Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Inner Witness Of God

Temple Baptist Church - 4-29-2015
1 John 5:9-13


A.  For the past few weeks, I have been preaching from the first 13 verses of chapter 5.  I have not continued to send out an outline because these verses are tied together and it is a message that is progressive.

B.  These verses deal with the blessed assurance of the believer which is a part of his/her birthright.  God wants all people to be saved and wants all believers to be assured.  You will never be useful either to or for God until you have salvation settled in your heart. 

C.  The greatest attack of Satan upon God’s people is that of assurance.  He questioned God in the Garden of Eden and cause Eve to fall into that spiritual trap.  Through the ages, Satan has continued to use the same tactic on believers. 

D.  Verse 9 speaks of the witness of men.  I believe that the witness of man is a very valuable thing. 

1.  We have often heard people referred to as being godly, faithful, loving, etc. because these can be outward expressions of an inward reality but they can also be characteristics of what we would call good, moral people who are spiritually lost.  Men may say that they think you are saved or lost.  They could be right or wrong. 

2.  There are a lot of people that I believe with all my heart are saved.  Their spirit bears witness with mine, their lifestyle is moral, they love people, they are faithful, etc.  I could be right and I could be wrong!

3.  There are many that say they are saved that I think may be lost.  Their lack of a spirit that bears witness, their total lack of spiritual life, they do not love the church—the Lord—the Bible—God’s people, they have never been faithful, etc.  I may be wrong or I may be right.  I am glad that God is the Judge!

E.  The Witness of God – this is the “acid test” for salvation.  What the witness of God is not a feeling, it is an absolute!  What is the witness of God?  Verses 9-11 define the witness of God as being the record of His Son.

F.  Verse 10 says that the believer has the witness of God in himself/herself.  What is the inner witness? 

1.  What the inner witness is not. 

a.  It is not a feeling.  Many people will say, “I think I am saved” or “I feel like I’m saved” or “God has been with me all of my life” or “God has helped me, therefore, I am saved.” 

b.  It is not even the Holy Spirit telling you that you are saved.  I thank the Lord for the blessed Holy Spirit.  He dwells within the believer but the believer can still have doubts at times concerning his/her eternal life.

c.  The inner witness is not assurance of salvation.  Some people think that you are lost if you doubt your salvation.  If you will notice again with me in verse 13, John is writing to those who were evidently having some doubts about that.    There are people who will tell you that they are saved that are actually lost.  I will explain this last statement with our text. 

2.  What the inner witness is. 

a.  The inner witness is a saving faith that agrees with the witness of God.  What is the witness of God?  It is found all through these verses but especially in verses 6-13.  The inner witness is a faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

b.  Verse 6 shows the fulfillment of the prophecies of His coming.  Jesus Christ, Almighty Jehovah God, was manifested in the flesh and was the Propitiation for the sins of all mankind. 

c.  Verse 7 shows the agreement of the trinity in heaven concerning the prophecies, purpose, propitiation (the finished work of the gospel: death, burial, and resurrection), and priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

d.  How do you know you are saved?  You are saved when you believe the record that God gave of His Son.  It is what we trust!  Jesus Christ died for our sins and that finished work, called the gospel, is sufficient to give us eternal life.  You can add anything you want to these verses but I stand alone on the finished work of Christ! 

e.  We saw that Biblical belief in verse 1 is always followed by good works in verses 2-5.  That shows the changed heart and life of the repentant sinner.

3.  Salvation is as simple as that! 

a.  And, yet, it is so simple that people miss it!  You can pray 1000 prayers and remain lost in your sin!  A prayer will not save until the heart has believed.  Read Romans 10:9-13.  Too many have prayed “the prayer” and remain lost because they either did not have a good understanding of what God’s record was or did not understand that you must believe unto salvation according to the record that God gives.

b.  Too many preachers deal with people’s doubt by having them to pray another prayer.  When a believer doubts, I want to know why.  If they have asked the Lord into their life and meant it, then the answer is not to repeat the process.  I have found that the problem normally lies in the area of faith.  They are not doubting what God did for them, they are doubting themselves.  Salvation is an act of God, not an act of man!  We do and will fail but His promises are “yea” and “nay!”

c.  How do I know that I am saved?  I have anchored my soul in the finished work of Christ: the record that God has given of His Son!  I have anchored my soul in the Word of God!  Paul said it all, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.”  (2 Timothy 1:12) Paul’s salvation was incorporated in one word in Acts, chapter 9:  Lord!  He knew Jesus Christ during our Lord’s public ministry.  He knew the innocence of Christ; he knew of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; and he found it hard to “kick against the pricks!”  In that word “Lord” we find repentance, surrender, and faith!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What Makes A Pastor Thankful

Temple Baptist Church - 4-29-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-2


A.  Thessalonica was the capitol of the second district of Macedonia.  As Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica, a church born in great persecution, he showed a true pastor’s heart. 

2 Corinthians 8:1-2  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

B.  Paul had started churches that later turned away from him so, to see a church that remained faithful to the Lord as well as its beginning brought a rejoicing to his heart. 

