Sunday, October 2, 2016

Blessed Are The Persecuted

Temple Baptist Church - 10-2-2016
Matthew 5:10-12

A.  Persecution: is it a curse or a blessing? 
1.  Through the eyes of humanity, we see persecution as a terrible thing and many avoid it at all costs.  The reason that the many avoid it is because they have never had to pay a price for their confession of faith.  We live in comfortable days in which we have neither persecution nor need of anything.  We have fat bodies instead of fat souls. 
a)  Psalms 106:13-15  They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:  (14)  But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.  (15)  And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
b)  I have often said that fat bodies make for lean souls.  God’s people are good people and I hate to see them suffer.  I hate to hear that some missionary or child of God has lost their life simply because that they have professed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. 
c)  I certainly am not a “fan” of suffering and pain either.  I do not pray daily for the Lord to send me a “messenger of Satan” to buffet me or some religious zealot to persecute me.  I do not long for the day that our own government will label us the enemies of the nation and try to regulate what we preach, teach, and live. 
d)  I am sure that believers throughout the ages have hated to be stoned, sawn asunder, burnt at the stake, crucified, etc. just for trying to live their lives in quietness and peace for the Lord.
2.  Through the eyes of the Bible, we find the blessedness of those who are persecuted.  Again, a Beatitude is a state of blessedness and is not based upon what is happening to us at the moment.  The local church has actually been blessed in many ways during hard times of persecution.  Persecution causes self-examination; persecution brings holiness; persecution causes the chaff to separate from the wheat; persecution brings about unity and love in the body.
1.  The history of persecution.  AdaptationThe Old Paths!  God’s people have suffered persecution from Genesis 4 to this day and we are not ashamed of their testimony and hold to their paths.
a.  Cain killed Abel in the very beginning.
b.  The Prophets in the Old Testament
c.  Our Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary
d.  The Apostles and the Church in the New Testament
e.  An estimated 70,000,000.00+ have died since the death of our Lord.
f.  One statistic says that a Christian is martyred every 5 minutes in our day.
g.  And we think that we may not have to suffer?
2.  The Reason for Persecution.  IdentificationIdentification with the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ instead of the world.  Because of a godly life that condemns an empty profession.  
1 John 3:12  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous.
John 15:20  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
3.  The Rejoicing of Persecution.   AssociationWe are partakers with Christ’s sufferings as He is touched with ours.
1 Peter 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
Hebrews 4:15  For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
2 Timothy 2:12  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
4.  The Glorification of PersecutionMagnification!  As we suffer after a godly manner, we bring glory to our Lord.
Philippians 1:20  According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.
1 Peter 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:14-16  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  (15)  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.  (16)  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
5.  The Reward of Persecution.  Exultation!   If we suffer with Christ, we will also reign with Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
Mark 10:28-30  Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life
6.  The Promise of Persecution.  Exhortation!  We have suffered very little to this point but the persecution is on the horizon for those who will not capitulate.  Our government is getting ready to “turn up the heat” upon those of us who will not accept sinfulness by becoming politically correct.  We are not hateful.  We are not unloving as we love all people.  Yes, the sinful is welcome to come and sit upon our pews.  They are welcome to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 3:10-12  But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,  (11)  Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.  (12)  Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
1 Peter 4:12-14  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  (13)  (14)  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Payday Someday

