Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Aren’t You Glad We Did Not Stumble

Temple Baptist Church - 5-10-2017
1 Peter 2:9-10


Introduction:

A.  Let me once again lay the background for this little epistle. 

1.  Peter is writing to the “strangers scattered” throughout t Asia Minor.  Displaced Jews!  Saved by God’s amazing grace and persecuted by their own people.  I believe that Peter, under the inspiration of God, wrote these two epistles because of the suffering and effect that suffering has upon God’s children. 

2.  In times of trouble, it is easy to forget that our Lord came unto His own and was rejected.  Those Jews who placed their faith in the Messiah were also rejected.  I repeat often that Jesus Christ was the most hated man who ever lived!  The “another Jesus” of our days is not the “Jesus” of the Bible.  (“Why me?” syndrome.  Why not me?  The servant is not greater than his Master!  If we are not persecuted, we probably are not Christ-like.)

John 15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

3.  Our Lord was crucified.  The innocent died for the guilty!  His people were put in prison and put to death.  We who are saved are hated by this world because the world hated Christ.  (“Woe is me!” syndrome.  The ultimate “pity party.”  If we are not persecuted, we probably are living a godly life.)

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  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

B.  Now, the Jews hate them because they are Christian and the gentile nations—among whom they were dispersed—hate them because they are both Jews and saved.  They are now questioning their relationship to Israel since they are no longer accepted there.  This is the reason for the epistle was to contrast Israel—who rejected Christ—with the children of God who accepted Christ.

C.  Peter, in verses 9-10, is showing these dispersed Jews that what and who they are is far superior to what and who the lost Jews were.  As saved, we may not have the riches of this world but we are God’s children through a birth and are blessed beyond our comprehension.

1.  Israel was a “generation” but God’s people are a “chosen generation.”  A generation is a people of a certain age who existed at a particular time.  The Jews who lived in Palestine were a generation of people who stumbled at Christ, but these “strangers scattered” was special generation who chose Christ.  Chosen of God through faith in the finished work of Christ.  They could thank God that they were saved.

1 Corinthians 1:27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

2.  Israel had a priesthood but God’s people are a “royal priesthood.”  Israel’s priesthood came through the tribe of Levi but our priesthood is a royal one because it comes through Christ.  The Jews continued to be represented to God by earthly priests but we who are saved are priests and need no man to represent us.  I am glad that I do not have to confess my sin to some sinner through a little hole but can take my sin directly to my Hight Priest, Jesus Christ.  They could thank God that they could go directly to God instead of through an earthly priest.

Hebrews 4:14-16  Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.  (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.  (16)  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

3.  Israel is a blessed nation whom God loves with an everlasting love, but God’s people are a “holy nation.”  Israel, as a nation, is God’s elect but they certainly are not holy.  We that are saved are holy because of the imputed righteousness of God.  They could thank God for imputed righteousness. When God sees us, He sees us through the applied blood of Christ.  He sees us as worthy and not as we are.  He sees us holy!

2 Corinthians 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

4.  Israel is a people but God’s children are a “peculiar people.”  “That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”  As Israel continues to walk in spiritual darkness today, God’s people walk in His marvelous light!  They could thank God for the spiritual light that comes through the Word of God.  God has delivered us from the darkness of this world and caused us to walk in His marvelous light.  We are different because we are born of God.

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.

John 8:12  Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

5.  Israel remains lost and blinded to the gospel while God’s children are saved through mercy from the wrath to come.  “Which in time past were not a people, but arenow the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  They could thank God, that God’s wrath would never abide upon them.  God, Who sees the end from the beginning, sees us beyond the judgement of hell—seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!

John 14:3  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.

Ephesians 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Conclusion:  These precious believers were heavily persecuted and hated for Christ’s sake but, spiritually and eternally, they were blessed beyond measure.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Apostle of Grace

Temple Baptist Church - 5-7-2017
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18


Introduction:

A.  As we try to finish this wonderful epistle to the Thessalonicians, I want to look at Paul’s salutation. 

1.  Paul introduced every epistle by stating his name and, in most of them, his positions as both apostle and servant.  There were 12 of these epistles with his name in the first verse.  Paul wanted the churches and individuals he was writing to know who the letter or epistle was from.  As a pastor, I have gotten several letters over the years that were anonymous.  I did not like reading any of them because the very nature of the letter told me more than I wanted to know.

2.  Paul, in three of his epistles, also used the word “salutation:” 1 Corinthians 16:21, Colossians 4:18, and 2 Thessalonians 3:17.  Salutation: A gesture or utterance made as a greeting or acknowledgement of person’s arrival or departure.  A salutation can come either at the first or last part of a letter. 

3.  When Barbara and I were in LaChona, Mexico visiting with Rey and Julie Villarreal, I would sit in their courtyard early in the morning—drinking coffee and reading my Bible.  When people came by, I would practice my limited Spanish. 

4.  When they came bye, I would say, “Buenos Dias.”  (Good morning)  But, they would answer, “Adios.”  (Goodbye)  That struck me as odd until I asked Bro. Rey why they said “Adios” instead of Buenos Dias.  He said, “Because they are leaving!”

