Wednesday, February 26, 2020

No Turning Back

Temple Baptist Church - 2-26-2020
Hebrews 11:13-16


A.  We live in spiritually destitute days; days of Laodicea; days of 2 Tim 3:1-5, days like Noah’s Day; days like Lot’s Day; days of falling away; days of spiritual casualties.

B.  These are days of spiritual blindness.  Spiritually blind because the eyes of many are on the things of the world instead of upon the things of God. 

C.  “THESE ALL died in faith.”  Every born-again believer will go to heaven, regardless if they die “in faith” or not.  Dying in faith has nothing to do with being saved; it refers to living a life of continuance in the things of God.

D.  Salvation is faith in Christ, not of works lest any man should boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 settle that once and for all.  Salvation is repentance from sin and faith in the finished work of Christ Jesus, our Lord.  Salvation is all of God!

E.  The past can be important to us when we learn from it.  If we do not study history, we are doomed to repeat it.  Looking back can be for learning or a longing!  BUT:

Luke 9:57-62  And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.  (58)  And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.  (59)  And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.  (60)  Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.  (61)  And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.  (62)  And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

F.  No plough is equipped with a “rear-view mirror.”  On our vehicles, rear-view mirrors are a matter of law.  It is essential that we have them to look behind us for observation of circumstances and guidance in danger.  I have often said that Nashville, TN looks best to me when it is in my rear-view mirror!  Then, I put my past (when I had to fight the traffic of Nashville) behind me and press on down the highway. 

G.  It is the same with the highway of life.  We can learn from our past and stay out of present danger by regarding the past but must be careful lest we ponder it.  The Bible speaks of many of God’s people who, for one reason or another, fell to the wayside and were “put on the shelf” spiritually.  Thank God for Grace!

H.  Dangers of turning back.

1.  There are those who follow apostate teachers or preachers.  Galatians 5:7  Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?  (Paul, when writing to the churches of Galatia, spoke of doctrinal error brought in by the Judaizers after he had left the churches.  These “foolish Galatians” got caught up in the doctrinal error of having to keep the Law as a part of their salvation.  They did not continue “in faith!”)

2.  There are those who love this present world.  2 Timothy 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.  (John said: )

1 John 2:15-17  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  (16)  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  (17)  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

3.  There are those who become spiritually fearful.  2 Timothy 4:16  At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.  (We must stand with others that they may not have to stand alone!)

2 Timothy 1:7-8  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.  (8)  Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

4.  There are those who do not choose to follow the Old Paths.  Jeremiah 6:16  Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.  (People in our day want the contemporary worship that has an alure to the worldly.  I choose to remain in worshipping in the “beauty of holiness.”)

2 Timothy 1:14-15  That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.  (15)  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

5.  There are those who cannot stand spiritual adversity.  Matthew 26:56  But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.  (There is a price to be paid for those who love and live for the Lord!  Do not think that you will be either popular or accepted.  The world rejected Christ.)

John 15:18-19  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.  (19)  If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

6.  There are those who never spiritually grow up.  Acts 15:38  But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.  (Some, as John Mark, eventually grow up and return to the fields of harvest but, unfortunately, most do not.)

2 Timothy 2:24-26  And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,  (25)  In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;  (26)  And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

7.  There is the question for each of us.  John 6:66-67  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  (67)  Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 

8.  There is the answer that must be chosen by us.  John 6:68-69  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  (69)  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Sardis: The Protestant Reformation - 1506 - 1750 AD

Temple Baptist Church - 2-23-2020
Revelation 3:1-6

Introduction:  The Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  There is too much in church history to cover in one night, so I want to look at 7 different events that historically brought about the Protestant Reformation.

1.  The Renaissance Period.

1350-1650 - The Renaissance, which took place in the important countries in Europe between 1350 and 1650, marked the transition from the medieval to the modern world. The name, which is derived from the Latin words for “birth” and “back,” expressed the idea of a rebirth of the previous culture.

The importance of the Renaissance Period:  The Renaissance has been linked with the fourteenth century in Italy, during which time men’s minds were stimulated to literary and artistic production by the rediscovery of the treasures of the classical past.

Attention was focused on the streets of Rome instead of on the streets of the New Jerusalem. The medieval theocentric conception of the world, in which God was the measure of all things, gave way to an anthropocentric view of life, in which man became the measure of all things. Emphasis was placed on the glory of man instead of on the glory of God.

Although the age clung to religion, it was only as a mere formality on the holy days of the church; and the tendency was to forget the claims of God on the individual in daily life.

2.  St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel Financial Fiasco.

1506: Work begins on new St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at great cost.

The Sistine Chapel at the Vatican was built for Pope Sixtus IV and used as the private chapel of the popes. The walls of the Chapel were covered with beautiful paintings but the most famous are the scenes from the Bible on the ceiling, done by Michelangelo, which he worked on from 1508 to 1512. On the altar wall is Michelangelo’s Last Judgment.

1512: Michelangelo completes Sistine Chapel frescoes (wall paintings).  Michelangelo decorated the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel with magnificent paintings. He also became the able architect who supervised the completion of Saint Peter’s Cathedral in Rome and crowned the building with its lovely dome.