Temple Baptist Church - 9-25-2016
2 Thessalonians 1:4-12

A.  We have looked at how the Thessalonians churches suffered and, when their faith was tried, they certainly came forth as gold.  For a few minutes tonight, I want to look at why they suffered so much.
B.  You would think that the world would love Biblical Christianity.
1.  Because its people are good people; they are the salt of the earth; they make for the best neighbors in the world; they are good citizens; they are loving, kind, compassionate, and forgiving; they can be fully trusted.  Sounds pretty good to me.  How about to you?  I believe that I could live around these people. 
2.  In relationship to this message, I think of the Amish and Mennonite people that I have been around.  They bother no one, will do you no harm, and will do what they can to help you.  If you pay them to build you a barn or a house, you can expect the quality of their materials and workmanship to b excellent.  If you buy their breads or any of their goods that they either raise or make, you find excellent quality at a fair price.  I May not agree with all of their theology but I have no problem living around them. 
3.  The world hates Biblical Christianity.  I emphasize Biblical Christianity, not the pseudo-Christianity that is so pronounced in our day.  The world finds no place for the people who truly follow the Bible because it exposes them for what and who they are spiritually.
C.  “A manifest token of the righteousness judgment of God” can be applied two ways in these verses.
1.  Verses 4-5 - A token of the judgment of the world upon the righteousness of God.  If God is righteous and He is, then the world is unrighteous and it is.  Therefore:
a.  The world has judged Christ Jesus as unworthy of praise and unfit to live. John 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (The world has concocted another Jesus of instead of accepting the Biblical Jesus.  The world hated Jesus Christ and condemned Him to death.  The “another Jesus” of our times is neither holy nor condemning of sinfulness.  The “another Jesus” is politically correct.  Our Lord was certainly holy, condemned sinfulness, and was not politically correct.)
John 15:23-25  He that hateth me hateth my Father also.  (24)  If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.  (25)  But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
b.  The world has judged us as followers of Christ Jesus and unfit to live.  John 1:12-13  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  (13)  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  (In many countries, they try to exterminate Christians.  In our country, they malign and defame us because we still see the sin of the world through Biblical eyes.  We are neither condemning nor are we unloving but sin is sin and the wages of sin has and never will change.  Therefore, we have become the enemy.)
Galatians 4:16  Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
John 15:18-19  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  (19)  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
2.  Verses 6-9 - A token of the righteous judgment of God upon the world.
a.  God’s righteousness will judge the world for its judgment of Christ Jesus.  Revelation 14:10-11  The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:  (11)  And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.  (Those who have trodden underfoot the precious blood of Christ will live to regret it for all of eternity.)
b.  God’s righteousness will judge the world for its judgment of those who follow Christ Jesus.  Revelation 6:9-11  And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:  (10)  And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?  (11)  And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

Blessed Are The Peacemakers

Temple Baptist Church - 9-25-2016
Matthew 5:9
A.  Beatitude – a state of blessedness.  Not a happening that produces rejoicing but a realization of being blessed in spite of circumstances and not because of them.
B.  When pronouncing the result of God’s children making and living in the realm of peace.
1.  In the last part of this Beatitude, find the phrase “they shall be called the children of God.”  Not that they will be the children of God but called the children of God.  The implication is that, when we seek and make peace with others, then others will know that we have been with Christ and are His children.
Acts 4:12-13  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  (13)  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus(I feel that it is vitally important that the world, though they may not agree with us, SEE Jesus Christ in our lives.  “They took knowledge of them, that they had been WITH Jesus.”)
2.   God’s children are to take on the characteristics of their Father.
Luke 6:35  But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.  (In our heavenly Father, we find kindness.  To those who are unthankful and also to those who do evil.)
Luke 23:34  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
C.  In the Bible, we find a Biblical command:  Hebrews 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:  we are to “follow peace with all” which may not be the path of least resistance but is the path of righteousness.
1 Peter 3:10-11  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:  (11)  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
D.  In the Bible, we find a Biblical disclaimer: Romans 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
E.  “If it be possible” shows the possibility of impossibility!  Sometimes, there can be no peace and Ecclesiastes 3 lists the options:  a time to kill …  a time to hate … a time of war!  God’s people are peacemakers, not pacifists. 
F.  Be a good citizen; be a good neighbor; be a good friend and you will not have to tell others that you are children of God for others will see you as such.
G.  One of the devices of Satan and possibly the greatest is division.  We live in days of division politically, racially, and Biblically (which is a good division when false doctrine is in play).
1.  When there is division within your family, be the peacemaker!  Mark 3:25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  (Be a peacemaker, even in the realm of spiritual division which is something that God causes in the home.  He brings the sword of the Word of God which always divides between saved and lost or obedient and disobedient.  You can live in peace if you allow God to work in their hearts: “without the word.”)
Matthew 10:34-36  Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.  (35)  For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.  (36)  And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
1 Peter 3:1  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2.  When there is division with a brother, be the peacemaker! Matthew 5:23-24  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;  (24)  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift(Most disagreements between brothers or sisters in Christ have no eternal value.  They are differences of opinion and carnality is the culprit that magnifies that which means so little.)
Philippians 4:2  I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.
Colossians 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
3.  When there is division within the church, be the peacemaker!  1 Corinthians 1:10  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.  ;
Romans 14:19  Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Hebrews 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
James 3:17-18  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Conclusion:  Rewards Of The Peacemaker.
a. The Peacemaker shall be content. "blessed"  Thank the Lord for the peace that He gives.
b. The Peacemaker shall be called.  "children of God"  The peacemaker shall be identified with God!
c. The Peacemaker shall be Christ like.  “of God”  In seeking peace, and following after peace, and bringing peace, we are like the Prince of Peace.  The greatest reward is Christlikeness.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Apostle Peter

