Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Local Church of the End Time

Temple Baptist Church - 9-2-2012
Psalms 134
A. While the Bible emphasizes the importance of the House of the Lord in the last days, the world minimizes it.
1. Psalm 134 is a “Psalm of the Night.” We all know that it is getting spiritually dark outside as the “night” of Jacob’s Trouble approaches. I am glad that I am one who is looking for the coming of the Lord and know what time it is on God’s spiritual clock. 
2. Less and less people in America, the Bible Belt included, find less time to go to church. Churches that were once filled Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night have suffered a serious decline in numbers.
B. I understand that many of these unfaithful members are lost but an increasing number of saved have become unfaithful. For a long while, Sunday morning congregations held their own though the evening and mid-week services suffered decline. Now Sunday morning services have empty pews that were normally filled.
C. There are numerous reasons for the “falling away” of the once faithful.
1. There is the sinfulness of our times.
2. There is the apathy of the Laodicean believer.
3. There is the enemy of covetousness
4. The love of worldly pleasures.
5. A lack of understanding of the importance of God’s house!
D. The list could go on but I want to key in on the last one this morning. Church is so much more than just sitting on a pew, singing a few songs, giving of the tithes, listening to a boring sermon, suffering through an altar call, and then going home just exactly the way you came in. Most people want nothing, give nothing, and receive nothing in church.
E. What you get out of church is what you put into it. Worship is not a spectator’s sport but an act of involvement!
1. We have gotten used to being entertained. So many go to church looking for entertainment instead of worshipping the One who died for them. Worship, though most often thought of as corporate endeavor, is actually an individual matter. 
2. Worship is the personal realization of God’s worth in your life. Worship can only be accomplished through holiness, spirit, and truth! Without all of these three, worship becomes “will worship” and, therefore, vainity.
F. This Psalm is written to a particular crowd.
1. It is not written to the religious crowd because they are spiritually asleep as the coming of the Lord approaches. Romans 13 calls for an awakening that has not and is not taking place! As our Lord told His disciples, “Sleep on,” so called Christianity continues to spiritually sleep in these dark days preceding the Rapture of the Church. 
2. This Psalm is written by application for those who are awake spiritually in these last perilous times. It is written to those who “stand” in the house of the Lord while continuing to obey the will of God.
G. In these verses, we find the spiritually awake:
1. Beholding – their eyes open to what is happening instead of sleeping through it. The “falling away” is in full swing; sin is both rampant and accepted; sinners are dying without Christ; and the “church” sleeps.
2. Blessing – blessing God that they are standing in that dark night! Thanking God that we are not a part of the apostasy that is so rampant even among our own churches. Not proud but thanking God for the personal knowledge of Jesus Christ that not only converted our soul but also controls our lives.
3. Standing – not ashamed of the Old Paths or the old ways! I am an old fashioned, biblical, fundamental, independent Baptist preacher! I am not ashamed of my Lord; I am not ashamed of my church; I am not ashamed of my Bible; I am not ashamed of my brethren; I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; I am not ashamed of holiness and right; I am not ashamed to not only be called a Christian but to also think and act like one; I am not ashamed of standing firm when the whole world is moving into a one world government and a devil worshipping one world church!
4. Faithful – by night standing in the house of the Lord. This Psalm is written to the faithful who still love the Lord more than life and that love is a compelling love. It is a constraining love. It is a constant love.
5. Worshiping – we saw in 1 Timothy 2 the lifting up of the hands of God’s people in praise. It is a right praise because it is done in holiness, not worldliness. We worship the Lord in spirit and TRUTH and spirit and truth without holiness is not worship! Our worship is not “insane” not is it unscriptural. It is adoration for the One who is worthy.
6. Blessed – only then is that blessing returned to us. As we stand and faithfully serve our Lord, He and He alone blesses us! Yes, life is hard in these times. It is a tough day to live for many. Satan attacks the true believer on every hand but I can raise my hands to God this morning and say with a clear conscience, “The Lord has been good to me!” I am not rich but I am blessed. I am not trouble free but I am blessed. I do not get all that I want but I have more than I need and I am blessed.
H. If God so emphasized the “assembling of ourselves together” in Hebrews 10:25, then it must be of the utmost importance in our personal lives. Here are just a few thoughts on the importance of going to Church. You see, the House of the Lord is a:
1. House of the Lord! Mark 11:17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. (The church is God’s house, not ours. He allows us to assemble here for worship, fellowship, and service but it is His house and we need to treat it as such. Keep it holy instead of worldly; keep it clean instead of dirty; keep it orderly instead of confusion; keep it directed by God’s Word instead by man’s fickle feelings.)
2. House of Prayer. Isaiah 56:7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. (The church is where we come to pray and pray often. We cannot pray too often nor can we pray too much. In God’s house, we are to “pray without ceasing.” During Sunday School, during the singing, during the offering, during the preaching, during the invitation, before each of the above and following the above. We open and prayer and we close in prayer. This is the “house of prayer for ALL people.”)
3. House of Contemplation. 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. (We come to church to think about Him! We come to church to see Him!)
4. House of Satisfaction. Psalms 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. (I have spent the last 34 years of my life consistently in church and I have to say that I am satisfied! It is a joy to come to church and, though I often come empty, I leave full. I seek nothing to replace church with.)
5. House of Worship. Psalms 135:1-2 Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD. 2 Ye that stand in the house of the LORD, in the courts of the house of our God, (It is a place or worship. A place where the Lord is the pre-eminent one and his name is glorified.)
6. House of Fellowship. Psalms 55:14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. (Hebrews 10:25 says, “Exhorting one another.” It is a blessing, when I am discouraged, to be able to come to the church and see all of you!)
7. House of Offerings. Psalms 66:13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, (What a blessing to be able to tithe and give to missions! I enjoy making out our check each week as well as putting money in the offering plate during each other service. Giving is no chore to my wife and me. I feel that it is a privilege that God has given to me.)
8. House of Growth. Psalms 92:13 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (The Lord has spiritually matured me in church. I have grown from a babe to full maturity through a wonderful diet of God’s Word. The sincere milk of God’s Word leads to strong meat!)
9. House of Holiness. Psalms 93:5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever. (No foul language, no vile jokes, and no nudity! I don’t need to turn my head or cover my ears. I can invite people to Temple and not have to worry about what they will see.)
10. House of Testimony. Psalms 22:22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. (I love to hear people get up and brag on the Lord. The Lord has been better to all of us than we deserve. We have an opportunity to brag on Him every service.)
11. House of Blessing - Psalms 92:13-14 Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. (14) They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; (I have watched families for years and come to this conclusion: faithful families have their problems just like everyone else but God blesses them in the end for their faithfulness. Fruitful, fat and flourishing!)
12. House of Constraint - Psalms 122:1, 9 I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD…Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good. (People who get out of church almost invariably end up ship wrecked spiritually. They blame everything and everyone for leaving church but take their problems with them and end up a mess family wise. Remaining faithful to God’s house has kept me from giving in to the desires of the flesh.)

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