Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Makes A Pastor Thankful

Temple Baptist Church - 4-29-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2


A.  Thessalonica was the capitol of the second district of Macedonia.  As Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, a church born in great persecution, he showed a true pastor’s heart. 

2 Corinthians 8:1-2  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

B.  Paul had started churches that later turned away from him so, to see a church that remained faithful to the Lord as well as its beginning brought a rejoicing to his heart. 

2 Timothy 1:15  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

C.  I too, as a pastor, have much to be thankful for:

1.  That the Lord saw beyond my desires and placed me in the right church.

2.  That my family has been able to remain in the same church for over 28 years.

3.  That I happen to be the pastor of the best people on earth and would not trade one of you for anything.

D.  And I “give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in” my prayers.  Over these years, we have seen many come and many go, we have married and we have buried, we have seen some leave right and come back right, we have weathered storms and found that “The Anchor Holds!”

E.  As a people, we (I include myself with you) have:              

1.  We have continued to remain true to the Scriptures: the King James Bible. Jeremiah 6:16  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein(To do such has never been popular but it has always been right and I commend you.)

2.  We continued to remain unified as a church body.  1 John 3  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  (We have truly weathered storms from within as well as from without.  I have always told our two sons that, regardless of what comes, if you have a family that loves you, you are blessed.  We are blessed.)

3.  We have continued to do a great work for the Lord in our small church.  Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  (2-3 million dollars have gone out of this church to the mission fields.  We continue to faithfully witness in our community.  God does not and will not forget!)

4.  We have continued to maintain a great testimony and witness in our community.  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.  (As a church, we can hold our heads up in this community.  Our church is well known and well respected because our people are good Christians and the salt of the earth.)

5.  When have continued to worship in the beauty of holiness instead of the paths of worldliness.   Psalms 96:9  O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.  (We see traditional churches all around us opting for Contemporary Praise Services.  Our music is right; our musicians are right; our specials are right.  Our appeal is to God, not to the flesh and the Lord is pleased!)

6.  We have continued to make our church the house of prayer.  Ephesians 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  (We pray often during the course of the services.  Our people pray over the prayer lists.  Our people pray for each other as well as our missionaries.)

7.  We have continued to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  2 Thessalonians 1:3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;  (Our people are knowledgeable concerning the Scriptures.  The Bible is so much more than just something to be carried to church.  Our people spend time reading, hearing, and rightly dividing it.)

8.  This one is a little different but you have continued to “put up” with me!  When I think of and pray for our people, I always know that my family is blessed and happy to be a part of this great church.

John The Baptist - The Voice Of One Crying In The Wilderness - God’s Messenger

Temple Baptist Church - 4-26-2015
Matthew 11:11

Introduction:  Matthew 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

A.  The Old Testament ends with a curse while the New Testament ends with a blessing.  The reason being the rejection of God’s prophets by the nation of Israel.  Matthew 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

B.  The Book of Malachi began what is called the “400 Silent Years.” 

1.  These were the years between Malachi and Matthew where there were no “inspired” writers.  The Old Testament Cannon was complete and the Messiah long awaited. 

2.  But Israel had quit looking for a sacrifice and was now looking for a King to once again deliver them from the bondage of Rome.  Throughout the Old Testament, the blood of animals was applied to the Mercy Seat as an Atonement until the Lamb of God would come and take away the sin of the world.

3.  Religion had replaced salvation; the Pharisees and Sadducees had replaced the prophets; and the people, for the most part, had lost hope.

C.  There have been many important people in the Bible but the entrance of John the Baptist was one of the most significant!  For 4,000 years, mankind had been awaiting the coming of Messiah.  John the Baptist was the forerunner of the First Advent, the birth of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

D.  John the Baptist was the “link” that bridged the gap between Old and New Testaments. 

1.  He was the “voice” of God!  He was the “voice of ONE crying!”  As Israel slept and the religionist Pharisees and Sadducees came to power, there was no longer many to “voice” Messiah’s coming.  Few were there to greet the Son of God at His birth and few to observe His death, burial, and resurrection.

