Category Archives: Church

Christian Duties in the Church

Charles Moore

Christian Duties in the Church, Landmark BC, February 25, 2018
Introduction: Peter gives us a description of good church membership and how we are to act towards each other.
I Peter 3:8-17
8 Finally*, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye
are thereunto* called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

10For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

11 Let him eschew* [turn aside from] evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Key Verse:

18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death* in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Verses 8-15 The apostle here passes from special to more general exhortations.
He teaches us how Christians and friends should treat one another. 

I. Unity
Christians should endeavor to be all of one mind [Unity] in the great points of faith, in real affection, and in Christian practice; they should be like-minded one to another, according to Christ Jesus (Rom. 15:5 ), not according to man’s pleasure, but God’s word.
He advises each one to show compassion and be sympathetic one for another; To show pity, compassionate and humility to those who were in distress, and to be courteous to all.

To love as brethren

II. He instructs us how to behave towards enemies. The apostle knew that Christians would be hated and evil-entreated of all men for Christ’s sake; therefore,
1. He warns us not to return evil for evil, nor railing for railing; but, on the contrary, “when they rail at you, do you bless them; when they give you evil words, do you give them good ones; for Christ has both by his word and example called you to bless those that curse you, and has settled a blessing on you as your everlasting inheritance, though you were unworthy.’’ To bear evils patiently, and to bless your enemies, is the way to obtain this blessing of God. Learn,

(1.) To render evil for evil, or railing for railing is a sinful unchristian practice. To rail is to revile another in bitter, fierce, and reproachful terms; but for ministers to rebuke sharply, and to preach earnestly against the sins of the times, is not railing; all the prophets and apostles practiced.
(2.) The laws of Christ oblige us to return blessing for railing.Mt. 5: 44, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you, and pray for those that persecute you. You must not justify them in their sin, but you must do for your enemies all that justice requires or charity commands.’’ We must pity, pray for, and love those who rail at us.
(3.) A Christian’s calling is invested with glorious privileges and also it obliges him to difficult duties.
(4.) All the true servants of God shall infallibly inherit a blessing, however, the full possession of it is reserved to a time in the future.

2. Find peace with mankind.
He gives an excellent prescription for a comfortable happy life in this quarrelsome ill-natured world (v. 10): it is quoted from Ps. 34: 12-14. “If you earnestly desire that your life should be long, and your days peaceable and prosperous, keep your tongue from reviling, evil-speaking, and slandering, and your lips from lying, deceit, and dissimulation. Avoid doing any real damage or hurt to your neighbour, but be ever ready to do good, and to overcome evil with good; seek peace with all men, and pursue it, though it retires from you. This will be the best way to dispose people to speak well of you, and live peaceably with you.’’It is the duty of Christians not only to embrace peace when it is offered but to seek and pursue it when it is denied: peace with societies, as well as peace with particular persons, in opposition to division and contention, is what is here intended.

3. He shows that Christians need not fear that such patient inoffensive behavior as is prescribed will invite and encourage the cruelty of their enemies, for God will thereby be engaged on their side: For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous (v. 12); His ears are open to their prayers; whose ears are always attentive to the prayers of his servants in their distresses, and who will certainly aid them against their unrighteous enemies.
The face of the Lord is against those that do evil; his anger, and displeasure, and revenge will pursue them; for he is more an enemy to wicked persecutors than men are. Observe,

(1.) God hath a special care and paternal affection towards all his righteous people.
(2.) God doth always hear the prayers of the faithful, Jn. 4:31 ;
1 Jn. 5: 14; Heb. 4: 16.
(3.) Though God is infinitely good, yet he abhors impenitent sinners and will pour out his wrath upon those that do evil. He will do himself right, and do all the world justice; his goodness is no obstruction to his doing so.

4. This patient humble behavior of Christians is further recommended and urged from two considerations:—

(1.) This will be the best and surest way to prevent suffering; for who is he that will harm you? v. 13. This, I suppose, is spoken of Christians in an ordinary condition, not in the heat of persecution. “Ordinarily, there will be but few to harm those who live so innocently and usefully as you do.’’
(2.) This is the way to improve sufferings. “If you be followers of that which is good, and yet suffer, this is suffering for righteousness; sake (v. 14), and will be your glory and your happiness, as it entitles you to the blessing promised by Christ’’ (Mt. 5:10 ); therefore, “You need not be afraid of anything they can do to strike you with terror, neither be much troubled nor concerned about the rage or force of your enemies.’’
First, to follow always that which is good is the best course we can take to keep out of harm’s way.
Secondly, To suffer for righteousness sake is the honor and happiness of a Christian; to suffer for the cause of truth, a good conscience, or any part of a Christian’s duty, is a great honor; the delight of it is greater than the torment, the honor more than the disgrace, and the gain much greater than the loss.
Thirdly, Christians have no reason to be afraid of the threats or rage of any of their enemies. “Your enemies are God’s enemies, his face is against them, his power is above them, they are the objects of his curse, and can do nothing to you but by his permission; therefore trouble not yourselves about them.’’
Instead of terrifying yourselves with the fear of men, be sure to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts (v. 15); let him be your fear, and let him be your dread, Isa. 8:12, Isa. 8: 13. Fear not those that can only kill the body, but fear him that can destroy body and soul, Lu. 12:4, Lu. 12: 5.

