Temple Baptist Church - 4-5-2020
A. Psalm 92 contrasts the wicked with the righteous.
1. The righteous love God!
2. The unrighteous are the enemies of God!
B. If the righteous love God, then they will love God’s church!
1. They will be faithful where they are planted.
2. They will be thankful where they are planted.
3. They will be flourishing where they are planted.
C. It is interesting that the Holy Spirit used the word “planted” when referring to the faithfulness of God’s people to the house of God. That word is normally used when speaking of trees, flowers, etc. being permanently placed into the ground.
1. I only plant specific plants. I pick and choose what kind of plants that I buy because my yard is limited in area. I remember well that my mom would plant anything and everything in our yard when I was growing up and I had to mow around them. Most of them just looked like weeds and did not have flowers. Dad would mow them down.
2. I only plant in specific places. I try to plant where there will be the fullest sun, which is hard in my yard as I live in the woods. I try to plant them in an orderly fashion so that they will look well.
3. I only plant for specific reasons. For beauty and fruit!
D. Several kinds of plants come to mind when looking at them considering God’s people and the church.
1. Special Occasion Plants – Easter Lilies and Poinsettias!
a) Some people only come to church on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas. We are always glad to see them when they come and, evidently, two or three times a year is plenty for them to get their “religion” for the year.
b) We leave them in the church for as much as a month around Christmas but, eventually, we give them away to someone who will take them home and care for them.
c). You cannot lead them, and you cannot feed them because they are a type of the “natural” man who cannot receive or know the word of God. They just never seem to get it! They are satisfied with a little religion that soothes them a few days out of the year but have neither love nor desire for fellowship with God’s people.
2. Artificial Plants – These are plants with no life in them that we buy that remain in certain places in the church.
a) They just “adorn” the church but never produce or grow. These are the unsaved that never get right with the Lord. They never get saved and become spiritually alive through the new birth.
b) They always sit in the same place and they are always there. I am not knocking our people sitting in the same places nor indicting them because they are always there. I say a sign that said, “Visitors welcome, members expected!” I actually pay them little attention because they require none. Every now and then, Marty will replace them or dress them up a little and they are beautiful but dead.
c) I have actually tried to water them at times because I took them for the real thing but, alas, that never helped them. They never grow; they never need pruning; they never accept your efforts to care for them; they are just there and lifeless. You cannot lead them and you cannot feed them because they are the “natural” man who cannot receive or know the word of God.
3. Potted Plants – These plants do have life but, like the Artificial Plants, are moved around quite a bit and eventually are replaced.
a) They cannot be planted because they are not able to withstand the elements. When it gets cold, you have a frost, or it becomes snowy, they must be brought in for the winter or they will die.
b) These are people and many are true believers (because they do have life) who can never get settled and continually, for always a “good reason,” move on. They will never get settled because they do not like problems or imperfections in the environment. Spring and summer (good times) are their favorites but fall and winter (hard times) are not.
c) Potted Plants need special care. You must be careful how you handle them so as not to damage them. They must be watered and fed continually or they will die. They constantly have to be moved for cleaning or other purposes.
d) Unfortunately, I always kill potted plants. I try my best to get them to live but everything I do with my “Brown Thumb” turns out wrong and they eventually die. I cannot lead them nor can I feed them because they have no need of either a pastor or a church family.
4. Planted Plants – These are the believers that come to get in, not get out.
a) They become a vital, living part of the local church. I have been a member of only three churches in the 43+ years since I was saved. I joined the church I was saved in and remained there until God called me into the ministry. I joined the church where I spent my Bible College years and remained faithfully there until God called me to pastor Temple Baptist. I joined Temple Baptist and have remained here. In March, it was 33 years.
b) As a general rule, these planted plants feed and water themselves. I may have to pour a little water on them in drought or fertilize once a year, but they are self-feeders. About once a year, I prune them so as to help natural growth. I am careful in my pruning because they can be cut back too hard. They will still grow but may skip a year in fruit production. I prune as to leave buds for natural growth and buds for fruit.
c) I thank God for our people as most of you have been here for years and can be depended upon in both good and bad times. Planted plants are buried deep in the soil and survive because they can withstand the elements in the area in which they are planted. You can lead them and you can feed them.
d) Planted plants stay planted. We have a Windmill Palm in our front yard that is app. 20 feet tall now. It is a thing of beauty and adds so much to the overall décor of our yard and home. I never come home and find that my Palm tree has moved over to the neighbor’s yard or somewhere else. Planted plants are always where the planter put them!
e) These “planted plants” are the “heart and soul” of the local church! It is them that carry on the work of the ministry. It is them that support the local church with their tithes and offerings. It is them that help missionaries get on the field and stay on the field with their missions giving. You cannot support new missionaries with inconsistent support! You cannot pay bills and maintain the church with inconsistent tithes and offerings. God bless these “planted plants!”
E. We need to remain or to become “planted plants” in 2014!
1. Planted Plants are Faithful Plants – vs. 1-2 Psalms 27:4 One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
2. Planted Plants are Happy Plants – vs. 4 Psalms 122:1 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD.
3. Planted Plants are Protected Plants – vs. 9 Psalms 27:5 For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
4. Planted Plants are Fruitful Plants – vs. 14 Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
5. Planted Plants are Satisfied Plants – vs. 14 Psalms 42:4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
F. Now, the question is, “How do we become planted?”
1. Planted comes through Realization! There are no perfect churches! There are no perfect pastors! We will never agree with everything that we see or hear! We will not get our way! People are imperfect and no two will ever agree on everything. Where there are people, there will be problems and this includes the pulpit! If we do ever find the perfect church and pastor, we need to leave them along because joining it will mess it up which leads up to point number 2.
2. Planted comes through Remembering! We are not perfect! We are not always right! God knows best and faithfulness to the local church is not a request! When you join a church, you join it—it does not join you! We are not there to change the church; we are placed there to enhance it! When we fail to remember that we are flawed and often hard to get along with, then we hold others to a standard that we are not willing to live with ourselves. Critical people not only hurt others but also hurt themselves.
3. Planted comes through Resolve! We are joining because we love the Lord and the church is His design and will for us! We are joining the church because it takes the combined effort and talent of the corporate body to get the job done! We are joining the church, not to be seen or to be somebody, but to be a blessing and encouragement to our brothers and sisters in Christ! We have ability to be used for the Lord and the Holy Spirit places me in a church that needs us.