2.  This is truly prophetic of our day as Christians sleep and the “voices” heralding the Second Coming have quietened.  America, once heralding the Word of God and heeding its teachings, is now drifting into the spiritual darkness as Israel did so long ago.  Religion has replaced salvation; performers have replaced preachers; entertainment has replaced worship; and worldliness has replaced the beauty of holiness.

E.  I read this and do not know who to credit:  John’s coming heralded a new day.  As the herald of Jesus Christ he, was the connecting link between the Old and new Testaments.  John closed out one era and ushered in another.  Shadow would become substance; prophecy would become fulfillment; the focus would shift from Sinai to Calvary; the Gospel, salvation and the church would come front and center; and the Gentiles would be included in the family of God.

F.  John came into a hostile, godless world.  “Darkness” is the one-word description of the times given by Scripture of the days of John.  Luke 1:79  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 

In our day, preceding the Second Advent, we find the same condition: no light (darkness), no hope (shadow of death), and no peace (the way of peace).

G.  What did the coming of John the Baptist represent?

1.  The grace of God in His dealings with Israel.  Psalms 78:38  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

a.  God would have been perfectly just to cut Israel off forever.  They had seen God’s miracles; they had been sent God’s prophets; and they had God’s Word! 

b.  In our day, God would be just to cut America off forever.  Our nation was founded on God and biblical principles; has had some of the greatest preachers to ever walk in shoe leather; and have had God’s Word for all of our nation’s existence.

c.  But God is a God of love, grace, mercy, and longsuffering!  He is better to us than we deserve and He is better to our nation than it deserves.

2.  The goodness of God in sending His messenger.  Isaiah 40:1-3  Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  (2)  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.  (3)  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

God is now sending comfort, forgiving iniquity, and preparing the way for the Messiah.  Instead of chiding with Israel, God comforted them with His prophets.  God does the same with America.  In the midst of darkness and rejection, God’s men still are able to preach His Word.

Malachi 4:1-6  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  (2)  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (3)  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.  (4)  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  (5)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  (6)  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Matthew 11:13-15  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.  (14)  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  (15)  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

3.  The faithfulness of God to His promises.  Galatians 4:4-5  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (5)  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Jesus Christ came the first time on time and He will come again on time!  God’s faithfulness to His promises is not based upon our faithfulness to Him.  In Genesis 3:15, God promised the coming of the “seed of the woman,” which was Jesus Christ.  We fail but God never fails.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

2 Timothy 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

4.  The way of repentance and faith for salvation.  Matthew 21:32  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matthew 11:11  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

True Mission Churches

Temple Baptist Church - 4-19-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10


A.  Several times in the New Testament, we find the Apostle Paul described the churches that he started.  These epistles were written for a couple of reasons:

1.  To encourage this young churches to maintain their quality through faithfulness to
God’s Word.

2.  To set a biblical example for the spiritual generations to come to follow.

B.  Though we live almost 2,000 years later, God’s will for the structure, authority, and outreach of the local change has never changed.  So many churches are now closing their doors both at home and on foreign fields.  My question is “what happened to bring these churches to the point of quitting?”  I believe the answer to that question can be answered in first few verses of this little epistle.

1.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer Obedient to the Person who owns it.  Vs 1.  “In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  To be in the Lord is a place of disobedience, discomfort, and division.

a.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, they fail to be His churches.  We have a Manuel by which to structure and operate the local church.  Local churches are to be built and maintained through the vigilance of its pulpit and members.  I once had a sticker on my car’s bumper that read, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” 

2 Timothy 4:5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

b.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, there is no grace to endure.  Churches will always have their problems, both internal and external but they are given to grace to endure.  I wish bad things did not have to happen to good churches but they do.  When the local church wants to be God’s church, there is the grace to endure everything and overcome everything that Satan can throw at it. 