We sanctify the Lord God in our hearts when we with sincerity and fervency adore him when our thoughts of him are awful and reverend when we rely upon his power, trust to his faithfulness, submit to his wisdom, imitate his holiness, and give him the glory due to his most illustrious perfections.
We sanctify God before others when our deportment is such as invites and encourages others to glorify and honor him; both are required,

First, A full sense of the divine perfections is the best antidote against the fear of sufferings.
Secondly, The hope and faith of a Christian are defensible against all the world.
Thirdly, Every Christian is bound to answer and apologize for the hope that is in him. We are to be ready to give an answer to every man for the hope that we have in Christ.
Fourthly, These confessions of our faith ought to be made with meekness and fear. Not in haughtiness, revenge, spitefulness, or better than thou attitude.

Conclusion: The Bible is our guidebook to teach us HOW TO PLEASE God, LOVE OTHERS, AND LOVE OURSELVES.


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Church 7

Church 7

We will do a little side slip here and do a little deeper study than the simple narratives I have been doing.

The First New Testament Churches

It is sad when we have to qualify Church by designating it New Testament. The Lord only knows one Church. That is the one He built to His specifications that no one, no person, no preacher has the right to change.

Every Church that follows what Jesus established is a true Church. Every “church” not built the way the New Testament says and with the pattern that Jesus gave is not a Church that Jesus built and therefore should be called a religious institution.

The fallacy of the ‘Universal Invisible Church’ theory has been demonstrated form the Scriptures. Along with this heretical teaching is another one just as heinous and misleading – ‘The Church’ began on the day of Pentecost along with the events in Acts 2.

There are 4 errors concerning the doctrine of the Church:

  1. The Holy Spirit indwelt each believer as a seal till the day of redemption.
  2. The Pentecost Birthday theory.
  3. The Holy Spirit Baptism theory.
  4. The Universal, Invisible Church theory.

The beginning of this heresy was the Catholic Church. They claimed that the church was ‘Universal and visible.’ This linked all physical churches into one link that was beholden to the Pope. When Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church house door, his desire was not to start another church but to correct some abuses. He did not want to touch what was taught about the church because he agreed in the Universal church theory. When he was excommunicated, he had to change a few doctrines to be a little different from the Catholic church. One he changed was the visible. His doctrine of the church became, ‘Universal invisible.’ This has entered so many so called churches so much that it has infiltrated Baptist ranks. Scofield propagated this teaching with his Scofield Reference Bible. Under Hebrews 12:23 he has given the following statement.

Church (true), Summary: The true church, composed of the whole number of regenerate persons from Pentecost to the first resurrection (I Cor. 15:52), united together and to Christ by the baptism with the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:12,13), is the body of Christ of which He is the Head (Eph. 1:22,23.)”

Here are the considerations of such a statement:

Jesus said in Matt. 16:18 – “I will build my Church.” The Pentecost beginning of the Church would rob Jesus of the opportunity to personally build His Church and make Him a liar. The Pentecost beginning would make the Holy Spirit the builder of the Church because Christ was already in heaven.

If the Church was started on the day of Pentecost, that would put the gospels in the dispensation of law, the old dispensation. This would put Matt. 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” into the dispensation of law. The sermon on the mount would then belong to the previous dispensation.

If the Church began on the day of Pentecost, it began with the apostles and not Christ. This would then be a man-made church. This would enable for man to de-emphasize the ordinances of the church and observe them in whatever manner they desire. There is no Great Commission that has been given to the church.

To be continued.

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Church 5

Church 5

Acts chapter 2 can give us great insights on the work of the Holy Spirit. What took place in the upper room has an explosion of thoughts about what took place. One area of mistaken thoughts is that this was when the Holy Spirit indwelt each individual believer and sealed then unto the day of redemption. Very simply a mistaken thought about the work of the Holy Spirit will throw everything else out of kilter. John 14:15-21 is the promise of the Comforter, not the indwelling seal unto redemption. He is called the Spirit of Truth. He is sent in the name of Jesus. We are given a list of things that the Holy Spirit will do in leading the Church. He will teach the Church. He will teach the Church all things and bring the ability to remember things. If your memory is working, you will remember reading that there were times after this that the apostles remembered things that they were told by Jesus would happen.

John 16:7 emphasizes the need of the Comforter. Why? Jesus is not personally with the Church to lead and teach. Let us carry on with the work of the Holy Spirit. Our polished speech, charisma, or exotic intelligence is not what draws people to Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that reprove the world of sin and of righteousness’ and of judgment.

