Sunday, June 24, 2018

What Happens When You Sell The Farm

Temple Baptist Church - 6-17-2018
1 Kings 21:1-16


A.  We have just read an old familiar story about a man of integrity.  A man who thought that his heritage was of far greater worth than money.  Naboth died for his decision to not “sell the farm.”

B.  First, I want to give a little typology found in this story.

1.  Ahab, a wicked king, is a type of Satan and the world.

2.  Naboth is a type of the people of God.

3.  The vineyard is a type of church.

4.  The “inheritance of my fathers” is the antiquity of his forefather’s vineyard.

5.  Naboth’s death is a type of the price paid for the inheritance of the vineyard.

C.  A wicked King desired to buy an old vineyard that was adjacent to the palace. 

1.  I wonder how many times Ahab looked out at this beautiful vineyard and desired it.  Ahab was not a vine dresser!  There came a day when Ahab decided to make Naboth an “offer that he could not refuse.”  I do not think that Ahab offered him less than it was worth because money was no object to the king.  He thought that Naboth would certainly sell to him because he was the king and the offer seemed fair.  Naboth refused!  He refused because it was his inheritance of his family’s heritage. 

2.  Naboth’s refusal was a “slap in the face” Ahab.  Ahab was sad in spirit because of Naboth’s refusal.  Jezebel devised a plan to end Naboth’s life and take the vineyard.

D.  I want to give an analogy of our day that represents this story well.

1.  Harrison Bridge Road intersects with Fairview Road in Simpsonville.  Fairview Road has been one of the fastest growing in the upstate as businesses have jumped up everywhere.  There are quite a few new housing developments along the road:  homes, condominiums, and apartment complexes.  High dollar property!

2.  In close proximity to the intersection that I referred to, there was a huge farm.  Beautiful rolling hills, a pond, a home, completely fenced in with plenty of cattle.  For a number of years, I watched that farm with interest because of the rising price of acreage and the dwindling amount of open property for builders to buy and sell.

3.  I was thrilled every time that I took the back way home and passed that old farm!  I knew that numerous offers had probably been made and the price, no doubt, in the millions.  I knew that some older people probably lived there, and it was the homeplace that children were raised in and not grown children and grandchildren still visited.

4.  Every time I saw it, I thought, hold out!!  I made mention of it to Barbara more than once and I did not want the owners to “sell the farm.”  It was a constant reminder of a time now gone and a family home place that could be visited.

5.  Now, the farm is gone, and condos, apartments, and housing are on the land.  Home gone, pond gone, cattle gone, fences gone, and family gone.  Someone “sold the farm.”

E.  Just bear with me for a few minutes.  

1.  I was raised at 710 Railroad Street in Earlington, KY.   I little coal mining town nestled in the “heart of the coal fields.”  Our home was rundown when Dad bought it.  I remember Dad sitting on the floor joists working as he leveled the floors (as much as could be leveled) and put down beautiful hardwood floors. 

2.  In size, it was a modest home with just four rooms and a bath.  Dad took a walk-through closet and made a small bedroom.  It was home to Mom and Dad along with three boys and one special little girl.  The year that Barbara and I married, Dad sold the house and bought one in Morton’s Gap, KY but—to me—it was never home.  I never lived there. 

3.  I still go by the old house on Railroad Street that needs to be bulldozed, stop and try to look in the windows.  The memories of my childhood flood back but it is now just an old empty shell of a house that has become an eyesore.  To the world, it is just an old house that is no longer inhabitable because dad “sold the farm!”  But, while it stands, it will always be home.

4.  Around 1990, mom sold our little farm.  I now go back, and the old cabin is gone and all is in ruins.  The memories flood back with a bitter-sweet feeling of the glory of its past and the ruins of its present.  Mom “sold the farm!”

F.  Throughout the Bible, we find people who “sold the farm.”

1.  Adam and Eve sold out for the knowledge of good and evil.

2.  Esau sold out for a bowl of pottage.

3.  Achan sold out for a wedge of gold, a bag of silver, and a Babylonish garment.

4.  Samson sold out for a loose living woman.

5.  Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver.

6.  Demas sold out for the love of this present world.

G.  Why can we not “sell the farm” at Temple Baptist Church.  Satan wants to destroy it and the world would love to have it!

1  Because of the Change.  Verse 2.  “that I may have it for a garden of herbs”  a “Herb Garden” instead of a fruitful vineyard.  I am not against herbs, but I believe that the change from a well dressed vineyard to a garden of herbs was a serious downgrade.  If Temple Baptist Church ever decides to accept the price offered by the world (more people, more money), there will be a swift—radical change. 

a.  The music will change.  There will be a “praise leader” and “praise band” to disgrace our pulpit.

b.  The Old Paths of our fathers will give way to the New Paths of this modern age. 

c.  Casualness will replace respectfulness and the sanctuary will become a place of multi-tasking.  The hallowedness of the church grounds will be gone.

d.  The “must” of worship in spirit and truth will become the worship of “another” spirit with little or no truth.

e.  The “Gold Standard” of the King James Bible will give way to the corruption of the new versions that add to, take away, and diminish the Word of God.

2.  Because of the Cost.  Verses 2, 6.  “Give me thy vineyard for money; or else, if it please thee, I will give thee another vineyard for it: and he answered, I will not give thee my vineyard.”  Money cannot buy what we have: the best church that I have ever been a member of. 

a.  A unity that have not found in any other.  The peace of God here that passeth all understanding.  A fellowship so sweet that we consider each other family with a bond that cannot be broken.  A love and fellowship that cannot be bought at any price.  If we ever “sell the farm,” what we now enjoy and take for granted will change.

1 John 1:3-7  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.  (4)  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.  (5)  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (6)  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  (7)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

b.  A pulpit that will not be compromised.  Men who ascend into this pulpit are clean men, King James Bible men, God’s men!  I thank God for a people who will allow God’s man to preach the unsearchable, unchanging truth of an old King James Bible.  If we ever “sell the farm,” the pulpit will be gone!

c.  Missionaries that know, love, and pray for us will be gone.  We have supported many of these missionaries for over 30 years, many over 20 years.  We know them, and they know us!  Good missionaries will drop Temple Baptist Church if we ever “sell the farm.”

d.  If we “sell the farm,” the cost will be greater than we could ever imagine.

3.  Because of the Children.  Verse 3.  “The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.”  

a.  As the vineyard once belonged to the fathers, now belonged to Naboth, it also belonged to Naboth’s posterity!  “Fathers” is plural and is to be understood that the vineyard had been in the family for many generations. 

b.  Though they are young and have little or no say, Naboth would be selling “the children’s farm!”  The place of their childhood; the stability of their spiritual well-being; their roots.  Though some move off, some stay and will raise their children here.

c.  Thus it is with the church if we “sell the farm.”   When our children and grandchildren decide to visit, the church that they were brought up in will only be a memory.  I wonder what the little farm family’s children and grandchildren think when they drive by the old homeplace on Fairview Road? 

d.  Our church is not the most beautiful or the most expensive, but it is ours!  It is not only ours but also belongs to our children and grandchildren.

Conclusion:  The farm on Fairview Road is but a fading memory; our family home in Kentucky along with the little farm are but a fading memory.  Let us keep our church for ourselves, our children, and for a light along the highway.

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