Temple Baptist Church - 10-11-2015
A. Last Sunday, I asked the question, “What kind of church do we want?’’ I believe that two things have changed the nature of the local church.
B. First of all, because churches have become seeker-sensitive. I know that I was preaching to the choir but the question is a legitimate one in our day as so many churches have become seeker-sensitive. In other words, they find out what people want in a church and change their church to conform to that need. They form a worldly “church” for the spiritual comfort of worldly people. Church and world are at odds with each other!
1. The last time I checked, God’s people were not to be “conformed to this world” but rather transformed “by the renewing of your minds” to the good, perfect, and revealed will of God.
2. The last time I checked, the local church was not created for the world but for the saints to worship, study God’s Word, and to exhort one another. Sinners are certainly welcome but, when they come, they should find us worshipping the Lord in accordance to God’s Word and in the beauty of holiness.
3. I believe that the 1950’s-1980’s changed the very nature of the church. Now do not get mad at me this morning because I am all for evangelization but the assembly of the local church is not meant for evangelization. They began to bus in thousands of unsaved (and I am all for going out and compelling people to come in) but they began to change how the church operated and preached. Hiding money under bus seats, throwing pies at each other, swallowing gold fish, clowns and puppets, etc. are and never have been tools of the local church to evangelize. Very few of these “converts” ever continued to go to church or grew up spiritually.
4. Church, which was meant for the edification and instruction of saints, became a circus. The preaching—reproving, rebuking, and exhortation—became evangelistic and the saints starved while the sinners were entertained. THE LOCAL CHURCH IS STILL A HAVEN FOR SAINTS, NOT A PLACE OF EVANGELISM. Thank the Lord when people get saved in church but that is not the purpose of our assembly this morning. How many of you need to be saved this morning? Not a hand will go up. Why do I need to preach consistently on salvation to the saved?
5. Now, the average local church is sinner orientated instead of saint oriented! The last time I checked the Bible, the local church was called the house of God, not the house of the world. It is a called out assembly where God’s people come out of and aside from the world. It is a place that is dedicated to the Lord; it is a place to be reverenced and hallowed; it is a place that is called the House of God, the House of Prayer, and the Sanctuary. It is not an auditorium or a Church/Gymnasium!
C. Secondly, the Bible has become a Version! Why has there been such a change over the past 100 years in what the church is to be? I believe that we will find that answer in our verses for today.
1. I believe that it boils down to how you perceive the bible! In verse one, the people said, “Bring the book!” Not “bring a book” but the definite article “the” describes one book. A one of a kind book: the Word of God. Over the first 250+ years of the reign of the King James Bible, there was no controversy concerning its inspiration and preservation. No splits or scisms over which text to use or what so-called bible to read and study from.
2. It was King James Bible (not version) or nothing. Men and women just believed it; they just studied it; they just obeyed it; and they shared it. Those were days when the bible was revered! You either believed it was God’s Word or you did not believe it. Today is a different day. To the modern day “fundamentalist,” it is just a version among many versions. That is not the kind of church that this pastor is or ever will be interested in. The emphasis is on the original autographs as the only perfect Word of God. Originals that we do not have and have not seen are absolutely no good to us! We must have the inspired Word of God in order for it to be “profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
3. Because of the introduction of the Wescott-Hort Text and the liberals that follow it, the bible has lost its authority and its esteem in Christendom. We live in a take-it-or-leave-it day where the bible is no longer authoritative in the lives of people. Here is the reason why: because instead of it being the Word of God, it has become a translation. Yes, I understand that it was translated but it was revered as the very, authoritative Word of God until the past 125 years. It is more than just a translation; it is still the Word of God.
D. I want to look at these verses as the people gather at the Water Gate, a beautiful type of the Word of God. The only gate that did not need to be repaired! Look at what happened when God’s Word was both sought and revered.
1. There Was Faithful Attendance - vs 1 “all” Acts 2:41-42, 46-47 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. ... And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
2. There Was Unity - vs 1 “as one man” Psalms 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company.
3. There Was Purpose - vs 1 “bring the book” Psalms 56:10 In God will I praise his word: in the LORD will I praise his word.
4. There Was Attentiveness - vs 3 “all were attentive” 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
5. There Was Respect - vs 5 “all stood up” Psalms 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
6. There Was Agreement - vs 6 “Amen, Amen” 2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
7. There Was Worship - vs 6 “blessed, lifting up their hands, bowed their heads” John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
8. There Was Preaching - vs 7-8 “read...gave the sense...caused...understand” 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
9. There Was Great Joy - vs 12 “great mirth” Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.