Emory Baptist Church
Top 10 Questions About the Lord’s Supper

Top 10 Questions About the Lord’s Supper

August 8, 2021

This morning, we are taking a break from your study of 1 Peter, and I want to take the opportunity not only to lead us in taking the Lord’s Supper in just a few minutes but also understanding the Lord’s Supper before we take it. 

 

Today’s sermon will be more of teaching than preaching as I attempt to answer some of the most important questions regarding the Lord’s Supper.  As a matter of fact, you might call them our Top 10 Questions about the Lord’s Supper. 

 

  1. Is the Lord’s Supper a sacrament or an ordinance?

Our friends from liturgical congregations, such as Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians call it a “sacrament.”  When I say, “liturgical,” I mean related to liturgy or ritual in a worship service. 

 

Those in the free church tradition, meaning there is no pope over us or hierarchy for that matter (autonomous), have chosen not to use the word “sacrament” because not only does it mean what is sacred, but also it has come to mean dispensing or giving out of grace or a tool or vehicle for salvation.  In other words, it saves you.

 

Baptists believe that salvation is through grace alone and faith alone in Christ alone.  Therefore, we have chosen to use the word “ordinance” which means ordained or ordered and specifically ordered by the Lord Jesus. 

When we baptize here at EBC, we are practicing one ordinance.  In a few minutes, we will practice what we see as the other, the Lord’s Supper.

 

Therefore, Baptists recognize only two ordinances in the NT for the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

 

 

  1. What should we call this ordinance that has many names?

 

There are actually several of what I would call biblical names for the ordinance that we most often call “The Lord’s Supper.”

 

In Acts 2:42, Luke called it “the breaking of bread.”

 

Acts 2:42, 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.

 

In 1 Corinthians 10:16, Paul used the term, “communion.”

 

1 Corinthians 10:16, 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

 

By communion, we mean a mutual participation or sharing or fellowship with one another.  As the body of Christ, we commune with the Lord and one another.

 

In 1 Corinthians 11:20, Paul used the term that is probably most common in Baptist churches, but this actually an indictment to the Corinthian Church.

 

1 Corinthians 11:20, 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.

 

They were coming together to sin rather than to take the Lord’s Supper.

 

Another term that is often used in more liturgical churches like I mentioned previously, Catholics and Episcopalians and Methodists and Presbyterians, is the word “Eucharist.” 

 

It comes from a New Testament word that means to give thanks.  Listen to 1 Corinthians 11:24.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

A final term that I want to mention that does not have its origin in the Bible is the term “mass.” 

 

It was used as the closing blessing or benediction of any worship service. 

 

In the Roman Catholic Church, it eventually was applied to the liturgy of the Word or preaching and the liturgy of the Eucharist or Communion.

 

 

  1. Do we understand the Lord’s Supper to be a “Christian ordinance” or a “Church ordinance?”

 

In other words, are the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper given to any Christian to observe on any occasion and in any circumstance or were they given to the local Church to administer?

 

Historically, and I believe biblically, these ordinances were given to the local church, and here’s why.  Listen to the 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 and notice the repetition of a particular phrase.

 

17 Now in giving these instructions I do not praise you, since you come together not for the better but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you. 20 Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper. 21 For in eating, each one takes his own supper ahead of others; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.  23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.  27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.  33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 34 But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment. And the rest I will set in order when I come.

 

On five occasions, Paul speaks of coming together.  Individual Christians don’t come together.  Churches come together. 

 

Therefore, again, I would contend along with Baptists through the years, that believers are to participate in baptism and the Lord’s Supper under the authority and administration of a local church.

 

Consequently, when we take teenagers to youth camp and preteens to children’s camp, we don’t go to camps that baptize and take the Lord’s Supper.  Why?  Because that is not the local church.

 

Furthermore, the local church is also not your uncle Joe and your aunt Mary and your cousins.  Therefore, we don’t recommend being baptized by your uncle in his pool or taking the Lord’s Supper on vacation with your grandparents. 

 

Why?  Because they aren’t Christians.  No, because they aren’t a local church. 

 

 

  1. When did the Lord’s Supper begin?

 

The Lord’s Supper began with Jesus and is recounted for us in Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22. 

 

Let’s look at Mark’s account beginning in Mark 14:12.

 

12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”  13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him. 14 Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ 15 Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us.”  16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.  17 In the evening He came with the twelve. 18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me.”  19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say to Him one by one, “Is it I?” And another said, “Is it I?”  20 He answered and said to them, “It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the dish. 21 The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”  22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”  23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. 25 Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”  26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

 

As you can see from Mark 14, the Lord’s Supper is closely tied to the Passover.  However, do we remember what the Passover was?

 

  1. What is the Passover?

 

The nation of Israel was being held captive by Pharaoh of Egypt.  The Lord had brought nine plagues on Pharaoh and his people in an effort to force him to let His people go.  However, he still refused.

 

The Passover is then introduced in Exodus 11 and described in Exodus 12:12-14.

 

As a tenth plague, God had announced that He would take the life of every first-born Egyptian male child and animal. 

 

Consequently, each Jewish family was to sacrifice an unblemished lamb and mark the doorway of their home with its blood. 

 

The Lord would then see the blood and pass over that home in His looking for the first-born Egyptian male children and animals. 

 

Exodus 12:12-14, 12 ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13 Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.  14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.

 

Therefore, the Passover and the Lord’s Supper are tied together in that the Lord Jesus is the perfect Lamb whose blood was shed.  When that blood is applied to your heart by Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the judgment of God passes over you and gives you eternal life in heaven.

 

 

  1. What elements should be included in the Lord’ Supper?

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 mentions two: the bread and the cup. 

 

1 Corinthians 11:23-26, 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”  26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

 

Therefore, we normally offer unleavened bread and grape juice. 

 

Why unleavened bread?  Leaven in the Bible is most often used to symbolize sin.

 

The first church probably used a single loaf of a bread, and drank wine from a common cup. 

 

When church members ask me about using real win so we can be more biblical, I ask them if they want to use a common cup as well to be more biblical. 

 

For some reason, they usually reconsider.

 

Christy and I, have actually used a common cup and real wine when taking the Lord’s Supper at a Baptist church in Kiev, Ukraine.  I don’t recommend it.

 

 

  1. When should we take the Lord’s Supper?

 

Some of you will probably be surprised at my answer to this, but the Churches of Christ got it right. 

 

In the New Testament, the Lord’s Supper was taken weekly…every time the church met…and probably on Sunday night.

