Sunday, December 27, 2015

Children of the Day

Temple Baptist Church - 12-27-2015
1 Thessalonians 5:4-11

A.  I find it interesting that, while preaching through 1 Thessalonians, that we look at these verses tonight. 
1.  They follow perfectly the line of thinking that I preached this morning.  They are not redundant but re-enforcement of the morning message!  Many years ago, I learned that preaching is timely.  When you come to church with great spiritual need, you get just what you need. 
2.  That is what makes the Bible so real in our hearts.  The Bible is both timely and for all ages.  It’s truth never fades nor grows old.  That is what makes the Bible different from every other book in the world.  It is God made, not man made!  God uses men to bring us the Bible but the Bible belongs to God.
B.  Paul has been writing to the Thessalonians concerning the impending Rapture of the Church in chapter 4 and follows, in chapter 5, with the potential sleepiness of the saints in the end time. 
1.  He introduces this chapter with the mention of “children of the night” and “children of the day.”  Saved and lost who live in the same time frame but in different worlds.  We often hear people say that somethings or some people are as different as “night and day.” 
2.  Last Sunday, we saw that day means warmth or illumination while night means to twist or to turn away.  When we get to 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2, we will find the phrase “falling away.”  Twisting and turning away from the light of God’s Word to the spiritual darkness of the world.
C.  Paul, in this chapter, gives admonition to God’s children as how to handle the impending darkness that preceded the First Advent and is prophesied to occur just prior to the Second Advent. 
1.  The children of darkness.  “The people which sat in darkness saw great light.”  (Matthew 4:16)  Why do people who have seen great light sit in darkness?  One, because they have chosen to turn the light off.  Two, why do men sit in darkness?  Because they can no longer see where they are going! Only they can turn the light back on.  Spiritual darkness is a personal choice that is made.
2.  Let me give you a personal illustration.  When I worked in the mines, I once played a little game.  I wondered if I could find my way out of the mines in total darkness.  I am not talking about from the end of the track as anyone could follow the tracks to the portal.  I am talking about from the face of the coal (where the coal is actually being mined) or from the “old works” where the coal has been mined and sealed off.  As a Fire Boss, I once walked every air course, both intake and return, in the mines each week and made the seals (inspected them).  I got alone, turned my cap light off, and preceded to “find my way out.”  I went in circles! 
3.  Naturally, when I knew that I was confused, I simply turned my cap light back on and went on about my business.  When lost in the mines, you just need to sit!  That is what the world is doing: sitting in darkness!  When you have a cap light, just turn it back on and you can see clearly again.
D.  Now, what are we to do?
1.  Keep your spiritual eyes open.  Vs. 6.  “let us not sleep … let us watch”  The “god of this world” has blinded the minds of the lost “lest they see” the glorious gospel of Christ and be saved.  Look at this world and every influence of this world through the eyes of the Bible.
1 Corinthians 13:12  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
2.  Keep your minds girded!  Vs. 6.  “and be sober”  Be sober!  This is not a game; it is a battle with eternal results.  People of our day who claim to be Christian have little fear of God or the devil!  There is a real God, a real devil, and a real eternity!  There is a battle for your mind going on as the world tries to prove that God does not exist.  It amazes me that they worry about disproving someone who is not even there.  They try to disprove God because He is there and, therefore, authoritative!  Man wants no accountability.
1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
3.  Keep your hearts for out of the heart are the issues of life.  Vs. 8.  “putting on the breastplate of faith and love” Christian faith and love are two of the issues that the world battles.  The breastplate protects the vitals!  A right heart is vital to standing for the Lord in these times.  I use a verse written below to illustrate.  Your heart is not broken and needs to be repaired, though that may sometimes be the case.  Your heart needs to be fixed or focused upon something.  There are three gifts now available for you: faith, hope, and charity or Christian love.  We need all three but I will deal with the middle one later.  Hope and love are to be the heart of the child of God.
Psalms 57:7  My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
4.  Keep your hope in Christ Jesus.  Vs. 8.  and for an helmet, the hope of salvation”  Our hope is called the “blessed hope.”  It is not that we hope that God is there; it is not that we hope that we are saved; it is not that we hope that we are going to heaven; it is our expectancy!  Our Saviour is not the government or mankind.  Our Saviour is Jesus Christ, our soon coming King!  Keep your eyes on Christ and keep your hope in the skies!
Titus 2:13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
5.  Continue to exhort and encourage.  Vs. 11.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do  Keep yourself in perfect peace through faithfulness. 
Hebrews 10:24-25  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  (25)  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

