"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." (2 Th 2:15)
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 other things change all of the time. The world does not contain the same people today, it contained just yesterday! Now, there are some things we want to change! 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!
There is a tremendous push today in Christianity to bring everyone together. Some will say, "Let's do away with all the denominational names and let's just all be the same." What they are really saying is this, "You quit being who you are and become like us!" I am not ready to change what I am to become what someone else may want me to become. I am an Independent Bible-believing Baptist!
Others would say, "Oh, it really doesn't matter whether you are a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, or whatever...they are all the same!" I beg to differ! They are not all the same. This morning I want to give you just a few ways that we, as Baptists, are different! Baptists have been known historically for:
I. A SIMPLE FORM OF WORSHIP
A. Baptists have never been ritualistic and religious.
1. Baptist have never been known for being ritualistic and religious in their services.
2. IT IS ALMOST AS IF ONE OF OUR MAIN TRADITIONS IS TO AVOID TRADITIONS!
3. Remember where Jesus warned against being like the Pharisees.
"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking." (Mat 6:7)
a. They liked to make a pretense in their worship.
b. When they prayed, they would go out in the street corners so people could see them pray.
c. When they fasted, they would put dust on their heads and walk around groaning as they held their stomachs.
d. They wore fancy robes that told everyone within sight they were the religious crowd!
e. Their prayers were mere "vain repetitions."
1) They weren't really praying to God, but they had a memorized poem that they would quote and call it prayer!
2) 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!
3) If, for some reason, you don't get the folder, YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE OF KNOWING WHAT TO DO!
4) The folder tells you when to stand, when to sit, what to pray, when to say "amen."
f. Christianity is not supposed to be like that!
1) It's just supposed to be plain simple worship of the true and living God!
2) It is supposed to be a sincere and heartfelt effort to learn from God and let God know you love Him!
3) The simplicity of the Baptist Worship is also evident
B. In our practice of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.
1. While these ordinances quickly degenerated into ritualistic sacraments in the other churches, Baptists have kept them simple and sincere.
2. The Lord's Supper:
a. This was not something done to grant favor with God.
b. But was a simple testimony and reminder of Christ's death burial and resurrection.
c. They would simply gather together, eat a meal, and then share the Lord's Supper as a testimony of what Christ had done!
3. Baptism was the same way.
a. They didn't make a big deal about it. They just did it!
b. They would go to the nearest body of water that was deep enough (if they didn't have a baptistery in the building.) and commence to immerse the believers!
4. 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.
1. The Jews of Christ's day all spoke Greek.
2. However, it was the tradition that they only spoke of their faith in the Hebrew language.
3. That is, until Christ came along. Jesus spoke the common language of the common Greek so everyone could understand.
4. The emphasis has always been on folks understanding the message and truth of the Gospel.
5. A simple type of worship: LET'S HOLD FAST TO THAT TRADITION!
Secondly, Baptists have been known historically for:
II. A SOLE DEPENDENCE UPON THE WORD OF GOD.
A. They lived by what they learned in the Bible.
1. The Bible was to them more than a religious relic to be used for appeasing God.
2. The Bible was a handbook for life.
3. It was the ONLY source they used to determine right and wrong.
B. THEY USED THE BIBLE TO TEACH THE WAY SALVATION.
1. To them, there was no other source they could use to know for sure sins were atoned and hell was escaped.
2. They could not trust the words of men about salvation.
3. They wanted to know for sure they were going to heaven so they counted upon the Bible alone!
4. And it has to be the same for us today!
5. While some are counting in new prophets and religions, our distinctive MUST be the Bible Alone!
6. We cannot join hands with those who teach a hundred different ways to be saved and say any of them are fine as long as you are sincere! "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
B. THEY USED THE BIBLE TO TEACH FAITH AND DOCTRINE.
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (2 Tim 3:16)
1. Everything we believe, we are to get from the Bible!
2. If we cannot find it in the Bible, it is not to be trusted.
3. 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!
4. We get our doctrine of Christ from the Bible.
a. We believe Christ is the Son of God because the Bible says He was.
b. We believe Christ was born of a virgin because the Bible says He was.
c. We believe Christ died bearing our sins because the Bible says so.
d. We believe Christ rose again because the Bible says He did. e. We believe he is coming again because the Bible says He is coming again.
5. Baptists get our distinctive doctrines from the Bible:
a. Baptists believe what they believe about Baptism BECAUSE IT IS THE BAPTISM OF THE BIBLE!
b. Baptists believe that the saved cannot lose their salvation BECAUSE IT IS THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE!
c. Baptists believe that the government can't run the church BECAUSE IT IS THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE.
d. 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 teaching of the Word of God!
I. A simple style of Worship II. A sole dependence upon the Bible
III. A SANCTIFIED KIND OF LIFESTYLE
"I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called," (Eph 4:1)
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." (Col 3:1)
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:" (1 Th 4:3)
A. It seems to me that Christians should all believe that Christians should live like Christians, but this has not been the case.
B. History shows that one of the things Baptists were mocked the most for, was their emphasis for living holy lives!
C. Listen. No one has to live a certain way to be saved.
1. BUT I SURE WONDER ABOUT THE SALVATION OF A PERSON WHO SAYS THEY HAVE ACCEPTED CHRIST, BUT CONTINUES TO LIVE LIKE THE DEVIL!
2. And, Christian, if there is anything that ought to make us different from those around us ... IT OUGHT TO BE THAT WE TRY TO LIVE A GODLY LIFE BY THE GRACE OF GOD!
3. We ought not lie, cheat, or steal.
4. Our speech ought to be different, our behavior ought to be different
5. We ought to be a different kind of people in the way we live!
6. The unsaved OUGHT to think it strange that we are SO fanatical about honesty and righteousness!
7. 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 dependence upon the Bible, and A Sanctified Kind of Lifestyle.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you put your faith and trust in Him and Him alone? If not, you can today! I am not talking about religion, I am talking about salvation! Will you come this morning and accept Christ?
Christians, what about our lives? Are they different? Can others see Christ in us? Do we have an honest testimony among those who are without Christ? Why not come today and commit yourself to Him. Determine today that we will live our lives differently.