 

When my family and I were in San Antonio a few weeks ago, we attended a non-denominational church that celebrated the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. 

 

Acts 20:7, 7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.

 

My experience growing up at FBC Venus and FBC Alvarado, the Lord’s Supper was observed on a quarterly basis. 

 

I think that has also been true here at EBC in the past.   

 

Personally, I prefer monthly compared to quarterly, and I understand but don’t completely agree with the argument against weekly. 

 

 

  1. What does the Lord’s Supper mean?

 

The answer to this question is what separates denominations. 

 

By the way, I don’t think having denominations is bad when we separate over Biblical interpretation.

 

While it won’t be that way in heaven, I don’t think it is bad here on earth…especially since we can’t interpret perfectly here, but we will there.

 

Our Catholic friends hold to what is called transubstantiation.  Transubstantiation “simply means ‘the bread and the wine actually become (or are transformed into) the body and the blood of Christ.  This happens at the moment the priest says, ‘This is my body’ during the celebration of the mass’” (White, 144). 

 

Where did this idea originate?  See John 6:53-56.

 

John 6:53-56, 53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

 

Our Lutheran friends differ just a little from the Catholic Church.  They hold to what is called consubstantiation.  This means “that the bread and the wine contain the body and blood of the Lord but the elements themselves are not substantively changed” (White, 146).

 

Our Presbyterian friends hold to the Spiritual Presence view of communion. 

 

They believe that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, but it cannot be His literal body and blood because He ascended into the heavens. 

 

Most Baptists believe in what is called the Memorial or Symbolic view of Communion. 

 

This view is credited to Ulrich Zwingli who said the Lord’s Supper is taken in memory of what Christ has done, and the elements are symbolic of the Lord’s spiritual presence (Hammett, 280).

 

In other words, the bread symbolizes Jesus’ body.  The cup symbolizes Jesus’ blood, and we do this in remembrance of Him.

 

 

  1. Why do we take the Lord’s Supper?

 

We find our answers to this question from 1 Corinthians 10-11, and there are four.

 

First, we take the Lord’s Supper to renew our commitment to Christ and to one another, brothers and sisters in Christ who are mostly committed to one church, Emory Baptist Church.

 

1 Corinthians 10:17, 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

 

Second, we take the Lord’s Supper to give thanks.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24,…24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

Third, we take the Lord’s Supper to remember what Jesus did for us through His death on the cross.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24-25, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.

 

Fourth, we take the Lord’s Supper to proclaim the message of Christ.

 

1 Corinthians 11:26, 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

 

 

  1. Who should be invited to take the Lord’s Supper?

 

The answer to this question will be different depending on how you interpret the Bible.

 

From my understanding of the Scriptures and as pastor of this church and not any other church, I believe the Scriptures speak to two general qualifications for taking the Lord’s Supper.

 

First, you should be a follower of Jesus Christ.  It makes no sense for a lost person to take the Lord’s Supper.  See 1 Corinthians 10:21.

 

1 Corinthians 10:21, 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s Table and of the table of demons.

 

Keep in mind moms and dads that this applies to children as well. 

 

Caleigh and Sarah didn’t start taking the Lord’s Supper until they were in the fifth grade, and Caroline started taking it when she was in the third grade.    

 

That is not meant to be mean or insensitive.  That is an effort to be biblically responsible. 

Therefore, don’t neglect the opportunity that taking the Lord’s Supper brings for you to share the gospel with your young children.

 

The second requirement for taking the Lord’s Supper is that you be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor.  See 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.

 

1 Corinthians 11:27-30, 27 Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

 

What does it mean to be in right standing with the Lord and with your neighbor? 

 

  • Is there any unconfessed sin in your life?
  • Is there any unrepentant sin in your life?
  • Are you fighting with your spouse?
  • Are you fighting with your parents?
  • Are you unforgiving and bitter toward your neighbor?

 

These are the types of questions that you should ask every time you take the Lord’s Supper, and on some occasions, it would be better if you don’t take it all.

 

Why?  Look again at 1 Corinthians 11:29-30. 

 

29 For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep.

 

In Corinth, these Corinthian Believers were using the occasion of the Lord’s Supper to engage in sexual and drunken debauchery. 

 

As a result, the Lord disciplined them with sickness and even death.  Don’t run that risk when you take the Lord’s Supper.

 

There is one last thought I need to share regarding being in right standing with the Lord. 

 

I don’t think you have to be a member of EBC to receive the Lord’s Supper. 

 

However, as Baptists, we understand believer’s baptism to be an act of obedience for every Christian, for every follower of Christ. 

 

In the same we way that we invite those who are saved and baptized to join EBC every Sunday morning, we invite those that are saved and baptized to take the Lord’s Supper.

 

To require baptism for church membership but not to take the Lord’s Supper would undermine our commitment to baptism and an act of hypocrisy. 

 

We invite anyone who is a member of EBC and anyone who could be a member of EBC to take the Lord’s Supper.   

 

You can be Baptist or Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist or Pentecostal or Presbyterian as long as you have been born-again and are in right standing with the Lord and have followed through with believer’s baptism by immersion. 

 

But before we take the Lord’s Supper, I invite you to repent and be saved from your sins?  If you’re without Christ this morning, would you answer the call this morning to put your faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior of your life?

 

Would you unite with Emory Baptist Church this morning if you are guest and the Lord is leading you formally join this church?

 

Our invitation is for you!

 

Senseless Animals

Senseless Animals

August 1, 2021

If you have your Bibles, please take them and find 2 Peter 2:10. This morning, I want to give somewhat of a disclaimer as I begin.

 

Have you ever taken some medicine that didn’t taste good?  We probably all have.  Why did you take that medicine?  Even though it didn’t, take good, it was good for you. 

 

That is a good way to look at today’s message.  It probably isn’t going to taste that good, but it is good for us.  We continue this morning looking at and talking about the false teachers of 2 Peter, and I have entitled my message, “Senseless Animals.”

 

From today’s text, I want to show you that these false teachers, who Peter calls natural brute beasts or senseless animals, were unruly in their attitudes, unrighteous in their actions, and untruthful in their aim.

 

 

  1. 2 Peter’s False Teachers were unruly in their attitude, 2 Peter 2:10-11.

10 and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority. They are presumptuous, self-willed. They are not afraid to speak evil of dignitaries, 11 whereas angels, who are greater in power and might, do not bring a reviling accusation against them before the Lord. 

