by Pastor Marvin McKenzie,
Havest Baptist Church, Astoria, Oregon
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II Th 2:15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. (KJV) 2 Tim 2:2 and the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (KJV) Life is a wonderful mixture of change, and stability. There are some things that never change. Babies are born into this world today exactly like they were 6000 years ago. People still breathe oxygen and still eat dinner. Spring still comes after winter. And fall still comes after summer. Some things never change! Yet others change all of the time. The world does not contain the same people today, it contained just yesterday! The world is not the same as it was before! Now, there are some things we want to change! WE WANT FOLKS TO CHANGE THEIR CLOTHES ONCE IN A WHILE DON'T WE? But we don't want them to change and not wear clothes at all! We want the rain to change to sun. BUT WE DON'T WANT IT TO GET SUNNY AND NEVER RAIN AGAIN! Change is necessary and good in some cases, but it is dangerous and wicked in others! For instance. Jesus told us to beware of clinging to traditions of men. But then, in the same Bible we are told To stand fast and hold the traditions we have been taught in the Word of God! Some things have changed in churches over the centuries. ***Baptists are no longer hunted by the Catholics. ***We no longer have to hold our services out doors, in the woods to hide. ***You now own your own copy of the Bible. At one time, it was most likely that an entire congregation would not own a complete copy of the Word of God. Churches would share among themselves the portions of the Bible they had. Those are good changes! It is absolutely essential that things do change! They say that the most dread words a pastor hears is; "We've never done it that way before!" But there are some others things that we have to cling to like a man hanging tot he side of a cliff. Some things we must hold fast. Some things that we cannot let change! There are some things that make true Baptists Different than all the rest of the groups out there. And these are the things that we cannot change! What I want to show you tonight is: Three things that are traditionally Baptist. Some Baptists have veered from them these days. But these three things, Baptists historically have clung to, they have taught them from generation to generation. And they have been the reason that Baptists remain today, the largest body of non-catholic Christians in the World. They are the reason that Baptists are the leaders in missionary endeavor worldwide. They are the reason why Baptists have influenced the world since the days of the Apostles. And, while we need to change candlesticks for lightbulbs, WE MUST NEVER ALLOW OURSELVES TO CHANGE THESE THREE ISSUES! Theme: Baptists have been known historically forr
I. A SIMPLE FORM OF WORSHIP.
A. Baptists have never been ritualistic and religious. Baptist have never been known for being ritualistic and religious in their services. IT IS ALMOST AS IF ONE OF OUR MAIN TRADITIONS IS TO AVOID TRADITIONS! Remember where Jesus warned against being like the Pharisees. They liked to make a pretense in their worship. ****When they prayed, they would go out in the street corners so people could see them pray. ****When they fasted, they would put dust one their heads and walk around groaning as they held their stomachs. ****They wore fancy robes that told everyone for within sight they were the religious crowd! Their prayers were mere "vain repetitions." They weren't really praying to God, but they had a memorized poem that they would quote and call it prayer! It reminds me of the churches where you go and the bulletin is a "worship folder" and it gives you instructions on what to do while you're at the services! If, for some reason, you don't get the folder, YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE OF KNOWING WHAT TO DO! The folder tells you when to stand, when to sit, what to pray, when to say "amen." Christianity is not supposed to be like that! It's just supposed to be plain simple worship of the true and living God! It is supposed to be a sincere and heartfelt effort to learn from God and let God know you love Him! The simplicity of the Baptist Worship is also evident
B. In their practice of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
While these ordinances quickly degenerated into ritualistic sacraments in the other churches, Baptists kept them simple and sincere. The Lord's Supper was not something done to grant favor with God. But was a simple testimony and reminder of Christ's death burial and resurrection. They would simply gather together, eat a meal, and then share the Lord's Supper as a testimony of what Christ had done! Baptism was the same way. They didn't make a big deal about it. They just did it! They would go to the nearest body of water that was deep enough (if they didn't have a baptistry in the building.) And commence to immerse the believers! They had a simple style of worship. Without a lot of rules and regulations and rituals that had to be done just so! C. Baptists have always been known for speaking in the common language.
