Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Church In God

Temple Baptist Church - 8-28-2016
2 Thessalonians 1:1

A.  I am reversing the order of my preaching today because of the importance of the message that I would normally preach on Sunday night. 
1.  The book of 2 Thessalonians is noted for the impending apostasy, chapter 2, that precedes the Rapture of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation Period, also called Jacob’s Trouble. 
2.  We that know the Bible understand the times in which we live but still have a tendency to “sleep” as others sleep instead of “watching” as the Lord commanded.
B.  2 Thessalonians – A greatly persecuted, poor church that is now getting ready for the attack of wickedness through the impending apostasy or “falling away.”  Paul writes to the Church of Thessalonica to let them know of the hard spiritual times to come. 
C.  The local church is of great importance to the children of God.  In our day of minimizing the importance of the local church by the worldly religionists, God does just the opposite.
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.  (And so much the more instead of so much less!  Though we know this verse, quote this verse, and understand this verse—the “as the manner of some is” crowd continues to grow.)
D.  Good families with precious children fail to see their spiritual condition decline and the price for that decline will be great one day.  Church attendance, to so many, has become a matter of preference instead of conviction and obedience to the Bible. 
E.  1 Timothy is one of the Pastoral Epistles written to young pastors setting the parameters for the Biblical operation of the local church.
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. 
F.  In this verse, we find the importance of God’s Word in the local church.  I know that I preach much on the subject but, if you noticed, God not only magnified His Word above all His name, He continually elevates the Word of God and shows its importance in light of the apostasy that is to come.
1.  The Word of God is our Foundation upon which our faith stands.  We must realize that the Bible is right and stand firm upon it.
2.  The Word of God is the Measuring Stick upon which all things are measured.  If the Bible says that something is right, it is and remains right.  If the Bible says something is wrong, it is and remains wrong.
3.  The Word of God is our Anchor in the Shifting Sands of Human Theology.  Everything spiritually, morally, socially, and otherwise is a condition of entropy, a gradual decline from order to disorder.  Everything is a closed system tends to decay and so goes the theology of the world.  The song writer had it right when he said, “Change and decay in all around I see.”
4.  The Word of God is the Glue that brings Unity to the local church.  The liberals and apostates bring division and confusion.  It is the unchanging Truth that holds the local church together and brings unity and peace.
G.  Six times Paul mentions the “church of Godand twice, both times are in first and Second Thessalonians, he uses the words “church in God.”  I know that this difference may or may not mean anything to many but I believe that every word of the Bible is important and has significance.
1.  “Of God” means that God has built that church!  Matthew 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (This is the true child of God that, though he is not perfected now, remains positionally saved for ever and will one day be presented to Christ without spot nor blemish.)
2. “In God” means that the church that God built has remained in God!  1 John 3:5  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin(This is a church that, though the people are not perfect, still remains consistent with the Bible.)
H.  Now, let’s look at the relationship between the local church and the Bible.
1.  The Local Church is the Ground of the Truth.  The local church’s foundation is the Bible and the Bible alone!  It matters not what man says about the Bible; it only matters what the Bible says about man.
2.  The Local Church is the Pillar of the Truth.  The local church not only is held up by the Bible, it is to uphold the Bible.  Pulpits across this land are changing their preaching.  Too often, the change is not found in the messages that they preach but in what they will no longer preach.
3.  The Local Church’s wall is the Parameters of the Truth.  The local church must maintain strict adherence to the Old Paths and carefully reject the modern worldliness of so-called churches.  Our positions cannot change; they must not change.  These are walls of safety for God’s people.  The walls must not be either missing or moving.
4.  The Local Church’s roof is the Protection of the Truth.  The local church not only stands for or protects the Truth, but is also protected by the Truth.  As the roof on our homes protects us from the elements of nature, so also the Bible protects us from the storms of life.  It is our refuge in times of trouble.
I.  Two things that Paul will encourage the Thessalonians about:
1.  Do not be a part of the Falling Away – Jude dealt with this in verses 23-24.
a.  Stand fast in the Faith.  1 Corinthians 16:13  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.
b.  Stand fast in Liberty.  Galatians 5:1  Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
c.  Stand fast in One Spirit.  Philippians 1:27  Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
d.  Stand fast in the Lord.  1 Thessalonians 3:8  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord.
e.  Stand fast in the Old Paths.  2 Thessalonians 2:15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
f.  Stand fast in Persecution.  Ephesians 6:13  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.
2.  Do not let the Falling Away be a part of the Local Church.  Liberals will try to infiltrate and then their opinion will be made known.  There is a good “rule of thumb” on this subject:  liberals infiltrate, Bible believers separate!  Confusion and Division will be the result and the church will be hurt or destroyed.
a.  If there is a “church of God,” then there has to be a “church not of God!” 
1.  Churches who no longer adhere to the Old Paths of Scriptural purity are not “of God!”  I make no apology for that statement.  No Bible, no church.  No adherence to the Bible, no church.  No uncompromised preaching, no church.
2.  If the church is made up of people, then there are people who no longer stand for inerrancy and infallibility of the truth.  As a general rule, these are people who have “fallen away.”  Most of them have known Truth but now, for whatever reason, deny it.  These people will cause confusion and division within the local church.  They will make their unbelief in inerrancy and infallibility known.  These people MUST be kept out of the local church.  The “whatever reason” is normally that they went to some liberal church, liberal school, of hobnob with some liberal theologian.  It is learned behavior because the Bible only speaks of inerrancy and infallibility!
3.  Horatius Bonar—Scottish churchman and song writer—said,I looked for the church and I found it in the world; I looked for the world and I found it in the church.” (December 19, 1808 - July 31,1889)
4.  The “church of God” must keep the “church not of God” out of the “church of God.”

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