Sunday, February 17, 2013

Practical Christianity Brings Unity

Temple Baptist Church - 2-17-2013
1 Timothy 6:1-2
A. These are interesting verses as Paul is writing to Timothy concerning: 1) the operation of the church and 2) the protection of the church.
1. Both are equally important as you can run the church well and fail to protect it or you can try to protect it and fail to run it properly. The local church is destroyed either way.
2. Here, Paul is protecting the unity of the local church. Paul mentions the importance of the testimony of God’s children before the world because it is a reflection of our salvation in Christ. “That the name of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed!”
3. As King David gave the enemies of God an occasion to blaspheme when he sinned with Bathsheba, so have many churches given the enemies of God ammunition to speak evil of God through His church. I have often said, “If you load a gun and give it someone, do not blame them when they pull the trigger.”
 B. There is a distinct difference between Positional Sanctification and Practical Sanctification.
1. Positional Salvation is blood based and devoid of personal merit. We are not saved by what we are doing; we are saved by what Jesus Christ has done for us. So many people have a problem differentiating between salvations relationship and fellowship.
2. Practical Salvation is the effect of God’s saving grace manifested in the lives of His people. We are not saved by works but we are saved “unto” good works.
Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast. (10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
C. There are many aspects of Practical Sanctification and unity within the local body is an important one.
1. Paul deals with one aspect in these verses as it was a problem that the believers faced in the early days of the church. The local church, in general, was comprised of many poor people who were described as “rich in faith.” Many of these poor believers were servants, either bond or free.
2. These poor believers worked under “masters” who, according to the Bible, had the right of ruling over them in the work place. Verse 2 teaches these workers or servants the right of the business owner to govern. This is one of the reasons that unions are unbiblical in their nature. They do, in many cases, help the worker to some degree but also take away the rights of the employer to govern or run their own business.
D. The problem that arose within the local church was the possibility of the rich being saved and also attending the same church.
1. Things were very different in those days because, today, all of the “bosses” go to the “First Church” while the workers attend church here. Don’t you just love it? In the church, all are on the same plane as God is no respecter of persons and neither should the local church be such.
2. We have a wonderful advantage over the Colossian church though: we have app. 70 Baptist churches in our county that a disgruntled church member can go to and be as welcome as the flowers in the spring time. J
E. Therefore, the possibility of conflict or dissatisfaction in the work place spilling over into the local church has always been present. But, for the most part, our problems are minor and carnal in nature. The unity of the local church is of the utmost importance. If and when such problems within the church body arise, they must be dealt with in a biblical, corporate manner.
F. I do a lot of preaching on “How To Get Along In Church” because it is an ever-recurring problem. Now, through Practical Sanctification, we will have unity in the local church and a good testimony before the world. Rest assured, if there is a church split or argument within the church, the world will normally be the first to know. Keep disunity out of the church!
1. Always Give Others The Benefit Of The Doubt - 1 Corinthians 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
2. Learn To Forgive And To Forget - Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
3. Keep Your Eye Focused Upon The Purpose - Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
4. Esteem Others Better Than Self - Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Philippians 2:1-4 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
5. Learn To Be Quiet When There Is A Problem - Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

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