Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Church, A Family

Temple Baptist Church 12-30-2012
1 Timothy 5:1-16


A. Most problems in the local church are internal ones. I have often said that the greatest enemy of the local church normally sits on its pews. Before I say any more, I want to say that—for the most part—I have no “horror stories” to tell.

1. We have one of the sweetest spirits in our church and the most wonderful people in the world. Sunday night, I looked around as our people fellowshipped and ate together and they were a family. BUT, I have had people divide our church over the years. In our nation, there has been a “class warfare” mentality over the past 4 years that has efficiently divided a nation “indivisible.” A nation unified is a strong nation but a nation divided will certainly fall.

2. So it is with the local church: there have been people who tried to divide the people from the pulpit; there have been people who were divided in their fellowship with others and these things invariable caused problems. Thank the Lord, the “old leaven” has been purged and unity has been the result.

B. There are many things that can cause disunity and division within the local church but I want to look a just a few before I get into the message which, believe it or not, will be short.

1. Some people are not scripturally taught concerning the corporation, functions, and mission of the local church. The Holy Spirit, in these verses, deals with the interaction of the saints within the local church body.

a) The corporation of the local church has structure! If you would, a chain of command: Christ is the Head and works through the written Word; the pastor or under shepherd who is to take the oversight of the church; the deacons who are servants, not supervisors; and the members.

b) The local church has function. The preaching and teaching of God’s Word is essential for the edification of the body and evangelization of the sinner. The Word of God is of the utmost importance and remains under constant attack. The pulpit and teachers within the church must be doctrinally sound and Bible believers! No novice or liberal will teach in our church!

c) The local church has a mission: evangelization which is followed by “baptizing them” and edification which is “teaching them to observe all things which I have commanded you.” The church is not a “social club” and is not to provide for the entertainment of the saints. Too many churches are not entertaining “goats” instead of edifying “sheep!”

2. Some people do not get involved in the workings, both inward and outward, of the local church. Most of us have heard the saying, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” Individuality may be a good thing out in the world but, in the local church, it is a real problem. It does matter what we do because it affects the body. When one member of the body hurts, the body hurts; when one member of the body rejoices, the body rejoices; when one part of the body gets out of sorts, the who body hurts.

3. Some people will never become a part of the “family.” Church to most is something that you have to do or is expected of you. Church is a family reunion. Church is getting together with those you love and are friends with. I come to church for a lot of reasons: love for it, discipline of faithfulness, to worship, to give my tithe and offerings, and to be with the most special people on earth! I come because I am “in” and not “out.”

4. Some people are not a part of the “family.” Some are not birth related and never fit in because the family is a heart thing. It takes a birth to bring one into the family of God.

C. Paul sets forth an important few verses here as our actions around and interaction with one another is of the utmost importance. These are principles easily understood because they are ones that we grew up with at home where I had a Dad, Mom, two brothers, and one sister in the home together.

1. How to treat an Elder – verse 1 – “intreat him as a father” Intreat - to call to one's side, call for, summon for instruction.

a. Respect them! In the “good old days,” parents were obeyed. The elderly men are the “hoary heads” of wisdom and experience to be drawn from. When you get too old to listen, you are in trouble.

b. Honor them! In the “good old days,” parents were respected

2. How to treat an older Woman – verse 2 - “as mothers” (I sure love my mother!)

a. Listen to them! Especially you young ladies as they are your examples and teachers. Young men, forsake not the law of your mothers! She is your “completer” while you are unmarried and at home.

b. Treat them with tenderness and care! The Bible says to “despise not thy mother when she is old.” Love and respect the older ladies of the church because they are special and needed.

c. Honor them! The place of women in the church is the same as the home. They are not to be the ruler of the home, they are the heart of the home. They are the heart of the church.

3. How to treat the younger men – verse 1 - “as brethren” I do not argue or fight with my brothers! I have two of them and we are close and if you cut one of us, the other two bleed.

a. I will not offend my brother. If something offends him, I will not bring it up or expose him to it.

b. I will not defraud my brother. I will not take anything that belongs to him.

c. I will not speak evil of my brother. He is no more perfect than I and I will also refuse to hear him evil spoken of.

d. I will love my brother. I will love each man in this church with equality.

e. I will help my brother and be there for him. I will hold him up when he is hurting and help him up when he has fallen.

