Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Casual Church

Temple Baptist Church - 10-24-2010

Exodus 3:1-6


A. As we get to the last of the last days (the Bible calls them “perilous times” and this present world “evil”), I see more and more the effects of the world upon the local church. A man once said that “I looked for the church and found it in the world. I looked for the world and found it in the church.” I remember well going to church as a little boy back in the 50’s. Church was different then. People were different then: church was a hallowed place; a respected place; and a holy place.

B. Today, most of our churches have been heavily affected by these days of Noah and Lot (sinfulness). They have been affected by the apostasy of 2 Thessalonians 2 (false doctrine) and the false profession of 2 Timothy 3 (wicked church members). They have been heavily affected by the apathy and blindness of Laodicea.

Just prior to the Great Awakening, Richard Webster writes, "A vast change was visible in the churches of New England: the discipline was relaxed, the doctrine diluted, and the preaching was tame and spiritless." Webster asserts that preachers of the day were more a part of the problem than the solution. It would be more than 40 years between Webster's comments and the revival of religion known as the Great Awakening.

C. We come to Temple Baptist Church for a particular reason this morning.

1. We came to see the Lord!

2. We came to worship at His feet!

3. We came to allow the Lord to make a difference in our lives!

4. We came here because we both needed and wanted something from the Lord.

5. Many times, we go away unfulfilled and empty because of the effects of the things previously mentioned.

D. I want to look at these verses in Exodus for a few minutes. How should we come to the Lord and what effect should His presence have upon us as His children? Moses came to Horeb, the mountain of God, and God revealed Himself to him.

1. I still stand in awe as I read the account of this meeting.

2. It has thrilled the souls of men for thousands of years.

3. It still fills us with a sense of the burning presence of God that filled Moses!

E. This is going to be a tough message this morning. It is going to be a straight message but one greatly needed in these times of shifting, rock and rolling churches. “The Casual Church!”

Three Aspects Of Moses’ Meeting With God

1. Moses Turned Aside In Anticipation Of God - We are to be holy in our Anticipation – “turn aside, and see this great sight” Moses came to the “burning bush” to see God! We are here this morning to see God and to worship Him in spirit and truth. God spoke to Moses out of the bush and He should speak to us in God’s house.

a. Moses came to see God! “this great sight!” El Bethel! I came to God’s house to find Him at home! I came to meet with Him for a while this morning.

b. Moses came to see a Burning God! “burned with fire!” I came to watch Him burn in my bosom for a while. I came to sing, shout, praise, give, adore, and worship Him!

c. Moses came to see an Incomprehensible God! “was not consumed!” He never burn out nor does Hi burn up! He will set every heart ablaze this morning if we will let Him. If we will seek Him!

2. Moses Was Holy In His Approach To God - We are to be holy in our Approach “put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground” Notice with me that this was not something that Moses did naturally. It was a command of God! There was a time when the church was a place of holiness; a place where sinners were convicted; a place where old fashioned preaching brought about old fashioned repentance and salvation; a place where God was worshipped in a godly manner. Most churches have worldly bibles; worldly methods; worldly music; worldly dress; and worldly worship. (The Charismatic Movement destroyed the old Pentecostals! They were once known by long dresses and piled up hair. Today, Pentecostals are worldly in their dress because of the popularity of the Charismatics. Protestants and liberal Baptists followed suite! Because of dwindling numbers, they all lowered their standards to accommodate these worldly, shallow “believers.” Now, the Neo-evangelicals and Community Church Movement has affected the rest. Laid back worship, worldly bibles and music, casual—comfortable dress, and “cool” preachers are drawing the masses of unsaved men and carnal believers. Churches that were once good ones have followed suite again. “If you can’t beat them, join them” is the cry of the worried pastors! The people call themselves “Christians” any yet they look like the world, smell like the world, act like the world, and think like the world.)

a. A Wrong Approach Has Compromised The Church’s Purity – if we are to “abstain from all appearance of evil” in our daily walk, we certainly are to do so in the church.

b. A Wrong Approach Has Cost The Church Its Power – without holiness no man shall see the Lord.

c. A Wrong Approach Has Confused The Church’s Purpose – We are supposed to be different from the world, not like the world. (Come as you are, do as you will, and leave as you came—unrepentant, unsaved, unfilled, and unusable!)

3. Moses Was Holy In His Attitude Toward God - We are to be holy in our Attitude “Moses hid his face…afraid to look upon God” Today’s churches are operated so as to make people feel comfortable and casual. A “laid back” atmosphere is not a right attitude toward meeting with God. I find no place in the Bible where God’s people were ever casual with God. I find no place in the Bible where the unsaved were comfortable in their sin before a thrice holy God!

a. He was humble before the Lord – He hid his face” Moses knew who and what he was. Moses knew Who and What He was!

b. He was fearful before the Lord – “He was afraid” This God that Moses faced was a consuming Fire that was never consumed. This perpetual “I AM THAT I AM” who spoke to Moses was the God of heaven and earth! A thrice holy, all consuming, all powerful, everywhere present, all knowing God!

Conclusion: I find no place in the Bible where saints were “casual” nor sinners “comfortable” in the presence of a holy God. The “god” of this world does not “fit the bill” of the God of this Bible. We are not here today to be entertained; to have our conscience soothed; or to feel good about ourselves. We are here to worship in spirit and truth; speak to God and have God speak to us; then leave here a better Christian who is better equipped to serve the Lord in this “present evil world.”

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