2 Timothy 2:1-3  Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2)  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  (3)  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

c.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, there is no peace from God.  Even in the worst of times, God gives His peace to His children.  God’s peace is a peace that remains through the storms that come.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

2.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer Obedient to the Purpose for which they are founded.  Vs 3.  “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.”

a.  Churches are to be a work of faith.  I know that we are to be good stewards of what comes into the local church but there is a fine line between stewardship and faith.  Our church has hopefully learned the blessing of giving instead of hoarding!  Money is to be used, not stored up for a “rainy day.”

Acts 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.  (Here, Paul quotes a verse spoken by the Lord but not recorded in the Gospels.  It is a verse that was quoted while Paul was still a lost man.)

2 Corinthians 8:1-5  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  (3)  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 

b.  Churches are to be a labor of love.  I fear that the work of the Lord has become a burden to many instead of a blessing.  The local church is the Lord’s and the work of the local church should be a privilege and blessing.

2 Corinthians 8:4-5  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  (5)  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

c.  Churches are to be patient in hope.  Trials and hard times are often long ones!  We always hope and pray that things will get better quickly but, too often, this is not the case.  Winters in the local church can be long and hard but God expects us to see it through to the end.  We know what time it is spiritually and we also know that the Lord is true to His promise: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:3)

Titus 2:13-14  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  (14)  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

3.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer obedient to biblical principles.  Vs 8.  “your faith to God-ward”

a.  Churches are to be self-supporting.  Indigenous mission churches, for the most part, are a thing of the past.  Indigenous means “home grown!”  God full well understands the monetary plight of these mission churches!  Most churches on foreign fields are built with American funding.  In biblical New Testament Missions, churches began in the homes of people and, as they grew, they took care of their own expenses.  Modern missionaries immediately begin to solicit funds from supporting churches for most if not all of building expenses.  The people need to be vested in their own churches.  If they live in huts, they can build one to worship in.  This is not harsh but if everything is bought and paid for by American dollars, then the people have no heart for the work.  Many pieces of property and the buildings upon them are owned by mission boards.  When the missionary leaves, the church folds in spite of Philippians 4:19!

b.  Churches are to be self-governing.  The missionary is the pastor until such a time as the Lord raises up a national or indigenous pastor.  If and when the missionary leaves or can no longer remain in a “Christian hostile” nation or environment, then the church remains able to function according to God’s Word.

The Accountability Of Creation

Temple Baptist Church - 4-19-2015
Psalm 19:1-6


A.  On a trip to the Atlantic Ocean, I sat and pondered the vastness of the body of water. 

1.  Its size (71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water with 97% of all water in the oceans and seas), purpose (earth’s water purification plant), plant and animal life, and importance to human life and was once again filled with awe at the greatness and wisdom of our Creator, Jesus Christ.  From horizon to horizon, nothing but water, wind, and waves. 

2.  The great ocean, “foaming out its shame,” leaving soap-like bubbles in its wake as the great waves receded.  A ceaseless agitator of water and brine that purifies our planet.  I thought about the delicate balance of nature as the hunter becomes the hunted with each and every plant and creature necessary to the complete life of each other.  Nothing in God’s creation is without purpose or place and all works in a perfect harmony that no being other than God could make.

B.  It caused me to ponder the earth in all of its glory and wonder. 

1.  As in the oceans and seas, so is the perfect balance of nature upon the dry land.  The mountains and valleys, the animal and plant life, all rivers returning to the sea from which they came. The gentle rain and warmth of the sun.  The necessity of four seasons for the earth to prune and replenish life.  Nothing without purpose; nothing unnecessary, nothing to be improved upon. 

2.  Man in all of his perfection, wonderfully and fearfully made!  His intelligence and ability to rule of God’s creation.  Man, made different from the animals in that he is a trichotomy: body, soul, and spirit.  His ability to reason with logic and define his one future with his intelligence. 

C.  I looked up at God’s heaven and saw its vastness and brilliance. 

1.  Scientists say that there are 300-400 million stars with a possibility of over 1 trillion in the Milky Way Galaxy in which we live.  Possibly 100 billion planets in the Milky Way alone.  It is possibly 180,000 light years in diameter.  One light year is app. 6 trillion miles.  Scientists estimate that there are over 500 billion other galaxies in the universe but readily admit that it may be limitless!