Holding Fast In 2016 - Losing Your Grip

Temple Baptist Church - 12-27-2015

Revelation 2:25; 3:2; 3:11

A.  As we enter the New Year (I am not all about New Year’s Resolutions but I am all about resolve) we need to resolve concerning what we believe and our willingness to pay the price for standing thusly.  Resolve means steadfastness, determination, doggedness, firmness, and tenacity.  We hear about being as tenacious as a Bull Dog.  Well, I have never owned one but we need to be tenacious!
B.  We live in an ever changing world.  I am not speaking about the age of technology but in the realm of theology.  Things are rapidly changing in our world and also our nation.
1.  People of our day are questioning their values.  A value is something that you believe in and hold dear.  I personally do not question every value that I have been taught such as what I believe about marriage, murder, rape, sodomy, etc.  I just naturally know that they are right but the world questions these things.
2.  People are changing their way of thinking about the Bible, the God of the Bible, and questioning everything that they have ever believed about both.  Many are changing without knowing that they are changing because the change is subtle.  We use the phrase “getting used to the dark.”  A slow encroachment upon both the Truth and the value of such Truth.  It never ceases to amaze me when I look at the science of our day that does its best to prove that there is no God.  You only try to disprove what you fear.
2.  We that are saved know what time it is and we have read the end of the Bible but, when studying the Church Age in chapters 2-3 of the Book of the Revelation, we see the downward spiral of the churches.  Thus, in these last days, we see the Laodicean Church Age in full bloom. I am not worry about the world though I want them to come to know the Lord that I fell in love many years ago.  I worry about God’s people!  Saved people that give into the times and begin to “lose their grip.”
C.  I do not know what this New Year will hold but I do know Who holds it.  Three things that you can be assured of the next year:
1.  God will still be God!
2.  Satan will still be active!
3.  Grace will still be sufficient!
D.  We read three of the admonitions given to the churches of Asia Minor that pave the way for the message for this New Year.
1.  To the Apostate Church at Thyatira - Revelation 2:25  But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
2.  To the Dead Church at Sardis - Revelation 3:2  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3.  To the Mission Hearted Church at Philadelphia - Revelation 3:11  Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 
E.  I want to look at four things in these three verses of admonition that we will need to do if we want to remain in the will and favor of God.
1.  We will need to Retighten our grip.  “hold fast”  Hebrews 2:1  Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
a.  As we hold on to something tightly, such as one who has fallen over the edge of a cliff, we soon find that our hand gets tired of the effort of holding on and the object of our holding begins to slip. 
b.  It is at that time that resolve becomes important.  It is as much mental as it is physical at this point.  We need to tighten our mental resolve to remain steadfast.
2.  We will need to Renew in our minds through remembrance.  “be watchful”  2 Peter 1:12-13  Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.  (13)  Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance. 
a.  My peaching is repetitive!  I do not preach new things but things that you know and have been established in are the “menu” of the day.  Peter speaks of being “established in the present truth.”  I preach the same things over and over again.  Though we know them, we need to be reminded and our children need to hear them.
b.  It is not truth that changes, it is our belief in the truth that changes.  Doctrinal preaching is not popular because it gets into the pews where we live but it is essential to keep us from “drifting from our moorings.”  We must “suffer” the word of exhortation.
3.  We will need to Reaffirm our work ethic.  “strengthen”  1 Corinthians 15:58  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. 
a.  Modern conveniences are great but, if not careful, they have a tendency to make one a bit lazy.  Work is done at the push of a button in our day and I am all for it but we begin to develop a “push the button” mentality concerning things that are spiritual. 
b.  “Always abounding in the work of the Lord” shows us that spiritual things getting done require diligence.  We need to witness; we need to invite people to church; we need to read our Bible that we have read through so often; we need to continue in our prayer life.  We need to be actively strengthening our spiritual man or woman.
4.  We will need to Resolve to continue steadfastly.  “hold that fast which thou hast”  2 Peter 3:17  Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 
a.  Know what and Who you have believed.  Resolve to continue steadfastly in that faith, unmoved by the direction and leading of this present evil world.  The Bible prophesied the times in which we live in minute detail.  We are saddened but not shocked at what we are seeing. 
b.  Denominations of our day have shifted from their moorings.  They have forgotten the preaching of their founders and traded that which was right for the “stand for nothing” religion of our day.  Our spiritual forefathers stood for something and we need to realize that we stand where they stood. 
Acts 2:41-42  Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.  (42)  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Conclusion:  We face another New Year!  It is hard to believe that 2016 is at hand but, if the Lord has not returned, it will also soon be gone for time waits for no man.  This morning, I am glad that I know both what and Whom I have believed.  I am not “blown about” by every fad or “wind of doctrine.”  I am well established in the “present truth” that, what I have believed is right, and it will continue to be right!
Hebrews 3:14  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Wonder Of Christmas

