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2020-11-11 WED Isaiah 40:3-8 Isaiah 40:3-8 “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. Every valley ...
The Valley of Decision The Valley of Decision Sunday Evening Service Pastor Sutton Music Credits: Master the Tempest is Raging is in the Public Domain: ...
The Lily of the Valley - Our Choir Sings the Old Hymns! For some time on Sunday mornings I have invited anyone interested to come up and join in on an impromptu choir special right before the message. There is no ...
Clarence Valley Independent Baptist Church This Page is dedicated to the preaching of the Gospel and the Exhortation of the Saints.
Clarence Valley Independent Baptist Church This Page is dedicated to the preaching of the Gospel and the Exhortation of the Saints.
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Anyone who tells you that they have local church ministry during Covid-19 figured out is either delusional or far wiser than I am. Because after thirty-four years of pastoring, I am finding this season the most challenging—by far. I have never seen anything like it. The health, political, and social challenges are real.Additionally, as a pastor, I am engaged in a work in which a primary aspect of my responsibility is calling people together to hear God's Word preached. Literally, my job is to gather crowds in a time when that is highly discouraged!I'm sure there has never been a time in my life when I have prayed more earnestly for God's wisdom nor sought clarity and counsel as frequently.As an undershepherd of Christ's church, I feel responsibleTo teach and preach God's Word to our church family.For the safety of our members and community.For the health of our church family.For the spiritual wellbeing of Christ's flock.To continue to reach out to our community with the gospel.Balancing all of these concerns is challenging, to say the least. Other pastors I have discussed these issues with have expressed the same challenges.Some pastors, church staff, or church members may look at just one issue—perhaps scientific data—and think the answers of how to proceed are clear as day. But I can assure you, it's not that simple. The Bible tells us, “In the multitude of counsellors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14). Something similar could be said for there being safety in seeking guidance on multiple facets of these issues.In the midst of such conflicting information in the news and multi-level concerns for the church, how can a pastor make wise decisions regarding when and how to hold services, how to minister to the community, and how to biblically care for the spiritual wellbeing of his church family?There is no one-size-fits-all answer to these questions. Here in California, we're still in a position to have to make new decisions almost every week as varying types of data emerge. But in making these decisions, there are several aspects I consider.1. Biblical ObedienceThis is where it starts and ends. My primary and ultimate concern is to obey Christ and follow His Word.God's Word commands us to assemble: “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” (Hebrews 10:25).As I shared in a blog post, because assembling is a biblical mandate for the church, I do not see a scenario in which a church can refuse to assemble for an indefinite amount of time and be obedient to Christ. Obviously, there are emergency situations in which a temporary pause or change of venue (such as we all believed would be the case at the beginning of this pandemic) are not an abdication of assembly. But an ongoing, indefinite cessation of assembly cannot be an option on the table.While we will take every precaution possible to keep our church family and community safe—out of love for them and respect for government leaders working to protect public health—at the end of the day, we say with the apostles, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). And the general rule of weekly assembling is a biblical mandate.2. Spiritual ConcernI am concerned for our church members who want and need spiritual encouragement during what has become one of the most difficult times of their lives. These people—from medical professionals on the front lines of exposure to the virus, to widows and singles living alone, to young couples faced with the challenges of raising a Christian family during job losses, to men, women, and teens struggling with various emotional challenges—need the spiritual encouragement of preaching and fellowship more now than perhaps any other time.Every time our church is required to pivot in some regard to our services—outdoor or indoor location, service times, in-person or online group studies, etc.—I think of these people and how the options available in the decision could impact their access to spiritual growth.3. Legal GuidanceThe politicization of this pandemic has undoubtedly made the medical issues fuzzier than they would have been otherwise. Even so, there are public servants who are genuinely doing their best to protect public health.I respect the office of these leaders (as Romans 13 instructs us to do), and I appreciate the efforts of those who want to keep our community safe. To whatever extent we can comply with legitimate orders that do not conflict with God's commands, we absolutely will (and have done so).Over the past several months, I've spent much time trying to understand and follow the latest guidance. This has included frequent calls with legal counselors as well as with our local leaders at the city and county level. It has often been frustrating to receive conflicting counsel at federal, state, and local levels. But we have done our best to understand and work with those in authority. And we have been careful to question if our decisions are sound according to legal counsel.4. Physical NeedsI have concerns for those with underlying conditions. I'm legitimately concerned for Covid patients. I have had pastor friends experience serious cases of Covid-19. And even, one of our dear church members with Covid-19 went to be with the Lord. I don't take the physical needs lightly.When I speak to younger leaders, they sometimes tend to be dismissive of the health implications of the virus. Some hope for it to spread quickly so we can develop herd immunity. When I speak to older leaders, they usually tend to be concerned about taking as many precautions as possible. I pastor a church with people from infants to the elderly. I can't take a flippant attitude, and I can't take a fearful attitude. My practice has been to try to hear all of the concerns and be learning and understanding the best medical and safety procedures.5. Medical InformationThe medical information on Covid-19 is all over the map. Some outlets lead us to think that half of America is dying. Others seem to take it too lightly. Over the past several months there has been conflicting information, sometimes seemingly released at opportune moments to further one or another agenda.But because this is a real medical issue, I can't just assume no medical information matters. As a leader, I try to understand the dangers and needs for caution. Obviously, this varies from one state or local community to the next.6. Perception of Those Concerned Scripture commands me to show concern and deference, even to someone who is more concerned than I am. Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” And Philippians 2:3–4 says, “…in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”If I, as a pastor, blow off the concerns of those in our own church who are fearful of contracting the virus, my brashness could limit the ability of some to receive spiritual encouragement because they do not feel they can come to services.Whether or not it is medically relevant, there is a real sense in which wearing masks, making careful provision for and following social distancing guidelines, and taking every precaution possible in church services becomes a matter of humility and deference. Even if I didn't think it was necessary for protection, I would gladly do it to facilitate spiritual support and encouragement for others.7. Testimony with CommunitySince I came to Lancaster, California, just over thirty-four years ago, it has been my prayer that no honest history of our community could be written without mentioning Lancaster Baptist Church. Our church's desire is to impact our community for Christ with the gospel.For thirty-four years, our church has reached out to every home in our valley with the gospel. We have served law enforcement and medical professionals. We have built relationships with our city and county leaders.So when those same leaders find themselves in the middle of a pandemic, I want to be a team player who helps serve the public health of our community. I want to be someone who listens to concerns and is part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.But beyond our relationship with community leaders, our church members are still inviting their friends and co-workers to come to our socially-distanced, masked, sometimes-outdoor services. Some have been saved. So, I don't want to brazenly defy the health concerns of an entire community and leave the people I want to reach with the gospel fearful of coming to our church.8. The Leading of GodEven with the seven considerations listed above, there are many variables from one church to the next and from one community to the next. For us, there have been variables from one week to the next! There's no special formula to make the perfect decision in such a challenging time. At the end of the day, as the senior pastor of our church, I must seek the wisdom of God and obey His impulses.If you're a pastor, seek God's face. Ask Him boldly for His wisdom. I've been claiming the promise of James 1:5 more now than at any other point in my ministry: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”If you're a church member or church staff, pray for your pastor. And trust God to lead and direct him. Although the context of Hebrews 13:17 is primarily spiritual, the reality of the phrase, “For they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account” is weighty. Speaking from the heart of a pastor, I can tell you that the physical pandemic overlaps real spiritual concerns for the flock. With this in mind, follow the guidance your pastor provides, even if your personal concerns or medical intuition would be less cautious.This pandemic has dragged on for a long time. And there are some indications that aspects of it will continue for some time to come. But it won't last forever. We will get through it. And if we are following the Lord and receiving His grace, we'll be stronger for it.Meanwhile, our church is having services, witnessing, finding ways to engage our community with the gospel, and, most of all, desiring to be found faithful to Christ.
Temple Baptist Church - 5-31-2020Luke 23:33-43Introduction: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 Deserved4. The Valley Brought The Thief To A Place Of Redemption – vs. 42-43 (He Was Gloriously Saved!)a. He Turned From Sin To The Saviourb. He Turned From Hopelessness To Hopec. He Turned From The End Of Life To The Beginning Of Eternal Life
Temple Baptist Church - 5-31-2020Rev 3:14-22Introduction: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 righteousnessF. 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 perceptionG. 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 church1. 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 211. Fellowship With ChristLuke 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 Christ1 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 honourethme 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
Temple Baptist Church - 6-7-2020Job 23:1-17Introduction: A. Job is said to be the oldest book in the Bible. 1. I will take their word for that as I do know the antiquity of the story. Thus, what I am going to preach about this morning is as old as time itself.2. The Valley of Faith. There will be times in our lives when we do not understand (Job did not) and or when we cannot do anything to alleviate our circumstances. These times will try our faith!B. It is in these times that you had better know some things.James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which (1) endure. Ye have heard of the (2) patience of Job, and have seen (3) the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.1. Job's Predicament. Life will be tough at times!Job 23:1-9 Then Job answered and said, (2) Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning. (3) Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat! (4) I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. (5) I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto me. (6) Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me. (7) There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. (8) Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him: (9) On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:1a) Job's Complaint – Verse 2 Job's Complaint was legitimate!2a) Job's Confusion – Verses 3-7 Murphy's Law applied to Job.3a) Job's Consternation – Verses 8-9 God was nowhere to be found.2. Job's Patience. Job 23:10-12 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (11) My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined. (12) Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.4a) Job's