Temple Baptist Church - 3-13-2013
A. I have often called the pastorate a bitter-sweet experience. Before we go any farther, I want to clarify that statement. It is so much more sweet than bitter and I want do nothing else.
1. Paul is in prison for his faith.
2. Paul is writing to encourage a people he has never met.
3. Paul is concerned about their welfare.
4. Paul finds joy in the testimony of the church.
B. Their “order” was right. Order means priority! Priorities keep our perspectives right.
1. Our nation needs to have right priorities. We hear much about sequester these days. Yes, our nation needs to make cuts in spending, but those cuts must be prioritized. You do not cut national defense; you cut the “fat” off of the contractors, etc. You do not cut meals for kids at school; you cut the wasted and non-essential things.
2. Our people need to have their priorities right. If we keep things in a proper perspective, our lives become simple and rightly regulated. The Lord first, our families second, our church third, our jobs and schooling fourth, etc.
3. Our churches need to have their priorities right. The Lord first, then all of the rest need to be spiritually ordered as to importance.
C. Their “steadfastness of faith” was right. I thank the Lord for the growth and steadfastness of our people. We must be careful in these areas though. So many of God’s people are losing their steadfastness and it is reflected in their attendance and service. Our spiritual steadfastness keeps everything else in its proper perspective. If we are spiritually right, then we will be right in other areas of importance.
D. When things go right, it rejoices the heart of a pastor. Here are a few things that need to be right in the church.
1. The Saints Need To Stand Right – Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
2. The Saints Need To Fellowship Right – 1 John 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
3. The Saints Need To Labor Right – Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
4. The Saints Need To Rejoice Right – Psalms 34:1 I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
5. The Saints Need To Act Right – 1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
6. The Saints Need To Trust Right – Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
7. The Saints Need To Pray Right – James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
8. The Saints Need To Think Right – 2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
9. The Saints Need To Follow Right – 1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
10. When The Saints Mature Right – vs. 11-13 - 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;