4. How to treat the younger women – verse 2 - “as sisters, with all purity”

a. Treat them with honor and respect.

b. Treat them as sisters and daughters.

The 400 Silent Years

Temple Baptist Church - 12-30-2012
Malachi 4:5-6; Mark 1:1-4


A. You and I live in the times of the Second Coming of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

1. Those who know the truth of God’s Word also know the truth of God’s time. The Second Advent is eminent! Our Bible reads like the newspaper of our day and all has been fulfilled preceding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. I want to look at the years preceding the First Advent and make some spiritual applications to the Second Advent when our Lord comes for His church.

B. We read from the last of the Old Testament and the fulfillment of those verses in the first of the New Testament. The Old Testament ended with the pronouncement of a curse while the New Testament began with the birth of two men.

1. The birth of John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus Christ: the voice of one crying in the wilderness. The Bible gives the analogy of Israel being a wilderness when John began his public ministry. It was not a physical wilderness because the land was populated but it was a spiritual one.

2. The birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Father: the Saviour of the world. The Bible gives the analogy of Israel being in great darkness when our Lord was born. It was not a physical darkness but a spiritual one. The time of His prophetic birth was well documented in the Scripture and Israel indicted for their lack of knowledge of the Saviour’s birth. The Wise Men knew and came from the East to worship. Israel, because of the spiritual blindness of their hearts, spiritually slept.

C. The last of the Old Testament prophets died with Malachi being the last spoken word given by the Lord and, for the next 400 years, heaven was silent and the only revelation from God was the written Word that He had given. During these 400 years, Israel began to change spiritually.

1. Alexander the Great defeated the Media-Persian Empire and introduced the Hellenistic Culture of Greece to the conquered world which included Israel. The Hellenistic Culture was one of ease and pleasure. When Malachi prophesied, Israel was already spiritually compromised. During these 400 years, the Levitical Priesthood as well as the people of Israel became compromised and worldliness.

2. Rome defeated the Grecian Empire and placed Israel under its “iron fist” and set up a “Puppet Government” to rule Israel. Israel began to place its trust in ceremonial worship instead of true worship and a “form of godliness” became the rule of the day.

3. When Israel came out of the Babylon Captivity, they brought with them the Mishnah from the Babylonian Talmud from which Israel established their laws, worship, and beliefs. The Mishnah continues to supersede the Word of God.

4. During these years, two religious sects arose to confront the worldliness that permeated both the priesthood and the Nation of Israel: the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

a) The Pharisees (means the righteous ones) were the “separatists” of the day and championed the Oral Law. They were exclusive: they accepted no one who did not meet their standards. While holiness emulates God, Phariseeism emulates the Pharisee!

b) The Sadducees (means a heretical Israelite) stood by the Ceremonial Law. Sadducees were inclusive: they accepted anything and everyone with no regard to biblical principles.

c) When John the Baptist and our Lord Jesus Christ were born and ministered, there were only a few looking for them and few followed!

d) This brings us to the analogy of our day as compared to these 400 silent years. God allowed the preservation of His Word in the King James Bible 400 years and, since that time, we have had nothing to follow or base our faith upon except it!

1. The pulpits and the pews have since seen compromise and worldliness creep in.

2. Those with truth tend to Phariseeism which is still exclusive! If you do not follow their standards, you do not belong and are to be spurned!

3. Those with little or no truth tend to be the Sadducees which are all-inclusive. It does not matter what you believe or how you act: the church doors are open to all.

4. Then, thank the Lord, there are those who are anticipating the soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ and are the “voice of one crying in the wilderness.”

E. What do we need to be doing in 2013 as we wait for the coming of our Lord? I will preach on this subject over the next few weeks so here is the first thing that we will do.

1. We will continue to Magnify God’s Word! Psalms 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (God said “Magnified,” not minimize!)

a. My question this morning is simple: “When did people quit believing just the Bible?”

