pastors over all of England and Wales. Seventy-three-year-old William Kiffin and
ninety one-year-old Hanserd Knollys had been leaders since the 1630s, and both
of them had suffered under the tyranny of King Charles and King James. The
letter spoke of a decline in the churches that once numbered over 200. There was
a great need to stand together for the gospel of Christ, so a meeting was
arranged in London for September 3-12, 1689. One hundred and seven churches sent
They adopted a Baptist confession that had been written
in 1677, now known as the 1689 London Baptist Confession. They raised money to
help poor pastors, itinerate preachers and money for training
They met again June 9-16, 1690, and a third time on June 2-8,
1691. When they met the fourth time, May 3-17, 1692, most of the country
churches did not attend. Those assembled decided to form a second association in
the western part of England with two of the London pastors in attendance each
year. But it was not to be. They were divided over the issue of singing hymns in
The London Association met for the last time in 1694, after only
six meetings. The Western Association continued strong, producing colleges,
pastors, many of whom came to America. They formed the Philadelphia Association
in 1707 which gave us the Philadelphia Confession.
The ultimate purpose
of any Baptist meeting has always been the preaching of the Word of God. We are
preachers. Our purpose for coming together is to produce churches that produce
Some of us may be Democrats and some of us
Some of us may be close or closed communion and some of us
Some of us may be premillennial and some of us
Some of us may be Calvinistic in theology and some of us
Some of us may prefer one Bible translation and some of us
These are the things that may attempt to divide
But, I trust the things that we hold most common among us are
1. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and
2. The Baptist
I. THE GOSPEL
The word, GOSPEL, is used in
Scripture 104 times. In 61 of those cases, one Greek word is translated
“preach the gospel.”
We are preachers.
A pastor is a
A missionary is a preacher.
A Bible college professor is
A Sunday school teacher is a preacher.
What ever you
are going to do from here is related to preaching.
We are preachers
because we bring the gospel of Jesus Christ.
We declare the
good news that Jesus, the Son of God, saves to the uttermost them that come
unto God by Him.
The idea the Apostle used in Romans 10 “how beautiful
are the feet of them that preach the gospel” is taken from sitting at the feet
of one preaching.
John the Baptist
The apostles preached.
in 2 Cor. 4 “We preach not ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord.”
in 1 Cor. 2 “I determined not to know any thing among you but Christ and
In Gal. 1:8 Paul used strong language and repeated it in
verse 9: “If I or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel, let him be
accursed”, meaning doomed to destruction.
Why is this message called
It is interesting that the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John are called “the Gospels.”
They were written AFTER the resurrection
of Christ, AFTER He was established as the Messiah, AFTER He proved his teaching
by his death and resurrection. Therefore, it is rightly called “The Gospel.” It
IS good news.
I cannot imagine a place where it has not been heard, yet
there are such places. In our age of technology, a computer on the other side of
the world can log on to our web site and (if they can read English or have a
program that will translate it) they can read the gospel. Getting it there is
not our greatest problem.
There are many enemies of the
There are those who hate the gospel.
When 7 kids burned
our sanctuary (5 entered the building, 2 did not) they turned 3 crosses behind
our baptistery upside down. One of them later told the prosecutor that he did
not like us because we had not given his mother some money; a 16 year old kid
and already an enemy of the gospel. I can understand it. I watched this kid’s
father on the porch of his home. While a police detective questioned him, he
never looked up from his newspaper and never said a word.
What we went
through is nothing.
50,000 Christians have fled Syria.
In Iran, a
pastor faces execution for refusing to renounce Christ.
missionaries were murdered in Mexico last February.
38 people were killed
on Easter Sunday at a church in Nigeria.
On April 12, a group of
Christians in India was attacked and beaten.
Just Sunday 15 Christians
were killed in Nigeria.
Paul said in Philippians 3:18; “I have told you
often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of
We were once enemies of Christ by our wicked works. Only by His
grace have we been reconciled to God.
There is more good
The Bible says that God will make the enemies of Christ His
Specifically, Psalm 110:1 “The LORD (Jehovah) said unto my
Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy
That is quoted in Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36, Luke 20:43, Acts
2:35 and Hebrews 1:13.
There is a wonderful connection between this
footstool and the idea of sitting at the feet of those who preach the
It will never be my eloquence that conquers the enemy.