Acts 2:4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. I count about 15 different languages spoken on this day. This is not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. This is the empowering of the Church and the Church members. This is totally different from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Notice the question that was asked the apostles and Peter, what shall we do? The question was not what shall we do to be saved? Notice the answer, Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. Notice this statement, he was sent to jail for stealing a car. Was he sent to jail so that he could steal that car? Or rather because he stole a car. Repent and be baptized for (because of ) remission of sins. After baptism and Church membership the gift of the Holy Spirit is given.

Oh yes, verse 41 says that about three thousand souls were added to them and this took place after baptism.

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John 16:32 is a passage that was fulfilled shortly after this statement was made. Matt. 26:56 says that all the disciples forsook him, and fled. John 18 reveals to us a relationship that enabled John to follow Jesus closely as He was led away to Annas. It also reveals to us that Peter followed at a distance and even stood at the fire of the servants and officers and denied Jesus.

John 21 gives us a transition from a church with a visible present leader to one without a visible present leader. Peter said, “I go a fishing,” the others said, “We also go with thee.” A Church without a leader is a scattered willful Church. When Jesus appeared on the sea shore, he re-enforced leadership and direction by giving instruction. Acts 1:4 is that instruction to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father which Jesus had revealed to them in John 16. This is the promise of the Paraclete. This Holy Spirit had not yet descended upon the Church because Jesus had not ascended into heaven yet, but the time was close. Jesus said once again in verse 8, they will receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon them.

Acts 1:9 reveals the ascension of Lord to sit on the right hand of God.

It is time for a church business meeting. Acts 1:12-26 records a business meeting where Judas was replaced as an apostle by Matthias where all the Church members were gathered together and voted in this business meeting. Notice the requirements given to be an apostle. We have the baptism of John as a requirement and the person chosen had to be with them from the time Jesus was with them.

I had a woman ask me one time if I believed in the “five fold ministry.” I told her I didn’t know what the “five fold ministry” was. She mentioned an apostle as one of the “five fold ministry.” My reply, the requirement of an apostle according to Acts chapter one was; they had been baptized by John the Baptist and been with Jesus when He walked the earth. I would love to meet some one that old. That ended that conversation when she got very angry.

The Church is gathered in the upper room where 120 church members were gathered, they had a prayer meeting and then a business meeting. To be continued.

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We left with Jesus having all power and the church having been given their marching orders, the Great Commission. Now Jesus tells of his death twice, Matt. 16:21 and Matt. 20:17. Later, there was drama at a meal because Mary anointed Jesus. His statement, she did this for my burial. He is emphasizing that He is leaving His church, that is His physical form is leaving His Church.

What does this mean to His Church? He will no longer teach them in physical form. He will no longer lead them in physical form. He will no longer send them in physical form. His physical presence which motivated this church will no longer physically be the Power, the Position, or the Program of the church.

John 14 gives a promise to His Church. Verse 7 gives the expediency of Jesus leaving and going to the Father. His expediency will bring the Comforter, Paraclete, to be with the Church. If I may use Bro. W. Dewey Owen a quote from his book, “An introduction to Systematic Theology,” contained on page 140 second paragraph titled – V. Empowering By The Holy Spirit. ( I recommend this book.) I will do some paraphrasing. SOTERIOLOGY, the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary: without these there would be no means of salvation and no basis or authority for the church. PNEUMATOLOGY, the bodily ascension of Jesus back to the Father was necessary so that the omnipresent Holy Spirit could indwell each scriptural church, since the limitations of the flesh prevented Jesus, God incarnate, from doing this. Just as Jesus led the one church during His earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit – another manifestation of the same God – has led all scriptural churches from its Pentecostal outpouring forward. Christ is the head of each scriptural church today as Ephesians 5:23 clearly states. Yet not in physical form.

John 16 now gives what the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church, (not to be confused with indwelling and sealing of a person being born again) will accomplish. 1. Reprove the world of sin. 2. Reprove the world of righteousness. 3. Reprove the world because of Judgment. The Holy Spirit will be the Spirit of truth and will guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit is intimately involved in the Church.

We also have in John 16:32 the prophecy of the scattering of the Church.

Another day will bring more. Gentlemen if you disagree with anything, let it be know. If there is an area that needs to be refine through a better explanation, please make that known also.

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Church 2

Jesus has called the first members of His Church. He went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Now you can find that in Matthew 4:23.

Jesus ministry began immediately proving who He was. He had yet much that needed to be done and quickly launched into a teaching ministry for the small band that was following Him. Matthew chapter 5-7 comprises the first lessons that He gave the Church.

His healing proved who He was, not only to the lost , but also to this little church that was following Him. Jesus asked these men: whom say ye that I am. Peter gave the proper recognition to his Savior – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then we receive that great and wonderful statement that is mis-understood by many. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  This was Jesus statement that He, personally would build this Church upon the firm foundation of Himself. This is found in Matthew 16:16-18.

Let us examine the position of Jesus in relation to this Church He has called off the shores of Galilee. He called them out. He taught them. He led them. He sent them. He gave them power to do the work He wanted them to do. He was all things to this small Church gathered around Him.

