Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Praying For The Sinful Brother

Temple Baptist Church - 7-29-2015
1 John 5:16

A.  First of all, let me say that we are commanded to pray one for the other.  Paul said, “Brethren, pray for us!”  I know that I certainly need your prayers as well as you need mine.  There are times when it seems hard to pray.  Times when the problems and cares of this life crush us.  Times when we may not even know how to pray for ourselves. 
Romans 8:26-27  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (27)  And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
B.  You may or may not have been there but I have.  There have been days in my life when the sweetest sight in the world was that of God’s people walking towards me in the halls of a court house.  What a lifter up of my soul!  What an encouragement!  In that moment, God changed my whole perspective on my problems.
C.  We need to pray for one another.  Supplications and intercessions.
1.  Prayers for protection.
2.  Prayers for prospering. 
3.  Prayers for God’s will and leadership!
D.  In this verse, we find praying for the brethren when they are in a sinful condition.  Too many of God’s people will forsake the sinful brother when he/she needs correction, restoration, and exhortation.  I believe that a brother or sister needs our prayers much more when in a condition of sinfulness than they do when they are where the Lord wants them to be.
E.  Our verse mentions two types of sinfulness:  a sin not unto death and a sin unto death.  There are diversities of opinions concerning this verse and I will not go into all of that.  Notice that both sins are sins that can be seen!  Though sin is still sin and God hates all sin, there are some sins that are more wicked and, therefore, worthy of greater punishment.
1.  What is a sin not unto death? 
a.  Notice in our verse that this is a sin that can be seen.  We can know when a brother/sister is doing something contrary to God’s Word though. 
b.  At this point, we need to be extremely careful and not to just “hear” of a sin not unto death.  Not everything that you hear is right and what you hear is not to be repeated.  When you see a brother/sister sin a sin not unto death, you are not to spread it! 
c.  Restoration is as important as discipline when it comes to sinfulness.  Our heart’s desire should be to see the sinful get right with God and praying for them is the most effective way to help.  Sins not unto death are sins that are correctable and forgivable. 
d.  If the sin that we see a brother sin is not a sin unto death, we can now pray with confidence that the will of God is the correction, repentance, and restoration of the sinful brother/sister.  The effectiveness of such praying will “give him life.”
2.  What is a sin unto death?
a.  Let me begin by saying what a sin unto death is not. 
1)  We do not know when a brother/sister has crossed God’s deadline!  God is more longsuffering than we even know.  I never give up praying for a sinful brother/sister or even a lost person because I cannot see when they cross God’s deadline.  We cannot see the thoughts and imaginations of a sinful brother.  Some of the most outwardly spiritual of men can be inwardly wicked and sinful. 
2)  This sin unto death must be one that can be observed with the eye.  It is outward and not only inward.  It is not only visible but is also knowable! 
3)  A sin unto death is not the loss of eternal salvation.  We are saved and saved forever.  A sin unto death is one which brings up the sinful a death penalty.
b.  The only answer that I can biblically give to you is that a sin unto death is sin upon which God has imposed a death sentence.  There are saved people that have committed such sins as murder and rape.  To Adam and Eve, a sin unto death was that of eating from a forbidden tree.  In the Old Testament, the sin of adultery was a sin unto death.  I will not take the time to name all sins unto death.
c.  Does the sinful unto death always die?  No because we serve a merciful God but to die or not to die is decision that belongs to God alone.  I thank the Lord that the New Testament is full of the grace of God!  Though saved people can commit sins worthy of death, God—who is rich in mercy—does not always require full payment!
d.  Why are we not to pray for it?  Let me give you this illustration of such a sin not to be prayed for.
Genesis 9:5-6  And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.  (6)  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.
Leviticus 24:17  And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
e.  If (and God forbid that this should happen) one of our beloved brethren should commit murder, I would certainly try to restore him to fellowship with the Lord through confession and repentance.  But, I will not pray that God spare his life because murder is a sin unto death and, in most states, carries a death sentence if convicted!  Such a sin is deserving of death and has such a sentence served upon it by an Almighty God.
f.  Verses 14-15 dealt with confident praying which is praying according to the revealed will of God.  Praying for the deliverance of a sinner who is under God’s death sentence is not praying according to God’s will.
Conclusion:  When a brother or sister gets into sinfulness, it is our responsibility and for his or her benefit that we pray fervently for their repentance, confession, and restoration.  We are all sinful at best and our prayers for each other not only aid in the restoration of the sinful but also serve as a warning to us who pray that we are also capable of such transgressions.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Shepherd Is A Sheep

