Sunday, March 29, 2015


Temple Baptist Church - 3-29-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-3
A.  As we begin preaching through the Book of 1 Thessalonians, I want to give a little background to show what had previously transpired in Acts 17:1-14. 
1.  Act 17:1  Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:
a)  “Now when they” shows the pattern of biblical missions that is many times disregarded in our day.  The Lord sent His disciples out two by two and, in the Book of Acts, we find that pattern continued.  There are many advantages to missionaries not going alone to establish churches but I will name only a couple: 
1)  Personal accountability!  Mark 6:7  And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; (It helps the missionary to stay “straight” and focused on the work.  One of the great problems faced today is a lack of biblical accountability.  It is also good for protection of both reputation and person!) 
Acts 13:2-4  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them(3)  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.  (4)  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
2)  Encouragement!  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.  (10)  For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.  (11)  Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?  (12)  And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  (Two can lift each other up when down and a three-fold cord is not easily broken so a two-fold cord is much stronger than one.  Many missionaries or missionary families become discouraged when they start a local church and, for long periods of time, only preach to and fellowship with their own families.  This is important to both the missionary and his family.)
b)  “Passed through … came to.”  Paul established churches where there was no foundation laid by another missionary.  He spent most his time in the “regions beyond” in his church planting efforts. 
Romans 15:20  Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
c)  Historical Background of Thessalonica - Thessalonica was located at the intersection of two major Roman roads, one leading from Italy eastward (Ignatia Way) and the other from the Danube to the Aegean. Thessalonica’s location and use as a port made it a prominent city. In 168 BC it became the capital of the second district of Macedonia and later it was made the capital and major port of the whole Roman province of Macedonia (146 BC). In 42 BC, after the battle at Philippi, Thessalonica was made a free city. Today the modern city of Thessaloniki is the second most important city of Greece and home to a million inhabitants.
d)  Paul went to the city of Thessalonica (estimated 200,000 in population during this time and preached there for a period of 3-4 weeks.  The majority of these people were Greeks but there was a rather large population of Jews and, therefore Jewish proselytes who were also Greeks.
e)  Missionaries normally concentrate, in the beginning of their ministry to a particular nation, on large concentrations of population.  They do this for a couple of reasons: a)  To reach as many people as possible in the shortest time  b)  To establish a good, solid, biblical, local church from which to reach out to the surrounding areas. 
2.  Acts 17:2  And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
a)  Paul followed the direction of the Scriptures “to the Jew first” and reasoned with them from the Scriptures.  The most effective way to offset false teaching is not with human reasoning but with the Word of God.  For three consecutive weeks, he faithfully taught them God’s Word.
b)   This was the beginning of the church plant as missionaries today often use Bible studies in homes of people then invite them to assemble in the church plant.
3.  Acts 17:3-4  Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (4) And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.   
a)  As Paul preached the gospel to these Jews and Jewish proselytes, some of the Jews believed and “consorted” with him while a “great multitude” of the devout Greeks believed along with many of the chief women.  These precious people were called under the ministry of the word by the grace of God, out of darkness into marvelous light. 
b)  The main message of the missionary is the gospel.  How they begin depends upon the biblical knowledge of the people.  If they have never believe in God or heard the name of Jesus Christ, one will need to lay a biblical foundation for faith.
4.  Acts 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 
a)  Thus, the unbelieving Jews were moved to envy because of the multitude of converts, brought in unsaved, wicked men who caused the entire city to be in an uproar against Paul because Thessalonica was a free city under the Roman Caesar and the preaching of another King could take away their free status.  The people took a believer named Jason into custody along with others because Paul was hidden away. 
b)  The missionary needs to be ready for the opposition to the preached Word the will follow.  Satan and his cohorts will try to malign or withstand the truth.  Often, those who have been won to Christ will suffer for the gospel’s sake.
5.  Acts 17:6-10 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;  (7)  Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.  (8)  And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.  (9)  And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. (10)  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 
a)  Jason was “bailed out” and he and others sent Paul and Silas by night unto Berea.  Paul began preaching and reasoning in the synagogue of the Jews and once again won many to Christ.  The Jews of Thessalonica came and stirred up the people of Berea.  Paul was sent away leaving Silas and Timotheus to minister there. 
b)  There are many reasons for missionaries to change fields and I leave that between them and the Lord.  Most churches would have dropped the support of the Apostle Paul because he spent a lot of time in jail and changed locations often.
