Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Introduction to 1 John

Temple Baptist Church - 1-29-2014
1 John 1:1-2
A. Written by John the Beloved about 90 AD. John also authored the gospel of John, 1, 2, 3 John, and Revelation. There are 5 chapters, 105 verses, 2523 words. It is not a large book but one that has been so important to God’s “little children” through the ages.
1. The Central Theme of the Book – Fellowship in Christ
2. The Key Word of the Book – Know
3. The Key Verse of the Book – 5:13
B. The person of John:
1. John was one of the original 12 apostles.
2. John was one of the inner circle of apostles: Peter, James, and John.
3. John was known as “The Beloved” or “The Disciple Whom The Lord Loveth.”
4. John was one of the first two apostles called by Christ.
5. John was one of the “pillars” of the church at Jerusalem. (Galatians 2:9)
6. John lived in Ephesus and was exiled on the Isle of Patmos for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
C. The purpose for the Book set forth:
1. The increasing threat of false teaching within the church.
2. The importance of fellowship that comes only through walking in light.
3. The possibility of sinfulness of the saints while reassuring them of propitiation and the forgiveness of the penitent.
4. The expose the reality of a seductive world and its pleasures.
5. The refutation of Gnosticism’s view of the material world as evil: this lead to either asceticism or licentiousness.
6. The set forth true tests of personal salvation that produces spiritual results.
7. To reinforce the believer’s positional sanctification with all of its security.
8. To reassure the believer in the matter of victory over the world, eternal salvation’ and to give blessed assurance.
9. To remind the believer of the importance of and the promise of answered prayers.
10. To warn the believer against idolatry: idols that are metal and idols that are mental.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Pastor

Temple Baptist Church - 1-26-2014
2 Timothy 2:24-26
A. The word “pastor” means “to tend a flock.” When teaching a young pastor how to run a local church, the Holy Spirit gives a warning concerning how to handle the “sheep” in verse 24-25. “The servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves.”
B. These verses are vitally important to both the pastor and the flock as it deals with the reciprocal relationship between the pastor and the congregation: the pastor must teach and admonish with a right attitude and the congregation must hear and heed with a right attitude.
C. Tonight, I want to look at the pastor’s responsibility for a few minutes.
1. The pastor is God’s man. I full well understand that the pastor is just a man because I am one but one must understand that he is God’s man! This is not a thing of pride but of fact. Why God chooses whom He chooses I do not know but I do know that God’s man is God called! I can take you to the time and place where God called me into the ministry.
1 Timothy 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
2. The pastor is your man. Ephesians 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
a) God gives these men to the local church for a reason. Ephesians 4:12-13 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
b. God gives these men to you for a reason! Ephesians 4:14-15 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Jeremiah 3:15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
D. Many of the pastors who fill the pulpits as well as the preachers that cross our land are simply hireling prophets. They are in the ministry for what they can get and not for the glory of God and the edification of the saints.
E. With any position of authority and the possibility of abuse that comes with it, care must be exercised. With this in mind:
1. The pastor needs to be a loving man. I have often said, “If a preacher cannot love my people, he cannot preach to them!” The same goes with the pastor. He needs to love his people and that love will circumscribe his ministry while causing him to seek the best for them. One of my favorite verses is found in the First Corinthian epistle’s last verse.
1 Corinthians 16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
2. The pastor needs to be a gentle man. Sheep are very skittish animals when mistreated or alarmed. The verses below show both strength to rule and gentleness to lead and care for the sheep. The sheep belong to the Lord and needed to be treated as such. God’s men are not to be dictators who are self-serving but under shepherds
Isaiah 40:10-11 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. (11) He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
3. The pastor needs to be a patient man. Instructing with meekness and patience those whom God has entrusted to his care. People do not always grow up spiritually at the same pace. There are those who grow up fast and bear much fruit while others remain in a state of spiritual babyhood for years or life. Love and gentleness bring about longsuffering and patience.
Hebrews 5:11-12 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. (12) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
4. The pastor needs to be a knowledgeable man. In order to be “apt to teach,” the pastor must have a good understanding of God’s Word. No one will ever have all of the answers but he should be able to answer much and find the answers to what he does not know.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
5. The pastor needs to be a faithful man. Faithfulness is a requirement for the ministry as God’s men are to be an example to the flock. Faithful is dependable and followable. That last word man not be in your dictionary but it is a good one to add.
1 Timothy 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1 Corinthians 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
6. The pastor needs to be a ministering man. God’s man needs to follow the Lord’s example when He washed the feet of the disciples. No, I am not a “foot washer” because I believe the verse teaches the Master taking upon Himself the lowest form of a servant and ministering to His disciples.
2 Corinthians 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
7. The pastor needs to be both God’s man and your man! The pastor needs to be an available man. I have known too many pastors whose phone numbers are unlisted or their cell phone numbers are not known. A pastor’s work is 24/7. Answering machines need to be answered.

