The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
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God desires fellowship with and worship from His people, and has .always had a place to meet with them. Using Moses to deliver the Hebrews “out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage," God met with His people in the tabernacle. Later, when they became settled, God used Solomon to build a beautiful temple for His people to meet together with Him. But today, God has used His dear Son to establish and build His church as a place for believers to meet together. And within His church, where you are a member, God has a place of service for you.
The Profile of Christ's Church
The Baptist church, of which you are a member, did not begin with a few charter members in a store front last year, or even in a rented building on some corner 100 or more years ago. Your church was begun almost 20 centuries ago by Christ Himself.
Stepping out of his step-father's carpenter shop and into the Jordan River, to be immersed by John the Baptist, God began a work of which you are a part today. In Luke 6:12-16, we see where Christ called out His twelve apostles to train for the establishment and continuance of His church. Later, in Acts chapter 2, He empowered it on the day of Pentecost to be an effective witness to the known world of yesterday and today.
"They were first called Christians at Antioch" and later received the misnomer by the Roman "Church" of Ana-Baptist (meaning re-baptizers) and have now been known for centuries as "Baptist." Thanks be to God that the church which Christ started during His earthly ministry is still in existence.
The People of Christ's Church
In Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6-7, the Bible tells us that as Christians we are now "the sons of God" and thereby can call God "Abba, Father." Because we have the same heavenly father, we are brothers and sisters in Christ, and are therefore of the family of God. When my personal family joined the Baptist church where we are now members, we became a part of that church family. As a church family we are constantly doing things together. We serve the Lord, pray, sing, worship, assemble, give, weep, share one another's burdens, observe the Lord's Supper, attend services, witness and support and follow our pastor together. You should now be able to see the importance of being at your church every time the doors are open. And other Baptist churches all across this nation and around the world do the same things. Just try to fulfill these practices through the unscriptural, invisible, universal "church."
The Plan and Purpose of Christ's Church
No other church can reach your town or area as effectively as yours! Your town needs your church and all that it has to offer. The reason is that your town is full of families that need the Lord and a church. The spiritual health of your church, and consequently, of your town, is dependent upon the spiritual strength of each individual family within your church. Therefore, most church problems are a direct result of family problems brought into the church. The method Christ has developed for your church to grow numerically and spiritually, is found in Matt 28:18-20, and is referred to as the Great Commission.
It is great because of its architect, Christ Jesus. It is great because of its plan to reach and teach the world. It is great because of its required personal involvement of every fundamental Baptist church. It is great because the church is the only institution through which God receives due glory. As Ephesians 3:21 states, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." It is great because we are involved in a spiritual warfare which can and will only be won God's way. It is also great because of its scope. In Mark 16:15, Christ said, "....Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature."
The Price of Christ's Church
What your church has cost God is the life and blood of His only begotten Son. What your church will cost you personally is determined by the value you place upon the life of His Son. We are told in Ephesians 5:25-32 that Christ gave Himself for the church, and that He loves and cherishes it. God gave His best, and Christ gave His all, so what will you give? If you only attend on Sunday mornings and drop a few pennies into the offering plate occasionally, you have publicly evidenced the amount of love you have for Him. But when you become active in your church's programs, you will soon find yourself investing whatever it takes to make your church successful. In Romans 12:1-2 we are instructed as Christians to give our all as Jesus did. Therefore, it is only our "reasonable service" to do the same. You can never out-give God, you will never give too much, and God will always bless you accordingly.
The Payment of Christ's Church
Your church may not owe anyone a single dime. All of the buildings may be paid off. The utility bills may be current. Your pastor, staff, and missionaries may be paid to date, and you might even have a few dollars in a savings account. But, your church is still in debt! Every fundamental Baptist Church is in debt to Christ and the world. In Acts 1:8 we are told, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Your church, my church, indeed all of our churches are in debt to our town, our state, our nation, and yea, even the entire world. Payments on this debt are made when your church wins souls and then disciples them through its various ministries. So please do your part in helping your church not to become delinquent on its payments.
The Prodigals in Christ's Church
One prodigal is the maverick church member. This is the one who decides that he is going to do something "for the Lord," without the authority or blessing of their church or pastor. It manifests itself in the form of a personal nursing home ministry, home Bible studies, private ladies groups, or some other such thing. Or it may be someone going to another area or state as a self-appointed "missionary" or as an overzealous young preacher boy, who through impatience strikes out on his own to either start a church by himself, or perhaps finds some church which is as immature as he is, to become his "sending church." Sad to say, the result is a failed ministry and sometimes even a failed marriage. Please remember that final authority rests with your church and pastor, and like Saul and Barnabas in Acts 13, you, too, should wait for your church to send you out, always remembering "them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow considering the end of their conversation." (Hebrews 13:7)
Another prodigal are those who will attend church, but never exercise enough character to make the commitment of becoming a member. These dear people are dodging accountability, and are holding back the blessings of God upon their family and church. Christ made a commitment on Calvary, and expects the same of His disciples.
The last prodigal we will consider is the person who gets saved, baptized, joins the church, becomes actively involved, and in about three years’ time, they fizzle out never to be seen again. They become a prodigal because of unfaithfulness, a lack of genuine commitment, and fundamentally, because they simply do not have a personal daily walk with God. When our fellowship with the Lord is broken, it is not long until our fellowship with our church is also broken and we become a prodigal to our church family.
Therefore, when you judge yourself in spiritual matters, your faithfulness to the church should be of utmost deliberation and concern.
The Positions of Christ's Church
Within each church there are two Biblical positions held by men. These are pastor and deacon. While most of us are familiar with their qualifications as found in I Tim 3 and Titus 1, it seems that, at least in a practical sense, we do not fully understand their duties. The terms pastor, elder and bishop all refer to the same man. He has been called, trained and placed by God to be the overseer of your church. It is under the direction of the Holy Spirit and the King James Bible that this dear man takes the oversight of the flock that God has given Him and leads them in the "paths of righteousness."
As God enlarges his ministry and his burdens increase, he is to guide his flock to look out among themselves, and select qualified men to serve the Lord with him in his ministry. While these men have no more authority in their church than any other member, they should nonetheless be highly respected and prayed for daily by the rest of the laity. When all members, regardless of their position and accompanying duties, are faithful to their pastor and his vision, success is imminent.
Together, the church is able to stand strong against the wiles of the Devil, "and having done all, to stand." When God encourages us to consider the end of a man's conversation, he is encouraging us to consider the end result of that man's life so that we may pattern our lives after his. Please do not be afraid to follow your pastor when he takes a firm stand against ungodliness, worldliness and unrighteousness. He simply wants to be like Christ in that he wants to present the church which he pastors, "a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5 27)
The Promises Given to Christ's Church
Actually, Christ has given several promises to his church. The first is found in Matt 16: 18, “I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." This is referred to as divine perpetuity, and simply means that in the end, Christ and His church will reign supremely.
A second promise is conditional, and is found in Revelation 2:5, where Christ warns the Ephesian church to "…repent, and do the first works: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place..." The Lord has promised His blessings upon His church as long as it is faithful to the Great Commission. Otherwise, He will, remove the Holy Spirit's power and minister through another church. We must be found faithful!
A third promise is given in the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians, as well as I Thessalonians, chapter four, where Christ speaks of His imminent return. These texts should challenge us to be ever busy for the Master. "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come." (Matt 24:42)
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus." Revelation 22:20