Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Church At Laodicea

Temple Baptist Church - 5-31-2020
Rev 3:14-22

A.  Laodicea, “The Rights of the People.”  Here we are in 2020.  Historically, how did we get here?
1.  Ephesus left her First Love.  A cooling off period.
2.  Smyrna allowed a mixed multitude to join the local church.
3.  Pergamos began to compromise doctrinally by allowing false teachers.
4.  Thyatira began to be tied with the upcoming Roman Catholic Heresy.
5.  Sardis became more dead than alive through ritualism.
6.  Philadelphia was a “break” from the norm by getting the gospel out to a lost world.
7.  Laodicea, here we are:
a)  Laodicean people became more Materialistic.  After WW II, industry remained in “full swing” as factories changed over from production of war materials to keeping people employed by making things available to them that they could have only dreamed of in years gone by.  People have access to so many things that are not all bad but things that have become distractions.  Automobiles in every driveway, cheap and plentiful fuel for them, places to go and things to do.  SUNDAY began to change from the Lord’s Day to Play Day.
b)  Laodicean people became more Humanistic.  People are all about self instead of others.  The invention of the television set brought people in from sitting on the porch with neighbors to closing the windows and curtains so as not interrupt their favorite TV programs.
c)  Laodicean people became more Socialistic.  Big government equals little rights and dependence.  The government ran the nation during the war effort and, as the fire desires more wood, government desired and got more power.
d)  Laodicean people became more Globalistic.  Alliances began to form after WW II such as NATO that were to stop any country from trying to take over the world again.  The world became the betterment of the whole over the sovereignty of it parts.  “We are world and we are one” is the slogan of the Globalist.  We are not one!
2 Timothy 3:5  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
B.  Temple Baptist Church can be like any of the above mentioned, the choice is ours.
C.  We live in days of rebellion against authority.
1.  Rebellion in the home.  Proverbs 30:17  The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.
2.  Rebellion in the nation.  Romans 13:1  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
3.  Rebellion in the work place.  Colossians 3:22  Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God:
4.  Rebellion in the church.  Hebrews 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
D.  The Description of Christ – Verse 14
            1.  "The Amen" - let it be so, truly.  As God has spoken in His Word, so it will be!
2 Corinthians 1:20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him                    Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
            2.  "Faithful and True Witness" - faithful to His word.  The Bible is right in all its parts.
                        Last word in the Bible - Amen
            3.  "Beginning of The Creation of God" - pre-eminence in all things.  God is still God.
E.  The Observation of The Church – Verses 16-17
            1.  The Spirituality of The Church - lukewarm
            2.  The Boast of The Church - need of nothing (Notice it is "thou sayest" not "I say")
            3.  The Condition of The Church – “I will spue thee out of my mouth”             
a.  Ignorant of their condition - "knowest not"
                        b.  Wretched - something to be pittied
                        c.  Miserable - never knowing the true joy of the Lord
                        d.  Poor - never knowing the true riches
                                    Revelation 2:9  I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but                                                   thou art rich)
                        e.  Blind - Religion without salvation
                        f.  Naked - having no divine righteousness
F.  The Counsel To The Church – Verses 18-19
            1.  "Gold tried in the fire" - buy true riches that are eternal
            2.  "white raiment" - true righteousness
            3.  "anoint thine eyes" - spiritual discernment
            4.  "repent" – spiritual perception
G.  The Position of Christ – Verse 20  Outside of the door (Christ could not join most churches in our day.)
H.  The Invitation To The Individual – Verse 20  Notice it is to the individual, not to the church
1.  This is not the Door of Salvation as that Door is Christ and is never closed.
John 10:9  I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

2.  This is the Door of Communion.  The sinfulness of man stands between himself and Christ in Communion. 

Isaiah 59:1-2  Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  (2)  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

I.  The Promise To The Overcomer – Verse 21

1.  Fellowship With Christ

Luke 12:35-37  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  (36)  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.  (37)  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

2.  Reigning With Christ

1 John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
VS 17 - KNOWEST NOT - WHAT A DANGER – Laodicea is:
1.  Characterized by un-realization.
Psalms 78:35-37  And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their redeemer.  Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues.  For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.
            Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth
me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
2.  Characterized by unholiness.
Titus 1:16  They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
3.  Characterized by un-lovingness.
            Matthew 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
4.  Characterized by un-faithfulness.
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.
5.  Characterized by un-thankfulness.
Numbers 14:27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
Numbers 11:1 And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp.
6.  Characterized by un-carefulness.
            a.  Towards God's Word
          b.  Towards God's Work
          c.  Towards God's House

