Temple Baptist Church - 1-28-2018
Mark 3:22-27; Psalms 133
A. As I continue to preach on the New Year, I want to look at one of the most important aspects of the New Testament local church, unity.
B. Our Lord spoke of the “house divided against itself” in Matthew, chapter 25.
Matthew 12:25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: (Jesus said that it “shall not stand!” Division not only can but will bring down a local church. The opposite of that is that a house united, “the strong man,” will stand! The strength of the local church or “strong man” is its unity.)
C. Against itself? This is not because of doctrinal division, it division caused by carnality and sinfulness within the body. Paul elaborated on the subject because of the divisions within the carnal Corinthian church.
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. (No divisions among you! Perfectly joined together! Same mind and in the same judgement!)
D. I have often said that the greatest enemy of the local church sits upon its pews and stands in its pulpit. Persecution from without the local church always brings the church together and strengthens its fellowship. Carnality and sinfulness divide the church and weakens its unity.
E. As I thought about what to preach for homecoming, I thought of this passage of scripture because it is a pleasure to come to Temple! It is joy to come to Temple because of the sweetness of the spirit here.
F. People come to stay. I often leave before many of you when the service is over. It is good to see the smile, hear the laughter, and experience the love found here as our people stay after church both in the sanctuary and the parking lot and talk.
G. Psalm 133. In the these verses, we see the results of unity:
1. The Benefit - "good" - 1 - Of great benefit, valuable, prosperity.
2. The Bliss - "pleasant" – 1 - Sweet, agreeable, delightful, musical.
3. The Binding - "together in unity" - 1-2 - Alike, in one accord, harmony.
4. The Blessing - "life forever more" – 3
H. I want to look at the last result for a few minutes: “The Blessing.”
1. The Blessing of Fellowship with God’s People - Romans 15:32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
2. The Blessing of Encouraging God’s People - 2 Corinthians 2:1-4 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.
3. The Blessing of Bearing The Burdens of God’s People - 2 Corinthians 7:1-4 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
4. The Blessing of Hearing That God’s People Are Steadfastly Serving - 2 Corinthians 7:12-16 Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.
Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 3:6-10 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: For now we live,if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
5. The Blessing of Sharing The Ministry With God’s People - Philippians 1:3-11 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Workers, visitation, teachers, choir - get involved!!)
6. The Blessing of Seeing God’s People Unified - Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Greatest heartache - bickering children!)
7. The Blessing of A Godly Testimony of God’s People - Philippians 2:14-18 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. (So much said about hypocrites – it is refreshing to hear good about God’s people!)
8. The Blessing of An Inner Witness With God’s People - Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
9. The Blessing of Leading Others To Christ - 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy. (Some of you were came to Christ under my ministry. Not that I am anything, but what a joy. Just think of Tracy Patterson!)
10. The Blessing of Giving Account For God’s Faithful People - Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.