1) Now they believe the professors of universities and Bible Colleges

2) Now they place their faith in the “manuscript critics:” the modern day Gnostics and Nicolaitans!

b. My personal stand on the Bible comes from the Bible, not from my pastors or the colleges where I studied. I believe what the Bible says about the Bible: it is inspired, it is preserved, it is inerrant, it is infallible, and it is eternally enduring and the final authority for both faith and practice. I say, “Don’t like it, take it up with God! It is His Word, not mine.

c. Paul told young Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

1) Timothy studied the Word of God that he had been entrusted with. Not a commentary nor a college but the Word of God. Seminaries have been the downfall of every major denomination and the trend continues today.

2) Instead of building within the young preacher confidence in this blessed old Bible I hold in my hand, they undercut it. These “professors” subtly destroy the confidence of the students by retranslating, re-rendering, and confusing.

d. Learn to study this Bible and you will be surprised at the clarity of its teachings! The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. I wanted to know where I stood on the Bible so I went to the Bible to see what GOD had to say, not what man thought.

e. Here is what I found in the BIBLE about the Bible:

A. The Inscribed Word is an Eternal Word - 1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Psalm 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

B. The Inscribed Word is an Inspired Word - 2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (This tears up the nerves of the liberals. This verse refers to the “holy Scripture” that Timothy was brought up under [verse 15] which were not original manuscripts but copies! God called them “holy” and “inspired!” My Bible is called the Scriptures and on the back of the cover, it says “Holy Bible!” God breathed life into the originals and that life still remains in His Preserved Word! It is INSPIRED! Not “From The Mind Of God To The Mind Of Man” but “from the mouth of God to the mouth of man.” God told Jeremiah to write the words that He spoke in a book. Plenary inspiration or “word by word.” No double inspiration but a single act of inspiration and continuing preservation.”)

C. The Inscribed Word is a Preserved Word - 1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (Biblical preservation is an act of God, not an act of man. God uses men but, if God left preservation up to fallible man, we would have nothing in our hand today but what man thought. I am glad that I still have the Word of God in my hand and have the utmost confidence in it.)

Psalm 12:6-7 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

D. The Inscribed Word is The Faultless Word - Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. (The liberals find fault with the King James Bible because they compare it to the wrong manuscripts. I find no fault with it at all and, therefore, not need for change or discussion.)

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

Psalm 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

E. The Inscribed Word is the Authoritative Word - 2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. (I am not the authority and neither is the commentator or college professor! This Bible is the final authority for both faith and practice. Disagree with it and you disagree with God. PERIOD!)

Proverbs 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

F. The Inscribed Word is the Essential Word - Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (You cannot be saved without it. It is a saving, life giving Bible. No wonder the devil so desires to destroy or confuse it. You cannot live for God without it. It is essential that we have the Word of God and we have it.)

1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

G. The Inscribed Word is the Rejected Word. Men today correct it and introduce other versions based on another set of manuscripts. This was the only Bible for over 250 years and without question the Word of God. We do not need another Bible; we need to believe, study, share, and live according to this one. I have never doubted this Bible! I may not understand all that I read but I believe every word of it. You cannot destroy my faith in this Bible because you are not the authority in my life. I agree with God: it is the Word of God!

Conclusion: Hang in there because He is coming and we are leaving! It will be worth it all when we see Christ.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Chiefly They Of Caesar’s Household

Temple Baptist Church - 12-26-2012
Philippians 4:22


A. As Paul wrote from prison in Rome, Nero was the Emperor of the Roman Empire. As the emperors practiced incest to keep their royal (gods) bloodline pure, some became “mad” or insane. Nero was one of the more notable ones. Tacitus, a Roman historian and Senator wrote this about Nero:

“An Emperor's crimes provoke the wrath of the gods. Nero has seized control of Rome and the crown. He is willing to destroy anyone that gets in his way. No one is safe - not even his scheming mother. As its new Emperor sinks to insane levels of brutality, Rome becomes a hell of corruption, depravity and vice. But dark omens hang over the city. Has the power-crazed Nero gone too far?”

