Temple Baptist Church - 10-9-2019
A. I believe that each of us realize what time it is spiritually. We live in days of apostasy.
1. We are in the midst and witnessing the “falling away” of the end of the Church Age. People are leaving mainline churches to either remain seated at home or to join up with the worldly Neo-evangelical churches. I remember when the move was toward the Charismatics but now it is the Neo-evangelicals. I call them “Pop Up Churches.” All over this little town of Laurens, these churches just pop up. They start at the YMCA, Scarlet Cord, in homes, etc. People no longer are interested in the Old Paths or the Old Bible.
2. We are amid Laodicea. Never has there been the lukewarmness that we see today. Nothing either stirs or changes God’s people. They seem satisfied just to sit and observe. They have need of nothing and are spiritually comfortable.
3. We are amid the days of Noah and Lot where sinfulness is open and acceptable. Separatists are now legalistic or just plain old fashioned: out of touch with the times. People no longer know how to blush. In the early days of my life, sin was kept hidden from the eye of the public but no longer so.
4. We are amid world turmoil, especially in the Middle East. The Tribulation Period is rapidly setting up with Israel becoming “Public Enemy Number One.” God’s chosen nation; God’s elect nation; God’s beloved nation.
B. The “day” is approaching! The Lord is coming, and we are leaving. We live in the midnight hour.
C. If the local church ever needed for its people to “step up,” it is today.
1. Not only is there the problem with people forsaking good churches, there is also a rampant apathy among many God’s people. We see what is happening but remain quietly on the sidelines.
2. They are in church; they are good people; they are saved people; but they are no longer involved in the work and ministry of the local church.
3. There was once what was called the 85/15 rule: 85 percent of the people did nothing while 15 percent did everything. Today, in most churches, I would say it was more like the 90+/10- rule!
D. Every individual believer is important to the work of the local church. I remember well the sign that pictured “Uncle Sam” pointing his finger and saying, “Uncle Sam needs you!” The local church needs you! The Lord placed each of us in the body as it pleased Him and gave to each of us a gift that will edify or help the church.
E. Ephesians 4:16 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.
1. Notice “the whole body.” The body is to be complete: having all of its essential parts. This show the importance of every member! Without each of us, the body is incomplete.
2. Notice “fitly joined together.” Not only is the body to be complete with all of its parts, each part is to be “fitly joined together.” Take our physical body for instance: we would be in a world of hurt if our left foot was attached to our right elbow! Our body is fearfully and wonderfully made so that it can function both correctly and efficiently. So it is to be with the spiritual body.
3. Notice “together.” It means that the body corporate is essential. We are individuals who have different lives outside of the local church but we come together corporately for a purpose: the work of the gospel.
4. Notice “compacted by that which every joint supplieth.” Unification of the local church is of the utmost importance. Something compacted is the opposite of being loosely associated. Our lives are to be closely knit together. I have seen Indian bead work and the quality is seen in the tightness of the weaving. The strength of the church is the “tightness” or closeness of the people.
5. Notice “effectual working in the measure of every part.” The effectiveness of the body is contingent upon the working of every part. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the physical body needs every part to be pain free and working well. An Old Testament king, when he was old, was diseased in his feet. When the feet stop, the rest of the body is hampered.
6. Notice “making increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” I love my wife’s husband! I want my body to work as efficiently and pain free as it can. With the body of Christ, it is the edifying of itself in love. Love is one of the key ingredients: our love for one another covers a multitude of sins.
F. Now back to our text:
1. Notice that everything mentioned in these verses has to do with others, not self! An acrostic using the work JOY is: Jesus first, others second, and you last.
2. Verse 23, what we do is for our Lord first! What we do for the Lord always must be first and foremost. It is by Him, through Him, and to Him. What a debt we owe to a wonderful Lord and Saviour. We can never do enough to pay the down payment on the debt we owe.
3. Verse 24, we considerately provoke one another to love and good works: to excite others, causing them to respond in a positive manner; getting others on the inside instead of sitting on the fringe; getting others involved in the work of the ministry.
4. Verse 25, exhorting one another in light of spiritually devastating days. Fat days physically tend to cause lean days spiritually. In days when most are falling away of settling down, the Lord said, “And so much the more.”
G. There are so many ways that we can help our church; so many things that are being and need to be done; so I will just name a few and you can fill in the blanks when the service is over.
1. You can help our church by being here faithfully. What a blessing when people are in their places. It encourages the body as a whole and empty places discourages. Do not ever think that you are not missed when you miss. I understand sickness and providential hindrance. I understand the ox in the ditch but, even when you cannot be here, your place is always empty!
2. You can help our church by being an encouragement to others. And exhorting one another: you will never know what a small word of encouragement means to those who are have a hard time. You ladies can send cards and notes to those who are sick or even staying home because of discouragement. Men, you can go visit those who are not able to come or pick up the phone and call them. It may be what picks up their spirits and gets them back on track.
3. You can help our church by tithing and giving to missions. This is not necessarily a problem with our church but, for the most part, missions’ giving is in serious decline and how can the missionaries go without us here to pray and give.
4. You can help our church by praying for each other daily. The greatest help that you and I can give is when we get upon our knees. Each of you should have a prayer list and those names are important because, when we so often have trouble praying for self, someone in the church is building a wall of prayer about us.
5. You can help our church by witnessing to and inviting the lost. Soul winning is of the utmost importance. It takes all to reach all with the gospel through carrying tracts in your pockets or mailing them with bills to praying for and inviting sinners. Sinners need to be loved and invited to church.
6. You can help our church by help keeping it looking good: both where you sit and when you see something that needs to be picked up for fixed. If you see paper on the floor, pick it up. Police your areas when you leave the church. Change a light bulb, etc. This is God’s church and it is your church.
7. You can help our church by going out of your way to make our visitors welcome. Visitors should leave our church with a sore right arm! Everyone is welcome here and everyone should be welcomed!
8. You can help our church by singing in your choir. There should never be an empty seat in the choir! If someone is sick or on vacation, sit in their place until they return.
9. You can help our church by forgiving and forbearing. Be kind to one another, tender hearted, and forgiving one another even as Christ has forgiven you. It takes two to fight!
10. You can help our church by cheering up your pastor. Many of God’s men are discouraged in our day and more are leaving the ministry than surrendering to it. Love, appreciate, and be there for and with God’s man. There are times, though you may not know it because I am here to cheer you—not discourage you, that he needs you more than you need him.
Conclusion: God placed each of you here for a reason; God placed each of you here because the church needs you; God placed each of you here to serve. Serving people are generally a blessing, not a burden.