Temple Baptist Church - 1-2-2011
A. In these last days, we often hear the so-called Christians say, “It doesn’t matter where you go to church as long as you go.”
B. I want to make it clear tonight that it is all important where you attend church! You need to know that you are eternally saved through the blood of Christ and then be in a good Bible preaching church.
C. The Bible says much about doctrine. It says to remain under sound doctrine. It says to separate from unsound doctrine. It says to preach and teach with all longsuffering and doctrine. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you!” You cannot be obedient to this verse in a doctrinally unsound church.
D. I feel that this message is one of great importance. I have been preaching on the local church so I believe that it is essential to identify what we are, Baptist, and why we are Baptist.
E. There is much ignorance concerning Baptist churches, both concerning its origin and eschatological purpose. There is much ignorance, both biblical and historical, being preached and taught on this particular subject.
F. We have dealt with what Baptists are not. Not everything with Baptist on the sign is a good Baptist Church. We are not reformers, Protestant, a denomination, Baptist Bride, Calvinist, Arminian, nor are we negative! We are Baptist!
G. We have also seen that Baptists are separatists! We preach doctrinal, ecclesiastical, and personal separation. Not at all popular in our day but all three concepts are both biblical and commanded.
H. I want to look at a few things that make Baptists distinct from churches or denominations:
WHAT MAKES BAPTISTS DISTINCT?
1. Biblical Authority. The Bible is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. No decree of men or any council of churches can supersede the Bible. Four things can be your authority spiritually:
a. The Church – that is Catholicism
b. Human Experience – that is Pentecostalism
c. Human Reason – that is Intellectualism
d. The Bible – that is Fundamentalism
2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (God’s Word is the final authority for both faith and practice!)
2. Autonomy of the Local, Visible Church. The local church is an independent body accountable only to the Lord Jesus Christ who is its Head. No religious hierarchy outside the local church may dictate a church’s beliefs or practices. The local church is both self-governing and self-sustaining. It is independent in nature and indigenous in nature.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.
3. Priesthood of the Believer. Priests represented man to God and were intercessors. Apostles represented God to man and were ambassadors. Every believer today is a priest of God and may enter into His presence directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ. No human mediator is needed between God and man.
1 Peter 2:5-10 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
4. Two Ordinances. The local church practices only two ordinances, Baptist by immersion in water and the Lord’s Supper or communion.
Matthew 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 11:25 After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. (1 Corinthians 11:23-32) (These are Ordinances, not Sacraments!) Sacrament defined: a formal religious ceremony conferring a specific grace on those who receive it. These ordinances are for identification and remembrance.
5. Believer’s Baptism. Baptism has no saving grace but symbolizes the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. Baptism is total emersion and sprinkling or pouring is not acceptable as baptism. Baptism takes place after the salvation of the believer and is a testimony of God’s saving, changing grace in the life, therefore, pedo-baptism is heretical.
Acts 8:36-39 And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.
6. Individual Soul Liberty. Every individual believer has the liberty and responsibility to believe as his own understanding dictates within the framework of the Word of God. No one is forced to assent to any belief against his or her will, however, this doctrine does not grant a license to sin or to continually oppose the practices of the local church based upon Scripture.
Romans 14:5-8 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day [alike]. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
7. Two Offices. Only two Biblically mandated offices exist in the church: pastor and deacon. These two offices exist within the local church. The pastor is the under shepherd and is to take the oversight of the church. He is not a dictator!
1 Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
The deacon is a servant to the church and has no authority.
1 Timothy 3:13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
8. Separation of Church and State. God established both the church and civil government, giving each its own distinctive sphere of operation. When operated within the realm of Scripture, these two establishments compliment one another. The state has no business in the affairs of the church. The church is not a political institution but its membership is responsible to be both good Christians and good citizens.
Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
1 Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
9. World Wide Missions. It is the commission of the church to go into the entire world and preach the gospel to every creature. Every creature needs and deserves a preacher. The church is not the local welfare center. It is a soul saving station and base of operations for world wide evangelism.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Conclusion: We are Biblicists first and then we are Baptists. If the Baptist errs, the Word of God will not. Our authority is the Bible!