Consideration – Verses 10 God was still in control!5a) Job's Continuation – Verses 11 And having done all to stand! Do Right!6a) Job's Comfort – Verse 12 God's comforting Word, the Bible.3. Job's Perception. Job 23:13-15 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. (14) For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him. (15) Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.7a) Job's Conclusion – Verse 12-17 Trust in the wisdom of God!C. In this part of Job's life, we find: 1. God's Purpose – vs. 10 “I shall come forth as gold” 2. God's Plan – vs. 11 – “his steps” 3. God's Persistence – vs. 13 – “who can turn him?” 4. God's Performance – vs. 14 – “he performeth” 5. God's Presence – vs. 15 – “his presence”Our Faith in our Confusion – vs. 111 Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:1. His Steps Are Sure StepsPsalms 18:36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.Psalms 18:33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.Psalms 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.2. His Steps Are Ordered StepsPsalms 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.3. His Steps Are Protected StepsPsalms 57:6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.Psalms 139:3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.4. His Steps Are Righteous StepsPsalms 85:13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.Psalms 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.Psalms 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.5. His Steps Are Joyous StepsPsalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.6. His Steps Are Good StepsPsalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.Psalms 65:11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.Psalms 3:17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.7. His Steps Are Plain StepsPsalms 27:11 Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.8. His Steps Are Growing StepsProverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.9. His Steps Are Living StepsProverbs 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Temple Baptist Church - 6-3-2020Hebrews 11:39-12:1Introduction:A. As we finish God's “Hall of Faith” in chapter 11, I want to tie that chapter into chapter 12. The last verse of chapter 11 speaks of the generations that would follow. This includes us!B. Chapter 11 is our Example. Chapter 12 is our Exhortation.1. Our forefathers who obtained victory in this life through faith.2. Our forefathers who did not obtain victory in this life but continued in faith.C. Chapter 12 begins with our “great cloud of witnesses.”1. This does not mean that these afore mentioned individuals are looking over the bannisters of heaven and watching how we do.2. It means that their sterling examples of faith witness to us that, if they could endure in faith, so can we.D. What I want to look at the phrase “that they without us should not be made perfect.”E. What good was their example if those who follow them do not continue in faith?1. If you and I will not continue in faith, then who will?2. If our posterity sees nothing in us, to who shall they look?F. Three things I want to look at in chapter 12, verse 1.1. Remembrance “Witnesses”. Let Us Observe. a. “we also” – Inclusive. As we sit here tonight, God's people are still suffering around us. This is a universal problem with both the normal trials of life and the persecution of our faith.b. “compassed about” – Universal. To be encircled. We are in good company! Though often we feel alone in our spiritual battles, everyone that is saved has struggles.c. “with so great a cloud” – Visible. This root word for cloud is found only once in the Bible. It does not mean to look at the sky and see a cloud or many clouds. It is the “cloud” of an overcast day where all that we see is cloud. The masses of people who have and are struggling is innumerable! Someone once said that men “live lives of quiet desperation.” We are not desperate, but we are all suffering to some degree daily with self, sin, or sorrows of this life.d. “Witnesses” – Accountable. Someone who has seen or experienced something. If these can endure, we can endure! We have the same grace, strength, and guidance that they had or are having. We are better equipped than most because we have “that which is perfect,” the completed Bible.2. Removal. “every weight, and the sin” Let Us Lay Aside. a. The Removal of Weights. Weights are not necessarily sinful but things that hinder us in our service to the Lord. There are so many things clamoring for out attention; so many “voices” that we hear; so many things that we enjoy that become distractions in our lives. I John ends with the admonition of having idols, both mental and metal, that take precedent over spiritual things.Philippians 1:10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;b. The Removal of “The Sin” – each of us struggle with our flesh, our thought life, etc. Paul said, “In me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing … when I would do good, evil is present with me.”Romans 13:12-14 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. (13) Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (14) But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.c. Realization. “which doeth so easily beset us” Let Us Be Vigilant. Everyone has certain weaknesses of the flesh: some visible and some not visible. We tend to look down on or preach against that which can be readily seen but the most dangerous and wicked sins are often hidden to the public eye.2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) (5) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;3. Resolve. “with patience the race that is set before us” Let Us Run. a. It is a Personal Race. Everyone of us has a specific work to do; a place to be. I did not know 44 years ago, when I was saved, that I would spend most of my life in another state and town. I am glad that I am here tonight.b. It is a Perilous Race. Every individual race has its ups and downs, mountains, and valleys. There are both physical and spiritual dangers to be dealt with. When you know that life is hard, you can make it!c. It is a Patient Race. As tribulation worketh patience, hard times and places cause us to never give up the battle. By God's grace, I intend to finish that which I was apprehended for.d. It is a Persuasive Race. We become a part of the “cloud of witnesses.” People, family—friends—acquaintances—strangers, watch us now and remember us later. Our “dying in faith” will either help them or one day haunt them.
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