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Keep Christ First: Revelation 2:1-7

Sunday Worship 31st August 2014

Your name is Apollos, and you come from a tradition of skilled silversmiths in the prosperous city, Ephesus. From youth, you have worshipped idols, and eaten your daily bread through the trade of making idols. It has been your security, identity, and only source of income. Everything about your life has in some way been connected to the pagan temple till you met Paul and his team of Christ preaching evangelists. The day you trusted Christ, everything changed. Your life was radically transformed, you experienced a peace and joy you had never known, and you began a new life of suffering for the cause of Christ.

Text: Revelation 2:1-7

Purpose: Christ speaks to the church of Ephesus, to encourage them in their faithfulness, and to warn them of the danger of serving without love.

Proposition: God wants you to love Him first.

Truth 1: Strength: they were strong: I know…2:2

Christ encourages the church by reminding them that He knows their strong points.  And this encouragement covers two areas of life for the members of the church. 

First: Standing against the world outside the church:

  • Works: God knew their occupations, which had been effected by their commitment to Christ.

Acts 19:11-28 Many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds…many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed…and there arose a great commotion about the Way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen. He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship, and they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! So the whole city was filled with confusion,

  • Labor: God knew how they had suffered for Christ’s sake

Philippians 1:27-29 Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ…and not in any way terrified by your adversaries…for to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.

  • Patience: God knew that they had been faithfully enduring under the burden of livening in a pagan society.

Second: Standing against the world inside the church:

  • You cannot bear those who are evil: God knew they resisted evil in the church. People who have a divisive, dishonest, and hurtful character are not only outside the church.  Sometimes they get into the church.  They profess faith in Christ, but have never truly embraced it. It takes time, but eventually these people will be exposed, and their presence will cause trouble into the church. They must be removed.

Acts 5: Ananias and Sapphire are struck dead by God for causing division in the church.

Jude 1:4 Certain men have crept in unnoticed…ungodly men.

3 John 1:9 Diotrephes, loves to have the preeminence among them…prating against us with malicious words…do not imitate what is evil.

2 Timothy 2:16-18 Shun profane and idle babblings…their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort.

 2 Timothy 4:14-15 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him…beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.

1 Timothy 6:3-7 If anyone teaches otherwise…he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words…men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth…from such withdraw yourself.

  • Tested those who say they are apostles: God knew they were careful about following false apostles. They put their claims to the test and found they are not valid.
  • Labored for my names sake: God knew their motivation. They did all these things for the name of Christ, not to uplift their own names. They were not like Ananias, Sapphire, Diotrephes, Hymenaeus, Philetus, and Alexander.  They were living for Jesus.

Truths 2: Rebuke: they were living in sin: Nevertheless, I have this against you…2:4

  • You have left your first love

Deuteronomy 6:5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart, soul, and strength…these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.

1 John 5:1-3 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…and also loves him who is begotten of Him…this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.

1 Samuel 15:22 Has the LORD as great delight in sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice…rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, stubbornness as idolatry.

Truth 3: Warning: They were in danger of judgment: Or else I will come to you…2:5

  • Remember from where you are fallen: Think back to the way you viewed God shortly after your conversion, and realize you have fallen from that initial love.  Even though you have done all these good things, you are still in this condition.
  • Repent: You must have a radical thinking change
  • Do the first work: Your primary occupation is not driving, working with numbers, teaching a class, or any other occupation. It is loving God. All objects of love that replace God are idols in your heart.
  • Or else I will come to you quickly and remove your candle stick: God will personally fight against the church, and remove its witness in the local community, if they do not repent!

Conclusion: A few questions to reflect upon in light of this passage:

  • Do I get more delight out of my daily labor then my communion with God?
  • Am I more concerned with my own reputation than doing what God says is right?
  • Is there some sin in my heart that I love more than God?
  • Do I have a greater love for knowing the truth than being held by that truth?
  • Do I do right for others, myself, or a love for God?
  • Is my commitment to Christ stronger than my commitment to husband, wife, father, mother, friend, or employer?

If Christ would warn the church of Ephesus who has given far more than we have given, and done far more than we have done, then what would He say to us? May we today remember from where we may have fallen, repent, and do the first work of loving God with all our person, or maybe there will not be a 10th anniversary service at Anchor Baptist Church Cape Coast.

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Posted by on September 2, 2014 in Preaching

 

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An Appeal to Fathers

Occasion: Sunday Worship 15th June 2014

Statistics:

  • 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. [US D.H.H.S., Bureau of the Census]
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice & Behaviour, vol 14, pp. 403-26, 1978]
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers lack a father. [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services press release, Friday, March 26, 1999]
  • 85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
  • 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother. [Wray Herbert, “Dousing the Kindlers,” Psychology Today, January, 1985, p. 28]
  • High Schools
  • 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes. [Rainbows f for all God’s Children]
  • Put simply, the role of a father in a child’s life cannot be underestimated.

Text: Proverbs 2:1-22 

Purpose: Solomon wants to see his children experience God’s blessings as they walk in the fear of the LORD, therefore he teaches them to fear the Lord and to reject the company of those who do not fear Him, so their lives will be preserved in the Promised Land.

