Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Dangers of Drifting

Temple Baptist Church - 8-30-2015
1 Thessalonians 3:1-5

A.  Chapter 3 begins with the word “Wherefore” and ties this chapter back to chapter 2. 
1.  Paul told of his desire to come to Thessalonica but was hindered from doing so by Ole Slewfoot.  When he could no longer stand the suspense, he sent Timothy—one of his most trusted preachers—to Thessalonica to establish and comfort the church.  Paul was well aware of Satan’s devices and power to divide and conquer.  A church without a pastor is doomed to decline and possible destruction.
2.  In these verses, we find a perilous possibility of an established, well founded doctrinally, flourishing church drifting.  Remember, this was the church that Paul spoke about in the second Corinthian epistle.
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.  In these verses, we find both the possibility of drifting and the protection against drifting.  I want to look at both of these things.  The possibility of drifting first.  What causes a good, sound, fundamental, bible believing church to drift. 
C.  We could look at numerous things that cause good churches to “go south” but I want to look at the context of these verses.
1.  Drifting requires no effort on the part of the believer.
2.  Drifting can be an unconscious movement.
3.  Drifting can cause a ship to wreck.
1.  A people who will not following the bible!  And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith”  Jude 24  “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”  If God is able to keep us from falling (and He is) then we do not have fall or drift.
a.  Drifting too often begins in the pulpit.  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:  (If the pastor does the work that God called him to do, then the church would be strengthened, protected, and properly guided.  Too many who fill the pulpits today are simply hirelings.  More afraid of what people think than of what God sent them to do.  More worried about losing their paycheck than losing God’s flock.  When there is no anchor, a boat will drift.)
b.  Drifting continues in the pews.  2 Timothy 3:13-14  But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.  (14)  But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; (When God’s people have God’s man, they are to follow him as he follows Christ.  Follow his leadership, personal example, and his teaching of biblical principles.  When the people will not use the anchor, a boat will drift.  Itching eared people and God called pastors do not get along too wellJ )
2.  An unwillingness to withstand and, having done all, to stand in the face of adversity.  That no man should be moved by these afflictions … when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know”  Ephesians 6:11-13  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  (12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  (13)  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  (“That ye may be able” is an affirmative!  We can and should stand in the present evil world.  Persecution always follows godliness and adversity follows a soul conscious church!  This church had been born in the fire but it was still a possibility of their quitting under the constant pressure and persecution of the world.)
a.  Spiritual preparation: there must be a putting on of the whole armour of God.  Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 
b.  Mental preparation: there must be a willingness to suffer persecution.  2 Corinthians 1:8-9  For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:  (9)  But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
3.  An ignorance of an active enemy.  “lest by some means the tempter have tempted you”  2 Corinthians 11:2-4  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.  (3)  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  (4)  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
a.  There must be a recognition of who the enemy is and what he does.  Verse 12.  1 Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  (Be sober, be vigilant are a strong warning!  We are not playing a game.  This war is for keeps!)
b.  A succumbing to the wiles and devices of Satan.  2 Corinthians 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.  (We are not ignorant as to how Satan works but are often foolish in the ways that we allow him to work anyway.)

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