6.  Acts 17:11-12  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.  (12)  Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 
a)  Evidently, a strong local church was birthed through Paul’s preaching that remained in spite of strong persecution from the Jews. They were surrounded with a culture of heathenism and gross immorality. This led to enormous temptation to return to their old ways and significant persecution if they refused to recant their faith in Christ. 
b)  God honored both the efforts to preach the gospel and the willingness of the people to suffer for Christ’s sake.  Biblical local churches have always paid a price for their existence but multitudes have come to Christ because of persecution and men/women who were willing to pay the price for souls.
7.  Acts 17:3-14  But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.  (14)  And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still.
a)  The persecutors followed Paul to Berea and continued to turn the hearts of the lost against him.  But, God continue to protect and honor Paul’s faithfulness to the gospel.
b)  Paul left Silas and Timotheus, faithful men of God, in Thessalonica to oversee the work and see to it that the church continued to be doctrinally correct and strong.
B.  Paul is now writing to the church at Thessalonica in these two little epistles to answer some questions that had arisen in Paul’s absence.  There is not mention of the name of the pastor but the church was strong according to 1 Thessalonians 1:3.
C.  The theme and purpose of the epistle is summarized in following areas of the epistle.
1. First of all, we find the thankfulness of God’s man for the people.  Paul expresses his thankfulness for what God was doing in the lives of the Thessalonians (1:2-3).  Through the strong persecution from without, they were doing a great work for the glory of God and souls.
2. Paul defends himself against a campaign to slander his ministry (2:1-12).  Everywhere Paul went, there were those who maligned and demonized God’s man.  This is one of the most effective attacks upon the local churches.
3. Paul tries to encourage them to stand fast against persecution and pressure to revert to their former pagan life-styles (3:2-3; 4:1-12).  Satan would love to see the demise of local churches and the return of God’s people to their old lifestyles.  I see people who once served the Lord here at Temple staying home instead of being faithful to the local church.
4. Paul answers a doctrinal question pertaining to the fate of Christians who had died in Christ (4:1-13).  There was a lack of understanding concerning those who died in Christ and rapture of the body of Christ at His appearing.
5. Paul gives a clear presentation of the “Day of the Lord” (5:1-11).  Many today are still confused about the end time and judgment of God.
6. Paul deals with certain problems that had developed in their corporate life as a church (5:12-13; 19-20).  People need a good understanding of the purpose, ministries, and inner workings of the local church.
7.  Two major themes arise in the study and reading of 1 and 2 Thessalonians:
a.  The first theme is the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a subject found at the close of every chapter. Concerning Christ’s return there is a two-fold emphasis of both a confident expectation along with the call to live in readiness in the light of His imminent coming.
b.  The second theme revolves around the ministry of the local church and its life in the world.  In this the Apostle balances the prophetic with the practical. As in other places, the doctrine of the return of Christ for the church is a truth that should transform how we live as individuals and as a corporate body of God’s people.

The Curse Of The Blood Of Christ

Temple Baptist Church - 3-29-2015
Matthew 27:15-26
A.  I have thought much about verse 25 over the past few days. 
1.  I have never personally heard a message on this subject but could not get away with the solemn truth found in the verse:  “his blood be on us, and on our children!”  As Jesus Christ was at the end of His earthly life, He stood before Israel as the Messiah: the chosen and anointed of God! 
2.  The Messiah: longed for and looked for four thousand years.  John the Baptist paved the way for “The Way” and introduced Him to the Nation of Israel in John 1:29.  The Lamb of God to put an end to the seemingly endless line of lambs slaughtered for the atonement of the people.
3.  The Nation of Israel rejected the Messiah as prophesied in Isaiah 53.  But the Nation of Israel did something else that I want to deal with for a few minutes this morning, one week before Resurrection Sunday.  They placed the curse of the rejection of the blood of Christ upon themselves and their posterity.
B.  For the past 2,000 years, the blood of Christ has certainly been a curse upon the nation of Israel as they have suffered greatly as a people.
1.  No nation has been hated more than Israel.  In our day, nations are turning their backs on Israel while siding with their natural enemies that surround them.
2.  There has been genocide as wicked nations have implemented “ethnic cleansing” as the “weapon of choice” to eliminate Israel.  Through it all, the Lord has allowed Israel to survive but the curse of the rejected Messiah and His blood remain to our day.
