Welcome to the 36th anniversary service of the Grace Baptist Temple of Bloomington, Indiana. This morning we are not celebrating the works of man, but we are rejoicing in what God has done over the past 36 years.
In January of 1960, a small group of people gathered together to organize the Grace Baptist Temple. Some of those folks are still here today!
A lot of changes have taken place over the past 36 years. Buildings have been built (some have been torn down), pastors and staff personnel have come and gone, families have been reached with the gospel, missionaries have been supported and sent out, sermons and lessons have been taught, members have come and gone, and through it all, God has been glorified. We could spend a lot of time reflecting upon the changes that have come about over time, but today I want to draw your attention to some things that havenít changed.
I. We Havenít Changed Our Name.
A. We are still Baptists.
1. The name is less of a denomination than it is an identification.
2. You see, we are and always have been independent Baptists.
3. No denominational leaders to make decisions for what happens at this church.
4. The local congregation makes the decisions: always have and always will.
B. As Baptists, we hold certain doctrinal distinctives.
1. Bible: Sole rule of faith and authority (more on this later)
2. Autonomy: Each local church, Sovereign (under the Lordship of Jesus Christ), independent, autonomous, self-governing, self- propagating, self-perpetuating.
3. Priesthood of each believer (no spiritual hierarchy)
4. Two ordinances: (cf. Sacraments)
a. Immersion of believers only
b. The Lord's Supper: a memorial of the sufferings Christ.
5. A regenerated church membership.
a. We donít baptize babies.
b. We donít just open our doors to anyone who may want to join.
C. Grace is first in importance.
1. Grace speaks of what God did rather than what man accomplished.
2. G.R.A.C.E. = Godís Riches At Christís Expense.
3. It is umerited favor...as we reflect on what has been accomplished here over the last 36 years we are reminded that it is solely because of the grace of God!
II. We Havenít Changed Our Rule for Faith and Practice.
A. Why the Bible?
1. Godís Word has the answer for the problem of mankind: SIN.
a. Godís Word will turn us from sin.
b. The Bible shows us what sin really is.
c. The Bible shows us what sin does.
d. The Bible shows us the way of cleansing.
2. Godís Word provides what we need for our daily lives.
a. The Bible gives us direction.
b. The Bible will increase our faith.
c. The Bible will bring us comfort.
3. Godís Word always points us to Heaven.
a. The world will point you away from godly things.
b. The Bible will constantly point us to Jesus Christ.
c. The Bible points us to the return of Christ.
B. Why not change the Bible?
1. Many churches have forsaken the Bible and gone with something Ďnew and improvedí.
2. New and improved are not synonyms!
3. Just because it is new, does not guarantee that it is improved.
4. The first one to Ďimproveí on Godís Word was the devil himself.
5. Changing the Word of God is not new!
6. This Bible is the Bible that this church was established upon.
a. The new converts were saved by this Bible.
b. They were baptized in accordance with this Bible.
c. They began to grow with nourish- ment from this Bible.
d. They were challenged to live their lives by the principles of this Bible.
e. There is no reason to change!
III. We Havenít Changed the Primary Focus of this Church: Reaching Others.
A. Our Past.
1. It was because of the desire of the folks at the Indianapolis Baptist Temple to reach others.
2. As folks were saved and others expressed an interest in establishing a church the Grace Baptist Temple of Bloomington, Indiana was established.
3. That vision was passed along to this church and continues yet today.
B. Our Present.
1. We are actively involved in establishing churches here in Indiana.
2. We are actively involved in missionary endeavors in over thirty countries around the world.
3. We are actively involved in reaching our community for Christ.
a. Every Sunday School Class that meets...
b. Every ministry established...
c. Every sermon preached and lesson taught...
d. It is all done to Ďequip the saints for the work of the ministryí and that means reaching others with the gospel!
C. Our Future.
1. Should the Lord tarry His coming, we will continue to reach out to others.
2. We will continue to support mission works here and around the world.
3. We will continue to witness to others through the services of this church and through the lives of each member.
4. We will not change.
Some things have not changed, and for that I am thankful. The grace of God has not changed, because the need of man is still the same. We need a Savior! This morning, if you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, Godís grace is extended to you today. Would you come and place your trust in Christ today?
Are you serving God with your life today? Why not come this morning and commit your life to Him. Maybe you need to come this morning and place your membership in this church. Come today. Perhaps you have never been Scripturally baptized, why not come and submit yourself today. Whatever the need would you come this morning?