The Valley Of Decision

Temple Baptist Church - 5-31-2020
Luke 23:33-43

A.  Someone once said, “Life has many choices; eternity only has two.”  We need to learn that choices have consequences: either good or bad!
1.  I am more than a little sure that these two thieves would rather be somewhere else on this day!
2.  Yet, for both thieves, it was the best place in the world to be on this day. 
3.  As they faced certain death and eternity, the Son of God—the Saviour of the World, hung dying between them and for them.
B.  Our lives are so full of decisions that could have been made, should have been made, must be made that we make many without much thought while others are thought provoking.
1.  Most of our choices are not as consequential.  They involve little “brain matter” to make because, as the old saying goes, “Are six of one or half a dozen of the other.”  We choose when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, etc. every day of our lives.
2.  Many of our choices are more important as they have to do with life changing things.  Choices such as, “What do I want to do with my life?”  What do I want to do for a living, who do I want to marry, are consequential and life changing ones?
3.  A few of our choices are monumental!  In our verses for this morning, we find choices made that concerned eternal things.
C.  Many people on that day made choices concerning who Jesus Christ was. 
1.  Most rejected Christ and, after the crucifixion, went about their lives.  They may have lived many or few more years with time to reflect on the Son of God and reverse or continue in their decision.
2.  Two men on that day made monumental decisions!  These two men were going to die!  They had entered “The Valley of Decision” for the final time.  The ultimate decision making!
D.  The Lord sometimes uses valleys (hard places in life) to bring the lost to a place of decision. 
Joel 3:14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
E.  These Valleys of Decision are brought about through His infinite mercy.  When all continues to go well for the sinner, he fails to see his need of salvation.
Ecclesiastes 8:11  Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
F.  These Valleys of Decision are brough about though the goodness of God.  Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?.)
1.  God uses the Valley of Sickness to bring sinners to decisions.  Our health is in God’s hand, not the Doctor’s hands.
Psalms 103:3  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;

2.  God uses the Valley of Family Problems to bring sinners to decisions. 
Psalms 127:1  Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
3.  God uses the Valley of Bankruptcy to bring sinners to decisions. 
Proverbs 23:5  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. 
Haggai 1:9  Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house.
4.  God uses the Valley of Funerals to bring sinners to decisions. 
Hebrews 2:15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
1)  The Providence Of God In The Valleys – He is in total control of the lives of both saved and lost.
a)  These valleys cause the lost to lose faith in material things.
1a)  People have too many worldly goods to occupy their lives.
2b)  People have too little need for faith in this world of plenty.
b)  These valleys cause the lost to face their mortality and death.
                                                1a)  The valley of sickness.
                                      2b)  The valley of death.
                             c)  These valleys cause the lost to seek something better.
                                                1a)  They have financial ruin.
                                      2b)  They have family problems.
                                      3c)  They have personal problems (jail, etc.)
                             d)  These valleys are places of decision.
                             e)  These valleys are sometimes places of last resort.
2)  The Purpose Of God In The Valleys
                                    a)  He allows valleys to accomplish His will.
                             b)  He allows valleys to teach His lessons.
                             c)  He allows valleys to maneuver the lives of men.
                             d)  He allows valleys to show His great power.
                             e)  He allows valleys to force man’s decisions.
                             f)  He allows valleys as a means of persuasion.
g)  God uses valleys to bring the lost to a place of decision.
Deuteronomy 30:15-20 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;  In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.  But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;  I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:  That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
3)  The Power Of God In The Valleys – Job asked, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?”
4)  The promise is that the Lord is near in these Valleys of Decision.
Joel 3:14  Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
G.  This morning, I want to look at a classic example of a valley that brought a sinner face to face with his eternal destination.  The thief was going to die today.  THE DECISION TO BE SAVED WAS HIS TO MAKE AND HIS ALONE!
1.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Realization – vs. 33, 39-41
            a.  That Death Was Near – He was faced with his mortality.
          b.  That Judgment Was Impending – He was faced with accountable to God for his sin.
c.  That He Was Hopeless – He was faced with an eternity without God (without hope in this world).
d.  That He Was Helpless – He was faced with helplessness as he could do nothing in himself to change the situation.
2.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Recognition – vs. 34, 38, 40-42
            a.  That Christ Was The Only Lord – He cried, “Lord!”
          b.  That Christ Was The Only Way – He cried, “Remember me!”
3.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Repentance – vs. 41-42
          a.  He Faced The Reality Of Who He Was.
          b.  He Faced The Reality Of What He Deserved
4.  The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Redemption – vs. 42-43  (He Was Gloriously Saved!)
a.  He Turned From Sin To The Saviour
b.  He Turned From Hopelessness To Hope
c.  He Turned From The End Of  Life To The Beginning Of Eternal Life

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

And What Shall I More Say?