 

In our English translations, verse 10 is a continuation of verse 9 even through in the language of the NT, the end of verse 9 is the end of a sentence.  Peter is continuing to describe the godless of verse 9.

 

Remember from last week.  We can count on God to deliver the godly and destroy the godless, and Peter considered these false teachers to be godless.  They were church members, but they had denied the Lord. 

 

In the first two verses of today’s text, we see the false teachers’ unruly attitude manifest in three ways.  First, they despised authority.  Specially, they denied the authority of their local church.

 

Did you know that inherent in the idea of local church membership is the local church’s authority in your life?  That is exactly why Jesus told His followers in Matthew 18 that if a church member continues to live in public, egregious, and unrepentant sin, the local church can remove him or her from membership.

 

This local church challenged the teaching and the behavior of these false teachers, and they didn’t like it.  They despised authority.

 

Second, they were presumptuous and self-willed.  They had no inhibitions, and they only wanted to please self.  They weren’t selfless but selfish. 

 

Third, they were loud and boisterous.   They had the audacity to revile or to blaspheme or to speak evil of angels.  This last part of 2:10 and then leading into 2:11 is somewhat mysterious. 

 

What angels is Peter talking about?  We don’t exactly know.  What we do know is that speaking evil of the angels was very audacious because the angels didn’t even speak evil of the false teachers when they certainly deserved it and the angels had the right to do it.

 

 

  1. 2 Peter’s False Teachers were unrighteous in their actions, 2 Peter 2:12-17.

12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.  17 These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

 

The beginning of 2:12 says these false teachers were like natural brute beasts or senseless animals.  They were like animals that could not be tamed.  They were born solely for the purpose of capturing and killing.

 

What actions of theirs was unrighteous and how do we know?  We know their actions were unrighteous because the Bible tells us so.  That was true of their actions, and it is true of our actions.

 

First, they spoke evil.  Specifically, spoke evil when they had no knowledge.  They were speaking ignorantly. 

 

James 4:11, 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.

 

Second, they caroused in the daytime.  Your translation may say, “reveled” in the daytime.  “Reveling” was normally thought of as a nighttime activity.  This was sexual immorality. 

 

Something else that is interesting about this word.  It literally means softness or effeminate.  It appears that these false teachers were not only reveling in public heterosexual activity but also public homosexual activity.

 

Furthermore, it seems they were reveling in order to show off in front of other church members. Verse 13 says they “feast with you.”  Some believe their reveling was associated with the early church’s fellowship meal that happened as a part of the Lord’s Supper.

 

Luke 21:34, “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.

 

Third, had eyes full of adultery.  Peter says the false teachers have eyes full of adultery or literally eyes full of the adulteress.  This means that every woman they saw was one they visualized having sex with.  They never ceased from sinning.

 

Matthew 5:27-30, 27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.

 

 

Fourth, they were deceptive and seductive.  Peter says they “entice unstable souls.” 

 

To entice means to catch with bait.  They lured these unstable souls, who were the new converts.  They were the young Christians.  The false teachers were taking advantage of the easily impressionable through deception.

 

1 Peter 2:1, Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

 

Fifth, they were guilty of coveting.  These false teachers had a heart “trained” in coveting.  The word for “trained” is where we get our English word “gymnasium.”  It literally means to exercise or to practice.  These false teachers practiced their greediness. 

 

Exodus 20:17, 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

 

In 2:15, Peter said the false teachers had forsaken the right way and gone astray.  What does this verse imply?  There is a right way and a wrong way.  Peter says there is a way that is right, and there is a way that is wrong. 

 

Peter believed in moral absolutes.  God believes in moral absolutes.

 

In verses 16-17, Peter compared the false teachers with Balaam in the OT.  He was guilty of greed and not listening to God. 

 

Peter also said they were like wells without water and clouds driven away by the storm.  Peter basically said they were promised a lot and delivered a little. 

 

 

  • 2 Peter’s False Teachers were untruthful in their aim, 2 Peter 2:18-22.

18 For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. 20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”

These false teachers spoke with great, swelling words, but they didn’t deliver.  They promised satisfaction but delivered emptiness.

 

Second, they promised pleasure but delivered sin.  They delivered lives lived in error, the wrong.

 

Third, they promised freedom and liberty and delivered slavery and bondage.  They were enslaved to the very master from which they promised freedom.

 

Consequently, these false teachers will spend an eternity separated from Christ.  See verses 12, 14, 17, and following.

 

Verse 21 says they knew the holy commandment or the entire Christian Message, the Gospel, but they turn away.  These false teachers aren’t an example of losing their salvation.  These false teachers are examples of giving one impression for others in public and never having been born again from within by the Holy Spirit.

 

They, like dogs, return to their vomit.  They keep doing what they always have done, and like a pig, they love they mud.  That’s who they are.

 

 

Conclusion

I leave you this morning with three applications.  First, those who are truly saved will persevere.  Those who aren’t won’t.  They false teachers weren’t, and they didn’t.

 

Second, no church is exempt or immune from false teachers.  Everything that is said from this pulpit and our other teaching settings must be consistent with the Bible.

 

Finally, I want to warn you of some today’s false teachers.  I could speak about the false teachers of Mormonism or Jehovah’s Witness, but I’m not.  I could speak about the false teachers of Islam or Buddhism, but I’m not.

 

I want to speak to you about the false teachers of the LGBTQ Agenda, Black Lives Matter, and White Nationalism. 

 

First, homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin, homosexuals should not be treated as second class citizens, and are welcome to attend EBC at any time to hear the gospel.

 

However, love is not love.  Homosexuality is not God’s design for relationships or to populate the earth, and the false teachers of this agenda don’t want to and never have simply wanted to normalize this behavior.  They will demand the celebration of this behavior by everyone. 

 

Second, I want to warn you about the false teachers of the Black Lives Matter Organization.  To be clear, black lives do matter.  Every black live matters to God and should to us because every life matters to God and should to us.

 

Racism is real.  It is an evil reality of our country and our world.  It was an evil beginning to our Southern Baptist Convention.  If you think racism doesn’t still exist today, you are naïve at best and a liar at worst. 

 

At our previous, my family and I experienced racists first hand, and in some part, I stand here today as your pastor because of their evil.  However, the false teachers of the BLM Organization are anti-bible and anti-gospel.

 

Finally, I want to warn you about the false teachers of White Nationalism.  To be clear, I am not ashamed of being white, and I am proud to be an American. 

 

I will always put my hand over my heart when I say the pledge to the American Flag, and not only will I stand for the National Anthem, I’ll do more than many of you.  I will sing it in public. 