Temple Baptist Church - 7-26-2015
1 Thessalonians 2:10

A.  The pastor or elder is also called a shepherd. 
1.  In the Old Testament, the shepherd was a man while the flock was made up of goats, sheep, etc.  The word “pastor” means “to tend a flock.” 
2.  In the New Testament’s local church, the “shepherd” and the “sheep” are the same: born again believers assembled together for the cause of edification, encouragement, comfort, instruction, soul winning, missions, etc. 
B.  Notice that Paul said, “Among you.”
1.  The Pastor is not over you!  The pastor is not a “lord” or “dictator” over the believers in the church.  He is not elevated in his person as much as he is in his position.  He is among you.
2.  The Pastor is not under you!  The pastor is not “subservient” to the sheep.  He is not to be ruled by a body politic within the church such as a Board of Trustees or Board of Deacons.  He is to be ruled by a self-selected few within the church.  He is among you.
3.  The Pastor is outside of you!  The pastor, too often, never becomes one with the church.  This can be for more than one reason: 
a) He will not be one with the church because is not going to stay!  He did not come to stay!  Too many pastors spend their entire ministry going from church to church.  A few years back, one survey said that the average stay of a Baptist preacher was 18 months.  I can neither confirm nor can I deny this figure but I know such pastors personally  

b)  The church will not allow him to be one with them because they do not want him to stay indefinitely.  Most modern churches are not looking for God’s man because he will preach the whole counsel of God.  Most modern churches are not looking for a pastor because he will become involved with families as a spiritual counselor.  They are looking for a teacher of a preacher who will leave them to their own devices.
4.  The pastor is one of you and one with you!  We are one in the body and there is to be no division there.  Too often, it is “us” and “him” where the pastor may be a member and fill the pulpit but he never becomes or is allowed to become one with the church.
C.  The people of the local church, including its pastor, need to realize the importance of God’s man and the unity that he is to bring.  I will share a few thoughts that are not going to be made in order to lift this past up but they are on my heart.
1.  He is your man and you had better protect him!  It only takes the silence of the majority to make a minority the majority.  If your pastor is right, when the wolf comes in, do not leave the church because you want peace.  Peace always have a price and that price is the sacrifice of war.
2.  He is your man and you had better take care of him!  This church does and my wife and I have need of nothing but we had a “wolf” come in years ago that tried to starve us out.  You may or may not have noticed, but when you vote to take care of your pastor, it never hurts the church or its finances!
3.  He is you man and you had better love him!  Real pastors (God’s men) are about as scarce as “hen’s teeth.”  Yes, there are men who have “retired” that are willing to preach for you in order to have an extra income, but, if they were real pastors, they would have never retired!  Small churches are hurting everywhere because of a lack of real pastors to fill their pulpits.  When the hireling fills the pulpit, he will run when real trouble comes and the storm begins to “rock the boat.”
D.  What is the biblical pastor?
1.  He is both a leader and a follower.  You cannot be a good leader until you have learned to be a good follower.  He is to lead the church as a pastor and is to follow the church as a member.  We make our decisions together and your wisdom and experience are needed in the decision making.  The pastor is not your ‘lord.”
2.  He is both a teacher and a student.  Paul, writing to young Timothy, said to study!  The work of the pastor is two-fold in the area of teaching and preaching.  He must be a student of the Bible (not what people say about the Bible) as well as a teacher of the Bible.  God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge and many pulpits are the destructing power.  Shallowness because of lack of study will cause churches to be filled with saved but biblically ignorant people.
3.  He is both a preacher and a heeder of the Bible.  We often hear the saying, “Don’t do as I do, do as I say do.”  In these verses, we find that Paul behaved himself in a godly manner and set a biblical example for the people to follow.  God’s men are not perfect so do not hold them to that standard but they are to walk in a consistent, biblical manner before the people.  Preachers need to personally apply the sermon before they preach them.
4.  He is both God’s man and he is your man!  He is God’s gift to you.  He is just exactly what you need and he is just exactly like you.
Ephesians 4:11-16  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  (12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (13)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  (14)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  (16)  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