Everything done was done by the Leader, the head, the power of the LORD. When He sent them two by two with nothing to care for them, in Mark chapter 6, He proved to them He had power and authority to care for His Church. The feeding of the five thousand was not only for the benefit of feeding the five thousand, no, it revealed the provision He would provide to the Church. This was leading to the majestic statement found in Matthew 28:18, “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth.”

The Church now sees the Christ, in His true position as the head of all things and especially to the Church. The Church could do nothing without the Power, the Position, and the Program of Jesus. Therefore the Lord, our Savior, gave that small band, the Church, the reason for them being called out. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: an, lo, Ia am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

More to come.

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The Church 1

My intent is trace the Lord’s Church from the time of John the Baptist till I get done or get tired or get distracted from this purpose.

John the Baptist came to prepare a people for the Lord Jesus Christ. He won many disciples to Christ and baptized them on the authority he received from heaven. Mark 1:1-4 “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sin.

Now we find in Matthew 4:18-22 – And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

I am not going to quibble over the church beginning here or on some Mountain. I am firm that the Church had its beginning before the day of Pentecost. More to come.

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A Lesson from History

A Lesson from History

December 31, 2016


I. K. Cross


Source: The Baptist Sentinel – March 1988

Some feel that the issue of the universal church is not important.

‘Others declare that Baptists have been divided over the issue through the ages, never coming to agreement on the subject. This depends upon whom you call Baptists. Not everyone that wears the name qualifies with the evidence. On the other hand, prior to the 16th Century Reformation, Baptists were not even known by that name.

“Catholic” in the Generic Sense

It is true that groups identified with Baptist principles prior to the Reformation occasionally used the term “catholic,” or “universal” when referring to the church. But what did they mean? There was nothing else around except the Roman and Greek Orthodox Catholic churches, and groups such as the Paulicians and Donatists certainly did not intend to include them when using the term. All they meant by the term was all true churches considered as one group, much as we use the term church in a generic sense.

History reveals, quite clearly what these congregations believed about the purity and independence of local congregations.

It is also true that when the first confession of faith was written for the Philadelphia Association in America they used the term “universal church.” But a sense of history will clear up your thinking on what these churches believed about the nature of the church. ‘The association was originally made of ‘of Baptists from Wales, one congregation coming as a body from that country. Their minutes were kept in the Welsh language for a number of years. No one knew better than the Baptist in Wales the price they had paid for the true nature of New Testament churches. They had been hounded by the legions and bishops of Rome and they survived only because they could secure themselves in the mountains of that country during the harsh winters. They had stedfastly refused to bow to the concept of the catholic church of Rome, and who would dare accuse them of compromising with the Protestant Reformers’ catholic substitute!

Danger of the Universal Church Concept

Is there a real danger in the universal, invisible church concept, or is it merely a side issue? Back in the 19th century Southern Baptists were writing about the “Universal Church Heresy,” (Re-Thinking Baptist Doctrines, Victor I. Masters, editor). But in 1939 Dr. Aidredge couldn’t even get the floor of the convention to introduce a resolution declaring they did not accept the idea.

Southern Baptist Convention Embraces the Universal Church Theory

In 1963 the SBC wrote the universal church into their declaration of faith (Baptist Faith and Message). Now the denomination declares itself Protestant, claiming its heritage goes no farther back than the 16th century. They meet gladly with Roman Catholic leaders and even greeted the Pope of Rome on his arrival in the U.S. last year. Many of their churches accept baptisms from Protestant denominations and practice open communion, and it is also taught in the classrooms of their schools by a number of their professors.

Shot through with Modernism

This position was taken by the northern convention, American Baptist Churches, U.S.A., long before it was received in the south, and they have become so shot through with modernism that they receive the National and World Council of Churches as an affiliate. It is the universal church concept that has opened the door for the forward thrust of the ecumenical movement among Protestant churches today.

Read Up on Church History

Read history before you embrace the universal church concept, or call it a minor issue. Isaiah warned about drawing sin as it were a cart rope (Isaiah 5:18). Shall we gradually lose our identity as Landmark Missionary Baptist by blending gradually with the dull grey of a universal church protestantism, or will we reaffirm the basic principle upon which we have held our ground through the centuries?

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Enlightened Walk Radio – Jim Brasseal – New Testament Church Baptism

Source: Enlightened Walk Radio – Jim Brasseal – New Testament Church Baptism

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The Church That Jesus Built – pamphlet

This sermon by D. N. Jackson will surprise some, challenge others and there will be those that will reject it out of hand without thought or study. An honest comparison of scripture will challenge those desiring the truth of God’s Word.



By D. N. Jackson


The Founding

The Founder

The Foundation

The Form

The Fundamentals

The Future of the Church

The Six “F’s” of the Church

By D. N. Jackson

(Summary of a sermon preached Sunday evening, December 31, 1961, at Calvary Baptist Church, LaVerne, Calif.)