 

However, my white skin is not superior, and no one’s non-white skin is inferior, and God’s favorite country is Israel and not the USA even though I think the USA is the greatest country in the world having traveled to 5 continents and spent time in 15 plus countries.

 

I know that many of you think the same.  However, if your allegiance is to this flag before it is to this flag, we have a problem.    

You Can Count on God!

You Can Count on God!

July 25, 2021

Last Sunday, Bro. Ronnie introduced the false teachers of 2 Peter to us.  Remember, these were individuals within the church who claimed to be followers of Christ but were teaching a false gospel.

 

From the text, their main problem was that they denied Christ.  It isn’t clear whether they denied His deity or His Lordship or even His humanity.  Regardless, all are heretical.  Furthermore, they were infatuated with money as evidenced by their covetousness, and they also exploited the body with their deceptive words trying to get more money.

 

Consequently, God will judge them.  We know this because of some form of destroy that Peter uses on four occasions in three verses: 1, 1, 2, 3.

 

Today, we continue thinking about the false teachers.  However, Peter will also offer us a word of encouragement.  The title of my sermon this morning is “You Can Count on God!”

 

 

  1. You can count on God to deliver the godly, 2 Peter 2:9a.

9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.

 

In the language of the NT, verses 4-9 are actually one sentence. However, the main points of this sentence aren’t found until verse 9. 

 

You can count on God to deliver the godly out of temptations.  Our text gives two examples. 

 

First, God delivered Noah and his family in 2:5.  2:5 says that God saved Noah. 

 

“Saved” means to guard a person so that he may remain safe.  This was certainly true of Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives.  See Genesis 7:1, 23.

 

1 Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.

 

23 So He destroyed all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive.

 

Secondly, God not only delivered Noah and his family, but He also delivered Lot.  2:7 tells us that God delivered righteous Lot. 

 

Notice it doesn’t say “perfect Lot.”  Some would say that Lot was hardly righteous, and he certainly wasn’t the picture of godliness.  As a matter of fact, Genesis 6 tells us that he was depraved offering his daughters to those who wanted to sexually abuse Him, was a drunkard, and had to be drug out of Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

However, God did rescue him from that ungodliness.  Peter called him righteous because he had believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness just like Abraham. 

 

By the way, let me caution you about holding up biblical characters as examples to follow.  Make no mistake about it.  There is only hero of the Bible.  It wasn’t Noah or Abraham or Moses or David or Mary or Paul or Peter or John.  It was Jesus!

 

  1. You can count on God to destroy the godless, 2:9b.

9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment.

 

In addition to delivering the godly, 2:9 also says that God will destroy the ungodly.  This present tense participle translated “under punishment” in the NKJV denotes continuous action.  There will be no end to their punishment.

 

Next Sunday, we will look some more at the characteristics of these false teachers.  However, for the rest of today’s sermon, Peter gives us three examples from the OT of when God destroyed the ungodly. 

 

First, God destroyed some angels in 2:4.  What angels is Peter referencing?  It is really hard to know. 

 

Some believe this is reference to Satan and the original fall.  Jesus spoke about it in Luke 10:18, and it could possibly be true of Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. 

 

18 And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

 

Others believe that Peter is referencing a controversial scene in Genesis 6 where angels procreate with humans since Peter’s other examples are from Genesis.  However, the bottom line is that is hard to know, but God destroyed these godless angels. 

 

Second, God destroyed the ancient world in 2:5.  Again, this example is also in Genesis and is the global flood.  By the way, our Wednesday Men’s and Woman’s Bible Studies that will start back after Labor Day will be studying Genesis 1-11.  If your schedule will allow, I would love for you to join us.

 

You know the story.  Noah and his family were godly.  The rest were ungodly, and God destroyed them.  See Genesis 6:5-7.

 

5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

 

 

Thirdly, God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in verses 2:6-8.  The story of Sodom and Gomorrah can be found in Genesis 18 and 19. 

 

The residents of Sodom and Gomorrah wanted nothing to do with God’s design for heterosexual relationships.  They longed for homosexual relationships. 

 

2 Peter 2:7-8 says that Lot was tormented by what he felt and what he saw and what he heard.  In some ways, we can sympathize with him in 2021. 

 

One commentator described these examples like this.  The angels demonstrate the height of God’s judgment.  The entire human race demonstrates the breadth of God’s judgement, and Sodom and Gomorrah demonstrate the depth of God’s judgment.  You can count on God to destroy the godless.

 

 

Conclusion

So let me close with three applications. First, be confident that God knows how.  You can then fill in the blank.  God knows how.  Trust that.  Be assured.  Be confident.

 

Second, be comforted because God will deliver the godly and destroy the godless.  I don’t know what your temptation is today, but God does, and He will provide the appropriate strength and escape for you.

 

Finally, be cautious.  The angels’ sin was their pride.  The ancient world lived like there was no god.  Sodom and Gomorrah was guilty of homosexual immorality, but are you guilty of heterosexual immorality?

 

Don’t point your finger so much at the sins of others that you fail to deal with your own sins.  Repent of your own sin, and trust God to deal with others.  See Luke 13:1-5.

 

1 There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

Counterfeit Christianity
Remember, Remember, Remember…You Can Trust Your Bible!

Remember, Remember, Remember…You Can Trust Your Bible!

July 11, 2021

If you have your Bibles this morning, please take them and find 2 Peter 1:12-21.  I want to share a message with you entitled, “Remember, Remember, Remember…You Can Trust God the Bible!”

 

Today will be our third message in our study of 2 Peter.  In the first, Peter told us that at salvation, God gave us everything we need to live a life of godliness.  That included the knowledge of God, the power of God, the promises of God, the nature of God, and the protection of God.

 

In the second, Peter told us that because of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, we need to cultivate our faith in the process of sanctification by growing in our virtue and knowledge and self-control and perseverance and godliness and brotherly kindness and love. 

 

Today, Peter is going to tell us that we can trust God’s Word, and this is very important today and was very important then.  God’s Word has always been under attack as to its reliability, and especially by the false teachers that we will be introduced to next Sunday.

 

 

Exposition

Beginning in verse 12, Peter tells us his rationale for writing.  His first reason is because you are saved.  That is what he means with “For this reason.”  That is also what he means with “you know and are established in the present truth.”

 

His second reason for writing is because we are prone to forget.  Notice the word “remind” in verses 12, 13, and 15. I often tell Christy that I have forgotten more than I know.  God teaches us a lesson, but we forget. 