Temple Baptist Church - 12-23-2015
Luke 2:1-20

Introduction:  We have once again come to this special time of the year.  There is much confusion and concern about the history and time of Christmas, but it is a time that we too chose to celebrate His birth.  The time is definitely in the wrong season.  Our Lord was evidently born around the time that the world celebrates Halloween.  This can be easily proven from Scripture.  I was asked about this the other night so I want to give a brief explanation.
A.  In Luke 1:5, we find that Zacharias was of the course of Abia.  The Old Testament word was Abijah which is found in 1 Chronicles 24:10.  The Priestly office was divided into 24 courses:  one course for the first 15 days of the month and the second course for the last 15 days. 
B.  The Jewish year began in Nissan, or our April; therefore, Abijah was the eighth course according to 1 Chronicles 24:10.  Therefore, Zacharias course served the last 15 days of our month of July.  He knew his wife after finishing his course which was the 1st of August in our time.  John the Baptist was conceived.  John was therefore born nine months later in the last of Nissan or our April. 
C.  John was six months older than our Lord according to Luke 1:36 which placed our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth around the last of October. 
D.  The first mention of “wonder” in one form or the other is found in the Seedbed of the Bible, Genesis.  Genesis 24:21  And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the LORD had made his journey prosperous or not.  (Stunned, astonished, or amazed)
1.  I stand amazed in the presence of the Lord tonight. 
2.  Amazed at who and what He is.
3.  Amazed at just how much He loves mankind.
4.  Amazed that God sent His only begotten Son to die for sinners.
5.  Tonight, I stand amazed, as always, when I read the story of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  A story that never gets old.
E.  Several things stick out in our verses for tonight.
1.  The Plan Of His Birth – “born”
a.  His birth was miraculous – virgin born - Isaiah 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
b.  His birth was marvelous – God became man - 1 Timothy 3:16  And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
2.  The Period Of His Birth – “this day”
a.  The prophecy – Daniel 9:24-25  Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
b.  The performance - Galatians 4:4  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
3.  The Place Of His Birth – “city of David”
a.  The right tribe – Genesis 49:9-10  Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?  The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
Psalms 78:67-68  Moreover he refused the tabernacle of Joseph, and chose not the tribe of Ephraim:  But chose the tribe of Judah, the mount Zion which he loved.
Micah 5:2  But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
b.  The right throne - Luke 1:32  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
4.  The Person Of His Birth – “Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
a.  Jehovah God of the Old Testament - Isaiah 9:6  For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
John 1:1, 14  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
b.  Jesus God of the New Testament - Matthew 1:23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
5.  The Purpose Of His Birth – “Christ the Lord”
a.  He came to sacrifice – Isaiah 50:6-7  I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.  For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
Romans 14:9  For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
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.
b.  He came to save - 1 Timothy 1:15  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
1 John 4:14  And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
6.  The Poverty Of His Birth – “swaddling clothes, lying in a manger”
a.  He was poor in His birth – Luke 2:22-24  And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;  (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)  And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
b.  He was poor in His life - Luke 9:58  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.   
7.  The Praise Of His Birth – vs. 13, 20 – “praising God…Praising God”
a.  Adored in heaven - Revelation 5:14  And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.
b.  Adored in earth - Luke 24:50-53  And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen.
Conclusion:  this year at Christmas, let us give the our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the praise and worship that due Him.