C.  One of the most important doctrines in the Bible is that of the blood of Christ.  It is a doctrine often attacked or maligned.  It has even been called “Slaughterhouse Religion” by some religious infidels. 
1.  It was precious blood!  1 Peter 1:18-19  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  (19)  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
2.  It was perfect blood!  Matthew 27:3-4  Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,  (4)  Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
3.  It was the blood of God!  Hebrews 9:12  Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
D.  The Curse of the Blood of Christ:
1.  It is a Foolish CurseThen answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us,”  Look at the willfulness of the curse in our verse.  2 Peter 2:21-22  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  (22)  But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.  (People act as if there is no God; that there is no accountability; that there is no eternity; that they will not have to face God personally.)
2.  It is a Family Curse – “AND on our children” – that is a calloused statement.     Exodus 20:5  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  (Praying a curse upon one’s children is reprehensible!  Absolutely no regard for the eternal state of the little ones that they love so much!  Our children depend upon our example as a straight and narrow way to follow.  I see the signs that say, “If my children follow me, they will be drug free.”  If my children follow me, where will they spend eternity?)
3.  It is a Final Curse – Israel has never asked to have that curse removed and it will remain until they look on Him whom they pierced!  Eternity is real and approaching for each and every one us.  When we die or when He shall appear, then all hope will be gone!  It does not have to be that way.
1.  To deny the blood of Christ is to deny the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
2.  To deny the blood of Christ is to pronounce one’s own personal eternal damnation. 
3.  To deny the blood of Christ is to “slap the face of almighty God” who loves you and sent His only begotten Son to die for your sin.  He shed His blood for you!
4.  It is a Curse that can be Fixed – Zechariah 12:10  And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
Romans 11:26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Is Believing Unto Salvation?

Temple Baptist Church - 3-25-2015
1 John 5:1-5
A. Every time I read this verse, I think of Dr. Harold B. Sightler who said, “More people will get to heaven on this verse than people think.”  I agree with him but this verse is not a “stand alone” verse.
B.  There is much confusion, even in the fundamental ranks, concerning salvation and arguments have arisen as good men try to protect the integrity of biblical salvation while refuting doctrinal heresy.  I am not going to answer every theological question that has or will arise but want to take a biblical look at this verse as to make it plain.
1.  Much of the confusion is because verses become of “private interpretation” to those either trying to build a doctrine or to protect one.  Once again, you can make the bible say almost anything that you want it to say by looking at one verse alone.
2.  John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (No mention of repentance; no prayer for salvation found here.  Yet, this verse is prefaced by an Old Testament example of salvation.  Bitten by a serpent, they were to look to the brazen serpent on the pole for healing.  A realization of sinfulness and looking to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as full payment for that sin and eternal salvation.)
3.  Acts 8:36-37  And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?  (37)  And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  (No mention of repentance; no prayer for salvation found here.  Yet, we see what brought the eunuch to Christ was a desire that led to seeking through his round trip of possible 2-3 thousand miles in a chariot.  His going on his way rejoicing as the desires of his heart had been met.  His life was forever changed.)
4.  Acts 16:30-31  And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?  (31)  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.  (Once again, no mention of repentance; no prayer for salvation mentioned.  Yet he came with fear and trembling and left with a changed life coupled with a desire to lead his family in the way of truth.)
C.  Is repentance necessary for salvation?  Absolutely!  Acts 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  (In the conversion of these two examples, we find that their faith in
D.  Is repentance a work?  Absolutely not!  Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
E.  I believe that believing unto salvation involves biblical repentance.  You cannot separate them!  I often say that when I was saved, I brought a bankrupt sinner to Christ.  I was tired of where I was and wanted the Lord to save my ungodly soul and He did.
F.  Biblical repentance is a change of heart and mind that will bring about a change in desire and life. 
G.  James 2:17-24  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.  (18)  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.  (19)  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.  (20)  But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?  (21)  Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?  (22)  Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?  (23)  And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.  (24)  Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 
1.  There is a faith that will not save.  “Shew me thy faith without they works”  
a.  It is a belief in one God who is the only God.  Satan and his devils also believe in one God who is God!  It is a faith that is not accompanied by a change of life and the good works that always follow.   
b.  The problem is a lack of biblical repentance that accompanies saving faith.  No dissatisfaction with where one is and no desire for a change of life.
