Temple Baptist Church - 10-2-2011
A. Sanctuary – A sacred place.
1. As early as Genesis 4, we find that Cain and Abel “brought” their sacrifices. They did not offer just anywhere but there was a special place where they offered.
2. Abraham built an altar at Bethel (The House of God) and later came back to that same altar, naming it El-Bethel (God-The House of God) and found God there.
3. When God brought Israel out of Egypt (a beautiful type of salvation), He gave instructions to Moses for the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; when Israel came into the land of Canaan—they brought the Tabernacle with them.
4. Later build Solomon’s Temple. This beautiful temple was the center of Jerusalem. When the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon, the first order of business was the rebuild the walls and Temple.
5. When the New Testament Jews and Gentiles got saved, they had a local church to attend. The Bible says much about the local church and works only through it. It is around the local church that our lives are to be centered.
B. Sometimes, when we go back to Hebrews 10:25, I wonder if I am not “beating a dead horse,” but the Holy Ghost used the words “and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” We preach these verses, we quote them, and yet—continually—we see a decrease in the faithfulness of God’s people to the church. This is a total disobedience to God’s Word and ignorance to its meaning and consequences.
C. These verses are the most profound concerning faithfulness to church that you will find. In them we find:
1. Our responsibility to each other – vs. 24
2. The importance and purpose – vs. 25
3. The callousness of the sin – vs. 26
4. The promise of the judgment of God – vs. 27-29
5. The seriousness of unfaithfulness – vs. 29
6. The fearfulness of the Lord – vs. 30-31
D. If God said and meant all of these things, you would think that His children would see the seriousness, repent of their sin, and get faithful but just the opposite is true. “As the manner of some is” has become the norm for most professing believers.
E. In the last few years, we have seen a great “falling away” from the local church. With the rising number of “home churches,” “TV churches,” “Radio Churches,” “golf, fishing, motorcycle, cowboy, etc. churches,” there has been a great forsaking of the house of the Lord. I find no substitute in the bible for the local church nor do I find any valid excuses for not attending. “Not forsaking” means just what it says. Not means no and no means never! Many use the verse in Matthew 18:20 which says, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” That verse is dealing with the discipline of the church, not two or three playing golf or fishing! If you are sick, dead, or your “ox” is in the ditch, then you are excused!
F. The local church is a landmark of the Lord’s making and it needs not to be removed. Churches all over the Bible Belt have gone from two services on Sunday and Wednesday night Prayer Meeting to just Sunday morning services.
1. A Place Of Assembly – Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (The word “church” means a called out assembly. We are called out of this world to assemble together. If the Lord did not think that we needed a place of gathering, He would have just let us stay at home. “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” describes the modern day “Christian.”)
2. A Place Of Exhortation - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (We need each other’s strength to continue on in this “present evil world.” Bearing one another’s burdens can only come about when we are together to know what those burdens are.)
3. A Place Of Fellowship - Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (We cannot love each other with a whole heart fervently if we are never together. I love my family and spend much time with them. I love my church family and spend much time with them! We laugh, cry, eat, and share together.)
4. A Place Of Bible Teaching - 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. (Most believers do not know how to behave in the house of God because they are not there often enough to be taught! Teaching is a very important of our spiritual welfare! The largest denomination in America is the “Church of the Ignorant Brethern!”)
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.
5. A Place Of Powerful Preaching - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (The pastor is commanded to preach the Word but many are never there to receive it. So often I know that a particular message will be of help to someone and they do not show up. We need bible preaching and need it from the pastor!)
6. A Place Of Prayer - Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (We come, take prayer requests and pray! We begin each service in prayer, we pray in the prayer rooms, we pray during the services, and we end each service in prayer. We pray for each other, we pray for our families, we pray for our needs, we pray for the needs of others, we pray for our nation, we pray for Israel, we pray for those in authority over us, we pray for souls, and we pray for the coming of the Lord. You have not because you ask not is an indictment against those who do not pray!)
7. A Place Of Faithful Giving - Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (Some tithe and give regularly while some tithe and give irregularly. The local church pays its bills regularly and missions support should be paid the same. How would we like it if we got paid on an irregular basis? We would probably be a little upset. Missionaries do not get full support because of irregular giving!)
8. A Place Of Divine Approval - Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (It is a sanctifying place where we are cleansed through the water of the Word.)