This is the final message of Pastor Thomas to First Baptist Church. Interim Pastor Tim Ayers will begin his service to the church on October 1. It is yet to be determined how or if the sermons will be published on this webpage. Please contact the church (319) 524-3684 if you would like to see this page continued during the interim time.
Previous sermons in synopsis can be found on the Sermon Archive page (under Pastor)
Sunday September 9, 2018
A Farewell Address
Ephesians 3: 12 – 19
A paraphrase of George Washington’s Address to the Continental Army
The great calling of the Gospel, for which I have the honor to hold as your Pastor has reached its concluding point. I am now prepared to hand over the reins of this office to the next person called by God and this congregation. Turning to retirement, I leave without regret, realizing that my role in the Kingdom has not been to create my own fiefdom, but to carry the great treasure of the Holy Word to this community. With this in mind, I make this my last official Message of God’s Word, commending its continuation to your care.
. My fellow believers, hold tight to the Living Word of God, allowing the Spirit to speak its import to your heart. Confirm this Word with one another with thorough discernment of God’s purpose, calling and importance for all. You have been crowned with the greatest of blessings as Children of God. Do not abdicate this blessing by chasing after the enticements of the world and Satan. We have been granted the auspicious opportunity to know both the joys of heaven, while we endure the pain of this world.
. You are blessed by God for His divine purposes. Give yourself fully and totally to His purposes, remembering that you are together in His calling. No one stands alone, and together we succeed in His purpose for this congregation. As Baptists, we are together under the authority of God, yet you must rise together to the moments of decision as individuals who are entrusted with the treasures of God’s Kingdom. Love this congregation more than you love the properties (or Pastor). Support this body of believers, and those whom we support throughout this community, state, nation and world. Give generously of your time and effort, with great fervor in prayer to know what God wants you to be and become. Pray for the leadership within the congregation and for the leadership that God is bringing to this place.
. Now is the time for compassion, grace and discernment so that you will not be caught in the maelstrom that the late John McCain described as political tribalism, building walls instead of joining hearts and hands with God and each other, or, placing your personal views ahead of God’s perspective. I count it a privilege to have walked with you over these last 22 years, and will continue to pray that you may have many more years under the blessings of God. May the grace of God prevail in your life each day, as we await the day of Jesus return.