in the house of the lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalms 92:12-15.
These verses from Psalm 92 declare that we are, in fact, planted in God’s house. The call and purpose of a Christian is first and foremost to glorify God, and that should be the primary desire on which all our other desires are based. The Lord Jesus Himself lived with this same purpose – to glorify the Father. As I have already said in the previous chapter, my only aim in life is to please and glorify God.
One of the best ways to please God is recorded in John 15:8
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourself to be my disciples.
Barrenness in the things of God is a curse, and a barren life has no meaning and does not bless anybody. Jesus said in John 15:16 that we should bear fruit and that our fruit should remain.
The greatest joy of any ministry is not only to bear fruit but to see that fruit last. In the previous chapter I explained how important it was to be joined to the Lord in order to be able to produce fruit. In this chapter I want to share with you the basic principle which, if followed, will make you fruitful.
This chapter is not likely to be very popular – in fact, a lot of readers are going to wish heartily that it hadn’t been included in the book at all! Yet it lays out a profound truth which is greatly neglected among born again Christians.
Those verses from Psalm 92 tell us that the righteous who are planted m the house of the lord, will flourish in the courts of the LORD … and will bear fruit.
It’s essential that every born again believer is based in a church. Every ministry should be church based. Yes, you did read that bit correctly! With the backing of the Word of God, I cannot emphasize strongly enough that every ministry needs to be based in the local church.
I praise God for all the ministry that goes on in India and across the world. Praise God for all the souls saved through evangelism. But the fundamental aim of it all still remains that those who are saved should be added to the church. The church is the heart of God. The Lord said in Matthew 16:18: “I will build my church.” One day the Lord is going to come for His church. Many people involved in ministries are guilty of neglecting this principle. We are so busy building our ministries that we forget to build the church.
In the initial stages of my Christian life, a very dear friend of mine – Pastor Victor D’Monte of Bangalore who also conducted my wedding – shared this truth with me. It grew into a revelation that laid an important foundation for my ministry. He told me every ministry should be based in church, and one day 1 read for myself in Acts 13:1:
In the church of Antioch, there were prophets and teachers:. ..
The Word of God declares that the ministries of prophet and teacher were based in the church of Antioch, not outside of it. If there was a church at Antioch, then there is a church in Bellary, Bangalore, Mumbai, and so on. You can list those in your own country.
Some may say that we belong to the universal church, others that we belong to all the churches. And they are right. But we need to understand that the universal church is made up of local churches. My friend, whoever you are, you need to be committed to a local Bible-believing church. May be you think you want to belong to a church where you are comfortable, one where no one bothers when you come and go, where the Word of God is not preached or honored and where you don’t need to be under any leadership. But that is not the kind of church Jesus had in mind when He said: “I will build my church.” 1 have seen many servants of God doing injustice to their families by not being based in and committed to a local church. When the husband goes away to preach from city to city, leaving his wife and children at home, he is busy serving the Lord, but his wife and children are deprived of the fellowship and teaching of the Word which they would enjoy within a church. This leads to a spiritual imbalance in the family. An evangelist or a minister who is not committed to a local church cannot build the church of God. Nor can a pastor trust an evangelist who does not commit himself to a local church.
I am based in and committed to the Church of El-Shaddai in Bellary, which is led by Pastor Srinivasan. I have a perfect understanding with my pastor, who also happens to be my best friend. Since I belong to the family of El-Shaddai, I know the love and care of my brothers and sisters in that church and I am also blessed by their strong prayer support. I often have the privilege of sitting and hearing the Word of God there, which builds me up. When my ministry takes me out of the area, my wife and son have a place of fellowship where they are cared for and built up by the Word of God.
Many servants of God are so busy giving out the Word all the time that they have nowhere that they can go and be fed themselves. The result? Spiritual burnout. I find it a great blessing to have teachers and instructors to whom I am accountable and who care for me and correct me when I go wrong. The Bible says in Proverbs 13:20 (NASV)
He that walks with the wise shall become wise, whereas the companion of fools shall suffer destruction.
Proverbs also talks about a foolish young man ruined by adultery. What led to his ruin? Come with me to Proverbs 5:12 and you will say, “How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction! I would not obey my teacher or listen to my instructors. I have come to the brink of utter ruin in the midst of the whole assembly.”
Please heed this warning: if you don’t come under instructors and teachers you are in a dangerous position. The best place we can find these people who can help us is in the local church. Dear friend, if you have never put down roots but preferred to lead a maverick existence as a “church hopper”, I’m telling you today on the authority of God’s Word – it’s time you settled down and commit yourself to a local church.
Now a word to the dear pastors reading this book: it is your responsibility not to crush, or throw cold water on the vision of any person in a ministry based in your church, but rather build him up and nurture him so that he can fulfil the call of God in his life and be a blessing not only to the local church, but to the kingdom of God as a whole. Don’t feel threatened by any ministry based in your church – trust and encourage those involved in that ministry instead. There is no conflict here if we understand that there are different callings and respect the callings of others. Pastor Srinivasan, who is my pastor, never feels inferior or threatened by my ministry, or by any ministry based in his church. Instead, we have a mutual respect and understanding of each other’s calling and role in God’s kingdom. A lot of ministries are based in our church at
Bellary and they all have the prayer support of the
leadership and the congregation.
Finally, friends, remember – we are not independent, but we are interdependent.
Dare to be Planted in a Church.”
Dare to win!
From “Dare to Win” by Evangelist P.S. Rambabu. All rights reserved by the author. Reproduced by permission of the author.