2.  Every planet, every solar system, every galaxy perfectly synchronized to run as no Swiss Watch ever could.  Perfect in its design and harmony.  Beyond our capability to understand, much less explore!  With the discovery of every new galaxy, its vastness hides from view countless others. 

3.  A trillion times a trillion times a trillion times a trillion light years of travel would only touch the “hem” of this vast universe in which we live!   When I look up, I see more than stars and planets, I see the wisdom and hand of an Almighty Creator!  Why did God make our heavens so big when we can only see such a small amount of stars?  I guess to confound and convince even the most ardent unbelieving scientist that only God could have made it.  Also, God spanned it with His hand to show how far you and I would have to walk to take ourselves out of His hand!  (John 10:29)

D.  I thought about the human body.  Psalms 139:14  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; andthat my soul knoweth right well.

1.  Doctors are still just “practicing” medicine because their theories and tactics are constantly changing.  I will not go into the facts concerning the human body but it is a marvel with all of its parts and design. 

2.  To watch a child grow in its mother’s womb from microscopic to that beautiful child that you hold in your hands should be enough to convince even the most skeptical of men that there is a God!

E.  I thought of the utter foolishness of man’s wisdom and science falsely so called.  It takes more faith to believe in evolution that it does creation.  Evolution would be a much greater miracle than a God who designed it all.  No wonder the Psalmist said, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”  (Psalm 14:1)

1.  The Account of God’s Creation is found in “In the beginning God!”  These four words are the greatest statement in all of theology!  Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

a.  The Bible is correct in every aspect and can be relied upon without question: it is historically correct, it is scientifically correct, it is medically correct, it is geologically correct, it is archaeologically correct, it is geographically correct.  Its prophecies are all correct.  It was correct in all of these areas before the knowledge of man “discovered” them. 

b.  It is also correct in its account of creation because evolution, which denies intelligent design, has not worked nor can it ever work.  Creation is proven not only through the vastness and perfection of all things but also through the harmony in which all things exist.

c.  In the first two chapters of the Bible, God said everything that needed to be said about the beginnings of the earth and its universe!

“This Book is the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s character. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure.” ~Copied

2.  The Act of God’s Creation is found in “And God said, Let there be.”  Here we find the power and scope of the spoken Word!  Genesis 1:3  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

a.  Before anything was, God always was.  “In the beginning God” is the most profound of all theological statements!  John 1:1-3  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

b.  God’s act of creation is shown in its perfection and harmony!  In our text, we find the word “handywork” which means “art.”  The universe and world in which we live is a masterpiece that is unparalleled! Psalms 19:1  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 

c.  Declare – to show forth!  To state emphatically or authoritatively; affirm.  God gives no place for either discussion or argument.  Creation is an act to be believed or not to be believed, the choice belongs to every individual!

3.  The Accuracy of God’s Creation is found in “it was very good!”  Genesis 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it wasvery good. 

a.  I have dealt with this enough!  God did a perfect work that no evolution could ever perform!  John 1:1-3  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

b.  JUST LOOK AROUND YOU!  It is of no wonder that God looked upon all that He had created and said that it was “very good!”  The first two chapters of Genesis go into detail as to what God did. 

4.  The Accountability of God’s Creation is found in “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”  (Romans 1:20)  (Clearly seen … being understood shows the willfulness of rejecting the light of the knowledge of God!)

Psalms 19:1-5  The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  (2)  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.  (3)  There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  (4)  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,  (5)  Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.  (Everyone, everywhere sees the handiwork of God in creation.)

Romans 1:19  Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them (Not to them.); for God hath shewed it unto them

John 1:9-11  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  (11)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (Man is innately religious, not atheistic!  There is the knowledge of God placed in their hearts and that knowledge must be suppressed in order to become an atheist.)

Conclusion:  I am not big on four points and a poem but a poem did come to mind that shows the handiwork of God in the making of a tree.
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair.
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
by Joyce Kilmer