Temple Baptist Church - 9-21-2016
1 Peter 1:1

A.  As we begin a series on the Book of 1 Peter, I want to take a short look at an amazing man named Peter. 
1.  Peter is one of the most noted of the apostles and, along with James and John, comprised what is often referred to as the “inner three.”  He is one of the greatest men of the New Testament but is most remembered for his denial of the Lord and his restoration in John, chapter 21.  and is given a bad name by some for his denial of the Lord.
2.  Peter was a man that we can relate to! He got ahead of God; he got behind God; he rebuked God; and he was greatly used of God.
3.  Called by Hollywood “The Big Fisherman,” we know nothing of his size but we do know that he was one more great man for the Lord.
B.  I am glad that God can still use flawed men and women!  As one preacher said often, “God can take a crooked stick and draw a straight line.”  I will not take an in depth look at Peter’s life as that would take more time than I want to a lot but his life was interesting to say the least.
1.  Peter was just a common fisherman.  Matthew 4:18  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
2.  Peter was an uneducated man.  Acts 4:13  Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
C.  Let’s take a short look at the life and ministry of this poor, uneducated fisherman.
1.  Peter was led to the Lord by his brother Andrew - John 1:35-42  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;  (36)  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!  (37)  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.  (38)  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?  (39)  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.  (40)  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.  (41)  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.  (42)  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.  (These Old Testament believers awaited to promise of the coming of Israel’s Messiah and, when they found Him, they led others to Him.  I understand that these men were saved by faith in the coming of Messiah and now accepted Him when John pointed Him out to them.  Here we find the precedent of soul winning as we lead others to our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.)
2.  Peter was named by the Lord – John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.  (Peter comes from the word “Petros” or a rock.  In Matthew 16:18, our Lord said, “Thou are Peter [a rock] … upon this rock [Petra-a massive rock, which was the statement “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”])
3.  Peter was baptized by the Lord - John 4:1-2  When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,  (2)  (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) (These Old Testament believers were Scripturally baptized when they accepted Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah.  They were not baptized into a local church but upon the profession of their faith.)
4.  Peter publicly confessed the Lord - Matthew 16:13-16  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  (14)  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  (15)  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
5.  Peter called by the Lord – Matthew 4:18-20  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
6.  Peter committed to the Lord - Matthew 4:20  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
7.  Peter left all for the Lord - Matthew 19:27  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?  (Here we find the Biblical priority of the believer as Christ become not only first but becomes his all.)
8.  Peter’s confidence in the Lord - Matthew 14:28  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
9.  Peter’s failure of the Lord - Luke 22:31  And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:
Luke 22:34  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
John 18:25  And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
Matthew 26:75  And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.  (As all of us, Peter failed.  It is heart rending when we fail and feel the eyes of the Lord looking upon us with compassion.)
10.  Peter’s restoration to the Lord - John 21:17  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
11.  Peter’s preaching of the Lord - Acts 2:14  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
12.  Peter’s martyrdom for the Lord - John 21:18-19  Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.  (19)  This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Products of Persecution