 

Peter is writing to remind us.  Keep in mind this is his second letter, and gospel of Mark is written from his perspective.  Perhaps he had these in mind as ways that he would remind us.

 

His third reason for writing is because he was about to die.  That is what he says in verses 13 and 14.  How did he know this?  Jesus showed him.

 

At the time of this letter, Peter was probably in his seventies.  He was probably in a Roman prison cell and put there by Nero.  Perhaps he was thinking about John 21:18 as church history tells us that he was crucified upside down per his request because he was not as good as Jesus.

 

18 Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”

 

By the way, just as the Lord knew the time of Peter’s death, He knows the time of yours.  See Job 14:5.

 

5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.

 

God has numbered your days.  I hope that alleviates any fear you might have of living life to its fullest. 

 

I had a church member tell me one time that she was afraid of going on an international mission trip because of the flying that was involved.  She thought that was too risky.  I politely reminded her that when her days were completed, God can take you just as easily at home as He can in an airplane. 

 

Beginning in verse 16, Peter tells us the reasons why we can trust God’s Bible.

 

 

  1. You can trust the Bible because of Jesus’s Transfiguration, 2 Peter 1:16-18.

16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

 

In verses 16-18, Peter recounts his personal experience of the Transfiguration, and this personal experience is not a cunningly devised fable or myth.  Peter gives a summary here, but the full account is in Matthew 17:1-8. 

 

This personal experience was a preview of heaven after the second coming of Christ.  What does it teach us?  In, what did Moses and Elijah represent?  Moses represented the Law.  Elijah represented the prophets. 

 

Next, notice Peter’s comments in 17:4. What was Peter thinking?  He was thinking Moses, Elijah and Jesus were equal.

 

However, look at 17:5-8.  God said, “Hear Him.”  He doesn’t say hear Moses or Elijah but hear My Son.

 

Finally, who is left all alone in 17:8?  It is Jesus Christ.  He is our only hope for salvation and our only standard for life and living because God endorsed Him as such.

 

 

  1. You can trust the Bible because of Scripture’s Illumination, 2 Peter 1:19.

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

 

God’s prophetic word is not just the OT prophets but the entirety of Scripture, and it tells us what is going to happen in the future, and is confirmed when it happens.  It shines light in dark places, and God’s prophetic word will continue to be confirmed until the return of Christ, the Morning Star.

 

However, God’s Word not illuminates the future.  It also illuminates or sheds light on how to have a godly marriage and how to raise your children and how to manage your money and how to conduct your lives and how to treat others.

 

 

  1. You can trust the Bible because of God’s Inspiration, 2 Peter 1:20-21.

20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

 

No prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation.  Said another way, “No individual is entitled to interpret prophecy, or Scripture generally, according to his or her personal whim.”  The meaning of Scripture is objective, not subjective.

 

John Piper, “The meaning of Scripture does not change with every new reader or every new reading.  It cannot be twisted to mean whatever we like.  It is what it is, unchanging and unending…there is a true meaning and there are false meanings and we must submit our minds to trace out what is really there rather than presuming that whatever pops into our minds at our first reading is the true meaning.”

 

1:21 confirms that the Bible does not just contain the words of God, but it IS the Word of God full and complete.  The authors were men moved by the Holy Spirit spoken to by God. 

 

It wasn’t just Peter, but Peter under the superintendence of God.  It wasn’t just Paul, but Paul under the superintendence of God.  All of the 40 plus authors were under the superintendence of God when they wrote.

 

Moved by the HS is word that means putting wind in the sails.  The authors put up their sails by writing according to their personalities and experiences, but the HS put the wind in those sails.  They were inspired by God.

 

 

Conclusion

I have already said that you can trust God with your marriage and your children and your money and your daily living.

 

However, let me close with these two applications.  First, you can trust the Bible when it says that sin separates you from a holy God, but God doesn’t want you to stay separated.  Therefore, He sent Jesus to die on the cross because He loves you that much and wants to have a personal and saving relationship with you.

 

Second, if you have been saved, you can trust the Bible when it says the HS now lives within you.  Scripture calls Him our Comforter, and regardless of your trial and or tribulation, the HS wants to comfort you and remind you of God’s love for you. 

 

You can also trust the Bible when it says that God will never leave you or forsake you.  He may not take you out of a trial, but He is right there with you in the middle of it.

 

Remember, remember, remember…you can trust the Bible!

The Work of Salvation

The Work of Salvation

July 4, 2021

If you have your Bibles, please take them and turn to 2 Peter 1:5.  I want to share a message with you this morning entitled, “The Work of Salvation,” and yes, you heard me correctly.

 

If you have been in a Baptist Church for any length of time, you have probably heard the phrase, “once saved, always saved.”  On its face, I completely agree with the sentiment.  If an individual is truly saved, then he or she is always saved. 

 

However, there have been many Baptist Church Members through the years that aren’t and never have been truly saved.  I would contend that is why at Emory Baptist Church we have a resident church membership of over 600 and a Sunday morning average attendance of 200.  Where are the other 400?  Again, my contention is that many of them have never been truly saved. 

 

When we as Baptist Brethren trumpet, “once saved, always saved,” our brothers and sisters from other churches accuse us, and rightly so, of taking advantage of cheap grace.  The abuse of “once saved, always saved” and cheap grace can be verbalized like this, “I can curse and swear, rip and tear; but I’m just as sure of heaven as if I were there.”

 

If you here this morning and you have walked a church isle during an invitation or filled out a membership card or even been baptized but you have never grown in your relationship with Christ, there is a very good chance that you are not saved because you haven’t worked on your salvation.

 

In today’s text, Peter tells us to take two actions regarding our faith or salvation.  First, we are to work hard in cultivating our faith.  Second, we are to work hard to conform our faith.

 

 

  1. Work hard to cultivate your faith, 2 Peter 1:5-7.

5 But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

 

Verse 5 begins by looking back.  What is “this very reason?”  As a whole, you say Peter was talking about gift of salvation.  Or, he might have been talking about the assets of salvation including the knowledge of God and the power of God and the promises of God and the nature of God and the protection of God.

 

At the very minimum, I believe he is referencing the very nature of God, in the Holy Spirit, that now lives in us.  Because that is true, give all diligence or work hard to add to your faith or cultivate your faith or work on your faith. 

 

What are we to add to our faith or with what are we to cultivate our faith?  Peter gives us what is known as virtue list, and it includes seven characteristics that should be true of the follower of Christ. 

