gty.org/resources/sermons/80-340

Through the years of ministry here at Grace Church, there has always been an underlying attitude that has filled my heart and it is an attitude of love for the church. I love the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many things the Lord has called me to do and given me opportunity to do that I have done that do not come close to the privilege of serving the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. I could live without lots of things. I am thankful for the opportunity to give leadership to schools, to write books, to write commentaries. I'm thankful for the opportunity to go places and if only to touch ever so lightly down and preach a little while and go away again, which I have done through the many, many years of ministry.

But all of those things could be taken away from me and it would not touch me as to the true joy of my heart because my love is the church, the church of Jesus Christ. I love the church wherever I encounter it admittedly, whether I am fellowshiping with believers in Asia or Russia or wherever it is on the globe, whether in a primitive environment in the Andes Mountains, or a very sophisticated environment in Europe or with a small group or a large group, with a church of one of our seminary graduates, or some great event involving many churches and many Christians, wherever I go, the fellowship which I enjoy with God's people who are His church is a tremendous joy to me. I love the church.

But of all the church, I love this part of the church most. This group that God has assembled here through the years in this one place is the love of the church that exceeds all others. And that by virtue of the years and years of interaction and fellowship and mutual ministry and caring and living through all the experiences of life. All the rest of the things that I have done and do could be taken away from me and I would be left completely in tact if I were still here serving the church that I love.

As I said on the day of the fortieth, there has never been an impulse in my heart to go anywhere else. This has never been a job for me. This has never been a place to serve. This is...this has been the church, the segment of the church that the Lord has given to me....

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