Sunday, October 1, 2006

The Spirit of God our foundation

INTRODUCTION

We began our series a couple weeks ago on grieving the Holy Spirit, we first talked about the three ‘do nots’, which were; Do not resist the Holy Spirit, Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, and Do not quench the Holy Spirit.

Last week we talked about Spiritual Renewal and how it takes place, and how vital it is for the existence of the Body of Christ.

Without the Holy Spirit there is no Body of Christ.

This week we are going to talk more about the foundation that is needed for the Holy Spirit to exist within the Body of Christ.

Last week I mentioned the four elements that are necessary for a Spiritual Renewal to even be possible;

  1. We must WAKE UP and realize we need Spiritual Renewal in the Body.

  1. We must CLEANS OURSELVES of anything that would offend God and prevent Him from communing with us.

  1. We must approach God on the right terms, HIS TERMS.

  1. We must PRAY without ceasing.

Once we meet these requirements, our process of Spiritual Renewal can begin!

Spiritual renewal MUST take place on an individual basis if we are to experience any sort of renewal as a body.

We each need to individually;

  1. Confess known sin to God.

  1. Deal with the doubtful areas of our lives.

  1. Obey the Holy Spirit.

  1. Confess Christ publicly.

When we do this in our personal lives, we, as a whole, will bring God’s Holy Spirit to this place when we gather together to worship Him.

The more individuals who are bringing God’s Holy Spirit, the more this place, as a whole, and this body of believers, will be able to meet with God and hear from God.

SCRIPTURE READING

Psalm 127:1

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who labor, do so in vain.”

PRAYER FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT AND UNDERSTANDING OF HIS MOST HOLY WORD

ABC BELIEFS?

With everything that has been happening in the past few months, there has been a lot of questions about what we as a church believe, and what do the Baptists believe, and even the question,

“Is the First Baptist church the same as a regular Baptist Church?”

Like we’re irregular or something?

Although we really shouldn’t be so concerned about denominations, since Christ calls the Body of Christ to be unified and denominations only divide, but wanting to understand what the denomination you belong to believes is a legitimate concern.

There has been much confusion about the Baptists beliefs and the beliefs of this church.

We, as the First Baptist Church of Tawas City Michigan, are members of the American Baptists.

First Baptists are the same as American Baptists.

A little history lesson here;

Bear with me; I will give you the Cliff Notes version.

In 1638 Roger Williams established the First Baptist Church in America in Rhode Island.

Their government in Rhode Island became the first in history founded on the guarantee of absolute religious freedom.

The following facts are representative of the tradition and practice of the American Baptists, and can be found online at their website; ABC-USA.org.

  1. American Baptists believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior, and that the Bible is the divinely inspired Word of God that serves as the final written authority for living out the Christian faith.

  1. Their website also states that Holy Scripture has always been for American Baptists the authoritative and trustworthy guide for knowing and serving the God who is revealed as Creator, Savior and Advocate. (Father, Son and Holy Spirit)

  1. American Baptists partake of two ordinances, believer’s baptism, and the Lord’s Supper (or communion).

  1. Although these ordinances took place originally 2000 years ago, the American Baptists feel that these ordinances symbolically represent resurrection to new life in Jesus Christ, and God’s great love for us through His Sons sacrifice.

  1. American Baptists are Christ-centered and biblically grounded.

  1. The website also proclaims that American Baptists Identity is known for their being “Guided by God’s Word”.

I personally believe that the American Baptists have the right idea.

They emphasize the utmost importance to the Holy Scripture and our faith and relationship with God.

HOUSE OF FAITH PART 1

So how do these beliefs foster an environment that is necessary for the Holy Spirit?

Like we read in Psalm 127, Unless God builds the house; those who are working on building it are wasting their time.

God has to build it, and He builds it through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit which is in the Body of Christ, us believers.

1 Samuel 2:35

“I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.”

We see here a scripture in the book of Samuel.

Samuel was a prophet, a Priest and Judge over Israel, and he anointed both Saul and David as Israel’s Kings.

This particular scripture was given to Saul who had departed from God’s will in his life.

God had placed him as the King of his people, and if Saul would not live within God’s will, then God could not operate in his life.

Saul’s House or Kingdom in this case, could not thrive because it was not founded on, as the scripture said, the heart and mind of God.

So God said in His Word, that He would raise up someone who would be faithful, and would do what was in God’s heart and mind.

Or God’s will as we call it.

How do we know what is in God’s heart and mind?

How do we know God’s will?

If God is to build our house, then He must expect us to know what is in His heart and Mind…

And we can know God’s will…

By His Word.

The Holy Bible tells us what God’s will is, and shows us through the many examples what is in God’s heart and Mind.

This is one of the reasons the Holy Bible is so important to the American Baptists.

This house that God speaks of in Psalm 127, this House that He will build if we are faithful to Him, this House, like any house must begin with a firm and sure foundation.

In Samuel we read God’s promise to build His House for the faithful, and there are also promises of what will happen when God is the builder of that House.

Psalm 92:12 – 15

“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, “The LORD is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.”

When God builds the house, the righteous will flourish!

But what happens when that house is divided against itself?

Mark 3:25

“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

In the literal translation it says “that house is not able to stand”.

According to God’s Word, a house divided against itself is not able to stand.