 

First, we are to cultivate virtue with our faith.  Your translation may say moral excellence.  It is the idea of being moral compared to immoral in what you think and do.  Telling the truth is moral.  Lying is immoral.  Being faithful to your spouse is moral.  Cheating on your spouse is immoral.  Being content with what you have is moral. Stealing is immoral.

 

Second, cultivate knowledge.  This is your knowledge of God’s Word, and if you’re going to know it, you’ve got to read it and spend time in it other than Sunday mornings.

 

Third, cultivate self-control.  This words paints the picture of holding yourself in.  Are you self-controlled in your words to your spouse and your posts on FB and your emails to co-workers?  Are you self-controlled in what you eat and what you drink?  Are you self-controlled in what you watch and what you hear?

 

Fourth, cultivate perseverance or patience.  This word literally means “staying under.”  It is means not giving up even in times of duress.

 

Fifth, cultivate godliness.  In your day, do think about God?  Do you try to practice the characteristics of God?  Love, grace, mercy?

 

Sixth, cultivate brotherly kindness.  The first give virtues are primarily internal and focus on our relationship with God.  The last two focus on our relationships with others.  This sixth virtue is simply being kind to other believers.  Is that true of you or are you always critical or even mean and judgmental? 

 

Finally, cultivate love.  This is unconditional, agape love that is only possible when God is working in us and through us. 

 

Brothers and sisters, we are to work hard in adding or cultivate these virtues in our lives.  If we don’t, there are consequences. 

 

Look at verse 8.  If you don’t add or cultivate these virtues in your life, your spiritual life will be barren or useless and unfruitful in your knowledge of Christ. 

 

Furthermore, according to verse 9, if you don’t add or cultivate these virtues in your spiritual life, you are shortsighted and even blind to what supposedly happened in your life. 

 

In other words, you’re acting like a lost person.  That is what he means when he says you have forgotten that you were cleansed from old sins. 

 

Therefore, work hard to cultivate or add to or work on your faith.

 

 

  1. Work hard to confirm your faith, 2 Peter 1:10-11.

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 

 

When you don’t cultivate your faith, many Christians then experience doubt as to whether or not they are saved.  Therefore, cultivate your faith, and then you will be able to confirm your faith.

 

That is what Peter says in verse 10.  Be even more diligent to make your call and election sure.  With your obedience or adding to your faith or cultivate your faith, confirm your salvation.

 

And as stated previously, if you don’t confirm your faith, you will likely stumble.  Peter doesn’t mean lose your salvation, but he does mean fall into sin or to borrow a term from yesteryear, backslide. 

 

However, if you are obedient and add to your faith and cultivate your faith, you will be welcomed into an everlasting kingdom called heaven by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

 

 

Illustrations from the Bible

In case you’re wondering if this whole idea of adding to your faith or working on your salvation is unique to Peter, it’s not.

 

John 15:1-7

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.  5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

 

Philippians 2:12-13

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

 

James 2:17, 24, 26

17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.  24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.  26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

 

1 John 3:10, 18

10 In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.  18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but indeed and in truth.

 

 

Illustration from Life

At previous churches, I have led multiple individuals on mission trips around the world.  A person’s place on the team was guaranteed when they told me they wanted to go and gave me a deposit. 

 

Then they were required to write financial support letters for the remaining balance, often times in excess of $2,000.  However, they were also told that if they were not able to raise the remaining funds, it would be covered through our church’s budgeted money or world mission’s fund.

 

In the same way, your place in heaven was guaranteed as soon as you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ.  However, you have to work out your salvation your entire life.  But even if you aren’t perfect, and you never will be, your efforts have confirmed your election.

 

 

Conclusion

My first invitation is for you who are lost to answer the calling of God on your life to be saved.  My second invitation is for you who are saved to work hard in cultivating and confirming your salvation. 

 

Because if you don’t cultivate and confirm your salvation, are you really saved?

 

Luke 13:6-9

6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. 7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ 8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’”

Lost and Found
Invitations to Come

Invitations to Come

June 7, 2021

Well, we’ve made it.  You’ve made it.  Today, we finish John’s Revelation.  For some of you, 9 months is too long.  For others, 9 years wouldn’t be long enough.  For most of you, I pray this study and the time it took has been just right.

 

On that note, I hope you have been encouraged during this study.  I hope you’ve been encouraged to study all of God’s Word, even the intimidating books.  I hope you’ve been encouraged to find out that with a little time and effort, you can understand God’s Word, even the most difficult texts.  Finally, I hope you’ve been encouraged in that we don’t have to know the answer to every question.  We don’t have to know the meaning behind every symbol.  It’s ok that some questions go unanswered for now.

 

Our final message in Revelation is entitled, “Invitations to Come.”  Notice I said “invitations.”  That is plural.  This morning, we’ll see three.

 

Notice also that all three invitations are to come.  We see that word or some form of it 6 times this morning: 12, 17 x3, and 20 x2.

 

This morning, I want you to see an invitation to Jesus, an invitation to the Lost, and an invitation to the Saved.

 

 

  1. An Invitation to Jesus to Come Again, Revelation 22:16-17a

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”  17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”

 

In verse 16, Jesus is speaking, and He says to John that He has sent His angel to testify to him these things in the churches.  We have seen that in Revelation 2-3.  Through John’s pen, Jesus spoke to those 7 churches in modern-day Turkey.

 

Jesus then said He was the beginning and the offspring of David. How can that be?  He is testifying that because He is God, He is the source of David’s lineage, and because He is man, He came from the line of David.  The Morning Star speaks to Him being a new beginning from Orthodox Judaism.

 

Then in verse 17, there is His invitation.  The Holy Spirit and the bride, the Church, invite Jesus to come again, and Jesus said He’s coming quickly in verse 12 and verse 20.

 

I pray that you are extending that invitation to Jesus even as we speak.  That’s what Paul did in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

 

22 If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. O Lord, come!

 

 

  1. An Invitation to the Lost to Come to Jesus, Revelation 22:17b

And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. 

 

The rest of verse 17 is an invitation to the Lost to be saved.  Jesus described your lack of salvation as one who thirsts, and if you’re lost this morning, you know what exactly what He is saying.

 

You are restless.  You are not at peace.  You are longing for something beyond yourself.  You’re thirsty, and you’ve tried everything in the world to satisfy your thirst but to no avail.

 

You’ve tried money, but there’s always more to be had.  You’ve tried success or popularity, but the world will turn on you just as fast as they turned to you.  You’ve tried sex, but you’re still empty. 