3.  The false doctrine and abuse of Indulgences.

Pope Leo X began granting indulgences for payments towards the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica. These indulgences would have been very expensive and unfair as the basilica took roughly 120 years to make, meaning it would have been a magnificent but EXTREMELY expensive build. Hence the Pope selling indulgences to afford it. This abuse was what sparked Martin Luther to officially begin his reformation, as he believed he could use this case as evidence.   

Indulgences were associated with the sacrament of penance. After one had repented of sin and had confessed it, one was assured of absolution by the priest, provided satisfaction was made. It was thought that the guilt of sin and eternal punishment for sin were forgiven by God but that there was a temporal satisfaction that the repentant sinner must fulfill either in this life or in purgatory.  This satisfaction might be a pilgrimage to a shrine, a payment of money to a church, or some meritorious deed. The indulgence was a document that one could buy for a sum of money and that would free him from the temporal penalty of sin.

The amount charged was determined by the sinner’s wealth and social position. Indulgences were given free to the destitute, but a king might pay more than three hundred dollars for his indulgence.

4.  The invention of the Printing Press.

1439 - Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press.  Now literature and especially the earliest Bibles could be printed quickly for the common people.  Before the invention of the printing press, books and literature, along with the Word of God had to be copied by hand.

For the first time in human history, reproduction of the Word of God became the means of placing it in the hands of the common people.

5.  The translation of manuscripts into Bibles.

1455 – Johannes Gutenberg Produced the First Printed German Bible using his revolutionary invention—printing from movable type—he made the Scriptures potentially accessible to every person.
1516 - Erasmus publishes Greek New Testament – The beginning of the Canonization of Scripture.
1522 - Martin Luther translates and publishes the New Testament for the first time into German from the 1516 Erasmus version.
1524 - Bomberg prints a second edition Masoretic text prepared by Jacob ben Chayim.
1525 - William Tyndale produces the first translation of the New Testament from Greek into English.
1527 - Erasmus publishes a fourth edition Greek-Latin translation.
1530 - Jacques Lef√®vre d'√Čtaples completes the first French language translation of the entire Bible.
1535 - Myles Coverdale's Bible completes Tyndale's work, producing the first complete printed Bible in the English language. It includes the 39 Old Testament books, 27 New Testament books, and 14 Apocrypha books.
1536 - Martin Luther translates the Old Testament into the commonly spoken dialect of the German people, completing his translation of the entire Bible in German.
1537 - The Matthew Bible (commonly known as the Matthew-Tyndale Bible), a second complete printed English translation, is published, combining the works of Tyndale, Coverdale and John Rogers.
1539 - The Great Bible, the first English Bible authorized for public use, is printed.
1546 - Roman Catholic Council of Trent declares the Vulgate as the exclusive Latin authority for the Bible.
1553 - Robert Estienne publishes a French Bible with chapter and verse divisions. This system of numbering becomes widely accepted and is still found in most Bible's today.
1560 - The Geneva Bible is printed in Geneva, Switzerland. It is translated by English refugees and published by John Calvin's brother-in-law, William Whittingham. The Geneva Bible is the first English Bible to add numbered verses to the chapters. It becomes the Bible of the Protestant Reformation, more popular than the 1611 King James Version for decades after its original release.
1568 - The Bishop's Bible, a revision of the Great Bible, is introduced in England to compete with the popular but "inflammatory toward the institutional Church" Geneva Bible.
1582 - Dropping its 1,000-year-old Latin-only policy, the Church of Rome produces the first English Catholic Bible, the Rheims New Testament, from the Latin Vulgate.
1592 - The Clementine Vulgate (authorized by Pope Clementine VIII), a revised version of the Latin Vulgate, becomes the authoritative Bible of the Catholic Church.
1609 - The Douay Old Testament is translated into English by the Church of Rome, to complete the combined Douay-Rheims Version.
1611 - The King James Version, also called the "Authorized Version" of the Bible is published. It is said to be the most printed book in the history of the world, with more than one billion copies in print.

6.  The Protestant Reformation.

1517 - Luther posts his Ninety-Five Theses - The writer has chosen 1517 because the activities of Luther in that year ushered in an entirely different era, in which the emphasis was not so much on the church as an institution as it was on the church constituted as a body of individual believers by a personal faith in the redemptive work of Christ.

It was Luther’s famous protest in the Ninety-five Theses against the abuse of indulgences that precipitated the train of events that resulted in the Reformation in Germany. From Germany the Reformation spread all over northern and western Europe.

1518: Ulrich Zwingli comes to Zurich Switzerland. Ulrich Zwingli (1484 –1531) was the leader of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland. Independent from Martin Luther, who came to his understandings over the course of a long and tortuous personal struggle, Zwingli arrived at similar conclusions by studying the scriptures as a Christian humanist scholar.

1521 - Diet of Worms.   A meeting of the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire held at Worms, Germany, in 1521, made famous by Martin Luther’s appearance before it to respond to charges of heresy. It was here that Martin Luther was officially excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church for heresy.