Temple Baptist Church - 9-18-2016
2 Thessalonians 1:1-4

A.  We have taken a look at the persecutions, afflictions, and deep poverty that these precious church endured of the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
1.  Thessalonica was the capital city of the Second Province of Macedonia under Roman rule.   God hating, Christ hating, Christian hating, church hating infidels who worshipped the emperor of Rome as God. 
2.  Our natural tendency is to feel sorry for these precious brothers and sisters in Christ and, yet, the Bible is clear that they were blessed of God and flourishing spiritually.  They gave themselves first to God and then to the missionaries.  They had great joy and were liberal in their giving in hard financial times. 
3.  Just the opposite of most of the churches of our day.  Today’s churches are spiritually destitute, have lost the joy of knowing Christ, and are stingy with their finances while mission’s giving declines.
B.  What makes the difference?  Persecution, affliction, and poverty!  These three things have always caused the people of God to get on fire for the Lord.  I have often said that the worst thing that ever happened to churches is the Loadicean Church Age.  They have need of nothing and “and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” 
C.  Though none of us like it, hard times are actually good for the church.  Standing on a mountain top and viewing the world on its lofty height is a wonderful thing but you must then come down to the valley were we all have to live.  It is in the valleys that we grow.
1.  Though God’s grace is sufficient, He uses troubles to purge the local church.  Persecution will separate the chaff from the wheat!
2.  Though God’s peace is promised, He uses troubles to purge the hearts of His children.  It is in the valleys that we examine ourselves and seek His face.
D.  The Holy Spirit enlightens us in these first verses of 2 Thessalonians concerning spiritual blessings that accompany physical tribulation and poverty.
1.  “We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet.”  We find the thankfulness of others who cannot help but are watching and praying from the sidelines. 
a.  “bound” – to accumulate or to accrue.  It gives the sense of having watched over a period of time with apprehension as communications were no doubt few between Paul and the churches and the “great trial of affliction” and “deep poverty” were not brief periods of time.  “Bound” also shows the moral obligation of others to be observant and involved in the problems of other Christians. 
Hebrews 13:3  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
b.  “meet” – to draw or to deserve praise.  Giving credit where credit is due.  These people withstood and having done all, stood in the face of great adversity and—in so doing—set a wonderful example for all of us to follow and encouragement when we are in the midst of the fires of persecution.
1 Thessalonians 1:7  So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
2.  “that your faith growth exceedingly”  I have seen the phrase “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.”
a.  Not only a personal faith but also a church’s faith.  “Your faith growth” is written to the local church.  It shows the value of staying by the stuff corporately when troubles come.  Satan wants to divide and conquer but our strength is found both in the Lord and in numbers.  Too many people jump ship when troubles come instead of staying in the church and battling together.
1 Thessalonians 5:11  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
b.  “exceedingly”  This speaks of greater faith than they could have ever imagined.  A trust in God that could only come from the depths of tribulation.  A faith much more precious than of Gold.
1 Peter 1:7  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
3.  “and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth”  I will give a little disclaimer here: I am not advocating for people to watch the series “Band of Brothers” because of the language found in it but there is a “brotherhood” that comes when people are in the same “foxhole.”  We find this with the military, police, firemen, etc.
a.  “and the charity of every one of you all toward each other”   This speaks of a bond that cannot be easily broken.  We are to love one another fervently and problems weld us into a very strong union.  I know that troubles here at Temple have given us a strong nucleus of people who love one another beyond faults.
1 Thessalonians 3:12  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
b.  “aboundeth”  Not only did these trials produce love in “all” of the members, it produced an abounding love in a continuing sense.  “eth”
1 Peter 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
4.  “So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure” 
a.  Patience is a product of tribulation. 
Romans 5:3-5  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  (4)  And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  (5)  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
b.  The example of the Thessalonian believers gave encouragement and hope to their contemporaries as well as to us upon whom the end of the world is come!  They made it and so can we.