Why is there division in the church?

There isn’t supposed to be division in the Body of Christ.

We cause division.

Sometimes through denominations, or beliefs.

Sometimes through our own requirements, which may have nothing to do with God.

But there isn’t supposed to be division among the Body of Christ.

Yet we see this in church after church and read about it in Revelation, and hear about it all the time.

We can pray for unity all we want, we can pray against division in this place, but for there to be unity in the church, the congregation as a whole must have the same goal.

That goal, according to scripture, if we want God to build our house, must be the Heart and Mind of God.

When we make our goal the heart and mind of God, He promises that He will build our House!

And we will flourish!

Until the congregation as a whole has this goal, there will never be unity.

The heart and Mind of God, or God’s will, has to be the goal for there to be unity.

This is why we must work together for achieving God’s will for the Body of Christ.

We do not want to become the devils tools, because then we become part of the other kingdom.

How can there be unity between God’s Kingdom and the kingdom of darkness?

There can’t.

How do we become part of God’s kingdom?

We’ve talked about that the last few months with the sermon series on the Fruits of the Spirit, and how we obtain the Holy Spirit.

How do we become part of the devils kingdom?

First of all, by default.

If you want to be part of the devils kingdom on earth, simply live how ever you want and never accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

We don’t have to do anything to be part of the devils kingdom.

In fact, doing nothing is how he gets most of his subjects.

If we never choose to make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, we are by default part of the devils kingdom.

But once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we become part of the Kingdom of God, that is until we attack the Body of Christ.

This we know from scriptures can happen to anyone.

We are all capable of falling into that snare.

It happened to Peter in Matthew 16:22 when he rebuked Jesus.

Peter went against the will of God, which was to have Jesus die on the Cross.

Peter wanted Jesus to live.

Peter didn’t see how Jesus’ death was God’s will, so he fought it.

Peter wanted Jesus to live.

That sounds like the right way, but it wasn’t God’s will.

And Jesus was here to do one thing on earth, the will of His Father in Heaven.

And His Father’s will was for Him to die on the Cross.

You see, in life there is sometimes a way that seems right.

But sometimes in life, what is right can only be found on the narrow path.

Matthew 7:13 – 14 Jesus says;

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Peter wanted what he thought was right, but he lost vision of God’s bigger plan.

Peter wanted to save but one man, while God’s will was to save all men.

How do we fall into the trap that Peter fell into?

We can miss God’s will and cause division in the body without even trying.

Sometimes our well meant intentions lead us right down the broad road.

This can happen through envy, strife, bitterness, factions, hatred, gossip, and backbiting.

This is division in the church.

We are told to be one body.

Ephesians 2:20, 21

“…built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone. In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

What is the Body of Christ built upon?

It’s built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone holding the whole building together.

What is the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets?

The Holy Word of God, given to them through the Holy Spirit.

And who is the Old and New Testaments based on and around?

Jesus Christ, who is the cornerstone, holding the whole building together.

Jesus is the theme throughout the Bible.

He is the cornerstone which holds the building together, which rises to become the Holy Temple to the Lord!

2 Timothy 2:19

“…God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”

Here is the remedy for division in the Body of Christ.

Everyone who claims to be a Christian, confessing the name of the Lord, turn away from wickedness.

The there will be no more division.

It is that wickedness, that sin, which causes division among the congregation.

Wickedness and sin, we know, is authored by the Devil himself, specifically designed to tear down what God is building.

If he cannot destroy the Body of Christ, then he will attempt to destroy the individual.

If he can destroy enough of the individuals within a congregation, then he can effectively tear down the house.

FOUNDATION

So what is our foundation supposed to be?

Jesus tells us what the foundation of His church is supposed to be.

Matthew 16:16 – 18

“Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered him and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

What foundation does Jesus build His Church upon?

The fact that He is the Christ, and the Son of the Living God.

The Church is to be built on Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Cornerstone.

Do you know what else Jesus is?

JESUS IS THE WORD

John 1:1

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 1:3

“Through him all things were made…”

John 1:4 – 5

“In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”

John 1:14

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

The Word became flesh…

Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh.

Jesus is to be the cornerstone of His Church, and this is done by the Word of God.

Jesus tells us how important the Word of God is in Matthew;

Matthew 22:29

“Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”

God warns us in Hosea how important it is to have the Scriptures in our hearts.

Hosea 4:6

“my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.”

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for letting go of the Word of God.

Mark 7:5 – 9 Jesus answers the Pharisees

“So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, "Why don't your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with 'unclean' hands?"

6 He replied, "Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me. 7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.' 8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

9 And he said to them: "You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!”

Jesus also says what happens because of this;

Mark 7:13 Jesus Speaking

“Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down.”

For there to be unity in the Body of Christ, we must work towards the same goal.

For God to build His Body of believers through the Holy Spirit, our goal must be the Heart and Mind of God.

The Word of God tells us in Jesus’ own words, He is to be the foundation of His Church.

Jesus is the Word made flesh.

For there to be unity in this place, we must make the Word our foundation.

Jesus tells us of the wise and foolish builders.

Matthew 7:24 – 27

24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."

Let us pray that we have the same goal today, which is the heart and mind of God.

Let us pray that we have the Rock for our foundation, the Word made Flesh, Jesus our Lord and Savior.

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