1536 Calvin publishes first edition of Institutes.  Establishes the TULIP – 5 points of Calvinism.

The Protestant churches that came out of this upheaval differed in the extent to which they departed from the medieval church, but all of them accepted the Bible as the final authority.

Luther retained many things in the ritual that were not prohibited in the Bible. The Anglican church departed little further from the ritual and practice of the medieval church than the Lutherans did, but it must be understood that both the Anglicans and Lutherans completely disavowed the hierarchical sacramental system of the Roman church. The Reformed and Presbyterian churches, which followed Calvin in France, Holland, Scotland, Switzerland, and Hungary, disavowed all practices that could not be proved to be in accordance with the New Testament.

7.  The Anabaptists.

A.D. 1536 - Tyndale is condemned as a heretic, strangled, and burned at the stake.

A.D. 1536 Menno Simons (1496 – 31 January 1561) baptized as Anabaptist.  Menno Simons was a former Catholic priest from the Friesland region of the Low Countries who became an influential Anabaptist religious leader.  His followers formed the Mennonite church.

“Anabaptist” is an invented name meaning “re-baptizers.” It was given to 16th-century Christians who rejected infant baptism and, therefore, baptized each other as adults upon confession of faith.

These Anabaptist Christians were the forerunners of today’s Mennonite Christians and many others in the Free Church tradition. Anabaptist/Mennonite Christians hold many beliefs in common with other believers.

They believe in a personal three-in-one God who is both holy and gracious, in salvation by grace through repentance and faith, in the humanity and divinity of Jesus, in the inspiration and authority of Scripture, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in the church as the body of Christ.

1563 - Foxe’s Book of Martyrs published.

The Valley Of Chastisement

Temple Baptist Church - 2-23-2020
Hosea 2:1-23 (vs. 14-15); Hebrews 12:5-13


A.  The Valley of Chastisement is one that each child of God goes through at one time or another. 

1.  We all continue to be sinners though saved by God’s grace.

2.  We all suffer the consequences of or sin at times.

3.  At this point, I want to say that I thank the Lord for parents who cared enough for me to chastise me betimes.  The older that I get, the more that I love and appreciate my parents!

b.  The Valley of Achor means the Valley of Trouble.  It was there that Achan sinned against the Lord and was stoned with all his family and animals. 

1.  At the Battle of Jericho, Achan took the accursed things: “a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight.”  He hid them in his tent.

2.  The Lord punished Israel for Achan’s sin.  36 men died and Israel fled before Ai!

3.  Israel stoned and burned Achan and all that was his in the Valley of Achor.

4.  Achan sinned; God killed Achan!

c.  The reality of the “fierceness of his anger” against sin was manifest that day in the Valley of Achor. 

D.  In Hosea 1:2, Israel departed from the LORD: “for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.”

1.  Verses 1-2 – God’s Condemnation.

2.  Verses 3-13 – God’s Chastening.

3.  Verses 14-15 – God’s Compassion.

E.  In Hosea, chapter 2, God’s grace through chastisement to Israel is shown.

Hosea 2:14-15  Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.  (15)  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

1.  God will Allure her.  To attract of to charm.  An “alluring” woman; to use a lure to attract fish.

Song of Solomon 1:2-4  Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.  (3)  Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.  (4)  Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.

2.  God will Bring her.  Guidance into a barren place where there is nothing to do but look up to God.

Ezekiel 20:35  And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face.

3.  God will speak Comfortably unto her.  God’s compassion; God’s gentleness; God’s goodness in restoration.

Hebrews 5:2  Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.

4.  God will Give her.  God’s goodness in restoration. 

Psalms 103:10  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.

5.  God will Restore her.  “valley of Achor for a door of hope.”

Joshua 7:26  And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

6.  The Valley of Achor is a “door of hope” for us all.

Hebrews 12:5-13 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  (6)  For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  (7)  If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  (8)  But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.  (9)  Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?  (10)  For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  (11)  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.  (12)  Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;  (13)  And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.  

1.  Chastening Is A Sign Of God’s Love – “whom the Lord loveth”

Jeremiah 31:3  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

2.  Chastening Is A Guarantee Of Sonship – “every son whom he receiveth”

2 Timothy 2:13  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

John 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

3.  Chastening Is A Purposed Process – “if ye endure chastening”  “corrected”

Romans 8:29  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

4.  Chastening Is A Progressive Process – “chasteneth…scourgeth”

1.  It can cost you a loved one – 2 Samuel 12:14  Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.

2.  It can cost you your temporal blessings - John 21:3  Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

3.  It can cost you your health - Psalms 51:8  Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

4.  It can cost you your joy - Psalms 51:12  Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

5.  It can cost you your life - 1 John 5:16  If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

5.  Chastening Is A Blessing – “it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness”

Job 5:17  Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

Psalms 94:12  Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;

                        a.  The Exhortation Of Chastening – vs. 5

                        b.  The Exercising Of Chastening – vs. 6

                        c.  The Encouragement Of Chastening – vs. 6-8

                        d.  The Example Of Chastening – vs. 9-10

                        e.  The Effects Of Chastening – vs. 11-13