 

Jesus invites you to come to the water of life and drink freely.  We’ve seen that idea in the previous Sundays.  See 22:1 and 21:6. 

 

1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

 

6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

 

However, as I mentioned last Sunday, this idea of salvation in Jesus being living water comes from John 4.

 

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John 2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples), 3 He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 4 But He needed to go through Samaria.  5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.  7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.  9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.  10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”  11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”  13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

 

If you’re lost this morning without Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I invite you to come this morning to Him as living water and drink freely and be saved from you sins. 

 

 

  1. An Invitation to the Saved to Come to God’s Word, Revelation 22:10-15, 18-21

10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. 11 He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.”  12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”  14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie…18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.  20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”  Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!  21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

 

Our last invitation this morning is for the Saved, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is to come to God’s Word.  First, come to God’s Word and know it.

 

In verse 10, the angel said to John not to seal the words of the prophecy of this book.  In other words, don’t hide it but know it.

 

Brothers and sisters, are you effectively sealing God’s Word by not reading it, not studying it, not memorizing it, not meditating on it?  Come to God’s Word and know it.

 

When he says at the end of verse 10 that the time is at hand, that is the time of judgment.  At that time, there will be no turning back.  There will be no turning back for the bad and no turning back for the good. 

 

At the time of judgement, the unjust will remain, and the filthy will remain.  The righteous will remain, and the holy will remain. 

 

Not only are the Saved invited to come to God’s Word and know it, but also, come to God’s Word and obey it.  In verse 12, Jesus says there will be a rewarding for the righteous. 

 

The righteous in verse 14 are said to do His commandments and partake of the tree of life.  Your translation may say the righteous have washed their robes.  The thought is in the blood of the Lamb. 

 

This rewarding of the righteous is the judgement seat of Christ and referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 and 2 Corinthians 5:10.

 

11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

 

And those who haven’t trusted in Christ and their lives don’t reflect that choice, they will not have a place in heaven but will be outside and separated from Christ.  Here, they are identified as dogs, sorcerers, sexually immoral, murderers, idolaters, and those who are constantly lying.

 

Finally, in verses 18-21, there is an invitation for Saved to come to God’s Word and trust it.  You can trust, and you don’t need to add to it or take away from it.  It has been divinely penned and divinely preserved.  Trust it.  Come Lord Jesus.  Grace to you.  Amen!

Heaven’s Holy City

Heaven’s Holy City

May 24, 2021

Do you have a particular city where you like to go and you like to eat and you like to recreate?  I do. 

 

You probably aren’t surprised, but my city is College Station. I love to go there and eat there and have fun there, and someday, I want to live there again.

 

What about you?  Is it Dallas or Austin or Fredericksburg or Gulf Shores or Destin?  What is your city?

 

I don’t know what your favorite earthly city is, but if you’re a follower of Christ, your favorite eternal city is New Jerusalem.  I want to talk more about our city this morning as we get closer and closer to finishing our study of John’s Revelation. 

 

Remember that Revelation 21 begins eternity.  Last week, we previewed heaven.  Beginning today, we are detailing heaven. 

 

 

  1. Heaven’s Holy City will be protected for eternity, 21:9-13.

9 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. 12 Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: 13 three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.

 

In verse 9, an angel from the seven-year earthly tribulation began to show John what the new Jerusalem would be like, and he continues with an analogy that we saw last week, and that is the analogy of marriage.  Jesus, the Lamb, is married to His bride, the new Jerusalem.

 

Once again, don’t miss that analogy.  The groom is married to his bride.  Jesus, the Lamb, a male, has a wife.  He is her husband.  This marriage is between husband and wife.  That is God’s plan.

 

In verses 10 and 11, John saw the holy city coming down from heaven and from God.  It will demonstrate the glory of God and compare to a costly stone of crystal-clear jasper.

 

In verse 12, we see that it will have a great and high wall.  While this city doesn’t need protection, it will be protected as a great and high wall was certainly the custom for any and all great, first-century cities. 

 

These walls will have twelve gates and twelve angels standing guard.  The twelve gates have names that correspond to the twelve tribes of Israel, and Ezekiel 48:31-35 seems to give us the order.

 

31 (the gates of the city shall be named after the tribes of Israel), the three gates northward: one gate for Reuben, one gate for Judah, and one gate for Levi; 32 on the east side, four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Joseph, one gate for Benjamin, and one gate for Dan; 33 on the south side, measuring four thousand five hundred cubits, three gates: one gate for Simeon, one gate for Issachar, and one gate for Zebulun; 34 on the west side, four thousand five hundred cubits with their three gates: one gate for Gad, one gate for Asher, and one gate for Naphtali. 35 All the way around shall be eighteen thousand cubits; and the name of the city from that day shall be: THE LORD IS THERE.”

 

 

  1. Heaven’s Holy City will be precise in its measurements, 21:14-19.

14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. 16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. 18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.  19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 

 

Not only will this holy city have twelve gates representing the twelve tribes of Israel, but it will also have twelve foundation stones with the names of the twelve apostles.  See verse 14. 

 

Beginning in verse 15, we begin to see the precise measurements of the holy city.   An angel will do the measuring with a gold reed or rod symbolizing perfection. 

 

Verse 16 says it will be a square, but more accurately, it will be what we know as a cube.  Its length and width and height are all equal to 12,000 furlongs. 

 

Commentators estimate that to be between 1,400 and 1,500 miles.  That is 2,000,000 square miles. 

 

Surrounding the city will be a wall that will be 144 cubits or 216 feet thick.  Try to get your mind around that. 

 

Certainly, there are plenty of questions regarding what do these measurements mean.  I would simply say to you that if they are symbolic, the Bible is silent regarding the symbolism. 

 

On the other hand, if words mean something, and they do, the Holy Spirit is simply giving us details that are facts.  The way that angels measure is the same as humans measure at least in this instance. 

 

In verses 18-21, we see the building materials of the heavenly city.  There are no less than fourteen different metals and precious stones.  As with the measurements, we could speculate for hours on the symbolism, but the reality is that the Bible is silent. 

 

Therefore, we will simply acknowledge their reality and observe their glory.  They are beginning in verse 18: jasper, gold, sapphire, chalcedony, emerald, sardonyx, sardius, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, amethyst, and pearl.

 

 

  1. Heaven’s Holy City will be pure in residents, 21:22-27.

22 But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. 25 Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). 26 And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. 27 But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

It was common in the OT and the NT as well to be overwhelmed with the Jewish temple when you first entered a city.  Being a good Jew, John initially looked for the Jewish temple here, but found nothing.  Why? 