Proposition: God wants to bless young people as they walk in the fear of the Lord.

Interrogative: How can He do this?

Truth 1: Fathers must teach their young people the word of God 2:1-2 IF…

  • Solomon as the wise father is presenting a pattern for fathers to follow: The following statements showing us that Solomon was actively instructing his children.  This must be a regular part of family life. Which echoes Moses’ instruction in Deuteronomy 6: These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
    • Receive my words
    • Hide my commandments
    • Incline your ear
    • Apply your heart
  • Paul commands fathers to do the same: Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
    • Nurture: Nourish or bring them up them by means of training and discipline (Do not let your children be undisciplined, disrespectful, shelf, and lazy.  You must restrain them, though the ultimate motivation for that restraint is not your ease as a parent or your pride, but their own good and growth in maturity.)
    • Quick note: Know where your children are in their relationship to the Gospel.  If they are unconverted, realize the need to instill within them the need to be reconciled to God through the Messiah.  If they are converted, instill within them a need to walk as disciples in light of their position in Christ.
    • Admonition: Warn them by means of instruction (Do not allow your children to learn everything the hard way.  Teach them what is right and wrong, so they can avoid some of the great hardships you may have experienced in your past before you were converted.)

How can this be done?

  • You must live with your children.
  • You must spend time with your children.
  • You must interact with your children. (ask questions)
    • Why do young girls pursue the attention of guys with no character who will take advantage of them and ultimately hurt them? They may not feel loved and valued by their fathers.
    • Why do young guys sit around the house and do nothing but look at porn and chase after women? They may not have seen the example of a Godly father.
    • Why are young people not industrious, hard working, and respectful? They have never been taught the importance of hard work, nor do the adults in their lives carry themselves respectably.
  • You must systematically set aside time to teach your children the word of God.
  • You must watch you children.
  • You must lovingly affirm them where they are doing well so you will have credibility and their confidence when you must rebuke them.
  • Be a father to the fatherless. There are many young people who practically speaking are fatherless.  Mercifully reach out to them and be for them what their father is not.

Truth 2: Fathers must be specific in their instruction: 2:7-22

Saying son: “you need to love God and do right,” is good, but not specific enough.  You need to get down to the practical basics of loving and obeying God.

  • Solomon emphasized the need for children to have a heart for God’s wisdom and truth. 2:3-4
    • Cry after wisdom (emotionally moved)
    • Seek wisdom as silver (motivated by the value of the object)
    • Search for wisdom as if it a hidden treasure (persistence)
  • Solomon warned his children about two specific categories of people:
    • Evil man: How will you know who is an evil man? 2:12
      • He uses perverted speech 2:12
      • His pattern of life is godless 2:13
      • He enjoys doing evil and hanging out with those who do evil 2:14
    • Strange woman: How will you know who is a strange woman? 2:16
      • She is a seductress 2:16
      • She uses flattery to get what she wants 2:16
      • She rejects the instruction of her parents 2:17
      • She ignores the things of the LORD 2:17
  • Solomon presents a contrast between the end result of two ways of life:
    • Way of the righteous (THEN)
      • God defends those who obey Him: 2:7-8
      • God will be his satisfaction: 2:9-10
      • His way will be consistent: 2:20
      • They will enjoy God’s blessings (for Israel in the Promised Land) 2:21
    • Way of the unrighteous
      • They are walking down a road that leads to an untimely death: 2:18
      • They are isolated from God’s blessings: 2:19
      • God will remove them from His presence: 2:22

Truth 3: Youths must humbly submit to godly instruction from their fathers

  • If you do not have a heart for God, it is your own fault.
  • If you do not obey God, it is your own fault.
  • If you do not listen to instruction it is your own fault.
  • If you choose your friends poorly and they hurt you…it’s your own fault.

Conclusion: Solomon wanted to see his children experience God’s blessings as they walked in the fear of the LORD, therefore he taught them to fear the Lord and to reject the company of those who did not fear Him. God wants to bless our young people as they walk in the fear of the Lord.  Are you fathers being faithful to your God given responsibility and calling?  Are you young people responding correctly to your fathers, and taking personal responsibility for your action?  May God convict us deeply where we are being disobedient and unfaithful, and encourage us as we walk in His ways and interact with those He has put in our care.

 

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Preaching

 

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The Need to Diligently Study Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:15-16

Occasion Sunday Worship 25th May 2014

Ill: You have an uncle preparing to go to the UK for PHD studies.  He asks you to care for his things while away, yet does not reveal how long he will be gone.  He simply asks you to faithfully care for his things, and he will certainly rebuke you if you are not faithful.  Your friends soon suggest you let them stay with you, and eventually you stay up late into the night playing games and entertaining many friends.  Every day, you think about the possibility of your uncle’s return, but you quickly put it out of your mind.  What will happen when he surprises you one day and you are not ready for his return?  What will he say to you, and how will you feel before him?