Temple Baptist Church - 5-27-2020
Hebrews 11:32-40

Hebrews 11:32-40  And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:  (33)  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  (34)  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  (35)  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  (36)  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  (37)  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (38)  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  (39)  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  (40)  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

A.  As we begin to “wrap up” chapter eleven of Hebrews, “The Hall of Faith,” we look at this statement by the great Apostle Paul.  “And what shall I say more?’  God has given us numerous examples of the faith of these Old Testament saints.
1.  Though they did not have the completion of the Word of God in their hands, they had great faith in their God!  From the blood of Abel that continues to speak in our day to the faith of Rahab whose conversion brought her into the Messianic Line of Christ, we have seen examples of faith that should encourage us and inspire us to live for Christ.
Hebrews 11:1-2  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  (2)  For by it the elders obtained a good report.

2.  The unfortunate thing is that when “that which is perfect” has come, the completion of the Word of God that we hold in our hands tonight, we see less and less of people with such faith!  There is an anemia of faith in the children of God in these last days that should not be.
1 Corinthians 10:11  Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

3.  The Bible says, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,” therefore, our responsibility and accountability are much greater.
Luke 12:47-48  And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.  (48)  But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.
B.  For Paul to either expound upon or just mention all the Old Testament “giants” of faith, would require many volumes of writing.  He names six men in verse 32 along with “Prophets” of which there were many and then terms for faith that are ascribed to men in general.
1.  With some, their faith brought victory in this life.
a.  Subdued kingdoms.
b.  Wrought righteousness.
c.  Obtained promises.
d.  Stopped the mouths of lions.
e.  Quenched the violence of fire.
g.  Escaped the edge of the sword.
h.  Out of weakness were made strong.
i.  Waxed valiant in fight.
j.  Turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
k.  Women received their dead raised to life again.
2.  With others, their faith brought persecution and death in this live but victory in the life to come.
a.  Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance.
b.  Others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings.
c.  Bonds of imprisonment.
d.  Stoned.
e.  Sawn asunder.
f.  Tempted.
g.  Slain with the sword.
h.  Wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins.
i.  Destitute.
j.  Afflicted.
k.  Tormented.
3.  We find that there were an equal number of saints that saw victory here and who did not see victory in this life BUT, they ALL saw victory in the life to come.
a.  We have seen, through the annals of Church History, a myriad of brethren who have exercised such faith and the end of their faith was not found in victory in this world but rather victory in the world to come.
b.  There will be times:
1)  When your “Red Sea” will not open and you cannot see either the other side or the depths of the sea.  Then you must stand on the shore and face the sea, not knowing the outcome in this life. It is THEN that you must sometimes just “stand still” and wait for the salvation of the Lord.
2)  When your “wall of Jericho” will not fall flat.  Your problems will be humanly unsurmountable, with no visible way to breach the wall.  You will have to trust the Lord for His time and His way. 
3)  When your “Goliath” will not die and nor will he go away.  He will curse and mock you and your God without fear.  Choose your “5 smooth stones” carefully and charge him in faith.  while at other times you must “go forward” anyway. 
Ephesians 6:10-18  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  (11)  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  (12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  (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.  (14)  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  (15)  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  (16)  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  (17)  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  (18)  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

c.  There will be times when you must “run through a troop” or leap “over a wall.”
Psalms 18:28-29  For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.  (29)  For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

d.  “And these ALL, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing” for them!
Hebrews 11:39-40  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  (40)  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

e.  God let some remain because the world needed them.  The world needs to see people of faith to contrast their lack of thereof.
f.  God let some die because the world was not worthy of them.  Oft times, God will remove His people and take them home because of the world’s rejection of righteousness.
4.  We also find the reversal of chronological order in these names mentioned in verse 32.  I have often wondered why because:
a.  Barak is found in Judges, chapter 4, while Gedeon is found in Judges, chapter 6.
b. Jephthae is found in Judges, chapter 11, while Samson is found in Judges, chapters 13-16.
c.  Samuel is found in 1 Samuel, chapter 1, while David is found beginning in 1 Samuel, chapter 16.
d.  I believe that the reversal teaches us that things are not always as they seem to be.
1.  Some people that seem to be first in faith are last in faith.
2.  Some people that seem to be last in faith are first in faith.
Conclusion:  Hebrews 11:40  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
1.  “Some better thing for us” is not always found in physical comfort or blessing.  Our greatest reward for righteousness and faith is “that where I am, ye may be also!”
2.  Chapter 12 begins with the word “Wherefore.”  We are not complete with the Old Testament’s examples of faith and neither are the Old Testament saints complete without us!
3.  The “better thing for us” is that we follow in the Old Paths of example, making their victories and sacrifices worth it all!