All the way back to our Lord. The Jews of Christ's day all spoke Greek. However, it was the tradition that they only spoke of their faith in the Hebrew language. That is, until Christ came along. Jesus spoke the common language of the common Greek. So everyone could understand. The Catholics almost immediately took the faith out of the hands of the common person by translating the Bible into Latin, and conducting all their services in Latin. That way, no one knew for sure what was really going on in the church. Most people didn't speak Latin. They just sat through the service without understanding a word of it! But then, there were the Baptists. Throughout history, you find that the Baptists were never the refined and fancy type folks. They were always the soldiers, farmers, and fisherman types. They were just plain men that spoke to plain people in plain language. AND BECAUSE OF IT, THEY WERE ABLE TO WIN MULTITUDES TO CHRIST! Spurgeon, the most popular preacher of the 1800's, preached on more than one occasion with the Queen of England in the Services. But he preached with a direct and common language that was understandable to the least educated in the building! There's was a simple type of worship. LET'S HOLD FAST TO THAT TRADITION!
Theme: Secondly, Baptists have been known historically for
II. A SOLE DEPENDANCE UPON THE WORD OF GOD.
I mean by that, they lived by what they learned in the Bible. The Bible was to them more than a religious relic to be used for appeasing God. The Bible was a handbook for life. It was the ONLY source they used to determine right and wrong. They used the Bible
A. TO TEACH THE WAY SALVATION. To them, there was no other source they could use to know for sure sins were atoned and hell was escaped. They could not trust the words of men about salvation. They wanted to know for sure they were going to heaven so they counted upon the Bible alone! And it has to be the same for us today! While some are counting in new prophets and religions, our distinctive MUST be the Bible Alone! We cannot join hands with the ecumenicals who teach a hundred different ways to be saved and say any of them are fine as long as you are sincere! Jesus said there in no other way, but by Him! Paul preached, if any bring a gospel other than the one I have preached to you, let him be accursed!
They used the Bible B. TO TEACH FAITH AND DOCTRINE. 2 Timothy 3:16 says "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" Paul told Timothy, his young preacher student "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine....Meditate upon these things, give thyself wholly to them..." Everything we believe, we are to get from the Bible! If we cannot find it in the Bible, it is not to be trusted. If we believe one thing, and find in the Bible a contrary view to ours. We are to accept the Bible and not our old views!
1. We get our doctrine of Christ from the Bible. We believe Christ is the Son of God because the Bible says He was. We believe Christ was born of a virgin because the Bible says he was. We believe Christ died bearing our sins because the Bible says so. We believe Christ rose again because the Bible says he did. We believe he is coming again because the Bible says He is coming again.
2. Baptists get there distinctive doctrines from the Bible Baptists believe what they believe about Baptism BECAUSE IT IS THE BAPTISM OF THE BIBLE! Baptists believe that the saved cannot lose their salvation BECAUSE IT IS THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE! Baptists believe that the government can't run the church BECAUSE IT IS THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE. Baptists believe that a person has the right to worship God according to their own conscience BECAUSE THAT IS THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE! We don't need to change our beliefs to fit the modern day we live in. We believe we need to live in the day we live, according to the plain teachings of the Bible! BAPTISTS ARE ABOVE ALL Bible People! A simple style of Worship A sole dependance upon the Bible
Theme: Baptists have been known historically forr
III. A SANCTIFIED KIND OF LIFESTYLE
Eph 4:1 "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called..."
Col 3:1 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of the father."
1 Thess 4:3 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour."
It seems to me that Christians should all believe that Christians should live like Christians. But this has not been the case. History shows that one of the things Baptists were mocked the most for, was their emphasis for living holy lives! One group of Baptists were mockingly called the "Cathari" or "Pure Ones". And even one of Martin Luther's major complaint with the Baptists of Germany was that they preached that a saved man should live right! Listen. No one has to live a certain way to be saved. BUT I SURE WONDER ABOUT THE SALVATION OF A PERSON WHO SAYS THEY HAVE ACCEPTED CHRIST, BUT CONTINUES TO LIVE LIKE THE DEVIL!
And, Christian, if their is anything that ought to make you different from those around you... IT OUGHT TO BE THAT YOU TRY TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE BY THE GRACE OF GOD! You ought not lie. You ought not cheat. You ought not go to ungodly entertainment You ought to return money given you at the store on accident. You ought not cuss. You ought not drink and smoke. You ought to dress modestly. We ought to be a decidedly different kind of people in the way we live! The unsaved OUGHT to think it strange that we are SO fanatical about honesty and righteousness! Not that we judge them But that to the very best of our ability, WE try to obey all that Christ commanded!
Those things that made the Baptist believers of centuries ago different
still ought to make us different today! A Simple Style of Worship
A Sole dependance upon the Bible, and
A Sanctified Kind of Lifestyle --
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