2 Timothy 1:15  This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

C.  I too, as a pastor, have much to be thankful for:

1.  That the Lord saw beyond my desires and placed me in the right church.

2.  That my family has been able to remain in the same church for over 28 years.

3.  That I happen to be the pastor of the best people on earth and would not trade one of you for anything.

D.  And I “give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in” my prayers.  Over these years, we have seen many come and many go, we have married and we have buried, we have seen some leave right and come back right, we have weathered storms and found that “The Anchor Holds!”

E.  As a people, we (I include myself with you) have:              

1.  We have continued to remain true to the Scriptures: the King James Bible. 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(To do such has never been popular but it has always been right and I commend you.)

2.  We continued to remain unified as a church body.  1 John 3  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.  (We have truly weathered storms from within as well as from without.  I have always told our two sons that, regardless of what comes, if you have a family that loves you, you are blessed.  We are blessed.)

3.  We have continued to do a great work for the Lord in our small church.  Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  (2-3 million dollars have gone out of this church to the mission fields.  We continue to faithfully witness in our community.  God does not and will not forget!)

4.  We have continued to maintain a great testimony and witness in our community.  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.  (As a church, we can hold our heads up in this community.  Our church is well known and well respected because our people are good Christians and the salt of the earth.)

5.  When have continued to worship in the beauty of holiness instead of the paths of worldliness.   Psalms 96:9  O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.  (We see traditional churches all around us opting for Contemporary Praise Services.  Our music is right; our musicians are right; our specials are right.  Our appeal is to God, not to the flesh and the Lord is pleased!)

6.  We have continued to make our church the house of prayer.  Ephesians 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  (We pray often during the course of the services.  Our people pray over the prayer lists.  Our people pray for each other as well as our missionaries.)

7.  We have continued to grow in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  2 Thessalonians 1:3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;  (Our people are knowledgeable concerning the Scriptures.  The Bible is so much more than just something to be carried to church.  Our people spend time reading, hearing, and rightly dividing it.)

8.  This one is a little different but you have continued to “put up” with me!  When I think of and pray for our people, I always know that my family is blessed and happy to be a part of this great church.

John The Baptist - The Voice Of One Crying In The Wilderness - God’s Messenger

Temple Baptist Church - 4-26-2015
Matthew 11:11

Introduction:  Matthew 3:3  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

A.  The Old Testament ends with a curse while the New Testament ends with a blessing.  The reason being the rejection of God’s prophets by the nation of Israel.  Matthew 23:37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

B.  The Book of Malachi began what is called the “400 Silent Years.” 

1.  These were the years between Malachi and Matthew where there were no “inspired” writers.  The Old Testament Cannon was complete and the Messiah long awaited. 

2.  But Israel had quit looking for a sacrifice and was now looking for a King to once again deliver them from the bondage of Rome.  Throughout the Old Testament, the blood of animals was applied to the Mercy Seat as an Atonement until the Lamb of God would come and take away the sin of the world.

3.  Religion had replaced salvation; the Pharisees and Sadducees had replaced the prophets; and the people, for the most part, had lost hope.

C.  There have been many important people in the Bible but the entrance of John the Baptist was one of the most significant!  For 4,000 years, mankind had been awaiting the coming of Messiah.  John the Baptist was the forerunner of the First Advent, the birth of the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ.

D.  John the Baptist was the “link” that bridged the gap between Old and New Testaments. 

1.  He was the “voice” of God!  He was the “voice of ONE crying!”  As Israel slept and the religionist Pharisees and Sadducees came to power, there was no longer many to “voice” Messiah’s coming.  Few were there to greet the Son of God at His birth and few to observe His death, burial, and resurrection.

2.  This is truly prophetic of our day as Christians sleep and the “voices” heralding the Second Coming have quietened.  America, once heralding the Word of God and heeding its teachings, is now drifting into the spiritual darkness as Israel did so long ago.  Religion has replaced salvation; performers have replaced preachers; entertainment has replaced worship; and worldliness has replaced the beauty of holiness.

E.  I read this and do not know who to credit:  John’s coming heralded a new day.  As the herald of Jesus Christ he, was the connecting link between the Old and new Testaments.  John closed out one era and ushered in another.  Shadow would become substance; prophecy would become fulfillment; the focus would shift from Sinai to Calvary; the Gospel, salvation and the church would come front and center; and the Gentiles would be included in the family of God.

F.  John came into a hostile, godless world.  “Darkness” is the one-word description of the times given by Scripture of the days of John.  Luke 1:79  To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. 

In our day, preceding the Second Advent, we find the same condition: no light (darkness), no hope (shadow of death), and no peace (the way of peace).

G.  What did the coming of John the Baptist represent?

1.  The grace of God in His dealings with Israel.  Psalms 78:38  But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.

a.  God would have been perfectly just to cut Israel off forever.  They had seen God’s miracles; they had been sent God’s prophets; and they had God’s Word! 

b.  In our day, God would be just to cut America off forever.  Our nation was founded on God and biblical principles; has had some of the greatest preachers to ever walk in shoe leather; and have had God’s Word for all of our nation’s existence.

c.  But God is a God of love, grace, mercy, and longsuffering!  He is better to us than we deserve and He is better to our nation than it deserves.