4.  A salutation can come in the open part of a letter because it tells you who is coming and the end of the letter because it tells you they are leaving.  It is both a greeting and a farewell!  This is important because of its context of the Book of 2 Thessalonians.

B.  Our text tells us that, though the Apostle Paul signed most of his epistles with his name at the beginning, he always signed his epistles with a proclamation of grace at the end. 

Romans 1:1  Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
Romans 16:24  I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord.  (23)  Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother.  (24)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you allAmen.

1 Corinthians 1:1  Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
1 Corinthians 16:21-24  The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand.  (22)  If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.  (23)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  (24)  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

2 Corinthians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia:
2 Corinthians 13:11-14  Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.  (12)  Greet one another with an holy kiss.  (13)  All the saints salute you.  (14)  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

Galatians 1:1  Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;)
Galatians 6:18  Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Ephesians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 6:23-24  Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  (24)  Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

Philippians 1:1  Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christto all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
Philippians 4:21-23  Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you.  (22)  All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.  (23) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Colossians 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,
Colossians 4:18  The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.

1 Thessalonians 1:1  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheusunto the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:27-28  I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.  (28)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

2 Thessalonians 1:1  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheusunto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Thessalonians 3:16-18  Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.  (17)  The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.  (18)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you allAmen.

1 Timothy 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope;
1 Timothy 6:20-21  O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:  (21)  Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

2 Timothy 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
2 Timothy 4:22  The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

Titus 1:1  Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
Titus 3:15  All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

Philemon 1:1  Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christand Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,
Philemon 1:25  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

Hebrews 13:24-25  Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.  (25)  Grace be with you all. Amen.  (No greeting, only a farewell!)

1.  I believe that Paul wrote 13 books of the New Testament and not just 112.  There  is the controversy over who wrote the Book of Hebrews.  Though there are some who would disagree, I believe that there is both internal and external evidence that Paul also wrote the Hebrew epistle.  The first 12 of his epistles were written to the Gentiles while Hebrews was written to the saved Jews.

2.  First, because he “signed it with his salutation!”  Secondly, because Paul referenced his imprisonment or “bonds” in Hebrews 10:34.  Thirdly, Peter referenced Paul’s writing to the Jews in Peter 3:15-16.

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  (16)  As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, asthey do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

3.  Paul did not sign the Book of Hebrews in the greeting as he did the other 12 Pauline Epistles because he was distrusted by most Jews and hated by many because he persecuted them!  But, he did sign Hebrews in his farewell to them!

Acts 9:26  And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

Acts 21:26-28  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.  (27)  And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,  (28)  Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

C.  Now, why the importance of the mention of “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.  (18)  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christbe with you all. Amen. (2 Thessalonians 3:17-18)

1.  It was and still is important because of the setting in which it was written:

a.  False manuscripts were being circulated!  Satan has always been a counterfeit and his attack upon the veracity of God’s Word is well documented: “Yea, hath God said?”

b.  Because it prophesied of the times preceding the Second Coming!  We have the same problems today.  If the Textus Receptus is an inferior text, and the liberals say that it is, then God did not preserve His Word to every generation.  From 1611-1870 or so, the period of some of the greatest revivals and mission outreach that the world has ever known had an inferior text and, therefore, an inferior Bible!  I sure wish the liberals had been around to help the Lord out in those 200+ years!

2.  It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, the people have another spirit which is not obedient to the Word of God.  People in both their day and our day do not want an authoritative Bible.  Without a final authority, people can do what they want to do and be justified by a myriad of different “bibles” to choose from.

3.  It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, the “word” or message can become one of opinion instead of absolute truth.  When I read the Bible, I can rest assured that it is ‘THUS SAITH THE LORD!”  It is not up for either opinion or argument!

4.  It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, God’s people have no “anchor in the shifting sands of human theology!”  We have a foundation that is neither moving nor cracked.

5.  It was and still is important because, without the very Word of God, God’s people will be troubled and shaking!  Paul referenced two things in the last three verses of 2 Thessalonians:

a.  Peace.  Without the assurance of God’s Word, there can be no real or lasting peace.  My peace with God and of God is anchored in the Bible.  Leave my peace alone!

b.  Grace.  Without the assurance of God’s Word, there can be no grace to endure.  People are doing two things in our day: 1) Falling to the wayside and 2) Following the wrong “shepherds.”

Conclusion:  Paul spoke of his salutation because of the “letters as from us” that were being circulated 2,000 years ago!  He assured the church at Thessalonica that this epistle was genuine! 

The Workings Of Sin

Temple Baptist Church - 5-7-2017
James 1:13-16


Introduction:

A.  James, chapter 1, is one of the “full mention principles” of the Bible.  If nothing else was ever said about sin and its consequences, verses 13-16 says enough!  The Book of James is one tough little book of the Bible.  God used James to “tell it like it is” on many subjects that preachers of our day will not touch.  The it was almost not canonized because many thought it taught a salvation by works.  James spoke of a salvation that does work!  Not a very interesting subject in this day of worldly church members.