2.  There is a faith that will save.  “And I will shew thee my faith by my works”  In our text, we find that the saving faith in verse one is followed by a changed life accompanied by good works.
a.  In verse 1, we find that saving faith is accompanied with both a love for God and also a love for the brethren.  “and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
b.  In verse 2, we find that saving faith is accompanied by obedience to God’s Word.  “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.”
c.  In verse 3, we find that saving faith is accompanied by a change in attitude concerning spiritual things.  “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” 
c.  In verse 4-5, we find that saving faith is accompanied by overcoming.  “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”
2 Corinthians 7:10  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Homecoming Day, 2015 - Temple, How Will Finish?

Temple Baptist Church - 3-22-2015
2 Timothy 4:7
A.  Today marks 28 years that my family has been at Temple Baptist Church. 
1.  That is almost half of my lifetime!  Our children grew up here!  Laurens is our home!  Every day is a special day for this pastor when I walk through those doors and see our church family.  I often stop by the church while out visiting and many times just sit on the back pew where I can see the whole church or sit on the platform and look over the church.  I love to come here and sit and pray.
2.  There has never been the slightest doubt that this is where the Lord has placed me and never a time when I considered leaving or looking for another pastorate.  I am satisfied with God’s amazing grace and providence that brought my family here so long ago.  I can still say that I love you better than Butter Pecan Ice Cream!
B.  We have laughed and we have cried!  We have married some and buried many!  My family has stood with you and you have stayed with us.  I could ask for no more!  There have been good times and bad times.  There has been sickness and there has been health.  There have been fat times and there have been lean times.  There has been spring, summer, fall, and winter with times of growth and times of pruning.  Temple Baptist Church, you have proven yourself true and have positively affected this county and the world for Christ.
C.  We started right physically! 
1.  We started small but right!  Our faith was in the Lord and our foundation was in God’s Word.  We were happy!  My family moved into the little house by the church and it was home. 
2.  Today, we will eat in a beautiful Fellowship Hall.  Then, we fellowshipped in the “hall!”  We were happy because we were in the perfect will of God and we could lay our heads on our pillows at night knowing that what we were doing and had done was scriptural.  God blessed.  We began to take on missionary families and made this church a safe haven for them.  We have always taken good care of these special people and God has blessed us for it.  I have not tallied the numbers but my estimate would be that we have put 2 million dollars or more on the mission field. 
3.  We chose to stay in our building and remodel it as needed instead of building a larger one and allowing our debt to dictate our missions giving.  I am not knocking churches that build when they need to build but the bible says to be content with such things as you have.  In God’s time, we paved our parking lot.  Remember the days when we had to push cars out of the red mud when we outgrew our graveled lot?  Those were special days.  When it was time, God gave us a Fellowship Hall with SS class rooms.  When it was time, God gave us one of the most beautiful Prophet’s Chambers that missionaries and evangelists have ever stayed in.
D.  We started doctrinally right! 
1.  We taught our Sunday School from the King James Bible; we filled our pulpit with the King James Bible; our people treated this property with respect; our people treated the pulpit with respect; our people have treated this pastor with respect.  We got rid of the Church Constitution and voted in the King James Bible as our authority for faith and practice.
2.  We maintained the Old Paths of doctrinal purity and separation.  We believed the Word of God and honored its doctrines.  We culled out the preachers and missionaries who compromised the bible and held the ones that we supported to the same standard that the church had.  We have never been “in your face” with who we are but we also have never apologized or capitulated. 
"The New Testament Church did not depend on a moral majority, but rather on the holy minority. The Church right now has more fashion than passion, is more pathetic than prophetic, is more superficial than supernatural. The Church the Apostles ministered in was a suffering Church; today we have a sufficient Church. Events in the Spirit-controlled Church were amazing; in this day the Church is often just amusing. The New Testament Church was identified with persecutions; today many of us are identified with prosperity, popularity, and personalities."

"Why Revival Tarries", Leonard Ravenhill
E.  I have preached from this verse over the years but want to make a spiritual application on Homecoming Day, 2015.  Paul is ending his race and is summing it up in three aspects: he fought a good fight, he finished his course, and he kept the faith.  That is all God expected from this great man of God and that is all that God expects from Temple Baptist Church!
