Temple Baptist Church - 10-19-2011
A. Paul’s final exhortation to the believers at Ephesus was to stand fast. Ephesus was a thriving city in Asia Minor with wealth and idolatry on every hand. The Ephesian believers had been saved from a life of plenty and sinfulness. In the city of Ephesus stood the Temple of Diana (her Greek name was Artemis), which was one of the most revered of Roman goddesses. The Temple of Diana was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Antipater of Sidon, who compiled the list of the Seven Wonders, describes the finished temple: “I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by the Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.’"
B. Christianity was openly rejected and believers persecuted in the city (Acts 19). Here in our text, the Apostle Paul encourages these precious people to:
1. Be strong in the Lord. Vs. 10.
2. Stand against the wiles of the devil. Vs. 11.
3. Withstand in the evil day. Vs. 13.
4. Having done all, to stand. Vs. 13.
C. Over the next few weeks, I want us to look at these verses (10-18) and make some practical applications. We also live in a land of plenty as well as an idolatrous nation. By idolatry, I mean both idols made of metal and idols that are mental. American, in spite of our financial woes of this day, is still the Utopia of the world! The people of every nation look at America as being the epitome of wealth and luxury: Utopia! Along with the blessing of plenty goes the curse of idolatry! An “idol” is anything or anyone that comes between us and the Lord. What we love and live for is the “god” of our lives.
D. Coupled with the blessings of America is the timeframe in which we live. We live at the Midnight Hour spiritually and understand fully that the Lord may come today. According to 2 Thessalonians 2, the Second Coming will be prefaced by spiritual deception and a “falling away” spiritually. We are there!
E. If there was ever a time of spiritual decline and escalated sinfulness, today is it. I want us “who remain” to continue in the things of the Lord. People are “falling away” both physically and spiritually. Churches are becoming less and less attended while bibles collect dust on the shelf. I want to remain in the will of the Lord, faithfully serving Him until I go home! What about you?
1. Stand Fast In The Lord!
a. Our Confidence is to be in the Lord - Psalms 118:8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Proverbs 3:25-26 Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken. (If God knows everything [and He does], and if God can do anything [and He can], then we can trust Him!)
b. Our Strength is to be from the Lord – Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
c. Our Help comes from the Lord - Psalms 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
2. Stand Fast In Unity!
a. By being Likeminded - Acts 2:44-47 And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
b. By being Loving - 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:
c. By being Faithful - 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.
3. Stand Fast In Assurance!
a. The Lord will Deliver - 2 Timothy 4:17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. (Either from the fire or through the fire.)
b. The Lord will finish what He Started - Philippians 1:6 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:
c. The Lord will always be there with and for you - Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.