Sunday, January 19, 2014

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.)

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