God Loves To Hear His People Sing

Temple Baptist Church - 12-23-2015
Psalm 100:2

A. The Bible sets forth in many verses the importance of Singing.  Even in heaven, we find the presence of singing along with musical instruments.  God loves to hear His people sing!  In this much quoted Psalm, the Lord commanded His people to sing.  He commands us to “come before His presence” with the songs of the saved. 
B.  Tonight, we will do a little extra singing as we desire the presence of our wonderful Lord.  He is welcome here at Temple Baptist Church!  We desire His presence and we desire His presence to be felt!
C.  Singing Is Vital To Worship!   Three different attitudes toward singing:
1.  Those who make too much of singing.  The singing crowd normally does not care too much about preaching!  I have seen them drive hundreds of miles to go to a singing, camp out and sleep on the ground, and stay for hours.  You let a revival be announced and they will not drive across town to attend and be a part of it!  Instead of preach, Preacher, preach—it is sing, Singer, sing!  Most of the singing groups are not faithful to their local churches and will sing in any and every denomination and situation because it is all about money.  You can say, “AMEN” right there if you will.
2.  Those who make too little of singing.  I look around occasionally and see people not singing in church.  We are commanded to sing unto the Lord and praise His wonderful name.  I know that I sing too loudly but I want the Lord to hear me over the rest of you!  J  I have been often told that I do not need a microphone as God gave me a great PA System when I was born.  We are to sing heartedly as unto the Lord.  It matters not if you can carry a tune in a bucket, you need to sing.
3.  Those who place the proper emphasis on singing.  Here is the deal, singing in church is a prelude to the preaching.  It prepares the hearts of the people to rejoice and receive the preached Word of God!  I do not go to singings without preaching.  I sing at home, on the road, in the shower, I sing at church, when I am not leading the singing I sing in the choir.  But singing and preaching go together in church.
D.  We desire to be the third in the list!
1.  We want our singing done by the right people.
2.  We want our singing to be Christ centered.
3.  We want our singing to be Christ honoring.
4.  We want our singing to be doctrinally correct.
5.  We want our singing to abstain from all appearance of worldliness.
6.  We want our singing to be vibrant.
7.  We want our singing to be a preparation for the peaching!
E.  There are:
1.  Songs of Deliverance
2.  Songs of Encouragement
3.  Songs of Praise
4.  Songs of Rejoicing
5.  Songs of Redemption
6.  Songs of Thanksgiving
7.  Songs of Faith
F.  I love:
1.  Individual singing.
2.  Choir singing.
3.  Quartet singing.
4.  Ensemble singing.
5.  Congregational singing.
5.  Loud, heart felt singing.
G.  We that are saved have much to sing about so, tonight, let us praise the Lord in song!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

God’s Light of Christmas

Temple Baptist Church - 12-20-2015
Luke 2:1-20
John 1:1-14; John 8:12; John 12:25-36