2.  The goodness of God in sending His messenger.  Isaiah 40:1-3  Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.  (2)  Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins.  (3)  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

God is now sending comfort, forgiving iniquity, and preparing the way for the Messiah.  Instead of chiding with Israel, God comforted them with His prophets.  God does the same with America.  In the midst of darkness and rejection, God’s men still are able to preach His Word.

Malachi 4:1-6  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  (2)  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (3)  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.  (4)  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  (5)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  (6)  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

Matthew 11:13-15  For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.  (14)  And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.  (15)  He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

3.  The faithfulness of God to His promises.  Galatians 4:4-5  But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,  (5)  To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

Jesus Christ came the first time on time and He will come again on time!  God’s faithfulness to His promises is not based upon our faithfulness to Him.  In Genesis 3:15, God promised the coming of the “seed of the woman,” which was Jesus Christ.  We fail but God never fails.

Numbers 23:19  God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

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

4.  The way of repentance and faith for salvation.  Matthew 21:32  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

Matthew 11:11  Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

True Mission Churches

Temple Baptist Church - 4-19-2015
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10


A.  Several times in the New Testament, we find the Apostle Paul described the churches that he started.  These epistles were written for a couple of reasons:

1.  To encourage this young churches to maintain their quality through faithfulness to
God’s Word.

2.  To set a biblical example for the spiritual generations to come to follow.

B.  Though we live almost 2,000 years later, God’s will for the structure, authority, and outreach of the local change has never changed.  So many churches are now closing their doors both at home and on foreign fields.  My question is “what happened to bring these churches to the point of quitting?”  I believe the answer to that question can be answered in first few verses of this little epistle.

1.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer Obedient to the Person who owns it.  Vs 1.  “In God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ.”  To be in the Lord is a place of disobedience, discomfort, and division.

a.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, they fail to be His churches.  We have a Manuel by which to structure and operate the local church.  Local churches are to be built and maintained through the vigilance of its pulpit and members.  I once had a sticker on my car’s bumper that read, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” 

2 Timothy 4:5  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

b.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, there is no grace to endure.  Churches will always have their problems, both internal and external but they are given to grace to endure.  I wish bad things did not have to happen to good churches but they do.  When the local church wants to be God’s church, there is the grace to endure everything and overcome everything that Satan can throw at it. 

2 Timothy 2:1-3  Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  (2)  And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.  (3)  Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

c.  When churches are no longer obedient to God’s Word, there is no peace from God.  Even in the worst of times, God gives His peace to His children.  God’s peace is a peace that remains through the storms that come.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

2.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer Obedient to the Purpose for which they are founded.  Vs 3.  “Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope.”

a.  Churches are to be a work of faith.  I know that we are to be good stewards of what comes into the local church but there is a fine line between stewardship and faith.  Our church has hopefully learned the blessing of giving instead of hoarding!  Money is to be used, not stored up for a “rainy day.”

Acts 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.  (Here, Paul quotes a verse spoken by the Lord but not recorded in the Gospels.  It is a verse that was quoted while Paul was still a lost man.)

2 Corinthians 8:1-5  Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  (2)  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  (3)  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 

b.  Churches are to be a labor of love.  I fear that the work of the Lord has become a burden to many instead of a blessing.  The local church is the Lord’s and the work of the local church should be a privilege and blessing.

2 Corinthians 8:4-5  Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  (5)  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

Hebrews 6:10  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

c.  Churches are to be patient in hope.  Trials and hard times are often long ones!  We always hope and pray that things will get better quickly but, too often, this is not the case.  Winters in the local church can be long and hard but God expects us to see it through to the end.  We know what time it is spiritually and we also know that the Lord is true to His promise: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  (John 14:3)

Titus 2:13-14  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  (14)  Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

3.  Churches close their doors when they are no longer obedient to biblical principles.  Vs 8.  “your faith to God-ward”

a.  Churches are to be self-supporting.  Indigenous mission churches, for the most part, are a thing of the past.  Indigenous means “home grown!”  God full well understands the monetary plight of these mission churches!  Most churches on foreign fields are built with American funding.  In biblical New Testament Missions, churches began in the homes of people and, as they grew, they took care of their own expenses.  Modern missionaries immediately begin to solicit funds from supporting churches for most if not all of building expenses.  The people need to be vested in their own churches.  If they live in huts, they can build one to worship in.  This is not harsh but if everything is bought and paid for by American dollars, then the people have no heart for the work.  Many pieces of property and the buildings upon them are owned by mission boards.  When the missionary leaves, the church folds in spite of Philippians 4:19!

b.  Churches are to be self-governing.  The missionary is the pastor until such a time as the Lord raises up a national or indigenous pastor.  If and when the missionary leaves or can no longer remain in a “Christian hostile” nation or environment, then the church remains able to function according to God’s Word.