Temple Baptist Church - 1-15-2017
A. As we face a New Year, I am preaching of a subject which many do not like: “Being Faithful in 2017.” This morning, I want to look at being faithful to our local church. Psalm 134 sets forth the blessing of those who stand in the house of the Lord during the night shift (or Third Shift). That is where we are in 2017. We live in the end of the church age and look expectantly for the coming of the Lord.
B. I thank the Lord that He saved me and allowed me to serve Him in a time such as this. This Psalm pronounces a blessing upon those who stand, not just attend. Spiritually, everything is moving in a downward spiral as the multitudes are departing from the “faith once delivered” to a modernization of the local church. These modern local churches are increasingly becoming “seeker sensitive” as they condition their churches to make them more comfortable for the sinner to come and sit in their sin.
C. There is nothing any more comforting when the darkness of night comes than a safe, comfortable home. A place where we can go, lock the window and doors, and find companionship with love. That is what this message is all about. I have personally watched the day to turn into night morally, safety wise, and spiritually. It is dark out there!
D. There are 3 types of Psalms Dealing With Time of Worship:
a. The Morning Psalms - Psalm 63:1-2 O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. (When pertaining to the worship at the Temple, I call this the First Shift.)
b. The Evening Psalms - Psalm 141:1-2 Lord, I cry unto thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto thee. Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. (When pertaining to the worship at the Temple, I call this the Second Shift.)
c. The Night Psalm - Psalm 134:1-3 Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord, which by night stand in the house of the Lord. Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord. The Lord that made heaven and earth bless thee out of Zion. (When pertaining to the worship at the Temple, I call this the Third Shift.)
E. The work of the priesthood was a 24 hour a day, 7 day a week job! The Temple was a busy place around the clock with most of the sacrificial work being done in the morning and evening. But the night shift work was just as important.
F. When I worked in the coal mines of Western Kentucky, we worked three shifts. One first and second shift, we mined coal. Third shift was responsible for what we called “dead work.” Maintenance on equipment, power moves, belt moves, and rock dusting. Though there were times when third shift would “put coal on the ground” to get first shift going quicker after mechanical problems had delayed their production, the clear majority of third shift work was maintenance. Thusly, much of the work of the local church in this dark day in which we live MUST be maintenance.
G. The responsibility of the Night Watch (Third Shift).
1. They Protected The Holy Things of The Sanctuary - 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
a. The Temple was both a place accessible to God’s people and also a place well-guarded. God’s people were always both allowed and welcome to come and worship at the Temple but were also to highly regard it as a holy place.
b. It was a place where respect was expected and the old ways kept intact. We must protect the Old Paths of both doctrine and practice. Worldliness in the church is not acceptable and it is up to us to keep holiness within our church.
2. They Cleaned The Sanctuary For The Morning Worship - 1 Corinthians 5:1- 7 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, … In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, … Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
a. With the so many sacrifices being made during the day, there was much to clean during the night shift. We must keep not only worldliness out of the local church but also keep our pews clean from sin that is to be censured.
b. We are all just sinners saved by the grace of God, but there are things that the Bible commands the local church to censure. Most churches in our area allow sin to sit on their pews and, therefore, making it acceptable.
3. They Kept The Fires Burning on The Altar - Leviticus 6:12-13 And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings. The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.
a. The altar was a place of sacrifice. Worship requires sacrifice which is founded in purpose.
b. We must keep worship our first propriety in our services. Church worship begins in the personal lives of its people.
4. They Kept The Candlesticks Trimmed And Burning Brightly - Hebrews 1:5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
a. The Menorah with its seven lamps had to be refueled with pure oil and the wicks trimmed. We must keep the testimony of our church clean and bright in the community.
b. Once a church gets a bad name, it takes years to live it down. We have a good name in Laurens County and are well respected.
5. They Baked Fresh Bread For The Table of Shewbread - 2 Timothy 2:14-16 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
a. Fresh bread was baked and placed on the Table of Shewbread each day. I try to give you something each and every time you come to church.
b. Sound doctrine and its practical application is a necessity for continued communion with our Lord Jesus Christ and each other.
Conclusion: You and I have a great responsibility.
1. To our children and grandchildren.
2. To a lost and blinded world.
3. To those who have gone before us and paid the price for our spiritual heritage and liberty.