A.  This week is Christmas, truly the most wonderful time of the year.  I love Thanksgiving through the New Year.  It takes so long to get here and goes by so quickly. 
1.  Thanksgiving is so special because it is a time of reflection on the goodness of God and a special time for families to get together at the expense of a poor old turkey.  If you are thankful for nothing else, be thankful that you are not a turkey in November! 
2.  Christmas, though greatly commercialized, is a time when we reflect on the promise of God and its fulfillment as He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to sacrificially take away the sin of the world.  People ask me what time of the year was Christ born and I tell them in the early fall of the year.  The Bible is clear about the time of His birth but the world celebrates His birth in December and I have no problem with that.
3.  Christmas decorating is all about lights!  We have lights on our Christmas Trees, candles lite on the mantles, our home covered with lights on the outside.  At Christmas, we drive through Roper Mountain to see the lights; we drive through Heritage Park to see the lights; we drive to the “North Pole” out on Trinity Church Road to see the lights; we drive through the town of Ware Shoals to see the lights; we go to the Biltmore House and take the Candle Light Tour with all of its Christmas Trees and fireplaces; we drive through different neighborhoods to see lights.
B.  God takes great interest in light because God is Light!  In our text, it says, “The glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.”  There are three things that I want to look at concerning the coming of Christ:  darkness, light, and division.  To fully understand these three things, we need to go back to the First Mention Principle of Bible Interpretation.  These three things are found in the opening verses of the Book of Genesis (or Beginnings).
Genesis 1:1-5  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  (2)  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.  (3)  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  (4)  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.  (5)  And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
1.  In verse 1, God created the heaven and the earth.
2.  In verse 2, the newly created world lay in darkness.
3.  In verse 3, God spoke light into existence.  This was not natural light because the sun, moon, and stars had not yet been created.  This was not artificial light because we were not here yet to make such light.  As God will be the Light of eternity in Revelation 22, He was the Light of creation in the beginning.
Revelation 22:5  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.
4.  In verse 4, God divided the light from the darkness.  The reason for this is that light and darkness cannot co-exist.  In darkness there is no light and in light there is no darkness.
5.  In verse 5, God named the light Day and the darkness Night.  “Day” means warmth and was illuminated by the light.  “Night” means twisted or to turn away.
C.  The world misses the purpose for which we celebrate Christmas.  With all of the world’s tinsel and commercialism, the true spirit of Christmas is lost as it is now “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas!”
1.  The darkness of a sin filled world into which Christ was born.  The darkness of dead religion permeated the world when our Lord was born.   Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.  (Israel had rejected the prophets and advanced into a religious system of self-merit.  Sound like our day.  We live in the last days.  Israel has rejected their Messiah, America has turned its back on their God, religion has replaced salvation, and immorality has become both the norm and acceptable behavior.  Darkness or Night means to twist or to turn away from light.)
2.  The Light of the glory of God’s Son.  Simeon waited for the Consolation of Israel.  Luke 2:29-32  Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  (30)  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  (31)  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  (32)  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
D.  Three things concerning the first coming of Christ at His birth:
1.  The darkness of Sin that brings damnation. Psalms 107:8-14  Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!  (9)  For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.  (10)  Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron(11)  Because they rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High(12)  Therefore he brought down their heart with labour; they fell down, and there was none to help.  (13)  Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses.  (14)  He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.  (The world was steeped in heathenism and Israel in dead religion!  In our day, morality is at an all-time low as men do those things that appease the lusts of their flesh.  A day of lack of integrity and sinfulness.  Religion is, for the most part, just a dead gratification of the inward desire of man to soothe his conscience and feel good about what and who he is.)
2.  The Light of God that brings salvation. Isaiah 60:1-3  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee(2)  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.  (3)  And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising(At His first coming, the Light of Israel’s consolation and a Light to lighten the Gentiles, Israel’s Messiah and the Saviour of the world was born.  Piercing the darkness of this world, Jesus Christ came that all who come to know Him as their personal Saviour may have eternal life.)
John 14:19  Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
John 10:27-30  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  (28)  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  (29)  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.  (30)  I and my Father are one.
3.  The Choice of Man that determines his eternal destiny.  Matthew 4:12-17  Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;  (13)  And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  (14)  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,  (15)  The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;  (16)  The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.  (17)  From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand(Salvation and eternal life is a choice that is made!  We are not saved because we go to church, read our Bible, do good works, be baptized, because of who our parents are, but we are saved because we choose Christ!  A recognition of who and what we are, a recognition of Who and What He is, a turning from self and sin, and a personal acceptance of the finished work of our Lord Jesus Christ as full and final payment for sin.)
John 1:1-12  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  (2)  The same was in the beginning with God.  (3)  All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  (4)  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (5)  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not(6)  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  (7)  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.  (8)  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.  (9)  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.  (10)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  (11)  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  (12)  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name
John 3:17-21  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  (18)  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  (19)  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  (20)  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  (21)  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Conclusion:  The Light of the World was born some 2,000 years ago because of the love of God for mankind.  Day or Night?  Choose Christ who is Light or “twist and turn away” which is Night!  Your choice!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Joy of Pastoring

Temple Baptist Church - 12-9-2015
3 John 4


A.  I have often said that pastoring a church is a “Bitter – Sweet” experience.  I love what I do!  I cannot over-emphasis this enough!  I always wanted to do something for a living that I enjoyed and now I have that blessed privilege.  Pastoring is not always glorious, but is always worthwhile!