How Do I Love Thee

Temple Baptist Church - 1-26-2014
Song Of Solomon 1:1-4
A. When I read these verses, I am once again reminded of the poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning titled “How Do I Love Thee?”
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
B. These verses penned so long ago should express the love of the saints for their blessed and most wonderful Saviour! How can we not love Him who is altogether lovely and loving?
1. Never so dear a dowry was paid as was paid by Christ for His Bride! John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Graven upon the palms of His hands!)
a) He gave up glory for a manger.
b) He was despised and rejected of His own.
c) He suffered as a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief.
d) He bore the shame and reproach that belonged to us.
e) He gave Himself to the will of the Father in the cross as He sweat as it were great drops of blood.
f) He was nailed to the cross after His visage was marred more than that of any man through the beatings and scourging.
g) He bore our sins in His own body on the tree and willingly died for you and I!
h) What a price He paid for His Bride!
2. He loved us before we ever knew Him! John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; (We are ever dear to His heart.)
Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Ephesians 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
1 John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
3. We, as His children, are precious in His sight! Psalms 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Written upon His hands and loved with an everlasting love! Death severs the earthly marriage of a couple but only serves to unite forever Jesus Christ and His Bride!)
Isaiah 49:15-16 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.
Psalms 78:36-39 Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. 37 For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant. 38 But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath. 39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
C. How can we not love Him? Completely, honestly, boldly, and faithfully! In Mark 12:30, our Lord said,And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” (Verse 3 says, “Therefore do the virgins love thee.”)
1. We Love Him For His Great Salvation - Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2. We Love Him For His Marvelous Grace - Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
3. We Love Him For His Glorious Peace - Genesis 15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
4. We Love Him For His Blessed Assurance - Isaiah 32:17 And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
1 John 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
5. We Love Him For His Infinite Wisdom - Ephesians 1:7-8 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; (God knew our “frame” and provided our wonderful salvation and eternal security for us.)
Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable [are] his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
6. We I Love Him For His Unspeakable Joy - 1 Peter 1:8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Habakkuk 3:17-18 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
7. We Love Him For His Promised Eternity - Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
1 Thessalonians 4:17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
Conclusion: His wonderful love demands a wonderful love returned!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Work of the Local Church