A Great Gulf Fixed

Temple Baptist Church - 7-26-2015
Luke 16:19-31

A.  Our text for this morning is a very familiar one and has been preached in many ways over the years.  I have nothing new to add to that preaching but do want to make an unusual application.
B.  Our Lord Jesus Christ sets forth many truths in these verses concerning hell.  I want to look at three of them.  We find that:
1.  Hell is a real place!  There have been many attempts by men to ignore hell.  Hell is as real as heaven.  More is said by our Lord about hell than heaven because it is a place to be shunned.
2.  The horror of hell.  While many ignore or do not believe in hell, others have tried to put out the fire.  Hell is a place of torment.
The Orlando (Florida) Sentinel for April 10, 1983, asked Billy Graham: 
"Surveys tell us that 85% of Americans believe in heaven, but only 65% believe in hell. Why do you think so many Americans don't accept the concept of hell?" He replied: "I think that hell essentially is separation from God forever. And that is the worst hell that I can think of. But I think people have a hard time believing God is going to allow people to burn in literal fire forever. I think the fire that is mentioned in the Bible is a burning thirst for God that can never be quenched."
3.  The permanence of hell.  I have often said that the “heaven” of heaven is its eternality.  The “hell” of hell is its eternality.  No destruction of the soul; no second chances; and no escape or ultimate release from it.
C.  This morning, I want to draw your attention to verse 26.  In the Old Testament economy, the center of the earth contained both a literal burning hell and Abraham’s bosom, a place of comfort for the saint.  The word “gulf” means to “yawn” or to “open wide.”  The gulf was a place of division, emptiness, and impossibility.  Its purpose was two-fold:
1.  To keep the saved from coming to the lost. 
2.  To keep the lost from coming to the saved.
D.  At these last two points, I want to make a practical application.  I fear that many believers have “a great gulf fixed” that keeps them from going to the lost and that keeps the lost from coming to them.  As God’s children, we have a two-fold responsibility to the unsaved:
1.  To live in such a way in their presence that they would see the love of Christ in our lives that would compel them to come to Christ.
2  To come to the lost with the truth of God’s love and the way of salvation.  This is done by both living for Christ in their presence and actively witnessing to them concerning God’s will for them and the way of salvation.
E.  Sometimes, I fear that we, as God’s children, fix gulfs that keep sinners from coming to Chris.  Here are a few “gulfs” that God’s people have fixed that keeps the unsaved unsaved!
1.  The Gulf of ListlessnessRomans 13:11  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  (When I think of listlessness, I think of a low grade fever.  The low grade fever of apathy.  Is so easy say that we do not believe in Calvinism and yet to live as if it was a doctrinal truth.  To be saved from hell and not to care to tell others of that great salvation.  Our salvation should compel us to tell others of God’s great love and His deliverance from a place called hell.  The low grade fever of unconcern.  In the Psalm 142:4, David said, “No man cared for my soul.”  May the Lord give us a desire to see souls come to Christ!  May we do our part in witnessing and supporting missions that others may have the preacher spoken of in Romans 10.)
2.  The Gulf of Prayerlessness.  1 Timothy 2:1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;  (We know of the power of prayer but too often neglect the privilege of prayer.  We have memorized so many verses concerning prayer but do not utilize its unlimited power on behalf of the lost.  No prayer equals no souls!  Few tears are ever shed over our lost loved ones, friends, and neighbors.  No prayer keeps us from going to them and them coming to us.) 
3.  The Gulf of Carelessness.  2 Corinthians 3:2  Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men(We too often live carelessly in front of the lost and they see nothing in us that compels them to want what we have.  We are ambassadors for Christ.  Our lives are different because of Calvary and it is essential that the lost still call us “Christians.”  Careless living keeps the saved from going to the lost and the lost from coming to them.)
4.  The Gulf of Selfishness.  Philippians 2:4  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others(Humanism equals selfishness and that is what the system has instilled within people.  God’s peoples have fallen into this same mindset.  Selfish with our lives; Selfish with our time; Selfish with our money.  Selfishness will keep the saved from going to the lost and the lost from coming to them.)
5.  The Gulf of Hopelessness.  Now back to our text.  Luke 16:26  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence(The end result of all of the previous “gulfs” is hopelessness in the hearts and minds of the lost.  If we fix the gulf, the unsaved have no hope as we are the salt and light of this world.  John 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Pastor’s Heart