 

The temple was believed to house the presence of God.  Therefore, no temple would mean no God.  However, in this case, there was no need for a temple because the physical and literal presence of God will permeate the heavenly city.  You will have direct and uninhibited access to God if you are a resident of the new Jerusalem. 

 

Furthermore, not only will God be in heaven’s holy city, but Jesus will be there too.  The Lamb is the light of the holy city.  There will be need for a sun or moon. 

 

Thirdly, God will be in heaven.  Jesus will be in heaven, and the people of God will be in heaven.  When John speaks of nations and kings, don’t think these individuals are here apart from the saving grace of Jesus Christ.  Every human in heaven’s holy city will be there because they received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and his or her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

 

 

Conclusion

My first invitation this morning is for any one and every one to make sure your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  You can do that by admitting that you are sinner, believing that Jesus died on the cross in you place and for your sins and calling on Him to save you.

 

My second invitation is for every Believer this morning to be encouraged in these ways.  Did you know notice that the angel in verse 9 that the angel said that the holy city was the bride of Christ?  I thought the Church was the bride of Christ. 

 

The truth is that both are as the city has taken on the traits of the Church.  First, the Church is protected for eternity.  If you are truly and genuinely saved, your salvation is protected for eternity. 

 

Second, being a part of the Church has a very precise requirement.  It’s not be a member of this church.  It’s not be baptized.  It’s put your faith and trust in Christ and Christ alone. 

Third, in being a follower of Christ and in the eyes of God, you are no longer a sinner.  You are now and forever a saint, a holy one, and your eternal home is in heaven. 

 

This morning, I invite you to be saved or I invite you to be encouraged about your eternal home in the holy city.

 

A Preview of Heaven

A Preview of Heaven

May 16, 2021

In September, I will have been pastoring a local church for 16 years.  As you can probably imagine, I have officiated a few funerals during that time.

 

Of church member funerals, some very well-known songs are often chosen to be sung or played during the service.  How Great Thou Art is a popular choice.  Amazing Grace is a popular choice.  However, in my mind, it seems that the most popular choice, or at least close to the top, is Beulah Land.  See Isaiah 62:4.

 

4 You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, Nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate; But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; For the Lord delights in you, And your land shall be married.

 

In addition to Beulah Land being sung at many church member funerals, John 14:1-3 is a very popular Scripture text that is chosen.  Why?  I think it is because it speaks of heaven.

1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

 

Followers of Christ love, or at least should love, to think about heaven and the eternal state.  This morning, we are going to do just that. 

 

Today, we are going to see a preview of heaven.  Then, in the coming weeks, we are going to see some details of heaven.

 

Remember, we have considered the rapture of the Church.  We have considered the seven-year earthly tribulation.  We have considered the return of Christ.  We have considered the Battle of Armageddon.  We have considered millennium.  Now, it is time to consider eternity. 

 

 

  1. A Summarization of the Eternal State, Revelation 21:1-4

1 Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

 

In verse 1, John says he saw a new heaven and a new earth because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.  The first heaven and the first earth are what we have now, but when will they pass away?  Revelation doesn’t tell us, but 2 Peter 3 does.

 

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

 

Therefore, after Jesus comes back and before eternity begins, the first heaven and the first earth will pass away, and there will be no more sea.  They pass away because they are tainted with sin, but specifically, why will there be no more sea? 

 

It is hard to say, but it may something to do with the anti-Christ coming from sea in Revelation 13.  It may have something to do with being the place of the dead in Revelation 20.  The bottom line is that Scripture isn’t clear.

 

In verse 2, John saw the holy city, the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, and he compared her to a bride adorned for her husband.  Again, as I said two weeks ago, don’t simply pass over the significance of this analogy of a wedding and a marriage that has one bride and one groom.  We can probably conclude that John uses this analogy because the holy city will be the home of bride of Christ, His Church. 

 

The absolute greatest fact about heaven is revealed in verse 3.  Heaven will mean the presence of Christ.  In verse 3, He is called the Tabernacle of God which reminds of the Old Testament.  However, it also reminds of John 1:14.

 

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

 

In His first coming, Jesus became flesh and dwelt or tabernacled among us.  He will do that again in heaven. 

 

Then in verse 4, the eternal state will be a return to Genesis with the new heaven and the new hearth, it will be the presence of God with the Lord Jesus, and it will be the absence of sorrow with no pain.

 

Verse 4 is one of our favorite and most comforting verses in all of the Bible.  The followers of Christ are certainly in view.

 

Think about this life.  Unfortunately, it is full of sorrow and pain.  However, that won’t be true in the life to come.  There will be no illness.  There will be no death.  There will be no betrayal.  There will be no abuse.  There will be no loss.  What is impossible now will be reality then for then for those with a home in heaven. 

 

 

  1. The Transformation of Every Thing, Revelation 21:5

5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

 

You might be wondering how will there be no sorrow and no pain.  The answer is in verse 5.  Jesus said He will make all things new. 

 

Here is what I know about this transformation just from one verse.  First of all, in heaven, Jesus will be in charge.  It won’t be me.  It won’t be you.  It won’t be anyone other than Him.

 

Second, His promise leaves nothing out.  There are no exceptions.  He said, “I will make ALL things new.”  There is no need to elaborate.  Heaven will be the transformation of every thing.

 

Third, this promise is a promise made and a promise kept.  It hasn’t happened yet, but it will.  These words are faithful and true.

 

 

  1. The Invitation to Experience Life, Revelation 21:6-8

6 And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. 7 He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

Finally, in our last three verses for today, there is an invitation to experience life and eternal life.  In verse 6, Jesus is the Alpha and Omega.  Those are the first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet. He is the beginning and the end.

 

He was there in the beginning and was the Creator.  He will be there in Heaven in the end for eternity, and He invites anyone who thirsts to come to the fountain of the water of life. 

 

He isn’t talking about physical thirst but spiritual thirst.  That may be you this morning.  Is there something more to this life?  Are you missing something?  Are you not at peace with your Creator?  Come to Jesus and thirst no more.

 

Through Jesus, God promises to adopt you and become YOUR heavenly Father, and for those who lives are characterized by cowardliness, unbelief, anger, murder, sexual immorality, sorcery, idolatry and lies, He is not their heavenly Father. 

 

They will be experience the second death.  That is dying spiritually and spending eternity in hell, the lake of fire.

 

 

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App