Blessed Are The Pure In Heart

Temple Baptist Church - 9-18-2016
Matthew 5:8

A.  This Beatitude mentions the heart or the soul of man. 
1.  Man is a trichotomy: three in one.  He has a body which is world conscious; he has a soul which is self-conscious; he has a spirit which is God conscious.
2.  The soul of man is called the heart in the Bible and is of the utmost importance because the heart’s condition determines our relationship with both God and the world.
Proverbs 4:23  Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
Matthew 12:34  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
B.  I do not want to begin a series on the heart this morning but do want to emphasize its importance in our walk with God as well as in our daily walk before men.  I want to look at two types of purity for a few minutes.
1.  Outward Purity of the moralist.  Though purity is beginning to be old fashioned in our day, there are still people who have some integrity left and it shows.  It is outward.  Readily recognizable because of the lack of purity of the majority of people that surround them.  Morals have “gone to pot” in these last days and the things that were once not to be spoken of publicly are now publicly displayed and flaunted. 
Proverbs 30:12  There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
2.  There is also the outward purity of the religious man.  The Pharisees made clean the outward man but they were full of deadness on the inside.  Religion loves to look right without being right.
Matthew 23:25-28  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.  (26)  Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.  (27)  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.  (28)  Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
3.  Inward Purity.  The inward purity spoken of in our Beatitude for this morning is much more than just an outward show though it does affect the outward man.  Inward purity is the purity that God sees in us.  God is a Discerner of the heart of man. 
1 Samuel 16:7  But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.  (Some have used this verse to qualify their erroneous thinking that God is not concerned with our outward appearance but with our heart only.  Too much is said about the Temple of the Holy Ghost, which is our body, for this reasoning to “hold water.”  We are to present our bodies to God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is our reasonable service.)
C.  The Purity of the Godly is Inward. 
1.  The believer is given a holy nature at the moment of the New Birth. 2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2.  That new holy nature must be nurtured in what is referred to as progressive sanctification. 
Ephesians 3:16-17  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  (17)  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
D.  The product of a pure heart is that the believer “shall see God.” 
1.  This not a visual sight of God but a spiritual one.  Most religious people have concocted a “god” of their imagination: a “god” that they are comfortable with and who is comfortable with their lifestyle.
a)  America no longer sees God as He is!  I hear these Washington politicians end their anti-God speeches with “God bless America.”  What “god” are they talking about?  A “god” that loves sodomy?  A “god” that loves abortion?  A “god” that loves lying and deception?  A “god” that accepts other “gods” such as Allah, Joseph Smith’s “god” or some other “god?”  The God of the Bible is a holy God who rejects these things.
b)  God cannot continue to bless America!  God cannot continue to be gracious to America!  God is still merciful to America but I believe that will end soon.  “One nation under God” is a pledged by a nation that rejects God.
c)  What is the problem?  People no longer see God.  Our nation no longer sees God as He is but has created a “god” of love without holiness!  Pulpits across America have been silenced because sin has entered the “camp” and it there to stay.  Look at the Bible Belt and its liberal, casual, contemporary churches.  They no longer see the God of the Bible because their hearts are impure.
2.  The pure hearted believer sees God as He is!  He is a loving, kind, merciful, compassionate God but He is also a holy and just God.  I want to look at an often quoted verse that explains how we shall see Him as He is. “For they shall see God!”  They shall see God as He is, not as man too often perceives Him to be.  A thrice holy God!  As the majestic Sovereign of the universe!  As the Lord of lords and King of kings!
1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is(I understand that this is speaking of when we stand before Him in our glorified body and see Him with our eyes but the key is “be like him…see Him as He is.”  The purer our hearts become, the more that we are like Him, the clearer that we see Him as He is.)
E.  How do we get a pure heart?
1.  Purity of heart comes through obedience to God’s Word - Hebrews 10:22  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
2.  Purity of heart comes through purity of thought - Proverbs 23:7  For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
3.  Purity of heart comes through fleeing from sinfulness – 2 Timothy 2:22  Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
4.  Purity of heart comes through an unfeigned love of the brethren – 1 Peter 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
5.  Purity of heart comes through watching for the coming of our Lord – 1 John 3:3  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.