Temple Baptist Church - 7-19-2015
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12

A.  We have seen the power, people, and presentation of the gospel in the preceding weeks.  Tonight, I want to take look at the men that God chose to bring the gospel to Thessalonica.  Though we are all to share the gospel, these men were God called men.
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.
B.  These men were special men, not because they were better or even smarter than others, but because they were chosen vessels.  They were the biblical evangelists, gifts to the local churches.  Men chosen to carry the gospel to places where it had never been preached, establish local churches, appoint elders.  These men were to be examples as well as evangelists.  Men who would show forth a pattern to be followed.
C.  These men understood what the local church was and who the believers were in those churches.  They belonged to God!  These were His sheep!  His flock!  Something and someone to be handled with care.
D.  Though missionaries or evangelists, these men were also pastors or elders of the local church until such a times as God raised up men to take the work so that the church planting missionary could move on to another area and begin a new church.
E.  I want to look at the way these men of God behaved among and handled these new converts.
1.  They were men who sought no personal glory.  Vs. 6  “Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others” 
Galatians 6:14  But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
1 Corinthians 1:29-31  That no flesh should glory in his presence(30)  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:  (31)  That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
2.  They were gentle with God’s children.  Vs. 7  “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children”
2 Timothy 2:24-26  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  (25)  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  (26)  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
3.  They were loving towards God’s children.  Vs 8  “So being affectionately”
1 Corinthians 16:24  My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Philippians 1:8  For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
4.  They desired only the best for God’s children.  Vs 8-9  “desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.  (9)  For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God.”
Matthew 28:19-20  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  (20)  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Ephesians 4:11-15  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  (12)  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  (13)  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  (14)  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  (15)  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
5.  They gave their lives for God’s children.  Vs 8  “have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls”
2 Corinthians 12:14-15  Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children.  (15)  And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
1 Samuel 17:34-36  And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:  (35)  And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.  (36)  Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God.
6.  They labored with travail for God’s children.  Vs. 9  “our labour and travail: for labouring night and day”
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.
Acts 20:26-27  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.  (27)  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
7.  They behaved before God’s children.  Vs. 10  “how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves”
1 Timothy 4:12  Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
8.  They were an encouragement and comfort to God’s children.  Vs. 11  “we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you”
Hebrews 10:25  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.