Nor my methods.
Nor my politics.
It will be, however, the power of the Gospel.
All of you
can quote Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is
the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first,
and also to the Greek.”
For the life of me I do not understand how a
preacher can use the pulpit to preach self-esteem material.
want better marriages, follow God’s plan in the Bible.
If people want
better finances, follow God’s plan in the Bible.
If people want better
government, follow God’s plan in the Bible.
You won’t have a big church. The enemies of
God do not want Christ.
But you will please Him
You will be a
fool in the eyes of the world (and even other preachers). I Cor. 1:18 “The
preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are
saved it is the power of God.”
It is the Gospel that will ultimately win
II. BAPTIST DISTINCTIVES
The 2nd thing
commonly held among us is our Baptist distinctives. The first known
confession of faith was 67 articles of the Swiss reformers
There is Luther’s confession
The French confession
The Gallic confession
The Belgic confession
The 39 articles of the
Church of England
The Lutheran Church confession
The Westminster confession
The 1689 London confession
And the Calvinistic
Most of those are protestant confessions
one of the earliest confessions was the Swiss Anabaptist Brethren confession of
1527 which is neither catholic nor protestant.
This confession was
endorsed unanimously by a meeting of Swiss Anabaptists in 1527 in Schleitheim,
Switzerland. The meeting was chaired by Michael Sattler who shortly after the
conference was arrested by Austrian Roman Catholic authorities, put on trial
along with a number of other Anabaptists, found guilty and executed. The
Confession consisted of seven articles, written during a time of severe
Baptism is administered to those
who have consciously repented and amended their lives and believe that Christ
has died for their sins and who request it for themselves. Infants, therefore,
were not to be baptized.
2. The Ban (Excommunication)
should live with discipline and walk in the way of righteousness. Those who slip
and fall into sin should be admonished twice in secret, but the third offense
should be openly disciplined and banned as a final recourse. This should
always occur prior to the breaking of the bread.
3. Breaking of
Only those who have been baptized can take part in
communion. Participation inCommunion is a remembrance of Christ's body and
blood; the real body and blood of Christ is not present in the
4. Separation from Evil
The community of Christians
shall have no association with those who remain in disobedience and a spirit of
rebellion against God. There can be no fellowship with the wicked in the world;
there can be no participation in works, church services, meetings and civil
affairs of those who live in contradiction to the commands of God (Catholics and
Protestants). All evil must be resisted including their weapons of force such as
the sword and armor.
5. Pastors in the Church
Pastors should be
men of good repute. Some of the responsibilities they must faithfully carry out
are teaching, disciplining, the ban, leading in prayer, and the sacraments. They
are to be supported by the church, but must also be disciplined if they
6. The Sword (Pacifism)
Violence must not be used in any
circumstance. The way of nonviolence is patterned after the example of Christ
who never exhibited violence in the face of persecution or as a punishment for
sin. A Christian should not pass judgment in worldly disputes. It is not
appropriate for a Christian to serve as a magistrate; a magistrate acts
according to the rules of the world, not according to the rules of heaven; their
weapons are worldly, but the weapons of a Christian are spiritual.
No (oaths) should be taken because Jesus prohibited the taking of
oaths and swearing. Testifying is not the same thing as swearing. When a person
bears testimony, they are testifying about the present, whether it be good or
The 1689 London Baptist Confession has 32 articles, having a much
different approach to civil government and pacifism.
Confession of 1742 is almost identical except for hymn singing and laying on of
Here is the point – How do we know Baptist distinctives without
We live in a time when Baptist churches are dropping
the word Baptist.
A lady told me that is what her church did to reach
That church wants to hide its identity.
It wants any
and every body to join.
It has no doctrine and no distinctives.
What it really does is reduce itself to nothing.
What else can it
preach other than self-esteem and a better life?
It is the new
The arch-enemy loves it. I think he joined it.
church does not have many visitors who come the 2nd time.
I am surprised
and delighted if they do.
We tell them right up front what we
You may not agree with it, but I hope you will not fall into this
new modernism of alternative church, café church, cowbell church or old
Do that stuff some other time.
But when you come to God’s
house, come to glorify a risen Christ.
Be a FOOL. Preach the gospel.