Sunday, December 27, 2015

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;

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