Temple Baptist Church - 11-28-2010
2 Corinthians 6:14-18
A. A few weeks ago, we saw what Baptists are not!
1. We are not reformers.
2. We are not Protestant.
3. We are not a denomination.
4. We are not Briders
5. We are not Calvinistic.
6. We are not Arminian.
B. We are Baptists! There are many so-called Baptists who do not hold to the doctrinal truths of God’s Word and have labored in their wrestling of the Scripture to the point of gross doctrinal error! I do not and will not apologize for being a Baptist but I do not think that only Baptists are saved or that the Bride of Christ is the Baptist Church!
C. I am a Baptist by conviction, not convenience. I am a fundamental, independent Baptist! Local churches of the New Testament era were fundamental, independent and I see no need of changing God’s program.
D. What makes Baptist churches distinct? Tonight, I want to deal with separatism! This is where “the rubber meets the road” in most churches. True Baptists are separatists! Separation has been taught as a negative and is now as unappealing as the word fundamental. Separation is a good thing, not a bad thing! Separation is that “good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God!” (Romans 12:1-2) Separation is as much for our protection as it is for our identification! We are not only to be separated from something; we are to be separation unto SOMEONE! As Christ suffered without the gate, we are to go unto Him without the camp. Separation is a sign of LOVE, not LEGALISM. Liberal churches have labeled separatism as an independent Baptist thing. Separatism is a Bible commanded thing! Separatists are not “legalists” nor are they “Pharisees.” Most of you know this pastor and I am neither of these. I believe in the “soul liberty” of the believer. Your walk with Christ is between you and God.
E. True Baptists Churches Have Always Been Separatists – Most denominations agree to disagree agreeably when it comes to major doctrinal differences. Their doctrine is set aside based upon the false premise of love and they fellowship and worship together without God’s Truth. Separation is not a negative but a God ordained and commanded blessing! The world views biblical separation in a negative light in order to denounce it but the Word of God not only upholds separation but also commands it! I had rather be on God’s side than to be a member of a denomination, association, or convention that compromises in this vital area of Christian walk. Both fellowship and worship must be based within the boundaries of God’s Word! Our Lord said that the Father sought worship in both truth and spirit. To walk, work, and worship outside of God’s Truth is totally unacceptable to Him. Believers by the multitudes have died over separation as they refused to hold hands, worship, or fellowship with the religionists of their times. What a price has been paid for this separation that now is given up on the slightest whim!
1. Christians Were Recognized And Respected As Christ-like By The Lost - Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
2. Christians Were Recognized And Rejected As Christ-like By The Convicted - Acts 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
3. Christians Were Recognized And Reviled As Christ-like By The Persecutors - 1 Peter 4:16 Yet if [any man suffer] as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
F. Today, believers are chameleons! They bend and blend with society around them and are only distinguished by their shallow profession of faith!
The following excerpt is taken from a booklet entitled “Why Baptists Are Not Protestants” which was written by Vernon C. Lyons of the Ashburn Baptist Church of Chicago, Ill.
“Twentieth century theologians have streamlined Christianity by reducing all the virtues to one – unity. In our generation the most respectable ‘ism’ is ecumenism. Few people discern that there is a false unity as well as a true unity and the each is purchased at a staggering price.
False church unity, which is the most popular kind, is purchased with freedom as the price. Gospel liberty is obliterated and liberty of conscience becomes impractical, if not impossible. The communion of saints is forfeited for a communion of committees. The minority speaks for the mass and the conscience of the individual Christian is by-passed for the consensus of a committee. This kind of church unity is also attained at the price of truth. Those who major on mergers tend to believe very little and after merging believe still less. They are more noted for their compromise than their convictions. Their spiritual discernment having been dulled, they move in a doctrinal dusk that calls non-churches churches and regard unbelievers as believers. In the mania to merge, fixed truths become forgotten tenets.
True church unity is also costly! It is to be obtained not be compromise, but by conflict. The faith must not be diluted, but defended (Jude 3). It may cost a man his unscriptural creed and his man-made catechism. This kind of unity flows from a humility which is willing to reject human tradition and subject itself to divine truth, as stated in God’s Holy Word. This unity is described by the words, ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph. 4:5). The beginning of this unity is one Lord. The basis of this unity is one faith. The badge of this unity is one baptism.
This true unity will cost you your prejudice, your pride, and perhaps every your popularity.”
G. Separatism is what cost millions of believers their lives. As Christians, they were quietly “out of step with the world” and were mercilessly persecuted because of it.
Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.
H. This separatism is separated into three distinct areas that we will look at tonight.
1. True Baptists Churches Stand For Ecclesiastical Separation – We are separate in our worship. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (They Are Separate In Worship. They Are Separate In Work. Simply stated, true Baptists do not hold hands with, worship with, or support any other religious organization that has compromised the integrity of Scripture! Many churches have sacrificed their sanctification upon the altar of “Popularity” in order to gain numbers.)
2. True Baptists Churches Stand For Doctrinal Separation – We are separate in doctrine. Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
2 John 9-11 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (They are separate in walk. True Baptists are not for sale at any price! Many churches have sacrificed their doctrine upon the altar of “Fellowship.”)
3. True Baptists Churches Stand For Personal Separation – We are separate in our walk. Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (King Agrippa said, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian!” Christian means one who is like Christ or Christ-like! Believers were called Christians by the lost because of their testimony of Christ-likeness. Our outward demeanor is a reflection of our inward conversion.)
Conclusion: We are not “in your face” with our convictions but, at the same time, our convictions are biblical and, therefore, not for sale! Baptists are separatists!