Temple Baptist Church - 1-22-2014
Colossians 4:7-18
A. The work of the local church is a diverse one with each believer an integral part of the “machinery” that runs it. God has placed each of us within the body as the Holy Spirit willed.
1. Every piece of the “machinery” is different - 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. (5) And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. (6) And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
2. Every piece of the “machinery” is necessary – 1 Corinthians 12:22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
3. Every piece of the “machinery” is to be unified - Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
B. As we finish the Book of Colossians, we find the Apostle Paul commending some of those who labored fervently in the work of the local church and the Lord.
1. I find no place recorded where they ever labored for the purpose of being commended. Our motivation should be to please the Lord and see souls come to Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
2. I do know that God sees, keeps a record, and will one day commend them though!
Matthew 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
1. Tychicus – vs. 7 - a faithful and beloved brother who labored with Paul in communicating with the church of the Colossians. A faithful man who could keep the message right! He could be trusted with their only true means of communication. Today, there is little of this as we have telephones, cell phones, laptops, texts, and emails to communicate with but it is still important that people hear right and repeat right if necessary. By the way, you do not have to repeat everything that you hear!
2. Onesimus – vs. 9 - a true and faithful convert who remained with Paul to labor with him. What a blessing: a runaway slave became one of Paul’s greatest converts. He was a young man who saw the error of not only his ways but the eternal path that he was on, repented of his sin and turned to Christ. His master (Book of Philemon) allowed him to remain with Paul after his conversion and he never forgot nor forsook his spiritual father.
3. Aristarchus – vs. 10 - a fellow prisoner who remained true to the Lord in a dire circumstance and greatly encouraged Paul in his bonds through example and fellowship. Though in prison, this precious man never got disappointed with the Lord nor bitter concerning his circumstances. What an encouragement to the Apostle Paul to have another brother in which he could confide and with whom he could fellowship. Can you imagine the prayer meetings that these men had?
4. Marcus – vs. 10 - a young man who went not to the work with Paul and Barnabas, later matured and was rejected by Paul but, instead of being hurt and quitting, became both a blessing and essential to the great apostle in his imprisonment and later years. He was a young man who not only continued to grow in the Lord after being rejected but was given a second chance by Barnabas and, eventually the great apostle. He was truly profitable to Paul in the ministry as he could now be counted on.
5. Jesus, called Justus – vs. 11 - a converted Jew who suffered the rejection that comes to a Jewish believer through conversion to Christ. Most of us that are saved never pay a price in this country for confessing Christ as our personal Saviour. We are truly blessed but there are certain races or religions that ostracize those who convert to Christianity. Orothodox Jews are often known to have your “funeral” when you convert. He never forgot what price the Lord paid for his redemption.
6. Epaphras – vs. 12 - a member of the church of the Colossians who was a faithful prayer warrior who prayed fervently for those of his local church along with other churches in the region. Lately, I have preached much on the subject of prayer because of its importance to both our personal walk with the Lord and the work of the ministry. This man labored fervently in prayer for those in the church. What a blessing to know that someone in the church is praying for you each day.
7. Luke, the beloved physician – vs. 14 – Paul’s faithful companion who never left his side during his incarceration. “Only Luke is with me” is one of the most quoted verses concerning faithfulness. Luke was Paul’s attending physician and, yes, he could keep his own doctor! Paul said that his bodily presence was weak (2 Corinthians 10:10) and so possibly needed medical care. The gift of healing was one of the passing gifts and the “healer” could no longer heal (Philippians 2:25-27; 2 Timothy 4:20) at this time and had need of a physician.
8. Demas – vs. 14 – At the time of this epistle, Demas continued to faithfully labor with the Apostle Paul in the ministry and was a blessing to many. Demas labored with Paul for years but would later forsake him, having loved this present world. It is a sad commentary and discouragement when we lose a good brother or sister in the Lord to the world. I believe that this is a warning to all of us, from the pulpit to the pew! You may be faithful and laboring fervently today but allow sinfulness to overtake you and be gone tomorrow. None of us are exempt from this possibility.
9. Nymphas – vs. 15 – this man chose to allow the church to locate in his home bringing all of the reproach of Christ down upon his family. He chose to suffer much for the cause of Christ in a wicked city by identifying not only himself but his household with his beloved Saviour. There was enough persecution for a believer to turn to Christ as it is but to allow the local church to assemble in your home was to place a target upon your back. God blessed this man for his willingness to suffer that the local church have a place to meet.
10. Archippus – vs. 17 – the pastor at Colossae. Paul admonished him to “take heed” to the ministry that he had received in the Lord to oversee, guide, and teach the church. God’s man for this work was God’s gift to these precious believers. Many professing believers in our day do not think that need a pastor but everyone of us do! God’s man will feed you, watch over you, counsel you, guide you, pray for you, suffer with you, and be there for you! Even the most spiritual of believers needs a man of God!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Kind Of Vessel Are We?

Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-2014
2 Timothy 2:20-23
A. I know that each of us is thankful for our great salvation: totally of the grace of God and eternal in its scope. But, salvation is so much more than just going to heaven instead of hell. Salvation is not just “fire insurance” to the believer; it is a way of life.
B. In these verses, we find that the believer is likened to a vessel. Vessels are used to be filled. They are containers to be filled with specific things and for specific purposes. The Holy Spirit speaks of two types of spiritual vessels: gold and silver or vessels unto honor; wood and earth or vessels unto dishonor.
C. Since First and Second Timothy are written to a young pastor concerning the operation, stability, unity, and protection of the local church, I believe that we can rightly interpret “a great house” as being a type of the local church.
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.
D. In light of this, we find two groups with four types of vessels: two different vessels in each of the two groups. We all will fall into one category or the other and into one of the sub-groups mentioned. This shows us the value and possibility of each believer within the local church. All can be gold! These vessels are not conditional upon the gifts that they are endowed with but rather conditional upon our personal sanctification and willingness to be used.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.
E. Two vessels unto honor:
1. Gold – no doubt the most valuable are those believers who have grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord and are trying to live a life pleasing and useful to the Lord. These are what I call the heart of the work of the ministry. They are involved.
2. Silver – silver is likewise of value though not as valuable as gold. These are believers who have grown in the grace and knowledge of the Lord but for reasons known only to themselves, not as usable as others. They may do some but not as much as they should.
F. Two vessels unto dishonor:
1. Wood – though wood has some benefit, it cannot be trusted to stand the fires and trials that come and is therefore perishable. They cannot be counted upon when “the chips are down!”
2. Earth – earthy vessels are completely useless. They are not faithful, consistent, godly, usable, or to be depended upon. They are vessels though and area part of this “great house.”
G. How to become a vessel of honor.
1. A vessel unto honor must be meet for the Master’s use. 2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. (Meet – Good, profitable, easy to be used, employed.)
a. Purged – There must be a purging! “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity … If a man therefore purge himself from these.” In John 15:2, the branches that do not bear fruit are broken off while those that bear fruit are pruned in such a way as to cut back every non-essential part as to cause it to bear much fruit.
John 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (In this text, the words “taketh away” speak of pruning while “purgeth” speaks of a complete cleansing.)
b. Prepared – Internal fitness. Normally, when we think of prepared, we think of only the outward readiness but this speaks of the spirit of man who is purged and ready for whatever the Lord has for them.
Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
2 Timothy 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2. A vessel unto honor must be vigilant. 2 Timothy 2:22a Flee also youthful lusts:
a. He must be able to see. He must be constantly vigilant and watchful concerning his flesh.
Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
b. He must be willing to flee. The Bible speaks of fleeing fornication, flee idolatry, etc.
1 Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
3. A vessel unto honor must be proactive. 2 Timothy 2:22b But follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (It is great to be vigilant but the Christian is offensive as well as defensive. Someone once said, “It is much easier to steer a moving car.”)
a. Follow righteousness – 1 Corinthians 15:34 Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.
b. Follow faith – Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
c. Follow charity – 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
d. Follow peace – Romans 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

