Summary: A homecoming sermon focused on church renewal through remembering what God has done.
Don’t Give Up Your Faith
In the 1930’s a small group of people met at a school house for Sunday School, and so was born what would eventually become First Baptist Church of Nicholson. As I understand it, the beginnings of the church were somewhat interdenominational, with a United Methodist minister leading the studies, using Southern Baptist literature. The fledgling work grew, until Bro. E. C. Pigott came and the Nicholson Baptist Church was organized, in June 1937. The church building has known two locations (first on the corner of Hwy 11 and Shorty Burgess Rd, and then at its present site). But all along, the church has held fast to her mission of trying to reach the community for Jesus Christ, of seeking to be a lighthouse in the dark of the world around her.
Today, we can honor the memory of the pioneers of faith in Nicholson. But, we can also be challenged by the vision they held. The world has changed dramatically since 1937. Technology has increased at exponential rates; morality has certainly taken a new twist, with many activities acceptable in today’s world which would never have been dreamt of back then. The church is no longer the center of a community. Indeed, many of you gathered here today can look around at this sanctuary and remember a time when the pews had more people in them, and that might discourage you, may cause you to wonder what’s the point? Yes, friends, much has changed—but the dream shouldn’t; the vision shouldn’t—we should never give up on our faith. We should never lose sight of why we are here. We should allow the memories of the past to spur us on to a wonderful future—and we can, if we are willing to learn, if we are willing to renew our faith.
In this morning’s text, under King Asa’s guidance, Judah renewed her covenant with God. I believe that God would use this special occasion to call us to enter into a meaningful covenant with him, a renewal to the commitment that gave birth to this church. How can this happen? Consider the following steps that will keep us from giving up our faith.
I. Remember that God has blessed you in the past.
A. The prophet Azariah pronounced a blessing upon Asa, the third king of Judah, because Judah had just won a decisive victory over an overwhelming army.
B. On a day like today, a church can look back and stand in amazement at what God has done in her midst.
1. First Baptist of Nicholson has moved from its beginnings as a small, interdenominational Sunday School, to a church reaching out to the community about her.
2. Eternal destinies have been settled in this place (many of you here today came to faith through the ministry of this church).
3. In moments of crisis, you found strength through a common faith shared with members of this church.
C. God has worked here in the past—and that gives us the courage to face the future in his hands.
II. Know that God wants to work in your life right now.
A. The prophet Azariah assured Asa that God was with him to bring continued victory to the people of Judah.
B. The day of God’s glory in Nicholson has not passed.
1. If we have a heart-felt desire to see God honored . . .
2. If we are willing to do what the Lord lays on our hearts as his body . . .
3. If we will commit ourselves to following him without reservation . . .
4. God will touch our hearts and the community around us!
C. God wants to work in your life today, to be more than a word in your vocabulary; God wants to live in and through you—to his glory, for his purpose.
III. Understand that God will hold you accountable if you fail to yield to him.
A. The words of Azariah carried a real threat as well as a real promise.
B. Starting well is not always the key to victory—how you end is much more decisive.
1. Twenty years ago, you might have been on fire for the Lord, ready to storm the gates of hell.
2. But, what about today? Are you eager to serve him right now? Are you ready to say “yes” to his call in your life?
3. If not, be ready to face the consequences.
C. Our God will not sit idly back while his children go astray—he disciplines those he loves, and will use every measure available which is in line with his character to make sure the prodigals come home.
IV. Accept God’s call to follow him completely.
A. When Judah heard God’s call to commitment, she gave herself totally to the Lord.