Temple Baptist Church - 2-7-2021
A. Sanctuary – A sacred place.
1. Adam and Eve had a Sanctuary. An Altar of Sacrifice. As early as Genesis 4, we find that Cain and Abel “brought” their sacrifices. They did not offer just anywhere but there was a special place where they offered.
2. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had a Sanctuary. Bethel. Abraham built an altar at Bethel (The House of God) and later came back to that same altar, naming it El-Bethel (God-The House of God) and found God there.
3. Moses and Israel to David had a Sanctuary. The Tabernacle in the Wilderness. When God brought Israel out of Egypt (a beautiful type of salvation), He gave instructions to Moses for the building of the Tabernacle in the Wilderness; when Israel came into the land of Canaan—they brought the Tabernacle with them.
3. Solomon had a Sanctuary. Solomon’s Temple. This beautiful temple was the center of Jerusalem. Ezra had a Sanctuary, Zerubbabel’s Temple. When the Jews returned from their captivity in Babylon, the first order of business was the rebuild the walls and Temple.
4. We have a Sanctuary. The Local Church. When the New Testament Jews and Gentiles got saved, they had a local church to attend. The Bible says much about the local church and works only through it. It is around the local church that our lives are to be centered.
B. Sometimes, when we go back to Hebrews 10:25, I wonder if I am not “beating a dead horse,” but the Holy Ghost used the words “and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” We preach these verses, we quote them, and yet—continually—we see a decrease in the faithfulness of God’s people to the church. This is a total disobedience to God’s Word and ignorance to its meaning and consequences.
C. These verses are the most profound concerning faithfulness to church that you will find. In them we find:
1. Our responsibility to each other – vs. 24
2. The importance and purpose – vs. 25
3. The callousness of the sin – vs. 26
4. The promise of the judgment of God – vs. 27-29
5. The seriousness of unfaithfulness – vs. 29
6. The fearfulness of the Lord – vs. 30-31
D. If God said and meant all these things, you would think that His children would see the seriousness, repent of their sin, and get faithful but just the opposite is true. “As the manner of some is” has become the norm for most professing believers.
E. In the last few years, we have seen a great “falling away” from the local church. With the rising number of “home churches,” “TV churches,” “Radio Churches,” “golf, fishing, motorcycle, cowboy, etc. churches,” there has been a great forsaking of the house of the Lord.
F. How others have handled COVID is their business but, this past year, we have seen COVID take its toll on churches around the world. In today’s world, we see the rise of Parking Lot Church, Internet Church, Virtual Church, and much of the time, No Church!
G. I am not judging what other churches do or how they deal with COVID, but I will say that I find no substitute in the bible for the local church. We at Temple Baptist have chosen to assemble as always and God has blessed it! “Not forsaking” means just what it says. I am not trying to explain it away nor am I offering any excuses. It says what it means and means what it says.
H. NOTHING TAKES THE PLACE OF ASSEMBLY IN THE LOCAL CHURCH! The local church is a landmark of the Lord’s making and it needs not to be removed.
1. The Local Church Is A Place Of Assembly – 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. (The word “church” means a called-out assembly. We are called out of this world to assemble. If the Lord did not think that we needed a place of gathering, He would have just let us stay at home. “Lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God” describes the modern day “Christian.”)
2. The Local Church Is A Place Of Exhortation - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (We need each other’s strength to continue on in this “present evil world.” Bearing one another’s burdens can only come about when we are together to know what those burdens are.)
3. The Local Church Is A Place Of Fellowship - Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (We cannot love each other with a whole heart fervently if we are never together. I love my family and spend much time with them. I love my church family and spend much time with them! We laugh, cry, eat, and share together.)
4. The Local Church Is A Place Of Bible Teaching - 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. (Most believers do not know how to behave in the house of God because they are not there often enough to be taught! Teaching is an important part of our spiritual welfare! The largest denomination in America is the “Church of the Ignorant Brethren!”)
1 Timothy 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
5. The Local Church Is A Place Of Powerful Preaching - 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (The pastor is commanded to preach the Word but many are never there to receive it. So often I know that a particular message will be of help to someone and they do not show up. We need bible preaching and need it from the pastor!)
6. The Local Church Is A Place Of Prayer - Matthew 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (We come, take prayer requests and pray! We begin each service in prayer, we pray in the prayer rooms, we pray during the services, and we end each service in prayer. We pray for each other, we pray for our families, we pray for our needs, we pray for the needs of others, we pray for our nation, we pray for Israel, we pray for those in authority over us, we pray for souls, and we pray for the coming of the Lord. You have not because you ask not is an indictment against those who do not pray!)
7. The Local Church Is A Place Of Faithful Giving - Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. (Bring ye all the tithes, not send. I will also send my tithes if I am providentially hindered from coming but we had better watch carefully how we use the wording “providentially hindered” because providence is divine!)
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. (Some tithe and give regularly while some tithe and give irregularly. The local church pays its bills regularly and missions support should be paid the same. How would we like it if we got paid on an irregular basis? We would probably be a little upset. Missionaries do not get full support because of irregular giving!)
8. The Local Church Is A Place Of Divine Approval - Ephesians 5:25-26 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. (It is a sanctifying place where we are cleansed through the water of the Word.)