The Consequences of Sin

Temple Baptist Church - 7-19-2015
James 1:13-16

A.  I want to deal with the possibility, propensity, and product of sin this morning. Verse 14 tells us that every man (which includes women) is tempted to sin. 
1.  The Book of James is a very direct book in that James deals very directly with sin and its consequences.  The key to the Book of James is a salvation that produces good works but there is also much said about sinfulness and warnings concerning its consequences. 
2.  Verse 16 gives an admonition to all of us: “Do not err, my beloved brethren!”  I fear that too many of us get involved in sinfulness with little or no regard to its discovery and consequences until it is too late.
B.  Temptation to sin is almost as old as humanity.  We find both the tempter and temptation in the Garden of Eden where the first human sin was committed.  Sin found it’s beginning in the heart of Lucifer and, before long, made its way into the heart of man.  Satan tempted Eve and Adam sinned, so here we are!
C.  Don’t be too hard on old Adam and Eve though.  They lasted a lot longer in innocence than you or I would have lasted.  Because of our old sinful flesh, Adamic nature, and the mounting number of areas in which we are tempted today, the battle against the lust of the flesh rages.
D.  If and when we do sin, we need to take full responsibility for it:
1.  God didn’t make you do it!
2.  The Devil didn’t make you do it!
3.  People didn’t make you do it!
4.  You cannot blame your circumstances for it!
E.  We can choose how we want to live.  God has made us “free moral agents” and has given to us the privilege to choose right.  He has not given to us the right to choose wrong.
1.  We can control our ACTIONS but not the RESULTS.
2.  We can make our own CHOICES but we cannot avoid their CONSEQUENCES.
F.  When we learn to recognize both the COURSE and the SOURCE of sin, it will help us when temptation does come.  Temptation to sin can be minimized through obedience to the Holy Spirit and the Bible.
1.  We can minimize sinfulness through abstaining from all appearance of evil.  Abstain from all appearance of evil means that at the first inkling that something is going to turn “south,” LEAVE!
2.  We can minimize sinfulness through guarding our eyes and ears.  “Seeing and hearing” got Lot into a “lot” of trouble.  We normally know what we will see or hear before we go to certain places.
3.  We can minimize sinfulness through watching who we associate with.  Walking together brings about agreement either vocally or through compromise to remain silent on certain issues.
4.  We can minimize sinfulness through a close relationship with the Lord through prayer and Scripture.  Prayer and Bible study will help to keep us from areas of sin.  Hide God’s Word in your heart that you might not “sin against God.”
5.  We can minimize sinfulness through realization of personal weakness and deceitfulness of heart.  No, I cannot handle sin and neither can you.  When sin begins, we feel that we are in control but subtly things begin to change.  Without our recognition, sin soon becomes the MASTER while we become the SLAVE.
G.  The Bible sets forth several things in these verses pertaining to temptation and sin. 
1.  EXCLUSION – vs. 14 “Every man”  There are no exclusions!
a.  Inward temptations because of the sinfulness of our flesh.  Paul said that there was nothing good about the flesh in Romans 7.  It cannot be trusted!  We see the failures of others that we love and should fear our weaknesses of the flesh.
2.  Outward temptations because of the sinfulness of this present, evil world.  There is little in our world that we live in that is godly or righteous.  I have lived 67 years and have never seen as much immorality and wickedness as we see today.  “Change and decay all around I see” was certainly prophetic of our day.
2.  ENTICEMENT – vs. 12-13 “when he is tempted”
aTempted can mean to be "Offered a bait"  or "lured by a bait".  “Every man is tempted!”
b.  Tempted by evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
c.  You will be tempted by self, someone, or something!
1)  Tempted By Satan - Ephesians 6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
2) Tempted By Sin - Romans 7:11  For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
3)  Tempted By Self - James 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
d.  “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us”
3.  ENTRAPMENT - vs. 15 “lust hath conceived”
a.  Surrender can mean "drawn away" or "snared in a trap."
b.  “Lust” is desire!  An “inside job.”
c.  God has given to us certain normal desires while the world creates abnormal ones.
d.  The word is used 22x - never in a good sense!
Romans 6:12  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Romans 13:14  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
4.  ENDORSEMENT – vs. 15 “bringeth forth sin”
a.  We are drawn away and enticed which is not sin to “Lust hath conceived” which means that we now are willingly committed to that particular sin.  Conception is a conscious act carried out.
Romans 7:16  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
b.  Someone once asked, “Are you pro-choice or pro-life?”  The man answered, “Both!  Pro-choice is before sex and pro-life is after conception!”
Proverbs 7:22  He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
5.  ENSLAVEMENT – vs. 15  “and sin, when it is finished”
a.  Now the MASTER has become the SLAVE!
2 Peter 2:19  While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.
b.  “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!”
2 Timothy 2:26  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
c.  There will be a “finishing” when sin takes over.  It will bring you down and destroy you.
6.  EXPENSE - vs. 15-16  “death…do not err!”
a.  The wages of sin has never changed.  It is untouched by inflation or devaluation.  The wages of sin is still death!  Sin will STILL take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay!
b.  The deception of sin has never changed.  We feel that we can sow and sow to iniquity without paying the price.
Galatians 6:7-8  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
7.  EXHORTATION – vs. 16 – “do not err, my beloved brethren!”
a.  We err when we fail to realize the sinful potential of our flesh.
b.  We err when we fail to abstain from all appearance of sin.
c.  We err when we think that we can handle our sin.
d.  We err when we think that we can escape the consequences of our sin.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Confidence In Prayer