Tonight we are here by invitation to preach a sermon on the CHURCH. I am sure you appreciate the fact that in the short time customarily allotted to a sermon it will not be possible for me to elaborate on this subject. So we must be brief and pointed.

As a basis for our message, let us note the Master’s own words: “… upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).

We shall deal with the six “F’s” of the church after this order: 1. The founding; 2. The Founder; 3. The Foundation; 4. The Form; 5. The Fundamentals; and 6. The Future.

1. The founding of the Church

Broadly speaking, the church was founded during the personal ministry of our Lord on earth.

TESTIMONY OF CHRIST: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). Jesus testifies while on earth He finished the work which the Father sent Him to do. The establishment of the church being part of the work which He came to do, it stands to reason He established His church before His death.

TESTIMONY OF APOSTLE PAUL: “And God set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues” (I Cor. 12:28). These were gifts the Lord put in the New Testament churches. Mark explains when the gift of apostles was made: “And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach” (Mark 3:13,14).

That was done during the personal ministry of Christ on earth. As the apostles were ordained by Christ in person and placed in the church, it stands to reason there must have been a church in existence, for you cannot put something into nothing. Incidentally, the gifts of healings, miracles, tongues and apostles were done away at the close of the New Testament canon, and this took place when John wrote the book of Revelation.

But the point is; the church must have existed while Christ was on earth, else He could not have placed apostles in it.

Specifically speaking the church came into existence during our Lord’s first year’s of ministry and before John the Baptist was imprisoned. The first disciples to follow Christ were John, Andrew, Peter, Philip and Nathanael (John 1:29-51). These were with Him at the marriage in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1). His disciples were soon increased in number (John 2:23; 3:1-7). This company was authorized by their Lord to administer baptism (John 3:22; 4:1-2), and it was called the bride of Christ (John 3:29). This company, while tarrying at Jerusalem after Christ’s ascension and before the dawn of the day of Pentecost, selected as Judas’ successor one who had companied with them “all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John” (Acts 1:21, 22).

To this company were added about three thousand converts on the first day of the Pentecostal feast (Acts 2:41). And the same company is called a church, Acts 2:47: “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” that is “such as were being saved.” This proves the church was founded even before John the Baptist was imprisoned and that it had been perpetuated from that day until the day of Pentecost. This church to which the three thousand were added was the company that began in John’s day, saw the ascension of Christ, and waited at Jerusalem for the coming of the events at Pentecost (Luke 24:49-53; Acts 1:14, 15).

2. The Founder Of The Church

Christ as founder of His church is proved by the following facts:

  1. As the Shepherd Christ gathered unto himself a flock, which is said to be the church. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock…to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).

  2. Christ declared He had a church, Matthew 16:18 “…upon this rock I will build my church.” While on earth He called His company of followers “MY CHURCH.” However, the clause “will build” does not point to His founding the church, but to strengthening it, or building it up in numbers, power and usefulness. In this sense He is still building His church, and will continue doing so until He shall come again.

  3. Christ testified that He had a kingdom while on earth, hence He was the founder of it, John 18:36: “My kingdom is not of this world,” that is, not of this world’s system to wage carnal warfare, levy taxes for support of a political government, etc. The point is: Christ established a kingdom in person while on earth. The churches are the executives of His kingdom. When the first church was founded, Christ’s kingdom came into existence on earth.

  4. In founding the church, Christ became its headstone, Matthew 21:42: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, “The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.”

  5. The material prepared by John the Baptist (Luke 1:16, 17, 77) was used by Christ in founding His church, as David prepared the material for the construction of the temple which was built by Solomon (I Chron. 22:5).

    Incidentally, since Christ used the ones whom John baptized in founding His church, this identifies His church with the baptism and teaching of John. If you were to go to a Mormon, for instance, and be baptized of him, would you not be known as a Mormon? Then, since the first disciples of Christ identified themselves with John the Baptist and were baptized by him, why were they not Baptists also? And being organized into a church by Christ, why was it not a Baptist church? The name “Baptist” came from God (Matt. 3:1). If John could wear it with honor, why cannot we? And as John was a missionary sent by God (John 1:6) and was divinely called Baptist, why was he not a missionary Baptist? That’s what we are?

3 The Foundation of the Church

Christ is the foundation and cornerstone of the church.

  1. He declares Himself as the Rock on which the church is founded. “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). The church was not founded on Peter, nor Peter’s confession, nor upon truth as such, but upon the immovable Rock of Ages. “Thou art Peter,” from the Greek petros, meaning a stone that can be moved, used in a metaphorical sense of Peter whom Satan threw around yet was he never crushed. The Greek word for rock on which the church was founded is petra, meaning a large and immovable rock.

The apostle Paul declares that Christ is the foundation, I Cor. 3:11 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.” This should settle all cavil forever.

  1. Prophecy designates Christ as the foundation of the church, Isaiah 28:16: “Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” The apostle Peter alludes to this prophecy in his message to the Jewish Christians scattered abroad, and also applies it to Christ (I Peter 2:6). Furthermore, Christ is not only the foundation of the church; He is also its cornerstone, thus tying all the building and its foundation together.

