Temple Baptist Church - 4-29-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2
A. Thessalonica was the capitol of the second district of Macedonia. As Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, a church born in great persecution, he showed a true pastor’s heart.
2 Corinthians 8:1-2 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.
B. Paul had started churches that later turned away from him so, to see a church that remained faithful to the Lord as well as its beginning brought a rejoicing to his heart.
2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
C. I too, as a pastor, have much to be thankful for:
1. That the Lord saw beyond my desires and placed me in the right church.
2. That my family has been able to remain in the same church for over 28 years.
3. That I happen to be the pastor of the best people on earth and would not trade one of you for anything.
D. And I “give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in” my prayers. Over these years, we have seen many come and many go, we have married and we have buried, we have seen some leave right and come back right, we have weathered storms and found that “The Anchor Holds!”
E. As a people, we (I include myself with you) have:
1. We have continued to remain true to the Scriptures: the King James Bible. 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. (To do such has never been popular but it has always been right and I commend you.)
2. We continued to remain unified as a church body. 1 John 3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (We have truly weathered storms from within as well as from without. I have always told our two sons that, regardless of what comes, if you have a family that loves you, you are blessed. We are blessed.)
3. We have continued to do a great work for the Lord in our small church. Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. (2-3 million dollars have gone out of this church to the mission fields. We continue to faithfully witness in our community. God does not and will not forget!)
4. We have continued to maintain a great testimony and witness in our community. 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. (As a church, we can hold our heads up in this community. Our church is well known and well respected because our people are good Christians and the salt of the earth.)
5. When have continued to worship in the beauty of holiness instead of the paths of worldliness. Psalms 96:9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (We see traditional churches all around us opting for Contemporary Praise Services. Our music is right; our musicians are right; our specials are right. Our appeal is to God, not to the flesh and the Lord is pleased!)
6. We have continued to make our church the house of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (We pray often during the course of the services. Our people pray over the prayer lists. Our people pray for each other as well as our missionaries.)
7. We have continued to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; (Our people are knowledgeable concerning the Scriptures. The Bible is so much more than just something to be carried to church. Our people spend time reading, hearing, and rightly dividing it.)
8. This one is a little different but you have continued to “put up” with me! When I think of and pray for our people, I always know that my family is blessed and happy to be a part of this great church.