B.  In these verses, we find the cause of sin, the course of sin, and the consequence of sin.  The cause of sin is always the same, the course of sin never changes, and the consequence of sin is devastating.

C.  One thing mentioned in verse 13 stands out that is a perpetual problem where the consequences of sinful is concerned.  Blaming God for the consequences of personal sinfulness.  When we sin, we certainly do not ask God permission and—yet—when the consequences of our sin show up, He gets the blame for things not turning out right for us.  That is the self-justification aspect of human nature.  Always be a victim instead of a perpetrator and blame someone or something else for our problems.  James takes that “off the table” before continuing the subject.

D.  Our heart is a deceitful, deceptive, defiling little “critter.”  Let us look at these verses as to get a biblical view of how sin works.

1. Sin’s Cause.

a.  We are born in sin; therefore, sin is natural.

Psalms 51:5  Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Psalms 58:3  The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.


b.  We are tempted to sin by personal lust of the flesh.

Genesis 6:5  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 8:21  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

James 4:1-2  From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?  (2)  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

c.  We sin willfully.

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Hebrews 10:26  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

1)  It is human nature to blame others for our sin.  The middle letter of the word “sin” is “I.”

2)  We are personally responsible for our sin.  We have the privilege of personal choice.

2.  The Course of Sin.

a.  Enticement – “every man is tempted” - Matthew 15:19  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

b.  Entrapment – “drawn away of his own lust” - Hebrews 12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,f.

c.  Endorsement – “the when lust hath conceived” - James 4:17  Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

d.  Enslavement – “it bringeth for sin” - Romans 6:16  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

e.  Expense – “bringeth forth death” - Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

3.  The Cure of Sin.

a.  Saved - Galatians 5:16  This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

b.   Sinner - 1 Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

4.  The Caution of Sin.  “DO NOT ERR, MY BELOVED BRETHREN!”

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

The Lord is Gracious

Temple Baptist Church - 5-3-2017
1 Peter 2:1-3

Introduction: 

A.  One of the most amazing of all doctrines is the doctrine of the Grace of God!  Hebrews 2:6  But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  (Mindful-means to be consumed by a thought.  Visitest-a continuing form of “to visit.”  To come to where one is.)

Psalms 40:5  Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Psalms 40:17  But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

B.  The First Mention of someone being “visited” by God is found in Genesis: Genesis 3:8  And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

C.  God was certainly “gracious” to Adam and Eve in their sinfulness as He provided a sacrifice as an atonement for that sin!  God loved Adam and Eve, even when they were sinful and tried to hide from His presence.

D. God’s graciousness was and is based upon His great love for mankind. 

1.  God made man for Himself and loves everyone on the planet.  His love and graciousness is equal and available to all. 

2.  I try to be gracious to everyone who comes to our home but there are certain restrictions that go along with it.  People do not just come to our home and walk in.  They are invited into our home.  Children and grandchildren are different!  Our home “IS” their home!

E.  “Tasted” means to have personally experienced it. Tasting something is not something that others do for you.  “Let me taste that for you?”  That may work with beets and turnips but, for the most part, I will taste something for myself. 

1.  Have you ever eaten too much of a good thing and wished that you had not eaten at all?  I would rather pay for my lunch “up front” because, after I am full, my billfold is a little harder to get out of my pocked.  The Holy Spirit used the word “tasted.” 

2.  When she is cooking, Barbara will come to me with an “army spoon” (that is a big one) and allow me to taste what she is cooking.  Those little “tastes” are better tasting than the meal itself.  I am glad that we have hard times as well as good times for just that reason.  When you have hard times, it makes the good times even better.

F.  Many never realize just how much God does for us because of our “entitlement” mentality.  I peached on that last Sunday night.  These “strangers scattered” were living in hard times as they, through great persecution, had to leave their beloved Israel.  They were hated of the Jews because they were Christians and now lived in a gentile land where they were hated because they were Jews as well as Christians.  Peter did with them what God must do with all of us: remind them of the love and graciousness of our loving God!  He is good all the time!  All of us have that mentality to some degree as we take for granted the companionship, communion, and blessings of God.  We feel that we are “owed” these things and often complain when we do not get what we want.

G.  Verse 3 says, “If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious”.

Psalm 86:15  “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.”

Psalm 103:8  “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

Psalm 111:4 - “He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion.”

H.  Thank God I have tasted Him as gracious many times.  I thank God that along the way, He has been gracious to this preacher!

1.  He was gracious to me when I was lost!  1 Timothy 1:12-14  And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;  (13)  Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  (14)  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2.  He was gracious to allow me to be born in America to a solid, loving family!  1 Corinthians 15:10a  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me 

3.  He was gracious when He saved me!  Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

4.  He has been gracious to me in His longsuffering!  Romans 7:24  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

5.  He has been gracious to me in His provision!  Philippians 4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

6.  He has been gracious to me in tribulation and trials!  2 Timothy 4:17  Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.

7. He will be gracious to me in death!  Psalms 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.