Temple Baptist Church - 12-16-2012
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!