  2. The apostle Paul testifies that Christ is the foundation, Eph. 2:20: “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.” Christ was the foundation of the apostles and prophets, on which foundation the church was founded. He was their foundation, and He is the church’s foundation.

4. The Form of Church Government

Baptists are backed by the Scriptures in their claim of a congregational or democratic form of church government, all the members having an equal voice in the administrations of the church’s affairs. This form of church government is proved by the following facts:

  1. A whole church voted in the election of an apostle to succeed Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:26).
  2. 2. A whole church acted together in the election and ordination of the first deacons (Acts 6:2-6).
  3. A whole church acted together in sending forth missionaries (Acts 13:1, 2; 14:26, 27).
  4. A church as such is authorized to receive members (Romans 14:1).
  5. 5. A church as such is authorized to dismiss members for bad conduct (I Cor. 5:13; II Cor. 2:6; II Thess. 3:6).

The Corinthian church expelled from her membership an incestuous man by majority vote. “Sufficient to such a man is this punishment which was inflicted of many” (II Cor. 2:6). The word “many” comes from an original word meaning “majority.” This shows beyond any reasonable doubt the church maintained a democratic form of government.

  1. The congregational form of government is supported by the fact a church is complete within itself and is independent. Other congregations are not necessary for the being of a church, but they may contribute to its well-being. In Acts 16:5 we note that members of a church went abroad and established like churches: “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”
  2. The fact Christ recognizes a church as being the highest ecclesiastical tribunal on earth supports the congregational form of government, Matt. 18:17a, 18: “And if he shall neglect to hear them (the one or two witnesses) tell it unto the church…Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” This authority was committed to a local congregation as a whole, thus showing that all the members should have a voice in any transaction

That is the Baptist system of church government – all members of a church being equals in a perfect democracy. They may not be equals in material possessions, or talents, or resourcefulness, but in authority under the Lord.

Other forms of church government, as taught by certain denominations, include the episcopal and presbyterial forms. By the episcopal if meant a church governed by bishops; and by presbyterial is meant a church is governed by presbyters or elders. These teachings arose after the close of the apostolic period, hence not taught in the Scriptures. They take away from the churches adopting such such systems their autonomous rights, whereas the congregational form of government necessarily implies three things: first, equality of the members touching their voice in the governing affairs of the congregation; second, independence of each church, as already mentioned; and third, each church is amenable only to the Lord in the conduct of its affairs.

5. The Fundamentals of the Church

We do not hesitate to say that the doctrines taught by the churches of the New Testament days are identical with the doctrines taught today by true Baptist churches. These constitute their distinguishing marks by which Baptist identity has been known across the centuries back to our Lord’s day on earth.

Across the centuries Baptists have believed and taught all the fundamentals of the Scriptures, thus making the Bible the man of their counsel. In sum, these teachings include:

  1. Salvation by grace without any admixture of meritorious works (Eph. 2:8-10; Rom. 11:6; Titus 3:5).

  2. Congregational form of church government, as already discussed in this message.

  3. Immersion in water as the Scriptural mode of baptism (Acts 8:38, 39; Rom. 6:4).

  4. Christ as the sole head over His church (Mark 12:10; Eph. 1:21-23).

  5. The Bible as the sole written guide and standard of authority in religious affairs (2 Tim. 3:16,17; John 5:39).

  6. The right of private judgment in the interpretation of the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15: John 5:39).

  7. Freedom of worship, of conscience and of speech. The early Christians avowed and taught religious liberty. Tertullian, a Christian writer of the second and third centuries said:

Every man should worship according to his own convictions: one man’s religion neither harms nor helps another man. It is accuredly no part of religion to compel religion.”

Justin martyr, a Christian writer of the second century, said:

Religion cannot be imposed by force; the matter must be carried on by words rather than by blows.”

It is an honor to Baptists that, while they have endured persecution for truth’s sake, they have never persecuted others for their faith. Indeed religious freedom is a trophy of Baptists.

  1. Separation of church and state (Luke 20:21-25).

Baptists in every century have championed the cause of religious freedom. They have contended for separation of church and state, but not the separation of God and the state: that the one should not control the other, but both church and state should work harmoniously for the betterment of each. There can be no absolute freedom of religion where there exists a union of church and state. God is over all.

  1. Individual priesthood of all believers (Heb. 4:14-16; Rev. 5:10; John 14:13).

Every believer has a right to approach God for himself. He is his own believer-priest, going to God through Christ alone for himself (I Tim.2:5). It is a sin to pray to any saint living or dead.