The Latter Day Church

Temple Baptist Church - 1-19-2014
Ezra 3:10-13; Haggai 2:1-4
A. I want to give a quick history of what has led up to the Book of Haggai:
1. In 597-586 BC the Babylonians torn down the walls, destroyed the Temple in Jeru­salem and took the Jews captive because of the continual idolatry and disobedience of Israel.
2. 70 years of captivity in Babylon have now passed and King Cyrus has allowed about 40 to 50 thousand Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua, the high priest.
3. The Jews faced great opposition from the Samaritans to the rebuilding of the Temple. The Jews became weary of the enemy’s opposition. In days of what should have been excitement (they were finally home, the walls being repaired, and the Temple rebuilt) we find:
a) Their zeal began to wane. (Fatalistic – What’s the use)
b) The excitement wore off. (Going through the motions)
c) They became Distracted (Because of the opposition)
d) They became Discouraged (Because of the slowness of the work)
e) They became Disappointed (Because it was not as glorious as Solomon’s Temple)
f) They became Disillusioned (That the glory was in the outward adornment of the Temple and not the quality of worship and people (worship is spirit and truth, not numbers!)
B. In Ezra, we see the old men who had seen Solomon’s Temple in all of its beauty wept as they compared it to the foundation now laid. The young men who had never seen Solomon’s Temple shouted for joy.
Haggai 2:3 Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing?
C. I want to give an analogy between their day and ours.
1. The former days of “glory” in the Independent Baptist Movement are gone! As the temple that S0lomon built, they are not coming back.
2. We live in the later days of Laodicea, apostasy, falling, and forsaking.
3. Some of you were born in the “fire” and can’t stand the “smoke” but I was born in the smoke. Saved at age 28, called to preach at age 34, and began pastoring my first and last church just before my 39th birthday.
4. But, what a change I have seen over these past 30 years!
D. These should be days of great excitement as we “see the day approaching!” Our Lord is coming and we are leaving! We have been awarded the opportunity to labor in the Lord’s vineyard in these last perilous times.
E. And, yet, we often become:
1. Discouraged because of lack of numbers and so often a lack of visible movement among God’s people.
2. Disappointed as we look back over the last few decades and see the general apostasy, lukewarmness, and general forsaking of God’s house.
3. Disillusioned because it is not like it once was.
F. We need not weep because what used to be is gone; we need to shout over the privilege to live in this present day. There is certainly a work to be done in our day and ground to be held. The local church not only needs to move forward but it also needs to maintain some things.
1. The local church needs to maintain its doctrinal purity. 1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
2. The local church needs to maintain its ecclesiastical separation. Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
3. The local church needs to maintain its testimony. Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
4. The local church needs to maintain its mission outreach. Philippians 4:18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God.
5. The local church needs to maintain its reaching souls in its Jerusalem. Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
6. The local church needs to maintain its fellowship and unity. 1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
7. The local church needs to maintain its prayerfulness. Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; (I cannot emphasize this enough! Our prayer life is the foundation for our communion and fellowship with God.)