Temple Baptist Church - 12-25-2013
A. Well, today is Christmas: the day that we normally celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I hope you had a wonderful day with family and friends. I have looked forward to tonight when we could gather together to worship the Lord Jesus Christ in His house.
B. One song says, “Come thou long expected Jesus.” Though the time before His coming was long, the time was prophesied. That phrase shows a longing, length of time, and the expectation of Messiah’s coming. He came on time!
C. These were days of spiritual darkness as the Pharisees and Sadducees now were the rule of the day spiritually and the people of Israel sat in great darkness. The length of time evidently over shadowed the expectance and excitement of prophecy. God’s people were in bondage to Rome.
D. With the promise of the First Advent goes the prophecy of the Second Advent. We are now 2000+ future years later and the time is right for the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only is the time right but the conditions are also the same.
1. Spiritual darkness permeates our land as old-fashioned, godly Christianity has bowed its knees to the worldliness and ungodliness of this world. Now the church people are just like the world and the world is in the church.
2. The church in general has been lulled to sleep by failed date setting and, once again, the length of time. Preaches thundered the Second Coming in the 20th century but most of the pulpits have fallen silent concerning the Lord’s coming.
3. Sin has escalated to the point that very few preachers name sin because they are afraid of “running off” the world that sits on their pews. Sin is still sin, God is still holy, and this is HIS house!
E. In our text, we find Anna! She is a beautiful type of God’s people who look for our Lord’s coming. I want to look at some characteristics that I find in Anna need to be found in God’s people.
Luke 2:36-38 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; (37) And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. (38) And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
1. Her Parents – Phanuel – Comes from the Old Testament word “Peniel” or “The Face of God.” Evidently, Anna was raised in a godly home with godly parents. I cannot over emphasize the importance of having godly homes that make safe “nests” for our children. Satan is attacking children under the noses of the parents. Uncontrolled TV sets, computers, social media, cell phones, ungodly games, and poor examples of Christianity are all detrimental to the spiritual development of children. Anna was raised in a right way.
2. Her Purity – “her virginity” She was a godly young lady who committed her life to one of purity and purpose. Though she was raised in a godly home, Anna had to make the right choices concerning her relationship to the Lord. She had to make the right choices concerning her relationship to both her family and others. She chose to keep herself pure! Again, this is not just a “girl thing.” Young men as well as young ladies need to purpose in their hearts not to be defiled with the sinfulness of the world or the lusts of the flesh.
3. Her Problems – “seven years … she was a widow” Anna, though sheltered as a child, learned quickly that life is hard and God’s people are not exempted. It still rains on the just and the unjust. Anna never got bitter against God because of the loss of her husband after 7 short years of marriage. She chose not to blame God or others. She suffered loss and continued to serve the Lord.
4. Her Pledge – “served God” She was a godly young lady who, at some point in time, committed her life to God! Anna spent the remainder or her life serving God in whatever capacity that she could. If everyone would do what that they could, then the work of the Lord would get done in an orderly and timely fashion.
5. Her Place – “which departed not from the temple” Anna chose to faithfully be a part of the Lord’s house. Hebrews 10:25 says “and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” In our day, faithfulness to the local church has diminished. In the 37+ years since I have been saved, I have been a member of 3 churches: the one I was saved in, the one where I went to Bible College, and the one that I now pastor! I am more than sure that in 84 years, she had seen both good and bad transpire in the house of God as it changed from “the house of prayer” to “a den of thieves!” Local churches are not perfect, pastors are not perfect, and the people in the church are not perfect. If you find one that is perfect, leave it alone! You will ruin it!
6. Her Patience – “fourscore and four years” 84 years is a long time! It is a lifetime for most. Anna was no doubt young when she married but 84 years plus 7 years of marriage is 91 years. She was no doubt at least in her mid to late teens when she married so she had to be over 100 years old. She looked for HER Messiah and the consolation of Israel. Anna never gave up on the Lord’s promised coming. We live in days of a “gotta have it” mentality and it rubs off on the Christian. When Barbara and I were young and just starting out, we had little but were happy. We have always lived within our means, paid our bills, and were content with what we had. Now, things are completely different. The Lord is coming, right? He said He would, right? Then, we should not give up and quit looking, right?
7. Her Prayers – “but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” What a ministry for the Lord! Not just praying but also fasting and many times around the clock. I know that a woman living in her time was limited more so than now but Anna was content to do what she could and not worry about what she could not. This shows such a commitment and determination to seek and know the will of God that it puts most of us to shame. I am preaching a little on prayer on Wednesday nights so we will move on for now but don’t forget to pray.
8. Her Praise – ” And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” At some time in her young life, Anna placed her personal faith in the Messiah and looked for His coming. Never forget what the Lord has done for you! If you are saved, then you have enough to keep you praising the Lord for the rest of your life. He has been good to us in so many ways. Thank you, Lord, for all of your blessings on me and for the promise of your soon Second Coming!