B.  There are many things that bring sorrow to a pastor’s heart.  I will name several before I get into the “good stuff.”  Before I begin, I want everyone here to realize that:

1.  God has never saved a perfect man!  Pastors are men of fault and failure just like you are.  Do not be too disappointed in your pastor when he does not live up to your expectations.

2.  God has never called a perfect man!  So many hold the pastor to a different standard.  Did you know that you are to be as good and godly as your pastor?  Did you know that you are to labor MORE in the ministry than your pastor as he is to give his time to the Word of God and prayer?

3.  God uses imperfect men because He is God and both the man and the work of the ministry are His.

C.  God’s men should have a threefold goal in mind.  2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

1.  To fight the good fight of faith.  1 Timothy 6:12  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.

2.  To finish the course set before him.  Acts 20:23-24  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  (24)  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

3.  To keep the faith once delivered which involves two things:

a)  Remain true to the Word of God.  Jude 3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

b)  Remain true to the Old Paths.  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.

D.  When I speak of “bitter” in reference to the ministry of God’s men, I am not say that God’s men are bitter in spirit.  I am saying that the ministry, just like life, is full of ups and downs, good and bad times, winter as well as summer times, times of sorrow as well as happiness.

1.  The sorrow of the failures within the church.  2 Corinthians 11:28   Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 

2.  The sorrow or the rejection of truth.  2 Timothy 1:13-15  Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  (14)  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.  (15)  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

3.  Sorrow of losing families to sin. 2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

4.  Sorrow of losing families because of God’s Word. Galatians 4:16  Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?

5.  Sorrow of losing brethren through death. 1 Thessalonians 4:13  But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

6.  Sorrow of seeing the church become apathetic. Revelation 3:15  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

7.  Sorrow of trying to help and being rejected. 1 Peter 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

8.  Sorrow of preaching falling on deaf ears.  James 1:21-22  Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.  (22)  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

9. Sorrow of facing the Lord with my pastoral failures.  1 Peter 1:6-7  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  (7)  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

10.  Sorrow of having pastored people that I could not help.  Hebrews 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

E.  And, yet, there are many things that bring both joy and rejoicing!  The joys greatly outweigh the sorrows.  I want to look to look at some things tonight that bring joy to this pastor’s heart.

1.  Joy of Fellowship with God’s People - Romans 15:32  That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

2.  Joy of Encouraging God’s People - 2 Corinthians 2:1-4  But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me?  And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all.  For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

3.  Joy of Bearing The Burdens of God’s People - 2 Corinthians 7:1-4  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.       

4.  Joy of Hearing That God’s People Are Steadfastly Serving  - 2 Corinthians 7:12-16  Wherefore, though I wrote unto you, I did it not for his cause that had done the wrong, nor for his cause that suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear unto you. Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him.  I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.

Colossians 2:5  For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 3:6-10  But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:  For now we live,if ye stand fast in the Lord.  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God;  Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?

5.  Joy of Sharing The Ministry With God’s People - Philippians 1:3-11  I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.  And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.  (Workers, visitation, teachers, choir - get involved!!)

6.  Joy of Seeing God’s People Unified - 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.  (Greatest heartache - bickering children!)

7.  Joy of A Godly Testimony of God’s People - Philippians 2:14-18   Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.  (So much said about hypocrites – it is refreshing to hear good about God’s people!)

8.  Joy of An Inner Witness With God’s People - Philippians 4:1  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.

9.   Joy of Leading Others To Christ - 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?  For ye are our glory and joy.  (Some of you were came to Christ under my ministry.  Not that I am anything, but what a joy.  Just think of Tracy!)

10.  Joy of Giving Account For God’s Faithful People - Hebrews 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.