Summary: Sermon 3 in the series “Church Matters" - An reminder to remember and continue the landmarks our church was built on.
Remove not the Ancient Landmark
Sermon 3 in the series “Church Matters"
June 30, 2013
TEXT: Proverbs 22:28 – “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
When the Israelites entered Canaan and land was divided among the various Israelite tribes, each family was given a plot of land to provide a livelihood for themselves. On their land, each family put down “landmarks” to mark their property. Unger’s Bible Dictionary says that a landmark was “a stone, stake, or other monument to designate the boundary of land.” Some versions translate this word as a “boundary stone” a good modern translation.
To remove a landmark in Old Testament times was tantamount to stealing a man’s land. Unger says that “it was prohibited in the Mosaic Law on account of the close connection in which a man’s possession as the means of his support stood to the life of the man himself.”
Now, here at Grace Baptist Church there are some definite landmarks we drove deep into the ground at the very beginning to set the parameters of what we wanted our church to be like. In fact, I preached today’s sermon on July 18, 2004 when we officially organized our little weekly Bible study into a church, giving it the name Grace Baptist Church. We planted these landmarks deep into the soil of this church’s history, and God forbid that we would ever move the original landmarks; move from what this church was founded on; move from what it was meant to be by our founding members.
Today, I want us to go over our spiritual property, so to speak, and make sure the landmarks are all still there so that we can celebrate it a year from now when we celebrate our 10 Year Anniversary.
THE FIRST LANDMARK WE DROVE IN WAS THAT OF SIMPLE FAITH IN GOD.
Without a doubt, faith is the most important landmark we could have driven down because Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please [God]…”
Back in September 2003, a little band of people met for the first time as a Bible study. We didn’t know how it would be done and how long it would take, but a firm faith arose in our hearts that God was going to bless this endeavor.
And my, has He ever! I went back in our records this week to see what our attendance was the Sunday we organized and my records show 17 people! We’ve got a considerable higher amount attending these days as this chart of average morning worship attendances attests…
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 (to date)
AM 36 48 62 81 109 113 160 159 168 166
In the interim, we’ve seen many brought into God’s Kingdom; many who sold out to Jesus wholeheartedly; many whose marriages were salvaged; and many who discovered a key truth that set them on the road to victory in their lives.
Back in 2004, I told our people that we really needed to drive down two landmarks of faith for those who follow, and I would cast the same vision for you here today:
• First, let us not remove the landmark of faith in God for salvation.
This is clearly laid down in our church’s Articles of Faith as a main distinctive because this is the clear teaching of Scripture. You can live a good life, take communion, go to church, be confirmed, be baptized or be religious, but none of those things will make you right with God or give you eternal life. Salvation is available only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross for your sins.
Paul sums it up in Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This doctrine of simple faith in Christ for salvation and not through works must always be a central doctrine of Grace Baptist Church. Let us vow to NEVER remove this glorious landmark!
• The second stake of this landmark of faith is faith in God’s ability to bless this church and supply its needs.
When I preached this sermon is 2004, I laid out a vision that I knew would require great sums of financial and personal sacrifice: to start supporting missionaries, which we began that very service by taking on our very first missionary; to start our K.I.D.S Church, which we begain in 2004; our evening service kids’ program, which we started in 2005; to begin taking on a greater and greater portion of the pastor’s financial support so that eventually it could support a pastor full-time, which we started in 2005; to buy some property or a building, which we did in 2006; to remodel it and furnish it, which we did in 2007;.