Temple Baptist Church - 7-8-2015
1 John 5:14-15

A.  Last week, I preached on having confidence in God. 
1.  I made a statement that needs to be repeated often: “If we can trust God with our eternal life, we can trust God with everything else that comes along.” 
2.  This omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God is our loving Fathers who wishes us no harm!  God wants the best for us more than we want the best for ourselves.
B.  This will be a simple message that should have There is much confusion concerning prayer and the answers that we get from God.
1.  There are those who demand of God when they pray.
2.  There are those who relate not getting what you want in prayer to sinfulness of a lack of faith.
C.  We do know that there are certain things that will cause us not to get our prayers answered:
1.  Asking for what is against the revealed will of God (against clear scripture).
2.  Unrepentant sinfulness in our lives.
3.  Asking that we might consume the answer to our prayer upon our lust.
D.  In our text verses, we find that our confidence in prayer is tied with the world “and” to our confidence found in verse 13. 
1.  We are saved, God wants us to know that we are saved; and God wants us to trust Him.  This three point outline is the gist of verse 13. 
2.  In verses 14, we find the same three point outline enveloped.  God wants us to know that we are saved, His, and can trust Him to answer our prayers in a perfect way. 
3.  Trusting God with our desires in prayer takes confidence in Him to do what is right.
E.  Now, laying those things aside, I want to look at our confidence in prayer when we are trying to live right and want God’s will in our lives.  This is as simple as interpreting verses 14-15 in their context and rightly dividing these verses.
1.  “And” – this word ties two equal structures and places them in a place of equality.  Both verse 13 and verse 14 are to be interpreted together.  You have to have complete confidence in God in order to have complete confidence in prayer!  Doubt God’s wisdom, doubt God’s power to answer, or to doubt God’s love for you is to doubt answer in prayer.
James 1:5-8  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.  (6)  But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  (7)  For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.  (8)  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.  (Instability in verse 13 brings about instability in all spiritual areas of our lives.)
2.  “This is the confidence that we have in Him” – Our confidence in prayer is not confidence in asking and receiving what we want.  Our confidence in prayer is our confidence in God!  Not confidence that God will give us all that we want but confidence that God will give us what is right for us.
Jeremiah 33:3  Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.  (How often have we quoted this verse?  Notice with me that, in this verse, we call—God hears—God answers—but often in a way that we would have never expected—the answer will be great and mighty things which we would have never imagined.)
3.  “If we ask ask anything according to His will” – The key to always getting our prayers answered is to ask according to God’s will and not according to our will or wants. 
John 15:7  If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  (Notice the “if,” which is conditional, in this verse.  In order to always receive, we must “abide” in the place of God’s will.)
4.  “He heareth us” – When we place God’s will above our will, He hears our hearts.  Though we want things, we are willing to forfeit our desires in order to accomplish God’s will in our lives and circumstances.  It is not that God does not hear all of our prayers, it is that He responds in a perfectly righteous way to our desires when our desires are make in the will of God for the glory of God.
Psalms 34:15  The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.  (God sees us, God knows us, God controls our circumstances, and God’s ears are always open when we cry out to Him!)
5.  “And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” – Our petitions, when walking with God and in the will of God, will always be right because they will always bow to God’s will and glorify God!  This is the confidence that we find in verse 14.  That God hears and will always do that which is right when His children ask of him in faith. 
Matthew 21:22  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  (Believing that God is good, just, wise, loving, and will do what is best for His children!)
a.  Will we always be as spiritual as we need to?  Probably not! 
b.  Will we always be happy with the answer or lack of answers that we get!  Probably not! 
c.  Will our lack of spiritually and lack of happiness change the mind and will of God?  Absolutely not! 
d.  Thus, we find where our confidence needs to be placed!
Proverbs 3:5-6  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  (6)  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.