1. We must Fight!  The Fight is not over!  We have had to fight from the very beginning and have continued to fight through these years.  The faces have changed but the fight is the same.  As a church, we have weapons:  1)  The weapon of unity.  We must fight together.  When the enemies of God’s Word begin their work of division, we must band together.  We are a “Band of Brothers and Sisters” here.  Too many churches have failed because people will not “answer the bell” for each round.  Most people do not like to fight and, unfortunately, most heretics or religious devils love to fight.  2)  The weapon of prayer.  The Lord is on our side because He loves the church more than we love it.  The church is His and we need to saturate our problems in prayer.  Pray and fight.  3)  The weapon of righteousness.  Our cause is just!  We war to keep our church right with the Lord.  We war to keep our church a nest in which to raise our young.  We war to keep our church’s mission’s outreach vibrant. 
2.  We must Finish!  We started right but it is possible to finish wrong or not to finish at all.  The bible does not say to finish “big” or to finish “popular.”  We are to finish our race with our spiritual integrity intact!  Today’s mentality is “bigger” means that God is blessing but many churches are “bigger” because they have allowed their churches to be worldly places for worldly people.  Starting right is great but finishing right is even greater.
3.  We must keep the Faith!  We do so by maintaining or contending for:  1)  The Word of God.   The unending battle for Truth will continue as liberal theologians constantly undermine the foundation of our faith.  It the foundations can be destroyed, then what can the righteous do?  2)  The Old Paths.  The old ways are now being forsaken and mocked as liberal churches contend for our young people with the straw man of bridging the generation gap.  I find no place in the bible for a generation gap as the youth are to walk in the paths of their fathers!  3)  Separation from the world.  Church needs to treated like church.  I, as a pastor, never come to this pulpit without a coat and tie on.  Do I wear a coat and tie all week?  I am a denim shirt and blue jeans man!  I believe it is right for the pastor to follow the old ways instead of the open shirt, casual dress of many.  When the church becomes casual, the worship will become casual!  The respect for God’s house will be gone and it just becomes another building.
Conclusion:  Temple, we started right—we have remained right—let us finish the task that God has given us right!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

As He Is, So Are We In This World

Temple Baptist Church - 3-18-2015
1 John 4:13-19
A.  This passage of Scripture has always intrigued me and, when I got a grasp on it, it thrilled my soul to know just how much the Lord loves me and what He did for me over 38 years ago. 
B.  “As he is” is a direct reference to the Lord Jesus Christ in both His person and this present time in which we live.  “As he is…so are we” in this world.  I want you to see the implications of this verse this morning.
C.  I, like most—if not all—of you, know what I am.  I find nothing in my person or actions that would cause the Lord to even give to me the time of day.  First of all, I want to say, “Thank God for grace!”  If you are working your way to heaven or trying to maintain your salvation through works, you are the most deceived of all people.
D.  This is the point that I will strive to make: we see what and who we are and it causes our spiritual perception of self to be tainted.  We have a natural problem discerning the difference between positional salvation and practical salvation.
1.  Positional Salvation is what we are in Christ Jesus.  It does not involve or rest upon personal merit but rather upon the finished work of Jesus Christ (death, burial, and resurrection).  Salvation depends upon what He did, not what we are doing.  This is why life must be eternal in Christ!  We are hid with Christ in God and already seen as seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
2.  Practical Salvation is what Jesus Christ does through us and involves both a conversion—which brings about the new creature—and either obedience or lack of obedience to God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It is difficult for us to realize just how secure that we are in Christ!  Nothing that we do can separate us from the love of Christ!  (Romans 8:38-39)
E.  Verse 17 says that we may have boldness in the day of judgment (Judgment Seat of Christ found in 2 Corinthians 5:10) because we will stand before God positionally perfect: dressed in the righteousness of Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:21.) 
F.  As He is right now, seated at the right hand of the throne of God—making intercession for us, so are we right now!  Not, “so will we be when we get to heaven,” but SO ARE WE IN THIS WORLD!  In a sinful world, in a sinful body, and with all of our spiritual imperfections!  Hallelujah, What A Saviour!!!
G.  Let us look at some of the things that we have in common with our Lord:
1.  We Have The Same Heavenly Father - John 20:17  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.  (My earthly father loved me, protected me, fed me, clothed me, sheltered me, guided me, and cared about my complete well being. God cares about me and for me infinitely more that my earthly dad!) 
2.  We Have The Same 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(Our Lord is not talking about our physical life here.  The disciples lived physically regardless of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  He is speaking of a life with no end.)
3.  We Have The Same Nature - 2 Peter 1:4  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  (By way of resemblance and likeness, the new man or principle of grace, being formed in the heart in regeneration, after the image of God, and bearing a likeness to the image of his Son.  We are changed from glory to glory because of the Spirit that lives within!)