Text: 2 Timothy 2:15-16

Purpose: Paul wants Timothy to be found faithful and receive a full reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ, therefore, he warns Timothy to make every effort to do His work as pastor diligently for God’s glory.

Proposition: God’s wants me to be a careful and faithful student of His word.

Interrogative: How can I do this?  Four truths that will motivate me to be faithful…

Doctrine 1: I am commanded to be diligent: 2:15

Ill: You desire to be a doctor.  How many years will you study medicine before given a license to practice?  Would you be licensed if you fail your classes?  How much money will you invest to complete your schooling?  Medical practice is important.  Peoples lives will be severely affected by malpractice, and the integrity of the occupation must be tightly held.  How much more diligent should we be when we are dealing with the word of God.  Doctrinal error will not just cause someone to get sick.  It can if it is related to the gospel lead someone to eternity in hell, separated from God. 

  • What are we to do? Study: Make every possible effort, be diligent to prepare yourself
  • How are we to do it?
    •  To show thyself approved: We are motivated, because we will be held accountable.  Our labors as Christians will be evaluated by someone, God.
    • A workman that needeth not to be ashamed: If we are not faithful and diligent, we may not be ashamed now, but one day we will be.

Doctrine 2: I will one day stand before God: 2:15

Hebrews 9:27 It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.

Two great judgments:

Great White Throne (The degree of our eternal judgment): Revelation 20:12, 15 I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened…the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

  • The question is not if I will go to heaven or the Lake of Fire, but how severe the eternal wrath of God will be upon me.
  • God is looking at our works in a negative way, not a positive way.

Judgment Seat of Christ (An evaluation of our stewardship): Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

  • The question again is not whether or not we will go to heaven or the eternal Lake of Fire, but what reward and position in God’s Kingdom we will receive in our eternal inheritance.

Why should I be diligent?

  • I want by labors to meet God’s approval: To show thyself approved unto God
  • I do not want to be ashamed before my Lord: One who needeth not to be ashamed

Doctrine 3: I am commanded to teach God’s word accurately: 2:15

Is it enough to just read the Bible?  No. 

In a recent interview of around 700 people:

  • 95% have made Christ their personal Lord and Savior
  • Nearly half say they attend church 3 or more times a week
  • 65% read the Bible at least every other day
  • Only 21% say that salvation is a free gift that is not earned in any part by our good works and obedience to the law.

2 Peter 3:16 The unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (Wrest means that they twist these words, and the result is that it is to their own destruction.)

What am I to do? Rightly dividing the word of truth: This means to cut it straight.  Meaning, I am responsible to study, interpret, and apply God’s words accurately to my own life first, and than to the lives of those I am instructing.

Doctrine 4: I am called to reject error: 2:16

How can I know what is true and what is counterfeit?  I must know the truth. 

Hebrews 5:12-14Ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God…every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

  • The immature are unskillful in the word of righteousness
  • The mature by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil.

Ill: How do people determine when money is counterfeit?  Is it by studying every error?  Now, it is by knowing what the genuine things looks like and feels like.  Everything is compared to the genuine standard, and what does not measure up is identified as counterfeit and rejected.  This is what we must do with doctrine.

  • Shun profane and vain babblings
  • How will we know what is true and what is not true

Conclusion: The question is not if God wants you to be a good steward of His word, but rather what steps will you take to do that?  Purpose, by God’s grace, to be a faithful steward of the truth that has been entrusted to you, and to take careful steps to grow in your love and knowledge of God’s word.

 
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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in Preaching

 

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“Manifesting Christ’s Meekness”- Tim Leaman

“Manifesting Christ’s Meekness” http://www.sermonaudio.com Tim Leaman | Calvary Baptist Church

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2013 in Preaching

 

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“The Blessing of Being a Beggar”-Tim Leaman

“The Blessing of Being A Beggar” http://www.sermonaudio.com Tim Leaman | Calvary Baptist Church

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2013 in Preaching

 

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The Puritans on Preachers…

Take heed to yourselves, lest you be void of that saving grace of God which you offer to others … be also careful that your graces are kept in vigorous and lively exercise, and that you preach to yourselves the sermons which you study, before you preach them to others … watch therefore over your own hearts: keep out lusts and passions, and worldly inclinations; keep up the life of faith, and love, and zeal; be much at home, and much with God … take heed to yourselves, lest your example contradict your doctrine … lest you unsay with your lives, what you say with your tongues.… We must study as hard how to live well, as how to preach well. We must think and think again, how to compose our lives, as may most tend to men’s salvation, as well as our sermons.…

Packer, J. I. (1990). A quest for godliness: The Puritan vision of the Christian life (75–76). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Preaching

 

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The Puritans on Preaching…

A crucified style best suits the preachers of a crucified Christ.… Prudence will choose words that are solid, rather than florid.… Words are but servants to matter. An iron key, fitted to the wards of the lock, is more useful than a golden one that will not open the door to the treasures.… Prudence will cast away a thousand fine words for one that is apt to penetrate the conscience and reach the heart.

Packer, J. I. (1990). A quest for godliness: The Puritan vision of the Christian life (75). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Preaching

 

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