B. It meant something to those of Rome when Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus.” Confessing Christ as Lord and Saviour meant either a death sentence or a life sentence. Nero’s insanity was almost beyond human comprehension. My mind goes to a 20 year old who can, without any show of conscience or mercy, execute over a score of innocent children plus their teachers. Nero was a monster!

C. In our text, we find the sentence, “All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.” There are three things I find in the words “chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household:”

1. The power of the gospel as Paul, while imprisoned, won souls to Christ in a city gone mad. The power of the gospel is no better described than here. God can save anybody anywhere! The gospel still works and is powerful to save.

2. The dedication of the saved in a terrible circumstance. To confess Christ was a deadly thing and, yet, these new believers in Christ were neither ashamed nor afraid to give their allegiance to their Lord Jesus Christ. Today, new “converts” will not even come to the church and get baptized, much less lay their lives on the line for their Lord and God.

3. The wonderful gratitude that is expressed to Paul’s supporting church. “Chiefly” means that, while others sent their regards, the Roman believers sent more. I believe that they expressed their gratitude to those who sacrificed in sending the missionary with the glorious gospel of Christ.

D. In verse 17, Paul said, “I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” I want to look at this phrase for a few minutes tonight to set in a right perspective the importance and rewarding of missions.

1. The Importance of Missions - Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

a. We all know the importance of soul winning because everyone of us are the result of someone, somewhere, and at some time who gave witness to another. Even if you were saved in a church service, someone witnessed to your preacher and won him to the Lord or someone witnessed to someone who witnessed to your preacher, who in turn preached the gospel unto you. Without the burden to win others to Christ, none of us would be here in church tonight.

b. We all know the importance of sending because the work “both” indicates that our witness is to be in every place at once: in our city, our county, our state, our country, and in every place in the world at the same time. That can only accomplished by our involvement in both soul winning and sending the missionaries.

c. We all know the importance of sacrifice because, without the finances that we give, the missionary could not survive—especially in our day. In Paul’s day, missions giving was important but he could also “make tents” while in foreign countries. Today’s missionaries, for the most part, cannot work in foreign countries. Without our money to send, they could not go and, if they went, they could not sustain themselves for long.

2. The Imperative of Missions – Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

a. Every creature needs a preacher. Salvation cannot come through any other means. The declaration of nature will point one to a Creator but it takes a preacher or the Word of God to win them to Christ. I do not understand all that I know about this but I do know that God is just, holy, and righteous. People who do not hear die without salvation and hell becomes an eternal reality in their lives.

b. Every creature deserves a preacher. If Christ died for all (and He did) then all need to hear! I despise the doctrine of Calvinism! It portrays God as a dictatorial, unloving, and unjust God. My God is a God of love and is not willing that any of His creation perish. In the First Mention Principle concerning this fact (Genesis 4), when Cain’s offering was rejected—God gave him a second chance—then blamed Cain’s sinfulness for his rejection, not election.

c. Every creature will die sometimes. I knew of a missionary who went to the Indians of Mexico and began to lead them to Christ. One of the converts lost his parents just previous to the coming of the missionary. His question was this: “Why did someone not come sooner so that my family could have heard the gospel and been saved?” Time is of the essence as people for whom Christ died die without Christ!

3. The Involvement of Missions - 2 Corinthians 8:13-15 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: (14) But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: (15) As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.

a. We cannot “go … both” without the help of the missionary and the missionary cannot “go … both” without us. You see, we win Jerusalem while he wins Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost part. We cannot go and he cannot stay! It takes both the “giver” and the “goer” to get the job done.

b. As we labor in missions as either the “giver” or the “goer,” it is God that gives the increase! We are labourers together with God for the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

1 Corinthians 3:6-7 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. (7) So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

4. The Incentive of Missions - Philippians 4:17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

a. In the sharing of missions there is an equality in souls. We may not be able to win as many as we like here but we share in the bountiful harvest of those who are in more fruitful fields of labor. Some missionaries are in difficult fields where fruit is a rarity but, as they tithe to the local church and personally support missionaries elsewhere, they reap the bountiful harvest also.

1 Samuel 30:10, 24 But David pursued, he and four hundred men: for two hundred abode behind, which were so faint that they could not go over the brook Besor. (24) For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

b. In the sharing of missions there is an equality in rewards. As is the sower, so is the waterer; as is the waterer, so is the reaper! Fruit abounds to both the sender and the goer in the realm of missions and that reward is according to the labor of each individual. Some give more out of their abundance while others can only give less out of their poverty but the reward is the same.

1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. (9) For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.

Daniel 12:2-3 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Emmanuel – God With Us / What Christmas Means To Me!

Temple Baptist Church - 12-23-2012

Matthew 1:18-23


A. Christmas of 2012 is upon us! I sometimes think back to the many Christmases of time past and I have now seen 65 of them. I do not remember them all but, as I reflect; I see how the meaning of Christmas has changed for this preacher.

1. The wonder of Christmas as a little boy – the earliest memories were not spiritual ones but rather the worldly aspect of Christmas. Presents under the Christmas Tree and thoughts of a sleigh with Reindeer pulling a little fat man with white hair and beard who wore a red suit.

2. It did not take this preacher long to get over “Santa” though. We normally got one good toy for Christmas but I was a little disappointed that “Santa” was CEO of Fruit of the Loom!

3. As I grew older, Christmas became a time of cooking cookies, candies, and other great smelling things. It was a time of buying and receiving presents; a time of family breakfast and mom and dad’s house and Christmas Dinner at Barbara’s Mamaw’s. Buying and hiding toys from the kids; having to get up right after midnight because someone could not wait until morning to open gifts.

4. Today, I still enjoy having Christmas with my family and buying for children and grandchildren. I still have hobby I call eating which requires pants with pleating! But, in 1976, Christmas changed for me and took on an entirely new meaning. I had always seen Manger Scenes and heard the biblical account of the birth of Christ, but that year the meaning changed forever.

B. Salvation changed both my life and my perspective of Christmas forever. I want to look at a few portions of Scripture this morning that tells what Christmas means to me.

1. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is Emmanuel: God with us! Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

a. He is not just “a son of God!” He is Almighty Jehovah God! Mary was not the “mother of God” but rather the mother of the physical body of our Lord. Jesus Christ was the Creator of all things and made the womb that gave Him birth. His goings forth was from everlasting to everlasting. The Creator of all things became a man!

b. He is not just God born in the flesh! He is Emmanuel: God WITH us! Though pure, sinless, and separate from sinners, He walked with sinners; He ate with sinners; He was a Friend of sinners; He died for sinners. He is with us which means to be identified with us through His birth and for us through His life and death. He is our God! That is what Christmas is to me.

2. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is the Christ! Matthew 16:13-17 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (14) And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

a. So many who celebrate Christmas have no spiritual comprehension of Who that Babe, born so long ago, was. They may say that He was Jesus but Jesus is not a reality in their lives.

b. Simon Peter said, “Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Christ means “anointed” and comes from a root word meaning “consecrated.” Hallowed, blessed, holy, sacred, sanctified, set apart! To me, Jesus Christ is so special because He is so special to God the Father. Jesus Christ is most wonderful, unparalleled, matchless Person that has ever or will ever exist! He is so much more than just a Babe in a manger. He is the only begotten Son of God sent to this world with a marvelous purpose in mind. That is what Christmas is to me.

3. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is my Saviour! Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.

a. Jesus Christ was born to die! He came into the world the seed of the woman in fulfillment of His promise; He came into this world to hang on an old rugged cross and pay for the sin of the world; He came into the world to save sinners.

b. He was Mary’s Saviour because she was a sinner! She was neither immaculately conceived nor was she was immaculate as a person. Yes, she was a woman blessed of God to bear the seed of the Holy Ghost and bring forth the Messiah. Yes, we do called her blessed for she not only was chosen for such a task, in spite of the reproach, she was submissive to it. In Luke 1:46-47, said, “ And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, (47) And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”

c. Paul said, “Of whom I am chief!” He came to die for me and 36 years ago, He became my Saviour. He is my wonderful payment for sin as He became the propitiation for my sin. He paid my price and purchased for me an eternity in heaven with Him. That is what Christmas is to me.

4. He is more than just a Babe in a manger. He is my Lord! John 20:28-29 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (29) Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

a. One of the most exciting portions of Scripture is found here. Old “Doubting Thomas,” as he is so called, confessed with his mouth what he believed in his heart as he said, “My Lord and my God!” So many people will call Him their Saviour but fear to call Him Lord. I believe that a person accepts Him as their Lord and Saviour when they are saved. Lord does not mean you give up something to be saved; Lord does not mean that He is Lord of every area of a person’s life; Lord means that the saint recognizes who He is! So many want Him as their Saviour but are not willing to accept Him as their Lord.

b. He is my Lord! No, I am not sinless and must confess with the great Apostle Paul that I am “chief of sinners” and “in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing!” I am a miserable failure at best but I desire to love my Lord. I desire to live for my Lord. I long to be with my Lord! You see, He is so much more than just the sinner’s Sacrifice, He is the saint’s Joy and Rejoicing. He is my Lord and my God because I am one of those blessed ones who have not seen and yet believe. I have not seen the wounds in His hands, feet, and side and yet I believe. I have not looked into His matchless eyes and heard with my ears His gracious words, yet I believe! That is what Christmas is to me.

Conclusion: Yes, Christmas has changed for me. I look back at my youth and Christmas with many fond memories but now I look forward to Christmas with hope that one day—just like today—my Blessed Hope will return and take me to heaven where I now belong!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Revival In The Midst Of These Years

Temple Baptist Church - 12-16-2012
Habakkuk 3:2
A. Bro. Tom Holbrooks will be with us tonight through Wednesday for the 26th consecutive year.
1. He held the first revival at Temple when my family came in 1987 and they have been good years. Tommy has been a good friend and has stayed with the faith and my family.
2. He calls me on a regular basis to check on us and has been there not only for us but with us through these hard days. He also has not changed in his position or preaching. I like that!
B. But my thoughts for this morning went back to the vast difference since his first meeting with us until now. As we consider our text for this morning, Habakkuk prophesied in one of the many dark periods of Israel’s history. The result of Israel’s disobedience to God was the cruelty and wickedness of their oppressors. Such was the background for the Book of Habakkuk. We see this same wickedness and cruelty in our day that results in such travesties as just happened in a public grade school in Ct.
1. Yes, we are getting a lot older but, thank the Lord, a lot closer to heaven than we were in those days. While these natural changes have affected us all, it is the changes surrounding us that I want to concentrate upon this morning.
2. We live in a different world today than we lived in 26 years ago. The world and the United States was a lot simpler and secure than in these days of complexity and fear. Since the turn of this century, we have seen drastic changes for the worse all around us.
C. These changes have been both rapid and devastating! In the past few years, we have seen a rapid decline in our America!
1. Moral Decline - Sexual Impurity with social acceptance; Alcohol and Drug Usage with legalization; Murder (Schools and Malls) with no discrimination.
2. Social Decline - Secular Humanism where man is no longer accountable to either God or the laws of the land; Progressive Socialism that has destroyed both the moral and financial foundation that America was built upon. Years ago, the said, “The Reds are coming!” Today, they are here as the Marxists now control in many areas of our blessed county.
3. World Decline - National Chaos in the Middle East as radical Islam advances and Israel is more isolated than ever before; Financial Failure in Europe and the USA as more people are fed that will not work and those who are willing to work are being bled!
4. Ecclesiastical Decline - Fallen Spiritual Leaders and Failing Churches; Fallen Denominations are the rule of our day as they have apostatized
5. Spiritual Decline - Our Churches Are Dead And Formal or have become contemporary and worldly; Many Of Our Families Are Defiled And Troubled which leads to unfaithfulness and failure.
D. Now, was not a real blessing?
1. Unfortunately, these changes have changed our way of life. They have changed our security and future hopes.
2. These changes have evolved because our circumstances and surroundings have changed our perspective!
3. Habakkuk saw the Chaldeans in all of their wickedness and considered Israel a nation to be scourged by them. They are a bitter and hasty nation, fierce, cruel, and bearing down all before them and overcomeing all that opposed them.
4. You see, most men presume on continued prosperity, or that calamities will not come in their days. Habakkuk pleads for “revival in the midst of the years!”
5. Our Only Hope for survival is Revival! Revival is necessary but often misunderstood.
E. Survival through revival has some necessities:
1. There must be a dedication of our person – when thinking about revival, we often think of corporate revival. The revival of a nation or the revival of a church but revival is an individual condition. If the nation or the church never experiences revival, you can have it and your revival will affect the lives of others.
2. There must be a rediscovery of the Bible – as fundamental Baptists, we believe every word of it! It is God’s Word and, therefore profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. We believe the doctrines of this blessed old Book without compromise but we must rediscover its value as individuals. We can believe, be encouraged in it, live by it and prosper spiritually, and find our hope in its prophecies and surety.
3. There must be a distress over sinfulness most of us realize that we are sinful at best but, if not careful, we almost glory in the fact. Yes, God loves us but God still hates sin! Our sin cost God the life of His Son! Sin is not to be a casual part of our lives and needs to be confessed and forsaken as a vital part of our day. Ignoring it will not make it go away and playing with it is expensive.
4. There must be a destruction of idols – not just a realization of sinfulness and lack of spiritual priority but a turning from such. Few are distressed over sin as “living” has become our priority and God and His church have become secondary. Idols that are metal and idols that are mental turn our hearts and lives from the One WHO IS OUR LIFE!
5. There will be followed by a life that is distinctive – God gives revival in the face of repentance and change. The America and the world are on their way down as the coming of our Lord approaches but our lives should be distinctly different from the norm. We are saved; we are God’s people; we are the church; we are vastly different; we are the only Bible that this world will read; we are epistles of God written in our hearts and reflected in our lives; and we are one step from heaven and the Judgment Seat of Christ!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Dangers Of Failing

Temple Baptist Church - 12-9-2012
1 Timothy 4:13-16
A. As we finish chapter 4, I want to preach one more message on the importance of standing right and staying right. Notice a made a differentiation between these two things.
1. You can “stand right” without “staying right!” I have known men of God who were fundamental in doctrine but ended up on the sidelines and out of the ministry because of personal failure. They stood right but did not stay right. I have known good church members who were doctrinally correct but now sit at home blaming everything and everybody instead of being faithful to the Lord’s work.
2. You cannot “stay right” without “standing right” though. I believe that staying right requires standing right. Those who stay right are more often than not ones who have stayed by the stuff doctrinally. Doctrinal incorrectness always leads to doctrinal disobedience.
B. The interpretation is to the pastor but the application is to each of us because every member of this church is equally important! Hebrews 10:22-25 teach us the value of faithfulness and the last day’s trend of unfaithfulness (as the manner of some is).
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. (25) And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (26) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: (27) But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
1. “As uncertainly,” in a race, this means not staying the right course. You cannot take shortcuts or get off the course when running a race.
2. “Beateth the air” or “shadow boxing, means to have a lack of direction or personal priority. You can call this much to do about nothing. The context of our study concerns prioritizing our lives in the spiritual realm which protects us in the physical realm.
3. “By any means” means that there are many areas of life where failure can result in getting out of God’s will for your life. “Castaway” simply means that the end result is to be disapproved.
C. In Hebrews, the Holy Spirit uses the phrase “fail of the grace of God.” Failing of the grace of God involves division and defilement according to verse 14. People are constantly using the doors of the church as “revolving doors” because of division. Constantly divided against or from the pulpit and the pew will produce instability and, therefore, movability.
Hebrews 12:14-15 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (15) Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;
D. I thank the Lord that we do not lose our salvation when we fall from our steadfastness though.
Hebrews 10:38-39 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (39) But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
E. How to remain “steadfast” in days of “falling away.”
1. By remaining in love with the Lord - Revelation 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (It is easy to be so busy serving the Lord that we forget to have a relationship with Him. Not to love Him right is not to love the things of God right! Sinners, saints, supplication, and service!)
2. By guarding against apostasy and apostates - Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, (We need to be careful where we find our spiritual fellowship and instruction. We must continue to judge their unrighteous works and purge them from our church.)
3. By keeping ourselves pure in an impure world - James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (We need to guard our five senses by which we perceive the world. Abstaining from the appearance of evil is a necessity in these last days.)
4. By saturating with and meditating upon the Word of God - Psalms 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 119 speaks of the cleansing work of Scripture: Psalms 119:9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.)
5. By remaining faithful to church and the things of the Lord - Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (One of the most important of all of the “stabilizers” is that of faithfulness to the house of the Lord. One of the first signs of falling away is unfaithfulness to church. In a time of deemphasizing of church, we need to be more faithful than ever.)