4.  We Have The Same Position - Ephesians 2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus(In God’s infinite wisdom, we are already seated with Him in Heaven.  Just as if you were already home!)
5.  We Have The Same Peace - John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Isaiah 32:17  And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.  (The child of God not only has peace with God, he or she has the peace of God.)
6.  We Have The Same Love - 1 John 4:7  Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
Romans 5:5  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.  (When we get saved, we love as God loves!  One of the greatest changes that take place in our lives is that we love what and who God loves!  Too many people say that they are saved and yet do not love God, God’s house, God’s word, God’s people, or sinners!)
7.  We Have The Same Comission - John 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you(We receive power through the Holy Ghost and we have commandment to go into all the world and give the gospel to every creature.)
8.  We Have The Same Glory - John 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.  (We, in this world, are as perfect and pure as Jesus Christ.  It is because we have the righteousness of God in Him!)
Conclusion:  We should do the best that we can do in this world, but—in spite of our best efforts—we are miserable failures in the flesh.  Do not be too hard on yourself though.  While not condoning sin, God sees us through the blood of His Son and—therefore—sees us in all of His perfection, not our imperfection!  Well Glory!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Outreach of the Local Church

Temple Baptist Church - 3-15-2015
Titus 3:12-15
A.  As we finish the last of the Pastoral Epistles, we need to sum them up and I believe that these verses do just that.
1.  1 Timothy sets forth the principles of godly behavior in God’s house.  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.  (An admonition to remember that, though the world is wanted, God’s house is not to be worldly.  It is run by the scripture and is to be treated with love and respect!)
2.  2 Timothy sets forth the safe guard of the bible for the protection of God’s house and people in the light of apostasy and false teachers.  2 Timothy 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  (Stay with the old King James Bible; stand on the old King James Bible; and study the old King James Bible!)
3.  Titus sets forth the godly conversation of the saints in this present evil world while expectantly waiting for the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  Titus 2:11-13  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  (12)  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  (13)  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  (He is coming and we are leaving.  We are to be salt and light in a spiritually dark land.)
B.  In his final verses of the Book of Titus, Paul names both people and places involved in the work of the gospel. 
1.  Paul instructs a pastor, Titus, to visit the mission field because it allows the mission churches to get to know those who are “holding the ropes” for the missionaries who are winning souls and establishing local churches. 
2.  Such visits also allow the pastors to get a firsthand look at the work being done by the missionaries and increases his burden for missions which increases the burden for missions in his church.
C.  Verse 14 says, “And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.” 
1.  The work of the gospel must be “maintained” or it will dwindle and, eventually, fade away.  Many local churches that were mission hearted no long have a burden for missions.  We have more local, bible believing churches today than we have ever had and yet missions giving and missions going is dwindling away. 
2.  People talk missions and have mission’s conferences but that is all that they have.  We must maintain good works for “necessary uses” because these good works for necessary uses will produce fruit!
1.  The People of Missions: Paul mentions Artemas, Tychicus, Zenas, and Apollos
a.  There are Faithful God called People.  Acts 13:2-3  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  (3)  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
b.  There are Faithful congregational People.  1 Corinthians 16:1-3  Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye.  (2)  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.  (3)  And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
c.  These are all Soul caring People!  Jude 1:21-22  Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  (22)  And of some have compassion, making a difference:
2.  The Places of Missions:  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.  (The key word in this verse is “both.”  It means “also” or “even” which gives the understanding of “at the same time.”  Home missions and foreign missions are to be done simultaneously.) 
a.  Nicopolis was a mission field where Paul, the missionary, was headed.  It was what we would call a “foreign field.” 
b.  Crete (Titus 1:5) was a mission field were Titus was leaving.  We would refer to this as a home mission field.
3.  The Priority of Missions: 1 Timothy 2:4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
a.  Souls are dying without Christ.  Luke 16:22-23  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  (23)  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
b.  We must work while it day.  John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
4.  The Power of Missions:  Matthew 28:18-19  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  (19)  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
a.  There is the power of our preaching.  Romans 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  (17)  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
b.  There is the power of our possessions.  2 Corinthians 8:1-5  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  (3)  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;  (4)  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  (5)  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
5.  The Possibility of Missions: 
a.  Fruitful - Philippians 4:16-17  For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.  (17)  Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.
b.  Unfruitful - Titus 3:14  And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful.