A Church for Which to Thank God (pt2)

power_of_enduring_companies_1536x1536_OriginalThe Enduring Church

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (2Th 1:3-4)

Here Paul is thanking God for the church at Thessalonica for two reasons: for their abounding and enduring. Last time we looked at their abounding, today we will look at their enduring.

Remember, we all must be both abounding and enduring if we are going to accomplish and be all God desires for us.

To endure without abounding is boring and is of no lasting value or impact.

To abound without enduring is no more than a flash in pan and of not much more value than fools gold.

Now, let us see their enduring.

The Reason for Endurance – The Kingdom of God (vs5)

The worthiness of entering the Kingdom of God is assessed (vs5, Luke 9:62)

Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:  (2Th 1:5)

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luk 9:62)

The wondrousness of the Kingdom of God in its entrance

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that sinners may enter

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.  (Mat 21:31-32)

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that suffering is often associated with entering

Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.  (Act 14:22)

The entrance of to the Kingdom of God is wondrous in that spiritual rebirth is required for entrance

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  (Joh 3:3)

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  (Joh 3:5)

The Reflection of Endurance – The Glory of God (vs4, 10)

When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.  (2Thes 1:10)

As with all things in our lives, the purpose and intent of all we do is to glorify God.  So must the purpose of our endurance be that God be glorified.  Any praise should be “reflected” back to Him!

The Resistance to Endurance – The Opposition to God (vs4, 5, 6)

The blessings and pleasures of persecutions

Therefore I take pleasure in infirnities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.  (2Co 12:10)

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.  (Mat 5:10-11)

The glories of tribulations

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  (Rom 5:3)

The Resolve of Endurance – The Power of God (vs4)

It takes the power of God working in our lives to endure. Patience from God and faith in Him is required to endure through the persecutions and tribulations.

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: (2Th 1:4)

The Rest in Endurance – The Judgment of God (vs7)

The many that are troubled can take rest in the fact that God will bring all things to view and judge them righteously  We need not fret nor seek our own revenge.

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  (2Th 1:7)


Endure!  Keep going for Him!  He is soon returning!

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay


A Church for Which to Thank God (pt1)

The Abounding Church

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:  (2Th 1:3-4)

love-and-faithHere Paul is thanking God for the church at Thessalonica. He is not just saying the words, but he is spelling out the reasons he could thank God for them.  We should all desire to be the Christian and the church for which we, and others, can thank God.

The two reasons he was thanking God for them were they were a church that was abounding and enduring.

We all must be both abounding and enduring if we are going to reach the end of our race well and be all God desires for us.

To endure without abounding is boring and is of no lasting value or impact.

To abound without enduring is no more than a flash in pan and of not much more value than fools gold.

First, let us look at where they were commendably abounding and in the next post, we will see how they were enduring.

They were a church Abounding in Faithyour faith groweth exceedingly…

The phrase “growth exceedingly”  means to be ABOVE MEASURE.  The faith referred to here is not a body of beliefs, but rather a “credence given” and a “strong confidence in”.

Let me suggest you begin by knowing your faith

Know first that your faith is the right Person and place.  It must be in Jesus Christ as Saviour and in His Word.  Make sure you are saved.

Then, begin growing your faith.

Faith is buildable and can be, as in this church, abounding!

There is a condition of “No faith” 

And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?(Mar 4:40)

Then there is “Small faith”

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?  (Mat 6:30)

And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.  (Mat 8:25-26)

Then some have “Great faith”

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  (Mat 8:8-10)


They were a church Abounding in Love – the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; 

It was a commended love

Because God is love

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.  (1Jn 4:16)

Because Christ epitomizes a life of Love.

If we are going to be like Him we must love also.

It was a common love

Note the term “every one” – charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth

We can never be a church God wants us to be unless the love of Christ is expressed by “every one” of us.

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.  (Joh 13:35)

Ask God to help you live a life and to be a member of the church for which people are thankful to God.

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the Est Bay


Three Steps to Santification

maxresdefaultProve all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1Th 5:21-24)

From the last post, we saw two keys to the process of sanctification (consecration). We learn from the above verses that it is God’s will that His people be sanctified as we wait for the return of our Savior.

Key 1 – The power of personal sanctification is the sovereign work of God

Key 2 – The practice of personal sanctification is the submission to the will of God

To help us in our journey into personal sanctification and submission to His will, God gives us a three-step process. These steps are listed in our text above.  They are, “Prove All Things”, Hold Fast that Which is Good”, and “Abstain from All Appearance of Evil”.

It is extremely helpful to take these three in order. Too many times our problem is that we skip over the first two and try to accomplish the third.  While we might be able to do so for a short while, we will not be able to maintain the process, or at best, we will do it without joy.

Here is a brief explanation of the three-step process to personal sanctification from 1Thessolonians 5:21-22.

Step 1 = Prove all things

The meaning of proving is to test, determine validity, check its quality, and determine if substance or statement is true or counterfeit

The methods for  proving all things

  • By searching the Scriptures

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Act 17:11)

  • By seeing the fruits

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Mat 7:15-16)

  • By seeking the excellent

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; (Php 1:10)

This means we are not satisfied with the mediocre or the “good enough” when it comes to our work and walk with God.  We desire and give our VERY best for Him.

The measure of proving all things – all things…

What part of all do we not understand?  All areas, all practices, all means, “all things”.  Our dress habits, our church attendance habits, all doctrines, all Biblical positions, child disciple, marriage, and relationships, … ALL THINGS

Step 2 = Hold fast that which is good

Once proven good, hold on to the good

  • Hold fast to our integrity

And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.  (Job 2:3)

  • Hold fast our profession

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (Heb 4:14)

  • Hold fast our faith

But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. (Heb 3:6)

  • Hold fast good instruction

Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life. (Pro 4:13)

Step 3 = Abstain from all appearance of evil

  • We should abstain for temptation’s sake
  • We should abstain for testimonies sake

The Practice of abstaining.  We may need to be cautious and abstain from all appearance of evil as it regards to:

Our passions

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.  (2Ti 2:22)

Our places

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.  (Pro 4:14-15)

Some people

I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked. (Psa 26:4-5)

Conclusion – Take all three steps and let God sanctify you.


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay 

Truly the Greatest Story Ever Told

ch-01-001The true Christmas story is more than a young lady gives birth to a son in a barn that will grow up to change the world.

  • That in itself is a marvelous story.
  • That in itself is a cute story.
  • That in itself is a touching story of no room, taxes, angels, and the wise men.
  • That in itself is a suspenseful story as Joseph is awakened by God told in the middle of the night to flee for the life of the Child.
  • That in itself is a heartbreaking story as Herod kills all babies 2 years and younger

But what makes the story so great is when we see it in panoramic view. When we see it for what it is, it truly is the greatest story ever told!

This greatest story ever told is captured in just one verse:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Joh 3:16)

It is the greatest story ever told because it is orchestrated by the greatest POWER – “For God…”   

Not  “the force” or the power of a Jedi, but the real power of Jehovah!

Not the “essence of creation” but the CREATOR!

It is the greatest story ever told because it is spawned from the greatest PASSION – “…so loved…”

God performed and gave us this story; not from a debt to us, not to satisfy His ego, but simply because of His great love!

He declared it in this text,  “so loved…”

He defined it by illustration

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (Joh 15:13)

He demonstrated it on the cross

For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:7-8)

It is the greatest story ever told because it meets the greatest PROBLEM  – “…not perish…”

Meaning that we not perish in the place called hell because of our sin.

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Rom 5:12)

For the wages of sin is death; … (Rom 6:23)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Rev 21:8)

It is the greatest story ever told because He made  the greatest PROVISION – “…gave His only begotten son..”

It was provided at the greatest cost – His only son 

It was provided for the greatest coverage – all the world  

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. (2Co 5:14-15)

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (1Jn 2:2)

It is the greatest story ever told because through it God CAN make the greatest Promise – “…not perish, but have everlasting life.”

…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you have not received the greatest gift provided through the greatest story, please do so today.  Repent, believe, call, and receive Him!

Visit us online at the Lighthouse of the East Bay


A Second Continuing Requirement – Pray without ceasing

8ac179844155a1814ce63e352ac85378Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. (1Th 5:16-17)

As we approach the second coming of the Lord, God gives us (as He did the church at Thessalonica) some things we need to be found continually doing.

The first was “rejoice evermore”

The second requirement is that we are to “pray without ceasing”

Why should we pray without ceasing?

One reason is that we are always open to temptation.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mat 26:41)

A second reason is that others around us always need our intercession.

Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: (1Sa 12:23)

The principles of praying without ceasing

Never stop your prayers

Pray with importunity

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. (Luk 11:8)

Pray without impatience, – not to faint! 

And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; (Luk 18:1)

Never suspend your prayers

Never let holidays, vacations, or extra work keep you from your prayers. With time off or extra long work hours, pray MORE not LESS!

Never sacrifice your prayers

By perversion 

If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me: (Psa 66:18)

By pride

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 18:11-14)

By plotting – by reasoning and deception

Instead of relying on prayer, we resort to cheating, lying, and deception. I call it the Jacob syndrome

The practice of praying without ceasing

Pray in all PLACES  

If I cannot pray there I must not go there.


If I am doing something and I cannot sincerely pray in it… or over it, I must not do it!


He who prays the most lives the best.

Visit us online at LBCEastBay.com


Constancey Required – “Rejoyce evermore”


Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1Th 5:16-18)

As God finishes teaching the church at Thessalonica how to conduct themselves while waiting for His second coming, He gives three groupings of instructions in rapid fire.  They are short statements but carry with them with deep implications.  The three groupings I call “A Christian’s Duties While Waiting”.

The first grouping tells us that while waiting there is a “Constancy Required”.  There are three areas where God requires us to be constantly engaged.  He first commands us to “Rejoice Evermore”


Ever = This tells us that we are to be ever rejoicing.  All the time, every place, in every circumstance.

More = From now on. Increasingly more often.

Important lessons about rejoicing evermore.

It is a repeated command

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  (Php 4:4)

We always have plenty to do, but this we have always to do – Spurgeon

It is a reasonable command

Because of all He has done for us it is only natural and reasonable that we be a rejoicing people! God puts it best (as always). Read below why we should be rejoicing.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.  (Isa 61:10)
Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.  (Isa 12:2)
Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.  (Isa 12:3)
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.  (Luk 10:20)

Even if we have little or nothing in this world, we can, and should, decide to rejoice and find our joy in our Lord!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Hab 3:17-18)

It is a resourceful command – the Joy of the Lord is our strength!

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is our strength. (Neh 8:10)

It counters depression, discouragement, and despair.  It is hard to rejoice and be depressed at the same time.  Do not wait for rejoicing to come, DO IT!

It is not a carnal joy, a circumstantial joy, or a joy common to man, but it is a work IN us by the Holy Spirit. It grows from the new birth disposition.

It is a revealing command

Our response and obedience to the command to rejoice evermore shows our readiness to God’s service by “approving ourselves as the ministers of God”.

But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, … as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; …. (2Co 6:4-10)

What does our rejoicing (or lack thereof) say of our approving?

Decide to rejoice evermore.  Demand it of yourself.

(Watch for the next continuing expectation)

Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay – www.LBCEastBay.com


Be Not Overtaken – let us not sleep..

img_3728-1Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
(1Th 5:6)

God is dealing with the church at Thessalonica about being prepared for the rapture, His some coming in the clouds to snatch His people away to be with Him forever.  He warns them not to let that day “overtake them as a thief”.

Last post we saw that we are not to be overtaken by darkness.  God now warns them (and us) not to let that day overtaken by drowsiness.

Be Not Overtaken by Drowsiness (vs6) – not sleep, as do others…

What others?  There are a good number of examples in Scripture of folks that found themselves in trouble or unprepared because of their inclination to sleep.  When we think of sleep we think of lethargy, laziness, inattentiveness, and a general unawareness of what is happening to us and around us.

This is the present condition of most churches and Christians in America.  It is the time we WAKE UP! Do not  let that day overtake us as others:

 As the disciples in the garden with Jesus and could not watch and pray for an hour.

Let us be on our knees and not asleep in this day and hour that there is so much we need to seek God for and that needs us to intercede.

And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Matthew 26:40

As the disciples at Mt. Transfiguration

We, like they, are missing our glimpses of the Lord’s glory!  We sleep through His presence and manifestation of holiness and power.

And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. Luke 9:30-32

 As Samson sleeping in the lap of temptation and weakness for pleasure.

Let us be holy and set ourselves apart from sinners, live right, and flee temptation.

And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand. And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. Judges 16:18-19

 As Jonah sleeping while running from God’s call.

Let us be sensitive to God and our sin.  Let us not run and become so calloused that we can sleep through God’s chastising as Jonah did.

 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. Jonah 1:4-5

As the proverbs sluggards what will not work simply because of laziness.

He could find much time to sleep and none to work. Let us Labour remembering our work in the Lord is not in vain.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth,  and thy want as an armed man. Proverbs 6:9-11

As the young man that fell asleep as Paul preached and fell and died.

Awake Christian!  Hear the word of God and let not our hearts be hardened or wax fat so we cannot hear.

 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. Acts 20:9

 Do not let THAT DAY overtake you!


Visit us online at Lighthouse Baptist Church of the East Bay – LBCEastBay.com