The Glory of Christmas

Temple Baptist Church - 12-9-2012
Luke 2:1-20
A. It is hard for us to imagine what it must have been like on that wonderful night when the Son of God who became the Son of man made his first appearance in human flesh in a manger in Bethlehem. For Israel, instead of the wonder of their Saviour’s birth,
1. Dark was the night
a) 400 Years of Silence with no prophetic voice – From Malachi to Matthew, the only revelation Israel had was the written Word of God.
b) Spiritual disappointment and darkness - Isaiah 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
c) It should have been a time of expectancy and excitement! Our Lord rebuked Israel for not knowing “the time” of their visitation as He looked out over Jerusalem. As the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, they became weary and slept!
d) So is the state of the church today as they no longer look to the heavens for the coming of the Lord but have settled on the lees and live in the discouragement of the times.
e) Israel had looked for the promised Messiah for thousands of years and was now resigned to their fate of bondage and servitude at the hands of the Roman Empire.
2. Desperate was the need
a. Israel was in a sad spiritual state.
b. The blight of sin filled the land,
c. Pagan kings ruled
d. Immorality flourished.
e. Religion was dead, formalistic, and powerless to meet the deep need of man’s heart.
3. But, thanks be unto God, Divine was the remedy
a. God’s Remedy For Israel’s Plight Was Born – The King of Israel!
b. God’s Remedy For Man’s Sin Was Born – The Saviour of the world!
1) He was absolutely God - 2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
a) He was God before Bethlehem - Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
b) He was God before Time - John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
2) He was absolutely Man - John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
a) He had Human flesh - Hebrews 10:5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
b) He had God’s blood - Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
3) He was absolutely Sinless - 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
B. In Luke 2:11, we see the three-fold identity of the Christ child born that night.
1. Saviour – The Title Of Acceptance
a. This child’s mission wasn’t to save the wealthy, or the righteous. He came to make the sinner free.
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
b. He came for those that no one else wanted.
Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
1) He loves the Disobedient – I am glad that He came for me when I was walking in disobedient to His commands. Most churches cater to the “righteous crowd” and the lawless are not wanted.
2) He loves the Destitute – I am glad He came for the poor who has nothing to give. Most churches cater to the “rich crowd” and the poor are not wanted.
3) He loves the Depraved – I am glad He came for the sinful. He is certainly a Friend of sinners and sinners are welcome at Temple Baptist Church!
c. As Savior, Jesus provided 3 essential services to the sinner:
1) We are Accepted by Him
2) We are Delivered by Him
3) We are Preserved by Him
d. Thank God, He came not as Judge, but as Saviour – John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
2. Christ – The Title Of Access
a. This child came to do more than provide simple salvation. He came to allow us access into the very presence of Almighty God.
b. Through Jesus, we can:
1. Approach the Father through prayer – Jesus is the only means of access.
2. Appeal to the Father through prayer – He answers when we pray.
c. The Name "Christ" refers to Jesus as the "Anointed High Priest."
1. He petitions the Father on our behalf. He prays for us.
2. He pleads the Father on our behalf – He is our Advocate: (Advocate - one who pleads the cause of another in a court of civil law.)
3. LORD – The Title Of Authority
a. Lord - He was referring to One who was to be in absolute control.
b. This title of our Lord is a reminder to every Christian that Jesus Christ is to be the absolute authority in our lives.
1. As Saviour - He Is Worthy Of Our Worship
2. As Christ - He Is Worthy Of Our Dependence
3. As Lord - He Is Worthy Of Our Obedience