In addition to these nine points of fundamental tenets, Baptists believe and teach the doctrines of inherent depravity (Eph. 2:3); the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit in connection with the word of God (Acts 16:14); the security of the believer (John 5:24); a restricted Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:42; I Cor. 11:17-20); the blood atonement of Christ (II Cor. 5:21; Heb. 2:9) as essentially related to His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:23); our Lord’s resurrection from the grave (Matt. 28:1-6); His ascension back to heaven (Luke 24:51); His personal and visible and premillennial second coming (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:37-39); a bodily resurrection of the dead (I Cor. 15:51-53); and eternal hell for the incorrigible wicked (Luke 16:19-26); and an eternal bliss in heaven for the children of God (Rev. 21:1-14

6. The Future of the Church

Looking through the prophetic eye in apostolic days, the future of our Lord’s church would be one of joy mingled with sorrows. There is the joy of promulgating the gospel to the ends of the earth, despite the sorrows of tribulations and persecutions to be encountered. Our Lord forewarned His people of the bitter crises they must face, John 16:1, 2: “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”

But despite such disturbing factors, the Lord assured His church of perpetual existence in this world throughout the centuries until He shall come again. This assurance is founded upon certain facts:

  1. Christ, who defeated Satan in the temptations, will not allow Satan to overcome His church, John 16:33: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer: I have overcome the world.”

  2. Christ assured His church that the “gates of hell” shall not prevail against it, Matt. 16:18: “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” that is, “against her,’ as the original word is in the feminine gender.

  3. The immovable foundation of the church, which is Christ himself, is a guarantee of the perpetual existence of the church in all Christian centuries, Matt. 7:24-27. The house built on a rock stood amidst terrific beatings of storms and floods because of its foundation.

  4. The apostle Paul declares Christ to be the “saviour,” that is, preserver “of the body,” here used abstractly of the church (Eph. 5:23). He has preserved not only the principles of the church, but the church itself – the “body” plus its principles.

  5. Our Lord’s promise to be with His church to the end of the world, that is, the age, is a comforting assurance to us, Matt. 28:20: “…lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

  6. God has ordained to receive glory through His church in all ages, Eph. 3:21: “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” If the church has not existed in all ages since Christ’s day on earth, this assurance has failed. But God’s promises are sure.

The world crises through which Christ has preserved His church across the centuries include:

  1. The crisis of scorn, ridicule and misrepresentation. As Christ faced it, so His disciples must also face it. Our Master endured this crisis in His life and on the cross. The name Christian was first applied to His disciples at Antioch in derision, and not until the second century did they accept and use it with any degree of pride (Acts 11:26). During the centuries after Christ, His people have been dubbed by various epithets in scorn and ridicule. The types of scorn and misrepresentation which Christians endured especially in the first three centuries may be summed up thusly:

    1. They were called a “sect of the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).

    2. Their teaching was labeled a “contagious superstition” by the Roman governor of Bithynia, whose name was Pliny. This was in the second century.

    3. They were charged with sedition and high treason, because they refused to render worship to the Emperor by burning incense on the altar before his statue.

    4. They were charged with atheism, because they refused to acknowledge the pagan gods. Theism denotes belief in God’s existence, but “theism” is negated, or denied, when the Greek letter “a” is placed before it – “a-theism.”

    5. They were charged with cannibalism, because they claimed to partake of the body and blood of Christ in a symbolic way in the observance of the Lord’s Supper, which had to be done in secret assemblies. The pagan spies twisted the truth by saying the Christians secluded themselves to eat literal flesh and blood of human beings. The bread and the fruit of the vine are only symbols of the body and blood of Christ, not His real body and blood.

    6. They were charged with arson at Rome, Nero had this charge placed against them to take the spotlight off himself, as he had come under suspicion of setting fire to the city. He said the Christians did this in order to prove their doctrine that the world would be destroyed by fire. But they proved themselves innocent of all such charges, and marched forward in a pagan world with the banner of truth unfurled. And the old Ship of Zion sailed on.

  2. The crisis of compromise. In every century since Christ’s day, the opponents of Baptists have proposed compromise – to spare their life, if they would give up their faith. Many a Baptist has been led to the stake to be burned, or put to death in some in some horrible manner with the crucifix held before their faces in a plea for them to surrender their faith and live. But great numbers of them went to their death praising God that they were counted worthy to suffer for Him. When the martyr Hooper was led away to his death, his persecutors said to him” “Mr. Hooper, why don’t you give up your faith, for life is sweet.” “Yes, life is sweet,” answered Mr. Hooper, “but eternal life is sweeter.” He left the earth for heaven amidst the flames of martyrdom. The Old Ship of Zion sails on!

  3. The crisis of heresy, or false teaching.Commencing with the efforts of the Judaizers at Jerusalem to conjoin works of the law with grace in order for the Gentiles to be saved (Acts 15:1-35), true Christianity has had to battle its way against the darkness of heresy to maintain its purity. Paul said in his day that the “mystery of iniquity doth already work” (II Thess. 2:7). and the main purpose of Peter’s writing his second epistle was to confirm the Jewish Christians in the faith against the onslaught of “damnable heresies” introduced by false prophets and false teachers (II Peter 2:1).

    The theory of baptismal regeneration arose by the end of the second century, and along with it came infant baptism. These twin heresies have proved all along as disturbing factors in Christendom. And in the first part of the third century episcopacy arose with its bold effort to break down the independence and self-governing aspect of the churches which the loyal ones claimed was inherited from the apostolic pattern. By prophecy Paul forewarned the followers of Christ that “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith” (I Tim. 4:1) as a system of doctrine (Jude 3).

    Those were the forerunners of a horde of heresies that have been introduced into Christendom since then, including the bodily assumption of Mary and prayers offered to her; the adoration of images in worship; the seven sacraments as means of divine grace for salvation; transubstantiation and the sale of indulgences for the remission of sins. But the old Ship of Zion sails on in the sea of the purity of the faith once delivered to the saints!

  4. The crisis of persecution. The church of our Lord Jesus Christ has survived in the purity of the original faith despite persecutions from the following sources:

    1. Worldliness in high official ranks. The first Baptist preacher suffered decapitation for denouncing the adultery of a king and his wife (Matt. 14:3-11). And in some way or other ever since then preachers have had rough sailing when they undertook to draw the line against the impurity of marriage.

    2. Jewish. Not long after the resurrection of Christ, Christians were imprisoned and whipped for preaching the doctrine of His resurrection (Acts 4:1-3; 5:18, 40). This was done by authority of the Jewish high court.

      Stephen was stoned to death for preaching the doctrine held by Baptists (Acts 7:57-60).

      With the exception of John, all the apostles suffered martyrdom, and John himself was sent into exile by Emperor Domitian. They all taught doctrines now held by Baptists.

    3. Pagan. At first the pagan rulers at Rome paid little attention to Christianity, considering it to be another sect of the Jews; but when its pattern was seen clearly and definitely divorced from Judaism, persecution by the pagans began to be waged against its devotees. Then followed ten major pagan persecutions, from Nero in A.D. 67 to Diocletian in A.D. 303. During this time some two million Christians suffered death for their faith.

    4. Catholic. Constantine the Great, claiming conversion to Christianity, and uniting his version of the church with the state in A.D. 313, set the pattern of persecution of his opponents by slaughtering many of the Donatists in North Africa. His successor in the latter part of the fourth century, Theodosius the Great, made it punishable by death for anyone found worshiping contrary to his decrees.

      Gregory the Great, who became a Romish bishop in 590, dispatched Austin to the British Isles to convert those people to the Catholic faith. He succeeded with many of them, especially the Saxons of England, but when he failed to convert the Welsh Baptists, he turned upon them with organized savagery and slew about twelve hundred of them. From these Welsh Baptists, who sprang up as early as A.D. 63, and many of whom sealed their testimony with their blood under the Austin persecution, came Baptists and even a whole church in organized capacity in the colonial days to America.

      After Gregory papal power was increased until it reached its zenith under Pope Innocent III, whose pontificate extended from 1198 to 1216.It was during his time when our forefathers in the faith, called Albigenses and Waldenses, were so severely persecuted. After Innocent papal power began to wane under the impact of moral corruption in the Catholic Church all the way from the priests to the popes, and soon the morning stars of the Reformation began to shine forth. During the time of the papal rule, from Constantine the Great to the Reformation, historians have estimated not less than FIFTY MILLION people were killed for their faith.

      Still the old Ship of Zion sails on!

    5. Prostestant. The Lutheran Reformation, known as the Protestant Reformation, was officially born on October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, in stout denunciation of the sale of indulgences, that is, the forgiveness of sins from the pope, by john Tetzel, one of the hierarchy’s emissaries sent out to collect money for the Catholic Church under the fraudulent claim of granting remission of sins according to the amount of money expended in this manner.

Had it not been for John Wycliffe of England, John Huss of Bohemia, the Anabaptists, and others, all of whom labored before the rise of Luther, the Lutheran Reformation would never have materialized.

But no sooner had the Reformation gotten well under way, like a steam roller, it crushed under its impact many who had aided Luther in his efforts. Among these were Anabaptists whose lineage runs back to apostolic days and from whom came many Baptists to America in the seventeenth century.

Therefore the true Baptist in America have lineal descent from the church founded by Christ Himself during His personal ministry on earth. This is the true church line across the centuries back to Christ. Any believer in Christ, whether or not he is in this church line, may be saved, but without one’s identifying himself with this line he cannot receive Scriptural baptism, for the authority to baptize was invested in the church line beginning with the one in existence in Christ’s day (Matt. 28:19,20), and has been perpetuated in this line across the centuries. The disciples whom Paul found at Ephesus, who had been baptized without Scriptural authority, were baptized again after he had taught them the truth about salvation and baptism (Acts 19:1-5). You may have been baptized by someone, but unless you have been baptized by divine authority vested in a church whose lineage goes back to the days of Christ, you do not have Scriptural baptism. In this event, then, you should, if you are saved, submit yourself for Scriptural baptism.

So the old Ship of Zion sail on forever, despite fire, dungeon and the sword! Even the wholesale slaughter of the faithful witnesses of Christ failed to shove them into the “gates of hell.”

“Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matt. 16:18).

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